View Full Version : Show Mead Help

10-26-2010, 05:06 PM
Ok, so I mixed up a batch of Show mead on 10/2/2010.

I put in 15 lbs of honey into a 5 gallon bucket and filled it up with spring water. I then re-hydrated 1 packet of D47 for 15 minutes. During which time, I was stirring the must to aerate it. I pitched the yeast while still stirring, but only stirred for a few minutes after I pitched. The SG was 1.113.

Since then, I have been stirring almost everyday to make sure it is getting aerated well. Every day I stir, I get lots of bubbles from the must and every morning I look at it, it has the tell-tale membrane looking bubbles on top. SO I know it is fermenting.

However, I keep taking gravity readings and it does not seem to be going down any. There are a lot of bubbles in the must so I am assuming some of those bubbles are helping the hydrometer float a bit higher. I have tasted it and it is still pretty sweet.

A few days ago, I decide to boil some yeast and throw the hulls in. I was reading a post by Oskaar and according to him, yeast hulls still fall within the guidelines of a show mead. I have not noticed much of a dfference.

It is still producing bubbles so I know it is doing something. THis is my first batch I have used D47 on. Is it just really slow? Any ideas on what to look for? I plan on continuing to aerate until the sugar break but it does not seem to be getting close to that.

10-26-2010, 05:21 PM
Even with bubbles holding the hydrometre up extra, if you're still around your starting gravity then something must be wrong. How much boiled yeast did you add? What temp are you at roughly? What kind of honey, light or dark? (both have almost no nutrients, but dark can have relatively much more nutrients than light).

This is a good example of why my personal opinion on Show meads is that they're essentially Show-off meads for people who are so extremely good at making mead that they can pull one off. Considering the only taste differences in the final product are likely to be negative from stressing out the yeast, and extra sweet because it stuck, I simply don't see the point of Show mead for people who are making mead for themselves (especially beginner/intermediates). I see lots of people attempt them only to be let down - but this is of course just MY opinion! :)

Medsen Fey
10-26-2010, 05:21 PM
Now you know why meads got the reputation for taking months to ferment. The yeast are starving - that's a big reason why it is going slow. This is one reason show meads aren't easy to make, and D47 would not be my first choice for making one.

The "Oskaar in a Nutshell" thread has some good tips on show meads.

You may want to make yourself a big fat starter.

10-27-2010, 10:26 AM
Well, I am cetainly not trying to show off. lol. This being my 3rd batch of mead ever; and my second failing miserably.

The only reason I wanted to try it is because I figure this may be the closest thing to ancient mead you can get. I imagine when the drink was first discovered, it was purely by accident and it was probably nothing but honey, water and yeast. Sure it was probably a wild yeast or bread yeast, but I figured, what the heck.

The Honey is a med. dark south texas wildflower honey. Un-filtered, un-pasturized. Well, I say unfilterd, there are no chucks of comb in it.

I did read Oskaar in a nutshell. That is why I felt it ok to add the boiled yeast hulls. I rehydrated a 5g pack of yeast then boiled for about 10 minutes. Covered and let cool to room temp then added it into the must.

I wanted to try the D47 because I did not want it to go all the way dry. If I used a stronger yeast, it would go dry unless I stoped fermentation early with additives, which would not make this a Show mead anymore.

I know a show mead is not for the weak of heart and honestly, as long as it keeps making bubbles and does not show signs of spoilage, I am willing to wait it out. When I stir, there is a faint scent of alcohol, but it may just be the smell of yeast.

Medsen Fey
10-27-2010, 10:57 AM
Actually it is quite hard to get them to go dry without adding nutrients. It may slowly perk along for 6 months or a year. With a big starter, you can get them done quicker.

Adding boiled yeast can help, but you need to add quite a bit.

Chevette Girl
10-27-2010, 11:37 AM
I combined my first show meads (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16141) with an experiment on boiling the must vs. not boiling it, and yeah, they're taking a surprisingly long time...

10-27-2010, 12:55 PM
I was hoping you'd pipe in CG. I saw that post of yours and was interested in it because you used the D47 as well. Though yours seemed to go much faster then mine. Probably caused you used a Starter.

Is it too late for me to do that to my batch? Can I use must from the current batch or do I need a un-yeasted must to make the Starter? If not, what is a good method for making the starter? Do not remember anything in the newbie guide about that and all the searches I do on the forums mention using a starter, but no one says how.

Chevette Girl
10-27-2010, 01:46 PM
I can't say how show meads with D47 compare with other meads because I think this is the first time I've used D47...

I also knew show meads were more finicky than anything I've made so far, so I made sure the SG wasn't too high, I diluted it to 1.085 with the intention of letting it do its thing and then adding more honey if it was too dry at the end, figuring that even step-feeding it, the D47 should poop out eventually and I shouldn't need chemicals if I have enough patience...

I don't know if a starter would do any good at this point but it certainly couldn't hurt... take another packet of yeast and rehydrate it according to the package for time and amount of water (I think it's fifteen min in 1/4 cup?), then add an equal amount of must to it after it's rehydrated... then every couple of hours, double the volume, you might want to carry this on up to a gallon for the batch size you've got. And aerate the hell out of your starter.

Also, you probably want to aerate the hell out of your must every day till it gets down to about 1.07 or so, get in there with a spoon and splash it around till your arm gets tired, just stirring might not be enough, and check the SG after that (less likely to have bubbles floating your hydrometer on you because this also gets the CO2 out of the must which will also keep your yeasties happy). Gently stirring it till it really starts to slow down might also be an idea to keep your yeasts happier.

My two show mead batches are almost completely cleared up now but they're still fermenting along slowly, I'm thinking of stirring it up to get a better yeast distribution... but it looks so pretty all clear... :D

10-27-2010, 02:12 PM
I will try a starter. Thanks. Is it safe to use the current must or should I mix up fresh honey and water (with no yeast)?

I am stirring it with a whisk. I figure that is the best hand powered aerating tool available. I makes lots of bubbles and does not splash too much.

Your's is sounding delicious. I bet it will taste amazing.

Chevette Girl
10-27-2010, 02:29 PM
Yes, do use your must, the whole point of the starter is to get your yeast acclimatized to the must they're going to end up in...

When you aerate, do try to splash it around as much as possible, it increases the oxygen exposure. I suspect the bubbles you're seeing are more carbon dioxide coming out than air entrainment.

Ok then, sounds like you're on the right track... (like I'm an authority on show meads :P )

10-27-2010, 09:07 PM
OK. I just checked the gravity in preperation for adding a starter. I stirred the crap out of the must to get rid of as much of the bubbles as I could. Loaded a sample into the Hydrometer beaker. It now reads 1.094 so it is going down. Yay. I then sampled some and it actually tastes quite good. Very yeasty, a hint of alcohol and sweet. Looks like my batch just took a bit longer to start since I did not use a starter. Should I still make a starter you think?

10-27-2010, 10:23 PM
If you can effectively aerate your batch, I see no reason for a starter at this point. A starter is nice when you want to grow a lot of yeast in a media that differs from your main fermentable batch, i.e. heavily aerated and probably at a different temperature. If the yeast are going now in your batch and you can get air in there to help, just keep going. If it's hard to aerate, pulling some must out into a smaller container and using that as your yeast-growing-jug would help.

10-28-2010, 04:11 PM
Now you know why meads got the reputation for taking months to ferment. The yeast are starving - that's a big reason why it is going slow. This is one reason show meads aren't easy to make, and D47 would not be my first choice for making one.

The "Oskaar in a Nutshell" thread has some good tips on show meads.

You may want to make yourself a big fat starter.

Hey Medsen, I have to ask. You said here that D47 would not be your first choice, but reading through some posts over in the Natural Mead Making forum, I found a post where you did recommend D47 to a newbie that wanted to make a show mead?


Is the difference is that you have had some experience with D47 since that other post or what?

Medsen Fey
10-28-2010, 05:26 PM
In that particular post, the choice was between D47 and EC-1118 for someone not wanting a real high ABV. In that case D47 looks better to me. But it wouldn't be my first choice. If I used D47, I'd pitch a large biomass.

10-29-2010, 10:58 AM
Oh, I guess I misread that part. I see now. Well, luckily, it does seem like my batch is now fermenting nicely, though there was a huge lag time. If I ever try a show mead again, I will be sure to use a starter.