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motts
02-13-2011, 11:15 PM
Hiya, I didn't want to poach anyone else's thread. I'm just trying to learn to make my own mead - as I've had enough of lining everyone else's pockets! Similar probs to many others I think - after I racked my mead the bubbling stopped over a couple of weeks, as did the foam on the top. :confused: I used the hydrometer (for the first time) today, and it was reading 4 .... the mead is as clear as mud, but it tastes nice - albiet very young, it's only about a month old at the moment. Problem is, it's very hot here in New Zealand at the moment, although the temp where I have the carboy's is a max of 24 degrees C - so I'm hoping the yeast hasn't died on me. There is a nice creamy layer on the bottom...but nothings happening. Should I panic or just leave it and see what happens? Sorry, this has probably been asked a 100 times before :(

akueck
02-13-2011, 11:39 PM
Hi motts and welcome to GotMead!

If you can give us the recipe and process, we'll have better answers for you.

What does "4" mean on your hydrometer? Which scale is that on? Brix? Do you know where you started?

Depending on where you started, the yeast you used, etc etc you might be done. Nothing to do now but guess, let us know about that recipe & process.

chams
02-13-2011, 11:44 PM
Hi, I'm a fairly new mead maker myself, although I have made several wines.
If you have a hydrometer, it would be wise to take a measurement before you pitch your yeast. Then you can calculate your finishing sugar levels and therefore your ABV (alcohol percentage).

At any rate, take an hydrometer reading now. This will tell you if you have remaining sugars.
What yeast did you use? Different yeast strains have different alcohol tolerences, among other qualities.

Answers to these questions can help the very knowledgeable people here besides me answer your questions.

The newbie guide helped me get on my way. It's here:
http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=27&Itemid=14

motts
02-14-2011, 12:34 AM
cheers for the quick replies - after a bit of browsing I think I put this in the wrong section anyway! I 'attempted' to make Trojinak, using 'bush honey', I boiled the water, then added the honey, let it cool and added the activated yeast -10 here in NZ we don't have much choice in yeasts, the only one I can get is an all rounder for wines and meads. I added nutrient and energizer too - it all seemed to be going well in the beginning. The hydrometer I've got is my grandad's so it's an oldie. The measurements are between zero and 60 which I assume is '6' - I was a dumby and didn't test it out in the beginning. So now I'm panicking that I've ruined it, I tested it and it read 40 or I assume '4' - and no, I've never brewed anything in my life, so you can't get much more of a newbie I'm afraid (just sick of paying $25 for 750ml of mead!).....

akueck
02-14-2011, 12:55 AM
0 to 60. Hmm, that's an odd scale. Too wide for Brix. What does it say if you drop it in plain water? How about apple juice?

How much honey & water did you use? We can guess the starting point if we know that. How much nutrient & when did you add it?

Definitely take a look at the NewBee guide (link at left). Also check out recipes for quick & easy meads. There is a section for quick mead on the main site (under the recipe section). Also search on the forum for JAO, there are thousands of posts worth of information on that one recipe alone.

Chevette Girl
02-14-2011, 01:22 AM
Don't sweat it. Judging from the amount of time, your yeast has probably done about all it wants to do. Some fermentations are only really active for a couple days or a week or two before most of the bubbling and foaming dies down, just because it's mead doesn't mean it has to bubble along for months.

But if you could let us know your recipe, (especially the amount of honey and water), we can show you how to run it though the mead calculator to get a rough idea how potent the stuff should be.

Higher temperatures won't generally cause your mead to stop altogether (usually it stresses the yeast into making really hot tasting fusel alcohols) but if you're worried about it, sit your carboy in a tub, put a t-shirt or something over the carboy and keep it wet, the evaporation should soak some heat out of it.

And I was going to ask what your hydrometer read in water too, but Akueck beat me to it :)

gray
02-14-2011, 01:47 AM
zero to sixty... maybe a tannin hydrometer (http://www.labotienda.com/en/catalogo/density-temperature_hydrometers_liquid-hdrometers_Tannin-hydrometer-0-60.aspx)?

motts
02-14-2011, 01:55 AM
rito - got no apple juice sorry, but in Raspberry Iced Tea it reads 20 (2?) and in water it's zero. I only made a 1 gallon batch as it was my first attempt, and I didn't want to risk ruining a huge batch - it was 1 part honey to two parts water. I put the nutrient and energizer in straight after the yeast, just before I put the airlock on. I wish I'd found this site earlier - I read the 'storm the castle' website, and copied their 'basic' recipie. I have another 1 gallon batch of clover honey with the same recipie brewing, it's 7 days younger than the first batch, and still happilly bubbling away, about every 20 seconds....8)

gray
02-14-2011, 02:02 AM
addition to my last reply... a Baumé hydrometer (which the tannin hydrometer seems to be) uses degrees Bé. 40 degrees Bé is 1.384 SG (at 60 degrees fahrenheit)

quick calculator here (http://www.ilpi.com/msds/ref/baumescale.html)

motts
02-14-2011, 02:08 AM
zero to sixty... maybe a tannin hydrometer (http://www.labotienda.com/en/catalogo/density-temperature_hydrometers_liquid-hdrometers_Tannin-hydrometer-0-60.aspx)? sounds like that could be the one (I didn't even know what they were for until I googled it!) Grandad left me a bucket of brewing gear when he died, so it's been tricky trying to work out what some of these things are for!

motts
02-14-2011, 02:12 AM
addition to my last reply... a Baumé hydrometer (which the tannin hydrometer seems to be) uses degrees Bé. 40 degrees Bé is 1.384 SG (at 60 degrees fahrenheit)

quick calculator here (http://www.ilpi.com/msds/ref/baumescale.html) :eek: sounds pretty confusing - perhaps I might invest in a normal one ;)

Chevette Girl
02-14-2011, 02:34 AM
addition to my last reply... a Baumé hydrometer (which the tannin hydrometer seems to be) uses degrees Bé. 40 degrees Bé is 1.384 SG (at 60 degrees fahrenheit)

quick calculator here (http://www.ilpi.com/msds/ref/baumescale.html)

Good link, Gray!

1 part honey to 2 parts water is approximately what my JAO's work out to so the starting SG should be in the neighbourhood of 1.125, which would be around 16-17 Bé if that's what the scale actually is, unless it's a beer scale and only goes up to 6.0 (around 1.143 or ~5%).

That's another thought, could you mix up enough honey with water 1:2 like your recipes to get a reading? If your hydrometer floats too high to get a reading, maybe it is set up for beer and goes from 6.0 down to 0?

and 2 is very different from 20 in Baumé... 20 is a SG of 1.160 which is pretty syrupy, and 2 would be 1.014, so it was either an artificially-sweetened raspberry iced tea or we've guessed altogether wrong with the hydrometer... ;D

Well motts, at least if you have _a_ reading, you can compare it to another reading in a week and see if there's been any change, even if we're not sure what they actually mean :). Does it still taste really sweet?

Chevette Girl
02-14-2011, 02:37 AM
:eek: sounds pretty confusing - perhaps I might invest in a normal one ;)

hehe, but we were having so much fun trying to figure your archaic equipment out! :)

It certainly wouldn't be a dumb idea though, they're well worth the investment and several people will advise you to get two, as they are kind of fragile and tend to break at the exact most inconvenient moment :D

gray
02-14-2011, 04:04 AM
hehe, but we were having so much fun trying to figure your archaic equipment out! :)

Absolutely! I love researching things (geek, I know).


It certainly wouldn't be a dumb idea though, they're well worth the investment and several people will advise you to get two, as they are kind of fragile and tend to break at the exact most inconvenient moment :D

Definitely agree with this. I myself only have one even though I consider getting another every single time I'm at the homebrew shop. And, because I only have one, I'm constantly working in fear of shattering it. Not that I ever let that fear convince me to buy a backup one ;D


And, to not neglect the amazing tool that we have here in the Mead Calculator (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Itemid=16), you can also work in Baume right here at gotmead.com. Although the calculator and the link I provided earlier seem to differ on converted values... I may be fudging up with our calculator though.

motts
02-14-2011, 05:20 PM
aw gawd - this is so confusing!!! Think I'll shelve the ancient hydrometer and get a new one - and some more honey so I can work out what it's supposed to be. The 'funny' mead isn't syrupy at all, it's very light, but very high in alcohol!! (what a bugga, haha) Oh, the iced tea is a 'lipton' store bought one, so I'd say it's got a fair bit of sugar in it....

Medsen Fey
02-14-2011, 05:34 PM
Does the hydrometer have any further explanation of the markings (temperature that it is calibrated for, or any other letters)? If you'll take 20 grams of sugar and dissolve it in 180 grams of water, you'll have solution of 10 Brix (1.040 for gravity). If you'll place the hydrometer in this and tell us what it reads, we should be able to identify what scale you have.

I think it would be very cool to be able to use my Grandfather's equipment. I would cherish that opportunity.

tweak'e
02-14-2011, 06:04 PM
hi motts

good to see another kiwi on here.
a big thing is what yeast was used?


the temps here are often ok for quite a lot of yeasts (except for the places that have been hitting the 30's), its just not all that good for flavor and certainly not good for long term storage. try and find a nice cool place for it to sit.

at a guess your mead has finished and i would rack it off into a carboy and let it age.

i've just bottled a burnt manuka/bush mead and its just like mud !

kudapucat
02-14-2011, 06:22 PM
Like Mud? is that an apt descriptor or an exaggerated superlative?
Also Manuka? Urrgh! That stuff tastes like medicine! but YMMV to each their own.
I find too many things are described as 'tasting like mud' (like Carp, rabbit etc) which is colloquial for bad. But honestly, how does it taste?

tweak'e
02-14-2011, 06:34 PM
well with mine you can't see through the bottle. can't even shine a torch through. tho it does look a dark goldy color on the edges. i'll try to get pics.
mind you the honey was totaly pitch black to start with.

taste, its certainly hot. tho thats kinda expected when useing a fast yeast (5 day ferment). but thats my test run, have another batch with different yeast so hoefully that won't be as hot.

i've heard a few comments that manuka makes a yuck mead. however plenty of comments from home brew that it is nice. i'm wondering if the yuck comes from a certain very flash looking commerical mead maker who'se manuka mead is absolutly revolting. (got given a bottle and my test run tastes better!)
i hope the bad taste is not honey related as i have 60kg of free manuka/bush to brew and 150kg+ of the burnt manuka to brew!

motts
02-14-2011, 08:34 PM
Does the hydrometer have any further explanation of the markings (temperature that it is calibrated for, or any other letters)? If you'll take 20 grams of sugar and dissolve it in 180 grams of water, you'll have solution of 10 Brix (1.040 for gravity). If you'll place the hydrometer in this and tell us what it reads, we should be able to identify what scale you have.

I think it would be very cool to be able to use my Grandfather's equipment. I would cherish that opportunity.
rito - done that, 180g water and 20g sugar, it reads either 35 or 3.5? Maybe this is of some use - the hydrometer has 'diabetes' written on the side? 'H" at 20 (2?) and 'S" at 30 (3?) and the temp at 60 degrees F. ????? Perhaps it's for diabetics and reads sugar content??? BTW, I've ordered a proper 'nowdays' hydrometer too ;D

motts
02-14-2011, 08:36 PM
hi motts

good to see another kiwi on here.
a big thing is what yeast was used?


the temps here are often ok for quite a lot of yeasts (except for the places that have been hitting the 30's), its just not all that good for flavor and certainly not good for long term storage. try and find a nice cool place for it to sit.

at a guess your mead has finished and i would rack it off into a carboy and let it age.

i've just bottled a burnt manuka/bush mead and its just like mud ! go NZ!!! :cool:
yeast - the only yeast I could find was a mead/wine yeast from brew your own liquor in Hamilton - what yeast do you use??? I'm in Thames and there isn't exactly much choice lol. Friend of mine used to brew manuka mead - I'd say it'd be pretty pricey, but she said it was lovely... I'm just going basic, as I'm a first timer - but damn I looove mead ;D

gray
02-14-2011, 09:32 PM
rito - done that, 180g water and 20g sugar, it reads either 35 or 3.5? Maybe this is of some use - the hydrometer has 'diabetes' written on the side? 'H" at 20 (2?) and 'S" at 30 (3?) and the temp at 60 degrees F. ????? Perhaps it's for diabetics and reads sugar content??? BTW, I've ordered a proper 'nowdays' hydrometer too ;D

I think I got it this time :)
It's a urinometer (http://www.bcmamedicalmuseum.org/object/993.1183.1).

Reading through google books and here's more info (per Medical lexicon: A dictionary of medical science ..By Robley Dunglison). It looks like the "H" and "S" are for "Healthy Standard" and indicate the healthy range for urine samples.

On the urinometer each number is added to 1000, being the gravity of water. So a reading of 35 would be a s.g. of 1.035.

gray
02-14-2011, 10:34 PM
Using your urinometer :) Via this (http://www.grahamfield.com/nosync/Documents/301_GF0700145RevA07_Urinometers.pdf)

To determine specific gravity, proceed as follows:
1. Clean urinometer as described in the following CLEANING section.
Urinometer
cylinder
float
top
stem
scale graduations

2. Fill the urinometer cylinder to about one inch from the top with urine specimen; measure and record specimen temperature.

3. Hold the urinometer float by the top and slowly insert it into the cylinder. Avoid wetting the float stem above the liquid line; excessive wetting of the stem will cause the float to sink below the true test reading.
4. Impart a slight spin to the float as it is released.
5. Read the float scale at the lowest portion of the urine's meniscus. Be sure to keep the float away from sides of cylinder while reading.

Note: If it is necessary to read the top of the meniscus, as in the case of an opaque specimen, add 0.002 to the specific gravity reading to correct for viewing error.

5. Apply temperature correction as necessary. For example:
a. The urinometer shows a Sp.G. of 1.015 and the measured urine specimen temperature is 82°F. Again, for every 5.4°F (3°C) that the urine temperature is above calibration temperature, add .001 to the hydrometer reading.
b. Subtract: 82°F - 60°F = 22
c. Divide: 22/5.4 = 4.07 = 4.00 (rounded)
d. Add: 1.015 + .004 = 1.019
e. Corrected measurement: 1.019

motts
02-14-2011, 11:04 PM
:eek: a urinometer!!!! haha....perhaps they didn't have proper hydrometer's for brewing way back in the old days? Guess it will do the same job - thanks for that, you have solved the riddle....now I've got to decipher the reading I got of 4, considering the temp here is around 24 degrees C - that's the 'coolest' room I can find for my carboy's..

gray
02-14-2011, 11:33 PM
:eek: a urinometer!!!! haha....perhaps they didn't have proper hydrometer's for brewing way back in the old days? Guess it will do the same job - thanks for that, you have solved the riddle....now I've got to decipher the reading I got of 4, considering the temp here is around 24 degrees C - that's the 'coolest' room I can find for my carboy's..

So 60°F = 15.55°C and you're at 24 soooo
24-15.55 = 8.45
8.45 / 3 = 2.81 (round up to 3 ;D)
initial reading of 4 = 40 = 1.040
1.040 + .003 = 1.043

I think. Math is not my strong suit :)
But I believe that also puts your 180g water and 20g sugar right about where Medsen said it should be. And that's good.

akueck
02-15-2011, 12:34 AM
Hmm, well that is fairly amusing. Can't say I'd really want to be measuring the SG of urine on a daily basis. :p

Ok so you're at 1.040ish now. One part honey to two parts water...by volume? So a 1 gallon (US gallon I assume?) batch that's 1/3 gallon of honey or 4ish lbs and water to a gallon. Ok so your starting gravity is probably around 1.140 and your current abv is about 14%. Sounds like your yeast did a good job, and your mead is probably done at this point. Rack it, age it, enjoy it. ;D

motts
02-15-2011, 01:33 AM
Thanks Gray - my maths is crap, but sounds like you know what you're doin!! OOOOO....that was a pretty quick ferment then wasn't it?! I kinda expected it to take a few months, not one! I moved it into a new carboy yesterday, so I guess I'll let it age now. I read somewhere that you should rack it every month? Does that sound right?! And that sometimes the yeast will activate again? Sorry for all the stupid questions :bom:

motts
02-15-2011, 01:35 AM
Hmm, well that is fairly amusing. Can't say I'd really want to be measuring the SG of urine on a daily basis. :p

Ok so you're at 1.040ish now. One part honey to two parts water...by volume? So a 1 gallon (US gallon I assume?) batch that's 1/3 gallon of honey or 4ish lbs and water to a gallon. Ok so your starting gravity is probably around 1.140 and your current abv is about 14%. Sounds like your yeast did a good job, and your mead is probably done at this point. Rack it, age it, enjoy it. ;D lol - I'm just hoping that it was never used in 'urine' testing :eek:

8)

gray
02-15-2011, 01:36 AM
I don't necesarily rack mine every month. I tend to rack based on sedimentation and fermentation activity. After racking to secondary I usually rack based on taste and my plans to bottle or age. Yeast can activate again, but its not a guarantee. I almost always throw an airlock on the new carboy/jug/whatever following racking just to see what it does and if it looks pretty quiet I'll swap for a solid stopper.

tweak'e
02-15-2011, 01:51 AM
go NZ!!! :cool:
yeast - the only yeast I could find was a mead/wine yeast from brew your own liquor in Hamilton - what yeast do you use??? I'm in Thames and there isn't exactly much choice lol. Friend of mine used to brew manuka mead - I'd say it'd be pretty pricey, but she said it was lovely... I'm just going basic, as I'm a first timer - but damn I looove mead ;D

test batch is with EC-1118. order over the net from http://www.haurakihomebrew.co.nz/ really fast ferment (5 days) but also very robust.

last two batches are with Vinters Harvest SN9 yeast. a lot of local shops stock brewcraft gear but also can be ordered online.
SN9 took about 2 weeks for main ferment, another 2 weeks to finish and lees to drop.

Medsen Fey
02-15-2011, 03:22 PM
:eek: a urinometer!!!! haha....
:laughing4: :sign10:

I reckon Grandpa gotcha on that one!
Of course that could be the secret ingredient for making great mead.

:pottytrain3:

Little wifey hates me leaving jugs of mead out on the counter. She says it looks like urine bottles. She'd have a cow if she saw me using a device like that (I might have to order one).

motts
02-15-2011, 05:09 PM
:laughing4: :sign10:

I reckon Grandpa gotcha on that one!
Of course that could be the secret ingredient for making great mead.

:pottytrain3:

Little wifey hates me leaving jugs of mead out on the counter. She says it looks like urine bottles. She'd have a cow if she saw me using a device like that (I might have to order one). perhaps I wasn't his fav grandkid I made sure it was sterilized before I used it - and the mead doesn't taste pissy :laughing6: yet

motts
02-15-2011, 05:11 PM
test batch is with EC-1118. order over the net from http://www.haurakihomebrew.co.nz/ really fast ferment (5 days) but also very robust.

last two batches are with Vinters Harvest SN9 yeast. a lot of local shops stock brewcraft gear but also can be ordered online.
SN9 took about 2 weeks for main ferment, another 2 weeks to finish and lees to drop.
awesome, thanks, I wasn't too sure about the yeast I used - just looked a bit 'general' to me....think I'll have a go with one of the ones' you've suggested ;D

motts
02-15-2011, 05:14 PM
I don't necesarily rack mine every month. I tend to rack based on sedimentation and fermentation activity. After racking to secondary I usually rack based on taste and my plans to bottle or age. Yeast can activate again, but its not a guarantee. I almost always throw an airlock on the new carboy/jug/whatever following racking just to see what it does and if it looks pretty quiet I'll swap for a solid stopper. I thought once a month was a bit of an overkill... Bit worried about the reactivation part, since mine seemed to brew so quickly - I'm not sure I want mead bombs! Perhaps I'll just have to drink it out of the carboy instead Think I'll keep the airlock on just incase :p

akueck
02-15-2011, 08:53 PM
Definitely keep the airlock on. Racking it by a calendar is not really the way to go, you should rack when the mead wants to be racked. You might rack it tomorrow, and again 3 weeks later, and then not again for a year. Go by sedimentation, clearing, additional ingredients (e.g. oak), etc not your calendar.

By my earlier math you're probably around 14% abv, so many yeasts will be essentially done at that point. Keep the airlock on, let it sit for awhile, and before you bottle I would still recommend some kind of stabilization.

motts
02-16-2011, 02:11 AM
Definitely keep the airlock on. Racking it by a calendar is not really the way to go, you should rack when the mead wants to be racked. You might rack it tomorrow, and again 3 weeks later, and then not again for a year. Go by sedimentation, clearing, additional ingredients (e.g. oak), etc not your calendar.

By my earlier math you're probably around 14% abv, so many yeasts will be essentially done at that point. Keep the airlock on, let it sit for awhile, and before you bottle I would still recommend some kind of stabilization. Thanks for the tips - I kind of figured going by the calendar wouldn't make much sense, as it appears every batch is different. I will admit (woefully), that I panicked about 5 days into my first rack and added more yeast/nutrient, but 24 hours later I changed my mind and racked it again.....hopefully that won't bugger it up at all....still tastes ok, so fingers crossed :confused2:

chams
02-16-2011, 08:53 PM
So, what is the reading on the urinometer :) now?
(Sorry if I missed it).
Your 1:2 mix shows as OG 1.144 on the mead calculator.
Using EC-1118 it could go to dry (0.995-0.998) and potentially ~18% ABV.

ETA:
I see you are at about 1.035
That's going to be sweet (literally).
You may like it, or next time use a yeast from here: http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=625&Itemid=42
to get a dryer mead and higher ABV.

Cheers

motts
02-20-2011, 06:33 PM
So, what is the reading on the urinometer :) now?
(Sorry if I missed it).
Your 1:2 mix shows as OG 1.144 on the mead calculator.
Using EC-1118 it could go to dry (0.995-0.998) and potentially ~18% ABV.

ETA:
I see you are at about 1.035
That's going to be sweet (literally).
You may like it, or next time use a yeast from here: http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=625&Itemid=42
to get a dryer mead and higher ABV.

Cheers
not too sure - I've decided to not touch it for a few weeks.....thought I'd try a sweet one first (as I believe they take longer to mature) - I bought a dessert mead a few months ago, and it was to die for (can't help but wish I could make one like that!!)

AToE
02-21-2011, 01:54 PM
I've found that dry meads generally need longer aging to come into their own, as sweetness tends to cover up a lot of problems that are not hidden in a dry mead.

Then again, for all I know after a certain amount of sweetness the need to age goes back up.

motts
03-02-2011, 10:50 PM
not sure about the manuka - a friend of mine has hives, and she's been making manuka mead for years (till she botched a batch and gave up ) - reckon's it's gorgeous.........?! I can 'nearly' see through my carboy now - the clover batch I did is clearing nicely, made that at the beginning of Jan - obviously that one's doing it's 'thing' properly. Just moved my 'dodgy' batch into a new carboy, might look like crap, but it tastes quite nice....starting to mellow already. Oh...what's the story on 'campden tablets' - is that to stabilize? I heard they can taint the flavour??

tweak'e
03-03-2011, 02:35 AM
campden tablets are for stablizing. it can taint the flavour if overdone (makes it salty). i understand you have to heavly over do it to taint the flavour.
also need to use sorbate to stablize which i under stand is easier to over do it and taint it.

motts
03-03-2011, 11:48 PM
aw damn, so it's obviously a little trickier than just popping a tablet in. Does the campden tablets only stop 'wild' yeasts? As I gather the yeasts in mead aren't exactly 'wild'?? So confusing....???

wayneb
03-04-2011, 12:06 AM
Let me see if I can lessen your confusion a bit. Campden tabs are metabisulphite (either sodium or potassium - if you can tell what you're buying, potassium is better). Metabisulphite adds something called SO2 (sulphur dioxide) to your must. Sulphur dioxide, in sufficient concentration, will kill yeast cells, along with lots of other spoilage organisms. The molecular form of SO2 dissolved in the must liquid is often simply referred to as "sulphite," although that can be a misleading term. But for simplicity I'll use it interchangeably with SO2 from hereon out.

What makes things complicated, are 1) the amount of "free SO2" added to your must will depend on its pH, and also on what other chemicals are present in the must that can bind with SO2 and render it useless for sanitization, and 2) different strains of yeast are susceptible to different concentrations of SO2. In general, wild yeast strains (and many spoilage organisms) can be completely killed off by as little as 50 ppm sulphite. Campden tabs are sized such that they add about 50 ppm per tab, per gallon into a must of pH 3.5 (sort of an "average" pH for a wine must). So if you have one gallon of mead and you want to add 50 ppm sulphite to it, you pop in one crushed Campden tab. HOWEVER, some of that sulphite will be bound with other chemicals (in general), and some of it may not be free, depending on your must's pH. So, in general, it doesn't hurt to add a bit more just to be sure.

Further, commercial wine yeast strains have been bred to be more sulphite resistant than their wild cousins. Some strains are very resistant; they can tolerate as much as 325 ppm sulphite, and at those levels you can even smell and taste the influence of the chemical in your mead. So, (also in general), don't rely on sulphite additions to stop an ongoing ferment that you've started with a commercial yeast strain. It likely won't work, unless you are willing to have your mead smell like a burnt match.

Again in general, additions anywhere from 50 to 150 ppm are undetectable in the mead, unless you are particularly sensitive to the sulphite (i.e. allergic). Most people are totally unaware that sulphite is present in a mead or a wine, even up to that 150 ppm level or beyond. Whether you ever want to have that much sulphite present in your mead, is totally up to you.

motts
03-04-2011, 02:48 AM
thankyou very much wayneb - fantastic suggestions, sure does help to 'clear' it up (pardon the pun). I just seem to find so much differing information, I've learnt to google less, and just log in here instead ;)
thanks heaps!

Tiwas
03-04-2011, 05:24 AM
Hmmm..now I really have to go check what stabilizing agent I bought. I need to kill my yeast at around 14%, but want to backsweeten it a bit without restarting the fermentation... :S

mmclean
03-04-2011, 07:39 AM
I just seem to find so much differing information, I've learnt to google less, and just log in here instead ;)
thanks heaps!

Good idea, there's really nowhere else to to go. ;D

gray
03-04-2011, 10:41 AM
Hmmm..now I really have to go check what stabilizing agent I bought. I need to kill my yeast at around 14%, but want to backsweeten it a bit without restarting the fermentation... :S

Killing the yeast via stabilizing agents may not always be effective. Wayne already mentioned the potential for off flavor or aroma, but there's also a chance that a few remaining yeasties that are living could start multiplying again and finish out your fermentation.

Your safest option is probably to let it finish fermenting to completion even if that means going past 14%. Then let your mead clear itself or help clear out the yeasties with a clarifying agent, rack the clear stuff into a new vessel, adjust the alcohol content with water, add your stabilizers, and then backsweeten.

wildoates
03-04-2011, 03:28 PM
thankyou very much wayneb - fantastic suggestions, sure does help to 'clear' it up (pardon the pun). I just seem to find so much differing information, I've learnt to google less, and just log in here instead ;)
thanks heaps!

Very good advice. What the mentors don't know isn't worth knowing. Well...mostly. :rolleyes:

Tiwas
03-04-2011, 03:42 PM
Killing the yeast via stabilizing agents may not always be effective. Wayne already mentioned the potential for off flavor or aroma, but there's also a chance that a few remaining yeasties that are living could start multiplying again and finish out your fermentation.

Your safest option is probably to let it finish fermenting to completion even if that means going past 14%. Then let your mead clear itself or help clear out the yeasties with a clarifying agent, rack the clear stuff into a new vessel, adjust the alcohol content with water, add your stabilizers, and then backsweeten.

Mine actually translates to something like "yeast stop". Doesn't say anything about what's in it...

The shop's pages says something like "calium sorbate and wine sulfur" and to not stop the fermentation, but to let it go dry. So...when it's completely clear, I should rack it to a clean carboy and then add the yeast stop?
kaliumsorbat og vinsvovel

gray
03-04-2011, 04:20 PM
Mine actually translates to something like "yeast stop". Doesn't say anything about what's in it...

The shop's pages says something like "calium sorbate and wine sulfur" and to not stop the fermentation, but to let it go dry. So...when it's completely clear, I should rack it to a clean carboy and then add the yeast stop?
kaliumsorbat og vinsvovel

Google translated the kaliumsorbat wikipedia page as Potassium Sorbate so in that case, yeah, I would let it clear, rack into a clean carboy and then add the "yeast stop". Potassium Sorbate basically prevents yeast from reproducing. So it won't stop an active fermentation, but using it after fermentation is complete and you've racked to a new vessel will help you to backsweeten without worrying about fermentation starting up again.

Letting the mead clear prior to racking or using a clarification agent to clear it prior to racking just helps precipitate out as much live yeast as possible. Then, when you backsweeten, you may have some live yeast feeding on the new sugar, but the numbers should be insufficient to start any noticeable fermentation.

Tiwas
03-04-2011, 05:22 PM
Thanks for the explanation, Gray :)

Just wanted to add that in my all my years on the 'net, this must be the most helpful, tolerant and information packed board I've ever been on. My hat off to you guys who can stomach all us "noobs" ;)

wayneb
03-04-2011, 06:13 PM
We were all "noobs" once, Tiwas! The thing that makes Gotmead unique, is that we all haven't forgotten what that was like....

motts
03-04-2011, 06:22 PM
Thanks for the explanation, Gray :)

Just wanted to add that in my all my years on the 'net, this must be the most helpful, tolerant and information packed board I've ever been on. My hat off to you guys who can stomach all us "noobs" ;)
I totally agree ;D

tweak'e
03-04-2011, 08:04 PM
thankyou very much wayneb - fantastic suggestions, sure does help to 'clear' it up (pardon the pun). I just seem to find so much differing information, I've learnt to google less, and just log in here instead ;)
thanks heaps!

i understand the frustration. i've had the exact same thing. way to much scraps of information. some incorrect info, a lot of different ways of doing things all mixed in as one makes for very hard learning curve.

even the faq's here leave a lot to be desired.

one bit of advice i got locally was to follow a recipe. problem is there are 1000's of recipes and some are just plain bad, others have a lot of throw backs from old times.
finding a good one thats gets ok results fairly quickly is hard.

whats more important is finding how things actually work so you can adjust a recipe to suit local conditions. eg to suit what yeasts, nutrition, equipment is available locally.

Chevette Girl
03-04-2011, 08:17 PM
one bit of advice i got locally was to follow a recipe. problem is there are 1000's of recipes and some are just plain bad, others have a lot of throw backs from old times.
finding a good one thats gets ok results fairly quickly is hard.

whats more important is finding how things actually work so you can adjust a recipe to suit local conditions. eg to suit what yeasts, nutrition, equipment is available locally.

And just to confirm that you do actually have the right idea, post it on gotmead before you get started and you'll get all kinds of good and useful advice on whether it needs to be modified and how.

tweak'e
03-04-2011, 08:41 PM
And just to confirm that you do actually have the right idea, post it on gotmead before you get started and you'll get all kinds of good and useful advice on whether it needs to be modified and how.

the catch with that is we are often using ingredients that very few others use.
its the method and the ideas behind the method thats the important thing.
feedback on that is very very helpful.
however people tend to try first, ask 2nd.

i feel that we could write a beginners guide for modern mead making. combine the FAQ's and bits of info off the forum into a general procedure that would be easily adaptable to peoples situation.

wayneb
03-05-2011, 01:43 PM
i feel that we could write a beginners guide for modern mead making. combine the FAQ's and bits of info off the forum into a general procedure that would be easily adaptable to peoples situation.

That, in fact, is exactly how the newest revision of the NewBee Guide came to be. One of our more senior mentors, Angus, took the original NewBee Guide, re-structured it, included all the FAQs that had been gathered up to that point, inserted lots of "sage" advice from the likes of Oskaar, etc., and produced what we have today. Does it need another revision? Of course - any good guidebook is always a work in progress, because we never stop learning new and better ways to do things (and the rationale behind them). Can you step up to the challenge and try your hand at a revision (or at least an augmentation) of what we have now? Certainly! If you feel that you have what it takes (in writing skill and in meadmaking knowledge), feel free to draft some new stuff for the Guide. Send it to me via PM; we'll have the mentors review it and if it seems like a good fit for the Guide we'll then pass it on to Oskaar and Vicky for final review. Assuming they're good with it, we'll incorporate your jewels of wisdom into a newer, better Guide! ;D

Chevette Girl
03-05-2011, 01:57 PM
That, in fact, is exactly how the newest revision of the NewBee Guide came to be.

I think the newbee guide is pretty current but next time I run into an inconsistency there or in the FAQ or glossary I'll have a go at fixing it.

tweak'e
03-05-2011, 04:59 PM
i might give it a crack, tho my writing skills suck.
theres certainly a few things that need fine tuning in the guide. i shall see if i can rewrite from a different perspective while i can stil think like a newbie.