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Elvish Presley
12-19-2009, 01:29 AM
Hi everybody.

I've made mead a half-dozen times before, and I pretty much follow the same receipe and technique:

15 lbs. clover honey
4 gallons distilled water
2 packets of Lavlin hampagne yeast EC-1118
2.5 tsp of yeast booster
2.5 tsp of yeast food (And no, I don't know what's in it. It's a propietary blend from my local brewer's supply company, and they aren't sayin'.)

So I heat the must to 160 F for 10 minutes, throw in the booster and food, and then let it cool down to 80 F. Dump it in the barrel. Then I activate the yeast by adding the packets to 2 oz. of 100 F water, let it sit for 10 minutes, then pitch it in the must and stir it up for 5 minutes. Cover goes on the barrel and she's all good. Usually get fermentation bubbles in the airlock in a few hours.

For some reason, this time, nothing. No bubbles. I was surprised, because in the bowl, the yeast was foaming up really good after 10 minutes.

So, after 4 days, I went to the store and bought two more packs of Lavlin's. Mixed it up, let it sit for 10 minutes. I dumped it in the barrel with the other stuff, and it exploded, like one of those volcanoes you make with vinegar and baking soda. :eek:

Well, I thought, I'm not going to oxygenate THAT. I slapped the lid on that puppy, and it's been merrily tooting along for a couple of days now.

The question is-will the double yeast affect the batch? I'm concerned about it tasting "yeasty." Also, will the level of alcohol be affected? More yeast beasties means less food to go around-will the doubled population still produce the same amount of ethanol? I've done a little bit of research, but haven't gotten a clear answer on this. Thanks.

Oskaar
12-19-2009, 03:56 AM
You'll find that if you stop heating your honey, and stop using distilled water you won't need the extra yeast.

Yeast need oxygen during the early stages of fermentation to form strong and flexible cell walls that will provide alcohol toxicity resistance, pH regulation and osmotic equilibria between the cytoplasm and the nutrient gradient outside the cell and facilitate the passage of nutrient into the cell and CO2/EtOH out of the cell.

Heating your must, along with killing off proteins and enzymes that are beneficial to fermentation, driving off oxygen and cooking off the subtle floral, varietal and specific honey nuances that you spent good money on, is unnecessary. It is a brewing/period/entrenched method that is unnecessary in meadmaking and in my opinion compromises the quality of the honey you spent your hard earned dollars to purchase.

There are a number of other things that factor in and if you utilize the search engine you'll see what those are. I think your approach is fine as a starting point, but when you want to get to higher quality meadmaking, heating and the use of distilled water don't really lend themselves to strong fermentations IMO. YMMV.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Elvish Presley
12-19-2009, 05:51 AM
Okay! I am very surprised at the "no heating" bit-I was always told that it was necessary to remove any impurities. But with over 7,000 posts, I believe you.

I'm still gonna use distilled water, I think. My local water is heavily chlorinated and flouridated, and I'm just not happy with it.

I'd still like to know about this particular batch-will the final product taste yeasty and have more/less ethanol?

Thanks.

saur0n
12-19-2009, 06:44 AM
Hey Elvish,

Why not use springwater? The tapwater here in Antwerp, Belgium has a very slight chlorine taste as well (depending on the season, in summer it is worse than in winter) so I use bottled water (5 litre bottles which cost next to nothing).

Just my 2 cents :)

Medsen Fey
12-19-2009, 10:15 AM
I'm still gonna use distilled water, I think. My local water is heavily chlorinated and flouridated, and I'm just not happy with it.

I'd still like to know about this particular batch-will the final product taste yeasty and have more/less ethanol?


Most of us around here don't heat our must. It works just fine without heating. As mentioned already, spring water is a good option.

Using 2 extra packets of yeast will not leave it yeasty tasting nor will it change the alcohol level. The yeast will continue to chew up all the sugar until it is all converted into alcohol. Judging by your description of the eruption you experienced, you didn't need more yeast - it was already fermenting nicely.

This is another fine example of why watching bubbles in an airlock is a poor way to monitor fermentation. Using a hydrometer would have indicated that it was fermenting okay. Airlocks and lids are notoriously leaky.

Medsen

dr9
12-19-2009, 10:26 AM
This is another fine example of why watching bubbles in an airlock is a poor way to monitor fermentation. Using a hydrometer would have indicated that it was fermenting okay. Airlock and lids are notoriously leaky.

Medsen


10-4 to that! I racked my stout last night and the airlock fell off when I moved the bucket. I suppose the pressure slowly pushed it up (say that ten times fast). After sampling, I was relieved that the stout had fermented perfectly, with very little airlock activity during primary. I had actually lost some sleep worrying about it.

Oskaar
12-19-2009, 11:58 AM
Okay! I am very surprised at the "no heating" bit-I was always told that it was necessary to remove any impurities. But with over 7,000 posts, I believe you.

I'm still gonna use distilled water, I think. My local water is heavily chlorinated and flouridated, and I'm just not happy with it.

I'd still like to know about this particular batch-will the final product taste yeasty and have more/less ethanol?

Thanks.

Four packets will not influence the flavor in a five gallon batch. I use 20 grams of yeast in high gravity mead in many cases.

Honey is naturally bacteriostatic due to the low water percentage so it does not need to be heated. As mentioned below you cook off the nuances and subtle floral and varietal characters when you heat.

Spring water is a much better option than distilled water since you're buying it anyhow. Minerals make tastier mead, not an overabundance of minerals mind you.

Cheers,

Oskaar

wildoates
12-19-2009, 12:38 PM
Deionized water tastes terrible--why would you want to use it in your mead?

fatbloke
12-19-2009, 02:45 PM
Deionized water tastes terrible--why would you want to use it in your mead?
De-ionized or Distilled doesn't actually taste particularly good, but we all tend to get used to the vague flavours in the water where we are.

Why would you use distilled or de-ionized ? Not sure but I'd suggest it has to do with controlling what goes into the must in the first place.

Yes, I'd agree with Oskaar about a certain amount of minerals etc, but if you're expecting the tiny amount of minerals in the water to make much of a difference, I suspect it's better to be looking elsewhere.

I'm not completely familiar with the hard water terminology completely, though water here is hard, it also has quite high calcium content (relatively speaking) as most of it comes through chalk, whereas "up north", it comes through sandstone or granite type rock and is "softer".

The do say that the best water to use is rain water - well I also seem to recall reading that somewhere, but given that rain water is effectively evaporated i.e. same as distilled so the only "mineral" content would come from air bourne sources, makes the idea of using mineral water a little confusing.......

I would have presumed that all the "minerals" the yeast would need would be coming from the flavouring or adjuncts, certainly not expecting anything from the water......

May be we have someone who can explain this clearly here ?????

regards

fatbloke

wildoates
12-19-2009, 09:37 PM
Deionized (or distilled, if you like) is water that has had all the ions taken out of it--sodium, potassium, etc. It's just H, and O. The flavor of water comes from those ions, and if there are none, it tastes bland. You're completely correct, FB, that we get used to the taste of the water we drink, and that taste has to do with the combination of trace minerals that are in it.

Spring water supposedly comes from "springs" that obviously have various ions in them, but it usually has been purified by some method (although not always) to take any pollutants or nasty biologicals out of it. A lot of it just comes from the tap somewhere, though. :)

Some bottled water is DI with minerals added back in.

It should be noted that the EPA regs for tap water are more stringent than the regs for bottled water (or at least they used to be). I'd find a link but don't feel good enough to. :)

akueck
12-20-2009, 06:53 PM
The ions in the water (at ppm levels) can make a huge difference in flavor. Works for food too--add a pinch of salt and watch the flavors change. I've started adding salts to my brewing water (for beer) to bump up the Ca++ and SO4-- concentrations and noticed a difference right away.

Prolific_Praxis
12-22-2009, 02:36 PM
Okay! I am very surprised at the "no heating" bit-I was always told that it was necessary to remove any impurities. But with over 7,000 posts, I believe you.

I'm still gonna use distilled water, I think. My local water is heavily chlorinated and flouridated, and I'm just not happy with it.

I'd still like to know about this particular batch-will the final product taste yeasty and have more/less ethanol?

Thanks.

Elvish, as you can see I have less than 30 posts. You shouldn't necessarily gauge someone's knowledge by the amount of posts in a forum. I am a very experienced mead maker but I just don't do a lot of commenting in the forums. In THIS case you will do very well listening to Oskaar.