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View Full Version : First batch of meed. Recipe run down.



RclarkEMT
07-18-2009, 01:10 AM
Greetings. This is my first post on Gotmead.com and let me say, I'm very excited to have found this site. I've been brewing beer for about 10 years now and I'm really looking forward to trying my hand at mead. After sifting through the archive of recipes on this sight I have selected and altered a recipe for my first attempt. The recipe posted as "Crazy Good Mead" (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&recipe_id=42&Itemid=459) in the archive has served for the inspiration for this recipe. Essentially I dropped the ingredient amounts from a 5gal batch to a 1gal batch and raised the honey to water ratio a tad. The altered recipe is as follows:

4 lbs wildflower honey (local)
1 lb blueberries
25 ounces apple cider (pasteurized)
1/4 oz Saaz hops
yeast nutrient to instructions on package
1 packs champagne yeast

Brewing plan (adapted from original recipe):

Bring 1/2 gallon of water to a boil. Add honey, bring to a boil again. Toss in the yeast nutrient and hops and boil for about a half-hour, skimming off any scum that forms on the surface during the boil.

Put berries into a hop-boiling bag. Lower heat to a very low simmer, and toss in the berries, mashing the bag around to break them up some. Continue to steep the fruit for about 10-15 minutes while you get the fermenter ready.

Put the 25 ounces of apple cider into the fermenter when the boil is about done, and then add the hot wort.

Add water to bring the total up to 1 gallon. Let cool, and pitch yeast.

When the gravity has dropped below 0.980, bottle and wait.

Any thoughts on this recipe would be greatly appreciated!

I used the mead calculator and believe my OG should land somewhere around 1.152. This could turn out to be a very strong mead, but my plan is to bulk age it at least 6 months and see where it lands (taste-wise.)

A couple of my hesitations are the amount of hops and whether I should use the yeast nutrient or not. Since this is my first batch I'd like to keep it small (thus the 1 gal. batch.) The original recipe for 5gals calls for 1/2oz hops. I'm just not sure if the 1/4oz for 1gal will be too strong. Also, any thoughts on whether to use the entire yeast packet or not?

Thanks in advance for considering my recipe and any advice/wisdom you may be able to impart. ;D

buzzerj
07-18-2009, 05:59 PM
Welcome RClarkEMT - Boy have you come to the right place! Based on your recipe you should yield a quite high alcohol content in the final mead. With a different yeast your result may be lesser alcohol and more residual sugars left for a sweeter result. You're going to have berry, cider and hops flavors in there and less essence of honey aromas since they will be largely boiled off. What a creation! Try adding some pectic enzyme before fermenting to break down any pectins coming out of solution from the berries which would result in haze. It's kinda the ounce of prevention in this case. One question would be why use hops at all? It looks like you're trying to extract some of their flavor. But they're not going to bitter your final result due to the short time (less isomerization). I just wonder if the tastes are going to enhance each other or not. Without the hops you'll have a berry cyser, a blueberry/apple melomel. You are going to use a boil method here, you could also employ just pasteurizing the must or even a no boil method which would preserve more essence of the honey. Be sure to check out the Newbee guide if you haven't already. Anyway, interesting recipe and on behalf of Gotmead, welcome!

Buzzerj

RclarkEMT
07-18-2009, 06:46 PM
Thanks Buzzer! I'm using the hops becuase the original recipe called for it... and coming from a beer background I thought it could add an interesting twist to the batch. I have been considering a no boil method and may actually do that. The idea of preserving as much of the honey flavor and aroma is really appealing to me.

I have been running around town today and have collected all the supplies/equipment and plan on brewing tonight. The only thing I haven't found is unpasteurized apple cider. I'm considering making my own (or something close to it... or perhaps just apple juice. I'm not too concerned with following the recipe "to the letter," after all this is just a test batch. What I am concerned with is doing things the right way to really get an accurate idea of what I want to do on my first 5gal. batch.

I think I will pick up some pectic enzyme... I actually have to run back to the local brew supply house anyway to swap out the stoppers I bought that don't fit my fermenter.

Thanks for the advice, it's much appreciated!

RclarkEMT
07-19-2009, 12:38 AM
Ok... So I just finished my brew and I'm going to post the complete rundown here:

4lbs Wildflower honey (local)
1lb blueberries (fresh)
24oz organic apple juice
1 stick cinnamon
1/4oz Saaz hops
1 ts. yeast nutrient
(ingredients to equal 1 gal batch.)

I brought roughly 1/2 gal of water to about 160 degrees. added 4 lbs of honey and stirred until dissolved. Left the range heat on low to maintain the 160 degrees throughout. Added berries, hops and cinnamon and steeped for 20 minutes. I put the 24 oz of apple juice in the 1 gal fermenter. After the 20 minutes had elasped I added the must to the apple juice and put the batch in a tub of cold water and cooled to roughly 100 degrees. I then added 1/2 teaspoon of pectin enzyme and pitched an ENTIRE PACKAGE OF YEAST (was that too much?)

I'm pretty nervous about the amount of yeast added... hopefully I didn't do the wrong thing. At this point time will tell. It's airlocked and fermenting...

More info to follow.

RclarkEMT
07-19-2009, 01:12 AM
So, at this point I'm positive that I added too much yeast. Now I'm just trying to figure out what kind of effect it will have on the batch.

afdoty
07-19-2009, 05:29 AM
So, at this point I'm positive that I added too much yeast. Now I'm just trying to figure out what kind of effect it will have on the batch.

You didn’t use too much yeast. With such a high starting SG (1.152), it’s better to get the yeasties going as quickly as possible. It’ll prevent bacteria and wild yeast from getting a “foothold” in your must.

buzzerj
07-19-2009, 01:54 PM
I agree. Your yeast will be just fine. Relax - Don't Worry. This is meadmaking. It's always better to start out with a healthy (large) population of yeast so they can outcompete any other yeast or bacterial infecting organisms. As long as you have the nutrients added to give the yeast the building blocks to make their cell walls, the yeast population will continue to multiply - which is what you want. There is plenty of sugar for the yeast to metabolize but in order to do so, there has to be enough yeast cells to do it. Once you added the yeast and nutrients, the yeast began to start expanding their population by budding. By adding plenty of yeast to start with you just helped them along. A full packet of yeast is fine to add. Now sit back and watch the beginnings of an explosion of activity. Enjoy! Don't be nervous! Have fun with it.

Buzzer

RclarkEMT
07-19-2009, 02:58 PM
You didn’t use too much yeast. With such a high starting SG (1.152), it’s better to get the yeasties going as quickly as possible. It’ll prevent bacteria and wild yeast from getting a “foothold” in your must.


I agree. Your yeast will be just fine. Relax - Don't Worry. This is meadmaking. It's always better to start out with a healthy (large) population of yeast so they can outcompete any other yeast or bacterial infecting organisms. As long as you have the nutrients added to give the yeast the building blocks to make their cell walls, the yeast population will continue to multiply - which is what you want. There is plenty of sugar for the yeast to metabolize but in order to do so, there has to be enough yeast cells to do it. Once you added the yeast and nutrients, the yeast began to start expanding their population by budding. By adding plenty of yeast to start with you just helped them along. A full packet of yeast is fine to add. Now sit back and watch the beginnings of an explosion of activity. Enjoy! Don't be nervous! Have fun with it.

Buzzer

Thanks for the encouragement. I feel much better about it today. It's coming along really nicely and very active. The initial "explosion" is what had me so concerned. I actually had must come up through the airlock. I let the foaming subside and then switched out the airlock for a clean one. Now I just have to wait...

RclarkEMT
07-23-2009, 10:31 AM
This batch is still coming along very nicely (I think ;)) It's incredibly hazy due to the R.W. Knudsen apple juice (http://www.knudsenjuices.com/products/organic_juices/organic_apple_juice) I used. I initially picked this apple juice because of its organic "make up" with out giving any thought to clarity.

I did use pectic enzyme before pitching the yeast, but only a few minutes before...

Obviously this batch is still very new, and I am waiting patiently before racking and bulk aging. I have some bentonite on hand that I intend to use if this doesn't clear up on it's own in a few months.

I've done a good deal of research on clarifying and fining... I guess my question here is if the apple juice I used WILL clear up on it's own?

Any thoughts?

wayneb
07-23-2009, 11:13 AM
It will clear - since you used pectic enzyme, provided the enzyme was not stored at a high enough temperature to denature it - the pectins will eventually break down.

Patience is a meadmaker's virtue! ;)

RclarkEMT
07-26-2009, 03:16 PM
So it's been about 10 days... Fermentation is still active but only bubbling about every ten seconds or so. There is a fair amount of sediment now at the bottom of the jug.

Too early to rack?

buzzerj
07-26-2009, 05:23 PM
Hi RclarkEMT. You can rack off the berries, hops etc. anytime in the 7-14 day range. If you're at ten days now, it might be a good time. Put it in a clean and sanitized secondary gallon glass jug and keep it there a good month. How's it smell? While you are at it check the gravity with your hydrometer to see where you are at. If you want to really get some more blueberry flavor you can rack it onto another 8-16 oz. of fresh washed blueberries in the secondary for another week. That way the flavor of the berries will not be muted by the action that happened in the primary fermentation. It's up to you as I know you want to follow your basic recipe closely. Try it out this way and if the blueberry flavor is muted you might go the other way in a second batch. Congratulations! You're doing a fine job on your first batch.

Buzzer

RclarkEMT
07-26-2009, 05:36 PM
Hi RclarkEMT. You can rack off the berries, hops etc. anytime in the 7-14 day range. If you're at ten days now, it might be a good time. Put it in a clean and sanitized secondary gallon glass jug and keep it there a good month. How's it smell? While you are at it check the gravity with your hydrometer to see where you are at. If you want to really get some more blueberry flavor you can rack it onto another 8-16 oz. of fresh washed blueberries in the secondary for another week. That way the flavor of the berries will not be muted by the action that happened in the primary fermentation. It's up to you as I know you want to follow your basic recipe closely. Try it out this way and if the blueberry flavor is muted you might go the other way in a second batch. Congratulations! You're doing a fine job on your first batch.

Buzzer

Thanks Buzzer. So I racked it off, but I didn't add anymore berries. That would have been a good idea, is it too late?

It smells VERY strong. It actually smells a little "bready" at the moment. I'm not really getting any of the berry, honey or hops aroma, but I kind of expected this with the champagne yeast and short bittering time. I tried to take a hydrometer reading but it just sank immediately to the bottom. I'll need to go get a testing cylinder now to get an accurate reading. The hydrometer sank to 1.040 before hitting the bottom of the 1 gal. jug. My S.G. was 1.127 so I know there is at least 10% ABV. I did steal a taste out of the siphon tube after racking and it taste like rocket fuel!! I may have to back sweeten a little before bottling and this baby is definitely going to have to mellow out for a very long time before it'll be any good.

The journey continues...

buzzerj
07-26-2009, 05:48 PM
If some berries would fit in your secondary you could add some. I'm not surprised that you're not smelling the hops as Saaz is a pretty mild hop anyway. I'd think the berry flavor will be muted in the final mead but can come through in the background once aged. One pound of berries in a one gallon batch is something although blueberries still may be muted through the primary fermentation. If you do add berries in the secondary then the flavor will be more up forward and pronounced. I guess the question is, what might you like best? The result may be fine with the original recipe or if you really like a blueberry taste, you can go that way too. If this is a test batch before a 5 gallon masterpiece, you're at the helm. Not surprised about the rocket fuel you've got now since the yeast is well on it's way to doing it's job, the mead needs to age to change entirely. You will be surprised when you try the end result and can really appreciate the difference.

Buzzer