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EBCornell
09-22-2008, 05:39 PM
Can you tell who's a NewBee with barely 24 hours of meadmaking under his belt?

So when I attached my airlock (I believe it's called a twin bubble or Italian style) to my carboy the water (which had be perfectly even in both chambers) moved over so that one is totally full and the other is empty. The water line is in the bottom of the tube between the 2 chambers. Will this have a negative effect on anything? Is there anyway to fix this? Should I just relax and have a drink?
Thanks in advance...

wildaho
09-22-2008, 07:17 PM
Relax and have a drink! :cheers: The CO2 released during fermentation forces the water to one side or the other, nothing to worry about.

EBCornell
09-23-2008, 04:16 PM
Sound advice. Today I'm getting a bubble passing through the airlock every 3 seconds or so. I don't need to aerate any further do I?

wildaho
09-23-2008, 04:50 PM
I usually aerate at least twice a day until I reach the 1/3 sugar break. It really helps with fermentation speed and cleanliness.

To determine when you reach the 1/3 sugar break, measure your specific gravity daily with a hydrometer. When the gravity drops to 2/3 of your original gravity, you have reached the 1/3 sugar break. At this point you don't want to aerate anymore but it helps to give it a gentle swirl everyday until the end to keep your yeast in suspension. If the yeast is lying on the bottom of your fermenter it isn't in contact with the sugars and your fermentation will slow down.

So keep on aerating until it's time to stop! You'll be glad you did.

EBCornell
09-23-2008, 05:18 PM
Awesome. Now I just need to get the right equipment. I don't suppose the hydrometer I use to test the salinity in my reef tank will work? ;)
(it'd be nice to have multipurpose gear for my 2 hobbies...domestic harmony and all)

If I haven't said so already, thanks to all of you here at GotMead for helping me ease my way into the craft...when I finally crack open my first bottle I'll be toasting all of you!
:cheers:

BBBF
09-24-2008, 09:50 AM
I don't suppose the hydrometer I use to test the salinity in my reef tank will work?
(it'd be nice to have multipurpose gear for my 2 hobbies...domestic harmony and all)


Heh, I'm still trying to figure out the best way to vent the CO2 into my aquarium, so the plants grow better.

wildaho
09-24-2008, 02:23 PM
I don't suppose the hydrometer I use to test the salinity in my reef tank will work?

It will if the range is right. The one I have reads from 0.990 up to 1.170 and covers the entire range of fermentation. Yours probably has a narrower range since salinity won't vary as much as fermentables will. The good news is that hydrometers for brewing are pretty cheap. I think B3 has them for $6.00 each. Your local LHBS probably has them for around $10.

Of course, you can also buy a full series of precision, narrow range hydrometers if gnat's ass fine measurements are important (and most brewpubs, etc. do) at $30 or $40 a pop. For the home brewer though, who cares if you are off by 1/2 of a percent? Is this mead 14.215% percent or is it 13.8%? My taste buds can't tell (and neither can my liver! :drunken_smilie:).

In my mind, the hydrometer is THE single most important tool in any brewers arsenal, whether you are making beer, mead, wine or even whiskey. It can give more insight into the state of your fermentation than any other device. If your gravity isn't dropping the way it should, THEN you start looking at other tools like thermometers, pH meters, titration set ups, etc.

Sounds like you're on the right track. You're gonna love that first bottle!

Wade

EBCornell
09-24-2008, 08:21 PM
Heh, I'm still trying to figure out the best way to vent the CO2 into my aquarium, so the plants grow better.


I'd imagine that there's some sort of one way valve out there that you could run from your airlock to your tank. Back in the day, I used to use a 2L soda bottle and some mystery liquid (mystery = i can't remember those details from my college years...but the tank looked great!)

EBCornell
09-24-2008, 08:27 PM
In my mind, the hydrometer is THE single most important tool in any brewers arsenal

My El Cheapo Reef swing-arm hydrometer goes from 1.000 to 1.032. Will this cut it? And does it make any difference since I don't have an initial reading?

My plan is to head to my LHBS next Tuesday and pick up a second carboy (rack cyser, start JAO) and a proper hydrometer...I'm a science teacher so I'm all about cool science toys and collecting data!

wildaho
09-24-2008, 09:31 PM
Many, if not most, meads start out in the 1.110 to 1.150 range. Something that will handle the entire range is best for general use.

And if you publish your recipe, we can probably get you at least in the ball park for your Original Gravity with the help of the Mead Calculator (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Itemid=16). ;)

EBCornell
09-24-2008, 10:00 PM
Sorry, I forgot that I had mentioned the recipe in my first post about yeast.
I'm doing a real basic cyser:
1 gallon organic apple juice ("Nature's Promise" from Stop N Shop)
2 lbs golden blossom honey
Wyeast Pasteur Champagne #4021
- mix juice and honey in carboy
- shake like all heck
- pitch yeast and jam on airlock
- cross fingers

Oskaar
09-24-2008, 11:04 PM
I'd recommend that you skip the liquid yeast and go with either EC-1118 or K1-V1116.

BTW, your recipe will end up dry with not much apple character to it. Is this what you wanted?

Cheers,

Oskaar

EBCornell
09-25-2008, 07:08 AM
I was looking for a drier beverage, but I was hoping that there would still be some apple in it. But it's too late to change things now. Next batch!
Thanks for the input...

wildaho
09-25-2008, 10:36 AM
Here's your ballpark OG from the Mead Calculator (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Itemid=16):

OG: 1.124
PABV: 16.81%

I assumed a gravity of 1.050 for your apple juice and used the default value for the honey. Like I said, it's a ballpark figure and it may be out in left field!

EBCornell
09-25-2008, 04:37 PM
Fantastic...HUGE thanks for taking the time to sort that out for me...greatly appreciated!
:notworthy:

EBCornell
09-27-2008, 06:18 PM
To determine when you reach the 1/3 sugar break, measure your specific gravity daily with a hydrometer. When the gravity drops to 2/3 of your original gravity, you have reached the 1/3 sugar break.


So am I correct in figuring that when my SG hits .75 (based on a predicted OG of 1.124) I'm at my 1/3 sugar break and can stop aerating?

Also, am I correct in understanding that the yeast I used (Wyeast's Prise De Mousse 4021) will give me a higher alcohol content, but a drier cyser? And if that is true, would racking sooner than later enable me to save some of the apple's sweetness, but sacrifice some of the potential boozey goodness?

Third and final question (of the day), is there any point in the process before bottling that the carboy doesn't need a airlock any more and can be safe with a solid stopper or screw cap? (I found a bunch of 1/2 gallon growlers kicking around and I'm trying to find a way to use them w/o having to buy 4 new stopper/airlock setups)

Don't worry, I'm getting my hydrometer on Tuesday...I also managed to find a bottle of mead for sale at the local package store so I'll be opening that soon as well...

wildaho
09-27-2008, 07:03 PM
With the yeast you've chosen, an OG of 1.124 will put your 1/3 sugar break point at 1.083 (124 - [124*0.33] = 83).

Racking sooner won't save the apple sweetness. The yeast will keep on working until all the sugars are gone or it dies off from alcohol poisoning (known as the tolerance of the yeast). There are options, however. You can stop the fermentation when it reaches the level of sweetness you desire with sulfite and sorbate. There are lots of threads on the forum discussing this method.

Another option would be to choose a different yeast. Choose one with a lower alcohol tolerance. For instance: Keeping your OG the same, pick a yeast with a tolerance of around 12%. It will ferment down until the tolerance is reached and then the yeast will start to die off. You'll still have about 35 gravity points left which would be very sweet.

(very rough rule of thumb: 10 gravity points = approx. 1.3%abv)

As far as airlocks go, I'd make the investment. Even during bulk aging CO2 is still being released. The pressure might build up to the point where either the stopper is blown out or possibly even a bottle bomb. And think of it this way, the more airlocks you have, the more fermentors you can keep going at the same time!

Which brings up another point. Always de-gas your mead before bottling! I've had more than one batch of "still" mead end up sparkling because of this.

EBCornell
09-30-2008, 05:18 PM
I just took my first reading with my new hydrometer and best I can tell the SG at day 8 is 1.089. The cyser is sweet and bubbly. I have no idea what to expect, but I love it already. ;D
I realize this thread has gone astray and I'm going to start a brewlog thread as soon as I have some time.
cheers,
-E-