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kenour
05-16-2011, 04:58 AM
Hi Guys,

I'm making a Feijoa Melomel from a modified Feijoa Wine recipe (modified as much as I replaced the sugar with honey :p), and was after some advice on how others would tackle it.

This is the recipe I used (I multiplied by 4 to make a 25lt batch):

Feijoa Wine Recipe
Ingredients:

Enough feijoas to yield 1 ½ kilos of feijoa flesh
1 kilo of sugar
4 litres of water
1 Campden tablet
¼ teaspoon of tannin
¼ teaspoon of malic acid
½ teaspoon of tartaric acid
1 ½ teaspoon pectic enzyme
1 package of wine yeast
1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient

Method:

Freeze the feijoas, thaw them and then scoop out the flesh. This freeze/thaw process helps weaken the cell walls and allows the fruit to release more flavour during the fermentation process.
Place the feijoa flesh in a large plastic bin or bucket.
Use a potato masher to mash up the fruit - this will further break down the fruit and free its juice.
Add your water and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the tannin, malic acid, tartaric acid and pectic enzyme.
Crush the Campden tablet and add this to the mixture. Campden tablets contain sodium metabisulphite and are used to kill bacteria and inhibit the growth of wild yeast.
Cover your bucket with a cloth and leave it to sit for three days. Stir it morning and evening each day.
Strain the mixture through cheesecloth into a clean bucket.
Add the yeast nutrient and the wine yeast. It’s best to “start” the yeast first. Do this by mixing it with one tablespoon of sugar and 60 ml luke warm water and leaving it to stand for 15 minutes.
Cover the bucket with a cloth and leave it to stand for 6 days - this is where your primary fermentation will take place.
Siphon the wine off the sediment that will have collected at the bottom of the bucket and transfer the wine to a fermenting bin with an airlock - your wine is now entering its secondary fermentation phase.
Place the fermentation bin in a cool dark place and leave for 30 days.
After 30 days, siphon the wine from the fermentation bin, discard the collected sediment and then return the wine and ferment for a further 90 days.
When fermentation is complete, bottle the wine and age in a cool dark place for at least 6 months before drinking.


I'm currently up to step 7, I have the ingredients together in a drum that I shake morning and night. I'm due to pitch the yeast tomorrow, I'll probably use a Vintner's Harvest CY17 to try and preserve as much of the feijoa flavours as possible (or wimp out and use a SN9 :P).

I've read a few posts, and they suggest to use a bag for the fruit when making a melomel... well... bit too late for me! :p

My question really revolves around set 8 of the recipe. I'm wondering what others would do? I'm not sure if I agree with straining the mixture before primary fermentation (but what do I know, this is only my second brew)?

Would others just leave the fruit in during primary fermentation, then carefully rack to try and avoid as much sediment / fruit sludge as possible? Then continue to rack as normal?

Thanks for reading,

Kenny.

tweak'e
05-16-2011, 05:44 AM
hi, i have one almost finished at the moment.

where abouts are you from?

i would have left out the acid. hopefully its not enough to drop the PH to low. trouble is honey is acidic. would pay to check the PH.

CY17 is a tricky yeast to use according to the info. SN9 is okish but i think MA33 is better, which is what i used, however you just have to watch the PH.
problem with honey, you really want to keep fermentation temps down around 20c. unfortunatly MA33 only goes down to 15c and CY17 will quit very easly at 15c.

forget leaving it for 6 days then 30 days etc. fermentation time can range from weeks to several months depending on yeast and temps. (edit: CY17 will take about 3 weeks which blows the 6 days time line out of the water!)
use a hydrometer to measure your specific gravity as you go along. you will need to use one to be able to put the right amount of honey in anyway. feijoas and honey all vary in sugar content so using amounts is unreliable.

be aware that feijoa taste is strong. i cheated and used feijoa and apple juice. its only 20% feijoa but thats all you can taste, it over rides the apple and honey. to much feijoa and it will taste like feijoa juice and vodka.......boring !

kenour
05-16-2011, 09:42 AM
Hiya, I'm in Australia, originally from NZ. Grew up with feijoa's, Grandparents had huge old tree's on their farm producing heaps of fruit. :)

I have ph testing gear from another hobby (aquaponics), so I'll give it a measure.

What do you think about the fruit, leave it during primary fermentation or strain?

I'm just thinking, if I leave the pulp in I'm not going to get an accurate specific gravity right? Because some of the sugars will be locked up in the pulp and not available in solution, so the sample will be inaccurate...ish? Or am I thinking too hard... I tend to do that :P

If you think the feijoa flavour might be too strong, it might pay to strain the pulp before fermentation, the at least I'll get an accurate OG measurement and could adjust accurately.

I have a cyser (my first brew) aging at the moment, if I need to dial the flavour back, I could always try a half half in a couple of bottle. The cyser is apple, pear and honey; everything is from my property (except the yeast that is), I thinking I've found the my favourite way so far to preserve my surplus fruit ;)

tweak'e
05-17-2011, 02:15 AM
thats bloody awesome mate :)

i would be inclined to ferment fruit and all. only catch is it may be a bit tricky when it comes to racking the mead out of the fermenter. hopefully by then the pectin and yeast have broken down some of the chunks. worse thing is the racking cane might get blocked up.

sugar level, it should be close enough. flavor wise, worse case is it gets watered down with cyser etc or back sweetened with a strong honey to try to balance the tastes.
that recipe only calls for 1kg of sugar compared to mine where i added ~2.5kg of honey, roughly double the sugar than yours so obviously a lot less fruit than yours.
tho mine has lost a lot of flavor right at the end, however i will be back sweetning and adding some back in.

kenour
05-17-2011, 02:59 AM
Yeah that's what I was thinking! :) Just chuck the yeast in and worry about getting the chunks out later. The main reason I would try to avoid straining a fermented brew is obviously oxidisation, as the strainer would act like a aerator on a tap. I suppose it shouldn't be too much of a problem as I intend to rack under Argon, but still, better to be safe than oxidised.

I checked my Cyser last night, it's sitting at 15C at the moment (pretty stable, it's in the hallway cupboard in the centre of the house and doesn't fluctuate that much). So I might have to use the SN9, as it's only going to get colder in Ballarat over the next few weeks (the reason I'm tossing up between SN9 and CY17 is because it's what I have sitting in the fridge, like to use what I have spare).

If I'm aiming for a sweet/semi sweet finish, what OG should I aim for with SN9 do you think? I don't know what numbers equate to sweet / semi sweet finish. If I aim for an OG of say 1.15, and it ferments to 18%, theoretically I'm left with about 1.7% sugar right? Or doesn't it work like that :P I used 4kg of honey and have about 2kg left from this years harvest, so can adjust SG if required :D

tweak'e
05-17-2011, 03:36 AM
aerating the fermenter early on is good but not at the end.

i would go SN9 over the CY17. CY17 needs a lot more work over a long time.
forget aiming for 18%. odds are it will go fusel getting it that high. better to aim for 14%, let it finish dry, stabilize and then back sweeten. so OG 1.100 FG 0.990
even if there is a little bit of sugar tied up in the pulp it will just go a bit higher in alcohol.

kenour
05-17-2011, 05:30 AM
So I take it fusel is bad then :)

Ok, will do! Just trying to get the temp up a bit before pitching yeast. It's bloody cold at the moment. I'll take a SG reading as soon as it's a bit warmer and adjust if necessary :)

Just on back sweetening, what's your recommended/preferred method for a brew like this? I would like to add more honey but obviously want to prevent fermentation kicking off again. I do have some stevia in the pantry, but as I said I like to use ingredients I've produced where possible.

tweak'e
05-17-2011, 06:49 AM
there should be some info somewhere. basically you add campden tablets then potassium sorbate. they work hand in hand at stopping yeast from breeding.
then add honey/juice untill you get the sweetness/taste you want.

the other way would be to pasteurize the mead ie heat it up to a certain temp to kill the yeast.

a few things help. one is to rack off as much yeast as possible, putting it in a very cold place can help to stop/pause the yeast. the less yeast you have in it the harder it is for them to get going after sorbating.

kenour
05-17-2011, 08:44 AM
OK! Well the SG was 1.070... So I added 3.2kg more honey to get it up to 1.100! 7.2kg of honey in all, so better be a good return for that :P

Have pitched yeast, sitting in the cupboard with the Cyser at 15C. Hope to see some bubbles tomorrow morning :)

I'll give back sweetening a go with this batch I think, might try the campden / potassium sorbate route. Depend on how it comes out, but that's months away. The wait begins!

kenour
05-17-2011, 09:10 PM
Ahh criminy! I forgot to test the pH last night didn't I... It was late and I was in a bit of a rush...

Didn't see any action in the airlock this morning, so after scratching my head a little, I remembered what you said about the pH! Hopefully there's bubbles by the time I get home.

tweak'e
05-18-2011, 01:26 AM
give it a good stir.
don't expect it to be fast at that temp. my current batch with SN9 has been crawling along. at 20-25c it should take around 2 weeks to ferment. it will be slower at the cool temp and also taste a whole lot better.

i'm not a fan of airlocks on fermenter and they are not a reliable gauge of whats happening. give it a few days and check with the hydrometer.

kenour
05-18-2011, 04:18 AM
All good :) It was bubbling away when I got home from work. Happy days!

I picked up the barrel and shook the bejebus out of it before I pitched the yeast, hopefully that was enough to get it going. Thanks for all the help :)

Chevette Girl
05-19-2011, 12:58 AM
Yeah that's what I was thinking! :) Just chuck the yeast in and worry about getting the chunks out later. The main reason I would try to avoid straining a fermented brew is obviously oxidisation, as the strainer would act like a aerator on a tap. I suppose it shouldn't be too much of a problem as I intend to rack under Argon, but still, better to be safe than oxidised.

Don't stress out TOO much about oxidation while it's still got a lot of CO2 coming out of it (ie, just finishing its active stage). That might be why they recommend straining it a couple of days in, that will be long enough for most of the flavour to transfer and the pectinase should have done its thing to release the juice by then, but it's probably only 1/3 of the way through its sugar, at which point your yeasties will appreciate some more oxygen anyway... Doing your first racking under argon might be a bit of overkill because even if the ferment's done, there's usually still a lot of CO2 trapped in the must and it will come out of solution and displace any oxygen in the top of the carboy... Although it's not a bad idea for later rackings :)

Oh, and if you're working with a bucket for primary anyway, next time you ferment on the fruit I highly recommend using a brewing bag (I made my own out of scrap fabric but a new boiled/sanitized cotton pillowcase tied with sanitized string will work in a pinch). Makes it SOOOOO much easier for racking, just pull the bag up and let it drip for as long as you care to hold it up...

Welcome to the addiction, er, I mean, hobby!! ;D

kenour
05-19-2011, 02:11 AM
Don't stress out TOO much about oxidation while it's still got a lot of CO2 coming out of it (ie, just finishing its active stage). That might be why they recommend straining it a couple of days in, that will be long enough for most of the flavour to transfer and the pectinase should have done its thing to release the juice by then, but it's probably only 1/3 of the way through its sugar, at which point your yeasties will appreciate some more oxygen anyway... Doing your first racking under argon might be a bit of overkill because even if the ferment's done, there's usually still a lot of CO2 trapped in the must and it will come out of solution and displace any oxygen in the top of the carboy... Although it's not a bad idea for later rackings :)


Yeah that sounds right, let the pectinase do it's job then give it a good strain before adding the yeast so you don't have to deal with the big chunks latter on. Oh well, depending on how this turns out will dictate how I do it next time :)

Makes sense what you're saying about the first racking, when I did the Cyser a month ago from the plastic fermenter to a glass carboy it did kick off fermentation again vigorously for half a day or so. So might pay to let a little oxygen get in there.

Is there a rule of thumb for the timing of the first racking? What I suppose I'm asking is why don't you let it clear a bit before initial racking?



Oh, and if you're working with a bucket for primary anyway, next time you ferment on the fruit I highly recommend using a brewing bag (I made my own out of scrap fabric but a new boiled/sanitized cotton pillowcase tied with sanitized string will work in a pinch). Makes it SOOOOO much easier for racking, just pull the bag up and let it drip for as long as you care to hold it up...


Yes! I think this is a good option indeed :) I was thinking this time I might strain it through pantihose during initial racking. Just tie one to the end of the hole drop in inside the carboy and off I go.



Welcome to the addiction, er, I mean, hobby!! ;D


Addiction! Pffft, It's a way of life now! I'm way past addiction :P After starting my first brew a few months ago (Cyser with my apples, pears, honey) I have been looking at all the fruit plants on my property thinking, 'wonder how that will ferment'. I have logan berries which I'll be making a wine out of, Isabella grapes along the front of the house which will meet the same fate. I'll do another cyser next year, plum wine, peach grappa, cape gooseberry wine... I can't wait! Give me a place to stand and I will ferment the earth!!!

tweak'e
05-19-2011, 05:06 AM
for me i do the first rack out of the fermenter and into the carboy just before it finishes fermenting. typically around 1.000 or as close as you can. it generally will finish to 0.990 in the carboy.

kenour
05-19-2011, 07:58 AM
for me i do the first rack out of the fermenter and into the carboy just before it finishes fermenting. typically around 1.000 or as close as you can. it generally will finish to 0.990 in the carboy.

Ahh ok, go by the SG aye, that's something I can measure and do! :)

I've made sure I have a couple of litres spare for top ups during racking (which I learnt after having quite a bit of head space after racking my cyser), what would the best way to store it be (between rackings?). What do other people do?

Chevette Girl
05-19-2011, 11:40 AM
Yeah that sounds right, let the pectinase do its job then give it a good strain before adding the yeast so you don't have to deal with the big chunks latter on. Oh well, depending on how this turns out will dictate how I do it next time :)


Yeah, this recipe essentially makes juice first and removes the fruit chunks before you ever pitch and you'd want the campden tab because you're leaving it alone for two days under pectinase wiht no fermentation... if you do this recipe again and want to ferment on the fruit, all the recipes I've used give you 24 hours with the campden tab (which I only ever use with pears because they spoil so fast) and then 24 hours with the pectic enzyme, then you can pitch. If your fruit's in good condition and everything else has been sanitized, you just have to wait till it's a good temperature before adding the pectinase.


Makes sense what you're saying about the first racking, when I did the Cyser a month ago from the plastic fermenter to a glass carboy it did kick off fermentation again vigorously for half a day or so. So might pay to let a little oxygen get in there.

Is there a rule of thumb for the timing of the first racking? What I suppose I'm asking is why don't you let it clear a bit before initial racking?

Typically if you're fermenting on the fruit, you don't want to leave it in longer than about two weeks maximum in case things go funky, so that's why you'd want your first racking to be well before things have cleared. Other than that, most folks will leave a traditional mead (no fruit) in primary until the SG approaches 1.000,then rack it off the lees to secondary. Letting it sit in primary on the lees is not the end of the world but if you want to do this, research your yeast as there are some varieties known for adding off flavours when lees-aged, but they should ALL be fine for at least a couple weeks in primary.



Yes! I think this is a good option indeed :) I was thinking this time I might strain it through pantihose during initial racking. Just tie one to the end of the hole drop in inside the carboy and off I go.

I'm not sure how badly feijoa pulp clogs, just to get the large shapes out of the way you might consider a colander or steamer basket or something with bigger holes for a first run, it'll go a lot faster, and then strain it through something finer, pantyhose might be too fine.



Addiction! Pffft, It's a way of life now! I'm way past addiction :P After starting my first brew a few months ago (Cyser with my apples, pears, honey) I have been looking at all the fruit plants on my property thinking, 'wonder how that will ferment'. I have logan berries which I'll be making a wine out of, Isabella grapes along the front of the house which will meet the same fate. I'll do another cyser next year, plum wine, peach grappa, cape gooseberry wine... I can't wait! Give me a place to stand and I will ferment the earth!!!

Yup, you're addicted, I can tell... and another winemaker as well, instead of only mead! Yay, I was starting to get lonely ;D

wayneb
05-19-2011, 12:37 PM
Yup, you're addicted, I can tell... and another winemaker as well, instead of only mead! Yay, I was starting to get lonely ;D

You guys aren't alone - both Oskaar and I make wine, too. Its just that we don't speak much of such things on this site! ;)

kudapucat
05-19-2011, 07:59 PM
Hey Kenny,
When are you coming to Melbourne. I have a semi aged bottle of JAO just begging to be drunk with somebody who'll appreciate it...

kenour
05-19-2011, 09:53 PM
Yeah, this recipe essentially makes juice first and removes the fruit chunks before you ever pitch and you'd want the campden tab because you're leaving it alone for two days under pectinase wiht no fermentation... if you do this recipe again and want to ferment on the fruit, all the recipes I've used give you 24 hours with the campden tab (which I only ever use with pears because they spoil so fast) and then 24 hours with the pectic enzyme, then you can pitch. If your fruit's in good condition and everything else has been sanitized, you just have to wait till it's a good temperature before adding the pectinase.

Feijoa's also tend to spoil very quickly, when I'm making pies I shuck them directly into sugar syrup. Which I'll be doing this weekend! :) I think I'll be using a bag next time for sure, then I can compare the tastes. I'll use exactly the same recipe but change the method. I might leave the acid out because tweak'e advised me that honey itself is acidic, so may not be needed.


Typically if you're fermenting on the fruit, you don't want to leave it in longer than about two weeks maximum in case things go funky, so that's why you'd want your first racking to be well before things have cleared. Other than that, most folks will leave a traditional mead (no fruit) in primary until the SG approaches 1.000,then rack it off the lees to secondary. Letting it sit in primary on the lees is not the end of the world but if you want to do this, research your yeast as there are some varieties known for adding off flavours when lees-aged, but they should ALL be fine for at least a couple weeks in primary.

Right! No problems, will leave it until next weekend then I think. I might need to stir it a bit this weekend, the extra honey I added to adjust the SG has settled on the bottom, I did shake it up initially before taking the OG reading, but seems to have fallen out of solution a bit. I was hoping the yeasties wouldn't mind too much and thought it might get picked up by a full rolling fermentation, but because it's working at only 15C, its not fermenting as vigorously as the cyser was. Time will tell I suppose!


[COLOR="Purple"]I'm not sure how badly feijoa pulp clogs, just to get the large shapes out of the way you might consider a colander or steamer basket or something with bigger holes for a first run, it'll go a lot faster, and then strain it through something finer, pantyhose might be too fine.

Yeah I think you're right, get the big chunks out and do a second racking after the little chunks clear. I'll just make sure I reserve enough spare for top ups.


Yup, you're addicted, I can tell... and another winemaker as well, instead of only mead! Yay, I was starting to get lonely ;D

Yes indeed! :) I've let the grapes go to the birds the last two seasons because I haven't been in a position to do anything with them (lack of time, knowledge and equipment). But after a bit of research and impulse buying a grape destemmer/crusher, grape/cider press, bottles, corks, corker, 500lt fermenter and converted 80lt stainless kegs for aging... Seems I don't have the equipment excuse any more :P Just knowledge and time!


Hey Kenny,
When are you coming to Melbourne. I have a semi aged bottle of JAO just begging to be drunk with somebody who'll appreciate it...

Ooer! I've used all my honey this season, but do plan of giving JAO a go one year. I would like to use the cirtus on my property though, you know how I love that self sustainability junk :P I haven't got oranges, but I might see how kumquats go! :P

tweak'e
05-20-2011, 12:16 AM
i cheat a bit and leave the left overs in a plastic juice bottle. one has been in one for months and no plastic taste yet. tho using small glass bottles would be better.
one advantage of plastic container is you can squeeze it down. that gets a lt of air out and lets the bottle expand back out if it keeps fermenting.

even if you don't use it, the left over can be good for experiments with spices etc.

incidentally i have a litre of leftover cyser in a bottle and accidently put left over honey in it. fermentation kicked off again and hasn't stopped even after several nights of 4-5c. SN9 yeast. the bottle not insulated or kept warm and its got to be close to max alcohol by now.

kenour
05-20-2011, 01:07 AM
i cheat a bit and leave the left overs in a plastic juice bottle. one has been in one for months and no plastic taste yet. tho using small glass bottles would be better.
one advantage of plastic container is you can squeeze it down. that gets a lt of air out and lets the bottle expand back out if it keeps fermenting.

even if you don't use it, the left over can be good for experiments with spices etc.

incidentally i have a litre of leftover cyser in a bottle and accidently put left over honey in it. fermentation kicked off again and hasn't stopped even after several nights of 4-5c. SN9 yeast. the bottle not insulated or kept warm and its got to be close to max alcohol by now.

I do have a couple of 750ml glass bottles with grolsch locks, I'll fill them right to the top then and leave them for top ups only.

Hopefully I don't have any 'accidents' with honey :P SN9 seems like a persistent little bugger!

tweak'e
05-20-2011, 01:10 AM
don't lock the tops on, just leave them resting or held gently on. even if the mead dosn't ferment in the bottle it will be degassing.

kenour
05-20-2011, 01:25 AM
don't lock the tops on, just leave them resting or held gently on. even if the mead dosn't ferment in the bottle it will be degassing.

I planned on storing it in the fridge to stall the fermentation, but I didn't think of degassing (coincidentally, degassing it's something that I've just been reading about! :P). As I want this to be a very still mead, I just had a read up on various dagassing methods (something I didn't know about until today after reading a few people asking 'should I degas', which got me thinking, 'hmm, should I degas too... wait, what the heck is degassing :confused:'. I think I'll opt for the 'time' method :P. Maybe chuck in a splash racking for good measure.

I did come across this during my research:

The purpose of degassing in wine or mead is to benefit the yeast. CO2 is toxic to yeast and inhibits the yeast's ability to fully ferment the larger amount of sugars in wine/mead.

Degassing mead is highly recommended during primary fermentation to help the yeast, even if you plan on making a sparkling mead.

I'm curious about whether beer would benefit from degassing, though I suspect that yeast can handle the levels of sugar typically found in beer without needing to have CO2 removed from beer.

Yet another thing to worry about! This hobby sure can send a normal person neurotic with all the things to worry about... I already see harmful bacteria everywhere now and want to sanitise everything! :P

kudapucat
05-20-2011, 01:25 AM
don't lock the tops on, just leave them resting or held gently on. even if the mead dosn't ferment in the bottle it will be degassing.

Or whack the finger of a rubber glove over the end... that's what I do... when it's full, squeeze it, then see if it fills again. they usually allow the gas to escape without flying off

tweak'e
05-20-2011, 01:30 AM
reminds me....balloon on the end of the bottle !

degassing, just give the mead a stir when its in the fermenter. more important at the start than at the end. after its fermented leave it alone. less movement the better. just let the co2 come out on its own unless you have vacuum pumps.

Chevette Girl
05-20-2011, 01:47 AM
Feijoa's also tend to spoil very quickly, when I'm making pies I shuck them directly into sugar syrup. Which I'll be doing this weekend! :) I think I'll be using a bag next time for sure, then I can compare the tastes. I'll use exactly the same recipe but change the method. I might leave the acid out because tweak'e advised me that honey itself is acidic, so may not be needed.



Yeah, that's really the biggest difference between using sugar and using honey for your main fermentable when making wines... honey makes its own acidity so you don't need to add any, even on its own sometimes it can get too acidic, although using fruit tends to buffer the effect somewhat so you're more likely to run into problems with a straight traditional mead than a melomel.

Chevette Girl
05-20-2011, 01:57 AM
I planned on storing it in the fridge to stall the fermentation, but I didn't think of degassing (coincidentally, degassing it's something that I've just been reading about! :P). As I want this to be a very still mead, I just had a read up on various dagassing methods (something I didn't know about until today after reading a few people asking 'should I degas', which got me thinking, 'hmm, should I degas too... wait, what the heck is degassing :confused:'. I think I'll opt for the 'time' method :P. Maybe chuck in a splash racking for good measure.


You are degassing for different purposes depending on whether it's an active fermentation or if it's aging in secondary...

When it's fermenting, you want to continue stirring it gently even when you're done with aerating it for a couple of reasons - one being to keep the yeast suspended, and another being to get some of the CO2 out of it because it's theoretically better for your yeasties to get their waste products away from them. Don't worry too much about it though, yeast is surprisingly hardy...

When it's aging, you want to get the CO2 gas out so you don't end up bottling a petillant (not quite sparkling) wine, it also helps with fining, some of the additives you can use to make anything in your wine settle out won't work well if there's still a lot of CO2 in solution... Gently racking it back and forth from one carboy to another can get some CO2 out, but you don't want to splash it around once you're out of fermentables because that will start introducing oxygen. Best way I've found if I'm in a hurry is to use the sanitized handle of my long handled spoon and stick it in the carboy and swirl it around gently a couple of times a day for a couple of days, that'll usually get most of it out. Or leave it secondary for a year or two, by which point it will have come out on its own.

kenour
05-20-2011, 11:58 AM
You are degassing for different purposes depending on whether it's an active fermentation or if it's aging in secondary...

When it's fermenting, you want to continue stirring it gently even when you're done with aerating it for a couple of reasons - one being to keep the yeast suspended, and another being to get some of the CO2 out of it because it's theoretically better for your yeasties to get their waste products away from them. Don't worry too much about it though, yeast is surprisingly hardy...


Got it. So, as it's fermenting at the moment under an airlock, do I just take the lid off and stir with a sanitised spoon then whack the lid back on hoping no nasties got it? Should I be less worried because as it's during this active fermentation phase you're able to do it without worrying too much as the yeast makes the environment hostile for other organisms? Or something?

There's also some honey that's settled that I want to try and get in solution, so I really do want to give it a stir tomorrow morning :D



When it's aging, you want to get the CO2 gas out so you don't end up bottling a petillant (not quite sparkling) wine, it also helps with fining, some of the additives you can use to make anything in your wine settle out won't work well if there's still a lot of CO2 in solution... Gently racking it back and forth from one carboy to another can get some CO2 out, but you don't want to splash it around once you're out of fermentables because that will start introducing oxygen. Best way I've found if I'm in a hurry is to use the sanitized handle of my long handled spoon and stick it in the carboy and swirl it around gently a couple of times a day for a couple of days, that'll usually get most of it out. Or leave it secondary for a year or two, by which point it will have come out on its own.

Ok! I now understand what that weird 3 pronged plastic thing was at the LHBS! :P I do want to have some of this ready for xmas, the cyser will be 9-10 months aged, while the feijoa melomel will only be 7-8 months. I could always gift and advise they need to age for another 6 months at least before drinking :)

Chevette Girl
05-20-2011, 01:17 PM
Got it. So, as it's fermenting at the moment under an airlock, do I just take the lid off and stir with a sanitised spoon then whack the lid back on hoping no nasties got it? Should I be less worried because as it's during this active fermentation phase you're able to do it without worrying too much as the yeast makes the environment hostile for other organisms? Or something?


You definitely got it. A lot of indiscressions can go unnoticed through a vigorous fermentation... apparently up to and including a pair of ferrets frolicking through the must, according to one post I read some time ago! ... not that this means you should ever slack off on sanitation, but a good vigorous ferment does tend to slant the playing field considerably towards the stuff you want rather than the stuff you don't want. And during an active fermentation, a little oxygen exposure shouldn't hurt even after the 1/3 sugar break. Careful, not paranoid. :)

TheAlchemist
05-20-2011, 03:23 PM
i cheat a bit and leave the left overs in a plastic juice bottle. one advantage of plastic container is you can squeeze it down. that gets a lt of air out and lets the bottle expand back out if it keeps fermenting...

I'm gonna try this one day...

kenour
05-20-2011, 11:35 PM
You definitely got it. A lot of indiscressions can go unnoticed through a vigorous fermentation... apparently up to and including a pair of ferrets frolicking through the must, according to one post I read some time ago! ... not that this means you should ever slack off on sanitation, but a good vigorous ferment does tend to slant the playing field considerably towards the stuff you want rather than the stuff you don't want. And during an active fermentation, a little oxygen exposure shouldn't hurt even after the 1/3 sugar break. Careful, not paranoid. :)

OK! Took the top off, and gave it a bit of a stir, heaps of bubbles started coming to the top, was practically fizzing. So, I've achieved 3 things as I understand it; degassed so the yeast doesn't have to sit in their own farts/burps, moved the yeast into solution so they can work more efficiently, and mixed in the honey I used to adjust the SG that was sitting on the bottom :) It's a win win win situation!

I took an SG reading and it was 1.094, so a little bit of action since pitching the yeast. I know my OG may have been slightly inaccurate due to some sugars being bound in pulp, and honey not fully dissolved. But the addition of 3.2 kg wasn't, add, measure, add measure; I used an SG adjustment calculator I found HERE (http://web2.airmail.net/sgross/fermcalc/fermcalc_applet.html) that allowed me to put in the current SG, the desired SG, and the sweetener (the have honey, hooray! :D). Even if the SG of my honey wasn't exactly what they used, I think it'll be close enough :) I'm reasonably sure that my OG was close enough to 1.100 for all intents and purposes, I did give it a big shake and it measured 1.100 before pitching, but yeah, probably slightly higher do to the unavailable sugars.

kenour
05-23-2011, 06:58 PM
Just had a thought! Because of the limited protection against oxidisation during active fermentation, wouldn't this be a good time to rack/strain to get rid of some of the pulp?

I was thinking of waiting until say 2/3 sugar break the racking/straining to get rid of some of the big chunks.

Good idea? Or is there something I'm forgetting (quite possible :P).

Chevette Girl
05-23-2011, 08:36 PM
Theory sounds sound to me!

kenour
05-23-2011, 09:13 PM
Theory sounds sound to me!

Excellent, I see a racking in my near future then :D I'm not sure what to use for the filter... I don't think muslin will be fine enough to get all the seeds out. Maybe I'll go back to my pantihose idea! :p

Chevette Girl
05-23-2011, 10:34 PM
You can always do a coarse filtration through a colander or something to get the big pieces out first, when making wild grape juice I'd seive it through the colander first (wouldn't catch the seeds, just the skins) then rinse the colander and run it through again with a sanitized cotton dishcloth in the colander. If you go straight to pantyhose you may get a lot of clogging. Or maybe not, depends on the consistency of the stuff. A coarse seive or colander is fine for apples and pears and watermelon in my experiences so far... the gritty nature of the fruit tends to make its own filter anyway. And if a few seeds get through the first time, you just make sure you don't get them when you rack! :)

kenour
05-24-2011, 07:28 AM
Just tested the SG and it's down to 1.034, so at 2/3 sugar break already. Most of the pulp has broken down to nothing, not sure if that was the pectinase or the yeast! :P

A bit too late to consider racking tonight I think, will have to get to it after work tomorrow :)

kenour
05-24-2011, 07:07 PM
Bah, tired now... decided to rack/strain last night. I thought, it's only going to take a few minutes... I was wrong :p

Brew is now happily bubbling away in it's new fermenter, will give it another week or so then into glass it goes :)