View Full Version : First time, cyser of sorts

10-13-2009, 06:15 PM

I made my first attempt at mead yesterday, and have a couple questions. Here is my recipe:

12 lbs. honey
2 gallons spring water
2.5 gallons distilled water
~10 gallons fresh asian pears, deseeded and juiced to make 2 gallons liquid
6 tsp acid blend
6 tsp pectinase
6 campden tablets, crushed
4 tsp yeast nutrient
Wyeast 4632 Dry Mead yeast, made starter with 1 and 1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. asian pear juice, and 2 TBSP honey

1. dissolved honey in 1 gallon spring water and held at 180 degrees F for 10 minutes
2. Added 1 gallon of spring water, acid blend, pectinase, campden tablets, and yeast nutrients to must
3. Added honey/water/nutrients, 2 gallons of asian pear juice, 2.5 gallons of distilled water to sanitized fermentation pail, let rest 24 hours before pitching yeast

The Original Gravity is right around 1.100

So I found a good deal on honey and had a free, nearly endless supply of asian pears and wanted to try making a mead. So I constructed this recipe from various parts found scattered around the internet, and am wondering if I am really off-base about anything?

I am planning to rack into glass carboys after the primary, then fine with sparkolloid and rack into tertiary after its cleared, followed by bottling.
I would like to make it sparkling, but am not sure what the best way to go about this would be? I've had trouble in the past getting barleywine or really imperial beers to naturally carbonate, especially after sitting for a couple months, and wonder what the best method is?

Also, the last batch of mead (a blackberry melomel) my brother made was pretty disgusting at 4 or 5 months, really delicious at 8 or 10 months, and then smelling extremely strongly of alcohol and nearly undrinkable after about 14 months when he finally got around to bottling it. Would this be due to oxidation from sitting in a half-full carboy for the time between primary and bottling? Or maybe just from the yeast continuing to ferment until it was extremely dry? I don't think he took readings as it went, so I'm not sure if it actually dried out that much or if something else was going on.

Along these lines, to avoid an excessively dry mead, is it advisable to add potassium sorbate to the tertiary? And if so, is there any other option for carbonating other than force carbonating in a keg after the potassium sorbate has been added?

Lots of questions I know. I greatly appreciate any advice.



10-13-2009, 06:53 PM
Hi! Welcome to the "Gotmead?" community!! Glad you found us, and thanks for outlining your recipe and process - it makes replying to your questions so much easier! ;D

So, let me take them in order:

1) Not really off-base, but in the future I would suggest that you not add acid blend until after fermentation is over, and then only to taste. It really is not necessary at the start of any mead or melomel fermentation, and adding it could actually drop the pH of your must to the point where yeast will not thrive. Especially a large dose like the 6 tsp that you used. So, if fermentation looks like it is becoming sluggish, check the pH and if it is below about 3.2, add potassium bicarbonate or potassium carbonate to raise it up to around 3.4.

2) One other suggestion - if you use an active dry wine yeast (like the Lallemand products) you won't need to bother with a starter. Just careful rehydration followed by pitching directly into the main must is all that is necessary, and the active dry yeasts are cheap, to boot!

3) If you use an assertive yeast (such as EC-1118, a champagne yeast from Lallemand) you should have no trouble getting it to bottle condition. You could even consider re-pitching some acclimated 1118 along with a new charge of honey to promote carbonation. It should work fine. An alternative, if you have the equipment, is to force carbonate in a keg. That would also allow you to produce a sweet, carbonated product that can be stabilized with metabisulfite and sorbate, and thus not re-start fermentation later.

4) It is hard to say what caused the flavor profile of the blackberry mel to change after that 10 month sample, but given my experiences with blackberries, if you do allow the mel to oxidize it will lose most of its fruit flavor (that being replaced with a wet cardboard smell and taste) and all you'll be left with is the tannin from the berry seeds, and alcohol. Wet cardboard, tannin and alcohol taken together really don't taste very good! :p

To allow you to backsweeten after fermentation has stopped (or to make sure that it doesn't start again in the event that it stops somewhat sweet), use a combination of metabisulfite and sorbate. Sorbate alone isn't sufficient to prevent possible contamination problems (use the search tool and find threads containing the word geraniol and you can read all about it), and your assumption is correct; the only way to carbonate once sorbate has been added is to force it under CO2 pressure.

10-15-2009, 03:55 PM
Thanks for all of the helpful information. I pitched the yeast a couple days ago, it started almost instantly, and its now fermenting very nicely with no off or sulphur-y smells that I have read of others having with cyser.
Again, thanks for the help. I'll post my results when I have them.