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brian92fs
07-27-2011, 05:49 PM
Hi Everyone!

Well, this will be my first mead. Ive read The Complete Meadmaker, Ive gone through the NewBee Guide a few times and Ive spent the past few weeks scouring the Internet for info. Ive put together what I think is a fairly detailed plan and would like to run it by everyone.

First off, I should mention that I am getting married October 7th and have the ambitious plan of making my own mead for the wedding favors. We were having trouble thinking of something interesting instead of the usual bag of monogrammed M&Ms. However, after all my research Im a bit worried that there wont be enough time for me to produce it and have it clear in time to bottle before the wedding. I have most of the equipment now but still need to stop by the local brew shop to get a few things. I plan to prepare the first batch this weekend. Wed be aiming for 45 to 90 375ml bottles. 45 bottles if I only have time for one batch (one favor per couple) or 90 bottles if I have time to complete and bottle two.

Also, Id like to make a traditional off-dry to medium mead with a bit of character. Ive read that a single mead can often be good but lack depth (the same as unblended wines). So, Im aiming for two batches that will complement each other when blended (I know ambitious for a first time brew). I plan for the first batch to be a traditional medium orange blossom honey mead fermented with Lalvin 71B-1122. This will be the bulk of the finished product. The second batch will be a Traditional dry to off-dry Clover or Wildflower honey mead fermented with Lalvin EC-1118. Final ABV of the blend should be in the 13.0% 14.5% range. I will work in 5 gallon batches.

Several questions.

Any thoughts on the overall approach
Any thoughts on my blending strategy
With cold crashing, will I have enough time to actually do this (assuming nothing goes wrong). I assume itll still need aging time in bottles to reach its peak
Any recommendations on my detailed plan (listed below)


Details

Style: Traditional Mead (Medium)
Batch Size: 5 gal
Ingredients: 15 pounds Orange Blossom honey
S.G: 1.110
F.G: 1.010
ABV%: 13.30%
Yeast: Lalvin 71B-1122 (will use Go Ferm)

Expectations
Off-Dry to Medium in sweetness. Expecting good floral notes, but lacking in complexity and depth. Anticipating blending to correct this. Blend with smaller quantities of dry higher ABV% clover traditional mead using Lalvin EC-1118 (expecting 3 to 1 ratio). May also try racking to 3, 1, and 1 gallon carboys to test oak aging (3 gallon no oak, 1 gal French, 1 gal American) using blocks or spiral/sticks. Not sure if Ill have time for this though.

Notes on steps

Primary fermentation in 6 gallon carboy
If needed I will mix an additional gallon later for topping off (3 lbs honey with water to 1 gallon total volume).
Will use no boil method to maximize floral flavor and bouquet of honey
Will Warm honey in hot water bath and use lees stirrer with drill to fully mix honey in water.
Use bottled spring water instead of filtered tap water (to reduce contamination risk since using no-boil method)
Use 6.5 gallon bucket to mix must. Pour into 6 gallon carboy using funnel once mixed.
Use basement as fermentation location: Maintains a temp in 70F - 75F this time of year.
Use GoFerm to rehydrate: 12.5 grams in 250ml (8.5oz) bottled spring water at 110F for 15 minutes
Rehydrate yeast : 2 packets (10 grams) added to Go Ferm mix once temp reduced to 104F. Wait for 15 minutes then swirl to suspend.
Let yeast mix drop to temp of must before pitching.
After pitching, monitor daily for temp of fermentation room and activity in airlock
Will use lees stirrer on power drill to aerate. NOTE: Watch out for CO2 release.
Wait till end of lag period (expected in first day) to pitch Fermaid K & DAP: 2.5 grams (1/2 tsp) Fermaid K and 2.5 grams (1/2 tsp) DAP
Aerate daily for next three days
Begin measuring SG & temp at 4 days in. Measure every 2 days or so to establish 1/3 & 2/3 breaks.
At 1/3 break, pitch 2.5 grams (1/2 tsp) Fermaid K and 2.5 (1/2 tsp) grams DAP.
At 2/3 break, pitch 2.5 grams (1/2 tsp) grams DAP. At this point Fermaid K total is 1 tsp and DAP total is 1.5 tsp
Once SG of 1.010 is reached begin cold crashing and stabilizing (may adjust this depending on tasting).
Expecting to reach this point in 2 weeks.
Cold crash to 34F - 38F to for 5 days to accelerate fining.
Rack to secondary 5 gallon carboy.
Stop fermentation by adding 5 grams (1 tsp) potassium sorbate and 7 Campden tablets (might get pH and SO2 test kits and adjust this)
Age in chest freezer with temp controlled at 53F to 58F (if possible - might just use basement environment).
Continue racking as needed to clarify. Hoping to bottle within 6 weeks.


Thanks in advance for the help!

kudapucat
07-27-2011, 08:31 PM
Hi Everyone!

Well, this will be my first mead. Ive read The Complete Meadmaker, Ive gone through the NewBee Guide a few times and Ive spent the past few weeks scouring the Internet for info. Ive put together what I think is a fairly detailed plan and would like to run it by everyone.

Well done! Too many new bees don't



First off, I should mention that I am getting married October 7th and have the ambitious plan of making my own mead for the wedding favors.

Congratulations, though that's very ambitious


Wed be aiming for 45 to 90 375ml bottles. 45 bottles if I only have time for one batch (one favor per couple) or 90 bottles if I have time to complete and bottle two.

90 bottles = 34 litres, with racking and headspace you'll need a 40 litre or two 20 litre fermenters, this is a fair whack of mead, especially for your first batch


Also, Id like to make a traditional off-dry to medium mead with a bit of character. Ive read that a single mead can often be good but lack depth (the same as unblended wines). So, Im aiming for two batches that will complement each other when blended (I know ambitious for a first time brew). I plan for the first batch to be a traditional medium orange blossom honey mead fermented with Lalvin 71B-1122. This will be the bulk of the finished product. The second batch will be a Traditional dry to off-dry Clover or Wildflower honey mead fermented with Lalvin EC-1118. Final ABV of the blend should be in the 13.0% 14.5% range. I will work in 5 gallon batches.

If you're blending, you may not want to mix 50-50, so you'll need to have more than 2 5 gal batches to make up your quantity


Several questions.

Any thoughts on the overall approach
Any thoughts on my blending strategy
With cold crashing, will I have enough time to actually do this (assuming nothing goes wrong). I assume itll still need aging time in bottles to reach its peak
Any recommendations on my detailed plan (listed below)


Overall Approach, you'll probably be rushed, but otherwise OK
Blending strategy is done by taste after some amount of aging usually, so perhaps time is your enemy
You could have time to bottle, but you'd be bottling early, and the mead would not be peaking for some months after your wedding.


Details

Style: Traditional Mead (Medium)
Batch Size: 5 gal
Ingredients: 15 pounds Orange Blossom honey
S.G: 1.110
F.G: 1.010
ABV%: 13.30%
Yeast: Lalvin 71B-1122 (will use Go Ferm)

Expectations
Off-Dry to Medium in sweetness. Expecting good floral notes, but lacking in complexity and depth. Anticipating blending to correct this. Blend with smaller quantities of dry higher ABV% clover traditional mead using Lalvin EC-1118 (expecting 3 to 1 ratio). May also try racking to 3, 1, and 1 gallon carboys to test oak aging (3 gallon no oak, 1 gal French, 1 gal American) using blocks or spiral/sticks. Not sure if Ill have time for this though.

Notes on steps

Primary fermentation in 6 gallon carboy
If needed I will mix an additional gallon later for topping off (3 lbs honey with water to 1 gallon total volume).
Will use no boil method to maximize floral flavor and bouquet of honey
Will Warm honey in hot water bath and use lees stirrer with drill to fully mix honey in water.
Use bottled spring water instead of filtered tap water (to reduce contamination risk since using no-boil method)
Use 6.5 gallon bucket to mix must. Pour into 6 gallon carboy using funnel once mixed.
Use basement as fermentation location: Maintains a temp in 70F - 75F this time of year.
Use GoFerm to rehydrate: 12.5 grams in 250ml (8.5oz) bottled spring water at 110F for 15 minutes
Rehydrate yeast : 2 packets (10 grams) added to Go Ferm mix once temp reduced to 104F. Wait for 15 minutes then swirl to suspend.
Let yeast mix drop to temp of must before pitching.
After pitching, monitor daily for temp of fermentation room and activity in airlock
Will use lees stirrer on power drill to aerate. NOTE: Watch out for CO2 release.
Wait till end of lag period (expected in first day) to pitch Fermaid K & DAP: 2.5 grams (1/2 tsp) Fermaid K and 2.5 grams (1/2 tsp) DAP
Aerate daily for next three days
Begin measuring SG & temp at 4 days in. Measure every 2 days or so to establish 1/3 & 2/3 breaks.
At 1/3 break, pitch 2.5 grams (1/2 tsp) Fermaid K and 2.5 (1/2 tsp) grams DAP.
At 2/3 break, pitch 2.5 grams (1/2 tsp) grams DAP. At this point Fermaid K total is 1 tsp and DAP total is 1.5 tsp
Once SG of 1.010 is reached begin cold crashing and stabilizing (may adjust this depending on tasting).
Expecting to reach this point in 2 weeks.
Cold crash to 34F - 38F to for 5 days to accelerate fining.
Rack to secondary 5 gallon carboy.
Stop fermentation by adding 5 grams (1 tsp) potassium sorbate and 7 Campden tablets (might get pH and SO2 test kits and adjust this)
Age in chest freezer with temp controlled at 53F to 58F (if possible - might just use basement environment).
Continue racking as needed to clarify. Hoping to bottle within 6 weeks.


Thanks in advance for the help!

If you oak, you definitely will not have anything drinkable when most ppl will open this. So I wouldn't.
If I were you, I'd try making a JAO and modifying it with less orange rind, and less honey. This has a chance of being ready.
Actually, as you're a newbie, I'd say make it as per recipe, but it will be sweet.
Good luck, and congrats on the wedding ;-)

triarchy
07-28-2011, 08:30 AM
Welcome and congratulations on getting married! I have just a few quick comments.

1. You will be cutting it very close with a deadline of Oct 7th even if everything works perfectly.
2. A 5 gallon batch will give you roughly 45 375ml bottles. Not much room for error and blending might be tough depending on ratio's. You might consider going to two 6.5 gallon batches.
3. My experience with forcing a fermentation to stop and then stabilizing has not been good. The problem is it takes a long time to find out if it worked or not. A week or more in the cold and then another week or more of measuring gravity to see if it is changing after you stabilized it. You dont want to give away potential bottle bombs. So if it doesnt work, this plays into #1, it will take a bit more time for you to let it ferment to completion, then stabilize, and then back sweeten to 1.010. I dont want to be negative, but if that is the case, it wont be ready in time (imho).

One way to knock some time off is to let it be a dry mead, even though that wasnt what you wanted. I wish you good luck, in both the mead and your married life :)

Loadnabox
07-28-2011, 09:35 AM
I'm with kudapu cat. Make a JAO as those tend to be ready faster and are very good for first attempts.

Traditionals need more aging to be drinkable and making a good one takes practice and experience (which I don't have yet either)

Alternatively you could try making a basic traditional bottling and asking guests to drink it on your first anniversary, but you'll have no idea if it will actually be good by that point, so you'd be taking a risk.

Medsen Fey
07-28-2011, 10:45 AM
Welcome to GotMead brian92fs!

You outline for the fermentation with 71B looks well thought-out! My only criticism is that it would have been better to start this 1 year ago if you want it for this October. Unfortunately, meads need time to develop, and they usually don't taste great at 3 months. The drier they are, the less likely they are to taste good at that young of an age.

If you want it to be pleasant and drinkable, if you aim for it to be sweeter, you may have better luck. Using 71B is good for early drinking mead, but it will probably be ready to drink sooner if you don't ferment it at such a warm temperature. In the mid 70s there will be more harsh fusel alcohols and they take a long time to mellow. If you can ferment at 65F, you'll probably get something that is better sooner. Using EC-1118 will not make a mead that will be ready in time.

Traditionals tend to be slow to clear. If you want it clear and ready to bottle in 3 months, you will probably need to fine it, and possibly to filter it.

I don't want to throw a wet blanket on your plans, but trying to make a good mead ready in 3 months is probably pushing it. Some folks are able to do it with sweet berry melomels - I believe Curt Stock does this successfully and his approach might work for you. If you were making a low-ABV, sweet, force-carbonated batch, you might have something that will come together in time to be appreciated properly. But making a 14% semi-dry traditional that tastes good in 3 months is probably unrealistic.

I wish you success.

Medsen

brian92fs
07-28-2011, 01:48 PM
Thanks for the feedback everyone. Your responses are what I was suspecting. Based on everything I've read, it looked like it would be pretty tough to do, and almost impossible to do well. But, I wanted to check just to see if I was missing something.

I'll probably resolve to making just a mead:, instead of a wedding favors mead. Wish I had thought of this 6 months ago!

A few questions though:

Temperature
I've been monitoring my basement and it's staying in the 70 - 74 range. My house stays in the 74 - 78 range (its high 90s to low 100s outside during the day). This is within the range for 71B-1122, but based on the feedback, it sounds like 60 70 is more ideal. I dont have a chest freezer and was trying to avoid getting one this early in the game. I suppose I could wrap it in a wet towel and put a fan in front of it. Would this be a good approach to drop it 8 10 degrees?

Also, Ive read that the 50 60 range is best for aging. Is my basement temp too far out of the range to consider for aging? Or should I just give it a shot this first time and see how it goes? I dont mind the fan and wet towel thing for the two week fermentation period. But Id rather avoid maintaining this for 6+ months. Ill keep looking for a cheap chest freezer on Craigslist maybe Ill get lucky.

ABV & Sweetness
Rather than trying to stop the fermentation, it sounds like adjusting the beginning SG might be a better approach. If I let it naturally finish, it should be around 14% based on 71B-1122s tolerance. Thats still close to my original goal of 14%. So, if I up the batch size to 6 gallons and up the SG to 1.115 (18.75 lbs honey) that should still finish in the 1.005 to 1.010 range with a ABV of 14%. Does that sound right?

Timing
If I use this approach, I think Ill just see what happens. If the batch happens to be clear and tastes good (without blending) by early October, then Ill bottle 375s for the wedding. That should give me 50 to 60 bottles. If its not ready, no big deal - well just work on plan B (I guess thats the monogrammed M&Ms)

Also, I have a 6.5 gal plastic pail, a 6 glass gal carboy and a 5 gal glass carboy. I might try to make two batches at once (the 2nd being something different). A 6 gal batch in the 6.5 plastic pail and a 5 gal batch in the 6 gal carboy. With any luck, at least one might come out decent haha.

Im not too stressed about it. If it doesnt work, not a big deal. We can always do something else for the favors.

AToE
07-28-2011, 02:05 PM
Good call on just resolving to drink it when it's ready rather than stick with the original plan. Before 6-8 months I find meads to be seriously sub-par, and drinking them before at least a full year of aging is something I avoid now that I know just how good it's actually going to get!



Temperature
I've been monitoring my basement and it's staying in the 70 - 74 range. My house stays in the 74 - 78 range (its high 90s to low 100s outside during the day). This is within the range for 71B-1122, but based on the feedback, it sounds like 60 70 is more ideal. I dont have a chest freezer and was trying to avoid getting one this early in the game. I suppose I could wrap it in a wet towel and put a fan in front of it. Would this be a good approach to drop it 8 10 degrees?

Also, Ive read that the 50 60 range is best for aging. Is my basement temp too far out of the range to consider for aging? Or should I just give it a shot this first time and see how it goes? I dont mind the fan and wet towel thing for the two week fermentation period. But Id rather avoid maintaining this for 6+ months. Ill keep looking for a cheap chest freezer on Craigslist maybe Ill get lucky.

The wet towel and fan might not cool it 10 degrees, but it will help for sure. I use a water bath with frozen water bottles to control temp myself, but your plan is a good one.

For aging the reality is that almost none of us are able to keep proper "cellar" conditions. As long as it doesn't get too crazy hot or experience too many rapid temp changes, it should be ok. We've pretty much all had to just live with this. A chest freezer with thermostat might help, but it also might hurt - the problem is that the compressor will create vibration, and that's apparently bad for aging.


ABV & Sweetness
Rather than trying to stop the fermentation, it sounds like adjusting the beginning SG might be a better approach. If I let it naturally finish, it should be around 14% based on 71B-1122s tolerance. Thats still close to my original goal of 14%. So, if I up the batch size to 6 gallons and up the SG to 1.115 (18.75 lbs honey) that should still finish in the 1.005 to 1.010 range with a ABV of 14%. Does that sound right?

It's correct, but the one problem is that yeast are a wee bit unpredictable, it might just ferment to an even higher ABV and end up dry, or it might stall a little early. It's very difficult to actually nail a target ABV and residual sugar, which is why so many people stabilize and backsweeten. (Also consider that even if it stops naturally, and stays there for months, it could start up again and create grenades after bottling... so stabilizing is still recommended for sweet meads regardless of whether it's residual sugar or backsweetened).

AToE
07-28-2011, 02:08 PM
I also wanted to mention that I dissagree with some people's comments about batch sizes and blending. Yes, bigger is always better, but any size works.

Just have a tasting session when this is as old as you have patience for, and determin the ratio you want of each mead in the blended product. Then work out what amounts that would be of each to equal 5 or 6 gallons, whichever you prefer, and blend those at that ratio to that amount.

Then just take your leftovers and blend them together, it will be the exact opposite ratio if you went from 2x 6gal to 2x6 gal or 2x 5gal to 2x 5gal, so you'll end up with a "preferred" blended mead and a "comparison" blended mead (I just picked random terms for those). Who knows, a year down the road which one you think is better may differ from when you did the blending.

brian92fs
07-28-2011, 04:57 PM
AToE,
Thanks again for the advice. So, it sounds like Ill have better results if I use my basement, but also put it in a water bath with a T-Shirt wrapped around it. I can add ice or cold packs morning and evening to try and maintain the must at 65 degrees. That would be a 5 8 degree drop from the ambient temp. If Im still having trouble keeping it there, Ill add a fan. Ive also read that this works best if you allow the must to cool to 65 before pitching the yeast. Since Im going to try the no-heat method, I can probably get there pretty quickly.

Your comment about the vibrations from a chest freezer are interesting. That makes a lot of sense. Plus, that gets me out of trying to find a chest freezer. Sounds like I should be OK aging in my basement in the low 70s. Once the weather turns cooler, I can move it to a dark corner in the house.

Ill also plan on using stabilizers even if it does finish where I want.

Thanks for the advice everyone. Ill report back once I get things under way.

brian92fs
08-02-2011, 09:33 PM
Well, I started the batch on Saturday (7/30)

15 lbs Orange Blossom Honey
2 packets 71B-1122 re-hydrated with 12.5g of GoFerm
5 gallons total volume in 6 gallon carboy with airlock

I pitched 1/2 tsp DAP and 1/2 tsp Yeast Energized (LHBS out of Fermaid-K)3 hours after inoculating.

Here's the log so far. Does this look OK?

07-30 04:00 PM
Start of Batch
SG: 1.111
Temp: 73F
pH: 4.0

07-31 08:30 AM
Temp:66F
Seconds per bubble: 7

07-31 02:00 PM
Temp:65F
Seconds per bubble: 3

08-01 10:30 PM
SG: 1.106
Temp:66F
Seconds per bubble: 6

08-02 06:00 PM
SG: 1.100
Temp:68F
pH: 3.6
Seconds per bubble: 8

The activity seems to be dropping off. I was going to wait till a SG of 1.074 to pitch more DAP and Yeast Energizer. I've been aerating each morning with a lees stirrer on a drill for about 20 - 30 seconds.

Medsen Fey
08-02-2011, 09:42 PM
It looks like it is starting fine. The cool temp keeps it slow and that is good.

brian_23456
08-03-2011, 03:52 AM
Wow, I wish I would have seen this earlier, I started 2 batches almost identical to yours about 4 weeks ago! One using orange blossom the other using wildflower, both with 71B yeast. Both were racked two weeks ago and the orange already tasted...awesome. I couldn't believe how good it was, if it were clear I would have poured a whole glass. The wildflower was really hot and hard to draw any other flavors out.
In your last post I didn't see anything about adding nutrients/energizers since brew day, but I think I saw it in the OP? If you haven't added them yet that would be something to consider. I added once a day until the 1/3 sugar break, which turned out to be 3 times, and it hit 1.070 in 3-4 days. I added to the wildflower til the 1/2 break and I wonder if that had something to do with how its turning out.
Looking forward to your progress, if you have any questions let me know!

brian92fs
08-03-2011, 12:01 PM
I was planning on adding nutrients again at the 1/3 and 1/2 or 2/3 breaks. After 3 days the SG was 1.100, so the 1/3 break is still a ways out. I checked the airlock this morning and its still going at about 1 bubble every 8 seconds. I had thought it would be closer to the 1/3 mark by now, so I was wondering if I should just go ahead and add more DAP & Fermax (I found out this is what I ended up buying), or wait till the 1/3 mark (SG of 1.074).

At this point, I'm more inclined to wait it out.

M63Ural
08-04-2011, 08:24 PM
Sounds like you already have your mead started, but I like k1v-1116 as a begenners yeast. Tough, tolerent of temps, and you can leave your mead on the lees. Plus I like the mead it makes.

Jim

brian92fs
08-04-2011, 10:12 PM
Sounds like you already have your mead started, but I like k1v-1116 as a begenners yeast. Tough, tolerent of temps, and you can leave your mead on the lees. Plus I like the mead it makes.

Jim

Thanks Jim. I'll remember that for the next batch.

I've been doing a bit of research on nutrients and have come to the realization that my original plan was too low. The Fermaid-K and DAP amounts I was planning on adding was too low. It would have give me a YAN in the 120 - 130 range. I based this on the NewBee guide. I recalc'd the recommendations in the NewBee guide that they would get you up to a bit under 150. Does the guide need to be updated?

I adjusted my schedule to keep DAP in the first 1/3 and raised all the dosages to get to a YAN closer to 250. I added the first revised doses this morning and airlock activity has already picked up. No change in SG though (only been 10 hours though).

brian92fs
08-19-2011, 10:29 PM
Well, started my first batch on 7/30 and its still going. Seems to be slow though. It just passed the 2/3 break after 20 days. I was expecting it to be complete in 10 - 14 days. I posted by notes below

I believe it was originally sluggish due to nutrients. Once I realized it was low and added more, it picked up. But it still seems to be taking awhile. I've calculated by YAN thus far at 200 - 250 ppm. That should be plenty.

I'm speculating that the pH is too low, so I just added 4.0 of Potassium Bicarbonate. Also added 4.0 grams of yeast hulls. I'm measuring pH with test strips.

I started the batch with a "Yeast Energizer" from my LHBS. I recently picked up some Fermaid-K, Fermaid-O and a gram scale. That's why you see a switch mid-way through in my measuring and nutrients.

The tannin was added mid-way, because that's when I learned about it :)

The cream of tartar was due to speculation that it needed potassium and a bit of a rise in pH through buffering. I later realized potassium bicarbonate would have been a better decision.


Recipe & Notes

15 lbs Orange Blossom Honey
Bottled water to 5 gallons
OG: 1.111

Re-hydrated 10g 71B in 12.5g of GoFerm

07/30 SG: 1.111 Temp: 73 pH: 4.0 Airlock: 0
Notes: Added 0.5 tsp Yeast Energizer and 0.5 tsp DAP after Lag (1 hour)

08/01 SG: 1.107 Temp: 66 pH: 0.0 Airlock: 6

08/02 SG: 1.101 Temp: 68 pH: 3.6 Airlock: 8

08/04 SG: 1.099 Temp: 66 pH: 3.6 Airlock: 8
Notes: Added 1.0 tsp Yeast Energizer

08/04 SG: 1.099 Temp: 67 pH: 0.0 Airlock: 8
Notes: Added 1.0 tsp DAP & 0.5 tsp Yeast Energizer

08/05 SG: 1.088 Temp: 69 pH: 3.2 Airlock: 3
Notes: Added 0.5 tsp DAP, 0.5 tsp Yeast Energizer, 1.0 tsp Cream of Tartar, and 2.5 tsp Grape Tannin

08/06 SG: 1.084 Temp: 64 pH: 3.4 Airlock: 4
Notes: Added 0.5 tsp Yeast Energizer

08/07 SG: 1.072 Temp: 69 pH: 3.2 Airlock: 4

08/09 SG: 1.061 Temp: 66 pH: 3.3 Airlock: 6

08/11 SG: 1.052 Temp: 66 pH: 3.3 Airlock: 9
Notes: Added 4.5 grams Fermaid-O

08/13 SG: 1.046 Temp: 67 pH: 3.4 Airlock: 8

08/19 SG: 1.033 Temp: 67 pH: 3.2 Airlock: 12
Notes: Add 4.0g yeast hulls and 4.0g Potassium Bicarbonate

PS: My "airlock" number is the seconds between bubbles in the airlock.

brian92fs
08-20-2011, 12:34 PM
Forgot to mention, I stirred/aerated for about 10 minutes when I mixed the must (lees stirrer on a electric drill), and aerated 1-2 times a days up till the 1/3 break. I've been swirling it 1 - 2 times a day since then.

When I aerated, I used the drill (low speed setting) with lees stirrer for 20 - 30 seconds. For the swirling, I've been grabbing the carboy neck and swirling the must 3 - 5 times in each direction.

wildoates
08-20-2011, 02:03 PM
YOU HAVE A BASEMENT???? IN SACRAMENTO???

You lucky dog. :)

Everyone else used up the good advice, that's all I have, envy. Heh heh heh

AToE
08-20-2011, 02:59 PM
Sorry I have no idea why this was so slow other than that I have had 71B stall/be sluggish a couple times when I had the temp below 70F - but it's supposed to be fine for that yeast...

brian92fs
08-20-2011, 04:47 PM
Sorry I have no idea why this was so slow other than that I have had 71B stall/be sluggish a couple times when I had the temp below 70F - but it's supposed to be fine for that yeast...

Thanks - Glad to hear I'm not missing something obvious. It is still moving along, so at least that's promising. At its current pace, it should finish up my next weekend. We'll see.

brian92fs
08-20-2011, 04:49 PM
YOU HAVE A BASEMENT???? IN SACRAMENTO???

You lucky dog. :)

Everyone else used up the good advice, that's all I have, envy. Heh heh heh

I might be taking some liberties when I call it a basement. It's more like a dirt crawlspace with a 12 x 8 area dug out to 6' deep. But it has some stairs leading down (sort of) and it keeps a nice consistently cool temp in the winter.

Medsen Fey
08-22-2011, 10:23 AM
You might want to let it warm up a few degrees (to around room temp) as that may help it finish out. At this stage of fermentation, if won't harm it.

brian92fs
08-22-2011, 12:17 PM
You might want to let it warm up a few degrees (to around room temp) as that may help it finish out. At this stage of fermentation, if won't harm it.

I'll try that. It's been pretty cool in Sacramento this year (80's and 90's), so It should still stay in the low 70's if I bring it up into the house.

brian92fs
08-25-2011, 11:30 PM
Well, it got pretty hot here in Sacramento this week, so I left it in the basement. Its going slow, but still progressing.

08/25 SG: 1.022 Temp: 68 pH: 3.4 Airlock: 15

ABV should be at 11.8%. pH came up a bit to 3.4 with the potassium bicarbonate addition. I'm guessing its still got another week left.

I tasted it and the presence of alcohol is now noticeable. Its a bit harsh and sharp at first, but finished flat. I had planned on put it on oak in the secondary. Hopefully that will add a bit more character to it.

brian92fs
09-17-2011, 06:52 PM
Well, it took about 6 weeks to finish, but it seems to finally be there.

09/10 SG: 1.005 Temp: 68 pH: 3.6

I checked it again today an no change. The initial taste is very acid, but a bit more mild on the mid palate. Then it finishes flat. Overall, it's very disjointed and a bit hot.

Going to add bentonite (10 grams) and in two days cold crash for 5 days. The bentonite is re-hydrating now. It'll go in tomorrow.

I plan to rack it onto 2 ounces of oak after the cold crash. Probably French & American (75%/25%) medium plus toast.

brian92fs
10-19-2011, 11:59 PM
I added 10g bentonite then crashed it in the fridge for 10 days about two weeks ago. I came out very clear with a very compact lees. It already tastes pretty good, just a little hot (should be around 14% ABV). I put it on 1 ounce of French Oak (med toast) about two weeks ago.

brian92fs
12-24-2012, 04:40 PM
Just bottled this today... a few months off my original goal of start to finish in 3 months. Ended up taking 15 months :)

It ended up finishing at 14.0% ABV and 1.5% residual sugar. A little too sweet in my opinion, but not bad. Its also still a bit too hot. The nose is just now starting to come back.

Intheswamp
12-24-2012, 09:50 PM
Congratulations on getting it bottled...and on your marriage. :)

Ed

Medsen Fey
12-24-2012, 10:39 PM
That's a spiffy label too.

Chevette Girl
01-01-2013, 11:27 PM
Yeah, looks pretty dang professional! :D

brian92fs
03-19-2013, 09:44 AM
Well, I guess I did OK with my first batch. It took silver in category 24A at the Mazer Cup.

wayneb
03-19-2013, 10:06 AM
Nicely done! Congrats!!

Medsen Fey
03-19-2013, 10:51 AM
Congratulations!
That's an outstanding result. It is good to see the GotMead International Brewmasters well represented. :)

smertz001
03-19-2013, 10:54 AM
Nice! Congrats!!!

Soyala_Amaya
03-19-2013, 09:33 PM
PARTY TIME!

:3some::blob1::headbang::hello:
CONGRATS!

TheAlchemist
03-22-2013, 08:25 PM
Way to go!

stagnant waters
03-23-2013, 12:03 AM
Well Done!

brian92fs
04-01-2013, 09:13 PM
Got my score cards back. A 43 and 46. The tasting notes picked up the same problem I noted - its pretty hot/harsh. I think the slow fermentation and temp are the culprit. I also took the yeast to their ABV limit. That probably didn't help. I wonder if this will eventually age out. On the plus side, the tasters noted that the restrained use of oak was nice.

I'd like the thank everyone for the advice they provided in this threads and other threads. Its been a great educational tool.

Marshmallow Blue
04-02-2013, 01:28 PM
I thought a slower and lower fermentation temp was supposed to reduce the hot/ harshness?

brian92fs
04-02-2013, 02:49 PM
I thought a slower and lower fermentation temp was supposed to reduce the hot/ harshness?

If done correctly, yes. In my case, the conditions it was fermenting in should have lead to a faster fermentation. I believe the yeast were unhappy for some unknown reason. In other words, they were stressed. With the starting gravity, pitch rate and nutrients I used, I would have predicted it to be a 7 - 10 day vigorous ferment.

Also, my temps weren't that low really. I was in the high 60's low 70's. That's right on the line of "to warm" for 71B.

Every once in awhile I get a batch like that. You seem to do everything "correct", but for some unknown reason, things don't go as planned.

Medsen Fey
04-02-2013, 09:05 PM
Got my score cards back. A 43 and 46. The tasting notes picked up the same problem I noted - its pretty hot/harsh...

It couldn't be too harsh. It scored 43 and 46 at the Mazer cup. That translates to "damn fine mead." :)