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Lyric
05-17-2012, 03:05 AM
For a 1 gallon batch:

4 lbs honey
1 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers
1 orange
Lavlin D-47 Yeast
1 Tbs yeast nutrient

Here's how I went about it:

I started by steeping the hibiscus in 6 cups of boiling water for ten minutes. I strained off the flowers and added the liquid to the jug. I warmed the honey with two more cups of water, added the sliced orange to the jug then added the honey water, topped off with water to just below the shoulders of the jug. Let all come to room temperature, gave it all a good hard shaking for about a minute. Bloomed 1 1/2 packets of the Lavlin in 1/2 cup water with 3 tbs honey. When it was bubbling, pitched 1/3 into hibiscus mead, the other 2/3 into a 3 gallon vanilla mead I was making at the same time. (The vanilla mead is chugging away, so I know I didn't have dud yeast.)

After two days, the hibiscus mead is doing nothing, the vanilla mead is fizzing and burping happily. I added 1 tbs yeast nutrient and another 1/2 packet of yeast. Another day has gone by and I still have no activity to speak of. There do seem to be yeast blooms at the bottom of the jug but nothing is bubbling, and now I'm out of yeast.

I was hoping for a semi-sweet mead reminiscent of Jamaica, a popular South American drink. It is also known as Agua Fresca Jamica, or hibiscus cooler.

Any ideas? :confused:

By the way, this mead is pure experimentation, but this is the first time I've ever had a batch not want to get started in a hurry.

Chevette Girl
05-17-2012, 11:40 AM
Well, my first thought is that 4 lb per gallon might be a bit much for D-47 without having done an acclimated starter, it might perk up if you dilute it down a bit, but it's probably sitting at the bottom in osmotic shock right now.

Lyric
05-17-2012, 01:08 PM
I'm giving that a try, I've poured off two cups and replaced it with two cups of water, we'll see if that helps.

It's odd, though, I wonder why it's so happy in the vanilla mead, when I used the same amount of honey per gallon? Do smaller amounts cause more problems?

Nathan K
05-17-2012, 02:31 PM
I'm giving that a try, I've poured off two cups and replaced it with two cups of water, we'll see if that helps.

It's odd, though, I wonder why it's so happy in the vanilla mead, when I used the same amount of honey per gallon? Do smaller amounts cause more problems?

Out of curiosity, if both batches had the same amount of honey then why did you put 1/3 in one and 2/3 in the other? [EDIT] Silly me, didn't see that one was a 3 gallon batch!

Ditto on the osmotic shock thing. With that quantity of honey, it might be safer to start with less and feed in some honey mid-fermentation. I'm guessing that your fermentation will start eventually but might be slow.

Medsen Fey
05-17-2012, 11:26 PM
4 pounds in a gallon batch should not create a SG too high for D-47. What was the SG, and what is the current gravity? Can you check the pH?

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Lyric
05-18-2012, 05:56 PM
The current gravity is 1.130, and that's after I pulled some of the must out and diluted it with more water, so the SG was probably off the charts, as 1.130 is the highest gravity my meter lists.

I don't have a pH meter to check that with, but hibiscus cooler does tend towards tart, and I made a slightly stronger hibiscus brew than I would drink.

Medsen Fey
05-19-2012, 12:26 AM
What temp are you maintaining?

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Lyric
05-19-2012, 12:57 AM
Just room temperature, about 73-75 degrees F.

The fermentation finally started but it's veeeeeery slow. I'm guessing that diluting the must a bit must have helped.

I'd heard so much about D-47 being a good mead yeast, is there one that would deal with the large amounts of honey I tend to use better? This is the first time I've attempted wine yeast - I always made JAO before and of course Fleicshman's seemed to handle everything.

Medsen Fey
05-19-2012, 07:31 AM
D47 produces suboptimal results with excessive fusel alcohols at 75F. The sweetness that remains may cover that up but this yeast performs best if kept below 70F.

Your temp would not cause a slow start. Now that it is going, aerate it again (gently). High gravity can cause a slow start; acclimating the yeast before pitching can help.
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Lyric
06-04-2012, 07:03 PM
Update on the Jamaica mead:

I racked it today on advice from a friend, added a bit more water, aerated it (shook the dickens out of it) more, and tested gravity, which is at 1.113 now. Tasting it, it still tastes quite sweet and pleasantly fizzy, with that tartness of the hibiscus behind it. I'll let it continue for another three weeks and test it again, it should be less sweet.

Thank you everyone for your help!

Deacon Aegis
06-05-2012, 01:11 AM
Just room temperature, about 73-75 degrees F.

The fermentation finally started but it's veeeeeery slow. I'm guessing that diluting the must a bit must have helped.

I'd heard so much about D-47 being a good mead yeast, is there one that would deal with the large amounts of honey I tend to use better? This is the first time I've attempted wine yeast - I always made JAO before and of course Fleicshman's seemed to handle everything.

Lyric, I'm finding that Lalvin K1V-1116 is pretty forgiving at the higher temperatures and the higher specific gravities. I've run several batches with a starting gravity of 1.140 and higher and have had those batches really go dry with a final gravity of 1.002 to 1.010 using DAP and Fermaid K and rehydrating with GoFerm. This seems to be a pretty robust yeast and pretty forgiving up to about 75 degrees Ferenheit. Honestly though, I'll probably be doing a bit of a change up here in the near future to play with some Montrochet Red yeast to see how that does for me. Hope that may help a bit...

Medsen Fey
06-05-2012, 03:02 PM
K1V can be good even above 80F. Montrachet is terrible @ high temps.

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Deacon Aegis
06-05-2012, 03:13 PM
K1V can be good even above 80F. Montrachet is terrible @ high temps.

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Medsen Fey, I do appreciate the input on the Montrachet. I forgot to mention that I was going to try and run a batch at 68 degrees to play around with that yeast. I like the K1V-1116 personally, as it works very well for me, but I don't want to become one of these types who preaches one type of yeast without really working with several others as well and at a variety of temperature ranges. Just out of curiosity, Medsen Fey, do you have a thread somewhere with the different yeasts and temperature ranges? I understand you're very knowledgeable on this and I appreciate your input. :)

Medsen Fey
06-05-2012, 05:57 PM
The "Hotmead Yeast Test" in the patron's area is a good place to start for some temperature info.

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Deacon Aegis
06-06-2012, 01:35 AM
The "Hotmead Yeast Test" in the patron's area is a good place to start for some temperature info.

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Ah, sounds good. I'll head that way and give it a read. Thanks a bunch.

THawk
06-06-2012, 03:36 AM
Lyric, EC-1118 is also a good one for high temperatures. That and K1V are the only ones I can use where I am (Philippines)... either that or bread yeast...