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Arhodus
07-19-2011, 04:51 PM
Greetings,

After lurking on this forum for some months now, I feel it is time to introduce myself and participate some more on the forum. My name is Arhodus and I have been reading alot of articles and threads on this site. In april I made my first batch of 2 x 1,32 gallon (5 liter). As a new meadcrafter I ofcourse wanted to start with making a traditional mead (or as traditional as I could), so I tried.

My recipe was:

Orangeblossem Honey
1 x 2,25 kg (4.96 lb) with about 5 liter (1,32 gal) of evian water.
One half package of Wyeast Dry mead.
SG: 1.130

Local wildhoney
1 x 2,00 kg (4.41lb) with about 5 liter ( 1,32 gal) of evian water.
One half package of Wyeast Dry mead.
SG: 1.120

As a firsttimer I kinda had a hard time measuring the SG, but tried it as good as possible and figured that as long as I have a measurement I can see some difference. Also did add some nutrients.

A month later in May I racked the orangeblossem because it really felt like it was fermenting slow. Also because of it having fermented for a month, although I wasn't really sure because I read some people would rack it at one month and others would rack it when fermenting would be really slow.
So I choose to rack one and wait with the other for when it was also going slow.

In the beginning of May I added french oak medium chips to the carboys and let it stay for 2 weeks. (because it being chips and mead abv high) on June 13th I removed the oak, racked both carboys and let it stay in the fridge for about 1 week.

I believe the fermenting has stopped now, because the last time (7 july) I measured the gravity, the orangeblossem had a gravity of 1.038 and the wildhoney was at 1.030. The last measurement before july 7th, both had that same gravity. I Am going to measure it again tommorrow.

- I am now at a point that I am unsure what to do. Am I correct that the alcohol percentage could be somewhere around 12%? (I was aiming for 14% but don't think they are that.)
- I feel like I could bottle them but before that I would like to clarify both meads some more. Would it be good to stabilize whatever is left of the yeast before bottling? (Had I known this before I cold crashed it I would have done it right after cold crashing.)
- Is it okay to use bentonite to clarify the mead before bottling?

Wow, I just wanted to introduce myself a little bit but I see it has turned in a wall of text, with at the end alot of questions, heh. Sorry for that.

I am planning to finish this batch first then after that is done I would like to start making JAO, as good as possible.

Thanks for reading.

Left one being orangeblossem, right one local wildhoney.
http://i.imgur.com/VavSv.jpg

Any and all tips you have is welcome. Even about my bad english spelling, I know it's bad! :p

wayneb
07-19-2011, 05:51 PM
Welcome to the ranks of active posters here on Gotmead, Arhodus! Glad to see you come out of the shadowy world of lurkers!! ;D

Let me take a shot at your questions.

First, yes if the mead has not changed SG in over 10 days, fermentation is likely stopped.

Also yes, your ABV in both meads is right around 12%. That is not at the final ethanol tolerance of the yeast strain that you chose, but from your recipes it appears that you did not add yeast nutrients, and you don't say if you aerated the must at all during the fermentation, and you cold crashed (without checking the SG?) so it doesn't surprise me that things stopped a bit short of the goal for you. Good for you if you wanted your finished meads to be this sweet. Too bad if you wanted them a bit dryer. Before you start your next batches, have a look at the Newbee Guide to Meadmaking (a link is over on the left side of this page) and you will be introduced to a more systematic way of managing your fermentations.

As both meads have stopped with fermentable sugars left over, yes it is recommended that you stabilize the meads with some potassium metabisulphite and potassium sorbate before bottling, even though you attenuated the fermentation by cold crashing. To bottle without stabilization is to ask for "bottle bombs," where refermentation may occur and end up pressurizing your bottles to the point where they become dangerous.

It is also good to wait until the meads are as clear as you'd eventually like them to be before bottling. You can use bentonite (or any of a number of other commercial finings or clarifiers) to try to speed up the process of clarification, but personally I have found that nothing works better than waiting the required amount of time for the mead to clear on its own.

Good luck with your current batches moving forward, and keep us posted as you do more with them. And BTW - your English grammar and spelling are far better than many here on Gotmead - including my own when I've had a few glasses of mead before posting! ;)

Fred Bee
07-19-2011, 09:43 PM
Welcome! I won't offer much advice as I am a new mead maker myself. The more experienced ones here can help you. However, I like your cat! I once had one that looked a lot like yours. Best of luck with your mead and again, welcome!

wildoates
07-20-2011, 01:44 AM
Welcome to another cat servant who also makes mead. :)

Arhodus
07-20-2011, 05:53 AM
Thank you for the replies!

wayneb,
While reading your post I noticed that I forgot to mention the things that you mentioned. In one carboy I added yeastnutrients in the must, shaked it well and pitched the yeast. With the other one I kind of forgot it and added a little nutrients after I had pitched the yeast. Shaked it real carefully. (can it be too carefully?) This is the only time I added yeastnutrients to both musts.

The yeast nutrients I used is Ammonii Phosphas.
Also have vitamin b1 tablets which I did not use :o: Thiamine

What I do believe is that I have aerated the must too little during fermentation. This is something I will have to work on and be more discplined with. As I remember I aerated the must in the first month or so, and to be honest aerated it less after.

Maybe I indeed should let the mead just clear on it's own, and see how it goes. What you recommend what is more important is that I have to stabilize the mead because of the left over sugars right. I really don't feel like giving bottlebombs as gifts :o The potassium metabisulfite I have, but I don't have a clue where I could buy potassium sorbate in the place or e-shops where I live, so that will be a whole new quest. Any tips on what kind of retailstores or what branche they might sell it. We don't have many brewer stores around here.

I really appreciate your advice and am sure that I will use the Newbee Guide to meadmaking for reference when starting my second batch. I already am looking forward to make my a label :happy6:.


Fred Bee:
wildoats:

Thank you for the welcome! :cat:

Chevette Girl
07-20-2011, 07:18 AM
Welcome to the forum, Arhodus.

When you say you need to be more disciplined about aeration, don't forget you only need to do it for the first 1/3 to 1/2 of your fermentation, that's when the yeasties really need it.

Tannin Boy
07-20-2011, 07:42 AM
Arhodus,

Welcome to the Gotmead Forum!
Hoping your mead journey is one you will enjoy for life...
This is a good place to be and folks are very helpful and supportive to
those of us who are new to the mead making venue.

Regards,

TB

wayneb
07-20-2011, 10:34 AM
If you have not yet heard of Brouwland, you should investigate their website:
http://www.brouwland.com/nl/

Search on the term sorbistat and you will find what you are looking for.

fatbloke
07-20-2011, 03:28 PM
If you have not yet heard of Brouwland, you should investigate their website:
http://www.brouwland.com/nl/

Search on the term sorbistat and you will find what you are looking for.
Damn! I saw that nobody had linked Brouwland at lunchtime Wayne, but as I only had my smart phone (and not much time) though I'd link it later......

Never mind.

Either way, Arhodus will either be able to travel there, or I'd have thought that the mail order shipping wouldn't be too expensive, it's only across the border after all. Just that they tend to stock "equivalents", rather than the kind of stuff that gets mentioned/talked about here. So it shouldn't be a problem.

Bob, who runs WaH, says that some of the stuff stocked by Brouwland is brilliant. As good as any of the stuff we use regularly hereabouts.

So there shouldn't be any problems getting nutrient, etc etc.

As for Arhodus worrying about not being too hot with the spoken/written English, I suspect the English is gonna be superior to our Dutch.......

regards

fatbloke

Arhodus
07-20-2011, 06:43 PM
Thank you all again for the warm welcome! :toothy5:

I have heard of brouwland.com but have not investigated it yet as I bought my equipment from brouwmarkt.nl. I am currently awaiting an e-mail from them with an answer if they do sell potassium sorbate. (could not find it in their e-shop).

Shipping from brouwland is $ 9,98.
Sorbistat 25 gr is $ 2,87
I guess it will be profitable when I would buy other products as well, or highier quantity. :)

Chevette Girl:
I will keep that in mind for the next time, thank you.

Tannin Boy: Thanks, I really hope I can call this place my home, it does feel like a good place :D

fatbloke: What kind of smart phone are you using? I know there is an App for android called Tapatalk which makes browsing and posting on forums easier. Don't know if you are familiar with it or can run it? It is awesome.

AToE
07-20-2011, 07:08 PM
Definitely don't worry about your English, it's better (written anyways) than many native speakers I know. ;)

wayneb
07-20-2011, 07:08 PM
Sorbistat is a trade name for Potassium Sorbate. If you found one, you have the other. ;D

fatbloke
07-21-2011, 04:58 PM
-----%<-----
fatbloke: What kind of smart phone are you using? I know there is an App for android called Tapatalk which makes browsing and posting on forums easier. Don't know if you are familiar with it or can run it? It is awesome.
Yes, and you can even get gotmead on it with that.

No I won't use it, because I'm a linux user, so I will not pay for apps (that's for "mug punters" who insist on Iphones, or windows based rubbish). Knowledge should be free......

The only real problem is the reduced functionality of mobile browsers and using more than one open window at a time.

Besides, it's only for use in my truck... I just hit the PC when I get home.

Oh, and it's an HTC Desire i.e. android (a.k.a. linux based) OS

As for Brouwland, it seems that some of the naming conventions used on a number of their products are "very European", while here, you'll see a lot more of the names/brands etc that are available to the US market (mainly), which isn't really surprising as it's US based....

kudapucat
07-21-2011, 05:35 PM
I know there is an App for android called Tapatalk which makes browsing and posting on forums easier. Don't know if you are familiar with it or can run it? It is awesome.
Lol
Do a search on this forum for tapatalk. It seems you love, or you hate, but you should probably continue any discussions on this topic, in that thread. Fwiw I love it.

Medsen Fey
07-22-2011, 04:04 PM
Knowledge should be free......


Where did you get that notion?
Knowledge is power, and power always comes at a price. ;)

And Welcome Arhodus!

PitBull
07-22-2011, 04:18 PM
Where did you get that notion?
Knowledge is power, and power always comes at a price. ;)

And Welcome Arhodus!
Dilbert's "Salary Theorem" states: "Scientists and Engineers can never earn as much as administrators and sales people."

This theorem can now be proved mathematically.

Given:
Power = Work/Time,
Time is Money, and
Knowledge is Power,

1) Substituting knowledge for power, we obtain: Knowledge = Work/ Time

2) If time = money, then: Knowledge = Work/ Money

3) Solving this equation for money, we obtain:

4) Money = Work/ Knowledge

Therefore, as knowledge approaches zero, money approaches infinity, regardless of the amount of work done.

Conclusion: the less you know, the more you make.

Don't you just love engineers?

fatbloke
07-22-2011, 06:38 PM
Where did you get that notion?
Knowledge is power, and power always comes at a price. ;)

And Welcome Arhodus!
Erm, I believe it was one of Richard Stallman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Stallman)s' quotes.......

Arhodus
08-05-2011, 09:57 AM
'Lo again,

Well I finally got to order the rest of the equipment which would be sorbistat, bentonite, pH-strips and some equipment for bottling.

Now to be honest I am now kind of clueless about what to do and in which order. I just measured it today and it seems like one of the two meads is still slowly fermenting. I did not expect that. I have to say that trying to be the perfectionist that I am(chaotic one at that, though), that I am having trouble measuring the gravity. I do know how to measure, but I just keep doubting (myself) whenever I try to read the correct gravity.

The orangeblossem:
21-06 = 1.038
24-07 = 1.038
05-08 = 1.038 / pH being around 3,8


The wildflower:
21-06 = 1.030
07-07 = 1.030
24-07 = 1.028
05-08 = 1.022 / pH being around 4,1

It is hard to see on this picture (http://i.imgur.com/fhBuQ.jpg), but (with the left one being orangeblossem) it still has some left over stuff on the bottem. I am not sure to what it is exactly but my guess it would be the left over sugar, right?

The one that bothers me the most is the right one, which is with wildflower. This one is still fermenting (so it seems..), is pretty cloudy and does not look very tasty.. :/ Please look here1 (http://i.imgur.com/NKr17.jpg) and here2 (http://imgur.com/ognyH) for some screens. I'm guessing it would be lees with leftover sugar but also really would like some clear answers.

Also as you can see on the pictures, my carboys do have alot of headspace left. I guess I'm being stubborn(/lazy) here, and didn't feel like "filling" the headspace with water/must, marbles or whatever. This is a lesson I will not forget for the next batch.

First, my apologies for another wall of text out of nowhere! Second, what would you guys suggest I should do now? I myself was thinking of letting the wildflower ferment, till it stops. With the orangeblossem, I am thinking of using sorbistat and then use bentonite to let it clear. But honestly I am unsure in what order I should do it and if it needs racking as well. (before, after or in between?)

I have read the part in the newbieguide about troubleshooting and will read again, but it would be nice for some input from veteran (and new bee like myself!) meadcrafters.

--

I am hoping to be able to bottle before september but if any advice suggests differently then I shall wait. Reason is because I am going on vacation for three weeks in september!


Thanks alot for reading,

Chevette Girl
08-06-2011, 01:50 AM
The orange blossom one sounds like it's stopped, so you'll want to let it clear and then stabilize it (or maybe the other way 'round) and once it's clear and you've checked one or two more times to make sure the SG hasn't moved, it's time to bottle it.

September might be a bit ambitious if it decides not to clear... and a couple weeks under airlock with no attention shouldn't hurt anything.

The wildflower one though, you're correct in letting it ferment out till it finishes on its own, then you'll have a very sweet mead and a not as sweet mead to compare. Then once it stops, you'll want to stabilize and let it clear if it hasn't already.

You'll want to be able to read a newspaper through the carboy, clearly from the photos, yours aren't there yet. Those striations are pretty neat, I don't know what might cause that other than maybe lees settling in an irregular manner on the sides of the container as it falls out of suspension... but if everything smells fine, I wouldn't worry about it.

Meads aren't THAT susceptible to oxidation, and you haven't been into it THAT often so they'll probably be OK. And you know, if you do get some oxidation, well, you'll find out whether or not you like that flavour. I happen to like it for some of my wines so now and then I do it on purpose. Making mistakes is how you learn, right? :)

Arhodus
11-23-2011, 06:14 AM
Some pictures I'd like to share. The one you see here is orangeblossem. I have to say that I really had a pain bottling the mead (was my first time) but with the help and advice from my old man we succesfully bottled them. As you can see on the bottem of the bottles there (sadly) still is some bentonite, but oh well as a first batch I really am happy with it. the leftover mead from the carboy I bottled in another bottle. Let it rest for a couple of days for the bentonite to rest and sampled the mead! Hmmm!

http://i39.tinypic.com/317bgax.jpg

The wildflower is still in the carboy and is getting clearer by the day. Will soon bottle them in green bottles.

Here a better view at the labels. I got the main picture from an artist whose art I really like. Asked her permission to use it for my (non-commercial) mead and she granted it which I am really gratefull for. The rest, I photoshopped.
Hope you like them!

Front
http://i39.tinypic.com/htbo6e.png

Back
http://i41.tinypic.com/2difsib.png


the poem, I uhh "found" on the internet.


I really want to start a second batch. Actually wish I had already made it, but due college I have so little time. :(

wildoates
11-23-2011, 12:48 PM
Where did you get that notion?
Knowledge is power, and power always comes at a price. ;)

And Welcome Arhodus!

I agree, and a man--or woman, of course--is worth his wage in providing a useful service. I like being paid for my work, anyway. :)

We're rather spoiled here getting so much for free or the small cost of an annual patron membership, but in the real world, people have bills to pay. :)

Medsen Fey
12-02-2011, 10:08 PM
Nice label Arhodus!

Morning Song
12-09-2011, 10:09 AM
I'm sorry for the completely off topic reply, but KITTY :D

Duracell
12-09-2011, 03:15 PM
Beautiful labels, nice clarity on the contents too!