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View Full Version : My first 2 NewBee meads complete with questions & concerns



Visigoth
05-11-2009, 01:39 AM
Hi Everybody,

First off I'd like to say thanks to GotMead.com for such an awesome website and for all of the instructions for NewBees like myself. I'm really impressed with the wealth of information that I've found here.

For my first attempt at brewing anything, I decided to try brewing not just one but TWO 1 gallon batches of mead and settled on an strawberry mead and an orange mead. Here's the story of how things went. If you're a NewBee like me then hopefully you might learn some things from my mistakes (there's a lot of them). Hopefully, I'll get some answers to some of my questions and concerns that will also help other NewBees, too. :)

To start out with, I went and bought some basic brewing equipment. I purchased a 1 gallon wine making kit from a local brew store called "Brew-It Yourself". The kit cost me about $30 and I went ahead and bought another 1 gallon plastic primary fermenter and 1 gallon glass secondary fermenter so I could do 2 batches at once.

Here's my equipment:

2 - 2 gallon plastic fermenters
2 - 1 gallon glass secondaries
syphon set up
Book: "Enjoy Home Winemaking"
sodium metabisulphite
air lock
2 - small straining bags
4 - drilled rubber stoppers (1 for plastic fermenter and 1 for glass secondary)
super ferment
acid blend
potassium sorbate
pectic enzyme
tannin
campden tablets
1 pack wine yeast
hydrometer


I also bought a few extra optional items at a Wal-Mart based on some reading here at GotMead:

small stainless steel mesh scooper for getting the scum out of the must while pasturizing
large stainless steel candy thermometer
long handle stainless steel spoon
turkey baster (to use as a wine thief)
large funnel
unscented Clorox bleach for sanitizing


Here are the basic recipes that I tried to follow:
Strawberry mead
Ingredients

2 lbs Clover Honey
3 lbs strawberries
1 Gallon jug of Ozarka spring water
1 - 5 gram packet of Red Star Premier Cuvee' active dry wine yeast (came with the wine kit I bought). one packet is capable of making up to 5 gallons of wine


Joe Mattioli's Ancient Orange and Spice Mead (thinking surely I can't mess this up, and then proceeded to do so immediately (way to go self!))

Ingredients

Biggest screw-up: 2 lbs Orange Blossom honey (recipe calls for 3.5 lbs -- I completely spaced I guess)
3 Large Oranges (recipe calls for 1 Large Orange)
about 25 raisins
2 sticks of cinnamon (recipe calls for 1 stick)
0 whole cloves (me no likey)
1 pinch of all spice
1 teaspoon of Fleischman ActiveDry Yeast (recipe just called for Fleishchman's bread yeast and it looks like there's 2 or 3 different kinds so I just guessed)
Roughly 1.25 gallons of Ozarka spring water (I added more than a gallon because I thought some of the water might boil off)


Despite all of my problems (you're about to see in the threads below) I will definitely be brewing mead again because I'm trying to start up an annual mead-off competition between friends. And, hopefully, I'll enlist more and more friends to do this (I've got a lot of friends who are interested in brewing already and this is only the first year for our little competition).

I'll be a little more focused next time and will really know what I want from the start.
All in all, I had a lot of fun. And, I can't wait to see how my meads will turn out -- for better or worse. Stay tuned...

Thanks in advance for any advice and Cheers!!!

Visigoth
05-11-2009, 01:49 AM
Now all that's out of the way, here's my re-creation of the events of my first day at brewing (names have been changed to protect the innocent)...

Saturday, April 18, 2009: My friend and I decided to brew our mead together. Being both NewBees we used the "NewBee Guide to Making Mead" and felt pretty confident we could hammer out a couple of batches of mead in one day. However, as we proceeded we found there were lots of little questions and concerns that we had (should've spent a lot of time in the forums first, I guess). Personally, I had a hard time struggling with little details as I forget easily. In contrast my friend's attitude was brewing has been done for thousands of years so how bad could we it screw up (I guess only time will tell). So this will be a nice experiment in style/personality, I guess...

Cleaning/Sanitizing:
I was worried about contamination by airborne yeast. We brewed inside my friend's house in his kitchen. My friend has dogs inside his house so we closed off his kitchen so the dogs couldn't get in (I hope airborne dog particles don't taste too bad ;) ). We wiped down his kitchen counters with some kind of commercial cleaner and dried it all up. We then gave his stainless steel sink a good scrubbing and rinsing and then filled it up with tap water (I'm guessing about 4 gallons or so) and put in about 4 tablespoons of Clorox bleach and stirred it up. Then we put all of our brewing gear in the bleach water and let it sit for at least half an hour (took a while because not everything fit). Before using any tool or container from the bleach water, I always gave each item a good rinsing with tap water and made sure there was no bleach smell.

Prepping the fruit:
Since I was concerned about the naturally occurring yeasties on the fruit I prepared a cleaning solution using a Campden tablet. I filled a large plastic container with tap water and dropped in a Campden tablet and crushed it up and dissolved it with a spoon. I scrubbed the oranges with antibacterial soap and a sponge/scouring pad and rinsed with tap water (some of the peel is supposed to go in the fermenter for the ancient orange). I then put all of my whole strawberries and oranges in the Campden solution and allowed them to soak for half an hour.

Cutting up the fruit:
I took the stawberries out of the Campden solution and cut off the green leafy bits of all my strawberries and cut them into halves and put them into my mesh bag (cleaned bag in bleach water and thoroughly rinsed it first before adding strawberries).

Question: I've read that there are 2 uses for Campden tablets: killing yeast and removing chlorine from tap water if it's going to be used in the must. And, it's supposed to take 24 hours for the Campden's sulphur dioxide gas to dissipate or else it will kill the yeast. I'm sure there was some residual Campden water on the strawberries because I didn't rinse them off with tap water. Do you think that little amount of Campden solution could harm the yeast very much? Note, I did not pour in any of my Campden solution into my must -- I just use Ozarka spring water.

Making the strawberry must:
For the strawberry mead I simply brought my 1 gallon of Ozarka spring water to over 155F (watched my candy thermometer) and then waited until it fell back down to 150F or so and then stirred in my 2lbs of clover honey until it dissolved to pasteurize it. Then I skimmed off the scum that floated to the top (little black bee specs and pollen, I think) using my sterlized little wire mesh scooper. Then I turned off the heat and just let it sit there and cool down for probably 30 or 40 minutes uncovered while I was working on prepping oranges for the other mead. I believe all I needed to do was wait for allotted 3 minutes @ 150F according to the pasteurization chart I've seen. So after the 30 or 40 minutes I poured my 1 gallon of must into my plastic 2 gallon primary fermenter (I'm not sure what the temperature was when I did this). Finally, I added my tied up mesh bag filled with strawberry halves into the must and covered it. The bag of strawberries was floating.

Question: How big of a mistake is letting the must sit uncovered? I'm guessing that I probably should have covered it to avoid airborne yeast getting into it. I believe Chapter 9 says that after the pasteurization temperature was hit for the allotted 3 minutes @ 150F I should have immediately chilled the must in a container filled with ice water to bring the temp down to a more yeast friendly temp.

Question: should I have put some kind of weight in the bag of strawberries to keep it from floating?

Question: should I have smashed up the strawberries that are in the bag? If so what's a good method to do this once it's in the must? Can I do this at a later time or will that disturb the secondary fermentation too much?

Question: how long should I leave the bag of strawberries in the must after the yeast has been added? My guess is that maybe the alocohol is supposed to somehow keep the fruit from rotting but the fruit floating above the surface might not be soaked in alcohol.

Question: Once I'm finished making this mead, how will I clean the nylon mesh bag that the strawberries are currently contained in?

Adding the yeast and other stuff:
So I waited a couple of hours for the strawberry must to cool down in my primary toward my 90F target (the Red Star Cuvee yeast likes 45-95F). Then, finally (light bulb!!!), I remembered that Chapter 9 of the NewBee guide said something about cooling. So I tried cooling down the must in the sink by setting the primary sit in some cool water. That helped but not as quickly as I'd hoped (should've used ice-water). Finally I hit 90F and added pectin (to help break down the strawberries) and my yeast super-nutrient and stirred (all the while with that darn floating bag in the middle). Then I FINALLY added my yeast and gave it a quick stir and grabbed the tip of the bag with my hand and swirled it around a bit (probably should have washed my hands again before doing that) and sealed the primary container. I then added water to my airlock (S-shaped bubbler) by filling up the 2 little vials just below the MAX line. Then I stuck the airlock with rubber stopper in my primary's lid.

Visigoth
05-11-2009, 01:57 AM
Concern: I didn't cool down the must quickly so I'm worried about contamination.

Concern: I heated the entire 1 gallon of water that was to make up must rather than a portion of it that I would then add to cool water already in the primary. Is that step very important? That's just to help cool the must down quickly, right?

Concern: I didn't oxygenate my must. I just dumped it into my 2 gallon primary. I read that I should've probably agitated for about 10 minutes.

Concern: I forgot to take a hydrometer reading of the must before adding the yeast (dang...). I have no idea what the gravity was (is that called "Original Gravity" or "Starting Gravity"?).

Concern: I did not notice any bubbling happening in the airlock because I was busy try to make my orange mead. I checked over the next 4 days (up till April 22, 2009) and did not see any action. I went to brew supply store and asked and the owner suggested it could have been the Campden solution that the strawberries had soaked in. He suggested I open up the primary and look for foam-like stuff on the surface of the must (Krausen?). He also suggested I take a hydrometer reading and then slosh the primary's contents for about 5 minutes to see if that helped get things going.

When I took the lid off the mead I didn't see anything foam-like floating on top of the mead. I did see little white bits sitting on top of my floating bag of strawberries though. Were those yeast particles?

I used bleach water and sanitized my turkey baster (wine thief) and hydrometer + tube and again rinsed it off well. I took my hydrometer reading (spun it around to get rid of air bubbles) and it came out to be 1.010 (where top of water in tube met hydrometer line -- I think I read that correctly). I felt concerned because it was 1.010 is only 1 tick mark from the last tick mark of 1.000. Keep in mind that this was after 4 days so I figured that the reading should've been much higher.

Anyway, I put the lid back on and shook the primary. I've got to say that the plastic fermenter I used seemed a little substandard since must dripped and leaked (not much but still I didn't think it should leak at all) while I was sloshing it around. I did put the lid on as tight as it would go. I did notice bubbling slowly started up. The bubbling wasn't as rapid as my orange mead (that stuff bubbled like crazy for about a week but that also used Fleishman's bread yeast versus the Red Star Cuvee yeast). However, after about 1 day the strawberry mead bubbling stopped again.

Concern: I've since read that for about 3 days after adding the yeast I should have aerated the must a couple of times a day. I didn't do this. :(

Question: I didn't really understand Chapter 10 of the NewBee guide. In particular, I don't understand how long each phase should last. Roughly how long should the lag, growth, and fermentation phases last? I realize that this is dependent on lots of factors (how much sugar/honey, what kind of yeast, temperature, etc).

Question: how often should hydrometer readings be made during the first couple of weeks?

Question: What kind of specific gravity should I expect after primary fermentation has completed? Again, I realize that this is dependent on what kind of alcohol content you're going for. What I'd really like is a medium-sweet and medium alcohol content and a very strawberry-flavored mead.

Question: How long should I wait before racking? I'm still freaked out by the possibility of strawberries rotting. And, I really don't want a yeasty taste to my mead.

Question: I'm planning on bottling in Grolsch bottles with the swing-top lids. This way I can ration out my mead over longer periods. Is there anything special that I should know about if using these smaller bottles rather than wine bottles?

Strawberry Mead Concerns
Concern: I didn't cool down the must quickly so I'm worried about contamination.

Concern: I heated the entire 1 gallon of water that was to make up must rather than a portion of it that I would then add to cool water already in the primary. Is that step very important? That's just to help cool the must down quickly, right?

Concern: I didn't oxygenate my must. I just dumped it into my 2 gallon primary. I read that I should've probably agitated for about 10 minutes.

Concern: I forgot to take a hydrometer reading of the must before adding the yeast (dang...). I have no idea what the gravity was (is that O.G. (Original Gravity)?).

Concern: I did not notice any bubbling happening in the airlock because I was busy try to make my orange mead. I checked over the next 4 days (up till April 22, 2009) and did not see any action. I went to brew supply store and asked and the owner suggested it could have been the Campden solution that the strawberries had soaked in. He suggested I open up the primary and look for foam-like stuff on the surface of the must (Krausen?). He also suggested I take a hydrometer reading and then slosh the primary's contents for about 5 minutes to see if that helped get things going.

When I took the lid off the mead I didn't see anything foam-like floating on top of the mead. I did see little white bits sitting on top of my floating bag of strawberries though. Were those yeast particles?

I used bleach water and sanitized my turkey baster (wine thief) and hydrometer + tube and again rinsed it off well. I took my hydrometer reading (spun it around to get rid of air bubbles) and it came out to be 1.010 (where top of water in tube met hydrometer line). I felt concerned because it was 1.010 is only 1 tick mark from the last tick mark of 1.000. Keep in mind that this was after 4 days.

Anyway, I put the lid back on and shook the primary. I've got to say that the plastic fermenter I used seemed a little substandard since must leaked (not much but still I didn't think it should leak at all) while I was sloshing it around. I did put the lid on as tight as it would go. I did notice bubbling slowly started up. The bubbling wasn't as rapid as my orange mead (that stuff bubbled like crazy for about a week but that also used Fleishman's bread yeast versus the Red Star Cuvee yeast). However, after about 1 day the strawberry mead bubbling stopped again.

Concern: I've since read that for about 3 days after adding the yeast I should have aerated the must a couple of times a day. I didn't do this. :(

Question: I didn't really understand Chapter 10 of the NewBee guide. In particular, I don't understand how long each phase should last. Roughly how long should the lag, growth, and fermentation phases last? I realize that this is dependent on lots of factors (how much sugar/honey, what kind of yeast, temperature, etc).

Question: how often should hydrometer readings be made during the first couple of weeks?

Question: What kind of specific gravity should I expect after primary fermentation has completed? Again, I realize that this is dependent on what kind of alcohol content you're going for. What I'd really like is a medium-sweet and medium alcohol content and a very strawberry-flavored mead.

Question: How long should I wait before racking? I'm still freaked out by the possibility of strawberries rotting. And, I really don't want a yeasty taste to my mead.

Question: I'm planning on bottling in Grolsch bottles with the swing-top lids. This way I can ration out my mead over longer periods. Is there anything special that I should know about if using these smaller bottles rather than wine bottles?

Visigoth
05-11-2009, 01:59 AM
Today's date is May 10, 2009. So it's been about 3 weeks and 1 day since I first added the yeast to the must. I took a Specific Gravity reading and tried my best to read it correctly. The reading was 0.980 (if I read correctly). I tried to use GotMead's calculator to come up with an approximation of my 2lbs Honey + 3lbs Strawberries + 1 gallon water to give me an idea of an Starting Gravity since I didn't record it. The approximate Start Gravity should have been something like 1.081 which is 10.8% ABV.

Question: Since my gravity is now 0.980 does this mean that fermentation has halted? And, what would my current alcohol content be?

I drank my wine thief sample and it didn't taste too bad. It seemed dry to me because I didn't detect any sweetness (I think I'm characterizing that correctly). It was fairly tart with a very slight strawberry flavor. There was a slight off-taste that I can only describe as a bit "plastic" (I did use a plastic primary fermenter) which concerns me. The color was a nice shade of pink and it looked clear enough to me (I didn't notice any floaties in the hydrometer container), but what do I know...

Question: I would like to add some sweetness back if possible. I want to aim for a medium sweetness. And, I'd like to stick with Clover honey as a sweetner.

Question: I'd also like to add more strawberry flavor. How can I do that? Common sense tells me to just empty the stawberry bag I've got in the must right now and add new strawberries and maybe smash them up.

Visigoth
05-11-2009, 02:15 AM
The Orange mead recipe is totally based on Joe's Ancient Orange Mead (a.k.a. "Joe's Foolproof Orange mead" which has now been referred by me as "I screwed up step one"...).

Original Recipe: http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6885

On the other hand, when I added the Fleishman's bread yeast that was called for in the recipe to the 1 gallon glass carboy the yeast went to work. That stuff bubbled it's heart out compared to the other mead I made (my strawberry mead). So maybe there's some hope...


Concern: I did not use enough honey (I used 2lbs instead of 3.5lbs)

Concern: I used way too much water which resulted in left over must that wouldn't fit into the 1 gallon glass carboy I used. Again, I started by heating up a whole gallon of water and then decided that I'd add some more since maybe some of it evaporated (but it didn't even BOIL!!! I'm so stupid...). I saved the leftover must but I don't have any idea what it would be good for but it's kinda gross looking now with little specs floating on top of it.

Note: I added 2 more large oranges (without peels). I'm hopeful that this will help a little with the sugar content a little but I seriously doubt it based on things I've read.

So it sounds like I've got too little honey and on top of that it's diluted... :(

Question: is there a way I can add more honey or sugars to get Joe's Ancient Orange Mead a little closer to the original recipe? I don't want it to finish too sweet, though. I only want a medium sweet mead.

Visigoth
05-11-2009, 02:18 AM
Lessons learned
1) Don't try to brew 2 meads at once for your first brewing experience. I bit off WAY more than I could chew. This resulted in me neglecting my strawberry mead because I was busy trying to get my orange mead going.

2) RTFM (Read the Freaking Manual (a.k.a. NewBee Guide)) and do it thoroughly. I skimmed way too much. This goes for the forums, too... If I had read more closely then I would have known to:

a) quickly cool the mead in the primary using an ice bath (thereby avoiding airborne contaminates). Or at least have enough snap to cover the kettle.
b) only use a portion of the water to create the must and then add more water to obtain the desired volume in the fermentor. This helps cool down the must, too.
c) aerate the must for 5 or 10 minutes
d) take the hydrometer reading before adding yeast
e) aerate for 3 days after adding yeast


3) get a primary fermentation container with a lid that doesn't leak when you're sloshing it around :)

4) get an idea of really what kind of alcohol content (specific gravity, I guess) you're aiming for along with how much sweetness. To be perfectly honest I didn't know what to expect. I just knew I did not want a strong sweetness but I did want a strong strawberry flavor and orange flavor. If I knew what kind of SG to aim for then maybe that would help me understand what's going on with my hydrometer readings. Currently I'm clueless on that, still.

5) I'm really glad that I did not commit to doing a 5 gallon batch for my first mead. A 1 gallon batch is definitely the way to go for NewBees. Given all my mistakes I would be really much more upset with a 5 gallon batch since the money I spent would have been so much more.

Visigoth
05-11-2009, 02:20 AM
May 11, 2009: I still haven't taken a hydrometer reading from this batch. It looks like it may still have some bubbling to go. It still looks cloudy and the oranges are still floating but Joe's recipe said it will clear up all on its own. I do see a fine layer of sediment (dead yeasties?) at the bottom of the carboy.

Question: Should I go ahead and take a hydrometer reading? I think Joe's recipe said just leave it alone. But, given that my concentration of honey was lower than the original recipe and the fact I dilluted it then I'm guessing that I probably will need to tweak this batch and a hydrometer reading is probably going to be necessary.

Medsen Fey
05-11-2009, 12:20 PM
Welcome to GotMead? Visigoth!!

You have exceeded the official GotMead question limit per post and will need to repost your individual questions. Thank you for you attention to this matter.


Just Kidding! I don't think they have the sever capacity for that. Ha Ha! LOL. :toothy9:

You have, however, raised so many issues that I don't even know where to start except to congratulate you on taking the plunge with both feet! :dontknow:
It is obvious from reading your posts that you are inquisitive and willing to search and read through the forums and that means you are well on your way to making great mead. I don't think there's a one of us who hasn't tried something only to go back and learn there was a better, easier way to do it, or done something and then gone back to try to figure out why it turned out the way it did. It is all part of the fun, and no matter how much you read about mead, you really learn while you're making it. This is one reason we encourage people to keep good brewlogs - it makes it so much easier to sort things out so you can understand what happened.

Buckets that don't seal completely is a classic example, which is why we stress using hydrometers to monitor progress so much.

The first suggestion I would like to make is for future posts, try to stick to one batch in a thread. This will avoid confusion while someone is reading it and will help them to give better input.

For your Strawberry batch
It looks like it fermented completely dry (no sugar) and should have an alcohol level around 11% ABV or so. If you have not racked it to a secondary, I would do so right away. Leave the old strawberries behind and make sure it is topped up so it does not get oxidized. I'm not sure about the plastic taste - but that can be indicative of a fermentation where the yeast has been stressed either from temperature or lack of nutrients or other factors. A food grade bucket shouldn't add any taste. Many times young meads will have funky aromas and flavors and a few months of aging will dramatically improve them.

To sweeten it, you are first going to need to stabilize it so the yeast don't ferment the sugars you add. There is a thread entitle How to Stabilize (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11742) which is worth reading. Wayneb also has some directions for backsweetening HERE (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12106). Once stabilized you can add some more strawberries as well; they can stay in until their color has been mostly extracted. Then it will need to spend time clearing. Once it is finally clear enough to read through, you should be able to bottle and enjoy.

For your orange batch
I would start with a hydrometer reading to see where it is. When finished, you will have a much lower alcohol level by having started with much less honey (perhaps 9 - 10% ABV), but that is okay. You can stabilize as above, preferably after racking it when it clears some, and then you can sweeten it to the level you where you like it.

Despite some bumps along the way, I think you'll have some good mead in just a few months.

Medsen

akueck
05-11-2009, 12:37 PM
Wow! That's some detailed information. :)

First off, welcome and congrats, you made mead. (darn, Medsen beat me to it again!)

A couple of things that stuck out to me:

Look into no-rinse sanitizers like Iodophor and StarSan. They have short contact times (3-5 minutes) and do not need to be rinsed (thus the clever name). This will save you some time on the front end.

Heat: you don't really need it. Most of us here mix everything at room temperature. This preserves volatile compounds in fruit & honey and eliminates the cooling stage. Adding the yeast at room temperature is also preferable. Huge time savings when you don't have to heat or cool anything.

Aerating: if you added the whole pack of yeast to your gallon batch, not aerating it won't hurt you very much. Oxygen is important during the initial portion of fermentation when the yeast are busy making copies of themselves. Adding 5g of yeast to 1 gallon means that the yeast won't need to reproduce very much (5 g can handle several gallons as you mentioned), lowering the oxygen requirement. Probably no ill effects here. That is not to say you should ignore this step, just that you shouldn't worry about it retroactively for this batch. If you go no-heat in the future, the work of stirring the honey into cool water should add plenty of air. ;)

SG & sweetness: that's a tough one. It really depends on all the other components in the mead, as alcohol, tannins and acid will all dimish the perception of sweetness. When sweetening your mead, do it to taste rather than aiming for a particular SG number.

akueck
05-11-2009, 12:49 PM
Ok, some more stuff.

Flip-top bottles--good choice as they are easily resealable. I like using smaller bottles so I can open one and drink a glass today, then another one tomorrow, and not have most of a bottle still hanging around.

Strawberries: they are rotting! That is what fermentation does. :p But definitely you want to get them out of there once they have done their job. Strawberries seem prone to oxidation (which does indeed taste a little like strawberry rot, ask me how I know...) so once they are beat up and the color is bled out of them, you can toss them. If you want more strawberry flavor, you can add more in secondary. You don't have to crush them up very much--the yeast will take care of that for you. Cutting them in half is good because it exposes the insides but leaves them in pretty big chunks which are easy to leave behind when you rack.

Gardenfish
05-11-2009, 05:28 PM
A little thing I started doing when surfing all the info on this site is to use the Thread tool function and save the threads in your favorites. When you save a thread it gives a prompt where it has the thread mame to save, at this point change the name or add to it whatever you are saving it for. For instance one of Oscarzs brewlogs has a great bit on cap management, so when you save this brewlog change to or add "cap management" to the title so when you go back you can easily find what your looking for. Hope this helps

Gardenfish

Visigoth
05-17-2009, 12:14 PM
Medsen,

Thanks for the warm welcome and the kind advice. Sorry that I brain-dumped on you -- that's the engineer in me. I get overly descriptive but I guess that's a good thing when trying to recreate a specific recipe or avoid making the same mistakes. BTW, I did create a little brew log in the form of a Word document. That doc is mostly a cut & paste of everything I put in this thread. :)

I'm going to head up to the brew store today and will grab another pound or two of honey to backsweeten my meads. I'll go ahead and take new SG readings on meads today and post what I find. There's probably no need to re-read the Strawberry mead since it's completely fermented but it'll be good practice.

One problem I may have backsweetening my meads is I only have 1 gallon glass carboys. There might not be enough room in the carboy after racking to add more honey+water. On the other hand, I've got an empty 2 gallon plastic primary fermenter that I guess I could use to rack the Strawberry mead. That will definitely make it easier to add more strawberries, too. On the other hand, my Orange mead is already in it's 1 gallon glass carboy and I'm not supposed to rack it according to the recipe. I guess I may have to see if my brewstore has any 2 gallon glass carboys (I've only heard of 1 and 5 gallon carboys, though).

Cheers!
Visigoth

capoeirista13
05-17-2009, 01:33 PM
hooray for engineers!

afdoty
05-17-2009, 01:40 PM
A little thing I started doing when surfing all the info on this site is to use the Thread tool function and save the threads in your favorites.

Another thing to try is copy and paste a specific post into a word doc and save it. All the engineers in my department make beer. I'm the only one who makes mead. Go figure......

Medsen Fey
05-17-2009, 04:12 PM
One problem I may have backsweetening my meads is I only have 1 gallon glass carboys. There might not be enough room in the carboy after racking to add more honey+water. On the other hand, I've got an empty 2 gallon plastic primary fermenter that I guess I could use to rack the Strawberry mead.

They make carboys in 3 gallon sizes as well.
If you have more than will fit into 1 gallon, you can store the excess in a PET plastic soda bottle (that is properly sanitized of course), and then squeeze the bottle gently to remove the air then put the cap on. When you rack out of the gallon jug later, you can use the amount in the soda bottle to top up.

Where there's a will, a little engineering know-how will find a way.