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maykal
06-28-2011, 05:23 AM
Hello,

This is the first time I've every brewed mead (although I've done a few beer kits in the last year) so I'm both a newbie to the forum and to the field so greetings to you all! I live in Romania where we have quite a plentiful supply of unprocessed honey so it seemed logical to me to turn my hand to mead brewing. There are a couple of problems, though:

1. Everything here is metric so some of the quantities have to be carefully recalculated.
2. Homebrewing here is limited mostly to palinca/tuica (fermented and distilled plums and/or apples) and wine. This is mostly done in the countryside in the traditional manner (chuck it all in a barrel and leave it till it ferments). Nobody uses yeast, nutrients or other chemicals so a lot of them aren't available on the market.

I have some of the basic kit, the things I use for my kit brewing, but before I go out and spend money on the additional kit I'd like to run my brewing process past you experienced folk to check I'm on the right track. The reason for this is that if I find I need something else, it could take me several weeks or even months to acquire it and if the brew is already underway, I could end up ruining the whole batch. So I'm going to do a kind of 'cyber brew' first to work out what I need in advance so I have it all to hand for when I start. Planning is everything, right?

So my first question is about the ingredients. I'll start with a tradition honey-only batch. It seems the smallest demijohn I can practically get will be a 10-litre one so that's my first batch size. From what I've read it's best to fill the demijohn up with just a little headspace so its pointless getting biggest demijohns and only half-filling them.

So, here are my calculations based on what Ive read here:

Desired FG: 1.012 (for a medium-sweet finish)
Max ABV of yeast: 13%

10 litres = 2.64 US gallons

3oz for 1% so 13 x 3 = 39oz per gallon = 102.96oz for 10 litres (base amount)
1.6% for a 1.012 FG so an additional 1.6 x 3 x 2.64 = 12.62oz (sweet finish)

Total honey = 115.58oz = 3.28kg

So my ingredients list should be:

7lb 4oz (3.28kg) unprocessed honey
(up to) 2.64 gallons (10 litres) bottled water
1 packet of dried yeast WO722, ethanol ceiling 13%v/v, foaming: medium, reach 13%:<28days

How is it looking so far? Any comments, recommendations or criticisms?

Thanks!

Loadnabox
06-28-2011, 08:56 AM
Welcome to the hobby!

It's a basic enough recipe....

The yeast: I can find VERY little information on it except to confirm it claims 13% ABV on some web pages, but that might not be a mfg specification. The only page in fact that made claims to the tolerance of this yeast was an eBay seller.

It's also likely as a true wine yeast it has a higher ABV but the tolerance is listed at 13% as that seller doesn't understand whether it's the yeast or the SG of the must causing it to stop fermenting.

It also seems to be very specific on the more reputable sites that it's only for certain types of white wines. This means the yeast could have some very high nitrogen/nutrient requirements (could be the other way too, I just don't know).

What this means for you: Without any kind of nutrients, goferm etc, you're talking about a true show mead, not even a traditional. They can come out very well but are tough to make.

Watch for off smells, mead must has a lot less nutrients than a wine must so you're more likely to encounter rotten egg smells, slow fermentation, stuck fermentation or even a lack of fermentation.

Get some regular baker's yeast. If nothing else these can be be microwaved or boiled to kill them off, then used as food for the yeast you want.

commonsenseman
06-28-2011, 09:07 AM
Looks like you've got your recipe all set up. If you do want to plug a few numbers to see how it comes out, check out the mead calculator (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Itemid=16), a very helpful tool.

Almost forgot. WELCOME TO GOTMEAD!

maykal
06-28-2011, 09:48 AM
Thanks for the welcomes both of you!

Let's start with the yeast:

In addition to the WO722, I also have a WO814. It's also a white wine yeast so I don't know if it's any better.

In addition to those two (which I have at home here) I can also order some other wine yeasts from the one and only online homebrew supplier in the country (who actually focuses mostly on beer). The ones he has available for wine are even less specific: Bioferm rouge, Bioferm blanc, Bioferm champ. The Bioferm blanc has the following spec according to his site:

Alcool obtinut: 14% ABV
Temperatura fermentare: 18 30 C
Dozare: 2-3 gr/10 litri

I like the fact it says it can ferment at a higher termperature as it's pretty hot here and that could be useful.

He also has a liquid "SAKE WYEAST 4134", which, looking carefully at the picture, says it's for "wine, mead, cider,...". It's pretty expensive, though.

Regarding nutrients:

I have some 'Young's Yeast Nutrient' which I can add. It contains Diammonium Phosphate and Ammonium Sulphate.

Loadnabox
06-28-2011, 02:18 PM
Thanks for the welcomes both of you!

Let's start with the yeast:

In addition to the WO722, I also have a WO814. It's also a white wine yeast so I don't know if it's any better.

In addition to those two (which I have at home here) I can also order some other wine yeasts from the one and only online homebrew supplier in the country (who actually focuses mostly on beer). The ones he has available for wine are even less specific: Bioferm rouge, Bioferm blanc, Bioferm champ. The Bioferm blanc has the following spec according to his site:

Alcool obtinut: 14% ABV
Temperatura fermentare: 18 30 C
Dozare: 2-3 gr/10 litri

I like the fact it says it can ferment at a higher termperature as it's pretty hot here and that could be useful.

He also has a liquid "SAKE WYEAST 4134", which, looking carefully at the picture, says it's for "wine, mead, cider,...". It's pretty expensive, though.

Regarding nutrients:

I have some 'Young's Yeast Nutrient' which I can add. It contains Diammonium Phosphate and Ammonium Sulphate.



The wyeast is fairly well known. It's also known for being rather finicky requiring lots of attention.

As for the others, I can't find much information at all on them. This isn't to say it won't work or give a good mead. Just that from my research I can't give useful advice about caring for these yeast or how they will react in a show mead.

The latter is the reason I would recommend a traditional instead, adding boiled bakers yeast as a nutrient source. If you can get a hold of it, small amounts of magnesium, Vitamin B12 and DAP will help keep the fermentation strong. All of these are components within Fermaid K. With a brief internet search you will even find the exact proportions of all this and may be able to mix up your own approximation of Fermaid K. Unfortunately I simply don't know how accessible these things are in Romania.

Medsen Fey
06-28-2011, 02:31 PM
The Connoisseur's Choice W0722 sounds like great yeast to try for a mead. The package (http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0031/9692/products/454106-W0722-frnt.jpg?100355) itself says 13% ABV so that is probably correct.

In terms of your recipe, it will work best if you go by gravity rather that weight of honey as the sugar content varies from honey to honey. Your yeast will chew up approximately 100 gravity points, so gravity above 1.100 will probably remain, but yeast can be unpredictable and you can count on them to stop at the proposed level. Sometimes they go farther than planned, and more often, they stop short of their tolerance. This is why many here prefer to allow batches to go dry then stabilize and backsweeten to get the level of residual sugar just right.

In any case, if you start with a gravity of 1.110, you should end up close to your goal if you get complete fermentation. In addition to your DAP and Ammonium sulfate nutrient, if you can get energizer that looks like tan powder (with autolyzed yeast) you'll be able to provide everything the yeast need.

If you can keep the temp below 22C during fermentation, you'll probably be happier with your mead much sooner.

Good luck, and welcome to GotMead!