Last reading: 1.008 / 13%
Today: 1.008 / 14% (I'm guessing a misread last time due to a tiny air bubble or something)
New: 1.020 (I sweetened it some.)
This batch is now completely flat, doesn't fizz even drawn up into the syringe. It smells nice, it doesn't taste nice. Yet. I hope. I really wish I knew a brewy person within tasting distance who could tell me "This is a normal pre-aging taste" or "This is a waste of honey, time and effort".

Caelan - wanted to take readings here to figure out if/why it built up pressure in the bottles.
At bottling: 1.000 / 14%
Today: 1.000 / 14%
OK. that's weird. That means there wasn't any sugar left, and pretty much nothing for fermentation to go on, and no fermentation happened, and it still built up pressure. If you can explain this, please do so in the comments :-)
It's still fizzy when agitated (like drawn up into the syringe). I put in some honey (up to 1.024) to either sweeten it or kick the stalled fermentation (?) back into life so at least something will happen. I don't much care at this point, I suspect it's ruined. We'll see.

I took the bottles out the fridge and opened one once it hit room temps. No pressure at all. Opened another one - turned out to have a moldy cork. Boo. Mold was on the outside but may have tainted the wine. No pressure though. Recorked and marked it (suspect it's ruined, though it didn't smell bad once I'd cleaned the bottle neck. Put 'don't gift' on the label to be sure.)
Anyway, I think I'm safe there as far as bottle pressure goes. They're back in the wooden chest now, which I have lined with plastic. If anything else goes, as least it won't be all over the floor.

Right then.

Instead of the sensible choice of going to bed, I checked up on one of the bottles that I took out of the fridge this afternoon with the intention of recorking. Cork was coming out, so instead of sleep I pulled corks. Couldn't be arsed to re-cork and it was fizzing fairly heavily, so dumped it all in a demijohn, plopped on a waterlock, and we'll see what happens to that later. It's been aereated so it may be ruined. No idea.

Drake was prepped and bottled under the same conditions as Caelan. The corks seem in a better state, but I'll open one at a later point to assess what needs to happen there. For now the Drake bottles are in the fridge to buy myself explosion-free time until I can deal with things, probably sunday.

I'm really quite miffed that I was accutely aware of this danger, thought I had taken all the necessary precautions, and STILL ended up with residual fermentation. Batches will be left in the demi's for a LOT longer from now on, even if they seem totally finished.


Unhappy moment today as a loud POP! was heard from the wooden chest where the bottles live, and pink wine started to pour over the floor. One of the bottles of Caelan had spat out its cork and emptied out. Damn! Besides it being a shame to lose 0.75l of what promised to become very nice mead, I am now also worried about the rest of the batch. I transferred the other bottles to the fridge to cool down until I know what to do, but that isn't going to work long term.

The batch was completely stable for 2 or 3 weeks, then has Kalium Sorbate added, left for another week, showed no signs of life in any way, and was then bottled. Drake got the same treatment.

I have no cool space to store the bottles. I live in a shared apartment so there just isn't space. They're at room temp - which is reasonably warm at the moment as it's warm outside. (odd though that it spat now, and not a few days ago when it was way warmer. Good though as I was on holiday and wouldn't have found it until days later)

What do I do? Open them all up? Add more Kalium Sorbate? The cork that got spat was pretty crappy, I wonder if that may have contributed. Anyway, halp!

Two warm weeks

Have come back from my sailing voyage. Lots of fun. Don't know how, but ended up chatting about homebrewing with the bosun at some point, and got a request to bring some mead along next time aboard. If it turns out nice, I definitely will. Going to have to be fairly confident about its deliciousness for that to happen though!

It's been two warm weeks since the last readings, so I figured there'd be change, and there was.

Alexis: Still fizzy when I draw it into the syringe. Needs more time, clearly.
Grav 1018
Alc. 14%

Brynn: Sat on the vanilla pod for 2 weeks. Racked it off. Added stabiliser. If I'm happy with it by the end of the week, I will sweeten it up, and bottle it.
Grav: 1008 (too dry for me)
Alc: 13% (I'm SO confus - I wrote down 14% last time. Did something change (vanilla?) or did I look wrong last time? Weird.)

Fennah: Still very cloudy, but bubbling is at more than 60 sec now. Very sweet, and given the alcohol percentage that's unlikely to ferment out. Hmm. I can't believe me and my sweet tooth could actually consider something too sweet, but it is.
Grav: 1040
Alc. 15%
The plan for this one was to add mint leaves, but given the overly sweetness of it, I wonder if something tart might work better. I don't know, lemon or orange peel? Will have to think about this a bit.

Ehle: I think I'll leave it to age like this and sweeten it before bottling.
Grav. 1002
Alc. 13%

They all still taste pretty yeasty, even Brynn which really shouldn't have any yeast left in there. I'm going to hope that ages out.


Ehle had finished the first fermentation and there was a lot of icky foam drifting on it, so decided to rack, filter (as well as possible) and measure. Whoa.

Grav: 1.000
Alc: 11%

I had no idea it could go this damn fast, that's in under 2 weeks!
I took it off a lot of cacao sludge, added 600 gr honey and about 600 ml water to bring it up to 1.024 (at 1.000 it wasn't going to do anything anymore). When I come back from holiday Ehle will go live at my neighbour's, who has promised a space below the desk in his spare room where it can live for about a year.

I also racked Alexis, but forgot to take readings.


So, Alexis definitely stalled because the yeasties were out of food, because it's started up again. No bubbles in the airlock, but definitely movement. It also looks like it's wanting to start clearing (very very slightly) so that's good. I think I'll rack it off the sediment before I go on holiday. There's a thick layer now and it's been on there for a while.

Ehle slowed down dramatically almost overnight. I wonder if I did that (I sloshed the demi gently to clear some of the foam remnants off the waterline) or if it would have happened anyway?
The recipe says to strain it once and then just put it away. I have no idea if I can strain out the cacao (I doubt it) but I think I will try before I leave. It'll give me the chance to take new readings as well, I'm pretty curious what's happened to it so far :-)

Alexis and name change

While I had the measuring stuff out I took a sample of Alexis, which is still super cloudy.
Grav: 1.004
Alc: 13%
Looks like that's going to be a pretty dry one - something I'm not so thrilled about. High alc and dry - okay. Low alc and sweet - okay. Low alc and dry? Not so happy with that.
So I just added in about 270 gr flower honey I had sitting about, bringing the new gravity to 1.020.
As far as I know, this could go two ways:
  • If there's still live yeast, it will eat the new honey and make more alcohol
  • if there's no viable yeast left, the mead will be sweeter
Either of those outcomes would be okay by me, so I guess I'll just take new measurements after my holiday and see how it went.

In other news, I finally remembered the name I had originally picked for the F batch and couldn't remember when I was making it. F batch is called Forlindon Fennah

Brynn moves

Yesterday my long awaited syringe arrived - taking samples with the siphon is a huge fuss just to fill a 200 ml measuring tube, so I ordered a 100ml syringe and that makes the whole measuring thing a world easier.

Finally took readings of Brynn:
Grav: 1.030
Alc: 14%

I'm happy with that, and it seems to have come to a real halt anyway, so I racked Brynn off the yeast cake today and will now let it sit until I get back from holiday, when I'll bottle it.

Edit: belated decision to use the vanilla beans I bought a couple of weeks ago - now would be a good moment to add. One bean cut open along the side, pressed open slightly so fluid can get in, and added to the demi.

Houston, We Have Liftoff

Maybe it's partially the temperature, but both Ehle and Forlindon are going like bats out of hell.

Ehle: 1 bubble ever 1.5 seconds or thereabouts
I just added a bit more cacao, as I didn't use all that much to begin with and probably lost some in the Accident. And I used a dropper to drop water down the inside of the neck, clearing the residue of mouse away so I can see through the top of the bottle... making it easier to see if another Accident is imminent.
Forlindon Fennah: 1 bubble every 3 seconds
Brynn: 1 bubble every 30 seconds or thereabouts. It's getting pretty clear now, but as long as there's bubbling, I'll wait. I'm very curious about the readings though!
Alexis: no bubbling in the lock, but still very cloudy, and still slight fizzing going on.


No more chocolate mousse accidents... but wow, Ehle is bubbling every other second. I can practically hear the yeasties go "Oh wow, cacao! My favourite!"

Pet yeast colonies and housetraining

I name my mead batches and have joked that they are like pets, but this was still a bit of a shock this morning...

Ehle did a lot more foaming than the recipe suggested it would, and cacao turned foam into mousse.. it spat out a good amount of yeasty chocolate mousse overnight. Ewww.

Took quite a bit of cleanup, and now to get the smell out of my room... I have taken out maybe 100 ml of fluid in the hope of giving it some extra space and not getting a repeat.


10 litres out of flower honey and doux yeast, with 200 gram cacao added in, after the chocolate mead recipe I posted before.
Starting gravity 1080 (before cacao was added)
It'll need to be in the demi for a full year and I don't really have space for that, but I've found my neighbour prepared to stow it under the desk in his spare room. Sadly, you don't get assigned a house with a big cellar when you start the brewing hobby .

Forlindon Fennah
5 litres out of flower honey and doux yeast, and I will add mint leaves when the primary fermentation is over.
Starting gravity 1118