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hepcat
02-07-2012, 06:24 PM
Hello!! I was recently watching a friend play one of those mideivel times video games and they mentioned mead and it got me curious. After a litttle research online, I found this and another really good site and decided to try and make some!

Made my first one gallon batch 31 January, 2012 and then a second gallon batch a few days later on 3 February, 2012.
They are both melomels.

This is batch #1:
Spring Water
3# Orange Blossom Honey(store bought-supposed to be good honey but it's not raw and is processed)
Lalvin D47 dry yeast, 1 pkg
25-30 raisins
1 navel seedless orange

After sanitizing everything,
...I heated the honey to 140F for 20 minutes with about a 1/2 gal of the Spring water, let it cool down to room temp, poured it into a one gallon carboy, added the fruit, shook the bejesus out of it for about 10 minutes then filled up the rest of the jug with Spring water, then pitched the yeast (which i just rehydrated with room temp water), gave it another little twist and shake, then put on the air lock.

Batch #2:
I mostly followed the JAO recipe off this site for this batch which i know is quite similar to my first batch. The reason I made another citrus melomel is because i have some really sweet good quality navels right now I wanted to use.
Spring water
4# Orange Blossom honey(accidentally added 4#, will it be sickeningly sweet?? Hope not! And it's the same kind i used for batch 1).
Fleischmans Active Dry Yeast, one pkg
1 navel orange, seedless
25-30 raisins
nutmeg, pinch
allspice, pinch
2 cloves
....again heated the honey and about 1/2 gal of the Spring Water to 140F for about 20 minutes, let it cool down to room temp, poured that into the one gallon carboy, added the orange, 25-30 raisins, 1 cinnamon stick, pinch nutmeg, pinch allspice, and 2 cloves, then shook the bejesus out of it for about 10 minutes, filled up the rest of the jug with Spring water then pitched the yeast (which i rehydrated at about 100F), gave it another little shake/twist and put on the air lock.

So, batch 1 started fermenting almost immediately and the first couple days the airlock was bubbling at about a bubble per second very nicely but has since slowed considerably to an airlock bubble about every four seconds so still seems to be fermenting, just slower.

As for batch 2, it never seemed to bubble that fast, and it's now only bubbling about one bubble every 6-7 seconds.

Other than that, they both seem ok as far as I can tell.

Should I be concerned about the slow ferment? Or is this ok?
Any advice is greatley appreciated!!!:)

mmclean
02-08-2012, 04:50 PM
What is the temp for batch #2, bread yeast likes it at about 72-74F?

hepcat
02-08-2012, 05:05 PM
Hey Mr McLean, we keep the house at an average temp of 72F but do turn it down to 70F overnight so guessing it's somewhere around there, 70-72, a little low I guess? It's still bubbling at about the same rate and thanks for asking, I will keep that temp range in mind going forward.

Chevette Girl
02-08-2012, 05:09 PM
Heh, if you've got another jug available and haven't eaten all your oranges, you could try another JAO true to the recipe and then you've got a really good three-way comparison! Dry orange mead, JAO with too much honey (it's probably going to be really sweet), and JAO the way it was meant to be. Take good tasting notes, you'll appreciate them later on in your career as a meadmaker...

mmclean
02-08-2012, 05:15 PM
I think you will be O.K.

A couple of things I noticed.

If you fill the carboy about 3/4 of the way full, shake for 5 min., then top off with the rest of your water, your be fine. No need to kill your arms shaking a galln carboy for 10 min. :)

There is no need to heat the honey and it may even do harm. Just get it warm enough to pour and rinse out thejar with some warm water and you'll be fine.

hepcat
02-08-2012, 05:16 PM
Guess I've made dessert mead. We'll see. I def want to make more chevette girl!

Is it possible to just add more yeast in 60 days if its way too sweet to get rid of more sugar or would that ruin it?

hepcat
02-08-2012, 05:21 PM
I think you will be O.K.

A couple of things I noticed.

If you fill the carboy about 3/4 of the way full, shake for 5 min., then top off with the rest of your water, your be fine. No need to kill your arms shaking a galln carboy for 10 min. :)

There is no need to heat the honey and it may even do harm. Just get it warm enough to pour and rinse out thejar with some warm water and you'll be fine.

Yeah that 10 minute shake was a workout lol. Thanks again Mr Mclean.
Do you need to heat raw honey?

Chevette Girl
02-08-2012, 05:31 PM
'Fraid it doesn't work that way, hepcat. The yeast has a certain tolerance for alcohol, if you just add more yeast later without either thinning the batch out a little or acclimatizing the yeast to its new environment (do a search on acclimated starters), it'll probably cack when you toss it in. You might get a little more out of it if you try an acclimated starter since the first yeast you pitched might have ended up a little stunted from the high amount of honey in the initial must, but I think the most you're going to get out of that will be 10%, maybe 12% alcohol and that's about it. I usually get about 12% with a JAO with the correct amount of honey, then it stops sweet. The other possibility if it's way too sweet when it stops is to pitch a wine yeast after the bread yeast poops out, but if your wine yeast is too vigorous it might take it dry.

Oh, and if you want to do a lot of meads, the first tool I highly recommend is getting yourself a hydrometer. Airlock bubbling is only a very rough indication of your fermentation, to really know what's happening, you want to know the specific gravity (it's like your oven's "on" light versus its thermometer). The difference in bubble rates between your two batches could be because the bread yeast is struggling with too much sugar, or there might be a difference in how quickly the bread yeast works versus the D47. Oh, and D47 likes a cool ferment (you don't want it over 74F I think or it starts making stinky compounds), and bread yeast likes a warm environment, could be another reason why one fermentation seems to be doing better than the other.

Chevette Girl
02-08-2012, 05:34 PM
Do you need to heat raw honey?

Nope, only enough to get it to flow.

mmclean
02-08-2012, 05:37 PM
Yeah that 10 minute shake was a workout lol. Thanks again Mr Mclean.
Do you need to heat raw honey?

No need. :)

hepcat
02-08-2012, 05:58 PM
Got a hydrometer yesterday and thanks for all the other info too chevettegirl. Much appreciated.


'Fraid it doesn't work that way, hepcat. The yeast has a certain tolerance for alcohol, if you just add more yeast later without either thinning the batch out a little or acclimatizing the yeast to its new environment (do a search on acclimated starters), it'll probably cack when you toss it in. You might get a little more out of it if you try an acclimated starter since the first yeast you pitched might have ended up a little stunted from the high amount of honey in the initial must, but I think the most you're going to get out of that will be 10%, maybe 12% alcohol and that's about it. I usually get about 12% with a JAO with the correct amount of honey, then it stops sweet. The other possibility if it's way too sweet when it stops is to pitch a wine yeast after the bread yeast poops out, but if your wine yeast is too vigorous it might take it dry.

Oh, and if you want to do a lot of meads, the first tool I highly recommend is getting yourself a hydrometer. Airlock bubbling is only a very rough indication of your fermentation, to really know what's happening, you want to know the specific gravity (it's like your oven's "on" light versus its thermometer). The difference in bubble rates between your two batches could be because the bread yeast is struggling with too much sugar, or there might be a difference in how quickly the bread yeast works versus the D47. Oh, and D47 likes a cool ferment (you don't want it over 74F I think or it starts making stinky compounds), and bread yeast likes a warm environment, could be another reason why one fermentation seems to be doing better than the other.