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Soyala_Amaya
03-22-2011, 11:10 PM
Two questions

One, if I am putting my fruit in during my second fermentation in smaller 2 gallon buckets, can I use the 'shaking method' to take care of the cap? Or should I stir it 2-3 times a day just to be sure?

Second, is there as much of a fear of a cap with spices, such as cinnamon sticks?

triarchy
03-23-2011, 07:27 AM
Welcome to GotMead!

I would not shake the mead at that advanced stage, you really want to do all you can to reduce oxidation at that point. You could swirl the ferementer gently to try and break up the cap. I stir with fruit in the primary, but I think this would add oxygen at your stage but I have never added fruit to the secondary (always primary) so Im not sure of the best way.

I woulnt think spice would be an issue, mostly becasue I dont think you could/should add enough to make a cap (unless you really use a lot which will probably muck the taste up).

Soyala_Amaya
03-23-2011, 09:18 AM
I was worried about that with the cap, I work long hours and making sure to stir twice a day could be problematic. I might have to rethink fruit unless there is an ok on my third question:

If I put my fruit in a sealed mesh bag and weight it (such as with sanitized marbles) would I still have to worry about stirring it, or would keeping the fruit below the surface protect me from that?

Recipe
15# clover honey
5 gallons water
10 grams KIV 116
10 ounces bee pollen (nutrient/energizer, going the natural route)

OG 1.095 and I need some new ph strips

I pulled off 2 gallons of must for topping in my secondary, leaving 4.5 gallons in my fermenter (which is foaming nicely but I need a better rubber stop before my first three days are up because I think I have a slow leak which is why I'm not getting any airlock activity) I'll be separating it out to four 2 gallon racking buckets, one plain for control, one cherry, one orange/cinnamon, and one peach. Will be going for a stronger flavor on each, so average of 1.5# fruit in each, the 2 gallon racking buckets to be topped with my frozen must. (The one that comes out best will be redone in a 6.5 bucket)

How much weight would I have to add to keep my fruit down, and how much space would that take up? Could I possibly alter my bucket with a clip at the bottom if I make sure my lees stirrer doesn't go down too far? Or is stirring twice a day for a freaking year or more my only option here?

Medsen Fey
03-23-2011, 09:40 AM
When you add fruit to the secondary, it tends to be less of a cap problem because the fermentation has usually slowed down - it doesn't always hold true, but usually the fermentation won't be as vigorous.

If you add the fruit and keep it under airlock, swirling/shaking it to keep the fruit mixed in and wet is easy and will not cause oxidation issues and I do this sometimes. You can weigh the fruit down in a bag if you like - the amount of weight will be "whatever it takes" to keep it submerged and that will vary depending on the the fruit, and how much of it you add. I find trying to weigh it down is more trouble than it's worth.

Soyala_Amaya
04-02-2011, 11:15 PM
Bumping this thread with an additional question, when adding fruit to secondary, when do you sulphite/sorbate to keep from fermenting your fruit? Right before you rack onto the fruit, or do you just cold crash the primary and hope for the best? Most people seem to stabilize right before bottling, but there have been a few comments about using it in the racking procedure. Just want to make sure I don't put my chems in at the wrong time!

Chevette Girl
04-03-2011, 02:57 AM
I don't often use fruit in secondary, but I believe in general you do want it to ferment, but gently so it doesn't blow off all the delicate flavours and aromas like it might in primary, and you let that sit for a couple weeks maximum, then take the fruit out and let it clear, THEN think about stabilizing it.

Otherwise it'd be like the difference between making wine with fruit juice or just adding fruit juice to a wine (like the cheap fruit wine kits where you ferment the wine out, hit it with the chemicals, then add a fruit pack of more grape juice mixed with artificial flavourings or if you're lucky, real fruit juices, which doesn't get fermented at all), in my humble opinion, it's cheating if your fruit doesn't ferment a little! ;D

Riverat
04-06-2011, 09:13 PM
Another noob question along a similar vein. on my first Mel, a Blueberry.
5 gal batch
15 lbs wildflower
E1118 yeast
67 to 72 degrees tops
OG 1.1
Areated and SNA
at 1.005 added 6 lbs bluberries in fine mesh bag (couple stainless steel bolts to hold it down. in the primary
pressed down to de gas the bag daily for 5 days, pulled out and added another 6 and repeated.
Still fermenting at a crawl, about to go to secondary.
My question is am I making blueberry wine or a mead? I ask because it smells / tastes good ( as far as a month old batch goes) but what I get is blueberry, blueberry wine, a bit of the harsh / hot (but not much) new alcohol and yeast' in that order and not a hint of honey.
Will the Blueberry fade back and the honey come back as it ages? I know the honey will come back up over time but at this point it would have a LOT of blueberry to get through.I didn't think this seemed like a lot of fruit but it looks like it will make a good wine,

Medsen Fey
04-06-2011, 09:21 PM
It is a mead.

EC-1118 blows off a lot of honey aromatics due to the vigorous fermentation and so it is common, especially if the temp has been on the higher side, to have a mead that has very little honey aroma at the end of fermentation. The honey aroma will pick up as it ages, but it depends a lot on which honey you use. Some will have a much stronger presence than others. Of course, backsweetening, if you decide it needs some, also tends to pick up the aroma.

12 pounds of fruit in a 5 gallon batch isn't an overwhelming amount, so I'd say let it clear and age. In a year, I bet you'll be a lot happier with it.

AToE
04-06-2011, 09:29 PM
There's a debate that rages (not really rages... but there is a debate, I swear!) over how much honey vs other ingredients should come through in a mead. At the end of the day, a large part of your fermentables (almost all in this case) came from honey, so it's a mead no matter what anyone tells you.

I'm not necessarily out to make mead, just to make the best possible whatever-it-is. That usually does mean trying to make the honey come through, but not always in a big way.

Also, young meads that finish drier pretty much never have much/any honey aroma or flavour, it's more like a crappy white wine or something. Age brings it back from the dead.

Riverat
04-06-2011, 10:33 PM
It is a mead.

EC-1118 blows off a lot of honey aromatics due to the vigorous fermentation and so it is common, especially if the temp has been on the higher side, to have a mead that has very little honey aroma at the end of fermentation. The honey aroma will pick up as it ages, but it depends a lot on which honey you use. Some will have a much stronger presence than others. Of course, backsweetening, if you decide it needs some, also tends to pick up the aroma.

12 pounds of fruit in a 5 gallon batch isn't an overwhelming amount, so I'd say let it clear and age. In a year, I bet you'll be a lot happier with it.

Cool, from what I've read here (great place by the way) time is a powerful ally. I figure this to bulk age for at least half of that year? Maybe bottle sometime after and the back sweetening sound like a possibilty, at 1.005 it's sweet enough for me (again, for it's age) but it continues to feed. If I use this yest again it will definetly be in the cooler with my fermenting beer!

Medsen Fey
04-07-2011, 10:50 AM
At 1.005 it should still be fermenting and it should end up dry. Make sure it is completely finished before bottling.

wayneb
04-07-2011, 10:53 AM
Even just a couple of gravity points of residual sweetness, added via backsweetening, can make a bone dry and 'GAAK!' tasting mead much more palatable relatively early in its aging interval. Something to consider, depending on how much patience you have. ;D But please make sure to stabilize it before attempting any backsweetening. Especially with an aggressive yeast like EC-1118, it may wake back up and re-ferment in the bottle, potentially causing bottle bombs, if you aren't sure that the yeast are all dead and gone.

BTW - This is related to the subject of how aging can improve a dry mead: I've just begun an "accidental experiment" to see how much improvement one can expect from extended aging of a bone-dry batch of traditional mead. It was an accident because I inadvertently left my mead on the lees, and with oak in the carboy, for 4 months longer than I'd originally planned. I got so distracted with work last year that I essentially forgot how long everything was in there, and when I found that carboy again, it was way too late to do anything about it. I tasted it a couple of months ago (less than a full year of aging), and it was much like sucking on a burnt wooden tongue depressor! :p

Latent sadist that I am, I went ahead and bottled enough of it to submit as a late entry into the Mazer Cup. I wanted to see what the judges would think of something as over-oaked as this one had become. This way I have a baseline score to which I can compare additional unbiased scores in years hence. Let's just say that this time, the judges were kind... :rolleyes: But clearly this mead didn't find any fans, not at this early stage in its life anyway. However, I plan on entering it again after a few years of bottle development, to see how different the comments will be.