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crimsondrac
07-09-2010, 10:40 AM
OK, I am starting to plan my first batch of non-JAO mead. I want to try to make a pure honey mead, no added fruits or spices, at least not during initial fermentation. I would like for it to finish semi-sweet with an ABV about 14%.

I was looking at either Lalvin 71B or 1CV/D-47. As I am really new to this, I was hoping some of the pros may have some suggestions. I have narrowed it down to these two from just info I have read off websites. I would like some input from someone who actually knows. I am open to other strains as well.

Any advice will be appreciated, even regarding making a pure honey mead.

Medsen Fey
07-09-2010, 10:57 AM
Another readily available yeast to consider would be Red Star's Cote des Blancs. And of course, if you are open to stabilizing and backsweetening, you can use lots of other choices.

What type of honey do you plan to use?
What kind of fermentation temperature will you be able to maintain?

crimsondrac
07-09-2010, 11:53 AM
I have found this really sweet, raw wildflower honey from a local source here in Alvin TX. It will be fermenting in a closet that stays between 70-75 degrees.

I was looking at the Red Star strains but could not really find info on how they finished or if it was for dry wines or not. Will the Blanc finish semi-sweet?

Medsen Fey
07-09-2010, 12:05 PM
Whether it finishes sweet will depend on the starting gravity. This is true of all yeast. Cote des Blancs has a typical alcohol tolerance of around 14%, so if you start with a gravity above 1.105, you'll likely end with some residual sweetness. If you start with a lower gravity, it will probably go dry.

If you can't keep the temp at 72 F or below, I'd avoid the D47. At room temp, it creates fusels that will taste like paint thinner for a very long time.

If you are fermenting in the mid 70s F, yeast like K1V or D21 may give better results, but will require stabilization and backsweetening.

Medsen

crimsondrac
07-09-2010, 12:40 PM
OK, I have to ask because I do not remember reading anything about this in the newbie guide. What do you guys mean when you say stabilize? I have looked about the site, but do not see any mention of stabilizing.

mesquite
07-09-2010, 01:26 PM
Stabilize: Kill the yeast to prevent additional fermentation.

Medsen Fey
07-09-2010, 01:30 PM
Stabilizing means to treat the mead (usually with potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite) to prevent the yeast from being able to reactivate. This means the yeast won't ferment additional sugars added to the mead even if the alcohol level is below the tolerance of the yeast. That allows you to control the alcohol level pretty well.

For example, let's say I want a mead with 13% ABV but I want to use K1V and I want it semi-sweet. The K1V can chew up enough sugar to go to 18% ABV which I don't want. I can make a must with a gravity that has a potential alcohol of 13% (gravity about 1.099), and let it ferment dry (to a gravity lower than 1.000). Then I will let this mead clear, and after it clears, I can add sorbate and sulfite to prevent the yeast from fermenting more. Now I can add honey to bring the gravity back up to the level of sweetness that I like best (based on taste). The sorbate and sulfite will keep the yeast from reactivating and I will have a nice sweet mead with about 13% ABV.

This process can be used with any yeast. It is also probably wise to use stabilization for meads that are made with high ABV yeast that stop short of their alcohol tolerance to prevent them from unexpectedly restarting later.

I hope that helps.

Medsen

Edit - and it doesn't really kill the yeast, but more or less clubs them senseless.

fatbloke
07-10-2010, 03:15 PM
And medsen has already suggest the yeasts to try.....

D21 only seems to be available from "morewine" in home brew sized packs - I think they must be repackaging..... It's as close as you're likely too get to Brother Adams (of Buckfast Abbey fame) "maury" yeast - actually it seems that it's labelled/listed as "maury" yeast on the commercial packs...

The K1V is what Bro Adam moved to when he could no longer get the maury yeast.

So with either, you'd be following in the ways of a fabled "beemeister" (Buckfast might be in England, but Bro Adam was of German extraction, so that's probably a good word/phrase to describe his work)!

regards

fatbloke

PitBull
07-10-2010, 08:33 PM
If you can't keep the temp at 72 F or below, I'd avoid the D47. At room temp, it creates fusels that will taste like paint thinner for a very long time.

If you are fermenting in the mid 70s F, yeast like K1V or D21 may give better results, but will require stabilization and backsweetening.

Medsen
There's not a lot about D21 yeast in this forum. Is D21 a good all around yeast, good for traditionals, mels and meths?

How does DV10 compare for temperature range and versitility?

Medsen Fey
07-11-2010, 07:57 PM
How does DV10 compare for temperature range and versitility?

D21 makes nice mead.

DV10 is also an excellent yeast with the heartiness of EC-1118 but a much smoother taste. It is okay for temps up to about 75F, but above that gets medicinal/fusel odors (in my experience).

crimsondrac
07-13-2010, 12:03 PM
Wow, great info everyone. Thanks for the feed back.

Another thing I have to ask. I know people have been using them for years with little or no effect, but do the stabilizers affect the taste any? I am not a big fan of additives and prefer all natural recipes vs adding in chemicals or other non-natural ingredients. Am I just over concerened about something I should not be concerned about?

AToE
07-13-2010, 12:27 PM
According to people with far greater tasting abilities than I will ever have, there is no taste whatsoever added by the additives as long as they are not used in massive overdoses.

Some of them come in two versions, potassium and sodium - use potassium if possible, as the sodium ones do run a small risk of adding some salty taste to your mead if you have to use higher qtys.

crimsondrac
07-13-2010, 02:26 PM
OK, well I think I am going with the K1V and a bottle of Potassium Sorbate. Any recommendations on the rehydrate? Was probably gonna get some Go Ferm, but if someone has a better recommendation, I would appreciate any suggestions.

wayneb
07-13-2010, 04:33 PM
Go-Ferm is the best easily available rehydration nutrient, so I'd say go with it -- although for what you're doing (and the yeast that you are using - K1V is a beast), you could be fine rehydrating in plain water.

crimsondrac
07-14-2010, 12:42 PM
Thanks for the reply. I guess, this will be my first real mead (aside from making JAO) and I want to go through all the steps so I can get used to it. Because JAO was so simple to make, there were many steps that I did not have to do. Though, I think the recommendation of the Newbie guide to make JAO as your first batch should be changed. Making JOA is simple, yes, but it in no way prepares you for making a real mead. There is no talk of taking SG reading before, during and after. There is no mention of rehydration, stirring, stabilizing, temprature or anything that you have to watch out for making a real mead. I think JAOs should be something you want to make after you have become experienced as making mead, not a beginner's mead. But I do understand why some beginners would want to start with JAO.

PitBull
07-20-2010, 08:05 AM
If you are fermenting in the mid 70s F, yeast like K1V or D21 may give better results, but will require stabilization and backsweetening.
Medsen


D21 only seems to be available from "morewine" in home brew sized packs - I think they must be repackaging.....
fatbloke
Thanks for the advice on the use and sources for the D21. I'm planning to make a braggot and a melomel so I'm going to place an order with MoreWines's sister company MoreBeer. Under "mead yeasts", MoreBeer also lists an IVC-D254. Since it's a yeast not readily available at most LHBS (or most other on-line stores for that matter), I was curious about its versatility.

From what I can ascertain myself, it looks like a good yeast for melomels, but has high nutrient requirements. It's good to 28C (82F), but what is its practical upper temperature limit? How much more nutrient should I add over the "standard" amount. Any experiences/advice with the D254 would be appreciated. I'm going to purchase several packs of D21, but the current heat wave has me looking for some other possibilities as well.

Much Appreciation,

PB

Medsen Fey
07-20-2010, 09:16 AM
What kind of melomel are you making? Some may be quite tolerant of warmer temps.

For traditional meads, do not confuse the survival temperatures listed on the chart with the range at which it will produce good results. I've not used D254 in the heat so I don't know if you can get a good result with it or not, but given that its highest recommended temp is 82F, I doubt it will be good in a heat wave. If you try it, please post up a good brewlog so we can see how it performs.

Medsen

PitBull
07-20-2010, 10:17 AM
Im planning to make a cherry-pomegranate mel using 100% cherry-pom juice as a base. Tart cherries in the secondary and hopefully I can find some fresh pomegranate as well. Ill probably couple it with some alfalfa/clover honey and adjust the O.G. to get 12-14% alcohol potential.

I think Ill steer clear of the D265 and just go with the DV10 since the temperature in my basement is in the mid to upper 70s.