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View Full Version : New and First Batch Going Well - I'm so excited



OutlawJosey
03-23-2012, 12:43 PM
Hi All...Newbee here; been lurking a while

So after reading everything I could get my hands on I decided to go for my first batch. It was a very slow start but with patience and diligence I discovered today that I have tiny bubbles just working away.

I decided to go with a straight mead. I will rack off into a secondary and add fruits or spices there and keep just straight mead as well.

Recipe is as follows

3/19/2012
16 1/2lbs local raw wildflower honey (cut comb - that was fun for a first timer - this was the weight after removing the comb)
1 pkg Wyeast Mead yeast - smash pack (its what I could get a hold of and didn't want to try wine or champagne yeast first time out)
large handful of organic white raisins for nutrients
5 gallons water - boiled to distill
SG 1.096

Dissolved honey in warm water (about 80 degrees), poured must into a 6 gal carboy, added raisins, let sit until room temp at 70 degrees. Smashed yeast and let swell for 4 hours and then pitched. Moved carboy to brewing closet, temp at 69-71 degrees...trying to keep it south of 70F.

3/20/2012 Day 1 - No apparent activity - agitate and see foam
3/21/2012 Day 2 - No apparent activity - agitate and see foam
3/22/2012 Day 3 - No apparent activity - agitate and see LOTS of foam
3/23/2012 Day 4 - ACTIVITY - no foam on top raisins are floating and look like grapes and LOTS of tiny bubbles breaking the surface.

I will check the gravity on Day 7. For now I'm just happy to see things working. Sneaked a smell, I can distinctly smell fruit of different kinds, orange, apple and of course grape and different floral aromas too like clover.

Slow and steady goes this one :-D

wayneb
03-23-2012, 01:29 PM
Congrats on the start of your first batch, OutlawJosey, and Welcome to the community of Gotmead posters!

While I'm pleased to hear that things are starting of well (albeit slowly), I do have a question - was that the Wyeast Sweet or Dry mead yeast? If it was the sweet yeast strain, then you should probably take care to check the gravity daily and oxygenate (stir or agitate) at least through the first 1/3 sugar break, or your fermentation might stall. It would also be a good idea to supplement the raisins with some yeast nutrient, no matter what strain your yeast is, since traditional meads really are much easier to manage when you have a known quantity of yeast assimilable nitrogen in the mix. Raisins are notoriously variable in the amount of nutrient they provide, and in any case they usually leave your must nutrient-starved unless you use a lot of them (on the order of a pound per gallon or more - and by that point you're really making more of a raisin melomel than a traditional mead!).

Sadie Lady
03-23-2012, 01:50 PM
Welcome to Gotmead!

Someone convinced me early on that liquid yeast was the only way to go. Found out after using this web site that wasn't really true. So many different dry yeasts to try that will do different things flavors, color preservation etc. And they are cheaper. I know this info is on Gotmead, but here is a link to Hightest's method for hydrating dry yeast. It's easy, so when you are ready http://home.comcast.net/~mzapx1/FAQ/Rehydrate.pdf

Did you use the sweet or dry mead variety of Wyeast?

Also if you decide to join the patron membership, you'll more than make up the membership fee in not making mistakes etc with expensive honey and supplies. From one who knows :)

Goodluck with your mead!

OutlawJosey
03-23-2012, 02:16 PM
Welcome to Gotmead!

Someone convinced me early on that liquid yeast was the only way to go. Found out after using this web site that wasn't really true. So many different dry yeasts to try that will do different things flavors, color preservation etc. And they are cheaper. I know this info is on Gotmead, but here is a link to Hightest's method for hydrating dry yeast. It's easy, so when you are ready http://home.comcast.net/~mzapx1/FAQ/Rehydrate.pdf

Did you use the sweet or dry mead variety of Wyeast?

Also if you decide to join the patron membership, you'll more than make up the membership fee in not making mistakes etc with expensive honey and supplies. From one who knows :)

Goodluck with your mead!

Hi Sadie Lady, thank you for the response.

I used the sweet variety. To be honest it wasn't my first choice but I left my note pad with the other yeast strain notes at home that day. I didn't intend to use a liquid had planned for dry and to hydrate...its an easy process and I've done it many times...that was the first time I've ever used, or seen for that matter, a smash pack

After reading a few more threads this morning I decided that I needed to check the gravity and was remiss in thinking that since there was little in the way of bubbling in the airlock that I could go a few days before checking...my bad. Checked it and I am already at 1.030, so cooking a long nicely.

I plan to join, for lots of reasons. :)

OutlawJosey
03-23-2012, 02:25 PM
Congrats on the start of your first batch, OutlawJosey, and Welcome to the community of Gotmead posters!

While I'm pleased to hear that things are starting of well (albeit slowly), I do have a question - was that the Wyeast Sweet or Dry mead yeast? If it was the sweet yeast strain, then you should probably take care to check the gravity daily and oxygenate (stir or agitate) at least through the first 1/3 sugar break, or your fermentation might stall. It would also be a good idea to supplement the raisins with some yeast nutrient, no matter what strain your yeast is, since traditional meads really are much easier to manage when you have a known quantity of yeast assimilable nitrogen in the mix. Raisins are notoriously variable in the amount of nutrient they provide, and in any case they usually leave your must nutrient-starved unless you use a lot of them (on the order of a pound per gallon or more - and by that point you're really making more of a raisin melomel than a traditional mead!).

Thanks Wayne, for the response.

I used the sweet Wyeast Mead yeast. And like a good little bee I went and checked the gravity...need to unlearn some bad habits. I didn't use that many raisins...more like a 1/2 cup or 1/4lb total. I did purchase some Fermax yeast nutrient to have in case the fermentation stalled. Should I add some anyway? And if so do I need to wait or can you add it at anytime?

Thanks again

TAKeyser
03-23-2012, 02:34 PM
Thanks Wayne, for the response.

I used the sweet Wyeast Mead yeast. And like a good little bee I went and checked the gravity...need to unlearn some bad habits. I didn't use that many raisins...more like a 1/2 cup or 1/4lb total. I did purchase some Fermax yeast nutrient to have in case the fermentation stalled. Should I add some anyway? And if so do I need to wait or can you add it at anytime?

Thanks again

I've never used that brand of Nutrient before, but your additions should all be added before the 1/3 sugar break and you are past that point so I wouldn't add anything.

OutlawJosey
03-23-2012, 02:36 PM
I've never used that brand of Nutrient before, but your additions should all be added before the 1/3 sugar break and you are past that point so I wouldn't add anything.

Thank you TAKeyser...

I'm still learning the terminology and math required for mead. So for sugar break if I started at 1.096, 1/3 sugar break would be 1.066?

Christine

TAKeyser
03-23-2012, 02:39 PM
Thank you TAKeyser...

I'm still learning the terminology and math required for mead. So for sugar break if I started at 1.096, 1/3 sugar break would be 1.066?

Christine

Yes.

You are definitely in the right place to learn, some great Mead Makers on here. Welcome to Got Mead.

OutlawJosey
03-23-2012, 03:25 PM
Yes.

You are definitely in the right place to learn, some great Mead Makers on here. Welcome to Got Mead.

Thanks again for the assist. I am looking forward to the outcome as well as learning the process. I'm a student at heart and love learning new things. I'm not new to brewing, but mead is an animal of a different color. Hence the comment of unlearning bad habits. They are necessarily bad, jut not the same for what I am venturing into know.

If all goes right, I plan to give some of this away next christmas (2013) as gifts, since I had planned for aging at least 1 year or more depending on the variety that I have going...i.e. cyser, melomel or mead.

I do have to say that the source of information here is so profoundly better then any I could get at the LHBS...primarily because they are in the business of beer and wine. No resident person familiar with making mead, just basic knowledge about vendors and supplies.

wayneb
03-23-2012, 03:29 PM
I do have to say that the source of information here is so profoundly better then any I could get at the LHBS...primarily because they are in the business of beer and wine. No resident person familiar with making mead, just basic knowledge about vendors and supplies.

This is a common problem, but we're doing our best to spread the word, even amongst LHBS personnel, to direct questions at us rather than try to "wing it" themselves. Since most LHBS folk are routinely answering all questions related to mead and wine in addition to beer, they often overstep their knowledge base in an attempt to be helpful to the customer. They mean well....

Anyway, if you add your location to your personal profile, odds are you can find another Gotmeader somewhere near you, and you can exchange ideas and techniques in person, if that's what you're in to.

Chevette Girl
03-23-2012, 03:49 PM
Welcome to the forum, and good show, congrats on getting a notoriously finicky yeast to do its thing!

And yeah, none of the folks who work at any of the 3 local brew stores near me really know anything about mead... My research leads me to believe that it's more like winemaking than beermaking, if that approach helps you at all...

If you can't get your hands on Fermaid-O (an organic nitrogen supply that the yeast will still be able to use at this stage), you could try microwaving or boiling a few tablespoons of plain old bread yeast, letting it cool and pouring it in, it'll explode the yeast cells and provide a little bit of nitrogen that the yeast can still use at this stage. I had one melomel that had stopped a year ago at 1.030 and I recently fed it some nuked bread yeast and gave it a good stir while trying to resolve an odour problem, and it started up again and is finishing as we speak.

OutlawJosey
03-23-2012, 04:05 PM
Welcome to the forum, and good show, congrats on getting a notoriously finicky yeast to do its thing!

And yeah, none of the folks who work at any of the 3 local brew stores near me really know anything about mead... My research leads me to believe that it's more like winemaking than beermaking, if that approach helps you at all...

If you can't get your hands on Fermaid-O (an organic nitrogen supply that the yeast will still be able to use at this stage), you could try microwaving or boiling a few tablespoons of plain old bread yeast, letting it cool and pouring it in, it'll explode the yeast cells and provide a little bit of nitrogen that the yeast can still use at this stage. I had one melomel that had stopped a year ago at 1.030 and I recently fed it some nuked bread yeast and gave it a good stir while trying to resolve an odour problem, and it started up again and is finishing as we speak.

Thanks Chevette Girl. I knew going into it that the yeast would be finicky and slow going, hence the patience needed to really brew mead. I do have some bread yeast in the cabinet and will keep it around. I've read several of the threads about killing it and feeding it to slow acting yeast as food.

When talking to the Apiary where I got my honey she suggested that I hook up with the beekeepers in my area that they have classes as well as Mazers here that I can solicit advice from, I simply haven't gotten that far. There is also a blackberry farm in the area that produces honey and I plan to go visit them. The owner wants some mead and is interested in seeing how mine comes out. We even talked about using her other crops for a few batches. It was good to see the interest in mead even if they were not beer or wine people...make sense?

fivecats
03-23-2012, 09:00 PM
here is a link to Hightest's method for hydrating dry yeast. It's easy, so when you are ready http://home.comcast.net/~mzapx1/FAQ/Rehydrate.pdf

Thanks, SL, for this link!

Chevette Girl
03-25-2012, 01:22 AM
The owner wants some mead and is interested in seeing how mine comes out. We even talked about using her other crops for a few batches. It was good to see the interest in mead even if they were not beer or wine people...make sense?

I always try to make sure that whoever lets me pick their crops gets something out of it at the end. Even if it's jelly made from the wine/mead when they're non-drinkers. You give me crops, I give you mead. And usually your name on the bottle.

Sadie Lady
03-25-2012, 05:56 AM
You give me crops, I give you mead. And usually your name on the bottle.

Nice touch, their name on the bottle. I have some mead aging with honey from a local beekeeper. He gave me a couple pounds free, because he never had mead and wants to see what his will taste like. I offered to come up and help during the honey harvest this year, he said he would give me a really good price on honey for that. He has about 100 hives.

fivecats
03-25-2012, 10:38 AM
Nice touch, their name on the bottle. I have some mead aging with honey from a local beekeeper. He gave me a couple pounds free, because he never had mead and wants to see what his will taste like. I offered to come up and help during the honey harvest this year, he said he would give me a really good price on honey for that. He has about 100 hives.

I've done this with two local beekeepers. Not only is it a great experience (and fun, too) but it gives you direct contact with someone with lots of honey. When they see you sharing in their interests, they're much more likely to share in yours.

Think of it as codependency for our, um, hobby. (Yeah, hobby)

Chevette Girl
03-25-2012, 02:14 PM
Nice touch, their name on the bottle. I have some mead aging with honey from a local beekeeper. He gave me a couple pounds free, because he never had mead and wants to see what his will taste like. I offered to come up and help during the honey harvest this year, he said he would give me a really good price on honey for that. He has about 100 hives.

I know of a local beekeeper who has a few hives and he makes more honey than he can use but I haven't talked to him myself yet. He did a weld job on something my husband had broken in return for a bottle of my maple mead. I wonder if he'd be up for an offer of help like that... I really must get my butt down there and talk to him myself and at least find out what he thought of the maple mead!

And sorry we threadjacked again :rolleyes: we're terrible.

OutlawJosey
03-25-2012, 08:33 PM
I know of a local beekeeper who has a few hives and he makes more honey than he can use but I haven't talked to him myself yet. He did a weld job on something my husband had broken in return for a bottle of my maple mead. I wonder if he'd be up for an offer of help like that... I really must get my butt down there and talk to him myself and at least find out what he thought of the maple mead!

And sorry we threadjacked again :rolleyes: we're terrible.

Some of the best stuff comes from threadjacking :)

Sadie Lady
03-25-2012, 09:06 PM
Some of the best stuff comes from threadjacking :)


... Not only is it a great experience (and fun, too)...

I think it will be fun, looking forward to it. I've never seen it done except in the movie Ulee's Gold. We've got 2 top bar hives so just extract manually in the kitchen. He has a honey house.

Outlaw, how is your mead going? You mentioned cyser. Look up 4 week quick cyser. I have one going and it is coming along nicely.

OutlawJosey
03-26-2012, 09:23 AM
I think it will be fun, looking forward to it. I've never seen it done except in the movie Ulee's Gold. We've got 2 top bar hives so just extract manually in the kitchen. He has a honey house.

Outlaw, how is your mead going? You mentioned cyser. Look up 4 week quick cyser. I have one going and it is coming along nicely.

The mead is coming along. Last gravity check had it at 1.029 so slow and steady. For the cyser I have two ideas, one is more of a blend really of hard sparkling cider and mead more than a cyser and the other is unfiltered cider or fresh pressed when I can get my hands of it. I robbed whole foods of all they had recently :). But I will definitely quick out the recipe section, usually do before I start anything. I'm good at being about to just throw things together with whatever I have but this requires a little more finesse as I learn.

Sadie Lady
03-26-2012, 09:09 PM
I think the orchard/farm near us had fresh pressed strawberry juice last summer. I know they had the peach and blackberry. I don't even like apples generally but this quick cyser changed my mind. The hard cider sounds good.

OutlawJosey
03-27-2012, 08:59 PM
I think the orchard/farm near us had fresh pressed strawberry juice last summer. I know they had the peach and blackberry. I don't even like apples generally but this quick cyser changed my mind. The hard cider sounds good.

There are two orchards and three farms within a 30 minute drive for me. The orchards are peach and apricot, the farms are blackberry, blueberry and strawberry. Plus I have a winery that is about 12 miles from me that uses Cynthina grapes and they fresh press juice. So in the summer for the orchards and farms I plan to visit often, then the winery this fall. Should have some good cyser and maybe I'll even try a mix of some fermented grapes and mead. Don't you just love it when the creative juices get going?

I really like the idea of the cider and mead. I have 2 gallons of a caramel apple sparkling going that I plan to use just a portion of for blending :)

Sadie Lady
03-27-2012, 09:10 PM
I never thought about the wineries selling juice. Will have to check into that. We have lots of little wineries around us. Muscadine and scuppernongs are a big deal here. I want to try a pyment with the local grapes this fall.

OutlawJosey
03-27-2012, 09:22 PM
I never thought about the wineries selling juice. Will have to check into that. We have lots of little wineries around us. Muscadine and scuppernongs are a big deal here. I want to try a pyment with the local grapes this fall.

That sounds wonderful. Oklahoma isn't really know for wineries, but there are at least 6 within a two hour drive. I know the one at Stonebluff sells the juices as I have bought it before. The cynthina grape makes a great Riesling or desert type wine so the blending should be great. I bet it would make a great Ice wine if I could get my hands on some slightly over ripe grapes, then freeze and press :) Stonebluff even sells their grape juice in these beautiful cobalt blue bottles that I plan to reuse :)

OutlawJosey
04-03-2012, 08:00 PM
Update checked the gravity today its at 1.010, should be ready to rack to the secondary by the weekend. Yippy!

So now its a bit of a decision time. I had originally intended to flavor in the secondary, but there are just some many great recipes to choose from :) Its a good problem to have.

Oh and when I sampled it, it had a distinct pineapple flavor, odd but very good.

TAKeyser
04-03-2012, 08:07 PM
So now its a bit of a decision time. I had originally intended to flavor in the secondary, but there are just some many great recipes to choose from :) Its a good problem to have.

You can always rack into 1 gallon carboys and have 5 different flavors. Great way to get variety of meads right off the bat.

OutlawJosey
04-03-2012, 08:17 PM
You can always rack into 1 gallon carboys and have 5 different flavors. Great way to get variety of meads right off the bat.

TAKeyser that is exactly what I have planned. I do intended to leave one gallon alone as simple mead. So with the other 4 I have to find some great things to do with it. I think orange is a must, maybe some blueberry or blackberry, apple would be good. Oh well I have nothing pressing tonight so I think its off to the recipe section to plan the remaining 4 gallons

TAKeyser
04-03-2012, 08:28 PM
So many meads, so little time lol