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hepcat
02-15-2012, 10:47 AM
Hi,
I started a 2 gallon batch two weeks ago, February 7th.
Here is the recipe:

6lbs clover honey(walmart brand which I heated up to 140F for 20 min)
5g Lalvin EC-1118(rehydrated at about 105F)
2 tsp yeast nutrient(DAP)
1 tsp yeast energizer
...in Spring water.
OG was 1.106, did not check pH.
Haven't touched it since starting it.
Been fermenting at about 70-72F.
I'm primary fermenting in a two gallon bucket and it seems to be doing fine so far.

My goal/plan is to rack into two gallon carboys so I can try for a traditional still show mead with one gallon and try to make a sparkling mead with the other.

I've heard it said on here it's ok to let the must sit on the lees for a long time with this yeast but I was planning to rack two weeks from pitching the yeast around Feb 21st.

What do you think??
Thanks everyone.

maykal
02-15-2012, 12:58 PM
Hi hepcat,

As far as I know (and that isn't awfully far) the only problems you might have are with headspace. If you've made exactly 2 gallons in the primary bucket, and you have some lees, then you're probably not going to completely fill the second one-gallon carboy, so you'll have to have something handy to top up with.

Also, I suppose, if you haven't let them ferment out completely, you have to be a little careful with the mead developing a fizz/kreuson in the limited headspace and infecting the airlock.

I think it's probably better to choose a particular SG to rack at, rather than picking a date.

Hopefully one of the experienced members can tell you more.

hepcat
02-15-2012, 03:24 PM
Appreciate your input Maykal, and do hope to hear from others too. Yes I should def check SG and not go by a particular date I think.

Re head space in secondary ferment: I guess it's good not to have alot of head space in the secondary fermenter? I've seen so many pics online of people's meads where they sometimes only had them half full, but I know that doesn't tell me how those meads turned out.

Chevette Girl
02-15-2012, 03:52 PM
Most of us rack when the SG approaches 1.000 OR has slowed down to the point where it's not changing much from day to day. This can be anywhere from a few days (actually I think AToE had one 24-hour fermentation) to a few weeks (show meads where you use no nutrients can take a LONG time).

You generally want the surface of anything in a secondary vessel to be up in the neck so it's presenting a smaller surface area. A lot of us who start out in a bucket make a little extra to start with so that we have a bit more than our final amount rather than a bit less after the racking losses.

Whenever I have to put something in a too-big carboy, I make sure that it's still bubbling a little bit (I've even been known to feed it a little extra honey or sugar when I rack, presuming the yeast isn't maxed out at its tolerance, just a teaspoon or two to give the yeast some more sugar to convert to CO2), that should displace any oxygen that gets in when you're racking, and I also try not to open it unless absolutely necessary once it stops bubbling.

And yes, you're OK to leave it sitting on that yeast for months.

hepcat
02-15-2012, 04:12 PM
Thanks Chevette Girl. So one thing you mentioned about the yeast being maxed out for ABV tolerance, I'll know that from the SG right?

And is there any particular advantage to leaving it on the yeast for months?

Knowing I'm going to lose some due to lees when ever I do rack, I'll fill a gallon carboy full, use that for the still mead and what ever is left rack into the second carboy and use that for my attempt at sparkling mead and I can pitch in a little more honey if needed then into that one to keep ferment going and make sure I expel any oxygen from that carboy?

Chevette Girl
02-15-2012, 10:20 PM
Thanks Chevette Girl. So one thing you mentioned about the yeast being maxed out for ABV tolerance, I'll know that from the SG right?

Look up the tolerance of your yeast (18% for EC 1118 ) and then calculate your alcohol level, the Mead Calculator has a handy little tool for that, you plug in your starting gravity and your final gravity and it tells you how much alcohol is in your mead. If that amount is less than 18% your yeast should still have a little oomph left in them.


And is there any particular advantage to leaving it on the yeast for months?

Different yeasts impart different things, I think the most common description is "nuttiness". Haven't done much of this myself though.


Knowing I'm going to lose some due to lees when ever I do rack, I'll fill a gallon carboy full, use that for the still mead and what ever is left rack into the second carboy and use that for my attempt at sparkling mead and I can pitch in a little more honey if needed then into that one to keep ferment going and make sure I expel any oxygen from that carboy?

Something like that should work, just don't overdo it with extra additions. And you don't need to bother at all if it's still fizzing slightly. Or you could top it up with juice or something.

If you want to make it sparkling, you'll want to let it sit till it's clear, rack off anything that's collected, and then very carefully prime it with a carefully measured amount of honey before you bottle it in bottles that can handle the pressure.

hepcat
02-16-2012, 11:16 AM
Thanks again Chevette Girl.
Have champagne bottles, corks, wire hoods ready when needed.

hepcat
02-17-2012, 01:31 PM
So this morning I saw that there was only an air lock bubble only about every 36 seconds so thought I would check SG and pH. SG was 1.000 and pH was ~3.6. It looked and smelled ok but as I'd heard on here so knew was to be expected, it didn't taste very good at this point. It did taste alot like listerene, lol.

So I made the decision to rack due primarily to the SG reading.
And while I was sanitizing my gear, I squeezed the juice from a small navel orange into the sample I took and viola, it was as good as any Mimosa I've ever had!!
And I must say I did a great job racking for the first time ever. Didn't spill much, lol. And I filled a 3 liter and one gallon carboy each all the way to the neck. That siphon device is the coolest thing ever! Stoked.

veritas
02-17-2012, 01:36 PM
Congrats! It's nice to hear things are progressing nicely for you.

hepcat
02-17-2012, 01:39 PM
Thanks Veritas, having too much fun.

(1.106-1.000)133=~14%ABV?

YogiBearMead726
02-17-2012, 05:35 PM
(1.106-1.000)133=~14%ABV?

Sounds about right. With some age, I'm sure you'll be plenty pleased with this batch.

I know it's a bit late, but I'd suggest not heating your honey next time. It's not a huge deal when using generic honey, but if you start using raw honey, you'd be degrading enzymes, proteins, and all sorts of delicate aromatic compounds by heating.

Oskaar often compares this to buying a premium cut of beef and then cooking it well done, essentially making your purchase all for nothing. Just some food for thought. :)

hepcat
02-18-2012, 05:24 PM
Yes thanks Yogibearmead726. As a matter of fact, I don't plan on heating the must at all going forward in future mead batches. Cheers!