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gabefu
03-10-2010, 10:12 PM
I am getting ready to do another batch, and was thinking of using 20lbs of honey for 5 gallon batch with ec-1118 yeast. Just wondering if anyone has used this weight ratio before with this yeast, and how did it turn out? dry, sweet? I normally use 15lbs of honey and have never tried it with more.

akueck
03-11-2010, 12:52 AM
I would say with that much honey (roughly 20% potential ABV) the amount of fermentation you get is going to depend more on your process than on the recipe itself. With good aeration, nutrition, pH control, etc you should be able to ferment most of that sugar, though you're still likely to wind up sweet if you add all the honey up front. Starting at such a high gravity is rough on yeast, however, so your chances for winding up with a very sweet mead are significant.

If you are looking for mead that is sweeter than your previous batches, I would suggest stabilizing and sweetening a mead that started with 15 lbs of honey rather than starting with 20 lbs. Not only is the fermentation management easier, but you're going to be able to control the final product better.

Medsen Fey
03-11-2010, 12:09 PM
Gabefu, are you wanting to end up with a very high-alcohol mead? They are usually pretty harsh and take a long time to mellow enough to become drinkable.

gabefu
03-11-2010, 05:31 PM
15-20 lbs clover honey
1 lemon juiced (for ph), aprox 3 tbs juice.
either apple (fresh), or berries (frozen) I haven't decided, going to be discussed by the group i am brewing with. probably apple.
Goferm
ec-1118 yeast 2 packets
FermaidK
water to 5 gallons.

thats the ingredients list.

What i am doing is having a "workshop", where i will teach the basics of home brewing a mead to a group of medieval enthusiasts. Since they are medieval folks, we will discuss the hot method some, but use the cold method for this batch, so we can get the yeast in same day as the lessons.

It seems like i will not need to go all the way to 20 lbs. I think i will go a bit over 15 though. At 15lbs, i tend to get a dry mead, and i am looking to go a little sweeter this time, and a little stronger.

Just a few comments about the class..
main things i will be hitting upon...
Sanitation, yeast and how it works, basic recipe and instruction on following it, variations of basic recipe, and how they effect the brew.

am i missing anything hugely important to a total newbee?

personal question...i have been hearing about other types of alchahol that can form... causing off flavors? what should i know about this? its never been an issue in any of my previous brews. i tend to do the "period" method.

akueck
03-11-2010, 05:43 PM
Other kinds of alcohol...I assume you mean "fusels" which are longer chain alcohols that can also be produced by fermentation. You'll usually see more of these at higher temperatures (where that line is depends on the yeast strain), so fermenting cooler is typically enough to keep the levels of fusels low. Also, good yeast nutrition helps.

So I'll add two things to your list: nutrition (including oxygenation) and temperature control (or at least observation). Bring a copy of the NewBee Guide and tell them all to visit our site too. ;D

For your recipe, the lemon isn't usually necessary to adjust the pH of the must. You should start in a safe pH range just by mixing honey and water, and fermentation will drive the pH down without the need for additional acid.

gabefu
03-11-2010, 05:49 PM
Excellent, yes, fusels were what the guy at the brew store were mentioning. I should be great for temperature, its early spring in northern cali, and my dark closet runs around 60-65 degrees at all times. The ec-1118 is rated to handle up to 90ish, so i am in no real risk for the fusels. Thanks for the info on the lemon, i will skip it this time and see if i can tell any difference.

Medsen Fey
03-11-2010, 06:19 PM
The EC-1118 can survive up to 90 F but that doesn't mean it is okay to ferment at that temp. If you use it a 90 F you will wind up with a reeking mess of fusel alcohols and phenolic compounds that smell like Band-Aids. You need to ferment at lower temps - below 70 F is great. Up to 75 F is tolerable. If you go higher, and aren't fermenting a red wine, look out.

If you want to have a sweeter mead that is drinkable more quickly, consider using a different yeast; one with an alcohol tolerance that is lower. 71B or D47 might be good choices. With them at 15 pounds of honey they will be at their tolerance level so going up just slightly will leave it a little sweet. They still need to ferment at cooler temps.

If you simply have to ferment at 75+ F, consider using K1V or D21 - you'll still have to age them for a year to mellow out, but the results will be MUCH better.

Medsen

Kee
03-12-2010, 02:22 AM
If you're teaching newbees, make sure you include what it's supposed to look like/smell like as it ferments. I was terrified of infections when I first started out. One of the first things I did when starting was to take note of what infections looked like/smelled like and how to address them so as to (hopefully) not lose the whole batch.

gabefu
03-12-2010, 03:50 PM
We got the batch down, and it is bubbling along nicely. This is my first time using any fermentation aids, and i am impressed. It is less than 12 hours from adding yeast, and my fermentation cap is releasing a bubble a second. I have always used "period" methods up until now, and i have never had a ferment go that fast. Does this mean the total time will be shorter than i am used to? In my experience, using period methods, it takes 6-9 weeks to complete fermentation, sometimes longer. What should i expect here?

After discussion with the group, we went with:
16lbs honey
frozen berries (blueberry, rasberry and blackberry) 1 large handful
ec-1118 yeast started with Goferm
FermaidK
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cinnimon


used the no heat method to prepare.

AToE
03-12-2010, 03:57 PM
I routinely have lag phase end within an hour or two of pitch, and fermentation done in 2-3 days. Now that I've started controlling my temperatures they've slowed back down to a sane pace, and finish out in about 10-15 days.

gabefu
03-12-2010, 04:01 PM
wow, 10-15 days? thats really fast... is that what i should expect here? the mead is in a room that runs 65 degrees roughly...

AToE
03-12-2010, 04:07 PM
If you keep up aeration and make multiple nutrient additions (I don't think you specified amount or timing for that fermaidK?) leading up to the 1/3 sugar depletion mark, then yes, I'd expect that kind of speed, possibly faster.

akueck
03-12-2010, 08:31 PM
Yeah, I'd say mine usually go in the 2-3 week range, though I try to keep things colder than most.