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ctufano
05-07-2010, 03:05 PM
Okay I tried a few searches to see if I could get the answer before posting... and didnt really find what I needed, so apologies if this is a repost.

So, I started my first meads yesterday afternoon. At work I was talking to a colleague about how I did it (he introduced me to the action) and told him I had a # of honey left over.

..then I realized, I only added 3# of honey to my gallon of mead, that called for 3.5# (JAOM).

Its been less than 24 hours -- should I heat up the honey and add to the must? Or should I just let it go? I'd figure I'd need to shake it to blend everything with the new honey (right?), and dont want to piss off the yeast

Let me know, thanks !:confused:

Chevette Girl
05-07-2010, 03:24 PM
I have made JAO with less than 3.5 lbs honey. I prefer it sweeter so I generally don't go below 3.25 lbs but really, it's all to taste anyway.

In my experiences, adding more honey or sugar during primary fermentation (generally the first week) isn't going to hurt anything but adding it to secondary fermentation makes it take longer to ferment out because the yeast aren't as active at that point.

If you've made more than one batch, you could always leave one as is and add half a pound to the other so you can get an idea of how you're going to want to make it to your own tastes in the future... If your honey is crystallized you may need to heat it but I woudn't drop it into the must hot, that probably would piss off your yeasties, you could melt it with a little bit (1/4 cup?) water to prevent it from re-crystallizing and then let it cool down before tossing it in. If your honey's still liquid, just add it in and stir (sanitize your spoon or stirring stick) till it's dissolved, a little more aeration shoudn't hurt anything.

ctufano
05-07-2010, 04:49 PM
Cool, I'll give it a shot at adding some in and stirring it!

Heres a picture of my first batches side by side. The left is a modified JAO with some bluberries, a vanilla bean and 3/4 orange. On the right is a standard JAO doubled up (except the yeast, its around 1.25tsp

Oh, and I'm making my own vanilla extract with madagascar beans in vodka (as well as some E&J Brandy, but its not pictured)

http://christufano.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/april-6-1.jpg

IrishMonk
05-07-2010, 10:07 PM
Not sure how you will get that extra honey completely liquified without really fizzing up. You dont want any honey sitting on the bottom, and at the same time any action that will really get that honey mixed up good enough is going to make your must valcano on you at this point...

I'm on my first batches also...but I already have some experience to share in regards to this. You might try to just gently stir and stir and stir your must first to try to completly de-gas it. Then perhaps you could really mix the honey, but maybe not. Once the must is actively fermenting, it's pretty unfriendly towards agitation.

just my 2 cents ... good luck !

Chevette Girl
05-07-2010, 11:27 PM
There's probably enough room in that 3-gallon carboy if he degasses it first... I haven't tried adding things to the 3 batches I've got on the go now but even when I get the spoon in they're not THAT fizzy after two days...

DaleP
05-08-2010, 08:06 AM
Not sure how you will get that extra honey completely liquified without really fizzing up. You dont want any honey sitting on the bottom,fermenting, it's pretty unfriendly towards agitation.


There are no worries to having honey sitting on the bottom. The yeast will find it and eat it. Relax

IrishMonk
05-08-2010, 12:21 PM
There are no worries to having honey sitting on the bottom. The yeast will find it and eat it. Relax

I'm relaxed, lol
Just going off what is stated in the newbee guide... just trying to help out.

ctufano
05-08-2010, 12:35 PM
Well, the worst part is its my small jug that I forgot the honey in, not my carboy :(

Additionally, I topped it off with water so its pretty full, and 1# of honey added will displace it even more ... should I dump some water? If I do, do I need to add in a lil more yeast after I add the honey?

Chevette Girl
05-08-2010, 12:57 PM
Hmm. Well, it goes completely against good lab technique but you could always add any excess displaced by adding honey to the small batch to the large batch...

Actually, what I'd suggest if you're worried about meadsplosion is if you can get your hands on another large container, pour off half the small batch into the new container (sanitize first!), mix in the honey, stir that really well, shake the heck what's left of the small batch to get some of the CO2 out of it and pour some of it off into the lager carboy, then pour the honeyed stuff back into the small jug, give it a gentle swirl and away you go!

And if the fermentation's going well I'd think you shouldn't need to add more yeast, they should rise up to the job.

dr9
05-08-2010, 11:29 PM
I think it was Medsen who mentioned Phazyme which is in the pharmacy section of the grocery store, used to treat gas in infants, infant humans that is, and will prevent overfoaming of mead must.

ctufano
05-09-2010, 10:29 AM
Interesting -- I'll keep that in mind regarding managing the foam

I added another half pound of honey and stuck the balloon back on and put on a place in the sink incase it exploded (I've had it in a bottom cabinet in sink).

So far everything looks good! Will be moving back to cabinet soon

Thanks everyone for suggestions!

AToE
05-12-2010, 03:24 PM
I'm relaxed, lol
Just going off what is stated in the newbee guide... just trying to help out.

Dale purposefully does his meads with honey sitting on the bottom, and it supposedly gets some great results. I have a few test batches of his technique in my future for sure, especially for high alcohol meads.

The downside to this technique is 1 that it can help push the yeast past their expected alcohol tolerance (not always a downside) and 2 that it makes knowing what your SG was impossible, and makes figuring out what ABV the mead has very tricky.

akueck
05-12-2010, 03:45 PM
2 that it makes knowing what your SG was impossible, and makes figuring out what ABV the mead has very tricky.

Side-by-side hydrometer and refractometer measurements would calculate the ABV, with a little math thrown in.

The more fun way would be to find 3 friends, same sex, roughly the same size and ethnicity, and have them drink an equal amount of wine (14%), port, sherry, etc (20%), and your mead (x%). Rank them by drunkenness and you'll know if you have less than 14%, between 14 and 20%, or more than 20% ABV. ;D Not scientific, but fun.

IrishMonk
05-12-2010, 04:00 PM
Dale purposefully does his meads with honey sitting on the bottom, and it supposedly gets some great results. I have a few test batches of his technique in my future for sure, especially for high alcohol meads.

The downside to this technique is 1 that it can help push the yeast past their expected alcohol tolerance (not always a downside) and 2 that it makes knowing what your SG was impossible, and makes figuring out what ABV the mead has very tricky.

Ah, I see... thanks for clarifying that AToE. The more I learn the more I realize that there is no "correct" way to this mead making stuff.

Sry ctufano ... I jumped the gun. :)

AToE
05-12-2010, 04:48 PM
That one of my favourite things about meadmaking, is we're right in time for all the major breakthroughs right now. Lots of people have been making great mead for a long time, but apparently the last 10 years have seen many old techniques chucked (like adding acid blend up front) or refined (like nutrients going from all at the beginning to staggered at after lag and 1/3 marks, and now being refined further by several people to near continuous nutrient additions up to the 1/3 mark).

I haven't even been on this site for a year, and I've seen a huge number of experiments take place to improve meadmaking. Should the honey be boiled with the water? Used to be yes, then it became no, and now several people are running side by side comparisons so to see what the differences truly are in practice, not just in theory (hope to do my own soon to add to the knowledge base).

Exciting time to be a meadmaker.

ctufano
05-12-2010, 06:30 PM
Lots of interesting stuff!

My friend from work let me borrow his hydrometer and I just tried to take a reading using his tube.

At first, I thought I was reading 1.9. Now I realize it is 1.09. Temp is at 74, so with temp adjustment, its around 1.094. This is 1 week in now. Is this about where it should be? I dont have an OG reading from when it first started :\

Stuff smells rough. Can def pick up the citrus in it though (btw, this is from my 2 gallon blend not the small 1 gallon with forgotten honey)

ctufano
05-12-2010, 06:45 PM
Another thing -- I felt like the hydrometer was just about to touch bottom in the tube it comes in. I tried with water and found It wouldnt even read at 1.00 since I didnt have enough water in. Added more, spun hydrometer, went to 1.0 exact

Just tried again, went to 1.08 bout even. If needed, is 1.082 with temp adjust. Thoughts?

IrishMonk
05-12-2010, 10:36 PM
ctufano, I certainly do'nt know alot about mead making... on my first 3 batches aswell. But I'm pretty sure that if you do not take an initial gravity reading, then you're flying blind so to speak, as far as how far along your mead is at this point.
The good thing is you have one now, so you can keep an eye on what's happening.

I think there may be another way for you to check the final ABV when your done...
But for now... I'd suspect your close to the 1/3 sugar break ( just going off how long it took mine ) If it were me, I'd give it a dose of nutrient at this point, then leave it alone and let it do it's thing.

Now maybe a more exp Patron will come along and give you some real advice, lol
good luck !