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How long should primary take?

Per a previous post of mine, I made two gallons batches of mead - my first. The OG was 1.114, and I made the batches on the 24th of May. So fermentation has slowed, but not much. Similar to cider I’ve made, there is a steady stream of small co2 bubbles. It’s days away from two months.

My question is how long should the primary take and when should I rack it? My plan was to let it finish, rack it, let it mellow for 4-6 months.


I would think it would be done by now. Sacrifice 2 cups to the mead gods and take a hydro reading. :slight_smile:

I left a mead sit for almost 2 years on 3 packs of yeast. 2-71b’s about 6m apart and 1 champagne 6m after that. I didn’t notice any off flavors. But then it was 19%, so it had that going for it. 8)

These days, mead makers are getting their fermentations completed much more quickly than in the past. This is mostly due to three different things – staggered nutrient additions, boosting the potassium level in the must and adjusting the starting pH. You can read up on these topics here:

Chris Colby

I haven’t made many meads, but primary for 2 months and secondary for 10 months has worked pretty well for me. Of course I’ve checked my FG at 2 months, and it was always where it needed to be.

Sorry to follow up on my own question, but my first batch of mead is continuing along. As I stated my OG was 1.114 and now I have one carboy at 1.040 and one at 1.050. They are still fermenting along, just slowly. It’s been 3 months in the primary. I tasted both today; they taste too sweet but still pretty darn good.

I would like to K-sulfate one batch so that is still has some sweetness to it and let it age for another 6 months or so, racking as necessary. Can anyone recommend a gravity to stop the primary and still have a touch of sweetness to it - give or take a few points?

And I was going to mel the other batch and keg it. Should I let it go to dryness and then backsweeten it like a cider? Or should I stop it with a few points left and then backsweeten it?

And lastly, would you recommend accelerating the primary with some diammonium phosphate or just letting it roll? Do I just add it directly, or do I boil/cool it and then add it?

Thanks for any help!

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