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View Full Version : first complex mead, have some concerns



magius231
08-04-2008, 10:19 AM
hi all, up till now all I have made is a bunch of JAO (which I loved, and only had one batch come out bad when I used a different kind of honey) but now I'm looking at a nice fruity melomel that I started yesterday:

http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&recipe_id=27&Itemid=6

I have some concerns now though...I didn't have any fermentation that I could tell as of this morning, so I added nutrient and energizer to the tune of 1tsp per gallon each (what was recommended on the container) Looking around in here though I noticed the recommended amount is much lower...will this cause any issues?

I'm also concerned about the taste..I like a nice fruity taste personally, however I added all the fruit to the must when cooking it and strained it out when transferring to the primary. According to what I'm reading here, I should have left it in there, or even split up the fruit between primary and secondary, is this not going to come out very fruity?

also, it seems the Champagne yeast I used tends to result in a dry mead, and I wanted a more sweet mead...I know you can back sweeten when its done but this isn't really the recommended way to do it...how does one tell how much to back sweeten on something like that? Can I tell using the O.G and F.G numbers? (O.G. started at 1.088)

thanks for any help out there...I've been searching for the past few hours here but haven't found really good answers yet...

wayneb
08-04-2008, 10:59 AM
Hi, magius231! I have a question for you before I try to answer your questions in any detail -- have you read the Newbee's Guide, accessible from the Gotmead main site? I believe that most of your questions would be answered, at least to some extent, there.

magius231
08-04-2008, 11:41 AM
I have read it extensively...in fact its always up on my laptop when I'm making any mead :)

magius231
08-04-2008, 11:53 AM
reading some more, I did find that the amount of nutrient and energizer I used is OK (but no more!) so at least that part is answered. Guess there are a few conflicting sources depending on who is writing it here :)

wayneb
08-04-2008, 12:10 PM
reading some more, I did find that the amount of nutrient and energizer I used is OK (but no more!) so at least that part is answered. Guess there are a few conflicting sources depending on who is writing it here :)


Well, that is certainly true! :D

You will find that the "science" of meadmaking is still a work in progress, and that several maxims and concepts about how to formulate a recipe and how to manage fermentation have changed dramatically in the past few years. Especially thoughts about the heating (or pasteurization) of must have undergone a bit of a revolution -- what was once thought of as essential (pasteurization, or even boiling, of must) is now regarded as a detrimental, archaic technique.

The recipe that you chose to follow is one of the older ones posted here at Gotmead, and it does employ some techniques (such as pasteurization of the honey and fruit, and straining out fruit prior to fermentation) that I would not recommend today.

Probably the best advice that I can offer a beginner here is to use one of the more recent recipes that have been developed by one of the established experts on the site (try one by Oskaar, Vicky, Wrathwilde, etc.). Most of their recipes have been posted, discussed, made and verified-as-good by several different meadmakers. You can also use one of the recipes provided by Ken Schramm in his book; you will also very likely find at least one discussion thread talking about each of Ken's recipes somewhere here on the site. If you choose to subscribe to the site as a Patron, you'll find much more info available to you in the Patron's section of the forum, and you'll also have access to the "Gotmead Certified Recipes," which have all been vetted by Oskaar and Vicky and are guaranteed to yield acceptable results if you follow all the steps as written.

Medsen Fey
08-04-2008, 03:31 PM
Hello Magius231,

Wayneb's advice on recipe selection is right on the mark!

However, since you already have the current batch going, you probably can get close to what you are looking for - a fruity, sweet mead.

First thing I would do is add some pectic enzyme. Since you heated your fruit you will be setting the pectins which can form a persistent haze. Adding pectic enzyme will prevent this, and it works better before you have a bunch of alcohol in the must.

Secondly, with regards to the fruitiness, it is likely that after heating the fruit and putting it through the fermentation that your mead will be less fruity. However, this is not a big problem. You can add more fruit to the secondary once the fermentation is complete. How much fruit will depend on how fruity you want it. You can add some, and wait awhile to see how it tastes, and then add more if you desire.

With 12 lbs of honey and a Champagne yeast, it probably will go dry. You will then want to "stabilize" the mead and "backsweeten". This is done very commonly and will allow you to get to just the level of sweetness you want. You will want to do a search on those terms to get more insight into how to do it. After you stabilize, you can add the fruit, the additional sugars from the fruit might make it sweet enough to suit you, but if not, then you can add more honey.

There is no hard and fast rule about what gravity level is sweet. It depends on how much acid, alcohol, tannin and other flavor elements are in the mead but to give you some rough idea the following level are what I typically consider:

less than 1.000 Dry
1.001 to 1.010 semi sweet
1.011 to 1.020 sweet
greater than 1.020 Dessert sweet

You will want to make your additions of honey based on taste, not on a gravity number. Just as an example, I have had meads that did not taste sweet at gravities as high as 1.050 depending on how much acidity was present.

I think you can still get an outcome you will be happy with, it will just take some tweaking - but that is half the fun.

I hope that helps,

Medsen

magius231
08-04-2008, 03:33 PM
thanks for the info, I will definitely be subscribing at some point to this site :)

I am in the middle of Mr. Schramm's book now, I picked it up over the weekend so next one I will probably follow one of his recipes or similar. For this particular one I have already started however, should I go pick up more fruit now and throw it in the fermenter (and secondary later) before its too late? How does one sterilize fruit anyway without destroying it?

magius231
08-04-2008, 04:02 PM
its happily fermenting along...I may run out and grab more fruit and throw it in there (maybe 2lbs total? and save 1lb or so for secondary) just to make sure it comes out nice and fruity...

Medsen Fey
08-04-2008, 04:21 PM
Or you might wait and see how it turns out. It just might be fruity enough without doing anything else.

magius231
08-04-2008, 06:00 PM
thanks for all the help Medsen, I'll get some pectic enzyme asap and I guess I'll wait it out and see what happens!

Yo momma
08-04-2008, 06:07 PM
The best rule of thumb for mead/wine making is and I quote "patience, patience and when in doubt patience." It sounds like you have a good one going, just wait and see what comes about. You never know when you stumble onto one of your finest recipes. :icon_thumright:

magius231
08-05-2008, 09:08 AM
it sure smells good while fermenting! I have high hopes for it, I'm keeping good records so if something isn't quite right I can modify if need be...