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Mr. P
03-30-2012, 10:23 AM
Greeting everyone!

Iíve been lurking for a little while here. Iíve downloaded and read the NewBee guide a few times (though I often reference it as thoughts and questions pop up). Iíve created a mead binder thatís tabbed out. Itís already filling up with charts, recipes, the NewBee guide, and all manner of things that appear useful or that Iíd like to incorporate as my new mead hobby progresses. I have also purchased Ken Schrammís book and re-read things over and over.

With that said, Iím still trying to wrap my arms around some things. Iím not going to fib Ö the mead calculator is intimidating to me. Perhaps other newbees donít feel the same. The initial SG perplexes me somewhat. The way I understand things, the SG depends on the type of mead you are making which also includes the type of yeast and how sweet you want the end result to be? There seem to be sooooo many variables with the SG that Iím fearful recipes wonít work well.

Since Iím baring my soul, Iíll also admit that Iím not a huge grape wine affectianado, but there are a few that I like. Theyíre mostly sweet. My current favorite is called Jam Jar from South Africa. Is there any way I can Mr. Spock the stuff to find out what its qualities are so I can try to emulate Ďem in my own mead?

On a final note:

I have two one-gallon batches underway. The first was an impatient conglomeration of a recipe that I have no idea if itíll turn out OK. I was so impatient and anxious to start that I didnít even have a hydrometer to take an initial SG. Iíve racked the first batch and itís been sitting in the new carboy for almost a week. Iím sure Iíll be posting more about it in the future.

My second batch is a gallon of JAO. What can I say Ö when in Rome! Itís churning quite nicely and smells great! I wanted to make something else, but Iím going on a road trip vacay to KY to experience (and sample) the bourbon trail so I wouldnít be home to monitor anything that requires attention.

Well everyone Ö thank you for your time! Your posts from the past are encouraging and appreciated from my newbee status. I hope to continue to sponge up the knowledge youíre spilling daily!

Regards,
Paul

PitBull
03-30-2012, 10:43 AM
Wecome to GotMead!

Your first post AND a shiny new patron badge to boot!

Since you've been lurking awhile, you're aware that if you have any questions, the members here will be more than happy to help you out!

We eagerly await your second post!

wayneb
03-30-2012, 11:12 AM
Let me add my "Welcome to Gotmead," too, Paul! Glad that you're now a poster, rather than just a lurker!! ;D

Let me ask you a question about your wine preferences before I suggest a mead recipe that you might like. Which Jam Jar are you partial to, the red or the white?

veritas
03-30-2012, 11:20 AM
Welcome!!

And don't be anxious its just mead. All the information can be overwhelming that's for sure. But in no time at all you will find things that work and don't work for you and be happily making things you enjoy!

Mr. P
03-30-2012, 11:29 AM
Wayneb,

I'm partial to the red, but only because I haven't been able to locate the white locally to sample it!

Regards,
Paul


Let me add my "Welcome to Gotmead," too, Paul! Glad that you're now a poster, rather than just a lurker!! ;D

Let me ask you a question about your wine preferences before I suggest a mead recipe that you might like. Which Jam Jar are you partial to, the red or the white?

Deacon Aegis
03-30-2012, 01:03 PM
Howdy Paul and welcome from another newbee as well. I did things kinda the same way that you did in that I spent quite a bit of time lurking here, sucking up as much information as I could, while also reading Ken Schramm's "The Complete Meadmaker". I also joined the mead making group on facebook, etc. All that said, I would also agree with you that the mead calculator is not the most intuitive thing to use nor do I really get all the functions of it, though my focus currently is more geared towards the chemistry and yeast types available while contemplating my next batch.

That said, there are a couple of things you might want to do to "Spock" that wine that you do like. I'd pull some of the specifics from it, like the specific gravity, maybe run a titration test, and get some baseline numbers that will give you an estimate of how sweet verses how dry the wine you like is, and what it's acid levels are. Then you can try to ferment a mead out to those numbers and see if it is something you like. You can also backsweeten and add acid or an acid blend to your mead to adjust those flavors. One thing that you'll really want to do is let most of your meads age a good year or more before you really start to judge them for their flavors.

Oh and as far as not liking a bunch of the different types of wine, man I understand. I'm not a fan of most beers and many varieties of wine. Give me Gentleman Jack and I'll drink it like a fish, but beer is outta here. Just saying... ;D

Chevette Girl
03-30-2012, 01:09 PM
With that said, I’m still trying to wrap my arms around some things. I’m not going to fib … the mead calculator is intimidating to me. Perhaps other newbees don’t feel the same. The initial SG perplexes me somewhat. The way I understand things, the SG depends on the type of mead you are making which also includes the type of yeast and how sweet you want the end result to be? There seem to be sooooo many variables with the SG that I’m fearful recipes won’t work well.

Let's see if I can help you out with the concept: the SG is a measure of how much sugar is in your must (sugar's more dense than water so the more sugar, the higher the reading, the baseline of 1.000 is water). At the start of a fermentation, there's lots of sugar for the yeast to eat, at the end, there is little to none, and if you measure the start and end points you can calculate how much alcohol has been produced based on how much sugar has been consumed.

Of course your initial SG is directly affected by the type and amount of fruit and honey you add to your must, and how far it goes is determined by fermentation conditions and yeast selection...

There are a couple of approaches and you can either decide "I'm going to use 3 lb honey per gallon and record whatever SG it gives me and go with it, and maybe I'll use the Mead Calculator to make sure my SG reading isn't out of whack" OR you can decide, "I don't want it TOO alcoholic so I'm going to aim for a SG of 1.090 (which the Potential Alcohol Conversion calculator tells me is going to be around 12%) and just add honey until I get there, so I will use the top setion of the mead calculator to figure out approximately how much honey I should need."


Since I’m baring my soul, I’ll also admit that I’m not a huge grape wine affectianado, but there are a few that I like. They’re mostly sweet. My current favorite is called Jam Jar from South Africa.

Hey, don't think you're alone in that. I got into homebrewing in the first place because I find grape wine boring, when you compare it to all the other fruits and things that can be fermented!! We can probably help you identify the elements you like in the wine you like so you can aim for those elements with your own batches, but just don't expect to be brewing something identical to a grape wine without using those grapes. You may also find out you prefer meads in a completely different style from your favourite wine, you might prefer dry meads and sweet wines, or you might like tannic red wines but not be so hot on it in your meads. Bottom line is make lots, drink lots :) (now if only I could follow my own damn advice I'd have room to store everything I need to bottle! ;D)

Mr. P
03-30-2012, 01:34 PM
Thank you for the explanation Chevette Girl! I think I may have just had an epiphany! The SG 1.090 part especially helped. I'm not saying I completely understand it all ... but I believe I thought the SG reading was a much more exact part of the overall mead-making process. Not to imply that it's not, because it is in every individual batch. I mean that there are many variations and options within the SG to be considered depending on what Iím going for in the end result of a recipe. Good heavens I HOPE that made sense!



"I don't want it TOO alcoholic so I'm going to aim for a SG of 1.090 (which the Potential Alcohol Conversion calculator tells me is going to be around 12%) and just add honey until I get there, so I will use the top setion of the mead calculator to figure out approximately how much honey I should need."

Mr. P
03-30-2012, 01:40 PM
Thanks Deacon! Itís nice to know Iím not standing alone in my newbeeness! Your suggestions to Spock the Jam Jar wine were precisely what I was looking for. Unfortunately Iím not quite sure what a titration test is, but Iíll consult the forums and the almighty Google to see what I can uncover. Wayneb seemed to be familiar with the wine Iím talking about and said he might be able to recommend a recipe to try so Iím looking forward to hearing what he has to say as well.

Iíll be sure to do my best to enter my attempts into the forums so others can help guide me and stop me from making too many mistakes.

Regards,
Paul



That said, there are a couple of things you might want to do to "Spock" that wine that you do like. I'd pull some of the specifics from it, like the specific gravity, maybe run a titration test, and get some baseline numbers that will give you an estimate of how sweet verses how dry the wine you like is, and what it's acid levels are. Then you can try to ferment a mead out to those numbers and see if it is something you like. You can also backsweeten and add acid or an acid blend to your mead to adjust those flavors. One thing that you'll really want to do is let most of your meads age a good year or more before you really start to judge them for their flavors.

TAKeyser
03-30-2012, 01:42 PM
The projected SG is also important because in addition to letting you know how strong of a mead you'll have it'll help you determine which yeast you'll want to use. For example if you have an SG of 1.140 and you want to create a dry mead you'll know not to use something like D47 or 71B as they won't be able to go at all the sugars to take it down to dry.

skunkboy
03-30-2012, 01:44 PM
Welcome to the board!

Have you been to New Day Meadery in Indianapolis? Just curious as you are probably near them and I got try some of their stuff about 18 months ago.

HunnyBunz
03-30-2012, 02:17 PM
Oh and as far as not liking a bunch of the different types of wine, man I understand. I'm not a fan of most beers and many varieties of wine. Give me Gentleman Jack and I'll drink it like a fish, but beer is outta here. Just saying... ;D

I'm not trying to criticize, but beer is a gift from God!
Remember Friar Tuck in the 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves' movie? "This here is grain, which any fool can eat. But for which the Lord intended a much more divine consumption."
Actually, I understand because I'm not a big fan of wine myself. I'll drink it sometimes but I have to be in the mood for it, and it really doesn't knock my socks off or anything.
I do believe in trying to develop a taste for things though, whether it's food or anything else. - Just a thought. :)

HunnyBunz
03-30-2012, 02:19 PM
Oh, And welcome Mr. P!

Mr. P
03-30-2012, 03:13 PM
Oddly enough I just found out about them yesterday. I'm sampling a bottle of their semi-dry mead but I purchased it from a local store. I fully intend to visit the meadery as soon as possible!


Welcome to the board!

Have you been to New Day Meadery in Indianapolis? Just curious as you are probably near them and I got try some of their stuff about 18 months ago.

Deacon Aegis
03-30-2012, 03:24 PM
I'm not trying to criticize, but beer is a gift from God!
Remember Friar Tuck in the 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves' movie? "This here is grain, which any fool can eat. But for which the Lord intended a much more divine consumption."
Actually, I understand because I'm not a big fan of wine myself. I'll drink it sometimes but I have to be in the mood for it, and it really doesn't knock my socks off or anything.
I do believe in trying to develop a taste for things though, whether it's food or anything else. - Just a thought. :)

Oh I really do understand and even spent a great deal of time from the college days on trying to develope a taste for beer, but I really just don't care for the stuff. I have a friend who is a home brewer and makes some spectacular beers as well, from IPA's to dark ales, and the only one of his that I really care for are some of his most complex lagers. Don't dare compare them to coors or any of that junk. His Lagers I do greatly enjoy. Six hours running an enhanced double decoction mash from prep to chiller, etc etc... That's the good stuff. But in general, I'm not a fan of hops and never really cared for the lightly hopped ales. Now don't get me wrong, I am certainly not knocking these brews. I'm glad my friend and billions of others enjoy beer. It's just not my thing. Fortunately God is a forgiving God and so he provides me with Gentleman Jack and Mead. For this, I am truly happy and Friar Tuck can find some small sympathy for me as I was not graced with the blessing of beer-taste...

Alas, whoah I say to my brethern who share my bane in lack of beer-taste! For we are the ones who must seek further to find a blessed libation with which to get ver-shnickered on. Oh the humanity! Hehehe

Mr. P
03-30-2012, 03:30 PM
TAKeyser,

Is there a compiled list or chart that shows which yeast prefers certain SGs? I’ve look at the chart in the NewBee’s guide as well as the table in “The Complete Meadmaker" and an additional list I printed off from somewhere. They all state the temp range and ABV but I couldn’t see where any of the indicated a preferred SG.

Regards,
Paul




The projected SG is also important because in addition to letting you know how strong of a mead you'll have it'll help you determine which yeast you'll want to use. For example if you have an SG of 1.140 and you want to create a dry mead you'll know not to use something like D47 or 71B as they won't be able to go at all the sugars to take it down to dry.

fivecats
03-30-2012, 03:35 PM
I'm not trying to criticize, but beer is a gift from God!
Remember Friar Tuck in the 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves' movie? "This here is grain, which any fool can eat. But for which the Lord intended a much more divine consumption."

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
-- Benjamin Franklin

TAKeyser
03-30-2012, 03:45 PM
It's all based off of the ABV potential so you have to convert it to gravity. They are ballpark figures, because I believe the yeast companies use around an 85% attenuation rate, so you'll see many of use who use oxygenation and staggered nutrient additions (SNA) get higher than these numbers and after you do a couple batches you'll start noticing a pattern on what you'll get, but it's a good starting point to know what the companies say.

Here are the numbers for common Lalvin yeast strains
D47 and 71B .105 drop (since starting SNA's I get a .115 drop)
RC212 and DV10 .120 drop (since starting SNA's I get a .130 drop)
EC1118 and KV1116 .135 drop (since starting SNA's I get a .140 drop, but I did manage to coax the hell out of 1 batch using EC1118 and managed a .160 drop)

But like I said it gives you an idea of which to use, so if you have a must with a gravity of 1.140 and you want it fairly dry you'd want to go with the EC1118 or KV1116 and not something like the D47.

wayneb
03-30-2012, 03:50 PM
Paul, take a look at your private messages (PMs); I believe I have a recipe that will give you what you're looking for. However, it is a bit beyond the typical newbee recipe, so let me know when you feel up to the challenge, and I can talk you through it in more detail.

TAKeyser
03-30-2012, 03:51 PM
Paul, take a look at your private messages (PMs); I believe I have a recipe that will give you what you're looking for. However, it is a bit beyond the typical newbee recipe, so let me know when you feel up to the challenge, and I can talk you through it in more detail.

Super secret top secret recipe that the rest of us can't be privy to :(

HunnyBunz
03-30-2012, 04:09 PM
Alas, whoah I say to my brethern who share my bane in lack of beer-taste! For we are the ones who must seek further to find a blessed libation with which to get ver-shnickered on. Oh the humanity! Hehehe

That was good! :thumbsup:

brian92fs
03-30-2012, 04:28 PM
TAKeyser,

Is there a compiled list or chart that shows which yeast prefers certain SGs? Iíve look at the chart in the NewBeeís guide as well as the table in ďThe Complete Meadmaker" and an additional list I printed off from somewhere. They all state the temp range and ABV but I couldnít see where any of the indicated a preferred SG.

Regards,
Paul

I use Lallemand's Yeast Chart (http://www.lallemandwine.us/products/yeast_chart.php) quite a bit. Its a bit intimidating at first, but its not too bad once you get the hang of it.

The chart will show you estimated ABV tolerance of the yeast and their relative nitrogen requirements (how sensitive they are to a lack of nutrients). When starting out, it easier if you stick with the low nitrogen yeasts.

Also, keep in mind that the estimated alcohol tolerance of the yeast is just that... an estimate. A 14% yeast may finish early and only get to 13.5% or it might just keep going till 15%.

Mr. P
03-30-2012, 04:38 PM
Thanks Brain! I converted the table to Excel and it's saved as well as printed out for the reference section of my binder.

Regards,
Paul


I use Lallemand's Yeast Chart (http://www.lallemandwine.us/products/yeast_chart.php) quite a bit. Its a bit intimidating at first, but its not too bad once you get the hang of it.

The chart will show you estimated ABV tolerance of the yeast and their relative nitrogen requirements (how sensitive they are to a lack of nutrients). When starting out, it easier if you stick with the low nitrogen yeasts.

Also, keep in mind that the estimated alcohol tolerance of the yeast is just that... an estimate. A 14% yeast may finish early and only get to 13.5% or it might just keep going till 15%.

Legitapotimous
03-30-2012, 04:49 PM
Mr.P Welcome,
As You can see people love to help here, I am also very new, and getting ready for my Patron badge ;)

As for the calculator, like was stated its always and estimate but the big things that I kept messing up was which boxes I checked.

If you check target volume it will figure ur SG which needs not be modified, just as long as you have your weights correct and checked in the addition sugar area. If you then change the batch size or other constants it will show the changes nicely..

When in doubt just plug in what you know or what ur starting to make a recipe for, the biggest help to me was how it shows you the average % of the fruit is ferment-able sugars so its easier to figure how much to add for your taste.

Hope this helps unless it clicked for you then GREAT!!

wayneb
03-30-2012, 05:26 PM
Super secret top secret recipe that the rest of us can't be privy to :(

No, a slight variation on one that you're already privy to. ;D

TAKeyser
03-30-2012, 05:29 PM
No, a slight variation on one that you're already privy to. ;D

OK as long as secrets aren't be kept from the rest of the hive :D

skunkboy
03-30-2012, 06:24 PM
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
-- Benjamin Franklin

As much as I like the 'quote', its not a quote...

http://urbanlegends.about.com/b/2008/09/15/misquote-ben-franklin-on-beer.htm

fivecats
03-30-2012, 09:50 PM
As much as I like the 'quote', its not a quote...

http://urbanlegends.about.com/b/2008/09/15/misquote-ben-franklin-on-beer.htm

For the record, as Skunkboy pointed out, the Ben Franklin quote is inaccurate. The proper quote, as written in a letter addressed to Andrť Morellet in 1779, is:


"Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy."

At the same time, however, I'll add my favorite quote from the film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance:


"When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

:cool:

skunkboy
03-31-2012, 12:59 PM
I just see that 'quote' everywhere and tasks me... ;)

"The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret"

-- (Terry Pratchett, The Truth)

Medsen Fey
04-02-2012, 09:02 PM
... only try to realize the truth.
There is no spoon.

skunkboy
04-02-2012, 09:20 PM
... only try to realize the truth.
There is no spoon.

To quote the Tick, "Sppooooooon!"