Author Topic: Mead: No activity during secondary fermentation  (Read 1999 times)

Offline cloud112

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Mead: No activity during secondary fermentation
« on: October 21, 2016, 05:03:10 AM »
Greetings,

Totally new to all of this. My roommates and I started our first 1g batch of mead using the basic recipe that we found on this website. We had to convert it down for our batch size so we used 2.4 lbs. of honey and filled the carboy (no bucket on hand) most of the rest of the way with water (I knew enough to leave some airspace and that a bucket would have been better). We used the recommended 71B Lalvin yeast, and held it at about 66F for 20 days.

Anyways, we transferred to our secondary today. I am going back through the instructions and realizing that we should have payed more attention to the carbonation than the amount of time because I am seeing absolutely no activity in the jug. I was wondering if I should just ride this one out, or if I should be concerned.

Thanks!

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Mead: No activity during secondary fermentation
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2016, 12:52:18 PM »
I assume your "carboy" is the 1 gallon jug.

The secondary is to get the mead off of the lees, and it will clear more in the secondary. Make sure it is full, so as to keep O2 to a minnimum.

A friend who makes some pretty good mead does a tertiary for some of his.
Jeff Rankert
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AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline pete b

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Re: Mead: No activity during secondary fermentation
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2016, 02:45:03 PM »
Your fine. Did you use a nutrient schedule? If so I would be surprised if it would show activity after transferring into secondary because primary fermentation is done. Sometimes the rousing of the yeast that occurs upon racking into secondary causes a little more fermentation resulting in airlock activity but often not. If anything its a sign of a complete and healthy primary fermentation that there is no activity and 20 days is a good long primary so I think that's the case. If you have a hydrometer you can check the gravity.
Jeff's recommendation to rack into a tertiary is a good one. I rack the primary into secondary and leave at room temperature for a couple or few months then carefully rack the secondary into a new carboy and put in my cellar for as long as I can stand. Because I have a lot this is a year or more, but I'm sure you will want to bottle it before then. The secondary is for the yeast to finish up its post fermentation work of getting rid of nasty fermentation products and it will get mostly clear and form a nice solid yeast cake. The tertiary is for ageing and also results in crystal clear mead.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Mead: No activity during secondary fermentation
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2016, 03:53:17 PM »
Your fine. Did you use a nutrient schedule? If so I would be surprised if it would show activity after transferring into secondary because primary fermentation is done. Sometimes the rousing of the yeast that occurs upon racking into secondary causes a little more fermentation resulting in airlock activity but often not. If anything its a sign of a complete and healthy primary fermentation that there is no activity and 20 days is a good long primary so I think that's the case. If you have a hydrometer you can check the gravity.
Jeff's recommendation to rack into a tertiary is a good one. I rack the primary into secondary and leave at room temperature for a couple or few months then carefully rack the secondary into a new carboy and put in my cellar for as long as I can stand. Because I have a lot this is a year or more, but I'm sure you will want to bottle it before then. The secondary is for the yeast to finish up its post fermentation work of getting rid of nasty fermentation products and it will get mostly clear and form a nice solid yeast cake. The tertiary is for ageing and also results in crystal clear mead.
The guy I know does this for melomels, that may take some time to clear.
Jeff Rankert
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AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline pete b

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Re: Mead: No activity during secondary fermentation
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2016, 06:28:39 PM »
Your fine. Did you use a nutrient schedule? If so I would be surprised if it would show activity after transferring into secondary because primary fermentation is done. Sometimes the rousing of the yeast that occurs upon racking into secondary causes a little more fermentation resulting in airlock activity but often not. If anything its a sign of a complete and healthy primary fermentation that there is no activity and 20 days is a good long primary so I think that's the case. If you have a hydrometer you can check the gravity.
Jeff's recommendation to rack into a tertiary is a good one. I rack the primary into secondary and leave at room temperature for a couple or few months then carefully rack the secondary into a new carboy and put in my cellar for as long as I can stand. Because I have a lot this is a year or more, but I'm sure you will want to bottle it before then. The secondary is for the yeast to finish up its post fermentation work of getting rid of nasty fermentation products and it will get mostly clear and form a nice solid yeast cake. The tertiary is for ageing and also results in crystal clear mead.
The guy I know does this for melomels, that may take some time to clear.
Its a good procedure for any mead but even more "necessary" for melomels because there tends to be a lot of trub and pieces of fruit skin that find their way into secondary. Racking into tertiary results in a thin, tightly packed yeast cake that is easy to rack of  when bottling.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline cloud112

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Re: Mead: No activity during secondary fermentation
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2016, 08:55:23 PM »
I assume your "carboy" is the 1 gallon jug.

The secondary is to get the mead off of the lees, and it will clear more in the secondary. Make sure it is full, so as to keep O2 to a minnimum.

A friend who makes some pretty good mead does a tertiary for some of his.



I really appreciate all the feedback here. One major question is how would I go about filling the empty space in my secondary? Should I add a solution of honey and water? Just plain water?

Also, we did not follow any sort of yeast schedule. As this is our first attempt, we decided to start with something nice and simple before we got more complex increasing risks. Could any of you recommend a good resource to start learning more about mead brewing and things like yeast schedules? Of course I am not opposed to just browsing these forums but it would be nice to have a well rounded resource as a jumping off point.


Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Mead: No activity during secondary fermentation
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2016, 11:44:36 PM »
I assume your "carboy" is the 1 gallon jug.

The secondary is to get the mead off of the lees, and it will clear more in the secondary. Make sure it is full, so as to keep O2 to a minnimum.

A friend who makes some pretty good mead does a tertiary for some of his.



I really appreciate all the feedback here. One major question is how would I go about filling the empty space in my secondary? Should I add a solution of honey and water? Just plain water?

Also, we did not follow any sort of yeast schedule. As this is our first attempt, we decided to start with something nice and simple before we got more complex increasing risks. Could any of you recommend a good resource to start learning more about mead brewing and things like yeast schedules? Of course I am not opposed to just browsing these forums but it would be nice to have a well rounded resource as a jumping off point.
Get some marbles or glass beads, sanitize, and add to bring the level up.

Get the Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schramm.

SNA https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/improve-mead-staggered-nutrient-additions/

http://byo.com/stories/issue/item/3447-traditional-mead-tips-from-the-pros

Those are a few.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline pete b

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Re: Mead: No activity during secondary fermentation
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2016, 02:51:17 PM »
I assume your "carboy" is the 1 gallon jug.

The secondary is to get the mead off of the lees, and it will clear more in the secondary. Make sure it is full, so as to keep O2 to a minnimum.

A friend who makes some pretty good mead does a tertiary for some of his.



I really appreciate all the feedback here. One major question is how would I go about filling the empty space in my secondary? Should I add a solution of honey and water? Just plain water?

Also, we did not follow any sort of yeast schedule. As this is our first attempt, we decided to start with something nice and simple before we got more complex increasing risks. Could any of you recommend a good resource to start learning more about mead brewing and things like yeast schedules? Of course I am not opposed to just browsing these forums but it would be nice to have a well rounded resource as a jumping off point.
Get some marbles or glass beads, sanitize, and add to bring the level up.

Get the Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schramm.

SNA https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/improve-mead-staggered-nutrient-additions/

http://byo.com/stories/issue/item/3447-traditional-mead-tips-from-the-pros

Those are a few.
If you get into making mead its good to get different sized carboys. I have a 15 gallon carboy, and many, many, 6,5,3,2,and 1 gallon. I even will use 1/2 gallon glass milk jars with airlocks so that I have a 5 gal plus 1/2 gal then when I rack I can fill a 5 gal.
I recommend the same reference materials as Jeff.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Mead: No activity during secondary fermentation
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2016, 04:58:06 PM »
I assume your "carboy" is the 1 gallon jug.

The secondary is to get the mead off of the lees, and it will clear more in the secondary. Make sure it is full, so as to keep O2 to a minnimum.

A friend who makes some pretty good mead does a tertiary for some of his.



I really appreciate all the feedback here. One major question is how would I go about filling the empty space in my secondary? Should I add a solution of honey and water? Just plain water?

Also, we did not follow any sort of yeast schedule. As this is our first attempt, we decided to start with something nice and simple before we got more complex increasing risks. Could any of you recommend a good resource to start learning more about mead brewing and things like yeast schedules? Of course I am not opposed to just browsing these forums but it would be nice to have a well rounded resource as a jumping off point.
Get some marbles or glass beads, sanitize, and add to bring the level up.

Get the Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schramm.

SNA https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/improve-mead-staggered-nutrient-additions/

http://byo.com/stories/issue/item/3447-traditional-mead-tips-from-the-pros

Those are a few.
Great references, and I'll add Curt Stock's Melomel article that is on the BJCP website:

http://www.bjcp.org/mead/melomel.pdf
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Mead: No activity during secondary fermentation
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2016, 06:42:43 PM »
I assume your "carboy" is the 1 gallon jug.

The secondary is to get the mead off of the lees, and it will clear more in the secondary. Make sure it is full, so as to keep O2 to a minnimum.

A friend who makes some pretty good mead does a tertiary for some of his.



I really appreciate all the feedback here. One major question is how would I go about filling the empty space in my secondary? Should I add a solution of honey and water? Just plain water?

Also, we did not follow any sort of yeast schedule. As this is our first attempt, we decided to start with something nice and simple before we got more complex increasing risks. Could any of you recommend a good resource to start learning more about mead brewing and things like yeast schedules? Of course I am not opposed to just browsing these forums but it would be nice to have a well rounded resource as a jumping off point.
Get some marbles or glass beads, sanitize, and add to bring the level up.

Get the Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schramm.

SNA https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/improve-mead-staggered-nutrient-additions/

http://byo.com/stories/issue/item/3447-traditional-mead-tips-from-the-pros

Those are a few.
Great references, and I'll add Curt Stock's Melomel article that is on the BJCP website:

http://www.bjcp.org/mead/melomel.pdf
Kurt's info is very good, how did I forget?
Steve Piatz also has a mead book. It would have good SNA sections. Ken Schramm got the SNA down after his book went to print.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!