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Zazie Rx
08-07-2009, 04:53 PM
Hi,
I've been intrested in making mead for quite sometime and i finally went out and bought some of the equipment to make it. I want to make a 1g batch Semi-sweet Pomegrante mead with about 12% ABV. Here is what i have bought so far..

Equipment:
3 gallon glass carboys (airlocks/caps ect)
Hydrometer
Fermax Yeast Nutrient
Yeast Energizer
Bentonite
Mini-autosiphon + tubing (still need to order)

52.8 oz of Acacia Honey (processed i think)
100% Pomegranate Juice
Spring Water

Couple questions...
1. What would be recommended yeast to use?
2. I really like the taste of acacia honey, but its very light, in color and taste, what would be the best way to prepare the must? Boiling/Pasturized/no-heat (i read boiling would make for a 'smoother' wine, but it would lose some of its scent, since Acacia is such a light honey, would Pasturizing it be a better option?)
3. If for 14% alcohol, i need aprox 2lb. 10oz of honey, and use a yeast that has a tolerence of 12%, would i also need an agent to stop the fermentation after i rack it? and approx how much pomegranate juice should i use?
4. Any additional ingredients or suggestions?

Sorry for all the questions but i really want to have this all figured out before i go mixing and fermenting. The complete meadmaker is still on its way here, but im really itching to get this thing going.

Thanks,
Kris

wayneb
08-07-2009, 05:31 PM
Zazie, let me recommend that you heat nothing. Those who argue that boiling or pasteurizing must results in a "smoother" mead either haven't actually tried a no-heat method, or they don't have the patience to allow their meads to age an additional few months.

In all my meadmaking practice, the two most helpful and beneficial "new" techniques that I have learned are 1) Don't heat ANYTHING that goes into your must - if you are worried about potential infections, metabisulfite is a much less "invasive" technique. Sure, it is a chemical that you add, but eventually all the added sulfite either becomes bound by other compounds or dissipates as free SO2, so it has no effect on flavor; and 2) use staggered nutrient additions to keep your yeast well fed.

Regarding the Pom juice - make sure that it is 100% preservative free. If the packaging says contains sorbate or benzoate, don't use it. How much that you use is up to your personal taste. Since you're working with a light flavored honey, if you don't want to lose the honey in your juice, then only add a little, relative to the volume of your must. By a little, I mean no more than 1/4 of the total must volume. With something as flavorful as pomegranate, 1/8 of the total volume will provide noticeable pomegranate character.

Finally, I'd recommend that you mix your must to an initial gravity that will yield the % ethanol you desire in the finished product were it to ferment completely dry. Then let it go to dryness, stabilize with sulfite and potassium sobate, and backsweeten with a little more honey, to taste. It is the most reliable way to get consistent results, and if you keep good records, the results are repeatable.

Zazie Rx
08-07-2009, 10:31 PM
thanks for the response, about boiling vs no boiling, i actaully did find a blog of a guy i think from this forum who tried both.

http://www.washingtonwinemaker.com/blog/2008/11/17/boiling-mead-experiment-the-recipe/

The majority of those he tested prefered the boiled mead, i thought it was pretty intresting.

Medsen Fey
08-07-2009, 10:42 PM
Yes that is true, but he was using heather, a dark honey with a pronounced bitterness and boiling it may well have made it more-drinkable faster. Also if you look at the details there was about a 1% ABV difference between the 2 batches which could certainly give a better body to the boiled batch. The aroma was better in the non-boiled version. From my standpoint the honey aroma is one of the most important aspects of a mead, and I want to preserve as much of it as possible.

I'd like to see this repeated with some other honey and with identical ABV. I reckon I'll need to do a batch myself to help us build up a pool of data. Still, I applaud Errol for performing the comparison and for provide some hard data for the discussion.

I really think we need some more data points. Perhaps a group brew would be in order.

Zazie Rx
08-09-2009, 02:05 AM
When backsweeten, i assume I would do this after my first racking? and how would I go about mixing the honey in without aerating the must? or would that not be an issue after i have already added my Potassium Sorbate...

fatbloke
08-09-2009, 12:24 PM
When backsweeten, i assume I would do this after my first racking? and how would I go about mixing the honey in without aerating the must? or would that not be an issue after i have already added my Potassium Sorbate...
I don't know what the others do, personally I tend to get it racked and cleared first (that includes sulphiting and sorbating).

Then when it's nice and clear, I gently warm a 1lb jar of honey and mix it with half a jar of water. If there's room in the fermenter/jug/jar/whatever it's in, I then mix in the honey syrup about 1/4 of a jar per gallon, stirring gently to ensure that it's thoroughly incorporated. Then it's time to take a taste and sample for gravity. Most of my meads have been at between 1005 and 1010 - that's usually sweet enough for me. Anything over that I think of as "dessert" meads (which I've tasted from commercial sources and they've been up to about 1040 and very over sweet/cloying).

If you should want to back sweeten before it's clear, then that's your choice. I just prefer to do it afterwards as you can sometimes get a bit of hazing after back sweetening with honey - which is often a protein haze though it depends on how much processing your honey has been exposed to - raw honey is more likely to haze than processed. I think you'll find that there's an enzyme that can be added to reduce/remove protein hazes.......

When it's at that stage, that's when it's time to put it away to bulk store/age...

regards

fatbloke

Medsen Fey
08-09-2009, 01:38 PM
I like to backsweeten after the mead has cleared. While there is still a lot of yeast floating around, it may taste more bitter, which can lead you to make it sweeter than you might if it were clear.

buzzerj
08-09-2009, 10:32 PM
Zazie in answer to your first question I'd recommend you use Lalvin 71B yeast. Let us know what you decide to use and best of luck with your pomegranate mead.

Buzzer

Zazie Rx
08-10-2009, 06:59 AM
Thanks! I got my mead bible the other day (aka The complete Meadmaker), and it recommended Lalvin 71B as well for berry melomels (Pomegrante is kind of a berry is'nt it? :\), as well as a couple packets of Lalvin D-47 which seemed to be another popular choice. I'm looking forward to the rest of my supplies I have ordered to get here so i can get this thing on the way.

I hope i can balance the flavor right, (im not too concerned about aroma to be honest, id rather have a light armoa then a strong one) This Acacia honey is delicious, but its very mild and very light in color, This will be my first batch of mead but i get a feeling that capturing it's flavor might be difficult to balance with the tartness of the pomegrante juice.

I'll be posting my progress once the rest of my supplies get here. Thanks all :D

Zazie Rx
08-13-2009, 08:51 PM
Well i got all my equipment today and started my mead..

I went with the no heat method
-Started with one gallon of spring water in a sanitized 2 gallon bucket
-added aprox 2.5 lbs of acacia honey
-added nutrients & energizer by the bottles recommended dosage
-took out a small ammount of must, heated to ~100f and used as a yeast starter in one of the empty honey jars for 15 minutes (Lalvin 71B)
-pitched the yeast, shaked it up, stuck an airlock on it and put the vessel in my garage. (pretty warm in there)

The gravity before i pitched my yeast was about 1.080, does that sound about right?

Medsen Fey
08-13-2009, 08:56 PM
Zazie, you don't need it very warm for the yeast to work and you will probably get better results if the temperature is kept below 72F if possible. In the mid 60s may be ideal.

Just for the future, yeast are better off if rehydrated in warm water rather than the must.

Zazie Rx
08-13-2009, 09:08 PM
noted :P

was just going by the directions on the back of the yeast, anyways it appears to be off to a good start, the must is already starting to bubble up a little bit about 15 mins after i pitched it.

edit: *Reads directions again* oh whoops, in WATER ._. oh well, still seems to be going fine.

Zazie Rx
08-18-2009, 09:56 AM
So my mead has been fermenting for about 4 days, I took a gravity reading and it has dropped from 1.080 to 1.050, I tossed in a 1/4 tsp of yeast energizer and mixed it gently. It seemed very fizzy but no foam, after about 10 minutes of resealing the bucket i could see the air lock bubbling again. :)

I am very excited to see the finished product, the Acacia honey has made it a beautiful light yellowish/amber, and when it clears with a cup or two of pomegrante juice i suspect it will be a crystal clear light red/pink wine :)

In the mean time i went to a local meadery/winery tasting near by, and i was blown away by the quality of some his wine.

Heres the meads that he had to offer and the descriptions given on his tasting notes.

Dry honeywines

Taliesin - Elizbethan lemon-ginger metheglin, oaked in french gallnut, champagne yeast, extra hops. Light Body

Mead - Wild flower Honey wine.
*I tasted this, in my opinion it was pretty dry and bland, i guess im more of a melomel or a sweeter drink type of guy.

Woodstone Creek Exclusives

Ginger Honey - Lemon ginger sweet honeywine

Honeymist - Pyment. Cayuga & Honeywine blend
*I tasted this, I really enjoyed this, it gave a sensation similar to when you eat a cough drop and you inhale through your nose, it was really intresting and hard to describe but it definately gave me a "misty" feeling when i drank it.

Raspberry Honey - Lightly Sweet mead & White wine blended with raspberries.
*I enjoy this one so much i bought a bottle of it. Wondeful tasting with a strong raspbery presence.

Legacy - Brandy fortified honeywine 9* brix 19% alcohol. Indy Silver
*This was amazing, despite the high alcohol content, it tasted very smooth. I would have bought a bottle of this but it was twice as much as the above wines :P

Crowne Amber - Brandy fortified spiced honeywine. Liqueur character. Overall best seller, customer favorite. Indy & Finger Lakes International Bronze. 9* brix 19% alcohol.

I wish i had tasted the last one, after re-reading it, it sounded like it tasted even better then the 'Legacy', perhaps next time.

those were just the honey wines he also had a selection of wines, spirits and a bourbon priced at $90, apparently he only made 2 barrels a year of this stuff. I was served by the brewmaster himself, this guy was just a wealth of knowledge on mead. I did learn a few things from him, but for the most part he was 'out of my league'.

the website for this place is http://www.woodstonecreek.com/

wayneb
08-18-2009, 02:27 PM
Interesting website, and an interesting commercial producer. He's obviously intent on entering competitions to have some kudos to cite as a marketing tool for his products - I can't remember if Woodstone entered the Mazer Cup commercial comp last year, but if not and you go back there any time soon, let him know about our little mead competition. ;D

Sasper
08-18-2009, 02:37 PM
It is very cool, I didn't know about him, I live in Ohio albeit very far from this meadery but it'd be worth a road trip sometime.

Zazie Rx
08-20-2009, 12:42 PM
Well the must dropped down to 1.011 from a SG of 1.08, a little over 9% ABV (I was hoping for about 12 but it looks like the most ill get is about 11.5 if i let it go to .99), fermentation has slowed considerablly but im still seeing a bubble or so every minute or so. the 1/4 tsp of energizer that i added a couple days seemed to have done its work. I'm hoping it will continue to ferment down below 1.0 or even .99 dry before the nutrients give out.

its a ~1.2 gallon batch and its been fermenting for 7 days

Zazie Rx
08-25-2009, 10:41 AM
Well it looks like it stopped fermenting around 1.0 gravity, so i cold crashed it, took it out, sorbated and sulfited it, and put it back in the fridge for 24 hours to make sure its not fermenting anymore.

sterilized my 1g jug, funneled in a 1/2 pound of acacia honey and about 2.5 cups of my pomegrante juice and shooshed it around untill the honey was dissolved into it and siphoned the mead into it (and gently mixed it with the wine thief). Though the gravity reading of the mixed mead read 1.020, it did not taste too sweet, i guess that was due to the bitterness of the pomegrante and the very light flavor of the honey. I think if i had used stronger tasting honey, it would be too sweet. It has a light brown color right now and im pretty happy with the flavor, although i think i should have used a little more honey during fermentation to give it a little higher alcohol content.

After a couple months i plan on tossing in some bentonite and help clear it up more and rack it off that before i bottle it.

Thanks for all your help :D my first batch of mead actaully tastes pretty good

Zazie Rx
09-29-2009, 12:54 PM
My pomegrante mead, next to my newer batch of Chai Green-Tea Cyser. (pomegrante on the right)

http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/2881/pict7176q.jpg (http://img190.imageshack.us/i/pict7176q.jpg/)
looks like i wont need that bentonite after all :D

akueck
09-29-2009, 02:36 PM
Very pretty!

afdoty
09-29-2009, 04:53 PM
And it's only $3.95! I'll take two..........