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Wild Duk
10-22-2009, 03:38 PM
I've been brewing beer and making wine for about 3 years, and want to try Mead out.

Got a few thing for a basic Dry Mead recipe. And I have a few questions...

1. Yeast starter, the recipe says to pitch yeast in about 1 cup of warm orange juice......haven't read this anywhere yet.....

2. Do I have to heat the honey to pasteurize. I thought I read where you could add some K-meta and mix, with no need to heat....

3. What do you guys use to top off carboys. Since this will be my first mead, I have no extra lying around to top off with....

Thanks,

looking foreward to mead making and this forum....

Arcanum
10-22-2009, 03:55 PM
It sounds like you're using a fairly old recipe. Can you post or link to the whole thing?

A common practice is to prep the yeast in a cup of warm water with some Go-Ferm or similar yeast energizer in it, then add other nutrients to the must after the lag phase (mead musts are very nutrient-poor). The warm orange juice thing sounds vaguely familiar, but it's not really the norm.

As a rule, as long as you're fairly religious about sanitizing your equipment it is unnecessary to add K-meta or pasteurize. Honey itself has nontrivial antimicrobial properties for various reasons.

I've heard of using sanitized glass beads to fill empty space in a carboy. One way to avoid having empty space to fill is to do most or all your fermentation in a 6.5 gallon plastic fermenter and actually make 5.5 gallon batches instead of 5 gallon batches.

If you don't have it yet, I very strongly recommend picking up and reading The Compleat Meadmaker (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1279&Itemid=419). It is as close to a meadmaking bible as such a rapidly developing hobby as meadmaking has.

Oskaar
10-22-2009, 03:56 PM
I've been brewing beer and making wine for about 3 years, and want to try Mead out.

Got a few thing for a basic Dry Mead recipe. And I have a few questions...

1. Yeast starter, the recipe says to pitch yeast in about 1 cup of warm orange juice......haven't read this anywhere yet.....

2. Do I have to heat the honey to pasteurize. I thought I read where you could add some K-meta and mix, with no need to heat....

3. What do you guys use to top off carboys. Since this will be my first mead, I have no extra lying around to top off with....

Thanks,

looking foreward to mead making and this forum....

1. Bad idea, rehydrate your yeast in 104 F water, stir and allow to stand for 15 minutes. You may also rehydrate in a nutrient specifically-designed for wine yeast rehydration. Anything with sugar, acid, DAP and other "traditional" rehydration methods do more harm than good to your yeast. This stresses your yeast from the beginning and results in unpredictable ferments, stuck ferments, slow ferments and yeast stress off flavors.

2. Honey is bacterio-static and resistant to infection naturally because of the very low water content. You don't' need to heat your honey. Heating the honey has been proven to drive off varietal characters, floral characters, along with many enzymes, proteins and other factors that contribute to a strong fermentation. Using a selected yeast strain (Active Dry Yeast like ICV-D47, EC-1118, etc.) will give you a strong advantage over other competing spoilage yeast and organisms. This is because selected yeasts are bred to out-compete other organisms and spoilage yeast. Many selected yeasts also produce a mitochondrial protein that will kill off other yeasts that are sensitive to the kill factor.

3. I make extra to top off with, but I don't sweat it if I don't have the carboy full to the neck. Mead is very resistant to oxidation. That doesn't mean you can be sloppy by any means, but, it is not as prone to oxidation as wine or beer can be.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Wild Duk
10-22-2009, 04:01 PM
The recipe is from the book "Making Wild Wines and Mead" by Pattie Vargas & Rich Gulling.

Its a very basic recipe, and doesn't even mention S.G.'s ect.

Just calles for:
2.5 lbs. orange-blossom honey
1 tsp. acid blend
1 tsp. pectic enzyme
1 Campden tablet
1 pack yeast
1 tsp. yeast nutrient
1.5 cups orange juice
1/4 tsp tannin

afdoty
10-22-2009, 04:26 PM
The recipe is from the book "Making Wild Wines and Mead" by Pattie Vargas & Rich Gulling.

Its a very basic recipe, and doesn't even mention S.G.'s ect.

Just calles for:
2.5 lbs. orange-blossom honey
1 tsp. acid blend
1 tsp. pectic enzyme
1 Campden tablet
1 pack yeast
1 tsp. yeast nutrient
1.5 cups orange juice
1/4 tsp tannin

Forget the acid blend.... you don't need it up front (and maybe not at all). There's no need for pectic enzymes (there's not pectin’s). I wouldn't bother with the Camden tablet (like Oskaar says). Rehydrate your yeast in warm water... hey the NewBee guide is a great thing...did you read it yet? The orange juice is cool and so is a little tannin (is it grape tannin?).

Seriously though, read through the guide....it has tons of great info.

Angelic Alchemist
10-22-2009, 05:28 PM
Many selected yeasts also produce a mitochondrial protein that will kill off other yeasts that are sensitive to the kill factor.

Wha?? Really? Wow, how cool! Elaborate, please?? Do you mean the mitochondria produces the protein from its y-DNA? Got an article about it?

Wild Duk
10-22-2009, 05:41 PM
huh? what?

Angelic Alchemist
10-22-2009, 05:47 PM
huh? what?

I'm sorry. I have a nasty habit of asking questions that aren't really very interesting to most people. Don't worry about that for now. It's a really obscure inquiry that has almost nothing to do with mead-making basics.

Again, I appologize. I can explain if you are interested, but won't be offended if you aren't. 8)

Arcanum
10-22-2009, 06:31 PM
Wha?? Really? Wow, how cool! Elaborate, please?? Do you mean the mitochondria produces the protein from its y-DNA? Got an article about it?

I don't know about his terminology and the specific methods, but there are strains of "killer" yeast that actively try to kill off other yeasts and infectious organisms. Lalvin K1V-1116 (Montpellier) is one.

Oskaar
10-22-2009, 07:22 PM
Hey AA,

Do a forum search on mitochondria using Oskaar as the author.

Also, look through the Mead Lovers Digest, I believe I wrote something at more length in one of them last year sometime.

My information came from articles in the AJEV (American Journal of Enology and Viticulture).

Cheers,

Oskaar

Wild Duk
10-22-2009, 07:30 PM
Back to my list of questions, I see no mention of Degassing mead as you would do with wine.....

Do you do this with mead...

Thx

Medsen Fey
10-22-2009, 07:53 PM
Old article on Killer factor Here (http://mic.sgmjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/51/1/115).
Newer article Here (http://cmr.asm.org/cgi/reprint/10/3/369.pdf).

Welcome to GotMead Wild Duk!

As you may have noticed, we spend a lot of time trying to understand best practices for mead fermentations, which do differ some from beer or wine. You have gotten some good advice so far for your batch.

1. Rehydrate the yeast properly and pitch them in. You don't need a starter.
2. You don't need to add sulfites pre-fermentation, and you don't need to boil or heat must.
3. Leave the acid out pre-fermentation. Mead musts have a tendency to drop the pH to levels too low for healthy yeast function and adding acid exacerbates the problem. When fermentation is done, add acid to get the flavor you like.
4. Aerate the must during fermentation. Yes, brewing heresy! During the first 1/3 of fermentation aerating will help the yeast multiply and develop higher alcohol tolerance.
5. Scale the batch up to 1.5 gallons and you'll have plenty to top up with.
6. Use the freshest, highest-quality, least-processed honey you can find.
7. With no fruit, you don't need pectic enzymes
8. Using 2.5 pounds of honey will give you a starting gravity of around 1.090 with an ABV of around 12%. Most any yeast will take it dry.
9. You'll want to age it for at least 6 months to a year for the full flavor and aroma to develop.

Meads do need to be degassed, but generally, this happens naturally during the clearing and aging. If you want to use a lees stirrer or vacuum system you certainly can, but if you leave it to sit and clear, the CO2 usually dissipates on its own.

What yeast are you planning to use?

wayneb
10-22-2009, 07:54 PM
The short answer is, you can, or you can let the mead de-gas naturally through slow evolution of CO2 during bulk aging.

akueck
10-22-2009, 11:39 PM
I am a little late to this thread, but I also have the Wild Wines & Meads book. Some of the ideas are neat, but their processes are pretty dated. They have you do the orange juice rehydrating with every recipe, everything has pounds of sugar in it, etc etc. So look to those recipes for inspiration, but I would suggest not following any of them to the letter. Same goes for other books like Sacred & Herbal Beers--neat ideas but not very good recipes.

Wild Duk
10-23-2009, 07:45 AM
Thanks, the yeast I'm using is Lalvin ICV-D47......My original question about adding some k-meta to the must to sterilize it happened to be in this months BYO magazine. Ironic that the day I go and but the ingrediants for mead, the BYO magazine shows up with tips for your first mead.....

Do most of you oxygenate for the first few days that Ferm. has started. I have a o2 tank and .5 micron stone for adding o2 in my beers. Maybe for the first 3-4 days????

Thanks for the good info....

Medsen Fey
10-23-2009, 08:06 AM
Most of us don't use an oxygen tank and airstone. I don't even use air through an airstone. I use a decidedly low tech approach with a whisk - I open the bucket and WTC out of it for a minute or two. Whatever method you choose, providing oxygen to the yeast is helpful up to the 1/3 fermentation point. So with your batch, aeration/oxygenation should be done before the gravity drops below about 1.060. That could be a couple of days, or it could be much longer depending on how fast the fermentation is progressing.

D47 is a good yeast. What temperature are you going to maintain?

Wild Duk
10-23-2009, 09:03 AM
Temp? not sure....

I ferment most of my red wines at 72-74 degrees.

Medsen Fey
10-23-2009, 09:11 AM
As a general rule, I like to ferment meads at white wine temps, and I typically shoot for low 60s. My experience with D47 is that at temps above around 73F it produces a lot of fusel alcohols with a strong paint thinner character. If you keep it under 70, I find it behaves much better in meads.

Wild Duk
10-23-2009, 09:39 AM
Thanks, will do