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Felipe Montealegre
12-07-2010, 02:59 AM
Hey guys... i'm a complete newbee on this mead making bussines (altought i have read and double read the "newbee guide to making mead".

So i finally decided to start this as an experiment. I'm using very small quiantities of ingredients and I set up 3 glass containers (beer bottles 350ml each). To find what combination of ingredients will be the one responsible for the better taste/sweetness and higer AVB.

1st: 100g processed honey, 200ml tap water, 1/3 teaspoon of yeast ( the first bread yeast i found (not fleissmann)

2nd: same as first, exept that i used 150g of processed honey

3rd: Same as first, exept i used 200g of processed honey

I've seen a lot of forums and stuff that say that i can know when the fermentation process has begun or stopped by seeing some foam.

Problem: after 3 days there is no foam at all but if i shake it a bit...there will be some pressure. and i poured a bit on a glass and there were little bubbles like with soda.

Is there any different way to know when did the fermentation process started and ended?

and when should i transfer the product to the second fermenter?is the yeast still alive( i mean, has not been done the fermentation process?when should i become aware of not letting the must get in contact with oxigen? this might be a dumb question but i'm confused because i saw on the basic recipe that there is no need to use a secondary fermenter. It says: when major foaming stops just pour some water and keep hand off it until 2 months and some contradictory stuff on other posts.

Thanks for helping this newbee- i apreciate that ;)

kudapucat
12-07-2010, 05:08 AM
<snip>
1st: 100g processed honey, 200ml tap water, 1/3 teaspoon of yeast ( the first bread yeast i found (not fleissmann)
<snip>
I've seen a lot of forums and stuff that say that i can know when the fermentation process has begun or stopped by seeing some foam.

Problem: after 3 days there is no foam at all but if i shake it a bit...there will be some pressure. and i poured a bit on a glass and there were little bubbles like with soda.

Is there any different way to know when did the fermentation process started and ended?
<snip>
WOW I thought I was making small batches!!!
My batches are 4-5 litres.
I've still not made a mead to completion, so I'm a new bee.
Ok disclaimer out of the way.

Only 4 of my 6 batches show Kraussen (foaming) One only lightly, and they lasted only 1 day.
Another batch had a little, and kept it for a while
Whilst the last batch had up to 5cm of foam.

If there's CO2 in the must, then fermentation is occurring, the lock will only bubble when the must is saturated with CO2.
- I think - that swirling a must to remove the CO2 can be beneficial - please confirm -

The batches that foamed the most were also the largest, and had a different type of yeast. I believe these may be factors.
My bread yeast batch has not foamed, or been particularly active.

If you have specs on your yeast, you will know how much alcohol it can handle. Therefore you can know the FG that should result from your SG with that yeast.
The driest I believe a must can get is about 0.980 so if it gets that low, it's definitely done.

If you don't know your yeast, just wait it out, then do the calculations and try to figure out what your yeast can handle.

My 2c I hope it helps, and that I'm accurate ;-)
Cheers

Golddiggie
12-07-2010, 11:51 AM
I wouldn't use such small volumes for any kind of test... I think you won't get good results, or they won't mean anything once you go to a real batch size (1, 3 or 5 gallon sized)... IF you're really set in going under 1 gallon in size, use an empty 2 liter soda bottle as a test vessel... Get a clear one so that you can see what's going on without needing to get a bore scope.

Personally, I'm using a 2 gallon bucket for a PoC batch... It's a 1 gallon batch, but with the flavor elements I'm planning on using, the 2 gallon bucket makes sense for now... I would imagine you can get them from any LHBS in your area, or online, with lids that include holes for airlocks. Airlocks are good indicators, early on, that something's going on in the must... Even if you don't see anything happening, you could have a lot happening inside the batch... You also need a good/decent hydrometer so that you can test the must to see where it's at. In a 12oz beer bottle, you'll either need to sanitize everything that contacts the must, or you'll get a couple of readings before running out of must to test. :eek:

Medsen Fey
12-07-2010, 11:52 AM
Felipe, I moved your post over to start a new thread so that the discussion can stay focused on your topic.


I've seen a lot of forums and stuff that say that i can know when the fermentation process has begun or stopped by seeing some foam...
Is there any different way to know when did the fermentation process started and ended?


As you have seen for yourself, that really isn't true in all cases, so it is good to question what you read on the internet. The most reliable way for tracking progress is to measure with a hydrometer, but the batches you are making are almost too small to take a reading. A refractometer can take readings with a couple of drops, but you have to use some calculation to convert it once fermentation is going.



and when should i transfer the product to the second fermenter?is the yeast still alive( i mean, has not been done the fermentation process?when should i become aware of not letting the must get in contact with oxygen?

Transferring to another container can be done once the fermentation has finished. There are recipes like JAO where racking does not have to be done, and with a batch as small as these, I would be inclined not to rack until they are clear.

How are you planning to protect them from air once fermentation is done? Are you using an airlock?

Medsen

Felipe Montealegre
12-12-2010, 10:01 PM
Hey Medsen.

Definitively i'll have to buy one of those german Hydrometers and make 1 gallon batches if i really want to keep track on the process.

What i did with those small batches was: I kept them open the first 4 days after i put the yeast. after that i carefully poured the liquid onto another beer bottle (leaving behind the thin layer of yeast) and immediately close the bottle with a cork. now it has passed 6 days an it hasn't exploded...yet.

I guess the fermentation wasn't over when i transfered the product and closed it so probably it wont become vinager. Am i wrong? (hope not)

and no...im not using an air lock or carboys or buckets with food grade plastic...not even specialized wine yeast because where i live (Colombia) i couldnt find easily those equipments and there is not any brewer shops or something like that...so i use whatever i can find. Besides i prefer to save that money to buy a hydrometer (and honey) rather than the other stuff. Then i'll try to order some equipments online (after some tasteful batches)

Medsen Fey
12-13-2010, 10:26 AM
What i did with those small batches was: I kept them open the first 4 days after i put the yeast. after that i carefully poured the liquid onto another beer bottle (leaving behind the thin layer of yeast) and immediately close the bottle with a cork. now it has passed 6 days an it hasn't exploded...yet.


You have bottled yeast that may not have finished, and they may very well explode, especially if they warm up. I would uncap them or refrigerate them immediately. This is not a safe practice and someone could be injured. If you want to do something like this, use a PET plastic bottle, like a soda bottle with a cap - those aren't likely to cause harm if they rupture.

A hydrometer will help you to know when the fermentation is finished and ready for bottling. In place of an airlock, you can use a piece of plastic tube over (or in) the opening of whatever jug or bottle you use as a fermenter set up as a blow-off tube. You'll also find that some folks use balloons (or condoms) as a make-shift airlock, so there are ways to do it.

Chevette Girl
12-13-2010, 11:56 PM
I second what Medsen says - if you're going to bottle early like that, use something with a screw top so you can check on it every other day or so and let off the pressure if it IS still fermenting.

If you can get plastic food wrap and an elastic band, that works well enough on a jar or bottle if you can't get an airlock.

akueck
12-14-2010, 12:07 AM
Aluminum foil works great too. Just tear a strip off and crinkle it over the top. It probably won't keep out crawling insects though, but a dish of water around the container should solve that. Fruit flies are a little trickier though, thankfully none of those in my place.

Chevette Girl
12-14-2010, 12:15 AM
Fruit flies are a little trickier though, thankfully none of those in my place.

Lucky you. This is why I use plastic wrap :) It's -11C outside, +18C in the house and I've STILL got one little %@#$ buzzing around the compost bucket.

Golddiggie
12-14-2010, 12:51 AM
Lucky you. This is why I use plastic wrap :) It's -11C outside, +18C in the house and I've STILL got one little %@#$ buzzing around the compost bucket.

Why do you have compost INSIDE??? :eek:

kudapucat
12-14-2010, 12:55 AM
I'm reasonably sure that, like us, she has a recepticle in the kitchen where one places their kitchen scraps prior to said recepticle being emptied into the compost heap/bin outside.
Like CG, we also have persistant fruit flies in our compost bucket.

Chevette Girl
12-15-2010, 11:30 PM
:) The city collects compost, so they gave us a big conatiner for the curb and a little one for the kitchen, by the time the little one gets stinky it's full anyway. And for me, dumping the little container into the big one (or carrying the compost directly to the big one) involves a flight of stairs because my condo was built by monkeys on crack. But the little container has ventilation holes that were supposed to be too small for fruit flies. But if you have stunty little maggots you get stunty little fruit flies and they get right through.

Even before the city had this program, I used a stainless steel bucket and dumped it in my mom's backyard compost heap.

And I saw another fruit fly in the kitchen today. Little b@$!@rds... go darn well die in the vinegar trap, dammit!

Fruit flies are the reason I use double or triple layers of plastic wrap when I'm out of airlocks, actually.