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Golddiggie
11-23-2010, 10:03 PM
Alright, I've already posted some on some other threads, as well as have a couple going... All comments (so far) have been very helpful and encouraging...

Now, I've picked up my ingredients, as well as additional hardware, and the honey I'll be using (yikes that adds up FAST :eek: )... Running through the Mead Calculator to figure out how much honey to use in the must gives me the following amounts (aiming for the limits of the yeast)...

Honey is a regional wild flower from an apiary that's just a couple of hours away.

Batch #1:
5 gallon glass carboy
EC-1118 yeast
20 pounds honey
no additional flavor items/elements

Batch #2:
3 gallon glass carboy
D47 yeast
8 pounds honey
3 pounds blackberries (just picked up, couldn't afford to buy more at $5/6 ounce package)
Thinking of adding the berries at the start, during primary fermentation... Looking for a more subtle blackberry flavor, not a 2x4 to the back of the head... Thoughts?

Batch #3:
3 gallon glass carboy
EC-1118 yeast
12 pounds honey
Once fermentation has completed, rack onto toasted black cherry chunks/chips. Thinking of going for a medium toast of the wood. Something I'll have to do myself.
Potential add: 6 ounces dried cherries once fermentation has stopped.
Thoughts?

Interested in any advice on the above batches. Planning on starting all three starting tomorrow (11/24)... If I run out of time, I'll leave batch #3 until Friday. Also thinking that I'll get wild flower honey from a more local apiary for back-sweetening as needed. Also picked up some Wyeast nutrient blend, as per the man at the brewing supply shop... It's what he uses in his mead, so I'm fairly sure it will work well. Total amount is 1.5 ounces, or 42.5g... The food is dated from September 16, 2010 so still pretty 'fresh'...

huntfishtrap
11-23-2010, 10:11 PM
Looks pretty good to me. I would definitely primary in an open bucket covered with a sanitized tea towel.

Good Luck

Paul

Golddiggie
11-23-2010, 10:18 PM
Don't have buckets large enough, or enough of them to do that... Picked up some length of large diameter hose (from the brewing supply shop, so it's not crap) to send into a small bucket/pail for overflow... Or to prevent blow-over (that's what I believe it's called)... Will have to find out (call them tomorrow) to find out if I place the other end into sanitizing fluid, or start with it just in the sanitized pail... Little fuzzy on that part and won't start the batches until I know...

I plan on going back for additional carboys, of the correct sizes (or same sizes) in a month (or so) when the batches are ready for their first racking... Then I'll have the carboys needed to rack as often as needed to get the batches to clear up properly...

Any thoughts on using the dried cherries in #3? Will the amount of blackberries I'm using in #2 be enough to give enough flavor so you'll recognize it? Don't mind if it takes someone a couple of seconds to have the light go on, just don't want them to question what's in it...

huntfishtrap
11-23-2010, 10:25 PM
I read this post before your other one where you explained that you were using the carboys and tubes for overflow. I don't think you have to worry about sanitizing your overflow bucket. I've never used that method, but I'm pretty sure you can use plain water with that method. Sorry I don't have any experience with mellomels yet. But I'm sure someone will weigh in on that for you.

Paul

Golddiggie
11-23-2010, 10:41 PM
I plan on using at least filtered wated in the bucket. Figure enough to at least have the hose ends submerged... Since I'll have three carboys going to the one bucket/pail, I'll be using gaffer's tape to secure them to the bucket. I'm thinking of having them circle the pail, with enough space for me to safely get at it if needed... I'll probably place the lid over the pail, maybe even cutting notches so that I can secure it better (to prevent things from falling in)...

Hoping that these batches will be well on their way to aging before end of spring is upon us... So end of April or early May... Would love it if they were good to drink come June 1st (b-day and all that good stuff)... If not, no real worries, I'll just brew a beer to have ready to drink in time for that. ;)

I can only imagine the reaction I'll get from my sister, mother, and other family members when they find out I'm brewing at home... ;D

akueck
11-23-2010, 10:49 PM
It's not a bad idea to use sanitizer in your blowoff bucket. If you do or don't, either way, keep an eye on the bucket and change the water if stuff starts to get gunky in there.

6 oz of cherries in 3 gallons will probably be barely perceptible as a flavor. Might add some nice pale color though. 1 lb/gal of the berries will definitely not be a "smack in the head" kind of flavor, it will be very much on the light end of the spectrum. 2-3 lb/gal is typical for a "normal" amount of fruit character. Some recipes use upward of 6 lb/gal. (Free run juice from grapes is about 15-20 lb/gal, for reference.)

I would not use fruit in a carboy if there is not a significant amount of headspace (as in several gallons of empty air). Fruit will form a floating cap, which is very good at clogging the neck of narrow containers. It can build up pressure and shoot purple bits all over the room, to surprising distances and some unreachable places (trust me...).

huntfishtrap
11-23-2010, 10:52 PM
I don't know if you need to worry about things falling in. You maybe cleaning it frequently. Check Youtube for blow off tube. You will find a lot of examples. They mostly pertain to beer, but mead can foam as much.

PS, I should correct myself - some did refer to using sanitizer in the bucket.

Edit: akueck types faster than me!

AToE
11-23-2010, 11:15 PM
Lots of good advice already, if you're willing to be talked out of the EC1118 I'd recommend changing to something with a 14% tolerance, just for the reason that you're looking at a much longer aging period on higher ABV and EC1118 isn't always the tastiest (not that it's terrible or anything though). If you're set on going towards 17% or 18% then you're looking good though.

Make sure to read up on your nutrient additions and aeration. Especially if you're wanting to go high ABV those will be essential.

Golddiggie
11-23-2010, 11:18 PM
Thinking that I'll make a bag out of cheesecloth (sanitized of course) to place the berries into before placing into the carboy... Or would I be better off freezing them and then adding during one of the rackings after fermentation has completed? Thinking of seeing if I can use the bottling bucket included with my first 'kit' to house the blow-off bucket... Could cover that with a towel to prevent any 'accidents' from happening...

Did a little digging in the kitchen... I have a few items that I can sanitize and use to get the little blackberries away from the carboy neck as needed... I'm using the 5 and 3 gallon sized units and really cannot afford to go back and get different ones right now.

I could get more berries once the fermentation has completed and add them then. Either all at once, or in two stages...

Was hoping that the dried cherries would add a bit more to the 3 gal batch, due to the fact that they are dried/concentrated... I could get some more to add later, or just leave them out of this batch and figure out something else to do with them... Thinking I'll just use the wood in that batch to see what it gives to the mead. Especially since it will be pretty much identical to the 5 gal batch. Mead Calculator indicated the gravity numbers would be the same between those two batches (helping see the difference the wood makes)...

So I guess the real questions left are: When, and how, do I use the blackberries here? How much impact will they really give? Should I plan to add more once fermentation has completed, getting closer to the 2lb/gallon ratio?

I realize a lot of that is going to be left up to me... I just want to make sure I'm not making any poor decisions, or walking into easily avoidable errors...

I did just check, the bucket (for the blow-off) is a 2 gallon... I'll plan to place a little sanitizing solution in the bottom (perhaps 1/2 gallon worth), with the tube ends resting in that. The bucket and tubing is really more so that I can make the full batch sizes in the carboys...

Oh, and I'm pretty sure there will be a few inches of air in the carboy, before the neck, for head-room... I'll test with water before starting the batches... I like to place level lines on the carboys so that I know, for certain, when they are at the target level...

Golddiggie
11-23-2010, 11:25 PM
AToE, I already have the yeast here, and not really wanting to make another trip to get something else right now... I am looking for a higher kick in the batches using the EC-1118 yeast, which is why I went with it... The D47 yeast, in the melomel is so that it will have a little lower kick... Plus, the fruit should give it something extra for flavor (once I get that figured out/dialed-in)...

Got nutrients, and re-read the pages (on the regular site) about using them... Not sure if I should go with the ratio listed on the nutrient (Wyeast) since it's 1/2 tsp per 5 gallon batch... Also not sure if that will be enough for the entire batch, or if that's what I should add at a time... I believe it's calling out strength for beer brewing, so I'll probably end up using the 1/2 tsp initially, then when it needs more... I can already see needing to use the hydrometer more often on these batches...

Now I 'need to' check and see how high 3 gallons really is on the 3 gallon carboy... I might end up filling to a lower level, to ensure less chance of bad things happening...

AToE
11-23-2010, 11:27 PM
Ok, just making sure!

Golddiggie
11-23-2010, 11:58 PM
Aye... I've been cramming in (into my head) as much good info from this site (at large) as possible over the past few/several days to make sure I'm not going to F it up...

I did a test on the 3 gallon carboy... The 3 gallon line (now marked) is just after the bottle starts to taper up towards the opening. Still almost full diameter, just a hair smaller. I'll mark the second carboy to the same level before I go to use it... I'll do the same test for the 5 gallon carboy before I start in the morning. Better to check and know than have to guess where the level is...

Thinking about contacting Wyeast before I start tomorrow to find out how much, and how often, I'll need to use the nutrient... Actually, filling out the online form now, so that it will (hopefully) generate some activity before too far into tomorrow... I'll also call the shop where I got it all and get an answer from them...

akueck
11-24-2010, 12:47 AM
The little top portion of the carboy is not enough headspace when using fruit. It will float, it will jam the neck, it will be a mess. Start that mead in the 5 gal carboy and rack off the fruit after a week. It puts your larger batch behind schedule by a week, but results in much less cleanup.

Golddiggie
11-24-2010, 12:59 AM
How about using the mesh bag, with ceramic pie weights in it, to contain the fruit? I could still pull the fruit bag out after a week, or so, if that's the best method...

Would I get the same results if I waited until the fermentation is basically completed and add the fruit then? I can freeze these buggers now, if it's going to be a better idea to add them later...

As an alternative, how about using my 16 quart pot for the fruit batch, with a sanitized towel covering it? Just means that I'd make the 5 gal batch first, and the melomel batch after that one (I can use one of my 8 quart pots for the other 3 gallon batch)... I do have the 6+ gallon bottling bucket that came with my first kit that I could plug the hole (where you attach the spigot) and use that. Just afraid of having that much free space above the must mix...

Also, planning on heating the honey up to only 145-150F for these batches... Not going to boil them...

akueck
11-24-2010, 01:38 AM
Extra headspace during primary is of little concern, the must outgasses CO2 to purge the space. You can ferment 1 gallon in a 10 gallon container, no problem. Not enough headspace is a concern, especially when flying purple bits are a possibility. After primary is done is when you need to worry about minimizing (eliminating) air contact.

Using a large stockpot for a few days, maybe a little longer, while the fruit is in should be fine. Same as a bucket, only metal. Most fruits have done their thing in 3-5 days.

Golddiggie
11-24-2010, 01:52 AM
akueck, I think I'll just do that then... The 16 quart (stainless steel) pot holding the melomel must for ~5 days (would 7-10 be a bad thing?)... Thinking of giving the berries a light mashing before adding them... Will see how much the berries are, volume wise, once I have them ready... If it's looking tight, then I'll use the big bucket... Just need to seal and sanitize it before using it... No lid right now, so I'll have to use the towel method there...

I did just read, on another site, that they use 3tsp of yeast nutrient per 3 gallon batch... Does that sound about right? If so, then I'll run a little short with what I have now... That comes out to 13.2 grams per 3 gallon batch, and 26.4 grams for the 5 gallon batch totaling 48.4 grams... The nutrient I picked up is only 42.5 grams... Of course, that's assuming their nutrient is the same weight as what I have... hmmmmm

I have sent off an email to Wyeast asking about using their product in this method... Hope that they reply back soon (tomorrow)... I could add 1tsp (4.4 grams) to the 3 gallon batches, and about 7 grams to the 5 gallon batch to start... Just don't want to use too much, unless that won't cause anything bad.

Just a little more info gathering before I'll be ready to begin... Should still be on target to start everything tomorrow... ;D

Appreciate the advise/comments so far...

akueck
11-24-2010, 02:07 AM
Longer fruit contact starts to pull out more of the bitter tannins. Not necessarily bad, but usually you want to get it off the fruit once you've extracted what you need and before you pick up anything you don't really want. 7 days is probably fine, 10 might be a little long. Taste it and see how it's coming, look a the fruit and see if anything is left, and you can decide if you're ready to move it off the fruit solids.

Assuming the Wyeast nutrient is mostly similar to FermaidK, then 1 g/gal gives you about 25 ppm of nitrogen. 4 g/gal is then ~100 ppm, which is probably the minimum you want to add. If you can pick up some DAP (diammonium phosphate) it will give you twice as much nitrogen per gram and you can add 2-3 g/gal of the Wyeast stuff and 2-3 g/gal of DAP to bring you to 150-200 ppm of nitrogen.

Golddiggie
11-24-2010, 02:18 AM
I'm going to assume that only brewing supply places carry diammonium phosphate... Right? Sucks that I'll need to schlep out to the store again for that...

Should I add the nutrients in stages, or all at the start??

Just re-re-read the section from the main site...

"Dosage:

DAP - 1/4 tsp per Gallon. For a 5 gallon batch, dose the Must at a rate of 1/2 tsp a day for the first three days while aerating. That way the DAP is mixed in and the Must aerated at the same time. 2 teaspoons per five gallon batch is plenty if a single dose is being made before pitching the yeast.

Fermaid K - 1 gram (1/4 tsp) per gallon of Fermaid K at 1/3 sugar break.

Use both Fermaid K and DAP before adding the yeast, especially in lower color honeys. Initially, the nitrogen in DAP is adsorbed very readily. As the fermentation progresses, use Fermaid K and supplement with yeast hulls. The nitrogen from the amino acids (in the Fermaid K) is absorbed more easily further along in the fermentation than from ammonia salts (DAP).

Note that some manufacturers make products that require slightly different dosage amounts, so it is important to read the instructions carefully. Wyeast, for example, have a yeast nutrient that instructs the brewer to use only 1 tsp. for 5 gallons.

Warning – Do not use too much of either or you risk changing the flavor of the Mead and creating compounds that may spoil your batch."

BTW, I don't really mind if the fermentation process runs for a couple of months... I'd rather have a long fermentation time, getting clean, good flavors and characteristics than rush it along with additives... I had already set myself to knowing it's going to be about a year before it could be ready for drinking. I was just looking to start aging it before around June (2011)...

YogiBearMead726
11-24-2010, 03:26 AM
BTW, I don't really mind if the fermentation process runs for a couple of months... I'd rather have a long fermentation time, getting clean, good flavors and characteristics than rush it along with additives... I had already set myself to knowing it's going to be about a year before it could be ready for drinking. I was just looking to start aging it before around June (2011)...

I think you'll find that a fermentation that drags on for months doesn't produce "clean, good flavors"...in fact, I'm willing to bet the opposite. A healthy fermentation=a healthy flavor/aroma profile. The concept that mead takes months to ferment comes from a time when there were no nutrients to add, and you were pretty much stuck waiting that long anyway.

I'm willing to bet that a mead that finishes in a week or two will taste better than one that takes months to finish if you had identical musts and tried them side by side at the one year mark. If your yeast aren't getting the nutrients they need, they are more likely to make off flavors and aromas, some of which may not disappear with age.

So...I'd shoot for quicker, healthier fermentations. That's just my 2 cents.

Medsen Fey
11-24-2010, 10:46 AM
As Akueck points out, the Wyeast nutrient should work, but even using 1 tsp per gallon is light. The directions for most nutrient are based on wine musts. The Wyeast is based on beer wort. Both of those have much higher amounts of nitrogen and other nutrients than do honey musts. You are being given some good advice here, and I would suggest that you heed it. Undernourished yeast can produce a lot of off odors and flavors, and can take forever to ferment.

I don't put fruit in carboys anymore. It can make a fine mess, and have you literally mopping the ceiling, and then it is a PITA to clean out. Putting fruit in a bag into a carboy also tend to be messy.

If you make 18% ABV batches, they probably won't be very pleasant to drink next summer. You'll need at least another year or two unless you wind up making them sweet.

3 pounds of blackberries in a 3 gallon batch is only going to give you a very light hint of berry. I would add them all to secondary to maximize their impact, or it may be too subtle to appreciate.

When setting up your batches to compare the wood vs. no wood, it will make the comparison more meaningful if you prepare the batches the same, starting with the same gravity. You do have your hydrometer right?

Medsen

Golddiggie
11-24-2010, 11:06 AM
I think you'll find that a fermentation that drags on for months doesn't produce "clean, good flavors"...in fact, I'm willing to bet the opposite. A healthy fermentation=a healthy flavor/aroma profile. The concept that mead takes months to ferment comes from a time when there were no nutrients to add, and you were pretty much stuck waiting that long anyway.

I'm willing to bet that a mead that finishes in a week or two will taste better than one that takes months to finish if you had identical musts and tried them side by side at the one year mark. If your yeast aren't getting the nutrients they need, they are more likely to make off flavors and aromas, some of which may not disappear with age.

So...I'd shoot for quicker, healthier fermentations. That's just my 2 cents.

Yogi, probably worth more than 2 cents there...

Looks like I'll do all my prep work before the brewing supply store opens, then give them a call to find out how much of the nutrient to add for mead making, and how often it should be added (or if the method on the main site, here, would work for it as well)...

If they have DAP, I'll either get some on Friday, or get it shipped to me... I didn't see it listed on their online store, but I know that not everything they have is on there...

The Wyeast product is labeled as a "Nutrient Blend"... If I go by the 4-6g/gal (total DAP and blend) mentioned by akueck, that would put me at 12g for the 3 gal batches (each) and 20g for the 5 gal batches on the low end... I would have about 4.4g remaining (planning on going by weight now, might be time to get out the powder scale) which I could add to any of the batches as needed, before getting more...

Should I go for adding the Wyeast as you would DAP, both before pitching the yeast and then each day after (for the first three days)?? If I follow the Fermaid K directions, how much would it be at the start (before pitching)?

I'm also looking to not use any chemicals to stop the yeast. I'll rack it as many times as needed to clear the yeast out of it. Unfortunately, since I live on the second floor of a two family house, I don't think setting it outside will work. By the time I carried it back up the stairs, the yeast would probably be back suspended. Or will it take less time for it to settle than it will to become active again? I also don't think my fridge (it's on the small side, blame my landlord being a cheap ********) so stopping it that way isn't much of an option either. How cold do you need to get the must in order to stop the yeast? I might have a closet (in the kitchen) that gets cool enough to get the yeast to stop... Especially since it's going to be in the 40's during the day, and cooler/colder at night... When it's ready to be stopped, it should be even cooler...

Need to start sanitizing everything soon, then get the honey up to a reasonable, working, temperature...

Medsen Fey
11-24-2010, 11:17 AM
Typically you split up the nutrients, especially if you want maximal alcohol production. You can search "staggered nutrient additions" and find several threads. After you calculate the total amount you plan to add, you can add 1/2 at the very first signs of fermentation, and then you can add the other 1/2 at the 1/3 fermentation point. You can also split it into smaller additions added more frequently if you like, though there isn't much in the way of data to show it gives any different result.

By the way, there really is no need to heat the honey. That just takes extra time and energy.

And to stop yeast reliably, you need the temp below 40F - preferably 32 or below.

Golddiggie
11-24-2010, 11:17 AM
As Akueck points out, the Wyeast nutrient should work, but even using 1 tsp per gallon is light. The directions for most nutrient are based on wine musts. The Wyeast is based on beer wort. Both of those have much higher amounts of nitrogen and other nutrients than do honey musts. You are being given some good advice here, and I would suggest that you heed it. Undernourished yeast can produce a lot of off odors and flavors, and can take forever to ferment.

I don't put fruit in carboys anymore. It can make a fine mess, and have you literally mopping the ceiling, and then it is a PITA to clean out. Putting fruit in a bag into a carboy also tend to be messy.

If you make 18% ABV batches, they probably won't be very pleasant to drink next summer. You'll need at least another year or two unless you wind up making them sweet.

3 pounds of blackberries in a 3 gallon batch is only going to give you a very light hint of berry. I would add them all to secondary to maximize their impact, or it may be too subtle to appreciate.

When setting up your batches to compare the wood vs. no wood, it will make the comparison more meaningful if you prepare the batches the same, starting with the same gravity. You do have your hydrometer right?

Medsen

Thinking of using 4g/gallon of the wyeast nutrient now... I will be calling the brewing supply store when they open today (in about 2 hours more) to find out how much he uses in batches (size of the batch too)... I'll also call the place around the corner to see if they have any DAP or Fermaid K that I can pick up... If so, then I'll plan on 2-3g/gal of each, adding in stages for the first three days... Should I add more (and how much of which) at the 1/3 mark?

Also thinking of adding the berries now, using the 6 gal bottling bucket for the first week/5-7 days (covered with a sanitized towel), then rack off of that into the carboy. I'll test when that batch is ready to age and add more if needed.

Using the mead calculator, it appears that the more traditional mead mixes will have the same starting gravity... Of course, I'll test to confirm that... Of course I have a hydrometer. I also have a good tube for it (didn't have that for the first batch, I learn fast)... I also have a wine thief now, so pulling samples to test (either hydrometer or taste) will be much easier...

I'm going to place my remote thermal sensor into the kitchen closet to see how cool it is today... I have a Oregon Scientific 'weather station' with a sensor outside as well as the second one inside... Lets me see what the temps are without opening any doors/windows... I've been using the spare/indoor one to monitor the temperature around my beer fermentation vessels... Actually, those should be free either Friday, or before the end of the weekend now... Since primary fermentation is slowing...

Golddiggie
11-24-2010, 11:36 AM
Typically you split up the nutrients, especially if you want maximal alcohol production. You can search "staggered nutrient additions" and find several threads. After you calculate the total amount you plan to add, you can add 1/2 at the very first signs of fermentation, and then you can add the other 1/2 at the 1/3 fermentation point. You can also split it into smaller additions added more frequently if you like, though there isn't much in the way of data to show it gives any different result.

By the way, there really is no need to heat the honey. That just takes extra time and energy.

And to stop yeast reliably, you need the temp below 40F - preferably 32 or below.

Ok, so it looks like the different products want you to add them at different times... Such as the some DAP before you pitch the yeast, then more during the first three days. Fermaid K only shows at the 1/3 mark, and Wyeast only mentions how much to add... Oy vey...

I hope that Wyeast replies to my email soon... I realize they're in Oregon, so I'm probably not going to see anything before noon (about 1-1/2 hours away for me)... The local shop (around the corner) sucks... Generic message machine/voice mail system picks up... Just saw, online, that they're F'ing closed today... Wonderful...

If I can't get to the place I normally go to, today, I guess I can just get them to ship me enough DAP/Fermaid K to get through these batches, along with the Wyeast product... I would just, probably, want the additional nutrient to arrive before too far into Friday... Although, I would have enough if I use 4g/gal of the Wyeast (with a little left over to split up between the batches)... I can use the 2g/gal at first sign of ferment (or should I add any before pitching the yeast?) adding more, if needed, before the 1/3 mark... I'll plan on adding the second 2g/gal at the 1/3 mark... I'll also plan on getting either DAP or Fermaid K, or both, before the 1/3 mark... Just in case I need it... The nutrient should be ok if placed into the fridge, right? Just thinking that whatever is left over from this round could be used in the next batch, or batches... Unless it will 'expire' before then...

Oh and for 'heating' the honey... I'm talking about getting it to a state where it will be easier to work with... Like a little less solid liquid... Looking to just set it into the kitchen sink with some hot water around it...

Medsen Fey
11-24-2010, 11:47 AM
If kept dry the nutrients will typically last 3+ years.

You can add nutrients on the same schedule (50% at onset of fermentation, and 50% at the 1/3 fermentation point) regardless of which nutrients you are using. However, DAP is not able to be utilized late in fermentation so adding DAP after about the 1/2 fermentation point is of little value.

In your situation, I would add the 4 grams Wyeast at the end of lag phase, and then add more Wyeast and/or DAP when you get it.

Golddiggie
11-24-2010, 11:55 AM
If kept dry the nutrients will typically last 3+ years.

You can add nutrients on the same schedule (50% at onset of fermentation, and 50% at the 1/3 fermentation point) regardless of which nutrients you are using. However, DAP is not able to be utilized late in fermentation so adding DAP after about the 1/2 fermentation point is of little value.

In your situation, I would add the 4 grams Wyeast at the end of lag phase, and then add more Wyeast and/or DAP when you get it.

Just so that I'm clear, when you say lag phase, you're talking about after pitching the yeast, and fermentation has begun (onset), right? You're also talking 4g/gal, yes? Should be able to get more of the Wyeast on Friday... Should be ok for ~2 days until I can get more of the Wyeast nutrient, right?

Forgive the neebee questions, since I am so very new to all of this... I started brewing just last week after all... :eek:

Just hope I don't need to move before the mead is ready for aging... Can't imagine it will travel too well before fermentation is completed... Not looking to move across the country, but might be moving a few hours away within the next 6-12 months (depends on where I start working)...

Any 'left over' dry nutrient will be vacuum sealed and then stored... Does it need to be chilled, will it harm it if chilled?? Summers can spike around here, so I'd rather have it stable than not...

Medsen Fey
11-24-2010, 12:08 PM
Just so that I'm clear, when you say lag phase, you're talking about after pitching the yeast, and fermentation has begun (onset), right? You're also talking 4g/gal, yes?
Correct! on both counts.


Should be ok for ~2 days until I can get more of the Wyeast nutrient, right?
Yes.



Any 'left over' dry nutrient will be vacuum sealed and then stored... Does it need to be chilled, will it harm it if chilled?? Summers can spike around here, so I'd rather have it stable than not...

If you keep it chilled, it will probably last forever. As long as it is dry, you're good.

Golddiggie
11-24-2010, 12:19 PM
Medsen Fey, good to know that I'm on the right track (after getting a little twisted around)... I'll plan to get more nutrient on Friday... Will it be an issue if I go a hair under the 4g/gal? The package I have only has 42.5g in it... So, I'm about 1.5g short... I can add the extra .5g per batch at the 1/3 mark, or will that little not make a difference? Basically, looking at 11.5g in each of the 3 gallon batches and then 19.5g in the 5 gallon batch... IF I need to make up for the lost nutrient, then I'll need to get two containers on Friday... Then I could add 12.5 per 3 gallon batch and 20.5 into the 5 gallon batch... Should have more than enough for the next time (come Fall, 2011) since I don't plan on making this much at one time again... Probably looking at a 3 gallon batch next time (two tops)...

Still getting good info from everyone posting... This is a GREAT resource... Once I'm working again, I'll be sure to become a patron... ;)

Medsen Fey
11-24-2010, 12:56 PM
... since I don't plan on making this much at one time again... Probably looking at a 3 gallon batch next time (two tops)...

Famous last words. I seem to remember muttering something like that a few years ago.... didn't work out that way for me. :rolleyes:

Anyway, if you go a little light on the initial dose of nutrient, that's okay.

Golddiggie
11-24-2010, 01:25 PM
Famous last words. I seem to remember muttering something like that a few years ago.... didn't work out that way for me. :rolleyes:

Anyway, if you go a little light on the initial dose of nutrient, that's okay.

LMAO!!! I tend to not go half-way in anything I do ("there is no try, just do or do not" -- Yoda)... If I have the cabbage to get the honey, then I'll make the batches accordingly... These first batches will help to sway me towards one side or the other (traditional, melomels, etc.)... I do see, eventually, scaling to the point where it makes sense to age inside wood barrels... Then again, I probably won't want to use oak, so they will be more custom built barrels...

I'll be brewing beer while these meads ferment and age, so it's not like I won't have something good to drink... I do see a braggot in my future, once I have fermentation vessels available again... ;D

Golddiggie
11-24-2010, 02:04 PM
Got an email from Wyeast... They're suggesting/recommending doubling the dosage that's listed on the package for mead (making it 1tsp for 5 gallons)...

I've sent a reply asking for the nitrogen ppm/gram/gallon of their nutrient blend... I think that will really tell me/us how much I'll need to use... It will also determine if I need to go out on Black Friday to get more packages of the nutrient, or not... It's cheaper to go out and get it from the store, then to have them ship it to me and have it on Friday/Saturday...

-- UPDATE --
Got a reply from Wyeast (man that was fast) to my question...

0.5g/gallon gives about 25ppm FAN (free amino nitrogen)...

So, with that in the mix, I should be ok to add 6g in the 3 gallon and 10g in the 5 gallon batches at offset and then again at the 1/3 mark...

I also called the person at the store... He usually just goes for 1tsp/5 gallon batch for the nutrient. BUT, he's using the Wyeast activator package, which probably has additional nutrients (and such) already in it... I'm thinking that the .5/gal dosed twice will do me fine... Also means I have time to get the balance I'll need for the second dosage (can go next week when there are less crazies on the road)...

Medsen Fey
11-24-2010, 07:05 PM
If possible, can you post the details from the E-mail you received from Wyeast for future reference. I have my doubts about that number. 1 gram per gallon of DAP provides about 55 ppm nitrogen for yeast. If 1 gram per gallon of Wyeast provides 50 ppm nitrogen, it would need to be mostly DAP and would look like white crystal rather than tan powder. Thus I question the accuracy of the information provided. I would expect 1 gram per gallon to provide something around 25 ppm.

Even if 1 gram per gallon provides 50 ppm, keep in mind that yeast typically need a minimum of around 200 ppm for optimal fermentation. Using 1 tsp for 5 gallons is nowhere near optimal. The fact that the guy at the LHBS does it that way does not mean it is adequate for optimal yeast performance. Some people don't use any nutrient, but they usually wind up with incomplete fermentation and don't reach 18%. To get to 18% ABV, and starting with high gravity the yeast need a LOT more nutrient, probably 300-400 ppm for maximal biomass. You don't have to take my word for it. There are a whole bunch of threads around here including some in the Patron's area that talk about maximal alcohol production with various references listed and linked to scientific articles that discuss the issue.

One other tip. If you want maximal alcohol, Lallemand makes a rehydration product called GoFerm (and the even better GoFerm Protect). When used to rehydrate the yeast, they perform faster and are more alcohol tolerant. If you want to make rocket fuel, it can help the yeast get the job done.

Golddiggie
11-24-2010, 09:03 PM
I already posted the response to my question about nitrogen ppm/gram/gallon of the Wyeast product... I have to trust the manufacturer (at this point) knowing what's in their product... Not to say the person was mistaken, or thought I had a different product (not sure if they offer any other nutrients by themselves)... I'll start with 2g/gallon after fermentation has begun, and then at the 1/3 mark... I'll check on it as you're supposed to, taking readings, of course, with the hydrometer...

Got all three batches of honey water together and in vessels (the honey was almost solid, so it took some work)... Don't think I'll be doing a 5 gallon batch again... At least not with the equipment I have right now... 3 gallons is much more manageable, and the weight of that pot didn't make the burner stands on my stove shift (it did for the 5 gallon since I was using the 16 quart pot)...

I was planning to rehydrate the yeast as per the package instructions, then pitch it in... Also need to make entries in my brew log for all three batches... I have the tubing cut for the flow-off bucket, which has sanitizer in it. I've sanitized the inside of the tubing and well as the end to go into the carboys. Just need to wring out the towel that's going to go over the bucket with the melomel batch, then tie string around it (butchers twine) to keep it taught.

I'll have to keep checking on the batches to see when fermentation kicks in, so that I can add the food... Then it's onto 'business as usual' for making mead...

Medsen Fey
11-24-2010, 09:35 PM
I already posted the response to my question about nitrogen ppm/gram/gallon of the Wyeast product... I have to trust the manufacturer (at this point) knowing what's in their product...

Actually I was hoping to get their exact language along with the name and e-mail of the contact person to clarify this issue. I believe the information you received was inaccurate as I outlined above.

5 gallons is easier to work with if you aren't heating it.

Golddiggie
11-24-2010, 11:08 PM
I've taken hydrometer readings from the three batches... For some reason, the numbers are lower than I expected using the mead calculator...

Batch #1
5 gallon glass carboy
Temp: 80F
Gravity: 1.110
Balling: 27
Pot Alc: 15
Yeast:EC-1118
1/3 mark gravity: 1.076?

Batch #2 (melomel)
6.5 gallon open bucket with sanitized cloth cover. Will transfer to 3 gallon glass carboy in 5-7 days.
Temp: 82F
Gravity: 1.100
Balling: 24
Pot. Alc: 13
Yeast: D47
1/3 mark gravity:1.070?

Batch #3
3 gallon glass carboy
Temp: 80F
Gravity: 1.120
Balling: 30
Pot. Alc: 16
Yeast: EC-1118
1/3 mark gravity: 1.083?

For the temps, what do you add to the hydrometer readings since it's calibrated for 60F?? According to the sheet that came with the hydrometer, I should add .002 for 77F (so calling it the same as for 80F) and .003 at 84F (using that number for 82F)...

Am I looking at needing more honey in these batches? Or will the nutrient blend help to resolve that? Or would I be well off giving it the nutrients as already planned, and then back-sweeten once fermentation has stopped, and all the yeast has either been stopped/killed and/or removed?

BTW, this honey was TASTY!!

If I'm going to back-sweeten, I'll get the same type from the local apiary, or maybe from the brewing supply place, since it would be the exact same stuff...

I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but would you back sweeten in the carboy, or transfer to a bucket to make mixing easier? I've already cleaned the 5 gallon bucket the honey came in, so I can use that for one of the 3 gallon batches. I can use the same bottling bucket that the other 3 gallon batch (the melomel) is in. I'll have a 7.5 gallon primary fermentation bucket available by then too (I have my first brew in that, due for racking by the end of this weekend)...

wildoates
11-25-2010, 12:49 AM
I put the honey in a pan with some water and warm it up until the honey is dissolved. Then I pour it in. It's the only time I'd heat the honey.

Golddiggie
11-25-2010, 01:12 AM
I put the honey in a pan with some water and warm it up until the honey is dissolved. Then I pour it in. It's the only time I'd heat the honey.

Good to know... When you back-sweeten, how much do you typically add in either a 3 or 5 gallon batch? Or per gallon if you don't do batches that size? How long do you let them blend before adjusting more?

I'm thinking that I'll not screw around with trying to boost things to get more alcohol content, accepting what the numbers are telling me... Once I can confirm that all the yeast is either gone, or dead, I'll back-sweeten the batches as needed...

Does anyone know of a way to clear the yeast out, other than chilling in either a fridge, or freezer, or placing outside (can't be guaranteed the temperatures will be what I need for enough days in a row to place it outside, besides not knowing when that would be), or using chemicals (like sulfites, which family members are actually allergic to)...

Looks like the yeast is coming out of it's lag phase... Time to mix up some nutrient in warm water and add it to each batch... I'll aerate with my immersion blender whip attachment for a few minutes (not too fast mind you) before adding the nutrients... Going with water that's warm to the touch, and no more than 80F... Would that be safe?

YogiBearMead726
11-25-2010, 06:51 PM
I would just backsweeten to taste. What works for someone might not work for someone else. Try adding <.5 lbs at a time, mix it in, and taste. I would also not backsweeten until you've let these age. There are a few threads which discuss the fact that even in bone dry meads, a percieved sweetness comes back after months or a year of aging. That said, if you backsweeten early rather than later, it may end up being too sweet.

All of the methods you listed work alright, only guaranteed method being with sulfite/sorbate. Another good option is micron filtration, something commercial wineries use to get the yeast out. Otherwise, no. Cold crashing works well for some cases, but not 100% of the time. Better to use the chemicals and be safe than not and be sorry, IMHO.

Adding it to water would work fine, it's the yeast that shouldn't be exposed to temp shock. And if you want to play it safe, you could always mix the nutrients with some of your must and add it back in.

Golddiggie
11-26-2010, 01:09 AM
Yogi,

I went with using filtered water (around 80F) to dissolve the nutrient before adding it... Only a couple of ounces of water, if that. I did have to get out my powder scale (used it when I was reloading), set it to grams, after calibrating it, and was able to measure out the amount needed per batch. The thing is so accurate that it was hard to get it exact. I went a hair over on all (by under .2g) the dosages..

Hydrometer readings taken on all three batches between 10:30 and 11pm 11/25/2010

Batch #1 (5 gallon)
Temp: 66F
Gravity: 1.43
Balling: 34
Pot. Alc.: 20

Batch #2 (3 gal melomel)
Temp: 70F
Gravity: 1.085 (original 1.084, adjusted per instructions included with hydrometer)
Balling: 22
Pot. Alc.: 12

Batch #3 (3 gallon)
Temp: 66F
Gravity: 1.142
Balling: 34.5
Pot. Alc.: 19

Aerated all three batches... Used a sanitized whisk for the melomel, and my new aerator for the two in carboy's... In simplest terms, I took a thin piece of silver solder around 3/32" diameter, 3' long, bent it in half, made it bulge more at the end, and secured it into my drill chuck... Cleaned it first (soap and hot water) then sanitized it (letting it air dry)... Ran it into the carboys for 3-6 minutes each, various speeds on the drill (being careful to NOT cause a volcano)... I then reinserted the blow-off hoses, and gave both carboys a good shake... SO glad I used those tubes... :O I have a full tube of foam come out of each carboy into the bucket with sanitizer in it... I'm going to leave them alone until the morning, where I'll put a temporary container for the tubes to sit in, and clean the bucket. Putting sanitizer in the bottom again...

Liking what the new tool I made did for aeration... I'm going to go to the local machine shop before I make another batch and see if I can get them to make the same thing out of stainless steel, welded to a small shaft so that it rotates better... I also think that adding another loop would make it even better... I'll post up pictures once I have that created, as well as what I'm talking about before I use it again tomorrow (in the drill chuck) so you get a better idea...

Is this 'normal' after adding nutrients and sitting for just over 24 hours? Batches #1 and #3 now fall in line with what the amount of honey in the batch should have given for readings. It also means, that if these are correct, that batches #1 and #3 should have the yeast dead before it consumes all the sugars in the honey... Batch #2 is indicating on the lower end of the yeast tolerance, so I might need to do more filtering on that batch...

I will see about renting/using the filtering setup from Strange Brew to see what that would run... Or find out what size filter would work for the size batches I have, and plan in the future...

One other question I have, not sure if this should be in it's own thread, but when you guys use StarSan, do you just let it air dry, or do you rinse it with clean (filtered) water after several minutes? How about when it's inside of things, like carboys and tubes? I don't want to have any left in the carboys or tubes used to pump between carboys. I fear that it will kill some of the yeasties inside what's fermenting (not a good thing right now) or give the product an off taste... I did just mix up a 2-1/2 gallon batch of sanitizer (inside a covered bucket) so that I don't need to mix it up so often... Or at least have enough to clean things before they touch the fermenting products (or even when they're done fermenting)...

Golddiggie
11-26-2010, 03:33 AM
I'm beginning to suspect that the honey wasn't fully dissolved on batches #1 and #3 (did #2 last, not in order of execution since I had already listed them differently, I'm continuing to reference batches by what I posted initially)...

That would explain why the hydrometer readings, today/Thursday evening were so different than when I first made them. The honey wasn't fluid when I started these batches (was a solid mass in the bucket). I had to warm the bucket, and then the containers, of the honey in order to get it into a more working condition. The melomel batch honey was the most fluid of all three by the time I made it. I used a 'double boiler' type setup to warm the honey into a more fluid state. At first, with the 5 gallon bucket, it was hot water in the kitchen sink (changed a few times). Then, as I was able to scoop out enough, I used lexan containers to hold the honey, which could nest on top of other lexan containers that I poured hot water into (not hot enough to cook the honey, just get it less solid)... I did the 5 gallon batch first, heating water to ~140 and pouring some into the 5 gallon bucket (by then, with ~20 pounds of honey in it)... I then poured that back into the pot, stirred while heating it back up again. There were no chunks, and it appeared to be all fluid/in suspension... Obviously, the honey wasn't fully dissolved by the time I took the readings with the first two batches...

I am hopeful that batches 1 and 3 will continue to keep close together in readings. I don't expect to have exact matches, since we are talking about different sized batches... Still, they are closer than they were...

I had to double check the readings, just now... Things just didn't line up... So, looking at the hydrometer, knowing which items I could see clearly (through the foam on top of the must), I've got the correct readings (I hope, will test again tomorrow of course)...
Just listing gravity numbers this time...

Batch #1, 5 gallons
Gravity: 1.146

Batch #3, 3 gallons
Gravity: 1.142

Batch #2, 3 gallons melomel
Gravity: 1.091

Will have to recalculate the 1/3 mark off of these numbers now... Should be:
Batch #1: 1.098
Batch #2: keeping original target of 1.070
Batch #3: 1.096

Sound about right??

Medsen Fey
11-26-2010, 11:33 AM
Is this 'normal' after adding nutrients and sitting for just over 24 hours? Batches #1 and #3 now fall in line with what the amount of honey in the batch should have given for readings. It also means, that if these are correct, that batches #1 and #3 should have the yeast dead before it consumes all the sugars in the honey... Batch #2 is indicating on the lower end of the yeast tolerance, so I might need to do more filtering on that batch...

If your gravity reading is going up it usually means one of 3 possibilities:
1. Your honey wasn't all dissolved in solution when you took the initial reading.
2. Your second hydrometer reading is high because the CO2 bubbles are buoying the hydrometer up. Taking a reading on a fully de-gassed sample will tell you if this is the case
3. Either your initial or current reading was in error.





I will see about renting/using the filtering setup from Strange Brew to see what that would run... Or find out what size filter would work for the size batches I have, and plan in the future...

Ask them if the filter is an ABSOLUTE filter (as opposed to a nominal filter). Unless it is an absolute filter at 0.65 microns or smaller, it will not be adequate for stabilizing a mead to prevent fermentation in the bottle, especially with EC-1118. With this yeast, if you want to sweeten, and are reluctant to use sorbate/sulfite, you may really want to consider pasteurizing it.


One other question I have, not sure if this should be in it's own thread, but when you guys use StarSan, do you just let it air dry, or do you rinse it with clean (filtered) water after several minutes?

StarSan is a no rinse sanitizer so I don't rinse. I let thing drain and will then use them while they are still wet. When I'm storing something that has been sanitized, I just let it drain and dry before putting it away.

Golddiggie
11-26-2010, 01:24 PM
As usual you provide great information Medsen... I'll let the implements sit for the 1+ minutes noted on the bottle before using them, and make sure anything that can hold fluid is fully drained... Such as the siphon...

I'll check on what filters are available from SB... How long do you heat, and what temp, would you pick for pasteurizing the must when it reaches completion to make sure the yeasties are dead...

Now that I think about it, I do recall that the family member that has a reaction to sulfites doesn't have the reaction with all wines, with sulfites added... I wonder if they use different amounts, brands (if there is such a thing) or sometimes don't add something that is more commonly added/used... I'm thinking that I should have some on hand, in case I need to use them to properly stop the yeast if the need arises... Better to have an option and not need to use it, than need to use it and not have it...

I'm thinking that comment 1 for the readings being off is the reason for the change... As I mentioned, the melomel honey was the most fluid when I started, so it was most likely fully dissolved into solution, unlike the other two batches... Next time...

Well, about time to aerate the musts... Since the melomel is progressing faster, I'm planning on taking hydrometer readings before every aeration... I'll take them once per day on the other two batches...

Medsen Fey
11-26-2010, 02:10 PM
How long do you heat, and what temp, would you pick for pasteurizing the must when it reaches completion to make sure the yeasties are dead...

If you do an advanced search for the term "pasteurize" with McFeeley as author, you should find what you need.


Now that I think about it, I do recall that the family member that has a reaction to sulfites doesn't have the reaction with all wines, with sulfites added...

Most of the time, unless the person is a severe asthmatic, they are not allergic to sulfites. Also, if a person can eat dried fruits with sulfites (which contain an order of magnitude more than wine), you can be sure it isn't a sulfite issue. A lot of people's wine reactions are due to biogenic amines and products related to malolactic fermentation by bacteria, or due to compounds related to oak barrels.

Golddiggie
11-26-2010, 02:19 PM
If you do and advanced search the term "pasteurize" with McFeeley as author, you should find what you need.



Most of the time, unless the person is a severe asthmatic, they are not allergic to sulfites. Also, if a person can eat dried fruits with sulfites (which contain an order of magnitude more than wine), you can be sure it isn't a sulfite issue. A lot of people's wine reactions are due to biogenic amines and products related to malolactic fermentation by bacteria, or due to compounds related to oak barrels.


WOW... Definitely learned something new today... That actually does make sense... Although it's been a while since I've known my sister to eat dried fruits, I know she did growing up... Actually, I'm sure she eats raisins, so I think you're dead on about the sulfites issue... I'll plan on getting some in the next couple of days (post Black-Friday insanity/idiots on the road)... Going to get one more 3 gallon carboy anyway, so I'll get the sulfites at the same time... Will definitely be easier to stop fermentation that way then filtering, pasteurizing, or cold crashing it... Especially since there's not room in my fridge to hold any of the carboy's, nor do I have a freezer that can handle them... Renting the filter would probably cost more than I can justify... I don't have a reaction to sulfites, so I'll be able to drink the mead even if she can't... ;D

I am thinking about trying to make a hard lemonade (1 gallon batch)... Thinking that if I start it in December, it could be ready by the time summer comes along...

Medsen Fey
11-26-2010, 02:47 PM
Will definitely be easier to stop fermentation that way then filtering, pasteurizing, or cold crashing it...

Sulfites will not reliably stop an active fermentation (wine yeast can be tolerant to several hundred ppm of SO2). Chemical agents just aren't very effective when the yeast counts are very high, so adding them to a cloudy mead full of active yeast isn't reliable for stopping a fermentation.

To reliably stop a fermentation, you can either let it go until the yeast stop, or you cold crash. Once the fermentation has stopped and the yeast have settled out and it has cleared, using a combination of potassium metabisulfite and potassium sorbate (neither one alone is reliable) can prevent the yeast from restarting (and even then you have to watch for a time to be certain).

If you search "how to stabilize" you'll get some good info.

Golddiggie
11-26-2010, 03:32 PM
Sulfites will not reliably stop an active fermentation (wine yeast can be tolerant to several hundred ppm of SO2). Chemical agents just aren't very effective when the yeast counts are very high, so adding them to a cloudy mead full of active yeast isn't reliable for stopping a fermentation.

To reliably stop a fermentation, you can either let it go until the yeast stop, or you cold crash. Once the fermentation has stopped and the yeast have settled out and it has cleared, using a combination of potassium metabisulfite and potassium sorbate (neither one alone is reliable) can prevent the yeast from restarting (and even then you have to watch for a time to be certain).

If you search "how to stabilize" you'll get some good info.

So I was mixing up my terms... Not looking to stop the yeast, just get it to not start up again once it's 'finished'... I'll search up on how to stabilize and read up on that...

Ok, so thinking about this a little more (tried finding dosages for stabilizing mead, not finding the info though)... I think I'll let the must sit on the berries for 6 days total... I'll rack it off into the clean carboy and continue to ferment... When fermentation has completed, I'll review my options for clearing it... At that point, I'll think about aging either over berries, or adding juice (if I can find it where I shop)... Once it's aged a reasonable amount, at least a few months I'm thinking (basically when the temperatures begin to go above 80-85F in my apartment), I'll check to see if it needs any back-sweetening... I'm also planning on setting aside a couple of bottles for long term aging (multiple years if I can)...

Golddiggie
11-26-2010, 05:24 PM
Ok, so I found the thread that goes into pretty good detail about stabilizing the mead, before you back sweeten (if you need to at all)... I've bookmarked it for future reference... I'll get the potassium metabisulfite and potassium sorbate from the LHBS next trip...

I do have a very accurate grain/gram scale (digital) that's proven to be highly accurate (usually using it to measure grains, but grams it goes to hundredth of a gram)... Once zeroed out for what I'm placing the powder to be measured on, it works out great...

How long have you kept the two powders on hand and still have them viable? Would vacuum sealing them (have one of the foodsaver devices to vacuum pack things) help, or be overkill? I have a feeling that I won't go through much of the powders, especially if they come in large volumes (as the only container)...

Golddiggie
11-26-2010, 08:40 PM
I've read (again) the section in the guide (on the main site) concerning aeration... If I'm reading this correctly, you only aerate for the first three days the batch is fermenting... So, once you're done aerating, you can install the airlock, correct? If this is all correct, that means that I can install the airlocks in my two carboys tomorrow and remove the blow-off tubes from them (and get that cleaned up)... Will make for a smaller footprint for the mead making... Once I have the melomel racked, I'll install the airlock there too, provided this is all correct thinking on my side...

Please confirm or correct me if I'm mistaken...

YogiBearMead726
11-26-2010, 10:03 PM
The first three days is just a general rule. It may be longer, it may be shorter. Essentially, you aerate up to the 1/3 sugar break about two times a day (ideally). It's the same for nutrients, for the same reasons. This is when the yeast need the most nutrients and O2 to build thick cell walls and replicate to a viable colony size.

So, this is why keeping an eye on where the 1/3 break is is important. You don't want to aerate too much after that point (mead tends to be tolerant of oxidation, but best not to test it...:p).

And yes, that's when you'll want to put the airlock on as well. You can have open fermentation with no ill effects up to the 1/3 break. As you point out, this is especially nice to have when making mels due to the potential for the cap to get pushed up and out the airlock. Not fun to clean...:rolleyes:

Golddiggie
11-26-2010, 10:10 PM
Thanks Yogi... Looks like I could have longer to wait on the two non-melomel batches then... Those suckers are farting out of their tubes nicely... :o Think I'm going to aerate them as I have been, but without so much mixing once the tubes are back in... At least not tonight. Planning on getting another 2 gallon bucket so that I can swap out the one that's being used now...

AToE
11-27-2010, 03:27 AM
Yeah, I've had batches where the 1/3 mark to stop aeration comes at 5 days, and a few at even as short as 15 hours or so, totally have to go by hydrometer.

Most of mine though the 1/3 mark is at 1.5 or 2 days.

Golddiggie
11-27-2010, 03:45 AM
Well, the melomel hit the 1/3 break tonight... I've already fed it and given it another aeration... I'll rack it into the 3 gallon glass carboy on Monday, as planned to get it off of the blackberries... I'm projecting that the other two batches will hit their 1/3 break in about 3 days... Of course, I'll continue to check all three batches. Once the other two batches start getting closer to the 1/3 break, I'll take readings more often...

YogiBearMead726
11-27-2010, 12:01 PM
Have you been aerating and adding nutrients to all three batches? This could help get them going quicker, assuming you haven't been already.

Golddiggie
11-27-2010, 01:16 PM
I added nutrients at the start, after the lag phase in all three batches. I've been aerating all three at the same time too (well, going from one to the next starting at the same time, hard to aerate three batches at the exact same moment, living alone and all)...

Should I feed the other two batches before the 1/3 break? If so, I'll need to get more nutrient to feed them again at the break...

I need to start the evening aeration a little sooner I think... This staying up to 3am is getting to me... Need to sleep enough to not be a zombie during the day... Need to check the progress on the melomel and aerate the other two batches... Plan to start the evening process closer to midnight, so that I can be done before it's too late... :o

YogiBearMead726
11-27-2010, 01:37 PM
You don't have to, but it would help. Do a search for "staggered nutrient addition" or "SNA" and you should come across some good posts about the benefits of adding small amounts of nutrients whenever you aerate, before the 1/3 sugar break.

Granted, you don't want to add too much, but if you aren't feeding your yeasts aside from what you first put in, I would add more. Especially since the two other than the mel started at decently high SG's. It should help get those yeasts going into high gear. :)

Golddiggie
11-27-2010, 02:10 PM
I'll pick up more nutrients for the meads today... Was on the fence about going to the LHBS, but that clinches it... Need more bottles for the ale, plus a bottle tree, to use in just under two weeks, so I might as well get that too...

I was thinking of getting one 'spare' 3 gallon glass carboy to use when racking the meads... Thoughts on that thinking? Otherwise I'd have to rack into a bucket with lots of head space to it... I will have a 5 gallon carboy (PET) free by December 10th, so I'll be able to use that to rack the 5 gallon mead batch... Once the porter/braggot (still trying to figure out if it's still a porter, or a braggot now) is bottled, I'll have an available 5 gallon carboy that I'll be able to use for more brewing... Hopefully, that will work out...

Oh, and I'm starting to get tired of the wine thief already... It's ok in the bucket, but trying to pull enough to get hydrometer readings out of the carboys is getting old... Going to get some small diameter tubing to use in conjunction with a flavor injector (minus the needle)... That would/should let me pull ~2oz at a time... I'll get ~12" of tubing, which should give me the reach I need to get a sample no matter what... Actually, I'll get enough tubing to rig up two injectors, so that I can do one batch, then the other and then clean/sanitize after... :D

Chevette Girl
11-27-2010, 03:05 PM
I was thinking of getting one 'spare' 3 gallon glass carboy to use when racking the meads... Thoughts on that thinking? Otherwise I'd have to rack into a bucket with lots of head space to it...

It's a grand idea in theory, otherwise you will end up having to rack one batch into a bucket so you can clean its carboy and rack the next into that, clean ITS carboy and so on until the last carboy is cleaned and then you rack the stuff from the bucket back into that...

BUT... you will have one empty carboy sitting on the shelf, whispering, "Fill me! Fill me!!" every time you see it...

...and thus, it begins... this is how I ended up with about 7 of the 3-gals, always wanted to have an extra kicking around for racking and never had the self-control not to fill it!

And in counterpoint, an hour of exposure to some headspace while you're racking shouldn't damage your mead, especially if you're careful not to splash around too much and you make sure you don't always do it to the same batch.

Golddiggie
11-27-2010, 03:20 PM
Well, I do have a couple of weeks to think about the spare carboy idea... I need to get bottles, and such, to contain the other brews I'm making today. That way I don't need to run out and get them when it's time... Also getting more nutrient for the mead batches so that I can feed them a little more...

I'll have at least the honey kissed red ale to have at xmas eve dinner (should be carbonated by then)... Not sure about the honey porter/braggot yet... It's still in primary, might have it in secondary at the end of the weekend (waiting for the airlock activity to get a bit slower before racking it)... That might be bottled and carbonated by xmas eve, but I kind of doubt it... Itching to get a hydrometer reading on that one, but the bucket is such a pain in the ass to open, that if I do, it's getting racked into a carboy... I'm hoping that the porter/braggot will still have at least a hint of sweetness to it... I used the Wyeast 1056 in that batch, and it could be hitting some high alc content numbers... Potential is above the listed tolerance of the yeast. ;D Which should leave at least some sweetness left... Although it could ferment to the point where there's no carbonation... ??? Will see what it's like in time...

akueck
11-29-2010, 12:40 AM
A little late, but back up the thread somewhere there was mention of dried fruits, sulfites, and raisins. Raisins are actually very often not sulfited. Your typical pack of Sunmaid raisins will not have sulfites. Dried fruit that almost always has sulfites unless specifically called out to be sulfite-free include apples, cherries, pears, and anything with bright colors or that tends to brown easily. Golden raisins probably have sulfites, but I haven't checked.

Golddiggie
11-29-2010, 12:58 AM
Wouldn't they be required, by law, to declare if the dried fruit does contain sulfites? Especially if they're added by the company packaging them?

I did just look over the entire package of dried cherries (Mariani brand) and don't see any mention of sulfites or sulfates... I don't have an issue with things that occur naturally...

Still haven't decided about using the dried cherries in any mead... I'm not looking to make cough syrup tasting mead...

I think I have enough mead batches going, now, to hold off on making any more right now...

akueck
11-29-2010, 01:13 AM
It should be listed if it is added. The really dark cherries won't need the sulfites as much as the red-red ones. Basically if it is light and bright, suspect there are preservatives involved. Brown, dark colors probably don't have sulfites, but it's good to check.

Golddiggie
11-29-2010, 01:34 AM
Thanks... These are (basically) Bing cherries, not the other kind... Very dark color... Basically, the fruit you find at the grocery store, with pits removed and dehydrated (with sugar added according to the label)...

Chevette Girl
11-29-2010, 03:03 PM
The cherries and blueberries sold in bulk around here don't contain sulphites but the apricots do... but the cherries and blueberries (and raisins) also often contain vegetable oil to keep them from sticking together...

Medsen Fey
11-30-2010, 09:21 PM
If possible, can you post the details from the E-mail you received from Wyeast for future reference. I have my doubts about that number... I would expect 1 gram per gallon to provide something around 25 ppm.

Golddiggie and I contacted Jess Caudill at Wyeast to clarify this and he said the prior number was erroneous. At 1 g/gal, the Wyeast nutrient provides 30 ppm YAN. That certainly makes much more sense and is a good number to remember for future reference.

Golddiggie
11-30-2010, 09:35 PM
Golddiggie and I contacted Jess Caudill at Wyeast to clarify this and he said the prior number was erroneous. At 1 g/gal, the Wyeast nutrient provides 30 ppm YAN. That certainly makes much more sense and is a good number to remember for future reference.

Also makes more sense as to why my higher gravity must's have needed so much more nutrient (than I thought they would) compared with the lower gravity melomel... Ended up using 16g in the 3 gallon batch and 20g so far in the 5 gallon batch (expect it to be close enough to break tonight to add the final 10g of nutrient)...

Now if we could only get them to tell us what else is in the mixture... ;D

Oh, and they said it was FAN, not YAN...

Medsen Fey
11-30-2010, 09:46 PM
Oh, and they said it was FAN, not YAN...

Another slight oversight on their part. Since the mixture contains DAP, the nitrogen is not just Free Amino Nitrogen, but also includes Ammonium nitrogen and thus the term Yeast Assimilable Nitrogen is more appropriate. However, I wasn't going to split hairs with someone trying hard to help us with good info. :)

Golddiggie
11-30-2010, 09:48 PM
Another slight oversight on their part. Since the mixture contains DAP, the nitrogen is not just Free Amino Nitrogen, but also includes Ammonium nitrogen and thus the term Yeast Assimilable Nitrogen is more appropriate. However, I wasn't going to split hairs with someone trying hard to help us with good info. :)

LMAO!!! N is N no matter where it comes from, right?? ;D I think, before I start any MORE batches (got four going right now... oy) I'll find a good source for cheap yeast that I can boil to use as nutrients in another batch...

Would that be good in beer brewing as well as mead making? Oh, and why do you make mead but brew beer? ???

Medsen Fey
11-30-2010, 10:04 PM
Oh, and why do you make mead but brew beer? ???


brew

/bru/ http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/g/d/dictionary_questionbutton_default.gif (http://dictionary.reference.com/help/luna/IPA_pron_key.html) Show Spelled http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/g/d/dictionary_questionbutton_default.gif (http://dictionary.reference.com/help/luna/Spell_pron_key.html) Show IPA
[B]–verb (used with object) 1. to make (beer, ale, etc.) by steeping, boiling, and fermenting malt and hops.

2. to make or prepare (a beverage, as tea) by mixing, steeping, soaking, or boiling a solid in water.



In making a beer you have to brew with the grain to extract the starch and covert to sugars. In making a mead or wine, you don't need to boil anything.

AToE
11-30-2010, 10:12 PM
Yeah, it's a little depressing that we don't have as nice a name for us as brewers do... what are wine makers called again, vintners? Also cool. Mead maker is what it is though, at least it has some alliteration, better than nothing.;)

Golddiggie
11-30-2010, 10:13 PM
Somehow, Medsen, I KNEW you would have the right answer... ;D

Batch #4, the Mocha Madness had nothing boiled, I used some 'hot' water to help get the honey out of the 1 pound bottles, but I could hold them (plastic) in my hands by the time I got to using the warmed/heated water... I poured a little out of the kettle into the bucket too, to help get things into solution, and then added the rest out of the filtration system (sits under the sink, with a spout in the sink)... I'm liking the 'no boil' method, or one where you don't really even need to use a pot... Thinking that the next batch (when a carboy is free) will be pretty much the same... Use water just warm enough to get the honey into solution, then put it into the carboy and get cranking...

Less process than brewing beer at the start, but mead (I'm finding) needs more attention during the first week (or so) until it hits that 1/3 break... Then you can relax a bit...

Golddiggie
11-30-2010, 10:16 PM
Yeah, it's a little depressing that we don't have as nice a name for us as brewers do... what are wine makers called again, vintners? Also cool. Mead maker is what it is though, at least it has some alliteration, better than nothing.;)

How about "Liquid gold architect's"? You could use 'engineer' too, if you really wanted to...

AToE
11-30-2010, 10:21 PM
Less process than brewing beer at the start, but mead (I'm finding) needs more attention during the first week (or so) until it hits that 1/3 break... Then you can relax a bit...
That's what really messes with experience brewers who're looking at mead I find. Talking to people at the brewclub, it's totally inside out thinking for them to make something that takes almost no time to put together (barring melomels, which always take hours for me) but then requires so much attention during fermentiong.

Pitch into an unboiled, unpastuerized, unsulfited must?! Crazy talk!

No starter? More insanity! What's this rehydration you speak of? (all the LHBS around here either sell liquid yeast only for serious brewers, and dried ale yeast is for non serious people who'll just toss it in apparently...)

Aerating often until the 1/3 mark in the ferment? This is pure dangerous voodoo to people who fear oxygen like they fear bullets (and rightly so with beer, though I hear some "big" beers are aerated some nowadays).

Taking SG readings DURING the fermentation? Same deal, brewers generally don't want to even touch the thing during fermentation, let alone actually put something into it!

Add nutrients, and sometimes in multiple steps? Seems like a lot of work to someone used to working with malts tht provide all the nutrients a yeast could want.


It's pretty funny sometimes. ;D

(and not that they don't know about fermenting, it's just such a different process for them that it takes them some getting used to. Just like doing beer freaked me out for quite a while coming from a mead background)

wildoates
11-30-2010, 10:26 PM
My son and I have had those exact conversations about beer vs mead. He still gets freaked out about the daily attention I pay my mead :).

Golddiggie
11-30-2010, 10:36 PM
That's what really messes with experience brewers who're looking at mead I find. Talking to people at the brewclub, it's totally inside out thinking for them to make something that takes almost no time to put together (barring melomels, which always take hours for me) but then requires so much attention during fermentiong.

Pitch into an unboiled, unpastuerized, unsulfited must?! Crazy talk!

Surprised they didn't burn you as a witch!...


No starter? More insanity! What's this rehydration you speak of? (all the LHBS around here either sell liquid yeast only for serious brewers, and dried ale yeast is for non serious people who'll just toss it in apparently...)

See, the LHBS I went to for my first round (and subsequent rounds) of hardware advised me to use the liquid yeast, since it can give you a better product... For a few dollars more, you get something better? I said... Yup... Gimme...


Aerating often until the 1/3 mark in the ferment? This is pure dangerous voodoo to people who fear oxygen like they fear bullets (and rightly so with beer, though I hear some "big" beers are aerated some nowadays).

Taking SG readings DURING the fermentation? Same deal, brewers generally don't want to even touch the thing during fermentation, let alone actually put something into it!

Add nutrients, and sometimes in multiple steps? Seems like a lot of work to someone used to working with malts tht provide all the nutrients a yeast could want.


It's pretty funny sometimes. ;D

(and not that they don't know about fermenting, it's just such a different process for them that it takes them some getting used to. Just like doing beer freaked me out for quite a while coming from a mead background)

See, that's why I'm glad I decided to start both at roughly the same time... I see the benefits both processes have for each product, as well as how each works... Beer is a 'hot and fast' method to me... You do all the heavy lifting at the start, then have a couple of weeks to recover... Mead, is almost no lifting up front, and medium level work until the 1/3 break, then it's light duty to completion.. Granted, you're talking more than a few weeks (typically) and then forget about getting something in under a few months (with a few exceptions, or depending on what you're making)...

If you think of it like painting, beer is [mostly] paint by numbers, where mead is oil based paint on a stretched canvas... Both are art, but some people appreciate what goes into the oil painting... While others just want to get ripped right NOW!

While I do plan on making sure I always (now) have a supply of beer on hand, I'm looking forward to the development the mead will go through... Trying to get an used freezer for the current batches to age inside of once they're ready... I've figured out the perfect spot to put a 5cf chest freezer, or a little larger if that's all I can get... Just don't want to buy something brand new... Would prefer to have a smaller one, so that I can (maybe) get another later to 'cold brew' some beer... :D Or at least ensure it's closer to the optimum temperature when in secondary...

Oh, and learning to make mead made me brave enough to tweak the porter I have going when I racked it into secondary... Also mead making/engineering, has made me want to check on the beers more often... I want to test them to see what's going on... I have to hold myself back right now to let them do what they need to... But man, it ain't easy... Looking forward to seeing how the porter comes out... ;D

Golddiggie
11-30-2010, 10:38 PM
My son and I have had those exact conversations about beer vs mead. He still gets freaked out about the daily attention I pay my mead :).

He's just jealous... lol

wayneb
12-01-2010, 12:33 AM
If you think of it like painting, beer is [mostly] paint by numbers, where mead is oil based paint on a stretched canvas... Both are art, but some people appreciate what goes into the oil painting... While others just want to get ripped right NOW!

I know quite a few folks who would likely take issue with that analogy - but I have to admit as a brewer/meadmaker who enjoys the mead process more, I appreciate that mental image! ;)

But perhaps a better analogy would be the difference between painting with watercolor vs. using oils. Both take serious skill and practice to perfect, but each requires specialized knowledge and ability to bring unique techniques to bear on the canvas in order to be successful.

Golddiggie
12-01-2010, 01:43 AM
I know quite a few folks who would likely take issue with that analogy - but I have to admit as a brewer/meadmaker who enjoys the mead process more, I appreciate that mental image! ;)

But perhaps a better analogy would be the difference between painting with watercolor vs. using oils. Both take serious skill and practice to perfect, but each requires specialized knowledge and ability to bring unique techniques to bear on the canvas in order to be successful.

Thinking a little deeper on the analogy, it could be more like the difference between using oils and acrylics... Oils can take years to fully dry/harden, where acrylics are dry, sometimes, in minutes, very rarely longer than a fraction of an hour... Unless you do something to extend the drying time, and make for a longer 'workable' period... I've actually painted with both, and prefer oils many times over... Add a common (at least when I was into it) element, such as linseed oil, and your drying time is really long... Go the other side, and thin the paint with your solvent/paint thinner, and you have a much faster drying time (well, depending on how thick you lay it on)... You also tend to work in layers with oils, where not so with acrylics (the nature of the medium makes it damned difficult, if not impossible to 're-work' later)...

Wow, didn't think I'd every find a practical use for my BFA... lol