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3 weeks and still bubbling?

I made a mead 3 weeks ago yesterday. The OG was 1.080. I used Wyeast 4783. The fermentation temp is around 72 degrees and it just keeps going. It’s slow fementation and the bubbling is slow but I have never had a fementation of my beers go so long, and I have had some pretty high OG beers. Is a long fermentation normal with Mead (this is my first) or is this indicative of a problem?

I had a mead that started out with a high gravity and it took its dear sweet time fermenting. I think I clocked my primary around a month and a half. I’m by no means an expert on mead but mine turned out fine if not a little lenghty

Update on this. OK, so I was mistaken about the OG. It was 1.090. But now I am 4 full weeks into fermentation and I checked the gravity. I am only at 1.040. It’s still slowly bubbling away. Am I still OK? Is this strange? I aerated the crap out of this before I pitched, but I did not make a starter. Was that perhaps foolish? I bet I should have made one. Would it be a good idea to get more yeast and pitch it, or should I just let it slowly do it’s thing?

I am starting to get worried now. It’s now been 10 weeks and my mead is still very cloudy, and there is still slow activity in the airlock. It just seems that a fermentation should not take this long. Hopefully I am worrying about things too much and all will be OK.

I know nothing about mead, but this is what comes to my mind:

  1. Is it possible that yeast work slower in mead because honey lacks some of the nutrients provided by malted barley?

  2. Is it possible that the yeast you’re using has a low alcohol tolerance?

Yeast does work slower in mead, as honey is low in nutrients, and the pH is usually really low. Only way to be sure is to check gravity, though. After 10 weeks, it probably will be really cloudy. If you’re worried about it, you could toss in a packet of EC-1118 and some yeast nutrient. Be careful, though, because the EC-1118 will dry it out completely. If you’re looking for a sweet mead, you’ll need to stabilize and back-sweeten.

Don’t be too concerned yet - mead takes time.

Well, I am using the yeast that came with the kit, so I can only assume that the tolerance is appropriate. The kit also came with yeast nutrient that I used according to the prescribed schedule.

As an update to this. I started this mead on June 14. IT is now September 28 and the mead is still very slowly bubbling and still cloudy. I can only assume that it is still fermenting. I guess one of my questions now is, are there any problems with such a long fermentation where flavor will be negatively impacted? Does such a long slow fermentation result in bad mead, or might it just be good and take a long time? At this rate, I cannot imagine it will be complete before November since after fermentation is complete it will require time to clarify. It’s my first mead. I have no experience on which to draw, but I was hoping to have it for Thanksgiving. Perhaps I won’t be able to have it until Christmas.

How many times have you racked it?

Only once. From primary to secondary.

Rack it again and stabilize it. It’s probably off gassing

Honey has a lot of complex sugars in it and may take up to 6 months for the yeast to completely break down these sugars for complete fermentation. Racking often or vigorous stirring can speed up this process but mead takes time and bottling mead that still has potential sugars and active yeast in it may result in super carbonated exploding bottles.

A shortcut you can use is to rack the mead at least 2-3 times over a 6 week period before adding some Campden tablets to kill off the yeast. This will result in a slightly sweeter mead but a mead that can be bottled safely much earlier.

A final racking and adding a pack of Super Kleer KC Finings (sold on this site) and allowing the mead to settle a few days before bottling will result in a much clearer mead but you will lose the musty yeast taste of traditional mead. It almost becomes a honey wine which many people love so great for gifts.

I’m brewing my first mead, and pitched my yeast two weeks ago yesterday. Like others have posted with their experience, it’s still bubbling away. However, unlike others, I don’t generally track my OG readings (having, in fact, given my hydrometer to a friend a year ago and not caring if it comes back). I know others would disagree with that practice of not tracking it, but I like to just “wing it” with gravity readings, and enjoy whatever comes out of the bottle. With that in mind, when would everyone recommend I rack to secondary? I’m in my 6.5 gallon plastic big mouth, and my secondary is a 5 gallon plastic secondary, if that’s relevant. Thanks in advance.

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