PDA

View Full Version : Preparing to take the plunge.



nocmadman
08-04-2010, 04:09 PM
EDIT.. I believe I posted this in the wrong place I thought i was in Mead NewBees - Post your Questions Here Please! I had to many tabs open


Hello everyone.

Here I would like to place my plans and ask for ideas, clarifications, and maybe get a few pointers.


I have decided I would like to try to take the plunge and make a few mead's.

As I do not know if I want to get deep into this I am going to attempt to do this as simple as possible with already handy items. From looking around on the internet I found this guide located here. (http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/fast-cheap-mead-making.htm) for what appears to be a relatively simple recipe for a beginner like myself to try.

I am planning on starting this in the middle of next month to give myself plenty of time to research and not storm into this possible new hobby blind.

A few things. I plan on doing 2-3 separate 1 gallon containers.

Initial prep work.

The balloon will be replaced airlock and stopper if i can find a stopper that fits 1 gallon milk jug.

The yeast listed to my understanding is a bread yeast i will be looking for some Lalvin D-47. Also 1 package of dry yeast per gallon container feels like a lot is this normal? I see all kinds of info about different kinds of yeasts but little on amounts is it possible to use to little or not enough what could happen.

In the recipe listed. I know yeast can feed on both the raisins and the orange peel. Would it be beneficial to add a nutrient or an energizer on top of the natural foods?

should seeds be removed from orange ?
should raisins be placed in some form of a pouch?
both appear to me as if they could potentially plug the airlock,

Primary stage.

Should the yeast be added directly to this process as the instructions say or should i go through a process of re-hydrating/reactivating the yeast first?

I have seen that alot of people recommend during the initial stages the mix (I believe revered to as the must) should be stirred 1-2 times a day for first 2-3 days would shaking be recommended or only stirring im not sure if oxygen would hurt during this initial stage?

As i do not have a hygrometer I am going to let it sit in this primary container until it stops bubbling I am guessing 1 month to 6 weeks. At this time i will rake it over to a new 1 gallon jug (would you recommend i leave the fruit or remove it?) As I will be unable to tell if this is complete I will install the airlock on this jug now.

As the primary and secondary jug are both 1 gallon I assume there will be more head space as not everything will come over in the process will this leave to much air in the top or will it still fill up with carbon dioxide? should i maybe squeeze the air out? im not sure if the air lock is 1 way or 2 way mechanism I have yet to purchase one.

A friend who brews beer recommended with this small of a batch to not rake it just let it sit in the primary until ready to drink or bottle and only then move it to a new container

At this time I am hoping to see the mixture clear up then I will need to decide if i want to let it sit, drink it or start the process of movement to 20oz soda bottles (yes i truly am trying to go cheap) at the time were a second rack is done on it.


In one of the 3 I thought of trying to add a tea to it possibly the Lipton "Black Pearl" these have a wonderful taste and come in a nice pyramid teabag that would sit nicely in the mixture (they contain Orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea) would it be ok to leave the teabag inside or better to brew it into 1 glass for a while and then add the contents to the must ?


The 3rd gallon I am open for simple suggestions. Preferably something simple or a adaption of the first 2 that I am trying.


I know I am missing out on a few things here mainly proper tools. If this becomes an enjoyable hobby things will get upgraded. Also please excuse poor grammar I am a geek who somehow lost the art of proper writing techniques.

aczdreign
08-04-2010, 05:49 PM
I'm a novice myself, but I've got answers to a few of your questions so maybe this will hold you over until some more experienced members come around to correct me. :)


The yeast listed to my understanding is a bread yeast i will be looking for some Lalvin D-47. Also 1 package of dry yeast per gallon container feels like a lot is this normal? I see all kinds of info about different kinds of yeasts but little on amounts is it possible to use to little or not enough what could happen.
Typically, when you get a pouch of dry yeast, it is reccommended to use one package for five gallons. So, I would reccommend splitting one pack between the three 1gal jugs. You'll have more than enough in each.


In the recipe listed. I know yeast can feed on both the raisins and the orange peel. Would it be beneficial to add a nutrient or an energizer on top of the natural foods?
I think that raisins are used as a natural yeast energizer, I would assume that you wouldn't have to add any more nutrients, but I am not sure about this.


should seeds be removed from orange ?
I would remove them. Word is that seeds can give bitter tastes.

should raisins be placed in some form of a pouch?
This is optional. Some say that pouches are an advantaage, some say it's a disadvantage. Think about how you'll get the pouch back out of the carboy afterwards. If this is possible, use a bag. If not, don't.


Primary stage.

Should the yeast be added directly to this process as the instructions say or should i go through a process of re-hydrating/reactivating the yeast first?
Again, you can do either way, but the pouch of yeast will have instructions for rehydration on the package. I usually rehydrate my yeast in 2 cups of water, a little energizer, a little honey/sugar, and a little lemon juice. If you do it this way, it will be easier to split your rehydrated yeast into three relatively equal portions.

I have seen that alot of people recommend during the initial stages the mix (I believe revered to as the must) should be stirred 1-2 times a day for first 2-3 days would shaking be recommended or only stirring im not sure if oxygen would hurt during this initial stage?
The stirring is meant to introduce oxygen into your must during primary fermentation. The yeast at this stage feed on oxygen in order to reproduce faster. After primary fermentation is done, however, oxygen is detrimental.

As i do not have a hygrometer I am going to let it sit in this primary container until it stops bubbling I am guessing 1 month to 6 weeks. At this time i will rake it over to a new 1 gallon jug (would you recommend i leave the fruit or remove it?) As I will be unable to tell if this is complete I will install the airlock on this jug now.
When you rack, leave all solids behind. Usually, primary fermentation doesn't take 6 full weeks, if you leave it that long you may have off flavors. My meads are usually ready to be racked into secondary after 2-3 weeks.

As the primary and secondary jug are both 1 gallon I assume there will be more head space as not everything will come over in the process will this leave to much air in the top or will it still fill up with carbon dioxide? should i maybe squeeze the air out? im not sure if the air lock is 1 way or 2 way mechanism I have yet to purchase one.
Airlocks are designed to only let air out. That's what the water is for. Your best bet is to make 1.5gal or so for your primary fermentation, and this way you will have enough to fill a full gallon for secondary. If you only use one gallon in your primary, you might end up with 3/4 gallons in your secondary. This is quite disappointing, so I would suggest you use A) a larger primary fermentation that you need for the amount of must (CO2 is released fast in primary, so you dont need to worry about headspace), and B) a larger amount of must than you plan to put into secondary. Example, use a 2 gal carboy for primary, and fill it up to 1.5gal, leaving .5gal headspace. When you rack, fill your fresh gallon jug almost to the top. You can then put anything leftover into the refrigerator. Here, it will settle much faster, and next time you rack, you can fill the empty headspace with this leftover mead instead of diluting it with water.

A friend who brews beer recommended with this small of a batch to not rake it just let it sit in the primary until ready to drink or bottle and only then move it to a new container
See previous answer, I think that will explain his motives in saying this. I would use the advice above instead, to prevent off flavors from yeast cannibalism.



At this time I am hoping to see the mixture clear up then I will need to decide if i want to let it sit, drink it or start the process of movement to 20oz soda bottles (yes i truly am trying to go cheap) at the time were a second rack is done on it.
After your second racking, you will want to let it bulk age (all in the same container) to help your flavors meld together. I would advise you to save empty beer bottles and get a capper (not expensive at all), that way you're still going pretty cheap but you've also got quality bottles to impress your friends. :)


In one of the 3 I thought of trying to add a tea to it possibly the Lipton "Black Pearl" these have a wonderful taste and come in a nice pyramid teabag that would sit nicely in the mixture (they contain Orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea) would it be ok to leave the teabag inside or better to brew it into 1 glass for a while and then add the contents to the must ?
I would steep the tea in the water that you plan to add to the must (should be boiled first anyway). Basically, make tea and pour that in instead of water.


The 3rd gallon I am open for simple suggestions. Preferably something simple or a adaption of the first 2 that I am trying.
I've head Joe's Ancient Orange is delicious and super easy, search the forums and you'll find a recipe with tons and tons of comments.

wayneb
08-04-2010, 06:00 PM
No problem... you're now moved to the proper forum category!

As far as what mead to start out with, if you are not willing/able to invest in the "tools of the trade" at this time (to get, for example, a hydrometer), then I encourage you to look up the "Joe's Ancient Orange..." thread here at Gotmead and follow Joe's recipe exactly for your first batch.

That will allow you to get your feet wet in the hobby with a minimum of investment, and you will then be able to determine in relatively short order if you want to do any more meadmaking. I would advise against doing multiple batches with different ingredients, etc., until you get a batch or two under your belt. Also, I'd strongly advise that you get at least a hydrometer before attempting much more than Joe's recipe. If stuff comes out badly because you're messing with the recipe without the ability to monitor what's going on during the fermentation process, then we're not going to be able to help you much when you try to troubleshoot it.

If you haven't done so already, I recommend that you read the Newbee's Guide (see the link on the left side of this page). It will tell you all that you need to know to ensure that your next few batches have the best possible chance of turning out well. It may even be too much information to digest all in one sitting, so go back and re-read it a few times until you are comfortable with all the processes described in there.

And WELCOME to "GotMead?"!!

crimsondrac
08-10-2010, 01:09 PM
I am a relative newbee to this hobby as well, but here is some of my experience about it.

I wanted to start out small too, but I learned making a 1 gallon batches does not yield very much mead in the end. You will lose some to the fruit you put in there and the dead yeast as the end of the fermentation. If you are lucky, you will still end up with enough mead to fill 2 or 3 bottles, 4 if you are lucky. If that is all you are shooting for, great. But in the end you do a lot of work for just a few bottles. You can do the same about of work for a 3 gallon or 5 gallon batch and yield much more drinkable mead when you are done.

As far as yeast packets go, most packets say good for 1 to 5 gallons of must. Even if I am making 1 gallon, I do not bother splitting it. It is cheap and a good way to make sure you have plenty of em in your must.

I did not use any pouches when adding stuff into my meads. You will be filtering all that through some cheese cloth, or similar, anyways. So anything floating in your must will get filtered out.

Also, I do not use carboys. I do not like having to fight with the narrow mouth when adding or removing fruit, etc. For the 1 gallon batches, I bought these 1 gallon jars from Uline. They are like the industrial sized pickle jars you see at Walmart sometimes, but brand new. No pickle smell. For larger 5 gallon batches, I found these really great large, food grade, clear buckets. You can see them in another post I made titled New Buckets.