View Full Version : Another Newbee Adventure

08-02-2010, 09:44 PM
Well after my first mead, a succesful JAO I've been obessed with thinking up what flavors to try next. Right Now I have a Vannila-Cinnoman mead going steady.

The JAO had its own stories, added too much honey for a three gallon batch, used 12 pounds total instead of the 10.5 lbs the recipe called for. I'd used a packet of Lalvin KIV-1116 instead of the bread yeast. I didn't rehydrate or anything just threw it right in and gave it a swirl. I used a big aluminum stock pot to dissovle my honey in and also use it to make my root beer. Should I bother buying a larger ceramic or enamel coated pot? I want to try making the JAO again becuase I loved the flavor but I didn't like how it stayed cloudy, was that because of the pith on the orange?

I've got some friends in the SCA that have been attending events for years, they told me I should enter contests with it, even though in my opinion it came out tasting like orange juice and cloudy becuase the recipe called for leaving the pith on the orange.:eek: Dont get me wrong the mead was lovely tasted like candy before i gave it a chance to clear, gave it a month in the fridge and it was still cloudy, all my friends were getting impatient and so was I so I bottled it. Has anyone else had that problem with JAO?

What's everyone's water preference? I like to get gallon jugs of great value spring water, only .88 cents a gallon and i know exactly how much water I'm using.

Vannilla Cinnamon for a three gallon batch started 7/28/10
I dissolved 9.5 pounds of this really dark mountain honey in some warm water
ladled it into the carboy, threw in two cinnamon sticks and a vanilla bean that we'd attempted to split down the middle, only manege to split half of it, fiance got frustrated and threw it in. Added room temp spring water to the carboy up to the top with some room for the head.
Cooled it in the sink with water and ice in the sink. Ghetto immersion cooler. =-P I gave it about an hour long bath in the cool water and pitched the yeast right in and gave it a swirl.

Took the mead up stairs into the empty bedroom, I keep it in a rubber laundry basket/bucket/tub thing just incase something disastrous happens with a black sheet over it to keep the light out from the aqauriums and window. All snug and cozy. 8)

I left for an hour and came back and there wasn't really a klausen, it was more of a foam that happens on the top of a really good espresso shot. The next morning there was no foam at all but there definitely was one. Headless vanilla-cinnamon mead... Any comments on the way the head just dissapeared? When I made the JOA the head sat on top of the floating oranges until the mead was almost done.

Topped it off the next day with almost a half gallon of spring water that I'd mixed in 2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient.

08/02/2010 The airlock is starting to slow down a bit. Am I just at the next stage of fermentation?

I am planning to rack it around the end of august but I'm nervous about taking off the air lock and exposing it to open air, I really want this to come out great because I'm going to take some of it up to Maryland for my fiance's family next time we go up. That's one area of mead making that is kind of grey for me, how to rack and bottle and keep a clean enviorment? How do you clean racking canes and siphon hoses? When I rack it how do I add yeast energizer? How much energizer should I use for three gallons? And how much tannin should I add? How do you add in tannin, how do u add anything for that matter into a carboy full of mead? Just throw it in? How does it get mixed throughout? When I rack it the second time to add in the tannin to start clearing I want to taste it to see how strong the vannilla is. I really want a strong vanilla flavor so I bought a muslin bag to put some beans in and put that in the carboy for a few days and taste it again. I also have some cocao nibs sitting in my cupboard I want to do something with. My fiance got the whim to throw a couple into some root beer we were bottling, that'll be ready tomorrow so we'll see what happens there.

Lately I've been going to sleep buzzing with ideas of what to do next with mead. I LOVE a pomegranate martini. I read that one recipe where she boiled the pomegranate juice and stunk up the house and stained her clothes but has anyone tried using the POM pomegranate juice in making mead? I am tempted to go get a one gallon carboy to play with that idea. But the biggest question is how much juice and how much honey?

All replies greatly appreciated. =-)


08-03-2010, 09:14 AM
Hey, Obsidian! Congrats on your semi-successful first batch of "Faux Joe's." Remember that Joe himself said once you start making changes, then you void his warranty! ;) The reasons why yours didn't clear quickly are hard to pin down, but generally it isn't as a result of the pith in the oranges. Any number of things could have kept residual yeast proteins suspended in the liquid (those proteins and certain polysaccharides called pectins are the usual culprits in cloudy mead), and the best approach to take is simply to wait longer. I've got a raspberry blossom honey traditional that was fermented on oak (tannins usually help to clear things faster, among other things), and a full 8 months after fermentation has finished it still hasn't completely cleared. Some honeys are just like that...

Anyway, if you don't have the time to wait for it to clear on its own you can try one of the fining agents, that lots of other folks use with much success, to clear your mead. I've even used one, called hot mix Sparkolloid, from time to time and it has worked for me.

With respect to a krausen (or lack of one) on your current batch, mead isn't like beer - there are generally fewer proteins in honey than in many fruits and in barley malt, and those dissolved proteins are what help to create a foam cap, called krausen in beermaking, on top of your fermenting must. It is perfectly common to have a small foam layer form on your must in the first day or two of primary fermentation only to have it all but disappear for the rest of the primary period. No worries, this is normal!

As far as your other questions about your batch currently in progress (especially things like the nutrient additions), lots of those very questions have already been answered here in the forum, and some of them have been pretty well covered in the NewBee guide (see the link on the left side of this page). Have you read that yet?