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Khyber
09-15-2009, 10:09 AM
Someone just gave me a Mr. Beer.. One of the old ones that had the real fermentation lock on it. Any reason that it wouldn't work for my first batch of mead? Thinking of doing a JAO or something in it.

akueck
09-15-2009, 03:04 PM
Oxygen permeability of the plastic container is still an issue. You might be ok with something like JAO that only sits in the fermenter for a few months, though I haven't tried it. If you have an impermeable container (glass, steel, etc), that would be preferable for storage after the fermentation is complete.

If you don't mind the potential for oxidation, give it a try and see how it goes. It would be great to know how long is too long in a plastic container like Mr Beer.

mousetress
09-15-2009, 04:19 PM
I did JOA in the Mr. Beer keg (the newer type without an air lock). One gallon. Seemed to be fine, & I liked it so much & am now making a 2 gallon batch in the same keg. I bottled after 6 weeks as my kitchen is hot & samples seemed to be clear. This next batch I'll leave the full 8 weeks.

I had started a thread asking about it & got some replies warning me about oxygenation but it wasn't a problem. Let me now how yours works out.

akueck
09-15-2009, 11:02 PM
Excellent, good to know! I would still recommend something else for other meads that might not be bottled for 6 months or a year, but I guess 6 weeks is fine.

Khyber
09-21-2009, 10:29 PM
Checked the SG today (pitched yeast on saturday morn.. and tonite the SG was 1.070. No signs of fermentation in the airlock, but there are all sorts of sediment in the bottom and a small film on top. Should I be concerned? I used a couple of gallons of bottled water from WalMart, it didn't say that it was chlorinated.. I hope it wasn't.

akueck
09-22-2009, 12:03 AM
Don't trust your airlock; trust your hydrometer. Unless the seal is very good, CO2 can escape without going through the lock--no bubbles. But it can still be fermenting.

The obvious fermentation sign is bubbles: you can see them hit the surface and hear them pop if you put your ear to it. Do you know what the initial SG was?

Khyber
09-22-2009, 12:11 AM
No, I didnt have my hydrometer at home when i started.. so i dont know what it was.

Was two gallons of water and 5 pounds of honey.. so.. if that can't be calculated.. i dont know.

akueck
09-22-2009, 01:00 AM
http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Itemid=16

The mead calculator! It is your friend.

5 lbs of honey in a total volume of 2.4 gallons (which should be roughly the honey plus 2 gal water) comes out to about 1.077. So if you are at 1.070 now, you definitely have some sort of critter in your mead eating sugar. I'd bet my left sock those critters are yeast. ;)

Khyber
09-22-2009, 01:24 PM
I punched the numbers in, and If I'm right, then 2 gallons of water and 5 pounds of honey is a OG of 1.092.

And it did start burping nicely out of the fermentation lock last night.

So I should add another pound of honey in a few days?

akueck
09-22-2009, 03:01 PM
One thing to be careful about when using the calculator is that the "total volume" at the bottom right is not the same as the volume of water you add. Honey is about 12 lb/gallon, thus my estimate of 0.4 gal for 5 lb of honey. If you added 5 lb of honey to 2 gallons of water, the OG would be 1.077. If you added 5 lb of honey to enough water to reach 2 gallons total volume, the OG would be 1.092.

As for the extra honey: what are you going for? With an OG of 1.077 or 1.092, you should wind up with a dry mead. Adding a pound of honey now may or may not push you past the listed tolerance of your yeast (which yeast did you use?). Even so, you might still end up with dry mead. If you want to get a sweet mead at the end, I would suggest letting this one ferment completely and then backsweetening. Step feeding (adding honey periodically) is a good way to push the %ABV very high; this also means a long aging time.

One thing you should be doing now is monitoring the SG and adding some nutrients for your yeast. 1/3 sugar depletion is a typical place to add nutrients and you'll be there soon. Aeration up to this point is also recommended.

Khyber
09-22-2009, 10:10 PM
So what should my final gravity be?

And as far as nutrients, what kind should I add?

Backsweetening is something I would like to do if you think it will end up dry. I would prefer my first yeast to be a sweet one.

As for yeast, I used the 3184 sweet mead yeast smack pack.

Thanks for all your help in this.

akueck
09-22-2009, 11:19 PM
Final gravity depends on a lot of things, but I'd guess you'd get down to at least 1.010 if not lower. Hard to say without knowing all the nitty gritty details of your process, how fresh the yeast was, etc etc. I have also never used that strain so I can't comment on its performance. You'll find out though! ;)

Many/most of us here use Lallemand yeast nutrients since we use their yeast: Fermaid K is the "all-purpose" nutrient from them that works in most but not all situations. Most brew stores will sell something called "yeast nutrient" and/or "yeast energizer". These can be all sorts of things depending on the manufacturer, and the local store might blend things when they repackage. Nutrient usually contains/is diammonium phosphate (DAP) and energizer is usually a blend of vitamins. I would recommend finding a nutrient that you know things about (what is in it, how much nitrogen it adds, etc); FermaidK is nice since everybody here has used it and knows about it. Typically you are looking at adding about 1-2 g/gallon. Nutrients are necessary because the honey contains basically nothing, unlike fruit or grain which come with nitrogen & vitamins.

Khyber
09-23-2009, 11:27 PM
can you over-nutrient your yeast?

akueck
09-24-2009, 12:09 AM
Yes you can. Basically any nutrient you add that the yeast can't use either 1) winds up in the finished mead (possible flavor implications) and/or 2) serves as nutrients to other buggies. You have to add quite a bit to taste it, so don't worry about adding 3 g instead of 2.

Typically you want to be in the neighborhood of 150-250 ppm of available nitrogen, depending on the OG of your must (higher OG means you need more nitrogen for more yeasties). Very high OGs warrant more nutrients, but most folks don't intentionally go there right away. The numbers that stick in my head are 50 ppm for 1 g/gal DAP and 25 ppm for 1 g/gal FermaidK. GoFerm (a rehydration nutrient sold by Lallemand) adds a tiny bit as well, I think like 10 ppm for the usual dose. The honey itself should add about 10 ppm for typical dilutions. Don't forget adequate aeration too, as oxygen is a very important nutrient during the initial stages of fermentation.

Angelic Alchemist
09-24-2009, 05:43 PM
Typically you want to be in the neighborhood of 150-250 ppm of available nitrogen, depending on the OG of your must (higher OG means you need more nitrogen for more yeasties). Very high OGs warrant more nutrients, but most folks don't intentionally go there right away. The numbers that stick in my head are 50 ppm for 1 g/gal DAP and 25 ppm for 1 g/gal FermaidK. GoFerm (a rehydration nutrient sold by Lallemand) adds a tiny bit as well, I think like 10 ppm for the usual dose. The honey itself should add about 10 ppm for typical dilutions. Don't forget adequate aeration too, as oxygen is a very important nutrient during the initial stages of fermentation.

How do you calculate PPM?

akueck
09-24-2009, 10:01 PM
ppm is the same as mg/L. For nutrients they should hopefully tell you what a typical dose generates (like 1g/gallon of DAP = 50 ppm YAN). If you don't know what is in the nutrient, it's impossible to say for sure what you'll get. That's why I recommend getting FermaidK; we know how much nitrogen it gives you.

Allen Brown
09-29-2009, 01:34 PM
Is Fermax different than Fermaid K?

akueck
09-29-2009, 02:33 PM
Yes, it comes from a different manufacturer. Internet consensus is that Fermax "contains diammonium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, magnesium sulfate, autolyzed yeast." According to Lallemand, "The original and reliable FERMAIDŽ K is a blended complex yeast nutrient that supplies inorganic nitrogen (DAP), organic nitrogen (alpha amino nitrogen derived from yeast extract), key nutrients (magnesium sulfate, thiamine, folic acid, niacin, biotin and calcium pantothenate) and inactivated yeast."

So they are not completely different, but they are somewhat not the same. I am not sure of the comparative nitrogen content, but they are probably not off by more than a factor of 2 or so. If Fermax is what you have, use it. It will be worlds better than not using any nutrients at all.