Sunday, April 20, 2008

Updates and confusion W/E 19/4/08

Well I've just tested gravity and pH of the two mead batches I have on the go.

The "Heather Honey" batch is giving me a gravity of 1008 and pH of 4.04, while the "mixed/test/whatever" batch (named as such as it was originally an experiment to see how I got on with Wyeast Liquid yeasts - both sweet and dry mead yeast - but as they stuck and I couldn't work out why, I mixed them and re-started with EC-1118) is now at a gravity of 1000 and a pH of 3.88

So what's the confusion?

Well, the only thing I've done with the heather honey batch is to top it up to the bottom of the neck of the DJ to exclude as much air space as possible. So by current gravity readings it's dropped about 132 points and off the top of my head I can't remember the calculation for working the % ABV, but with it's original starting gravity of 1140 it should be (once it get's to 1000) about 19 + % ABV, which is a little weird because K1V yeast is supposed to "poop out" at about 16 % (according to the yeast data I can find). Though I'm wondering if the reasonably high amount of nutrient that the instructions/box suggested, might be the reason why it's gone on fermenting. My usual tasting of the little bit I used to check the pH is predictably "not very nice" i.e. it still has a good honey taste/aroma, but it's also now got a "alcohol hot" taste, but that should normally age out of it.

I'm also guessing that the small amount of increase in pH levels might be to do with the topping up and the addition of the bubble scum/debris that had formed on the top of the inside of the glass, that's now mixed it.

Appearance-wise, it's a nice colour, but there is currently a layer of granular looking sludge (about 3/4 of an inch deep) on the bottom - that should settle/filter out so I'm not overly worried by that.

Otherwise it's looking good.

As for the mixed batch, well that's also slowed down. The Greek honey I used hasn't retained so much honey taste, but is equally dry and "alcohol hot" tasting. There isn't any noticeable lees settled out yet.

I'm guessing that I'll have to back sweeten both of these meads - I've got some heather honey for that batch but I'll have to go to Lidl's to get a jar of the greek for that batch.

Despite the hassles I've had with both of these batches, they are turning out to be good - well I can't say for certain, but they should both, at least, turn out to be "Ok".

Hum? I wonder if it's a good idea to rack and sulphite them? Then sorbate and add some honey and then leave to clear/bulk age ? Probably better to wait until they've started to clear before I sorbate and back sweeten - but I'm thinking I'll rack them next weekend - plus the campden tablet should stun the last of any activity out of them.

I'll have to think on it some more and wait and see


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