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RightHookCook
02-16-2011, 11:34 AM
Hi to every one at gotmead.com!

Just thought id introduce myself to the forums, ive always been interested in mead being a classic beverage and dissapointed it doesnt get any major sales in local shops i decided id have a go at making a batch and ive got my 1st batch in secondary as we speak.

I started by buying TCMM as i see alot of people have read it on here and also ive been lurking around the forums and reading alot, everyday infact on mead making for probably the last 4 months.

I finally got round to buying most of the equipment i needed to get started at least, and used 3lbs of a local honey in a 1 gallon darma-jar along with youngs super yeast compound, as its cheap and i just wanted to do a practice batch before i start experimenting with better quality yeast and ingredients.

It started fermenting with in a few hours , and has finished after 1 week, ive racked it once and its clearing lovely with a strong alcohol smell, havent dared taste yet!, theres a slight weird smell but as im a first time brewer im hoping its just a fermenting smell im not used to.

ST 1.090 (i think i had the must still fairly warm when i took the reading?!)
After 1 week its 1.000


so hello to all and please let me know if you think its going ok?

ps. excuse bad spelling/grammar as im at work rushing! haha

thanks again :)

Medsen Fey
02-16-2011, 11:43 AM
Welcome to GotMead RightHookCook!

Congratulations on getting your first batch fermented! Now comes the hard part - waiting on it to mature.

I hope it tastes great.

Medsen

fatbloke
02-16-2011, 12:04 PM
Well I'll say welcome as well.

You don't list a location but your mention of the, erm, unfortunate youngs yeast suggests "my side of the pond" ?

If so, then I'd say that you should locate some Gervin varietal "E" or lalvin K1V-1116. Honey supplies aren't as varied as the stuff available in the states but if you know where to look you can find bulk decently priced honey.......

Good luck with the first brew.

regards

fatbloke

Dan McFeeley
02-16-2011, 01:15 PM
Hello and welcome!

Keep us posted on the progress of this first mead!

A couple of pointers for the forums -- when asking advice on a mead, list the full recipe with ingredients, steps taken, ect. It's difficult for us to figure out what's going on, unless we know what has been going on. ;D

The search function is your best friend. Although these forums are a kind of FaceBook for the mead community, every one enjoys talking about their meads and how to make them, you can save yourself a lot of time in turning up threads where your questions may have been covered already in a good amount of detail.

Look over the NewBee guide and Meadmaking FAQ on the yellow sidebar to the left, also other useful tools there.

Good luck!

--

Braxton
02-16-2011, 06:33 PM
Congratulations on your first mead! Sounds like everything proceeded pretty much as I'd expect from a healthy fermentation. Now just give it time, I suppose. Cheers!

Chevette Girl
02-16-2011, 10:53 PM
Congrats, and welcome to the addiction!! Sounds like you're off to a much more informed start than me when I started!

TDMooney
02-16-2011, 10:55 PM
WELCOME ! ;D sounds like this recipe will be a great starting point

gray
02-16-2011, 11:32 PM
Welcome and congrats on your first mead-making venture. Sounds like it's going pretty well (better than many first attempts ;D). Just keep having fun with it and it'll work out alright.

wildoates
02-16-2011, 11:55 PM
Welcome, but beware that you'll get hooked making mead. I figure that fair warning will at least give you a running start. :)

RightHookCook
02-17-2011, 08:11 AM
You don't list a location but your mention of the, erm, unfortunate youngs yeast suggests "my side of the pond" ?


thanks to everyone for your replys! , oh dear you make me concerned fatbloke! whats the deal with the youngs yeast i used then mate? also do you think the fact i hadnt let the must cool properly may have thrown of the hydrometer as from what ive read the SG should have been alot higher.

any ways, cheers guys. :D

YogiBearMead726
02-17-2011, 12:11 PM
Hydrometers are typically calibrated to read 1.000 in 60F/15.5C distilled water (or something close, your hydrometer should say somewhere on it the temperature it is calibrated at). So, if the must was warmer than the calibration temp, then your reading will indeed be artificially low. There are some calculators that will make the correction for you, just Google "hydrometer temperature correction" and I'm sure something helpful will pop up.

kudapucat
02-18-2011, 12:11 AM
Hydrometers are typically calibrated to read 1.000 in 60F/15.5C distilled water (or something close, your hydrometer should say somewhere on it the temperature it is calibrated at). So, if the must was warmer than the calibration temp, then your reading will indeed be artificially low. There are some calculators that will make the correction for you, just Google "hydrometer temperature correction" and I'm sure something helpful will pop up.

As I recall from the one time I quizzed a Chemist, the difference tends to be a poofteenth of bugger all. 5 -10 points as I recall. so around 1% max more likely only 0.25%
But it can be significant if the temps are wildly different, or if accuracy is an issue

gray
02-18-2011, 12:17 AM
As I recall from the one time I quizzed a Chemist, the difference tends to be a poofteenth of bugger all. 5 -10 points as I recall. so around 1% max more likely only 0.25%
But it can be significant if the temps are wildly different, or if accuracy is an issue

I completely understood everything up until the word "accuracy". I don't know that word.

fatbloke
02-19-2011, 04:24 AM
thanks to everyone for your replys! , oh dear you make me concerned fatbloke! whats the deal with the youngs yeast i used then mate? also do you think the fact i hadnt let the must cool properly may have thrown of the hydrometer as from what ive read the SG should have been alot higher.

any ways, cheers guys. :D
There's yeast that can be described as "general purpose" and there's youngs.... Which, IMO (and that of other, considerably more knowledgeable than me - this side of the water) is just "too general". Yes it works, but that's about it. If you dig around (local HBS, or UK based online maybe ?), locate, at least, a supplier for Gervin yeasts, or better still, for Lalvin yeasts, not because they're particularly better, but as you dig around here, you'll see that it's because Lallemand/Lalvin produce about the best data on their products (with out compromising any of their "trade secrets"), which enables accurate calculations of nutrient requirements etc (oh and they have just about the widest range of available yeasts, even if some of them are a PITA to get hold of).

As for the gravity thing you mention, I tend to use between 3 and 3 and a 1/2 lb of honey to the gallon (as you're this side of the pond, I'll presume imperial gallons a.k.a. 4.55 litres). Which gives a gravity of between about 1.085 and 1.100 or so. While I don't particularly like the youngs yeast, as I say, it will work, and if you're getting a gravity of 1.000 within the first week, then it's obviously got enough nutrient etc to do it's thing, so I'd suggest that you just leave it as it is. It should continue to drop, I'm thinking that it'll probably finish dry, and let it clear naturally. You'll want to see 3 identical gravity readings, spread over about a week or so, then you can consider it finished and think about starting the other processes i.e. clearing, maybe back sweetening, etc etc.

Don't forget, once the ferment has cleared and is racked off the sediment, it's still likely to taste pretty hideous. Mead, as you've probably already read about, is a bugger for needing a good time to age - take a little taste of it fresh and then age it for 6 months to a year, and you'll be amazed at the changed brought about purely by the ageing process.

The "JAO" recipe is a good one to follow as well, if you make it by religiously sticking to the instructions (but using Allinsons or other UK bread yeast as the Fleischmans is a US brand). It's often quite good too drink once it's cleared, it just gets better with age...... and is often quicker to be ready to drink that a straight traditional like the one you've got on the go.

If you want some more info, Ken Schramm's book "The compleat mead maker" is good, though it's aimed at the US market, it is a wealth of info. Plus if you have a search of Amazon, you can usually find a copy of the now out of print "Making Mead" by Ashton & Duncan (from the same stable as CJJJJJJJJ's "First Steps in Winemaking"/the now defunct "Amateur Winemaker" magazine), quite cheaply......

Dunno if that's of any help......

regards

fatbloke

fatbloke
02-19-2011, 04:29 AM
Hydrometers are typically calibrated to read 1.000 in 60F/15.5C distilled water (or something close, your hydrometer should say somewhere on it the temperature it is calibrated at). So, if the must was warmer than the calibration temp, then your reading will indeed be artificially low. There are some calculators that will make the correction for you, just Google "hydrometer temperature correction" and I'm sure something helpful will pop up.
Not here they aren't. I seem to recall that the standard is "room temperature" a.k.a. 20C/68F, either way, the difference is "close enough" unless it's to do with revenue and customs, where accuracy is all, because it can affect the amount of excise charges that are levied on a product sold commercially......

regards

fatbloke

RightHookCook
02-19-2011, 05:52 AM
Fatbloke, thanks alot for taking the time for such a detailed reply.

Its helped alot, had a little taste of it yesterday , its like pure white spirit. so obviously in 6-12 months i will have another try!

Hydrometer reading at just below 1.000 now.

I bought KS the complete mead maker, and have read it cover to cover a couple of times. Very helpful for a noobie! :)

Thanks again, RightHookCook. :cool:

RightHookCook
02-21-2011, 10:13 AM
right heres where im at with this now..........

just racked it for the 2nd time last night, its the 3rd straight reading of just below 1.000 on the hydrometer, so thats the fermentation completed.

its still not as clear as i wanted so i will leave it for another 2 weeks to a month and then bottle.

heres what i was wondering, ive lost a few inches at the top of the demi-john , im going to top it up with a slightly watered down 1lb of honey.

will this start fermentation again? and how long does a basic mead take to clear?

thanks alot.

wayneb
02-21-2011, 01:52 PM
It may very well restart fermentation if you introduce additional fermentable sugars with your topping up liquid. Since this was a typical wine strength initial gravity to begin with, most wine yeasts have the ability to last through more alcohol than what you have in there at this time.

You can opt to stabilize the mead, by introducing doses of metabisulphite and potassium sorbate, along with your honey/water topping up mix. That should keep things from restarting (provided you've already racked off of most of the remaining active yeast).

Oh, and traditional mead clearing times (traditional = simple honey/water with no adjuncts) are notoriously difficult to predict. It can take anywhere from a couple of months, to a year or longer, depending on the variety of honey, the strain of yeast, the temperature of the aging mead, and the zodiacal sign the sun was in at the time the yeast were pitched. OK, maybe not the latter, but I think you get the idea. ;)

fatbloke
02-21-2011, 03:58 PM
Further to Wayne's input, you may find (probably not now as it's not cleared) that back sweetening with honey can often cause a cleared mead to get a haze again. Though it's not a problem, as it will drop out over time (usually), though sometimes you might need to give it a belt of finings.

Also, as any honey that you add (after the stabilisation process of the sulphite and sorbate) hasn't had and fermentation or other meddling, it can often be the honey flavour that's at the forefront of the taste, so I'd suggest that you use something strong/nice tasting. I usually go for a 50/50 mix, though I believe some like 2 parts honey to 1 part water....... Or some even like to make a top up of 1 honey to 1 vodka (which along with the stabilising, the extra alcohol can help prevent any loose yeasties from starting up).... it's up to you really.....

As for bottling ? Well, it's up to you when you actually bottle it, but if you can spare the DJ, then I'd suggest bulk ageing it in the DJ i.e. leave it under airlock for a couple of months (making sure that the airlock doesn't dry out of course), then read up about de-gassing and do that, then just use a bung of some sort (I like corks at that stage).

Ha! as for bottling ? Well I've got about 12 gallons or so sitting under the stairs bulk ageing. Some of it is ready some not. This is often where the new mead maker has to learn a new meaning to the word "patience". I'd guess that it'll be a minimum of 6 months, probably longer (some of my meads have been in the DJ ageing for 2 years).

Well done getting a copy of Kens book. It's very well put together and it's not hard to pick out the bits that are relevant to the UK market.

Also, here's a link to the book I found helpful (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/0900841079/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&qid=1298318008&sr=1-1&condition=used). It's well and truly out of print, but still has a wealth of good info.

regards

fatbloke

p.s. Oh and I'll send you a PM about some other stuff as well....

p.p.s. Just had a thought. When you're back sweetening (as you will be if you top up with honey/water etc), add a little bit of the sweetener, and then check the gravity. If you tried a commercially available mead, it's likely that it'll be a "dessert" mead. I've tried some and they were incredibly sweet - when I took a gravity measurement, they were coming out at about 1.040. The ones I've made and found the be the nicest, have all been about the 1.010 mark. Sweet enough to be nice, but not so sweet as to seem like watered down honey......

If you manage to take up all the air space in the DJ and the numbers don't hit something like the 1.010 area then don't fuss, as you can let it age and then taste it again and modify it accordingly......

RightHookCook
02-22-2011, 07:35 AM
Cool thanks again guys for such excellent responses, still cant get over how helpful and friendly these forums are!!

I went ahead and topped my DJ up to just below the neck with a mixture probably like 1 part water to 5 parts honey, very sloppy! using everything nice and sterilized.

I did not stabilize the mixture, and after 24 hours there is still no air lock activity. So fingers crossed as i dont want it to start up again.

As for the advice on bottling, i think i will leave it a month or two. I Can spare the DJ as i got given a load, but ive just bought some lovely new 500ml clear flip top bottles and i cant wait to use them! lol

Its still fairly hazy but its smelling and tasting not bad either (im not fussy!) and its only the 4th week, looking forward to next xmas when i can take a few bottles to my familys for dinner!!

Thanks again so much. True legends on this website!

PS Fatbloke, thanks for the great PM will respond when i get a chance. :D

RightHookCook
03-01-2011, 05:28 AM
quick update on my 1st batch,

after adding the 1lb of honey into the gallon DJ, ive left it a week and its looking great, took a hydrometer reading and its gone from a consistent 0.990 to a nice and semi sweet 1.220.

had a taste and im a fan, but like i said im not fussy!

now i guess ive just got to let it clear a bit and wait! its painfull i want to drink it now! oh well guess i will start another batch then , at least then by next xmas i should have a constent flow!

RightHookCook
03-15-2011, 06:23 AM
right i think ive just got to let this clear then im ready to bottle.

SG jan 31st 1.072, then feb 9th 0.990, then again on feb 20th 0.990.

i then added the 1lb of honey taking the gravity to 1.021 on the 28th feb, it was still this (1.021) on march 7th and again yesterday (march 14th) so ending gravity is 1.021.

now im probably just going to add a bit of bentonite to see if i can clear some of the haze my back sweetening has caused.

K5MOW
03-15-2011, 08:50 AM
Congratulations and welcome to the forum.

Roger