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View Full Version : First Mead Batch: Review/Tips Please!



Meadieval
10-21-2009, 11:10 AM
After doing what I consider extensive research, I decided to take the plunge and go for my first Mead. I read Ken Schramm's book and I don't know how many threads here (awesome info btw guys) trying to soak up as much knowledge as I can. But it got to the point to where it was time to jump into the deep end so here goes:

I saw that a lot of people used the "4 week Quick Cyser" as their first mead and since I love Apple Cider I figured this would be a good one for me too. I'm not in that much of a hurry to finish it I just wanted to use the recipe and guidelines to get me going. I made a few changes for myself.

Ingredients:
2lbs Clover Honey
1 gal Musselmans Apple Cider (Pasteurized/No preservatives)
1/2 tsp of tannin
1/2 tsp of nutrient
1/2 tsp of energizer
1/2 tsp of pectic enzyme
1 packet of KIV-1116 yeast

*First I sanitized all my equipment using bleach (only thing I had). Rinsed it till there was no smell using warm water and let it air dry.

*Then I added my yeast packet to 4oz of 105d water per packets instructions and set a 15 minute timer.

*While that was going on I poured the gallon of cider into a pot and warmed the honey a little bit to loosen it up and poured it in their with it and stirred it for a few minutes until it was dissolved.

*I put the tannin, nutrient, energizer and pectic enzyme into a 1gal glass carboy (I have 4 of them, only thing i have atm) then poured the must onto it through a funnel to about 2/3 full.

*When the timer went off I stirred up the yeast a little bit and pitched it into the carboy. (Temp of yeast had come down to 95 and temp of must was 83) Then topped off with some more must a little below the neck leaving enough room for krausen to work.

*Put a stopper on it and shook the carboy for 5 minutes (ouch) and then set it down and took a reading with my hydrometer. SG came out to 1.090 I was hoping for a little higher but I was too close to the top on my carboy and didnt want to add more honey.

*Put a stopper with airlock on it and set it aside. Temp is 68 in the closet it's being kept in.

*I came back about 2 hours later and I could already see some movement. Foam was coming up and it was bubbling about once every 30 seconds through the airlock. I checked again this morning and it was about once every two seconds with a bit more krausen.

I'm pretty excited, it seems to be going well so far. Any and all tips are appreciated and welcome. I plan to be doing a lot more so thank you for your input.

Medsen Fey
10-21-2009, 11:23 AM
Welcome Meadieval!

Congratulations on starting your first batch. I compliment you for doing your homework, preparing a good plan, and providing an excellent description of your process.

I think you are going to get some great cyser!

My only suggestion for the future would be to consider using a bucket or large container for primary so that you can make batches that are 1.25 gallons or so. Then when you rack out of the primary, you'll end up with a full gallon while it clears so that topping up becomes less of an issue.

Medsen

wayneb
10-21-2009, 11:29 AM
Welcome to the "Gotmead" community, Meadieval!! We're glad to have you aboard!

From your summary of recipe and process, I think you did very well for your very first mead. My only critique (minor) is that it is better to add yeast nutrients only after you see signs of active fermentation. You should allow your pitched yeast to gain a foothold in the must, and then add nutrients. That way you're not nourishing any spoilage organisms before your yeast take off with fermentation.

In this case, with your recipe, I don't think you have a problem. K1V-1116 is a pretty much bulletproof yeast, so it (obviously) cranked right up with no issues.

Meadieval
10-21-2009, 11:33 AM
Thanks for the comments guys!

I actually just started reading about SNA yesterday and probably forgot it a little bit with everything that was going on. I will do some more research on it and try it out on my second batch which I may do here in the next day or so.

Thanks again.

Meadieval
10-22-2009, 10:17 AM
Checked again this morning and it had picked up the pace to about two bubbles every second through the airlock.

I was wondering if anyone could answer the question of if it is really possible for it to ferment out in 6 days as described in the original "4 week Cyser" recipe. Since I had a slightly less SG than it calls for in the recipe, would i cold crash it at the same FG in the recipe or wait until it drops an equal amount from the two SG?

Ex: Recipe SG=1.110 ; My SG=1.090
Recipe FG=1.017 ; My SG=1.017 or wait until it drops to 1.000

Am I overthinking this too much?

Medsen Fey
10-22-2009, 10:33 AM
Well, do you know for sure what gravity level equates to the level of sweetness you prefer in a cyser? If so, you can stop it at that level.

If not (and you'd be in good company here) then let it finish dry. Then let it clear and stabilize it with sorbate and sulfite. After that, you can add honey to it gradually to bring the sweetness up to the level you like best. That way you'll be sure to get it exactly where you want it.

Medsen

akueck
10-22-2009, 11:04 AM
This recipe was my first mead too. ;D

I caught it at 1.016 and crashed it. It was a little sweet but I liked it a lot. The sweetness was pretty well in balance, I thought, and the whole batch was consumed within 6 months. If I did it again I would let it go dry, but stopping it early turned out a pretty good mead.

Meadieval
10-22-2009, 11:13 AM
Thanks guys.

I hadn't thought about it like that Meds... I may end up letting it finish out then. I'd rather be able to control the sweetness like you said.

Meadieval
10-26-2009, 10:27 AM
Today is day 6 of this batch. The foam is considerably less and it is bubbling through the airlock about every 15 seconds or so. I didn't have time to take a gravity reading I just peeked in before I went to work. I was just wondering if that was a good timeline for my fermentation to start slowing down now or if I needed to do something to it.

Thanks for the info.

Medsen Fey
10-26-2009, 11:22 AM
After six days the gravity is probably low and the fermentation is slowing down as a result. Checking the gravity will confirm this.