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dennymcc
03-18-2008, 12:01 PM
hello all
mead making is sometihng i wanted to do for some time. i have seen it used in movies and books. a warriors drink. then much to my suprise, its made from honey. this off the movie " the 13th warrior". part of my desire to make mead, comes from my profession as a lab tech. microbiology is one of my favorite areas in the lab, though i mainly deal with identifying pathoginic bactieria.
all that aside, i am making my first mead, a cherry melomol. i thought the tart of the cherry would balance the sweet of the honey. this is my first batch so even though i hope for something spectacular, i wont be discouraged if it is a flop. here is a list of my ingrediant and game plan
9 lbs local wildflower honey ( i plan on adding another 5 or 6 lbs at first racking)
1 qt cherry juice natural pasturized ( ill have to look to see what the sugar content is)
5 gal local well water
5gm pk red star cotes de blanc yeast
nutrient& spice pack ( williams brewing mead kit)
initial sg: 1.057

i started out by sanatizing my primary, then pasturized my honey in a dutch oven. i did this in 2 batches, were i heated half the pt full of water to just below boiling, then removed from heat, and slowly started adding the honey, and stiring like crazy. then i added it to the remainder of the water i had in the primary. did the same for the second batch but added the cherry juice after i pasturized the honey. after adding everything to the primary, i alloquted 1/2 pint of must to make the yeast slurry. i let that set at 100 degrees for a few hours, then added to the must locked the lid, and installed the airlock.
this was all 4 days a go and its bubbling like crazy. i plan on adding more honey juice and fruit purie at my first racking. the yeast im using ( from what i found online) is good to about 13% alcohol.
i have tried to use the calculator, but a little confused by it. any sugestions will be greatly apreciated
thanks all Denny McC

wayneb
03-18-2008, 12:34 PM
Hi Denny! Welcome to the "Gotmead?" community!! You'll find plenty of advice, commentary, and comeraderie from fellow meadmakers here. Of course one of the first things we'll suggest is that you check out the Newbee's Guide, which will jump-start your knowledge base and get you up to speed with current meadmaking process and technique. Check it out here. (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=27&Itemid=437)

Those pages are a must-read for anyone just getting into meadmaking as a hobby, and they're written in Vicky's own entertaining style! All you'll need to know is there about how to make very good meads, and you'll learn why pasteurizing honey is these days not considered necessary or desirable any more, why it might be a good idea to add all your honey up front at the start of primary fermentation, etc.

Once you've read the Guide, if you have any more questions either about the specifics of your batch or any other topic related to meadmaking or enjoying mead, feel free to post them here!

Welcome to the addiction, ah, err, hobby! :cheers:

dennymcc
03-18-2008, 12:49 PM
i had actually goten started before finding your site. other sites had recomended pasturization over boiling, so i decided to do that. than of course ia ran across you guys and imediatly join up. im already addicted, and am on pins and needles waiting for the first batch to age out. hmm pins and needles for over a year.
i was just reading another post on how you prepare your must. i saw all the post on the subject of pasturizing. the next batch i will try cold. im thinking of trying a cranberry melomel. by the way. does anyone know how to pronounce melomel? i feel like an idiot everytime i try.
thanks and wassial DennyMcC

wayneb
03-18-2008, 01:03 PM
Accent on the first syllable: MEL-o-mel.

Glad to be of assistance! ;)

DaysOfOld
03-18-2008, 01:42 PM
1. "I cannot taste neither the fementation of wheat... Nor of grape..."

2. "hahahahahaha"

1. "What is funny? Why do you laugh?"

2. ".....Honey! It's made from Honey! hahaha"

1. *grabs drinking horn and chugs!!*

----------
Ahh I love that movie.

And welcome to GotMead dennymmc.

I only have a year of experience myself but I would think that only using 9 lbs of honey with 5 gallons of water in the primary would produce a very dry mead with a lower alcohol content than what you could get if you added all honey up front. I would add the vast majority of the honey up front into the primary and then back sweeten closer to bottling time to get the desired sweetness. But there may be a technique you are going for that I have not read about.

-Benjamin

dennymcc
03-18-2008, 03:29 PM
but i also added 2 qt of cherry juice( sorry typo above were i said 1qt) 35 gm of sugar per. i figured that would add some more sugar to the must. might be wrong, but its my first go round. if i mess it up no big, ill learn better for next time.
i looked in the closet, were i have my fermenter, it has a real pretty blush to it. i cant wait to rack and sneak a taste.

DaysOfOld
03-18-2008, 03:40 PM
the OG of 1.057 is whats making me believe it will finish really dry. If you want it sweet I would try to crank that number up to 1.120 or 1.130 or higher. I think at 1.057 total sugar depletion will occur and result in an overly dry mead. Or after its done fermenting, just taste and slowly add honey until it reaches your desired sweetness. It really depends on what ABV you are looking for and sweetness level.

wayneb
03-18-2008, 03:41 PM
When making a mead, using all honey is best. Cane sugar will give your mead a rough edge (different metabolic path as the yeast need to split more complex sugars to get to the glucose, resulting in additional byproducts of fermentation) that may take a while to smooth out.

dennymcc
03-18-2008, 03:47 PM
you guys think it would be safe to add more honey to the must. im into my 4th day fermenting?

Medsen Fey
03-18-2008, 03:53 PM
Welcome to GotMead dennymcc!

Not only is it safe, it is probably a good idea. Yeast that are underfed sugar and that don't die a happy drunken death from alcohol toxicity may start to chew each other up (autolysis is the term) which can produce some unpleasant aromas and flavors. The starting gravity of 1.057 is pretty low and it would probably be a good idea to add at least another 2 or 3 pounds of honey. This will still leave you with a dry mead, but you can backsweeten.

The flip side of this is that if you keep adding honey a little at a time to an active fermentation, you produce something called step-feeding which can push a yeast beyond its normal alcohol tolerance and produce very high alcohol (hot tasting) mead. This can also produce some off flavors due to yeast stress.

I like a happy medium.

Medsen

DaysOfOld
03-18-2008, 04:37 PM
If it were myself I would added another 4 to 6 pounds (dilute with abit of warm water for easy mixing into the must) in one fell swoop. Now I have never done this before so maybe that is a bad thing (shocking the yeat maybe) but if fermentation stopped after the honey addition then I would then pitch more yeast which would get used to it from the get-go. But I dont think it would harm the fermentation.

dennymcc
03-18-2008, 04:45 PM
ok i bouight 3lbs at lunch, they had more so ill go back and get another 3 lbs.
guys thanks a million. i really appreciate all the help you have given me.
Wassial Denny

Oskaar
03-18-2008, 06:58 PM
Welcome to Got Mead? Denny!
One of the main reasons that you don't want to keep step feeding:

Constantly changing osmotic pressure - by adding in fermentable sugars as the yeast are actively fermenting your yeasties are having to adapt to a new environment every time you add honey/sugar/juice. This puts undue stress on your yeast and will usually result in higher production of alcohol, off flavors and fusel oils.

Step feeding as Medsen mentioned below with drive your yeast past their usual ABV tolerance and production and it will take longer for your mead to mellow and for the off flavors to dissipate, that is if they every do.

Yeast seem to perform best in a nutrient rich environment where they can establish themselves and begin the fermentation process with healthy cell walls to resist the lethal effects of alcohol as the ABV rises during fermentation. So you want to help get them established by designing your must to the spec called out by the yeast manufacturer (or as close as a home mead maker can get), supplementing with oxygen and nutrient dosing so they can develop, have a healthy, strong and rapid ferment with as little stress on the yeast as possible.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

dennymcc
03-18-2008, 07:12 PM
ok guys. i got home added the honey. hope it wasnt all for nothing. if it turns out good if it doesnt, ill do better next time. really wished i ran across you guys before i started.
i will say that at this point the color is a rosey pink, and has a really good aroma. i am familiar with working with microbs, but only fermintation ive ever been consernd with was for use in identifing bacteria. i guess thats why i really wanted to do this. it gives me a chance to play with bugs at home.
thanks again for all you guy's advice. ill keep you updated on the progression. if it flops ill be starting a new batch in 2 weeks, as soon as i free up my primary. gonna go with a cranberry vanilla melomel.
oh whats the take on when to add fruit? thanks again
Wassial Denny

beachfrontmeadman
03-18-2008, 07:43 PM
well if you are working with a 5 gallon batch, you're not going to know a lot in 2 weeks, i have a batch right now that not but 2 months ago i thought was trash because it had no fore mouth feel but given time its turned around nicely, unless you are working with bad materials or in really unsanitary conditions, or try fermenting in high heat, you're going to end up with something decent

dennymcc
03-18-2008, 08:02 PM
WOW
ive learnd more in 1 day on here, than 2 weeks of research elsewere :notworthy:

Yo momma
03-18-2008, 09:36 PM
Isn't that what we are all here for. Everyday I learn new stuff from new posts and doing a lot of searching for answers. If knowledge is what you seek then your in it right now.

Welcome to gotmead? :icon_thumright:

wayneb
03-18-2008, 11:21 PM
To offer you some more words of encouragement -- you probably are not far enough along in fermentation that adding the additional honey will do any damage. In super-high initial gravity musts, adding a large extra dose of honey midway through fermentation will drastically stress the yeast, sometimes causing a stuck fermentation. But in your case, you barely gave your yeasties a snack to begin with, and they should be able to handle the change in osmotic pressure brought about by your presenting them with the "main course" now! :D

Still, in general this kind of radical change in the yeasts' environment should be avoided, for all the reasons that Oskaar noted.

Relax, don't worry, pop open a bottle of the best mead you have available (or in the absence of any mead, beer or wine will do) and pour yourself a glass! Your batch will turn out well enough, although as beach mentioned, it'll take months rather than weeks for you to find that out! :cheers:

Launcelot
03-19-2008, 12:00 AM
I am back feeding one, but it is almost comical... I am back feeding it about 4oz at a go, and just letting it run. I am more trying to carefully contain where it ends up. I can nail a 1.0 every time I am fairly certain, but ::shrugs:: I am having a bugger getting another sweet one set up.

--L

dennymcc
03-19-2008, 08:38 AM
well this morning i got up to find my airlock bubbling merrily. now comes the hard part, waiting. i had only bought enough stuff to work 5gal at a time.
since im new to this and didnt know wether or not i would like it, i think im hooked. i think im gonna get another set up so i can have 2 going at a time.
thanks again guys
Wassial

DaysOfOld
03-19-2008, 10:07 AM
Welcome to your new addiction. It wont stop at two!! You are doomed. I started with two and I keep growing... :BangHead:

I'm even buying 4 liter jugs of wine (for $8 - yuck!) just so I can have the glass gallon jugs to do test batches!!

But I love it. MEAD!!!!


http://img243.imageshack.us/img243/7335/031408001smalltu3.jpg

-Benjamin

vanoob
03-19-2008, 11:23 AM
It wont stop at two!! You are doomed.

:laughing7:
You sound like a science geek like a lot of us :) Soon you'll have one gallon "experiments" everywhere while waiting for your big batches to turn out. Then you will be negotiating with the SO over closets.

WELCOME!

UprightJoe
03-19-2008, 11:49 AM
I'm even buying 4 liter jugs of wine (for $8 - yuck!) just so I can have the glass gallon jugs to do test batches!!

Do you have a local homebrew supply store? I pay $16.00 for four 1-gallon carboys. They don't come with wine in them but you'd be paying $4 instead of $8.

dennymcc
03-19-2008, 12:09 PM
nothing local. i have to buy pretty much online, or drive 2 hours.
yes im very much a science geek. love microbiology. though im used to 4" petri dishes. imagine how much fun a 5gal petri dish will be. just ordered another 6gal primary, 5 gal carboy lavin 71b yeast gonna do something with cranberries this time.
Wassial every one
DennyMcC

DaysOfOld
03-19-2008, 12:13 PM
Do you have a local homebrew supply store? I pay $16.00 for four 1-gallon carboys. They don't come with wine in them but you'd be paying $4 instead of $8.


I do but it takes me an hour to get there so I do most of my brew shopping online. And most of my gallon carboys I bought online for $3 a peice but a couple weeks ago I saw some 4 liter jugs of wine at my local grocery store for $8 so I figured I'd give it a shot. They are actually pretty nice glass jugs. Right now im scheming to put another one into use tonight and trying to decide what ingredients to use :icon_scratch:

beachfrontmeadman
03-19-2008, 01:12 PM
i find the one gallon batches are great for making quick meads that i can enjoy while waiting for the big 5 gallon batches to finish out :cheers:

akueck
03-19-2008, 02:04 PM
It wont stop at two!! You are doomed.

:laughing7:
You sound like a science geek like a lot of us :) Soon you'll have one gallon "experiments" everywhere while waiting for your big batches to turn out. Then you will be negotiating with the SO over closets.

WELCOME!


"Negotiating"? Hmm, I just seized the closet. Oops. "I claim this land for MEAD!" :brave:

vanoob
03-19-2008, 07:32 PM
Hehe, my strategy is actually more akin to illegal immigration. I sneak 'em in until they outnumber everything around them.

Launcelot
03-19-2008, 08:43 PM
I did it the old fashioned way...

Got divorced... ::laughing::

Actually, I have a live-in Nanny that is worse than my wife was.... I love her to death, but aghh... I swear, *just* because I made the entire kitchen sticky when I had an eruption from the demi of apple cider....

--L

dennymcc
03-19-2008, 09:06 PM
yes living alone like i do, makes for a lot places to stick fermenters. i just got to find a good place to get honey. but there is something about hearing the airlock bubble that warms my heart, or is that my liver.
Wassial everyone
DennyMcC

vanoob
03-20-2008, 09:27 AM
live-in Nanny that is worse than my wife was....


Hehe, nanny's don't get alimony ;)

dennymcc
03-20-2008, 10:14 AM
HAHA
yea those exwife payment tear your butt up

Dan McFeeley
03-20-2008, 10:47 AM
Hello Denny -- coming in late on this one . . .

A couple of inputs here -- it's not necessary to pasteurize honey since it's relatively safe stuff to work with. The high osmotic pressure of honey kills just about anything that tries to grab a microbiological foothold, and the osmophilic yeasts that are adapted to high density micro-milieus don't survive in honey solutions diluted to must levels.

Oskaar's advice on stepfeeding is dead on, although if you take a close look at his post there's room for flexibility. Stepfeed with caution, and at most just enough honey that would have gotten you at a better starting gravity at the beginning of the fermentation. On the average (and this is only an average) one pound of honey will add 35 gravity points in a total of 1 gallon of honey must. You can use this figure to more or less work out a ball park figure.

Low gravity meads aren't necessaritly a bad thing -- Brother Adam's meads, in his 1953 Bee World article, were also low gravity meads, although the yeast strain he was using, the long aging period in used sherry barrels (eight years) also had a lot to do with it.

beachfrontmeadman
03-20-2008, 12:19 PM
mmmmm i wouldn't mind getting me some used sherry barrels

dennymcc
03-21-2008, 02:22 PM
hey guys got my new stuff in. fixen to go buy some honey. cranberries are hard to find at the moment so ill try something else. im off to look for recipes
so far what ive got to work with
1 pk lalvin 71b-1122
wyeast vinter's choice nutreint
5gal syphonless primary
5gal better bottle
any ideas on a good second melomel let me know
Wassial everyone :cheers:
DennyMcC

beachfrontmeadman
03-21-2008, 04:53 PM
something citrusy might be nice if you can get it ready by the summer months
or maybe something with ginger

Yo momma
03-22-2008, 10:48 AM
Strawberry is my favorite and there are plenty of posts about it.

dennymcc
03-22-2008, 03:37 PM
went with a cyser. i got it up on the brewlog page

ken_schramm
03-22-2008, 06:34 PM
Welcome to Got Mead? Denny!

Constantly changing osmotic pressure - by adding in fermentable sugars as the yeast are actively fermenting your yeasties are having to adapt to a new environment every time you add honey/sugar/juice. This puts undue stress on your yeast and will usually result in higher production of alcohol, off flavors and fusel oils.

Oskaar


You know, I've noted that fusel character in virtually every step-fed mead I've tasted. I had attributed it to the fact that at the end of the fermentation, you would be dealing with an artificially selected population of yeast that could survive the trying conditions of a nutrient poor medium, but the osmotic pressure variance is one I had never considered. Thanks so much for the good info, Pedro. It makes perfect sense and I'd never even thought of that. Messing with the linearity of the concentration gradients would have to stress the living bejeebers out of the plasma membrane.

If I didn't mention it, that was spectacular Zin in Boulder, BTW. And if I did, it bears repeating.

KDS

Oskaar
03-23-2008, 12:09 PM
Hey Ken,

Thanks for the nod on the Zin ;D

I noticed you changed your tagline to "Some goof who wrote a book." Dude, I damned near spit coffee all over my flatscreen array here in the office as I type this. You're killin me man! :D

Anyhow, I get where you're coming from on the Ink Pen comic. I bust a gut whenever I read the comic strip and find it entertaining. I also remember those "lose the horns" conversations we've had and wish we could shake that perception so we could get mead into a state where it can get picked up at any corner supermarket. I really think your presentation at the festival about food pairings is an effective way to get mead out there in the mainstream and to generate more than casual interest. So I say, good on ya Ken and "Vive le Bleu!" (paired with a nice dry dark cherry mead . . . maybe oaked a little too!)

Cheers,

El Pedro!

wayneb
03-23-2008, 01:49 PM
I think that what is needed, along with a better selection of meads more generally available of course, is a good general-public reference for food-mead pairings. Perhaps not done as a book --I doubt it would fly off the shelves at your local Borders or B&N. But instead how about doing it as a series of columns in a "foodie" mag? I wonder if any editors would be interested? I suspect what we've been seeing hints of in places like the Ink Pen strip is a growing public curiosity about this "stuff" they've seen quasi-historical references to in mass entertainment venues like Beowulf. I think the time might be nigh for someone to scratch the public's itch, providing that kind of information.

Yes, Ken, this can be read as a hint. ;) I don't have the talent to be able to consistently put more than three coherent sentences together (or I might try this myself), but you certainly do. If you can find the time to re-structure your food pairings pitch as a series of print columns, man that would be great!

dennymcc
03-25-2008, 08:42 AM
i think that would be a great idea. to go a step farther, you could do series on styles, or seasonal foods. summer will be around the corner, and even though this might be a little lowbrow for some, i love to cook out on the grill. my two specialities, are steak and babby backs. i spend over 5 hours preparing and cooking my baby backs, so i would like a mead that would really enhance the experiance. a good seasonal pairing i saw someone say was, cranberry mel with thanksgiving turkey.
i have another hobby thats turned into a little hobby busines for me. i am an amature photographer. i do alot of weddings. i think a nice mead would also make a good gift. im planning a lable that has the story behind the honeymoon, to give as a gift.
i know im a noob and i hope im not stepping out of place here, but you vets could really impart some good experiance down. you could try it out on us here in the forum, before going public with it. i know i would love the read.
Wassail everyone :cheers:
DennyMcC

beachfrontmeadman
03-25-2008, 11:11 AM
a man after my own heart,
there is nothing like a nice set of ribs cooked to perfection
i'm sure someone knows a good mead pairing for it, ken's your best bet there
though i do find that a good traditional goes great with pork tenderloin

ken_schramm
03-25-2008, 05:11 PM
I think that what is needed, along with a better selection of meads more generally available of course, is a good general-public reference for food-mead pairings. Perhaps not done as a book --I doubt it would fly off the shelves at your local Borders or B&N. But instead how about doing it as a series of columns in a "foodie" mag? I wonder if any editors would be interested? I suspect what we've been seeing hints of in places like the Ink Pen strip is a growing public curiosity about this "stuff" they've seen quasi-historical references to in mass entertainment venues like Beowulf. I think the time might be nigh for someone to scratch the public's itch, providing that kind of information.

Yes, Ken, this can be read as a hint. ;) I don't have the talent to be able to consistently put more than three coherent sentences together (or I might try this myself), but you certainly do. If you can find the time to re-structure your food pairings pitch as a series of print columns, man that would be great!


I hear you loud and clear, but there's a fine line between being an authority and being someone who is offering up material where it isn't really wanted. I am always reticent to waltz in and start offering up my counsel to folks who haven't asked me what I think.

If I get an offer or an inquiry from one of the foodie rags, I'll be all over it.

BTW, any mead with cherries or raspberries in it will pair nicely with pork. I have spiral cut a pork loin roast and marinated it in cherry mead, then roll stuffed it with a mixture that included portobellos, bread crumbs, dried cherries, sauteed onion, salt & pepper, and a bit of garlic and asiago. Truss it up, season the outside well, then indirect heat on the grill until done, and serve with cherry mead.

Crap. Now I'm really hungry.

wayneb
03-25-2008, 05:17 PM
Well then, I hope they do ask you someday soon!

To facilitate that, does anyone amongst our esteemed author/writer community here on Gotmead have any contacts that might lead to such an inquiry? ;)

NOW I know what to do with that pork tenderloin that's been in our freezer since December.... ;D

Launcelot
03-25-2008, 05:18 PM
I don't think any of the publications I work with have a food column...

I will ask around a bit.

--L

beachfrontmeadman
03-25-2008, 06:07 PM
i'm going ot have to get right on a cherry mead and make that sucker, sounds mighty tasty

dennymcc
03-25-2008, 07:21 PM
well since no publications have ask you Ken, why not just do it here in the forum. my taste buds are all atingle. as for the raspberry going well with the pork. it will go right in line with the tater melts that i use a raspberry chipolte sauce on.
so you got me on track for the next melomel ill be doing.
i think by starting here, the word might get out. then you might get a publication hit you up. till then, it will be in the family, so to speak
:cheers:
DennyMcC

ken_schramm
03-25-2008, 08:12 PM
Addendum: I recall using a splash of half and half to get the stuffing to stick together.

Ken