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Archie
11-08-2011, 01:49 PM
I've just made a 5litre batch of my first mead, all has gone smoothly however all of the honey has made a layer at the bottom of the bottle. This is my recipe and I was going to give it some yeast nutrient once aday for 3 days(including today) at the amount of one tsp.
5litre bottle of spring water (PET 1 type of plastic)
1kg of honey made up of 2/3 lime blossom and 1/3 thyme.
1 sachet of lavin ec-1118 champagne yeast
and then a tsp a day of yeast nutrient

I sterilised every thing after making a hole in the lid for the air lock as i'm using the bottle the water came as a carboy then took out some of the water to make room for the honey which I heated, but not to boiling point, and poured in . Then added a tsp of nutrient to dissolve and swilled it round. While I was doing that I had the yeast in a cup rehydrating as the instructions said to do. then poured in and swirled some more and put some 40% abv gin(Didn't have any vodka) into the airlock. It's now in a not cold but not hot place just (hopefully soon) bubbling away.

The things I wanted to check was whether the honey collection at the bottom of the bottle was a problem and if the level of nutrients was correct.

fatbloke
11-08-2011, 04:56 PM
I've just made a 5litre batch of my first mead, all has gone smoothly however all of the honey has made a layer at the bottom of the bottle. This is my recipe and I was going to give it some yeast nutrient once aday for 3 days(including today) at the amount of one tsp.
5litre bottle of spring water (PET 1 type of plastic)
1kg of honey made up of 2/3 lime blossom and 1/3 thyme.
1 sachet of lavin ec-1118 champagne yeast
and then a tsp a day of yeast nutrient

I sterilised every thing after making a hole in the lid for the air lock as i'm using the bottle the water came as a carboy then took out some of the water to make room for the honey which I heated, but not to boiling point, and poured in . Then added a tsp of nutrient to dissolve and swilled it round. While I was doing that I had the yeast in a cup rehydrating as the instructions said to do. then poured in and swirled some more and put some 40% abv gin(Didn't have any vodka) into the airlock. It's now in a not cold but not hot place just (hopefully soon) bubbling away.

The things I wanted to check was whether the honey collection at the bottom of the bottle was a problem and if the level of nutrients was correct.
Well, I'd have thought that you're gonna just end up with a very dry mead, that depending on the nutrient type, may or may not leave some after taste......

Ok, why?

Well, too start with, 1kg of honey in 5 litres is a little light. I normally use between 3 and 3.5 lb honey per imperial gallon so that's about 1.3 kg to 4.55 litres. I tend to mix it cold, as there's no reason to use heat with honey, unless it's crystalised and needs a little help to get out of the container, and then only to leave the honey container in hand hot water, changing the water if it gets cool before the honey has started to get runny.

So, then with the nutrient, is it like white crystals or is it like a beige/tan powder ? Because you mention that you already mixed a teaspoon in, so I'd guess, not knowing what kind it is, that you might need another teaspoon, certainly not 1 tsp for 3 days.

Plus, using EC-1118, which is a champagne yeast with a tolerance of 18% ABV, it's very likely that it will munch it's way through the fermentable sugars quite quickly.

Also, it doesn't have to be vodka (or in your case, gin) in the airlock, water will do just as well, I usually use water, with a quarter or half of a campden tablet.

As for the honey layer at the bottom, all it's showing is that you didn't mix the water/honey enough to dissolve it all in the water. This isn't a problem as the yeast will work it's way through it. Whether it will take a little longer than if fully mixed is open to debate..... You can, if you can manage to cover the hole in the cap, shake the hell out of it, but I'd suggest that you sanitise a stirring spoon/paddle/whatever and give it a gentle stir first as shaking to mix the honey in will release any CO2 that might have started to build up as the fermentation kicks in.

None of my answer(s) is definitive, just what came to mind from reading your post.

A good bit of reading, will give you enough info to be getting on with. Oh and you make no mention of a hydrometer, so if you don't have one, you're basically "flying blind". The "NewBee guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14)" is full of excellent info and would answer a lot of the Q's that you may have.

Hopefully this is of some help. Good luck with your first batch......

regards

fatbloke

Chevette Girl
11-08-2011, 05:02 PM
Hi Archie, welcome to the forum! (and the addiction!)

First, do you have a hydrometer? If not, I recommend you put it on your next shopping list. 1 kg of honey in 5 litres is going to be pretty thin. The honey at the bottom isn't going to hurt the batch, it will dissolve slowly into the must as the yeasties eat it, but if you're impatient, a good stir with something sanitized will get it mixed in. Once it gets going, it should finish and clear relatively quickly but you'll want to be able to measure the specific gravity just to make sure.

Second, this is a 5 litre batch and a low-gravity must, I don't think you want to add too much more than about 2 teaspoons in total of yeast nutrient, and you've already added one teaspoon... so you either want to wait a day before adding another tsp or give it a third of a teaspoon for three days. Too much nutrient can affect the taste and adding more than your yeast can use is just begging for other organisms to eat it.

Third, are you aerating this? You probably want to aerate it well before you add the nutrients or you may well end up with a mead-splosion...

Archie
11-09-2011, 12:59 PM
Well, I'd have thought that you're gonna just end up with a very dry mead, that depending on the nutrient type, may or may not leave some after taste......

Ok, why?

Well, too start with, 1kg of honey in 5 litres is a little light. I normally use between 3 and 3.5 lb honey per imperial gallon so that's about 1.3 kg to 4.55 litres. I tend to mix it cold, as there's no reason to use heat with honey, unless it's crystalised and needs a little help to get out of the container, and then only to leave the honey container in hand hot water, changing the water if it gets cool before the honey has started to get runny.

So, then with the nutrient, is it like white crystals or is it like a beige/tan powder ? Because you mention that you already mixed a teaspoon in, so I'd guess, not knowing what kind it is, that you might need another teaspoon, certainly not 1 tsp for 3 days.

Plus, using EC-1118, which is a champagne yeast with a tolerance of 18% ABV, it's very likely that it will munch it's way through the fermentable sugars quite quickly.

Also, it doesn't have to be vodka (or in your case, gin) in the airlock, water will do just as well, I usually use water, with a quarter or half of a campden tablet.

As for the honey layer at the bottom, all it's showing is that you didn't mix the water/honey enough to dissolve it all in the water. This isn't a problem as the yeast will work it's way through it. Whether it will take a little longer than if fully mixed is open to debate..... You can, if you can manage to cover the hole in the cap, shake the hell out of it, but I'd suggest that you sanitise a stirring spoon/paddle/whatever and give it a gentle stir first as shaking to mix the honey in will release any CO2 that might have started to build up as the fermentation kicks in.

None of my answer(s) is definitive, just what came to mind from reading your post.

A good bit of reading, will give you enough info to be getting on with. Oh and you make no mention of a hydrometer, so if you don't have one, you're basically "flying blind". The "NewBee guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14)" is full of excellent info and would answer a lot of the Q's that you may have.

Hopefully this is of some help. Good luck with your first batch......

regards

fatbloke

The nutrient i'm using contains Diammonium Phosphate and Ammonium Sulphate.

So if the mead is going to be very dry could I just back sweeten it when bottling? And i'm not using a hydrometer and I've normally been fine before when making beers though I'll get on eventually! As the honey is a bit on the low side will the yeast stil brew to its normal strength or is it going to just stop after a point? Thank you for helping out.

Chevette Girl
11-09-2011, 05:01 PM
A yeast that's rated to 18% like EC-1118 can only make that much alcohol if it's got enough sugar to convert, it'll stop when it's out of sugar. I suspect yours will maybe make it to 8-10% but without a hydrometer you won't be able to tell. There are a few good links on "stabilization" if you go looking, if you add more honey when your yeast hasn't reached its full potential (and even sometimes when it has) you have to stabilize it with chemicals or it will just keep on eating, and if it does this after you bottle, you risk exploding bottles... you do this on purpose with a measured amount for beer to get the carbonation, but you have to be more careful with wine bottles.

Archie
11-10-2011, 02:24 PM
Well I did some maths and I had added 1.20kg of honey so I've added 680g more and brought the total up to 1.88kg of honey. The honey that I used was an orange blossom one. I also added 1/3 tsp of yeast nutrient.

fatbloke
11-11-2011, 02:06 AM
The nutrient i'm using contains Diammonium Phosphate and Ammonium Sulphate.

So if the mead is going to be very dry could I just back sweeten it when bottling? And i'm not using a hydrometer and I've normally been fine before when making beers though I'll get on eventually! As the honey is a bit on the low side will the yeast stil brew to its normal strength or is it going to just stop after a point? Thank you for helping out.
That sounds like Ritchies yeast nutrient....... with that in mind, I'd also suggest some fermaidK, if you can get it (looks like a tan coloured powder - or even tronozymo i.e. the combined type nutrients).

A hydrometer is also for fermentation management. You'd use it for the SG, then take daily readings after aeration, sports to know when to stop aerating and move to secondary (either a secondary fermenter or just secondary practice).

If managed correctly EC-1118 will get to 18% easily, though it will likely need ageing and IMO back sweetening.

AToE
11-11-2011, 02:13 AM
A hydrometer is much more necessary in mead/wine making than with beer, beer is a lot less likely to give you bottle bombs as long as you wait a reasonable amount of time after fermentation seems done to bottle and don't over carbonate - mead can be more risky. Also, mead can require a lot of fermentation management whereas beer needs practically none.

Archie
11-17-2011, 05:59 PM
Well all seems to be going well. It started smelling a bit hot and harsh so I've moved it to a cooler spot. All the honey at the bottom has been used up so I was thinking of transferring it into a glass Demi John to age it. This sound like a plan? I believe from reading that the hot and slightly harsh smell is due to fusel aclcohol being made form it being to warm fermenting?

fatbloke
11-17-2011, 06:13 PM
Well all seems to be going well. It started smelling a bit hot and harsh so I've moved it to a cooler spot. All the honey at the bottom has been used up so I was thinking of transferring it into a glass Demi John to age it. This sound like a plan? I believe from reading that the hot and slightly harsh smell is due to fusel aclcohol being made form it being to warm fermenting?
hot and harsh, aren't necessarily a sign of fusels. Some yeasts are known for it, like D47 if you ferment it at more than 70F/21C, but it's also got quite a narrow temperature range, so while it's popular, it's one that does need careful management and cool temperatures.

If you checked with a hydrometer and it's less than about 1.030 or so, then it's fine to move it to a glass DJ to let it finish. Equally, because of the CO2 it's producing, you could let it finish in an airlocked bucket as well, then when it's dropped it's first sediment then move it to a DJ so you can see how it's doing.

As an aside, it's not such a bad idea to modify your profile and include a vague location. Not because anyone particularly gives a toss, but it helps for various recommendations for materials, supplies etc. There's a big difference as to what's available in the US to what we can get here in the UK (in some cases it's just got different labels)...... S'up to you though !

Oh, and here's your handy link (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14) for the day ;D

Archie
11-18-2011, 08:23 PM
I've now set my location on the thing, Cornwall(ish) UK. ANd with regards to the hotness etc it seems to have mellowed a bit since being cooler, aiming to get a hydrometer when next near the homebrew shop, paying 2.50 delivery is annoying from online. And then will test and move to a new Demi John if needed, I'll have a look at the link you sent. Looks helpful! Thanks, Arch.

RightHookCook
11-19-2011, 08:16 AM
cornwall is the home of mead in england! good meaderys down there, dont suppose you have ever tried gwires from nine maidens? ;)

Archie
11-19-2011, 02:38 PM
cornwall is the home of mead in england! good meaderys down there, dont suppose you have ever tried gwires from nine maidens? ;)

Well i've never had any mead before so hopefully it's tasty! On another topic for us guys in the UK what price do you get your honey for and where from? I looked on Paynes bee farm and the postage was really large for a relatively small amount(3lb) and the other place I tried only shipped in 825 kg pails.

RightHookCook
11-22-2011, 06:32 AM
I just use a local bee keeper, hes only got a couple of hives, its 3 a lb, not cheap but its the best quality i can get round here.