PDA

View Full Version : Newb needs moral support



Disthetic
02-14-2009, 09:36 PM
Hi all!

Obviously my first post here. Been reading up for a week or so and finally decided to mix up a batch of some pretty basic mead.

I started the day off by going to Leeners today and picking up one of their mead kits.

http://www.leeners.com/mead.html

After coming home, unpacking and cleaning everything, I started it off with 6 pounds of honey brought to 180 with 1 gallon of spring water. Held it at temp for 10 minutes per instructions.

Put 2 more gallons of spring water into the primary, and after cooling the must in a sink of cold water to ~80, added it into the primary.

Stirred in 2 teaspoons of acid blend, 2 tablespoons of yeast nutrient, 1 teaspoon of grape tannin.

Sprinkled Cote De Blank yeast on top.

Put the lid on, filled the air lock thingy with water, and stuck it in the spare bedroom.


So, what next? The recipe says to wait about 14 days and rack it into to Better Bottle.

Do I need to do anything between then and now? Shake it, stir it, add stuff to it, hug it and tell it I love it?

How long before I should see bubbles in the airlock? It's been 2 hours. Im anxious.

What if I want to add fruit to this mix? When should that be done.

From reading here, I know that I should have brought a hydrometer, but in all my excitement, I didnt get one. Leeners is an hour away, hopefully I can find one somewhere closer. I called the local Williams-Sonoma, and they said they didnt have anything like that.

Thanks ahead of time for any help you can offer.

Dan

wayneb
02-14-2009, 09:49 PM
Hi, Dan! Welcome to the "GotMead?" community!!

The first thing I'll tell you is to take the old adage to heart -- relax, don't worry and have a home-made mead (yeah, I know Charlie Papazian says homebrew, but we're meadmakers here!) ;)

Your must can take some time before it leaves the "lag phase" and begins to ferment actively. Especially since you pitched your yeast directly into the must instead of rehydrating it first, you can expect to wait a bit -- up to 8 hours, before you'll see and hear anything going on in there.

Now that you've started your first batch, I'm going to recommend that you read the Newbee's Guide -- the link is over to the left side of this page, and you also can find it here: http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14

While the Guide is also in need of a little updating, it is far more current than the information you were provided with your Leener's mead kit. For one thing, we don't recommend boiling or even heating the honey to pasteurize it any more. That's not necessary since honey doesn't support the growth of any spoilage organisms, so mixing the honey into your water at room temp is all you've got to do. That will actually preserve more of the aroma and flavor of the honey in your mead. Also, you'll get a much quicker start to active fermentation if you rehydrate your yeast first -- and the yeast will have a better start, which will help to get a vigorous healthy ferment going.

There's more to tell you, but you'll find it already in the Guide as well as in the other posts you can find here in the Newbee section of the forum.

ENJOY your new hobby!! And don't hesitate to come here with any questions that come to mind as your mead progresses -- but check out what's already been posted first. ;D

Kee
02-14-2009, 10:00 PM
Welcome to GotMead?!

Now, you wait... and plan.

You should see bubble in the airlock by tomorrow, but that's only if the bucket has an airtight seal. (Many aren't perfectly airtight, but that's okay.) If you don't see bubbles in the airlock, take a look inside. If you see and smell the fermentation, you're good. If you don't see any activity, you'll probably want to repitch your yeast.

You'll want to stir the must until 1/3 to 1/2 of the sugars are consumed by the yeast. (That's why you need the hydrometer. If you can get the hydrometer in the next day or two, you can use the mead calculator to calculate your starting gravity.) A lot of people will do this for just the first three days. At this point, you may also want to give a bit more nutrients. If you do a forum search, there are a LOT of threads of feeding and aerating. Start with this one (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10631).

If you want to add fruit, you can start now, add to the secondary or both. It is up to you. If it's a delicate flavor, you may want to wait for the secondary. If you post your ideas here, the experts will help you with when to add fruit and the amount of fruit you'll need.

Good luck!

Disthetic
02-15-2009, 04:52 PM
Thanks a bunch.

Still not much bubbling to speak of. I popped the lid off this morning and stirred it like mad to try to introduce some oxygen. It had a slight odor of fermentation before I stirred it, but no so much so afterwards.

Wayne. Thanks for the link, I took the time to read through most of it. It's a great article, not quite sure how I missed it before.

Kee. Unfortunately that link wont open for me as it's in the Patrons area. Im going to try to get a hydrometer tomorrow after work. I took a look at the calculator and was honestly a bit overwhelmed.

Alrighty then. Still resisting the urge to stare at the bucket waiting for bubbles. ;D . In the meantime, Im going to head up to the CP and fill out my profile.

Dan

Disthetic
02-16-2009, 08:58 PM
I've been stirring it with a whisk like crazy a couple times a day for the last couple days. Got lots of nice bubbles in the must and coming through the airlock.

Ordered a hydrometer and will have it here tomorrow. Hopefully the time for any relevant readings have not passed.

Stopped on the way home and bought a bottle of Hidden Legend Pure Honey mead, so as to let the wife get a bit of a taste of what I'm trying to do. She's never heard of mead until I decided to get started.

Dan

Disthetic
02-17-2009, 06:25 PM
Crap.

Got the hydrometer but it is longer than my pail is deep.

:(

wayneb
02-17-2009, 06:59 PM
You can, if you have a way to do it (look up "wine thief") grab a sample of your must and fill a test cylinder with the sample, and then take a gravity reading from the must in the sample tube. Often you can use the tube that the hydrometer comes packed in as a sample tube, but don't forget to sanitize it first.

Medsen Fey
02-17-2009, 07:56 PM
(look up "wine thief")

Redneck wine translation 101
wine thief = turkey baster ;D

STLBrewer
02-17-2009, 10:57 PM
...that's "thrifty", Medsen...not redneck! ;D

wayneb
02-17-2009, 10:58 PM
Redneck wine translation 101
wine thief = turkey baster ;D

Only if its sanitized first! ;D

Disthetic
02-18-2009, 06:41 PM
So, I came up with a SG of 1.004. Does that seem even remotely correct?

Dan

wayneb
02-18-2009, 06:57 PM
Yup - for the amount of time that this has been fermenting, given that you aerated it early on, it is entirely possible that you are down to 1.004 today.

To recap - you took 6 lbs (1/2 gallon, roughly) of honey and added a total of 3 gallons of water, if I read your recipe correctly. That should have yielded a must with an initial gravity right around 1.060. This is a fairly low gravity must and will yield only around 8% alcohol by volume in your finished mead. This kind of light mead can easily finish fermenting in under a week. Your measured gravity of 1.004 indicates that it is almost done with all the fermentable sugar in the batch.

You should also have noticed less "fizzing," or less CO2 being released from the top of the must, in the last day or so.

Disthetic
02-18-2009, 07:07 PM
Yup - for the amount of time that this has been fermenting, given that you aerated it early on, it is entirely possible that you are down to 1.004 today.

To recap - you took 6 lbs (1/2 gallon, roughly) of honey and added a total of 3 gallons of water, if I read your recipe correctly. That should have yielded a must with an initial gravity right around 1.060. This is a fairly low gravity must and will yield only around 8% alcohol by volume in your finished mead. This kind of light mead can easily finish fermenting in under a week. Your measured gravity of 1.004 indicates that it is almost done with all the fermentable sugar in the batch.

You should also have noticed less "fizzing," or less CO2 being released from the top of the must, in the last day or so.


You would be correct on the recipe and also the fizzing. SO, is all well then in your opinion?

If so, would it be time for the first racking? Or would you suggest doing something else before then?

I really do appreciate all the help Wayne.

wayneb
02-18-2009, 11:29 PM
No problem, Dan!

Yes, based on that current gravity, I'd say it is a good time to rack to your secondary carboy.

Disthetic
02-19-2009, 08:59 PM
Alright, I'd like to split this batch up a bit when I rack it this weekend.

I'd like to add more honey to 1/2 of the batch, and add blackberries to the other half.

Both would be for flavor only, not necessarily more alcohol content.

Should I use the campden tablets in both carboys? What about Potassium Sorbate?

Or, is this all just a bad idea for me at my level of knowledge? Should I just leave well enough alone?

Thanks for putting up with me ;D

Dan

wayneb
02-20-2009, 01:02 PM
If you want to add more honey for sweetness and flavor (called backsweetening) or you want to add fruit but not get the fermentation kicked up again, you should use both metabisulfite (campden) and potassium sorbate. Search for threads on "stabilizing" mead and you'll find all that you need to know!

Disthetic
02-21-2009, 07:52 PM
Thanks Wayne!

Found a great post of yours over on HBT.com and followed those directions.

I sampled a bit while racking, and now I feel nice and relaxed ;D

Heres to hoping for the best!