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arnaud
12-16-2010, 02:38 PM
Hi everyone..
it is a murky world..
some say an open yeasting in the beginning is good, others say it isn't, i cannot notice any difference between successes and failures.
anyway, i got 2 questions which might shed a light;
1 after some failures, i did not hieve the must over in an other container any more(this is done to leave the debris in the first container) so i would lower the risk of contamination of;
1 the other container
2 the other air lock and air around
Here the actual questions:
But; Can the debris that stays in all the fermentation long (2 months) cause a moldy taste?

Second; I read that the heaving in the second container adds oxygen to support further yeasting, but is that no risk? so, if, after hieving in the second container, air is in contact with the must surface, won't it react with the alcohol?? After all, the amount is less because of the part which stays in the first container..
Thanks in advance..
Arnaud

wayneb
12-16-2010, 02:46 PM
Arnaud, you are correct on both counts. Leaving the mead on its lees (especially if the lees contain bits of fruit in addition to yeast) will introduce off-flavors (some of which could be described as moldy) to it. For some yeast strains, just the yeast itself can add flavors that are undesirable. For more information, search for messages on the topic of sur lie aging, or autolysis.

However, racking (siphoning) of the mead from one container to another to get it off of the lees will introduce some additional oxygen, and if this is not done carefully then you will cause oxidation problems with your mead. If you search on those terms (racking and siphoning) you will find more information about how to do this without exposing your mead to too much air in the process.

AToE
12-16-2010, 02:53 PM
If you sanitize at least a little bit, and are careful not to splash when racking, there's very little risk of contamination or damage from oxygen.

I think you're right, it's more likely you're getting bad tastes from the sediment than anything else.

I remember you saying you used to use a process that produced great mead for you - have you ever tried going back to those earlier methods? Does it still come out bad?

arnaud
12-17-2010, 04:22 AM
So, if i understand correctly, the air above the must is no problem?
Maybe the carbondioxyde, which is heavier then air, will create a protecting 'blanket'?
\
And yes, i tried to go back to the oil wways, but i altered that since everything failed. How more i cleaned, and i work with lab-gloves and mask and heat any spoon or anything else untill red-hot and sanitise a lot, everything goes not well.
The old-way batch the same problem. I still remember working with open yeasting the first 3 days,covered by an sheath/ using the same wooden spoon for stirring (not cleaning in between) my 2 ferrets took an accidental swim in the fresh must and even that one did work out okay!!

I do not use fruits or anything, only champagne yeast.. May the debris still be at fault?
I will later take the time to read the reccomended stuff..

AToE
12-17-2010, 01:34 PM
So, if i understand correctly, the air above the must is no problem?
Maybe the carbondioxyde, which is heavier then air, will create a protecting 'blanket'?

You mean the air that is above the must during racking? Because after racking into the new carboy is done it is very important to make sure there is no headspace (because it will sit in there for months), but during the actual siphoning it doesn't matter, mead with no fruit is difficult to oxidize and racking only takes a few minutes, not long enough to oxidize.

CO2 unfortunately will not form a blanket, it is heavier yes, but due to the air moving and swirling around it all mixes in with the regular air very quickly. But, this doesn't really matter, because as I said above, racking isn't really enough time to oxidize the mead.


I do not use fruits or anything, only champagne yeast.. May the debris still be at fault?
I will later take the time to read the reccomended stuff..

I'm not sure honestly, you're saying that when you go back to your old way and do siphon off the debris that you still have the same problem? Or is it only when you leave it on the debris for a long time?

arnaud
12-18-2010, 05:37 AM
You mean the air that is above the must during racking?
Yes!
Because after racking into the new carboy is done it is very important to make sure there is no headspace (because it will sit in there for months), but during the actual siphoning it doesn't matter, mead with no fruit is difficult to oxidize and racking only takes a few minutes, not long enough to oxidize. I do not understand, after siphoning, there's always less then the amount you started with, so you ALWAYS have air above the fluid surface. I do not understand how to get ris of this,
\so is that an problem?? I do not understand that racking takes a few moments, the second fermentation can last about an month or so, and during that time air is on top of the must.

CO2 unfortunately will not form a blanket, it is heavier yes, but due to the air moving and swirling around it all mixes in with the regular air very quickly. But, this doesn't really matter, because as I said above, racking isn't really enough time to oxidize the mead.



I'm not sure honestly, you're saying that when you go back to your old way and do siphon off the debris that you still have the same problem? Or is it only when you leave it on the debris for a long time? it takes no differnece in effect. There's no way of saying what is the cause. If i knew, i would do it the way it has the best chance of succes..:rolleyes:

Medsen Fey
12-18-2010, 12:53 PM
Arnaud, my suggestion to you would be to try starting at the basics. Why not try making a batch of Joe's Ancient Orange. Sanitize in whatever way you feel comfortable, mix up the ingredients in a gallon (ort 4 L) jug and let it ferment out without racking it until it is completely clear. This basic recipe is tried and true and if you use some simple honey will reliably produce a drinkable sweet mead.

When you've done that sucessfully, you can be confident that your sanitation is adequate, and can try another traditional mead.

There are not too many things that will cause funny tastes in mead. Spoilage is way down at the bottom of the list. The things at the top of the list are choice of honey, and fermentation management (nutrients, temperature and such). I'm not sure which honey you've been using, but something simple like a nice orange blossom might reward you.

AToE
12-18-2010, 02:12 PM
Ok, when I say that racking takes a few moments I mean the actual ACT of racking, not the aging that takes place afterwards.

You are right that you will end up with less liquid than you started with, but you do need to get rid of the airspace for aging - you have 3 options:

1: you can rack to a smaller container. I personally don't like this option.

2: You can top it up with water, or water mixed with honey, or finished mead, or wine, or whatever.

3: My personal favourite method is to add glass beads (the kind that are safe for fish only) or synthetic corks to take up the rest of the space.

Whatever you do, you do need to get rid of the headspace in secondary/tertiary and so on during aging.

akueck
12-18-2010, 02:39 PM
1: you can rack to a smaller container. I personally don't like this option.


This is my preferred option. I will plan for racking losses so that I end up with a full container.

AToE
12-18-2010, 02:55 PM
This is my preferred option. I will plan for racking losses so that I end up with a full container.

It's not that I hate this option, I just don't like to lose too much. I generally do primary in a bucket and make about a 1/4 gallon more than I'll be racking into (whether it be a 5 gal or 6 gal), but from then on, I keep my losses to less than a 1/4 more from start to finish. One thing I have discovered is that italian 6 gallon carboys are bigger than mexican 6 gallon carboys - so I use an italian for secondary, and a mexican for tertiary - works out almost perfect.

arnaud
12-20-2010, 05:31 AM
I took some advice for here and i hieved form the 2 15L containers, which had each close tp 10L must, into another 15L sanitised container, separating the must (and while hieving, exposing it to air, but as i understood, that's not a big problem. Splashing and a lot of air above the surface under the waterlock is)

1 btach i hievd tasted good for what it should become, the other however, already developed a distict bad tatse i regocnise from the bad batches.
So THIS particulair problem cvannot have to do anything with debris laying around too long, so it has to be contamination
What can i do?>?
Torch the glass basket-bottles untill red hot? i'm afrain they break..

Medsen Fey
12-20-2010, 09:37 AM
There are many bad tastes that are not due to contamination. In your case, I would consider sending a sample to a wine lab to determine what organism are present. I'm not sure what it will cost in Europe, but here it can be around $75-100 dollars. If you find that contaminant organisms are not the problem, then you can concentrate on the other factors.

By the way, when you say you "hieved" it does that mean the same thing as racking in English?

arnaud
05-09-2012, 11:50 AM
Afer more attempts, some say an open yeasting is needed, or else the yeast won't ahve enough oxygen to strat up and the must becomes foul, others say oxygen is always bad..

I can say, it has no difference in the time which the yeasting startup takes between open(under a T-shirt or cloth, yes sanitized) or when i put the must hot(carefull) in a 15L bottele with waterlock.

Also it makes no diffrence if i add dry yeas directly to the must, of first hydrate the must with boiled, or luke-warm water(more oxygen) or make a 'starter'with water and sugar, or add the sugar after hydration.
Also i cannot find a factor here which should have impact on the taste.

My questionn
Why all the above mentioned steps??

Chevette Girl
05-09-2012, 12:35 PM
Well, if you go right back to basics, your yeast need some oxygen at the beginning in order to multiply, but they do not need it to make alcohol out of sugar or honey.

You can either leave your fermentation vessel open like you have done and hope there's enough oxygen coming in from the surface, or you can aerate it really well once at the beginning (and you're right, cold water holds more oxygen than warm or hot water) and use either an open or closed fermenter, or you can aerate your must up to several times a day for the first 1/3 to 1/2 of your fermentation by any of several methods: an air stone with air or oxygen pumped through, vigorous stirring with a sanitized spoon or whisk, or a device that attaches to a drill and spins around in the must, whipping it up.

How long it takes your yeast to appear active can depend on a lot of things, including how much oxygen is in the must when you pitch, how much yeast you pitch, whether you rehydrated properly or whether you dry pitched. But how fast your yeast get started doesn't really have anything to do with the eventual taste of the finished mead. I've had some really slow ferments taste really good and I've had some really fast ones taste really good, I've also had some really slow ones develop off flavours, and I've had some really fast ones taste like rocket fuel.

If the instructions on your wine yeast recommend that you rehydrate in water before pitching, follow the directions, it will give your yeast the best chance they can get. I often get even better results if I make an acclimated starter, just adding sugar can hurt the yeast if you add too much. If the directions on my yeast say to rehydrate for 15 min in 1/4 cup of water, I will do that and then after the 15 minutes, I will add 1/4 cup of my must. Once I see yeast activity, then I'll add 1/2 cup of must, then every hour or so I will add another amount to double the volume, I like to make it up to a litre for a 1-gallon batch and I'll make a gallon of starter for a 5-gallon batch.

If you're working with bread yeast, all bets are off, it seems to be fine with being pitched in dry. One of the experiments I want to do one of these days is make three identical 1-gallon JAO musts but treat the bread yeast differently for each - dry pitch one, rehydrate the next, and make a starter for the last, let them finish, and compare them to see which one tastes best.

Once the yeast have multiplied enough to a sufficient population for your must, they will start making alcohol and don't need the oxygen anymore, but when your yeast are making alcohol, they will be making enough carbon dioxide to displace most if not all of the oxygen that may still have been in the headspace in your fermenter.

Once the fermentation is done (your specific gravity stops moving, there's no further bubbling) the yeast become inactive and will start to sink to the bottom of the fermenter, and this is when you want to rack the clearer stuff to another container so that you leave behind most of the inactive yeast and any of the impurities they may have absorbed through the fermentaiton process so that they don't start releasing it back into the mead as they break down later. You also want to limit any headspace at this point because this is the point where it's becoming more vulnerable to oxidation.

Bread yeast and wine yeast seem to be pretty different in what they need and what they'll tolerate, so if you don't like going through all the steps of racking and watching your headspace, my recommendation is that you stick with the JAO and variations on it using bread yeast.

Why do we take all these little steps with wine yeasts if it doesn't seem to make any difference? Because all the research that vintners and meadmakers have done over the years say that the more of these little steps you take, the better the chance you have of making a good product. However, it's like keeping your body fit and eating right, it only improves your chances of living longer, it doesn't guarantee anything, and smoking only increases your chances of lung cancer, it doesn't guarantee you'll get cancer. There are so many different factors in what can make a mead great or awful that we just like to stack the odds in our favour as much as we're capable of. Failure to perform one individual step may have no impact... or it might make all the difference.

I hope this answers some of your questions.

arnaud
05-10-2012, 05:00 AM
Thanks for your reply..
Some ay the mead gets foul because of oxygen, other say it is needed for the yeast.. so no one knows for sure..
Santising with sulphite does not work, it even won't soilve in water so i do not understand why it is mentioned as if it works so often.
Now i am trying chloride in a 1/5 ratio and hope that will fianlly work.

Of course i will NOT go stirring in the must during any stage. this would involve exposing it to air, without any cover. i cannot belive anyone will do this for real, and be so lucky the must turns out okay.
For the same reason i quit transferring the must to another recipient half way. iThis is also a great risk for contamination(air, aonther container, however sanitised but howw well does this really work? in between the time between rinsing out and filling in the new must?)
i use several yeast species as always, maybe there's a bad batch out there(superyeast, and champagne yeast)
some packages mention hydrating; another unnessecary step with contamination risk(another container, not-boiled water, not-boiled sugar) as pouring in dry yeast gives the same result; within 3 days there is activity..

so, can still anyone defend the so much needed step of open fermentation and hydrating of yeast, as putting it in a container under water lock and adding dry yeast gives the same result in the speed of fermentaion and flavour??

TAKeyser
05-10-2012, 08:54 AM
I make at least a batch of month and have for the last 12 years (except the year that I knew I was going to be moving) and every packet of yeast has been rehydrated according to manufacturers directions. I've used One Step to sanitize everything, every time. Every one has been stirred to add oxygen, that yeast needs to reproduce, during the process. Every container has been repeatedly opened to take hydrometer readings. Every one has been transferred after primary fermentation has completed and usually twice after that. Every batch has finished without contamination.

So yes I will defend the practices of adding oxygen and rehydrating yeast and I have over 700 gallons of un-contaminated mead as proof that the practices work.

TheAlchemist
05-10-2012, 08:56 AM
You are at liberty to make your mead how ever you like. Enjoy.

Chevette Girl
05-10-2012, 12:24 PM
Some ay the mead gets foul because of oxygen, other say it is needed for the yeast.. so no one knows for sure..

There has been extensive research done, at the beginning, yeast DOES need oxygen, and after fermentation is over, oxygen DOES hurt wines. It's all in the timing.


Santising with sulphite does not work, it even won't soilve in water so i do not understand why it is mentioned as if it works so often.

I don't know what product you're using, but my potassium metabisulphite powder dissolves almost instantly in water (1 tsp per litre, which is slightly stronger than the package recommends). I've had batches turn out badly because of neglect, inattention or accident, but I've never had a confirmed problem with contamination as long as I sanitize anything that comes in contact with my must.

If you sanitize your measuring cup and use boiled water, rehydrating yeast should not be introducing contaminants, and racking is the same - if everything's been cleaned and then sanitized and then not touch anything else before it touches the mead, there shouldn't be any contamination. But as TheAlchemist said, you're welcome to use whatever techniques work for you, and if you think you can't taste a difference, then do what's best for you.