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Andyox
03-10-2012, 08:28 AM
Hi,
*I'm new to home brewing and too Mead, so I thought I would post a few questions about my first Mead batch, I was expecting from my searching a more vigorous bubbling mixture..

First of all, recipe and what'll have done so far :
* Honey: 2 kilos (4 lbs) - waitrose jar honey
* Juice from one Orange
*Juice from one Lemon
* 4.5 litres (1 gallon water)
* 1 level teaspoon of *youngs pectolase in 1/2 a cup of lukewarm water
* 4 level teaspoons of Tron O Zymol yeast nutrient and energiser salts
* 1 sachet champagne yeast

9 March 2012
* Cleaned everything with boiling water and rinsed*
* Sterilised with VWP the rinsed in cold water 5 times

* Brought water to simmer in large deep pan
* Added 2 kilos of honey
* Kept at simmering point for 20 minutes, while skimming frothy stuff off the top and stirring
* Poured mixture into 5 litre fermenting bucket
*Loosely laid lid on top of bucket to allow to cool
* 4 hours later, took temperature having cleaned and sterilised thermometer : 31 degrees centigrade*
* Added yeast into jug of boiled water that had cooled down to 30 degrees
Waited 15 minutes stirring yeast
Added yeast,fruit juices, pectin enzyme and nutrient into bucket mixture
Poured boiling water over metal spoon and used spoon to stir mixture
Place hydrometer Into bucket, reading was 1.121
Replaced lid loosely

Observed small bubbles over surface of liquid in bucket

10 March 2012
* had a look in bucket - a few bubbles *bubbling nothing vigorous , no froth

My questions:
* I should I be seeing a lot of bubbling and frothing more than the limited small bubbles I am seeing ?
* How long should I wait until I move the mixture into a glass demijohn with airlock ?
* How frequently should I use the hydrometer
* Can I pour boiling water over the hydrometer instead of boiling and sterilising each time i use it ?
Do indeed to stir the mixture or just wiggle the bucket or demijohn ?

Thanks for any pointers

Andy

mmclean
03-10-2012, 09:13 AM
Hello Andyox,

Welcome to GOTMEAD?

I will put a hand to some of your questions, but some I will leave the rest to someone more familiar to your local.

First I would recommend you read through the newbee guide. You can find it in the tool bar to your left. Lots of updated infomation.

Your recipe seems to be guite old. Some of the changes we have made to meadcrafting in the last 30-40 years have vastly inproved our mead and the craft.

First, most of us don't cook our honey. We can debate if it helps or hurts the mead, but I think we all agree that it isn't necessary.

The lemon juice is to add acid for taste. Most of the time your mead will not need any acid added, and if it does, add it at the end of fermatation, and only as needed for taste.

Up front acid can stress and stall your yeast. This is most likely why you are not getting a strong ferment. Can you test your pH? Yeast are happy around 3.4.

I will rack when the ferment is almost over, but no more than 3 weeks on gross lees.

You should introduce oxygen once or twice a day,up to the 1/3 surar break.

Riverat
03-10-2012, 09:16 AM
Do take the time to study the "Newbee Guide" the link is to the left here and it is very imformative.

You won't see the activity level you find in beer, not a lot of bubbling or froth
Do get some air in your must by stirring / whisking at least once a day until the grav drops to 1.07 or so and get it under an airlock around 1.06 or so
I would have spread the nutrients out a few days over the fermentation and maybe less but I'm not familiar with that brand, but you should be fine.

fatbloke
03-10-2012, 09:34 AM
Hi,
-----%<-----
My questions:
* I should I be seeing a lot of bubbling and frothing more than the limited small bubbles I am seeing ?
* How long should I wait until I move the mixture into a glass demijohn with airlock ?
* How frequently should I use the hydrometer
* Can I pour boiling water over the hydrometer instead of boiling and sterilising each time i use it ?
Do indeed to stir the mixture or just wiggle the bucket or demijohn ?

Thanks for any pointers

Andy
Bubbles and froth ? Sometimes, sometimes not. You heated the honey/water, so probably not. A lot of batches will just look like there's small bubbles bursting on the surface, especially if it's supermarket honey, that will have been processed to hell and back and is blended for eating, not mead making, though it probably should be fine.

Moving the mix from a bucket to a DJ ? well that's subject to controversy, because if you move it while it's still fermenting, you can actually remove a lot of the yeast, which can give rise to a stuck ferment, or at least a slow down. I used to just mix it all into a DJ, add the nutrients etc and then just let it go, now I mix in a bucket, let it ferment dry, then rack it to a DJ, off the gross lees.

If you get into it big time, a bucket is handy as it's considerably easier to deal with fruit etc.

The hydrometer testing ? Well it depends on whether you want to follow the guidance and method of "SNA" (staggered nutrient addition) or not. Because presumably, you took a reading before pitching the yeast, so you know where you started ? The SNA method is to do with working out how much nutrients (the US members here term nutrient as DAP - diammonium phosphate, and energiser as the "tan powder" like nutrients - the most commonly mentioned here being Fermaid K, but Tronozymol is very similar i.e. it has the micro nutrients, vitamins, etc as well as some DAP), which are then halved in quantity, or smaller, depending on how many doses you want to use, but 2 is quite common. You'd then start the ferment (with the first half of the nutrients), but aerate/stir it at least once daily, checking the gravity as well, and when you get to the 1/3rd sugar break (if the start gravity was 1.100, then the 1/3rd point is obviously 1.066) you aerate and add the second half of the required nutrient, then air lock it off and let it finish. Some like to split the nutrients down to smaller doses, and aerate down to the 1/2 break. I just do the former, which seems to work out fine.

As for the hygiene regime, well while we don't have to be quite so obsessive as the beer makers tend to be, it's good practice to use hot water (doesn't have to be boiling, actually it's safer not to be as the heat shock of boiling water onto glass can crack/shatter the DJ), using a bottle brush to make sure it's clean inside, then mix up the VWP and treat it with that according to the instructions (haven't used it, I do the main cleaing with Ritchies Cleaning stuff, but I have to double check the rinsing as it's bleach based and bleach can take a lot of rinsing - then I just using 5 crushed campden tablets mixed into a pint of water, with 1 teaspoon of citric acid. Which is kept in a spray. I just wash and rinse, then spray with the campden/citric mix and let it have 3 or 4 minutes contact time, before emptying out any excess, then do the mixing or whatever.

Your stirring or just wiggle the bucket/DJ question ? Well, again, if it's being aerated, I reckon stirring or at least something to get some air/bubbles into the mix. If you're just trying to keep as much yeast and other sediment in suspension, then just swirling the fermenter should be Ok.

The 2 points that jumped out to me in your original post, is that you heated the must - which is old technique. Plus you used champagne yeast, which is often what's suggested by home brew shops who know little or nothing of mead making. The heating will remove a lot of the aromatics and possibly some of the more subtle flavouring elements that the honey may contain (more important with expensive varietal honey, and/or raw honey if you can find it). Champagne yeast does similar but when it's fermenting. It's not to say that it's bad to use, but there's better yeasts out there, whether they're available in your local HBS or whether you end up mail ordering.

Your meads will only be as good as the quality and flavour of your honey, which is why it's often better to have a dig around locally to see if you can track down any bee keepers etc. Raw honey is best as even with bits of comb and other hive debris in it, it's less processed and more likely to have nicer aromas, flavours etc than the majority of the super market stuff. Even stuff like Rowse brand varietals would be better, but processed for consistency and of course, more expensive.

http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14 (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/../index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14) is the link to the gotmead "NewBee guide" (linked in the yellow box to the left as well). It's worth the read.

Your biggest thing will be learning the patience that mead making requires. It can be relatively easy and simple, but once it's cleared and finished, it often tastes bloody horrible and requires ageing, often for 6 months to a year, or more. The transformation is amazing. Plus if you find somewhere locally that sells meads, they're likely to be "dessert mead" type and very, very sweet.

My blog has some UK based links for supplies etc (as well as others that I use in the US). I get my lalvin yeasts mail order, as well as stuff like GoFerm rehydration nutrient (which is different from the likes of FermaidK, tronozymol, etc) and Fermaid K. The GoFerm and FermaidK come from a seller on Ebay, but is still in the US. I've yet to find anyone who sells it here.....

Andyox
03-11-2012, 07:05 AM
Hi,
Thanks for all your replies, I shall go throught the Newbee section.

I think it is an old recipe as you have suggested - I bought First Steps in Winemaking by CJJ Berry, quite an old book and got the Mead recipe there - the only book in the home brew store that had Mead in the index :)

The Homebrew store I was in didn't know a lot about Mead tbh, so they suggested the champage yeast.

Having had a quick look at the Newbee section I see there are a lot of yeast types, yikes !

The bucket is bubbling away now, lots of tiny little bubbles :)

I will look for some ph strips and try and find a UK supplier of some of the materials I have seen listed in the newbee section - guessing import tax is pretty hefty

Thanks for all the info, now to go reading the Newbee section some more as the kids are off-loaded to the grandparents for the day :)

Cheers

Andy

Chevette Girl
03-11-2012, 12:16 PM
Welcome to the forum, Andyox!

There's nothing strictly wrong with using champagne yeast, especially on a first try, and if it's a relatively slow ferment as meads sometimes are, there's a chance it'll retain more of the flavours and aromas that champagne yeasts are known to blow off. I've used champagne yeasts for years and been quite happy with the results and it's only by comparing batches that are identical except for the yeast that I can pick out any difference...

And when you do aerate your mead you may well find that it does get pretty fizzy after all! :)

Andyox
03-11-2012, 01:43 PM
Hi Chevette Girl,

Thanks for you reply.

BTW - checked my yeast - I used "Gervin Varietal C Yeast (GV10) to 5 gal" which the HB shop said was champagne yeast. I used the whole sachet, hope that wasnt too much, my bucket is 5 litres max, which is about 1 gallon, eek!

Yep, gave it a little stir this morning, and it got all fizzy - the small bubbles that fatbloke mentioned, as I got the honey from the supermarket :)

I had a sly sniff of the smell too, wow, makes your eyes water.

Day 3 now, be good to de-bucket and put into a demijohn with an airlock so that I can move it all into the garage and not worry about burping the bucket.

Perhaps next weekend I should get a bucket with a hole for an airlock so that I don't need to worry about active dissasembly of the bucket due to gas build up if I don't 'burp' it one day :) (My wife has requested a cherry brandy tasting Mead, hence the planned bucket purchasing excursion next weekend - sheesh, this is my first mead and first brewing, I think she has high hopes :p )

I hope I can wrap the demijohns with airlocks in a towel later on in the year when winter approaches- my plan was to leave them in the garage until bottling time (not got to that section in the newbee guide yet) and then pop them in the wine racks in the garage - but the temperature can go up and down a bit here (UK random weather), so a little unsure about the garage side of things.

I wonder how many people get their hydrometers stuck in the demijohn, hmm, I guess that is a benefit for leaving things in a bucket for a bit ?

Right, back to reading.

Cheers

Andy

fatbloke
03-11-2012, 03:56 PM
You may find that the garage, in late Autumn, Winter and early Spring might be a little too cold, with either very slow or non-existent fermentation.

About 18 to 20 C seems to be the best level. Yet unless you can get a brew belt with adjustable temp range (only ones I've seen seem to be set/fixed at 24C), then maybe the old "under the stairs" trick might have to be brought into play......

As for having your bucket sealed and having to "burp" it ? A lot of people will only have the bucket covered with some muslin/cheese cloth type material. Whereas, you could equally get away with caterers cling wrap (wide enough to cover the bucket and down the sides a little) and larger elastic bands. Any pressure build up will find it's way out, and the batch is still covered from dust and other undesirables, but can still retain enough of a protective blanket of CO2.

Extra DJ's ? Probably ebay for the cheapest, but you will probably have to watch out for someone close enough to drive it, as most seem to be sold on a "collect only" basis - but also car boot sales, charity shops and freecycle etc. Better than paying 6 or 7 quid for a new one.

Better bottles are fine for the fermenting part. Not sure whether I'd keep any in one for ageing though, prefer glass.

Chevette Girl
03-11-2012, 06:44 PM
Hehe, hydrometer in the demijohn, huh? I've always been afraid of that happening so I will tie waxed (not minted) dental floss tightly a few times around the top, or once or twice I've used sanitized cotton string, if it weighs it down at all you can then do a check with water and just add the difference to what your must measured.

hepcat
03-11-2012, 07:51 PM
Hehe, hydrometer in the demijohn, huh? I've always been afraid of that happening so I will tie waxed (not minted) dental floss tightly a few times around the top, or once or twice I've used sanitized cotton string, if it weighs it down at all you can then do a check with water and just add the difference to what your must measured.

LOL, I've wondered if anybody does that. I just make a little extra must for testing/tasting and use a hydrometer test tube that I got at the local LHBS for a couple dollars. My LHBS has glass and plastic ones. I got the plastic one(cheaper). I clean it by wrapping a piece of an old t-shirt around a bottle brush so I don't scratch it up.cool:

Andyox
03-12-2012, 05:00 PM
Hi,
Wow activity in the bucket !

I got back from work today,and there is a huge amount of foam all over the surface of the buckets contents.

So, days 1-3 were little bubbles and day 4 is foamtastic

Hmm scrape the foam and freeze it - Mead ice lolly :)

Andy

Chevette Girl
03-12-2012, 05:51 PM
LOL, I've wondered if anybody does that.

My wine thief doesn't fit in my 1-gal batches so if I forget to divert a test-tube full when I rack for the first time, it's the safest way I've found to grab a reading... if it's topped right up and I'm sure it won't sink too far down for me to get it, I've put the sanitized hydrometer right into the carboy with my sanitized fingers but usually I make sure there's a safety line of dental floss just in case, plus I do TRY to avoid sticking my fingers in my musts wherever possible...

And Andyox, sounds like things are going just fine! And a mead ice lolly might be good, there should still be significant sugar in the foam at this point ;D

TAKeyser
03-12-2012, 05:53 PM
I've always wondered why they don't make a wine thief that fits in the standard one gallon carboys, or at least I've never seen one.

Chevette Girl
03-12-2012, 05:56 PM
I've always wondered why they don't make a wine thief that fits in the standard one gallon carboys, or at least I've never seen one.

<sigh> I do so hate using the turkey baster.

I suspect it's because if they made it any narrower you couldn't just plunk the hydrometer into the thief.

TAKeyser
03-12-2012, 06:16 PM
<sigh> I do so hate using the turkey baster.

I suspect it's because if they made it any narrower you couldn't just plunk the hydrometer into the thief.

I find the turkey baster to be a PITA.

Even if the Hydrometer didn't fit it could still be transferred into a Hydrometer tube, which would still be much easier than the turkey baster.

mmclean
03-12-2012, 06:59 PM
I've always wondered why they don't make a wine thief that fits in the standard one gallon carboys, or at least I've never seen one.

Search Alla Brand, Glass Wine Thief, 12'' X 3/4''

TAKeyser
03-12-2012, 07:13 PM
Search Alla Brand, Glass Wine Thief, 12'' X 3/4''

Thanks! Just ordered one.

hepcat
03-13-2012, 12:32 AM
I've always wondered why they don't make a wine thief that fits in the standard one gallon carboys, or at least I've never seen one.

Mine fits, it's the 12" x 3/4". I love my local LHBS!! Those guys got wat u neeed.:cool:

fatbloke
03-13-2012, 02:03 AM
I just take a sample with a turkey baster to take a sample and put it into my test jar (cheap and plastic), test and return to the fermenter.

So far, no infections/contamination as I rinse and spray everything with sanitiser...

TAKeyser
03-13-2012, 07:42 AM
I just take a sample with a turkey baster to take a sample and put it into my test jar (cheap and plastic), test and return to the fermenter.

So far, no infections/contamination as I rinse and spray everything with sanitiser...

That's my method now, I just hate using the turkey baster it's a pain. I return the sample as well and I've never had an issue with doing it this way.

hepcat
03-13-2012, 09:04 AM
Good to hear others return their samples to the fermenter. I just did it for the first time recently, and I thoroughly cleaned/sanitized the test tube so didn't think it would hurt.

Chevette Girl
03-13-2012, 12:49 PM
If you're careful to sanitize everything that comes into contact with your mead, there's really no good reason why you can't return it to the batch. And when you're doing 1-gallon batches, those few ounces each time really do add up. Which is why I like being able to use the hydrometer right in the thief... saves a step or two on sanitizing and cleanup. Score one for inherent laziness! ;D

Andyox
03-17-2012, 08:04 AM
Hi,
One week on status:
No events in the bucket - no bubbling observed within the past 48 hours nor any co2 smelly gas either.

Temp has been pretty consistent - bucket not moved from kitchen work top

I've not taken hydro reading, as the bucket isn't deep enough for the hydro eter - pre yeast reading was taken in a tall pot that I simmered the water and honey in.
But I have ordered a wine thief/pipette unsure the eBay description was a bit foggy, but I'll see what the postman brings :)

I'm guessing as all bubbling has stopped that it is ok to move into a demijohn now

Cheers

Andy

Sadie Lady
03-17-2012, 08:55 AM
Search Alla Brand, Glass Wine Thief, 12'' X 3/4''

mmclean,
Does the hydrometer fit inside this one? I have a wine thief but it is so long it's a pain with my 1 gallon batches.

Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
<sigh> I do so hate using the turkey baster.

My turkey baster is a PITA also, it's dripping stuff all over the place. Next time I go by the feed store or medical supply place, going to pick up a few 60 ml cath tip syringes. I've used one before and works good. Can't remember if it fit in the 1 gallon jug or not, but you can cut a piece of racking tubing and stick on the cath tip.

Stacey

fatbloke
03-17-2012, 09:23 AM
Hi,
-----%<-----
pre yeast reading was taken in a tall pot that I simmered the water and honey in.
-----%<-----
You simmered your water and honey :eek: ?

Hang your head in shame ;) and then go and read all the info you can find on not heating honey ;D

I take my samples with a turkey baster (sanitised) and put 100mls into the plastic hydrometer testing jar I use (about 1.50 to 2.00). The jar is sanitised in the same way i.e. I keep a garden spray, containing 1 pint water, 5 crushed campden tablets and 1 teaspoon of citric acid in it. You wash and rinse kit in the usual way and then spray it with the sanitiser (it's in CJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ's book) and leave it for 2 or 3 minutes before shaking off or tipping out any excess. Works a treat and I've not had any infections with it........yet !

It's a bit like how I aerate my musts as well. I sanitise either the liquidiser or the food processor, then just blitz the honey/water must that way. Quicker, less hassle and seems to work fine. Once the yeast is pitched I just use a sanitise plastic stirring paddle or if the batch is in a DJ, then I use the handle end......

Andyox
03-17-2012, 10:44 AM
Hi,

Sadie Ladie - Ill find out soon, no post today yet though :(

Fatbloke - yep, I found gotmead after I had simmered, I immediately bought a fresh salmon and hit myself several times with it after reading the simmering comments :)

Just grabbed some more demijohns, been cleaning them, one has a sugar I think deposit that the VIP hasn't shifter in an overnight soak bah.

Still, I thought I would set off a joes ancient mead batch - but my bungs and airlocks haven't arrived yet, so I either leave my mead batch one in the bucket a while longer, or defer the ancient mead attempt

trying to find a local shop I can buy a bung and airlock from (uk) but no success -plan b is I have some ordered online, but that will take a few days now

Cheers

Andy

fatbloke
03-18-2012, 04:49 AM
here's what google gives me for home brew shops oxfordshire (http://maps.google.com/maps?client=ubuntu&channel=fs&oe=utf-8&gl=uk&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=home+brew+shop+oxfordshire&fb=1&gl=uk&hq=home+brew+shop&hnear=0x4870d4d3688e13e7:0x6fa99ab69d3d8f51,Oxford shire&ei=WqBlT6u3FcX_8QOT_NWdAg&sa=X&oi=local_group&ct=image&ved=0CBoQtgM)

If the link works on your PC, it should give location pins for Oxford, Witney, Highworth and near Bicester. Plus some in the Reading/Basingstoke area as well as Milton Keynes.

Failing that, just google for "home brew shops oxfordshire" on your PC and it should give the same....

Dunno if that's any help or not Andy.......

Andyox
03-19-2012, 04:37 PM
Hi,

Thanks for the links :)

Just checked my bucket, today it has about a half centimetre white sediment distributed at the bottom of the bucket - all about half a cm all the way round.
Would that be dead yeast maybe ?

Bung and bubbler arrive tomorrow hopefully, so should be able to move it from the bucket to a demijohn with bubbler, I was going to do that yesterday but need a spare bung and bubbler because >>

Also started a JAO yesterday, currently in a demijohn and smells like a cross between orange and rotten eggs :p very differ than this first batch with the white sediment, getting addictive this mead brewing :)

Cheers

Andy

rincewind4000
03-19-2012, 08:32 PM
Wilkinson's have a home brew section with a small selection of stuff, at least the two we have in Coventry do anyways!

http://www.wilkinsonplus.com/ and do a search for homebrew to have a look

Andyox
03-20-2012, 06:50 PM
Hi,
Thanks for that - spotted one near work :)

Mead looks poorly, bubble every 2 mins, loads of white gunk left when I racked it (siphoned) into a demijohn.

Am I ok to top up with water ? I am about 4 inches below the demijohn neck - didn't want to rack in all thewhitesediment

Aside from that, I guess I just leave it for 6 months or so now :)

The JOA batch is bubbling away crazily to itself though, kids are loving it (the sound, not the drink ofc :))

Cheers

Andy

fatbloke
03-21-2012, 09:40 AM
Check the gravity Andy. A racking cane/tube is best for the actual event, its like a small scale snore upside down, which will leave most of the sediment behind. Plus the increased air space is one of the snags of a DI for the primary ferment. If you top with water, it'll dilute the strength a bit, plus it can reduce the body/mouthfeel. Hence it sounds like your glassware collection needs to get bigger ;)

Wilkos home brew selection is lamentabley poor..... a proper HBS is miles better.

When I get money I'll try to re-read for anything else......I'm on the phone ATM......

Andyox
03-21-2012, 05:23 PM
Hi,
Okay -
Hydrometer says 0.98 - did it 3 times.
Initial reading pre-yeast was 1.121

Online Calc suggests alc of 18.5%, crikey, rocket fuel !

Had a sly taste before returning sample jar to the demijohn, tastes like cider

Not noticed any bubbles at all in the past few hours.

Fleabay has provided a further 6 demijohns now, running out of vwp at this rate :)

Reckon I should have left it in the bucket ?

Empty bucket now sterilised too, so I have 6 more demijohns and a bucket ready for more honey yeast action :)


Also, spotted a HBS near work today as well as the wilkinsons - result :) only a ten min walk.

Chevette Girl
03-21-2012, 09:32 PM
Congratulations on a successful fermentation!

And it sounds like yo're falling headlong into the addiction, welcome to the club... ;D

fivecats
03-21-2012, 09:44 PM
Congratulations on a successful fermentation!

And it sounds like yo're falling headlong into the addiction, welcome to the club... ;D
__________________
"I think the important thing is that you've already brewed good batches of mead. All of the extras that the Forum Hive Mind provides you with will just help you to make good mead even better mead." - fivecats, 2012

Wow. I've never been quoted as a signature line before. I am quite honored, CG!

(And why is there no :blush: emoticon?)

:icon_cat:

fatbloke
03-22-2012, 09:08 AM
Andy, its quite usual to leave it and get 3 identical readings across a period of a week to confirm that ferment is complete.

Your next stage depends on what you want to do i.e. if I'm aiming for a semi sweet mead (how I like them), and you want to use honey (again, that's my usual method), I find it best to stabilise it now, then back sweeten with a 50/50/mix of honey and water, up to about a gravity of 1.010 only then do I think about clearing and ageing it. Mainly because honey sweetening can cause a haze and I find it better to just have to clear it once.

Also, if your figures are correct, it will probably require at least a year of ageing, and back sweetening helps to mask some of the harsh flavours of a young mead.

So its you call Matey.........

Andyox
03-24-2012, 05:43 AM
Hi,
Thanks :)

I've taken more readings throughout the week and they are all the same.

So, next I need to stabilise, so I need to add 1 crushed Campden tablet and some potassium sorbate right ?

I have two potassium sorbates - a ritchies E202 and a youngs stabilising compound -ingredients e202 potassium sorbate. The youngs says add 1/2 a teaspoon per gallon and the youngs says 1 teaspoon per gallon.

Do I really need to crush the Campden ? Or can I just plop it in e demijohn ?

Daft question coming -
I will obviously remove the bung and airlock to put the potassium and Campden in, will that then allow bugs in to wreck the mead ? Or does the mixture of potassium sorbate and Campden create anti bug gas ? (yep, 2 year old description, but hey:))

How long after the Campden and potassium should I look to back sweeten and I take it to do that I add a bit of honey and water, take a sample and measure in the hydrometer until I get the gravity back up, so it will take a few wine thief seasons rights?

No problem leaving it a year.

Once it is back sweetened I am in ageing storage mode -is it best to store it with an airlock fitted with a Campden solution in it or to just solid bung it (read worry about demijohn bombs)

Still so many questions, but thanks for all the help everyone, much appreciated

Andy

TAKeyser
03-24-2012, 10:23 AM
Do I really need to crush the Campden ? Or can I just plop it in e demijohn ?

I've done it both ways but it dissolve much more quickly if it has been crush. I usually crush it and than put it and the sorbate in an empty sanitized carboy and rack onto it.



Daft question coming -
I will obviously remove the bung and airlock to put the potassium and Campden in, will that then allow bugs in to wreck the mead ? Or does the mixture of potassium sorbate and Campden create anti bug gas ? (yep, 2 year old description, but hey:))

You'll be fine it won't be exposed for that long.



How long after the Campden and potassium should I look to back sweeten and I take it to do that I add a bit of honey and water, take a sample and measure in the hydrometer until I get the gravity back up, so it will take a few wine thief seasons rights?

I usually wait like a week before I back sweeten. Not sure if I need to wait that long, but since I usually do everything on the weekends it works for my schedule. I know people that back sweeten the same day and it seems to work for them, I'm sure even if their is still viable yeast it can't work for to long before everything becomes stabilized.

I usually pull out a glass of mead and slowly add honey to it until I get a taste I want and than take a hydrometer reading of that mixture. That will give you an idea of how much honey you'll need to add to your batch. 1 b of honey will raise your gravity in a gallon about 34 points.



Once it is back sweetened I am in ageing storage mode -is it best to store it with an airlock fitted with a Campden solution in it or to just solid bung it (read worry about demijohn bombs)

I just asked this question as I always have done it with the airlock, but since the carboy is put away and I don't have to fuss with it I forget to check the airlock sometimes. Seems the general consensus is most people will airlock, but a few bung it. Fermentation should be halted even though you added additional sugar, but there are environmental concerns that will change the pressure in the carboy (temp, atmospheric pressure). So it is up to the individual (I'm going to risk it as it will allow me to install another shelf on my rack).

fatbloke
03-24-2012, 03:29 PM
Pretty much concur with TAKeyser's post.

Airlock will allow any gas build up that may get released as the temp and ambient external weather pressure vary. I generally add half or a quarter of a campden tablet into my airlock, dunno why........ belt and braces I suppose. You just need to make sure that you have a look every couple of weeks/month, so the airlock doesn't evaporate dry.

Some people actually use vodka in them instead, but that's gonna evaporate even quicker than sulphite solution.

If it hasn't cleared yet, then you can just add the sulphite (campden tablet) and sorbate straight to the DJ as is, but it might be better if you racked it off the gross lees, as some sediments aren't good too leave the mead on (71B comes to mind with that). Also you need to have something to top up with, as you will always get some racking losses, creating an airspace. Some people will make a batch of mead just for topping up, others try adding sanitised marbles (not a fan of that method with glass DJ's), some use water, some use vodka, etc etc etc.....

Andyox
03-24-2012, 06:25 PM
Hi,

Thanks again for all your help peeps (and your patience having no doubt answered theses questions before :) )

Campden doing its thing, - a side note, nw that I am in aging mode for this batch, is temperature really an issue anymore ? 2 weeks old mead, but now aging can't I just drop it in the garage ? Outside temp is nw around 16-18 degrees c here

Cheers

Andy

wayneb
03-25-2012, 12:28 AM
When aging, keeping a near constant temp is far more important than hitting a specific target. Although 15C is probably considered ideal for aging, if you can keep a constant 20, that is better than allowing the mead to swing thru 5 to 7 degrees difference, even if that diff is down around 10C.

Andyox
04-04-2012, 09:14 AM
Hi,

So, I am over a week on now from having added sulphite and sorbate to this Mead.
I have given it a good shaking for the first few days as per the instructions on the sorbate packet, however, I am seeing bubbles - 1 every 2 minutes or so, and the water level in the airlock is fluctuation between the bubbles on the outward track and those on the inward track(leading in to the demijohn)

Should I add more sulphite and sorbate - is it likely to over sulphite a batch ?

I figure the water level may be due to the weather here right now - although the demijohn is currently inside - not in the garage due to recent frosts the temperature range has changed quite a lot the past few days - sunny yesterday, and snow on the hills today :)

Am I at risk from air contamination if the water level in the airlock shifts - I.e. sucking in outside air? The airlock water is a Campden and Citrix acid mix.

Cheers

Andy

TAKeyser
04-04-2012, 09:20 AM
you can't judge fermentation activity by what is going on in the airlock. If you followed the stabilizing directions on your ingredients you should be fine. Temperature and atmospheric pressure are going to cause gasses to be released from the mead (if you didn't degas this will be even more evident in the airlock) causing the bubbles in the airlock. A hydrometer is the accurate way to verify if the fermentation has ceased.

Andyox
04-06-2012, 06:17 AM
Hi,

Thanks for that TAKeyser, I totally forgot about degassing TBH, oops!

I've taken 3 readings a day apart, as far as I can tell the hydrometer is bang on 1.000, so like you said it is probably the whacky weather here right now (Ice on the car yesterday morning, sunny today @ 12 Degrees C, ho hum!).

I also did a quick taste test with a little bit of mead left in the sampling tube - Yikes, tasted like cider mixed with malt vinegar with a little something of ethanol, be interesteing to see how it tastes in a year or so, this taste test was definitely eye watering :)

Cheers

Andy

fatbloke
04-06-2012, 04:22 PM
I'd just leave it be Andy. Put it back in the garage and let it start to clear....

Chevette Girl
04-06-2012, 11:29 PM
I almost always get airock activity for a few days after adding sulphite and sorbate, even when there's been no change in SG or airlock activity for months. Not sure if it's degassing or if it's a chemical reaction that releases something.

fatbloke
04-07-2012, 01:24 PM
I almost always get airock activity for a few days after adding sulphite and sorbate, even when there's been no change in SG or airlock activity for months. Not sure if it's degassing or if it's a chemical reaction that releases something.
More likely connected with the addition, and it providing "nucleation centres" for the dissolved CO2 to latch onto, hence the bubbles for a while, while the sulphite/sorbate actually dissolves (even if it "looks" like it dissolved earlier).

Andyox
04-08-2012, 11:03 AM
Hi,

Thanks everyone :)

Duly filed away until Xmas time ish :)

Negotiated space under the stairs cupboard with upper management (Mrs Andyox :p) - cost me a new 3 piece suite for the living room, expensive way to get aging space in retrospect :rolleyes:

Cheers

Andy

fatbloke
04-08-2012, 11:31 AM
Hi,

Thanks everyone :)

Duly filed away until Xmas time ish :)

Negotiated space under the stairs cupboard with upper management (Mrs Andyox :p) - cost me a new 3 piece suite for the living room, expensive way to get aging space in retrospect :rolleyes:

Cheers

Andy
"Well buggers oi dewn ded" housing prices must have gone up in oxfordshire....

Once a brew is ready for ageing, a garage shelf or garden shed would have done.....

Andyox
04-08-2012, 11:42 AM
Hi,

Yup, wasnt sure if the garage would be ok right now, temperature ha been all over the place recently, figured it would be more constant in the house than garage - thermometer shows 11 degrees in the garage today, but pretty much around 18/20 in the house

On the plus side, I have a more constant and dark area for primary now, better than the kitchen draining board :)

Which also means, maybe I can get more demijohns, *g*

Cheers

Andy

fatbloke
04-08-2012, 11:57 AM
We tend to use bulk storage because that's one of the ways to ensure consistency. A commercial wine maker usually keeps their ageing done in bottles, which are in turn stored at cellar temperatures (low 50's in old money).

We don't have those options usually, so bulk storage is considered an acceptable alternative......

Deacon Aegis
04-08-2012, 12:13 PM
A commercial wine maker usually keeps their ageing done in bottles, which are in turn stored at cellar temperatures (low 50's in old money).

Hmmm, I wonder if I wrap my carboys in 20 dollar bills, would the flavor be different than wrapping the carboy in 50 dollar bills? Sorry, I couldn't resist. ;D