When is it Done?

A common question when fermenting mead is When is it done fermenting? Well, it's an art not a science, you see....

On a more practical note, there are two methods I use.

The first is highly scientific. I measure the gravity of the mead with a hydrometer. For a recipe like Hangover Cyser, it'll finish up very near or below 1.000 in gravity. There's more on using a hydrometer in the next chapter.

The second method is my more typical one. I let the mead ferment until I think it's done (if it doesn't bubble once in the time it takes me to microwave and eat dinner, that's a pretty good sign), and then wait another week to be sure. At this point, it's either gotten mostly clear, or there's enough suspended goo that I don't want to bottle yet. If it's clear, it gets racked into a bottling bucket and thence to the bottles. If it's cloudy, I rack it into another gallong jug (or into the bottling bucket, and then back to the original jug, after making sure to wash it out well), and let it sit until it does get clear.

The main points of the second method are: the fermenter is not still bubbling and the mead has cleared.

Sometimes a mead just won't clear. Then I grumble and hide it in the closet and come back to it in a month or three. If it's still cloudy, I shrug and bottle it cloudy. More impatient sorts add various items to the mix to clear the mead, but that's another discussion.


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