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JohnS
11-11-2011, 12:50 PM
So, this is my recipie.

Ingredients:
Cranberries 84 oz
Amarillo hops 1 oz
Clover honey one gallon minus one cup (the one cup was a for failed starter)
Oranges 2.75 lbs
Yeast Lalvin 71b 1122
Yeast Energizer 2 25 teaspoons
Yeast Nutrient 5 teaspoons

I sanitized everything before I started. No off smells or anything like that. I tried to make a starter, but I mixed the yeast when it was in the warm water (to rehydrate) at the initial start. After I did that I decided to throw it out. I then went to the local brew shop and the guy there told me to just add it to the must. I did that after I added the yeast nutrient and energizer to the must. I sprinkled it into the must, waited 15 minutes and stirred the must for about 20 minutes. Not a strong stir, but none the less it was stirred.

About the must: I had decided to chop up in a blender the oranges, and the cranberries. That did not work to well though, the blender broke less then half way through and then I thought it would just be best to quarter or/and eighth the oranges. The remainder of the cranberries I decided to leave them be. This was about 1 lb to a lb and a half. I got this idea from a youtube video. Next in a stainless pot, I put it all together (honey, cranberries and a little under 12 gallons of honey) and pasteurized it at about 190 degrees for about 15 minutes (another mistake I know).

SG is about 1.8

At first the ferment was working well. Now after a 6 or 7 days now, all fermenting has stopped. What should I do? Should I try to pitch more yeast by rehydrating and then add more fruits to the must. I am thinking about adding a 16 oz of chopped cranberries in another blender, adding about a pound of honey, rehydrating a packet of lalvin 71b-1122 yeast (according to the instructions on the packet) along with about a quarter teaspoon of the nutrient and energizer. In addition ocean-spray frozen cranberry juice. Would this be a good idea to finish the fermentation, or should I just make a liquor with it?

Is this a good idea for the next step? Please let me know

brian92fs
11-11-2011, 01:27 PM
A couple of questions first.


Your original gravity doesn’t look right. 1.8 is higher than the SG of straight honey. I’m assuming you probably meant 1.080. Also, when writing out SG in the forums, its more clear if you take it out to 3 decimal points. If you read 1.1, write it as 1.100.

What is the gravity now?

What is your batch size?

Adding dry yeast straight to the must isn’t the best way of doing things. Be careful with advice from the LHBS. They usually have experience specifc to beer brewing and it doesn’t always translate to meads. This forum is a better spot for advice. Try searching rehydration with Go-Ferm. That’s the method most of us use.

Do you have the pH of the must now? pH test strips are pretty cheap and usually available from your LHBS.

Have you read the NewBee guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14)? It’s a great resource.

JohnS
11-11-2011, 01:57 PM
Not sure what the PH is brian, but your right on a few points. The ph strips is a good idea, The SG is 1.080, not 1.8. Sorry about that mistake. Asking the beershop about mead was not a good idea, and then I discovered this site.:cool:

The batch size is 5 gallons

I have not read the newbee guide, but I have read the book by Schramm.

now I am going to try do to the search you have recommended.

I have not taken another reading. I am afraid to let more O2 into the fermenter and turning the mead into vinegar.

Is it ok to add more fruit into the blend if I open it, and take a reading?

brian92fs
11-11-2011, 02:21 PM
John,
In your first post, you said after 6 - 7 days all fermentation has stopped. How are you determining this? Do you have any SG readings? Fermentations should finish in 10 - 14 days, but my first batch took 30 days to finish up and tasted fine at the end. Check the gravity first to see where you're at. Then keep checking for several days. It it hasn't moved it 3 or 4 days, then it might be stuck.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, knowing the pH will help. If it gets too low, it can start to slow down the fermentation. I believe lower than 3.2 or 3.1 can start having an impact. If that's the case, try adding Potassium Bicarbonate.

Chevette Girl
11-11-2011, 03:10 PM
Welcome to the addiction-, er, I mean, forum! :D

You might have a stuck ferment. On the other hand, AToE has reported 24-hour fermentations, so it's possible that your fermentation is actually complete, but as Brian said, check your SG to know for sure. If it's close to 1.000, then your yeast have indeed eaten all the sugar and the fermentation stopped because there's nothing left for yeasties to convert to alcohol.

And don't worry too much about oxidation, beer is really sensitive to it, wines a little less so, and meads are actually pretty resistant. I'm currently TRYING to vinegar an apple cider I made and it's really taking its sweet time. You're not going to damage it by checking the specific gravity.

Handy hint next time you break equipment on cranberries - if you bring them just to a simmer, they will pop on their own :) And heating fruit isn't always bad. Heating honey is a matter of opinion. A vigorous fermentation will usually kick the crap out of any other bugs that might be in there.

Do check out the Newbie guide, lots of good info.

If you do add more fruit, you probably won't need more yeast, there should be plenty in there to do the job. Just give it all a good stir to re-suspend any yeast that think they're done.

Oh, and when they say that mixing the yeast while it's rehydrating is bad for it, I think they mean putting it in a blender and giving it the business will damage them when they're weak, swirling it or going in there with a spoon shouldn't damage them that badly. Yours probably would have recovered if you'd just let them sit for their 15 minutes and then fed them a small amount of must... 5-10 minutes later you would know for sure, it would start bubbling. I've dry-pitched plenty of times and it usually works just fine, but I now almost always rehydrate, figuring that I should make it a habit to give the yeasties the best start I can.

JohnS
11-11-2011, 05:16 PM
Thank you for the post......... I got alot from in and will continue to let everyone here how this batch is going. In a few hours I will check the gravity and add some more berries. :D


Welcome to the addiction-, er, I mean, forum! :D

You might have a stuck ferment. On the other hand, AToE has reported 24-hour fermentations, so it's possible that your fermentation is actually complete, but as Brian said, check your SG to know for sure. If it's close to 1.000, then your yeast have indeed eaten all the sugar and the fermentation stopped because there's nothing left for yeasties to convert to alcohol.

And don't worry too much about oxidation, beer is really sensitive to it, wines a little less so, and meads are actually pretty resistant. I'm currently TRYING to vinegar an apple cider I made and it's really taking its sweet time. You're not going to damage it by checking the specific gravity.

Handy hint next time you break equipment on cranberries - if you bring them just to a simmer, they will pop on their own :) And heating fruit isn't always bad. Heating honey is a matter of opinion. A vigorous fermentation will usually kick the crap out of any other bugs that might be in there.

Do check out the Newbie guide, lots of good info.

If you do add more fruit, you probably won't need more yeast, there should be plenty in there to do the job. Just give it all a good stir to re-suspend any yeast that think they're done.

Oh, and when they say that mixing the yeast while it's rehydrating is bad for it, I think they mean putting it in a blender and giving it the business will damage them when they're weak, swirling it or going in there with a spoon shouldn't damage them that badly. Yours probably would have recovered if you'd just let them sit for their 15 minutes and then fed them a small amount of must... 5-10 minutes later you would know for sure, it would start bubbling. I've dry-pitched plenty of times and it usually works just fine, but I now almost always rehydrate, figuring that I should make it a habit to give the yeasties the best start I can.

JohnS
11-11-2011, 07:55 PM
I just took a reading and it came in at 0.997. I think its about done, but I will still dumb in a can of cranberry juice (oceanspray), 16 oz of mashed cranberries, and about 12 oz of honey. I tastes a bit dry to me.

I was thinking about repitching with more yeast, but I have decided against it.

I'll let it sit for about a few weeks, take a reading, and then rack to the carboy. I hope it turns out well.

Chevette Girl
11-11-2011, 08:02 PM
It's done then! Nice quick ferment! It tastes dry because the yeast ate all the sugar :)

You shouldn't need more yeast, make sure that your ocean spray doesn't contain potassium sorbate, and go for it!

This will raise your SG a little, so check it when you make your additions.

Then it'll go down again, probably to 0.997 or lower as the yeast eat all that sugar too.

If you find it's too dry once all is done, read up on "stabilize and backsweeten".

fatbloke
11-12-2011, 06:05 AM
re-pitching more yeast is probably pointless, especially if its the same strain as before.

I would suggest that if you're adding more berries, honey, etc to sweeten it up some, then rack it off the sediment, stabilise it with sorbate and sulphite, and then add the other ingredients, as that way, they should impart some extra sweetness to the taste of the batch.

Using honey for back sweetening is what I do, but as it can cause hazing to already cleared meads (and is normally recommended as the last thing to do before bottling), I usually do that at this stage, using a hydrometer as a guide (I like my meads at about the 1.010 level). Though if you're adding more berries as well, I'd have thought that adding the back sweetening ingredients, will change the gravity, but you might get a slightly incorrect reading as the berries will retain some of the sugars for a while, so just add the back sweetening stuff to the "racked off the sediment" mead and leave it for a couple of weeks, then rack it off the fruit and any sediment that might have dropped and test/taste again.

Don't forget, that the taste of the batch at this stage, isn't going to be the end flavour. As you rack/syphon/add finings to remove the last of the sediment and to clear the batch completely (definition of cleared, is to be able to read printed material through it), plus ageing, will change the taste of the batch for the better.

The orange/cranberry used in the original stages of production are likely to have given you a drier/acidic taste (on top of the < 1.000 gravity you mention), which needs to be aged or even masked by extra back sweetening.

Well done and good luck with the batch.

regards

fatbloke