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ArdentAles
04-30-2011, 08:49 AM
Hi and thanks in advance from Medford, MA; I am an all-grain brewer who recently got interested in mead - reading the Meadmaker book - really interested in making melomel.

I made a 5 gal black currant melomel on Tuesday - with Lalvin EC 118 - 18 lbs wildflower with 96 oz blackcurrant, fermenting at 66 and was following the yeast nutrient addition schedule and then realized that I was supposed to add two packs of yeast and not one. I aerated with an O2 stone and it's bubbling nicely on day 5, but I was wondering if I should go buy more yeast and add it, or leave it alone and suffer the consequences (what will they be?) of underpitching.

It was 1.140 before the black currant addition (and I forgot to check the SG after the addition)

I have some Pasteur Red - the wine yeast that's supposed to be good with zinfandels, and some champagne yeast - but a melomel like at this gravity should be semi-sweet and not dry, right?

Thanks again.

akueck
04-30-2011, 11:56 AM
Hi ArdentAles and welcome to GotMead!

EC-1118 is a Champagne strain. I wouldn't add another pack of yeast at this point, just keep aerating through the 1/3 break and follow the nutrient schedule. The population will build on its own. I'm guessing you won't have much problems with this one. Do you know what the SG is now?

ArdentAles
04-30-2011, 12:06 PM
I screwed up in my post - the yeast I used was Lalvin 71B-1122

how does that change things?

also, as a beer brewer I haven't checked the gravity - I usually don't take samples during the first week when things seem to be going along at a steady clip

thanks for your help,
Max

jayich
04-30-2011, 02:43 PM
I screwed up in my post - the yeast I used was Lalvin 71B-1122

how does that change things?

also, as a beer brewer I haven't checked the gravity - I usually don't take samples during the first week when things seem to be going along at a steady clip

thanks for your help,
Max

I did a rough estimate of what your OG would be after you added the currant puree. Assuming you used VH black currant puree(which I've used many times) the SG is about 1.025. After you add it to 5 gallons of your original must the total volume will be about 5.73, with a new OG of about 1.126. If this ferments to 1.000 the potential ABV will be about 16.4%, which is higher than the usual stated 14% alcohol tolerance of 71B yeast- so your batch will likely end up fairly sweet.
Good luck!

akueck
04-30-2011, 03:34 PM
I've had 71B do pretty well with fruits, should be just fine. Definitely check the gravity, nutrient and aeration schedules go by SG, not clock time. Keep that temperature below 70.

ArdentAles
04-30-2011, 03:50 PM
thanks a lot; I appreciate your help

the recipe I based what I did on, although I did not follow it, was the Curt Stock one on Northern Brewer's website, brewingtv; at the time, I couldn't find the tart cherries, and I only had 18 lbs honey:
22 lbs Wildflower Honey, 8 lbs Black Currants
12 lbs Tart Cherries, 3 gal Water
3 tsp Yeast Energizer/Nutrient Blend (Fermaid-K and DAP)
10 g Lalvin Narbonne Yeast (71B-1122)
Approximate OG: 1.161
Target FG: 1.030 - 1.040
Estimated ABV: 16.1%

my last questions are:
should I always pitch two packs of yeast
and
what's a guideling FG for a melomel - or are there semi-sweet, sweet, and dry melomels...

what would you recommend my batch finish at for your ideal flavor

p.s. I added the 96 oz of Vintner's Harvest black currants (seemed like juice to me) to 4.5 gals of must, and I have 5.25 gals of liquid in the fermentor

akueck
04-30-2011, 04:19 PM
Pitching more yeast is good for high gravity musts. 5 gallons of 1.100 you can get by with 1 pack (though even then I might use two). 5 gallons of 1.120 I'd say definitely use 2 packs. [I'm assuming 1 pack = 5 g.] 5 gallons of 1.160 personally I'd go with 3 packs. If you scale up the volume, scale up the yeast too.

There are dry to sweet melomels just like every other mead. FG is not a good predictor of sweetness since the fruit acids will balance the residual sugar to some degree, and different fruits provide different amounts and kinds of acid. Other additions like oak can also offset sweetness, and high alcohol content also changes the perception of sweetness. After all that, you might like your mead a little sweeter or drier than the next person so you're stuck with the "ideal FG" being totally up to you. "Balance" between the various flavor components is usually the target rather than a magic sugar content.

Most fruit meads taste more "fruity" with a little extra residual sugar, in case that helps any.

jayich
04-30-2011, 04:58 PM
thanks a lot; I appreciate your help

the recipe I based what I did on, although I did not follow it, was the Curt Stock one on Northern Brewer's website, brewingtv; at the time, I couldn't find the tart cherries, and I only had 18 lbs honey:
22 lbs Wildflower Honey, 8 lbs Black Currants
12 lbs Tart Cherries, 3 gal Water
3 tsp Yeast Energizer/Nutrient Blend (Fermaid-K and DAP)
10 g Lalvin Narbonne Yeast (71B-1122)
Approximate OG: 1.161
Target FG: 1.030 - 1.040
Estimated ABV: 16.1%

my last questions are:
should I always pitch two packs of yeast
and
what's a guideling FG for a melomel - or are there semi-sweet, sweet, and dry melomels...

what would you recommend my batch finish at for your ideal flavor

p.s. I added the 96 oz of Vintner's Harvest black currants (seemed like juice to me) to 4.5 gals of must, and I have 5.25 gals of liquid in the fermentor

In my 5 to 7 gallon batches I always use two 8 gm yeast packets although 2 5gm packets I think is what many people on this site would use in fairly high gravity musts like this one.