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I'm brewing mead for the first time, having successfully brewed beer a number of times.

Right out the gate I had trouble with a strong unpleasant odor. Frantic research suggested that the yeast was stressed, so I agitated it and lowered the temperature from ambient (~75℉) to between 60℉ and 65℉. This cut down on the smell but also slowed fermentation. At one week in, the gravity dropped from 26.4 %Brix to 22.4. At two weeks I am at 20.4. So I've gone from roughly ~1.11 to ~1.06 gravity. The final goal is between 1.005 and 1.020.

So, I'm two weeks in, interested in moving to secondary, and still quite a ways from my target gravity. Is this expected? Will the mead continue fermenting a significant amount in secondary or should I keep it in primary longer and do something to reinvigorate fermentation?

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  • What yeast did you use? – rob Aug 11 '20 at 13:01
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I think you're simply bothering with this mead way too soon.

It was wise to lower the temperature, although I'd shoot for 66/68 ambient, whatever you can do with some consistency is good. I'm operating off the assumption that you're using some strain of wine yeast here.

However, I'd give it at least 4-6 weeks before you start pulling readings. Although if you have not yet, I would certainly add yeast nutrient at least once during fermentation. Don't pull it off primary too soon, there is a ton of fermentation that needs to be done and getting it off the primary yeast cake will hinder that. You don't need to have a concern for autolysis as long as it isn't sitting on the primary cake for 8+ months.

It will ferment more slowly as it progresses, especially as the must approaches higher gravities. Patience is probably the hardest part of mead making. I wouldn't really ever advise anything less than 6 weeks primary, 8 weeks secondary. I know that timespan is brutal- but the longer you can stand to wait the better the finished product will be.

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  • It is wine yeast, two packs of Premier Classique that came with the kit. It also had nutrient at the start The kit said to do 5 to 10 days in primary, 90 days in secondary, and then rack again to clear. It sounds like either a huge typo or their secondary is actually more of a primary. I shall endeavor to be patient. – James Baxter Aug 11 '20 at 19:58

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