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Author Topic: Making Mead  (Read 5195 times)
Greg Peck
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« on: December 24, 2008, 09:53:11 PM »

I was going to try my hand at making some mead. The question I have is it is necessary to either boil the honey with water as many recipes call for or use the Campden tabs. I dont want to boil and I dont have any Campden tabs. I am planing on making a very basic mead. Thanks
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2008, 10:08:50 PM »

Greg, one upon a time I made wine from a simple recipe.

In a one gallon jar:
One quart of fruit
One quart of sugar
One package of yeast
Top off with water
Cover top of jar with cheese cloth
Place in a cool dark area
After 4 weeks, siphon off liquid
Let sit for two additional weeks
Siphon again
Bottle and enjoy.

My favorite was apple. I wonder if the sugar could be replaced with honey?

Steve 
 
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« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2008, 06:30:22 AM »

Greg, I have made hundreds of gallons of wine over the years (no mead) and have never boiled anything, I guess I am lucky in this area their is a liquor store close to me that have all the supplies you need, I would assume that you could find the campden tabs. and all the supplies you need in a lot of different liquor stores?
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« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2008, 07:20:31 AM »

Boiling is unnecessary and kills some of the flavor of the honey.  I've made some mead, probably only about 20 gallons though.  www.gotmead.com is an awesome resource.  I'm pretty sure there is another discussion about mead making here on the forums and if not, we talked about it in vent and I got the 2 confused, hehe.
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« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2008, 09:00:08 AM »

Honey contains some complex proteins which can inhibit fermentation.  Boiling and skimming off the dross makes it more likely that you'll have a complete and successful fermentation.  It does as was mentioned earlier reduce and potentially remove entirely all the delicate floral characters from the honey.  Because of this i'm not in favor of boiling.  I prefer to add a high quality yeast nutrient to help ensure that they can get the job done in spite of the potential difficulty getting honey based recipes to ferment completely.

Campden tablet(metabisulfite) is used as anti fungal/bacterial treatment.  It is a natural biproduct of the fermentation process, although not in the concentrations created by additions by the winemaker.  Typically you use it prior to fermentation to kill off any wild yeasts, bacteria or fungi.  I don't use it in the initial phase of any of my recipes, as I have found it necessary for me.  The problem for you in not using it will be post fermentation.  Most meads are finished somewhat sweet and as with most sweet wines you need a way to keep the yeast from restarting fermentation because of the residual sugar.  That is a major reason to use metabisulfite post fermentation.  When the wine gets to where you want it you add the campden tabs to kill off the yeast and other bugs.  If you don't add sulfites you risk having exploding bottles at some date in the future when conditions occur that make the yeast happy enough to start working again.

This hasn't been a problem for me because I prefer dry/semi dry so my wines don't have enough residual sugar to cause any problems.  Hope this hels.
Adam
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Greg Peck
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« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2008, 09:36:23 AM »

Big John..So you dont boil and you dont use the Campden tabs Is that correct?

Fermentedhiker .. Are you saying that you dont boil or use Campden tabs to start with but you use the tabs in the end to stop the yeast?
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« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2008, 09:57:32 AM »

Greg,
There is a wine store over in Lemoyne, called Scotzin Brothers. (In the yellow pages under winemaking).

It would be a good investment to get a book called "The Compleat Meadmaker" by Ken Schramm.

I have used both cold and hot methods. With just starting out, and probably clean carboys and equipment, both will work with little risk. Wine making is rather easy, but losing one batch can get costly. I do not use tablets as I want to not use those items if at all possible. But cleanliness is the key and proper technique.

Take Care.
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« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2008, 10:11:27 AM »

essentially yes I don't bother to boil even though it makes it more likely that I will have some difficulty getting the must to ferment completely.  I personally don't use campden tablet post fermentation either, but it's due to the fact that I ferment all my wines to dryness and so there isn't any residual sugar left for the yeast to restart working with.  If I decided to make a sweet wine/mead I would have to make up my mind as to whether or not  to add it.  You can alternately ferment your must to dryness and then use a wine finisher to add sweetness back that uses a sweetener that is unusable by yeast.

I agree with Bjornbee, a good book such as the one he recommending is a worthwhile investment.  I found that winemaking is a lot like beekeeping; in that you'll find as many ways to do it as there are people doing it.  I've found using 1 gallon jugs to run multiple batches at the same time helpful.  You can try something different with each batch and if you one doesn't work out you haven't lost your entire investment.  Then once you find a recipe(s) you enjoy go ahead and make a 6 gallon batch so you'll have enough for your own use and gifts for friends. Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2008, 03:08:31 PM »

I decided not to boil the honey but I did use the campden tabs. I mixed up a 2.5 gal batch this after noon. I used for a recipe

6 pounds honey
1 table spoon yeast energizer
3 table spoons acid blend
1 teaspoon wine tannin
3 Campden tabs
and I will probably use Lalvin d47 yeast but that is not until tomorrow.

I did not add the yeast energizer yet I figured I would add it when I add the yeast. Is that a good idea or not.

I hope it works. I will let you all know in a year or 2 Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2008, 03:27:46 PM »

I don't know as there is any benefit to waiting to add the yeast energizer, but by the same token it won't hurt anything either.  I'm sure it will be fine.  I haven't personally used that strain of yeast but I have good experience with others from Lavlin.  The key to success now will be temperature control and keeping it clean for the next couple of years.  A hobby for the patient to be sure Smiley.  Enjoy it, it's addictive.

Adam
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2008, 03:57:30 PM »

fermentedhiker I also have Lalvin K1-v1116, 71B-1122, EC-1118 and Red star Montrachet. Would you suggest one of those rather then the D-47? Or maybe I should ask, have you had good success with any of those?
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2008, 07:55:42 AM »

Greg , I will not boil anything and will use 1 campden tab. per gal. at the very beginning of fermentation with all my ingredients when it is mixed together. I will ferment for about 6 to 8 days strain ingredients and put in carboys until fermentation is finished about 4 months, rack wine after 3 weeks and again after 3 months. I like kind of a dry wine which I make, but before bottling you can sweeten wine to taste with 2:1 sugar and add wine-art stabilizer tablets to prevent renewed fermentation.
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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2008, 08:26:08 AM »

fermentedhiker I also have Lalvin K1-v1116, 71B-1122, EC-1118 and Red star Montrachet. Would you suggest one of those rather then the D-47? Or maybe I should ask, have you had good success with any of those?

Greg, I have used the Montrachet, K1-V116 and the EC-1118. Each of those yeast are tailored or can be used, for specific end products. As example, Montrachet is specific to dry wines. EC -118 is a good one for a higher alcohol content wine, yet at sweeter levels.

Regardless of what yeast you use, it has to do with the sugar content, and the starting gravities. Which is why many start with proven recipes, and build or tailor a recipe further after getting the base down. You may not have a problem with mold and other issues, but sometimes nothing seems to goes together and you get something that is really not all that good to drink.

Freelancing into a complete new recipe, is a great thing. But if it does not work out, you should know why. And this is easier to work out AFTER you have completed some batched successfully first.
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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2008, 08:47:48 AM »

I have had the best results in my own recipes with ec-1118 mostly because of it's willingness to soldier through and ferment to completion even when I pushing the must for higher alcohol content in the final product.  It's fairly neutral though and so won't add much character to your wine beyond what you choose in your recipe.  This is either a negative or a positive depending on what you want/are making.  D-47 sounds like a good choice for meadmaking.  I would try it with the d-47 and keep the k1-v1116 handy if you get a stuck fermentation.  Each yeast has its own qualities that it brings to the table.  Everything from production of foam,compact less, H2s to its extraction of fruit esters, phenols and other compounds to its ability to ferment over differing temperatures and must nutrient/acid/sugar levels  and even how high an alcohol content they are known to survive to.  Use the manufacturers descriptions as a rough guide when picking which yeast has the qualities you desire in your wine/mead.  Of the yeasts you listed D47 is the only one that specifically mentions mead.  That certainly doesn't mean the others won't work or even produce delicious results just that they either haven't been officially endorsed for it.  The best thing to do is make multiple batches and use the exact same recipe except for the yeast used and compare the results.

It got so bad my kitchen started looking like a chem lab, so I had to build a real wine bench in the basement Smiley

"The ICV D-47 is a low-foaming quick fermenter that settles well, forming a compact lees at the end of fermentation. This strain tolerates fermentation temperatures ranging from 10° to 30°C (50° to 86°F) and enhances mouthfeel due to complex carbohydrates. Malolactic fermentation proceeds well in wine made with ICV D-47.

This strain is recommended for making wines from white varieties such as Chardonnay and Rosé. It is also an excellent choice for producing mead, however be sure to supplement with yeast nutrients, especially usable nitrogen"
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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2008, 10:46:56 AM »

since honey itself contains many yeast so if no yeast is added, it would still ferment and finally get wine right?
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« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2008, 10:58:38 AM »

since honey itself contains many yeast so if no yeast is added, it would still ferment and finally get wine right?

Yes, but the natural yeast is not selected for alcohol production, so it could die before producing the desired amount of fermentation and it could cause unusual and undesirable flavors during fermentation. It also may not be aggressive enough to outcompete any bacteria that could be present, and they would definitely impart bad flavors.
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« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2008, 12:38:27 PM »

using feral yeast is always a gamble.  You may get a batch that has more spores of some unknown bacteria than it does of yeast and the yeast gets out competed and you end up with a random foul concoction that's only good for telling stories about. Smiley  Or you could end up with a viable yeast that just doesn't do the job right.  Either quitting fermentation too soon or generating off flavors or undesireable qualities in you wine/mead.  The wineries that tout using feral/wild fermentation are somewhat misleading.  Their wineries have been making wine for decades maybe centuries even and through that process have become saturated with strains of well adapted yeasts.  If you tried the exact same process in a location that hadn't been used for that purpose it is doubtful you would get anything close to the same results.  There is an old saying that goes something like "good yeast occurs in wineries"  not even close to an exact quote mind you, but you get the idea.  That is why most wineries introduce specific strains both to impart the desired character on their wine that the selected strain is good for, but also to be able to introduce it in such a quantity that it will out compete all the other organisms wanting to have a go at your must.  That being said if you can afford to loose the batch and want to experiment with "wild" fermentation........go for it.  If it fails you'll be out some time and the cost of your ingredients, but you'll learn something for your trouble.
Adam
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« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2008, 03:08:16 PM »

Ok I put the yeast in and the nutrients. I went with the K1-V1116 due to its wider temp range and higher alcohol tolerance. A few more questions

I rehydrated the yeast as it says to do on the package but I used city tap water which has chlorine in it. I guess I got excited and forgot to use the spring water I had bought. Will the little bit of chlorine kill the yeast?

I have the mead in the basement which stays about 67 degrees. Should I try to keep it warmer then that or is that good? Up stairs we keep it around 72 but during the day it goes down to the mid 60s.

Thanks for all the input so far. 
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« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2008, 05:29:19 PM »

  HEY IRWIN!!! Tell them how delicious the mead was that I sent you!!! grin
 (This was a secret but I just cant keep secrets!!)
your friend,
john
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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2008, 05:42:33 PM »

 Hmmm... waiting a couple of years?
 I could die from old age instead of liver disease if I waited that long!
 I'm gonna look up the book that nate showed us before i make my next batch!

your friend,
john
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« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2008, 08:21:31 PM »

I honestly don't know if the level of chlorine in city water(some municipalities use chloramine) is enough to kill the yeast.  I'm sure it'll kill some of them.  My gut tells me it'll be ok.  You should know within the next day or two.  You'll probably be seeing some light foaming by the time you read this.

67 is a little cool for primary fermentation.  I would let primary finish out upstairs and then move it down after you rack it to a carboy.  67 is great from letting it age out, especially if it's really stable.  Alternately you could do the primary in the cooler room, but wrap some insulation(ie a blanket) around it to help retain the heat naturally produced during fermentation.

Hope it helps.

Adam
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« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2008, 11:35:56 PM »

Well it has been 8 hours. Not much going on with the mead. I dont see any activity at all. There is a slight foam on the top but that could have been from shaking it up prior to adding the yeast. Should there be more happening by now? Should I see it bubbling inside or is that later on? Some thing else I noticed was that I used sodium free spring water. Does the yeast need sodium from the water to live? If the sodium free water is ok and nothing is happening in the morning would it be ok to rehydrate another package of yeast in non city water and put it in?
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« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2008, 07:44:11 AM »

Greg I have used both D47 and EC1118 with making meads.  You would have chosen well with the D47.  Not that the strain you picked will not work well. 

EC1118 though good for making high content meads takes atleast 2 years to drop out the hot alcoholness this yeast tends to give.

D47 is about right for your amount of honey. 

You city tap water will not bother the yeast.  It will still hydrate just fine.  Also you will always have abuot a 24-48 hour lag time if you do not make a yeast starter.  To make a starter just add your yeast to 1 cup of honey to 1 quart of water with your nutrients and energizer. 

I generally dont concern myself with the fermentation temps of meads.  A little fruitiness in your mead is fine.  You dont want it too low and your 67 degrees maybe a tad on the low side.  I always make my meads in the summer months and beer in the winter months.  I leave the mead in a pail in the kitchen till fermentation is complete.  Usually this only takes about 3 weeks for me.  I find it is important to stir out all the built up CO2 everyday or every other day.  I also add smaller amounts of the nutrients each time I stir out the CO2.  So if your recipe calls for 1tsp per gallon of nutrient and 1/2 tsp of energizer per gallon I would add 1/2 tsp, 1/4 tsp each time I stirred the mead. 

You nutrients, energizer is like vitamins to the yeast.  You wouldnt give your child a life time amount of vitamins all at once, so dont do it to your yeast.

Next time you decide to make a batch of mead pick up a "Smack Pack" of "Sweet Mead" yeast made by WYeast.  You smack the pack and add the contents to your mead.

Final note on all this.. 

I dont boil nor do I add any sulphur products to my honey.  If your yeast starter is good and strong you will divide and conquer all lesser strains of yeast without problems.  I know some folks are dead set against this but out of say 40 batches of mead I have made I have never run into an issue with wild yeasts contaminating the final product.
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« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2008, 08:24:50 AM »

I wouldn't be worried about not seeing a lot of action just yet.  I've had it take as many as 3 days before it really started to kick.  The slight amount foam is a good indication that the yeast is working.  Remember in this initial phase you're more worried about the yeast reproducing than actually consuming sugar and making alcohol.  During this phase the yeast needs oxygen so it's a good idea if your fermenter is air tight to open the cover and stir things up a bit at least a couple times a day until you start to see some real action.  Once you see vigorous fermentation start to drop off is time to work at lettling as little oxygen into the process as possible.

The spring water is just fine.  Yes you can hydrate and pitch another batch of yeast in.  It will help things move along faster as you are helping the yeast increase in population.  Some people pitch double batches as a matter of policy for that reason, or if you're making an especially large batch.  I doubt it is necessary in your case.
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« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2008, 08:36:20 AM »

  HEY IRWIN!!! Tell them how delicious the mead was that I sent you!!! grin
 (This was a secret but I just cant keep secrets!!)
your friend,
john
Yes it was a bit strong tasting and it had a high octane level. The color was a beautiful golden color. And it made me happy and the wife mad the grandkids didn't mind that papa was a bit silly. 
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« Reply #25 on: December 29, 2008, 01:59:40 PM »


Yes it was a bit strong tasting and it had a high octane level. The color was a beautiful golden color. And it made me happy and the wife mad the grandkids didn't mind that papa was a bit silly. 

Yeah, I have some mead like that too...tastes like cr@p but good for a high... tongue
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« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2008, 08:31:20 PM »

Yeh, rick....I think i sent irwin one of my bottles from a lousy batch...I cant tell the difference without opening the bottles!! I told Irwin that I took a bottle to dads for Christmas...It was so nasty that I coulnt stand it! I poured it in the sink!!!.....The bottle I opened for thanksgiving was pretty good!!
 Dad mixes it with coke!!!! He had me try it that way........and It make the coke taste crappy too!!!
 But...If it tastes bad, its good for you...if it tastes good,...its bad for you!!
 Next batch, i wont boil.....I'll try a different yeast too, as Ive been using champagne yeast. I think The bottle i sent irwin probably tasted a little like a cross between...hmmm....beer, wine, gin,....and.....vomit!! grin

your friend,
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« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2008, 11:21:09 PM »

Johnny, I'm just teasing you!!!  Hopefully my next two batches will turn out how I like them....
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« Reply #28 on: December 30, 2008, 09:21:21 AM »

This morning I looked at the mead and noticed that there was no longer any foam on top. I thought it must have not worked out but then I looked closer and I could see tiny bubbles coming up along the edges of the carboy. So I put some cling wrap over the top and shook it up a little. There was so much pressure that I could not hold it in with my hand.  So I guess it is working.
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« Reply #29 on: December 30, 2008, 09:28:14 AM »

Yeh, rick....I think i sent irwin one of my bottles from a lousy batch...I cant tell the difference without opening the bottles!! I told Irwin that I took a bottle to dads for Christmas...It was so nasty that I coulnt stand it! I poured it in the sink!!!.....The bottle I opened for thanksgiving was pretty good!!
 Dad mixes it with coke!!!! He had me try it that way........and It make the coke taste crappy too!!!
 But...If it tastes bad, its good for you...if it tastes good,...its bad for you!!
 Next batch, i wont boil.....I'll try a different yeast too, as Ive been using champagne yeast. I think The bottle i sent irwin probably tasted a little like a cross between...hmmm....beer, wine, gin,....and.....vomit!! grin

your friend,
john
I would leave out the vomit but the beer wine gin cross sound's good grin grin
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« Reply #30 on: December 30, 2008, 11:48:00 AM »

Greg glad to hear your mead is working. Not to try to hijach this post just curious has anybody tried mead brandy, I know how to make brandy just never heard of mead brandy. (I know about the illegal part)
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« Reply #31 on: January 04, 2009, 05:21:10 PM »

So on Wednesday 3 days after I started this batch not a lot was happening. very few bubbles. So I rehydrate another batch of yeast using non tap water and being very careful with the temps. I added it and the next day had a good bit of activity. I dont know for sure if it was the original yeast finally getting going or the new batch actually working. Anyway today Sunday I racked it into a second Carboy and added a little more yeast energizer and nutrient as the recipe called for. I put an air lock on now and it is bubbling a few times a minute. So that is the update.
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« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2009, 08:48:13 PM »

Keep us posted.  btw what was the hydrometer reading the day you started it and the day you racked it?
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« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2009, 09:52:31 PM »

I would love to be able to tell you but I can not. I was going to buy a hydrometer but I did not. I will be getting one the next time I go to the brew store.
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« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2009, 01:00:51 AM »

...just curious has anybody tried mead brandy, I know how to make brandy just never heard of mead brandy....

There's a name for distilled mead but I can't remember what it's called.  There's a distiller in Oregon that makes a distilled mead.  Never tried it though.  I wish I had a still when my last batch of mead went bad.

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« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2009, 08:56:47 AM »

Actually with distillation you'll be creating a neutral, but with characteristics.  I then infuse mine with the same honey and other spices to create a liqueur that's quite tasty. It’s been compared with Drambuie. The trick is only do one run and remove the heads while being liberal with the tails.  Every time you run the batch through the still you'll remove more of the characteristics.  It's a fun hobby but care should be taken, as it is still illegal to make without paying taxes on it. jail

I've been making meads for 25+ years and it's the reason I started keeping my own bees.  As I'm allergic to sulfites or sulfa-based drugs I don't bother with the campden tablets.  For cleaning a tablespoon of Clorox goes a long way.  The trick to making good mead is write everything down everything you do. Anyone can luck into a good recipe, and artist can recreate it at will.  Most of all have fun and share.  We recently went on a cruise and brought our own meads to drink for dinner (with corkage fee).  We shared with others at the table who became quite taken with our selection. It caused confusion with the wine steward and even some of the ships officers had to try some of this new type wine.  New? Little did they know they were drinking the drink of Pharaohs. grin
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« Reply #36 on: January 07, 2009, 10:45:29 AM »

I bought a hydrometer today. Should I take a reading now or is it pointless at this point as I did not know what the beginning reading was?

The guy at the home brew place told me that it is a bad idea to do half batches is a carboy. He said that the carboy should be full, for smaller batches use smaller carboys. I did not see anything about that in all the reading I did. Is it true?
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« Reply #37 on: January 07, 2009, 12:40:17 PM »

I bought a hydrometer today. Should I take a reading now or is it pointless at this point as I did not know what the beginning reading was?

The guy at the home brew place told me that it is a bad idea to do half batches is a carboy. He said that the carboy should be full, for smaller batches use smaller carboys. I did not see anything about that in all the reading I did. Is it true?

If you know how much honey and how much water, you should be able to get a fair estimation of SG, and if you take a reading now it will give you an idea of how far the mead has fermented.  Not really necessary, but can be interesting to see nonetheless.

As far as half batches...he is correct.  The idea with a carboy is to have minimum airspace.  The fermentation process will fill that with CO2 driving out the O2, the CO2 is a preservative and won't let most of the nasties grow.  The larger the airspace the more O2, and O2 is the enemy of wine/mead/etc.

However, headspace doesn't matter as much for the first step of the fermentation process, many people actually ferment in a bucket with a towel covering it, at that point the oxygen is necessary to get the yeast growing.  So you will want a smaller container(s) when you rack the first time.  If you have 2 gallons, you can put it into 2 (gallon jugs).

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« Reply #38 on: January 07, 2009, 01:11:55 PM »

Not knowing your starting SG means you won't be able to judge alcohol content of the final mead as easily, but taking it periodically throughout fermentation is helpful.  As was mentioned it will let you know when fermentation finished if the yeast has done it's job and used all the available sugar or not.  A very important piece of information.

He's right about matching your carboy size to your batch size.  After fermentation quiets down it won't be able to maintain a blanket of CO2 in the large airspace above the mead.  Since a smaller carboy is cheaper than a CO2 injection setup I would just pick up a 3 gallon carboy.  They're good to have around for experimental batches anyways.  Kind of like NUCs for beekeepers every winemaker should have a couple lying around  Wink

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« Reply #39 on: January 07, 2009, 02:30:03 PM »

Ok I tested it and found the SG to be at 1.025. I also used a Vino-o-Meter for alcohol level and it said that the alcohol level was around 8%. Does that sound about right for being 11 days old?

As far as figuring out the SG of the original I dont know how to do that. I added 6 Lb of Honey to 2.5 gal water. The honey when extracted was around 18% moisture content if I remember right.
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« Reply #40 on: January 07, 2009, 04:55:32 PM »

http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Itemid=16

I use this, although there are other tables around that will tell you that.  If you used 6 lbs and ended up with 3 gallons, you started at about SG 1.074 and will end up dry(all sugars fermented) at 9.84% alcohol.

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« Reply #41 on: January 07, 2009, 05:40:34 PM »

Sounds like you're in good shape.  I wouldn't worry about the starting SG at this point.  It would've been nice to know, but it's just spilled milk at this point.  Worry more about getting it into a container with as little headspace as possible.  With the lower alcohol content(compared to conventional wines) it won't be able to discourage the growth of spoilage organisms.
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« Reply #42 on: January 10, 2009, 02:01:02 PM »

I went and bought 4 one gallon glass jugs today. I figure I will make some more smaller batches later on and it was cheaper then a 3 gallon carboy. Any way my question is this. Will the extra head space be a problem so long as I do not remove the airlock from my half full 6 gallon carboy. Seems like no o2 will be able to get in so long as the air lock stays in place. Or should I go ahead now and rack it in to several one gallon jugs with air locks. Is it a bad idea in general to rack to different containers often? obviously you lose some of your product and are exposing it to some o2 each time you rack but other then that is it bad?
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« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2009, 04:24:56 PM »

Well I got bored so I went ahead and racked the large carboy into 3 1 gal jugs.  I hope I dont get bored next week and drink it all lol.  I tested the SG again and it read 1.022 the alcohol level was 10 using the vin-o-meter. I dont really see very much activity any more. Here is a photo of the new jugs on my desk.


Click to enlarge!
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« Reply #44 on: January 10, 2009, 05:00:41 PM »

Wow!! Good pic!!
 It looks like a mad scientist lab!!!
your friend,
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« Reply #45 on: January 10, 2009, 05:51:18 PM »

You did the right thing by racking them.  Although it probably would've been ok until it was finished fermenting.  From you SG reading you're getting close anyways though.  Since nothing is perfectly tight the co2 would eventually be partially supplanted by some surrounding air.  As long as fermentation is in progress it generates positive pressure in the carboy.  Other than the loss of volume there isn't any other harm in racking.  Just make sure to leave as little headspace as possible while leaving enough so if the jug gets warmed up for some reason it won't overflow through the airlock when it expands.  I like to make my batches of wine/mead cool and slow.  Primary fermentation for a week or two and then racked every three months for a year and then in the bottle for another year of storage(if I'm patient enough).  Let us know how it comes out  cheesy
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« Reply #46 on: February 09, 2009, 10:49:07 PM »

I racked my batch of mead today. It had been one month sense the last racking and there was a lot of sediment on the bottoms. I tested the SG and it read pretty much the same as last time. 1.023 or 1.024. The alcohol level went up to 10 maybe 11 using a vineometer. I would have thought the SG would have went down more then it did. It has been bubbling away in there all month. I tasted it and it tasted pretty sweet. Sweeter then I would like it to be. It is hardly bubbling now sense I racked it.

Should I add some more yeast nutrient or energizer? Should The SG have went down more then it did?

I only tested from the last jug. Maybe just that jug was not doing so well. I should have tested each one.
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« Reply #47 on: February 10, 2009, 11:30:56 AM »

I would give the yeast energizer a try.  I might have decided not to rack it and instead taken a long spoon or something similar and stirred the lees up to encourage it to get going again.  Yeast are funny critters they can decide to quit or restart for no apparent reason.  You might try to bring the jugs to a warmer room after adding the energizer to help it along.  The smaller jugs don't retain the heat from fermentation as well and so the must might have gotten cooler sooner than the yeast appreciated.  Wrapping the jugs in bubble wrap or a towel might help it stay toasty.  As to whether or not the SG should've have dropped more in the month is hard to say.  The last little bit is usually the hardest to get.  The alchohol content begins to inhibit the yeast.  So be patient with it and it might surprise you.
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