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the_chort
11-09-2006, 10:52 AM
Hi everybody,

After about three days in a row up till 5am reading about mead online, (about two years worth of MLD archives and a bunch from these forums as well as the NewBee guide + whatever else i could find) I'm about to start my first batch.

I've gotten a 3g glass carboy w/ airlock and stopper,

i would like to try for a 'traditional' sweet sack, and with that in mind
have tentatively decided on a recipe of:

3 lb raw blackberry honey
9 lb clover honey
1.5 teaspoons yeast hull based yeast nutrient
Lalvin EC-1118

sanitize everything...

pasturize honey in 1g water (150 for 15 min)
add yeast nutrient
put 1g water in carboy, funnel must in.
fill the rest of carboy with cool water (leaving headroom)
shake
rehydrate yeast and pitch once the must is cool enough
airlock

wait until fermentation has slowed, rack, wait forever, rack again, wait forever again, bottle.
(for racking, is it alright to rack into, say, a sanitized stock pot and then siphon back into the carboy after cleaning and sanitizing or is that gonna be a Bad Idea and i should just buy another carboy?)

I believe that if i did my calculations right, that works out to O.G. ~ 1.15
F.G. hopefully 1.01-1.02, ABV ~18%. .,. right?

does this sound like a reasonable way to start my (hopefully long and prosperous) meadmaking affair?

i would greatly appreciate any input you'd like to give.

Wassail! :cheers:

thechort

Oskaar
11-09-2006, 12:10 PM
Welcome to the forums!

OK, you have some wonderful honey there. Why do you want to heat the varietal aromas, flavors and the beneficial enzymes and protiens out of it? I think that's a good starting point. Why heat up this great raw honey?

OK, next EC-1118 needs nutrient supplement to keep from throwing a lot of sulphite production into your fermentation. That's right, sulphites are produced during fermentation by the yeast. The less nutrient available in this case, the more the EC-1118 will produce. Other yeast vary in their production of sulphites during fermentation to a greater or lesser degree. If EC is does not have enough nutrient available during fermentation it will produce up to 50 ppm (parts per million) of sulphites. To give you a good visual comparison any wine that is produced commercially must have the "CONTAINS SULPHITES" warning on it if the level of sulphites is above 10 ppm, even if they DO NOT add sulphites. EC-1118 will go as high as 50 ppm if you do not give it sufficient nitrogen to keep it from stressing out.

This is important because most home meadmakers do not put any warning on their bottles unless they add sulfites. Most fermentations will produce at least 10 ppm of sulphites, so I place a warning on all of my bottles and urge everyone I meet to do so as well.

OK why is this important? Your recipe shows yeast hulls rather than a nutrient aimed directly at increasing the YANC (Yeast Assimable Nitrogen Content) of your must. Yeast hulls are great for adding turbidity to the must so the yeasties will find it easier to stay in suspension. But, they do not bring up the level of YANC suffiently enough to keep your yeast from stressing out. So, what do you do?

Here's what I recommend. Get some GoFerm, Fermaid K and DAP. GoFerm is a rehydration nutrient for your yeast. It does not contain DAP (DiAmmonium Phosphate - ammonia salts which contain nitrogen, phosphate, and additional nutrients for your yeast once rehydrated) which is harmful to yeast that are in the process of being rehydrated. It also does not contain sugar which is not good for a yeast that is being reydrated. So I recommend using GoFerm to rehydrate your yeast.

Next I recommend that you add 7 grams of Fermaid K (a complete yeast nutrient with yeast hulls, a small amount of DAP, Amino Nitrogen and other good food for your yeasties) and 3 grams of DAP dissolved in 50 ml bottled water at the end of the lag phase (this is when you see foaming and bubbling on the surface of your must).

Do the same at the 1/3 sugar break and you're golden. For more information on DAP, FermaidK and GoFerm check out the newbies guide on the main pages. You may also look at my Oskaarz "Blue Berriez" Cyser recipe that goes into a great deal of detail on using nutrient, rehydrating yeast and managing your fermentation.

What is your inteded starting volume?

Cheers,

Oskaar

the_chort
11-09-2006, 01:01 PM
Thanks for the advice about nutrients. I almost tried this recipe without asking for advice first, and it appears it could have been at the least a minor disaster, so thanks for averting it.

I thought i had read enough to finally post my recipe for consideration,
and within a few hours of posting it i noticed that everyone was getting advice to avoid heating the must... I'll be going with that suggestion as well.

Wassail!

thechort

the_chort
11-09-2006, 02:34 PM
What is your inteded starting volume?

That is indeed a good question that i failed to answer in my last post.

I plan to ferment in a 3 gal carboy, and did my calculations for honey amounts based on 3 gal of must. does it make sense to make 3 gal of must and keep the extra to top off after rackings?
if so, should this extra be yeasted or unyeasted?

or does it make more sense to simply make more honey-water for topping off after rackings? if so, how much must would one make for primary fermentation in a 3 gal carboy?

wassail!

thechort

Angus
11-09-2006, 02:51 PM
Hi Chort,

The 3 gallon carboy should hold 3 gallons of must and still have headroom. To really understand the volume of a carboy, I suggest getting a gallon jug, use it to add 3 gallons of water to the carboy, and mark the top of the water using a waterproof pen.

Some people do make extra must so that they can top off after they rack to maintain the original desired volume. The extra is not yeasted, but is stored cold to prevent any spontaneous fermentation should some wild yeast have gotten past your sanitation. Or, you can simply make more must using the same ratio of honey to water later and add it in. Choice is yours.

Good luck, and welcome.

Angus

Cargirl
11-09-2006, 04:23 PM
...Some people do make extra must so that they can top off after they rack to maintain the original desired volume. The extra is not yeasted, but is stored cold to prevent any spontaneous fermentation should some wild yeast have gotten past your sanitation. Or, you can simply make more must using the same ratio of honey to water later and add it in. Choice is yours.

Angus


Hi Angus--I have a question about extra must in cold storage. I've got some from my Innesfree Blueberry Cyser (a pint) and I'll have room for it in the secondary. Do I need to sanitize it at all before adding it to the secondary? I put it into a sanitized canning jar with sanitized lid and immediately put it into the fridge. Can I just add it directly to the secondary as is? Thanks--

Angus
11-09-2006, 04:30 PM
Hey Cargirl,

Pretty much, although there are a couple of items to be aware of. First, bring it up to the same temperature as the carboy with the mead. Racking can sometimes be a little stressful on yeast anyway, so dropping their temperature even a little could stall things out.

Second, sanitation!!! Use alcohol swabs to wipe around the seal of the canning jar before opening it. Then when open, wipe around the lip of the jar as much as possible to reduce the chance of infection. Also, sanitize any equipment you use to pour the must into the carboy.

Angus

Cargirl
11-09-2006, 05:36 PM
...Use alcohol swabs to wipe around the seal of the canning jar before opening it. Then when open, wipe around the lip of the jar as much as possible to reduce the chance of infection. Also, sanitize any equipment you use to pour the must into the carboy.

Angus


Egads, didn't think about that! I neglected to mention that I used a sanitized ring in addition to the lid. I'll go into 'super sanitation' mode when I'm ready to add it to the other must.

I can see that I need a couple of those thermometers that stick to glass, for the sides of my fermenters and such. Would an aquarium thermometer of that sort cover all the temps I would need? Or should I search, say, MoreBeer or MoreWine for something made for the purpose?

the_chort
11-09-2006, 05:58 PM
Thanks for clearing those things up for me angus.

After continuing to read about EC-1118, i've come to the conclusion that i may wish to choose another yeast. Would another of the 18%ABV cap strains like the Wyeast dry mead or red star premier curvee be less likely to produce rocket fuel flavors and sulphites? Perhaps someone would be so kind as to make a yeast suggestion? or should i proceed as planned with the addition of oskaar's recommended nutrients and just expect to age out the rocket fuel?

Wassail!

the chort

the_chort
11-09-2006, 08:18 PM
So upon looking at the nutrient i bought again, it claims to contain "pasturized yeast cells" along with thiamin, vitamin B complex, and biotin.

are pasturized yeast cells the same thing as yeast hulls?

if not, do they contribute to the YANC?

Wassail!

thechort

P.S. sorry i keep asking so many questions, i just want to get this right the first time, and i suppose ive taken on a somewhat ambitious project for a first timer...

Oskaar
11-09-2006, 10:48 PM
OK, you'll need to do a bit more reading on your yeast and the nutrient additions. Use the forum search for that, or go to the Lallemand website for a description of what the nutrients are. We've posted this information up all over the place here in the forums.

As far as the yeast goes EC-1118 is not a bad yeast, it just needs the proper level of nutrients. Yeast hull, yeast ghosts, pasteurized yeast cell all amount to yeast hulls. As stated in my previous post with EC yeast you should rehydrate with GoFerm and nutrient dose after the lag phase and at the 1/3 sugar break (again, use the forum search tool to do some reading on the 1/3 sugar break)

Did you read the cyser recipe yet? There is a lot of this explained there.

EC-1118 is a Pris de Mousse Champagne yeast designed to impart yeasty, dough-ey, sharp, astringent crispness to champagnes in secondary fermentation. If you're hell-bent on using an 18% ABV yeast you should probably be ready to wait for a while as most of them take some time to mellow, even the ones that are not champagne yeasts like K1-V1116 (Montpellier Yeast Strain) which is a great yeast.

I'd say for this recipe use either DV10 or K1-V1116. When you're making a must with a high gravity nutrient is key as is proper re-hydration with a re-hydration nutrient. Please check these things out on the forums. As mentioned I've posted close to a books worth on this topic in various other places.

Cheers,

Oskaar

the_chort
11-10-2006, 04:39 AM
I have indeed read the cyser recipe which did make the nutrient additions clear.

in any case, sorry if i was asking questions that have been answered elsewhere... i really did try to find answers before posting questions... but i also just wanted to make double sure i had everything right so i didn't jump in and ruin $50 worth of honey...

well, i've bee awake for about 36 hours now, and the vast majority of that time was spent on these forums, so i think i damn well better dive in. Thanks for all the help, im sure it will allow me to make a far better mead than i would have if i had decided to start yesterday before posting. I'm sure there's more i could learn from reading, but dammit i wanna see the pretty bubbles :toothy10:

wish me luck, because tommorrow its national meadmaking day in chortonia.

:cheers:

P.S. i dont' mind waiting for my first one to age, it'll just give me an excuse to try out JAO for my second batch or maybe i'll go nutty and try some three week sweet

the_chort
11-13-2006, 06:19 PM
I thought those who gave me so much help figuring this out might like an update-

i decided to change my recipe to give something that i think is a little harder to screw up (or something)

now for a 3 gal batch i have
3lbs blackberry honey
7.5 lbs clover honey
whitelabs sweet mead yeast

sanitize, sanitize, sanitize (throughout)

11/11:
made a 2 cup starter for 24 hours w/ SG 1.04 must and 1/2 tsp nutrient

11/12:
mixed honey and bottled spring water to create 3 gal must @ 1.125 SG

funneled 3 times to aerate.

added 1.5 tsp hull based nutrient and 3 tsp DAP at ~4h, shook.

11/13: bubbling at about 20 burps per minute.

so, thanks for all the help, my first mead seems to be off to a roaring start!

wassail!
brian