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HowardVic
05-17-2012, 11:10 PM
Having read the info in The Newbie Guide to Making Mead – Chapter 15: aeration, fermentation & racking, I have the following questions regarding my having pitched a must of 119 gallons in a 132 gallon fermenter which has been fermenting for 7 days at a rate of one bubble every 5 - 6 seconds:

To avoid contamination of my must from insect, bird and reptile excretions :o , I will be boiling close to two pounds of fresh rosemary and 1 pound of cardamom seeds, strain it, cool it and add it to the must when fermentation begins to slow down considerably along with 2 gallons of Passion Fruit pulp after steeping the Passion Fruit in boiling water before cutting open to extract the pulp.

I estimate the fermentation will last, maybe, six weeks.

Question #1: Should I add the rosemary cardamom “tea” and fruit pulp when the fermentation begins to really slow down in the fermenter or should I rack it with an electric pump with filters into a temorary holding tank, clean and sanitized the 132 gallon fermenter, pump the filtered mead free of lees back into the fermenter and add the spices “tea” and fruit pulp to allow the mead to acquire the aroma of the spices?

Question #2: Or should I add the fruit pulp now while the fermentation is gong full blast and add the spices “tea” as described in Question #1 above?

Question #3: After having used the pump with filters to move the mead to the temporary holding tank while cleaning and sanitizing the fermenter before pumping the mead back into the fermenter, what should be the sufficient amount of time for the spices to aromatize the mead?

Question #4: I have Bentonite on hand should the mead not be clear enough after pumping it back and forth with filters, but if I see it is not suffiently clarified I would be adding the Bentonite and then slowly bottle from the fermenter careful to stop before getting too close to the settled Bentonite. Sound Ok?

I greatly appreiated everyone's feedback in the past. Please keep the feedback coming.

akueck
05-18-2012, 06:05 PM
Wow, that's a lot of mead! Awesome!

Since you're doing a hot water extraction of the spices, I don't think you'll need to leave them in there all that long. The fruit won't need to be in there very long either. Maybe 3-7 days would be my guess. In that case I would not recommend getting the mead off the gross lees before adding your flavorings. Mix the tea and fruit pulp in, let it sit, perhaps give it a gentle stir every so often, and then pull the mead off the pulp/spices/lees all at once. The extra week of lees contact will not hurt you.

HowardVic
05-19-2012, 11:36 AM
Hi Akueck. I greatly appreciate your feedback. Thanks.

How long do you think it will take for the fermentation to complete? I think about 6 weeks?

When, during those 6 weeks, should I pitch in the spices tea and fruit pulp? I think maybe week 5?

It's like caring for a new born. I wake up in the dead of night (2:00 AM) to add more water to the air lock. I recently read to use food grade glycerin because it doesn't evaporate from the air lock like water does. Next time.

I have a web site but let me finish the English version of the text before posting it. I am in the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico.

HowardVic
05-19-2012, 12:54 PM
Regarding my question on how much time it should take for the fermentation to complete, I forgot to identify the type of yeast I am using.

I am using White Labs liquid brewers yeast Sweet Mead Yeast WLP720.

Having only done small batches of mead in the past, 1 gallon batches "a la Storm the Castle," (quantum leap to 119 gallons) I can only guess that my 119 gallon must will take about 6 weeks to complete. This info is necessary in order to know when to add the spices tea and fruit pulp.

Two days ago, the CO2 escaping the air lock was one bubble every 5 - 6 seconds. This morning it was doing 7 - 8 so I added Yeast Energizer (DAP) and dissolved it with a drill driven aerating paddle. A few moments ago, the CO2 was bubbling out every 12 - 15 seconds. I expect it should pick up in a few hours.

akueck
05-19-2012, 03:33 PM
6 weeks sounds like a long time, though I've never used that yeast before. If you are giving it enough nutrients, most meads should finish within 3 weeks in my experience.

I don't think waiting until fermentation is totally done to add the tea/fruit will hurt you any. Personally that is what I would do, just wait until the mead is done, add the tea/fruit, and then rack when the flavors have been extracted.

K5MOW
05-19-2012, 07:13 PM
Wow that is a lot of mead.

Medsen Fey
05-19-2012, 08:30 PM
Howard, am I understanding that you've started a 119 gallon batch without having tested your recipe on a smaller scale? I applaud you for having the gumption to dive straight into the deep end of the pool.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

HowardVic
05-20-2012, 11:25 AM
Greetings Medsen Fey.

Before leaping like a lemming from a cliff into the vast ocean of 119 gallons of mead, I did a lot of 1 gallon batches with different honey to water ratios, different aromatic spices (didn't like the coriander), did a lot of reading on spices, bought spices online to smell and taste them for myself.

I have read about exotic honeys with strong aromas such as Mesquite, Manaku from New Zealand, Greek Pine Honey, Acacia, Alfalfa and Buckwheat and have considered experimenting with them in the future.

HowardVic
05-20-2012, 11:29 AM
Greetings Akueck.

Three weeks. Yeah, when I did one gallon batches it took less than 6 weeks but I thought that with 119 gallons of mead it might take more time. I have read online that some primary and secondary fermentations can take up to 8 weeks. Time will tell. I just don't want to add the fruit pulp and spices tea until the yeast has had sufficient time to do its job. I am shooting for a 14% alcohol content.

Anyone have feedback regarding on how to ensure I hit the 14% alcohol content mark? Thanks

skunkboy
05-20-2012, 02:24 PM
Those are some pretty expensive honey (manuku, greek pine).

HowardVic
05-23-2012, 11:08 PM
Hi skunkboy. Yes, they are expensive but I thought I would buy a small amount of each to do some small batches of mead to see how they taste and if they would be a good investment for future commercial mead purposes.

This large batch I'm doing has all the federal & local permits for the purpose of selling exclusively in the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico where I live. If sales are a success, I will apply for ATF/TBB permits to sell stateside and overseas. If it's a success, I will buy additional fermentation tanks to increase product/sales. Just a small, cottage industry meadery is fine to pay for life's little goodies. You know, just about everyone's dream of economic independence without any hyper airs of a Trump wanna be.

People who are wine connoisseurs have tasted my mead, like it and told me to go for it. I am. Time will tell.

It's a bit nerve racking to think about bacterial contamination or some unknown factor ruining it all but, hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Later, everybuddy...

Sourcheese
05-24-2012, 12:22 PM
wow.

I thought I was getting into it pretty seriously...

I started in april and right now I have 12 gallons going and getting ready for another 1 gallon.

You make my efforts look like a joke!

HunnyBunz
05-24-2012, 12:51 PM
wow.

I thought I was getting into it pretty seriously...

I started in april and right now I have 12 gallons going and getting ready for another 1 gallon.

You make my efforts look like a joke!

No one's effort is ever a joke. Whether it's a large or small endeavor, it's the effort that counts.

Especially with something so noble as making mead! :icon_thumright:

HowardVic
05-24-2012, 02:27 PM
Hi Sourcheese and Hunnybunz. Hmmm, seems like dishes that might go with mead.

Anyhoo, after adding some Yeast Energizer because the fermentation was a bit slow at one bubble every 12 to 16 seconds (during the first week it was one bubble every 6 seconds more or less), it's now bubbling at a rate of 1 bubble every 1 minute and 30 seconds and it's only two weeks since I pitched the must.

I ordered more Yeast Energizer (Di-ammonium Phosphate) which should arrive in a few days so I can jump start the fermentation because I just don't think two weeks is sufficient time for a complete fermentation.

In my hyper jitters, I forgot to take a hydrometer reading before fermentation began when I first pitched the must and now I am a bit reluctant to open the fermentor for anything reason except to aerate and/or add Yeast Energizer, much less, to stick a wine thief/sampler, although, I am a sanitize/sterlize/face mask/hairnet/plastic gloves freak. I just don't want to risk any bacterial contamination for so much mead.

However, with regards to having not made any hydrometer readings, I read that a vinometer can be used for determining alcohol content of finished sweet wines if you dilute the wine sample with an egual amount of water, take a reading and multiply by two. So, I ordered a vinometer this morning.

BTW, I changed my avatar to a mead chalice which I made out of a clear plastic bowl, gold foiled, Crazy Glued to Corinthian Column candle holder on a brass incense burner top turned upside down as the base and imitation gold leafed, threw some flowers from the garden, backdropped it all with a gold Christmass tree base cloth covered in part with a purple Indian scarf and flashlighted the mead to make it glow and CLICK. There's an amethyst stone on an ivy leaf because the word amethyst is ancient Greek for "not drunk" due to the ancients believing that wearing an amethyst prevented one from getting drunk. NOT TRUE. The look of the avatar reflects the motto which appears on the label of my mead, "Before mankind drank wine, the gods were drinking mead."

I am having fun with it. Just don't want to get surprised finding the Creature from the Black Lagoon grinning at me :eek: when I open the fermentor for the finished mead. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha...

The postman just delivered a package containing the Potassium Sorbate, PH control papers, Camden tablets and a stick-on thermometer for the fermentor.

Later, Everybuddy...

Chevette Girl
05-24-2012, 02:56 PM
Being a little on the extreme side of sanitary is no bad thing, but don't let it make you afraid to take readings and stuff, if you're going in there to add chemicals or aerate, you're already opening things up to exposure, and if you carefully sanitize your thief and your hydrometer, plop the hydrometer into the thief and sanitize again, then draw some mead into the thief, get your reading, and let the mead back out, you should be fine, or at least, at no further risk than if you opened it up to stir it. If you want to do this commercially, you probably want to know more about the state of your fermentation than bubble rates (which are only a general indication, not a definite thing). And while something's fermenting, the fermentation itself keeps it at a lower risk of bacterial growth than if you add your yeast nutrients (DAP) too late for the yeast to use. You want them in there before 1/3 of the sugar is gone, and you'll never be able to tell that with bubble rates.

And your chalice is awesome :)

Oh, and all the reading I've done indicates that vinometers aren't too trustworthy, and I seem to recall they're not recommended for sweet wines because that messes up your readings. Plus they can't tell you if your fermentation's done or not. You can always do a spirit indication test when it's all done if you want an approximate amount to confirm with whatever the Mead Calculator suggests your starting gravity likely was.

HowardVic
05-24-2012, 03:37 PM
P.S. I Yapped about everything except the title of this comment, "jump starting a slow fermentation." I will have to look around these forums to find out more on the subject. Maybe adding more honey with Yeast Energizer"and aerating the must next week?

Left the house several times while writing the "jump starting a slow fermentation" and left the pc on and the editing period timed out so I added this P.S. separately.

Looking forward to Friday night to hang out with friends at a local watering hole. There's a little hole in the wall in town that just sells beer from all over the world. They have a little stage with live, local bands jamming. Been giving my mead pr all over town and a few restaurants want it. Yep, I'm having fun with it.

Later...

HowardVic
05-24-2012, 03:44 PM
Hi Chevette Girl.

Thanks for your feedback. Here's where I got the info on the vinometer. What do you think? I'll come back later to read your reply. I'm off to a nap. Later...

http://www.hambletonbard.com/how-to-make-wine-beer-moonshine-alcohol/wine-alcohol-meter-homebrew-vinometer.html

This is a very simple way to check the alcohol content of your home brew wine but remember - it is very approximate and you need to know how it works to avoid the common pitfalls.

It works on (still) wine only, not beer or spirits.
It will only work if there is no CO2 left in your wine.
It will only work if your wine is 8-13% or around these values.

The homebrew wine alcohol meter uses the capillary effect in the liquid to determine the alcohol. This will only work on "normal" strength home brewed wines. Unfortunately most meters are graduated between 0-25% but the error outside 8-13% is too large, it simply doesn't work there.

Trick: If you have a very strong wine, dilute it with equal amount of water, then take a reading. If reading ends up inside the interval 8-13% you know you can trust it and in reality it is twice as high.

TAKeyser
05-24-2012, 04:07 PM
Vinometer's do not work correctly with mead for some reason, they are designed to work with traditional grape-based wines.

As for jump-starting a sluggish mead, I have no experience on how that large of a batch ferments, but since you don't have your Original Gravity reading I would not recommend adding any product that contains D.A.P. into the must. My first suggestion would be to test the PH to insure that it is in the proper range for fermentation. If the PH is good I would add Yeast Hulls (if you don't have yeast hulls add boiled or nuked yeast), this will add nutrients that the must can use even if you are past the 1/3 sugar break.

Chevette Girl
05-24-2012, 04:12 PM
Yep, found it right on their webpage, the vinometer's only good for dry, still wines...

Remember: This meter will only work on normal home brew wines. If you check a liqueur, a sweet dessert wine or similar it will give you anything but the right value.

The sugar content changes its specific gravity which will affect the capillary action this device uses to measure. Diluting it with water won't help for this reason. By "strong" they mean very alcoholic, but it still has to be dry.

And with respect to jumpstarting a sluggish fermentation, we can't help you that much without SG's and at least an idea of where your OG would have been. Alcohol content isn't the only reason we use hydrometers. And keep in mind, no two fermentations progress at the same rate, some can be done in 24 hours, others may take two or three weeks to finish, both may produce acceptable results.

If it's eaten more than 1/3 of the sugars, DAP won't help but maybe yeast hulls or microwaving or boiling some bread yeast will not hurt it if it might need additional feeding. If you're past 1/2 of the sugar being consumed, aeration is not recommended unless you've got funky smells going on, otherwise you risk oxidizing your mead. If the yeast has eaten all of the sugar or has hit its tolerance, it will slow down and nutrients or energizer won't help at all because the fermentation's done and all you would do by adding nutrients, energizer or oxygen is encourage other unwanted organisms to do their thing...

TAKeyser
05-24-2012, 04:15 PM
We might be able to help you out a little more if we knew how much honey you used for the 119 gallons, any other sugar sources, and yeast type as well as a current Hydrometer reading.

HowardVic
05-24-2012, 08:55 PM
Greetings TAKeysar & Chevette Girl. Thanks for the ongoing advice.

70 gallons distilled water + 46 gallons pure honey = 116 gallons of must is all there is in the fermentor right now.

The 3 gallons of Passion Fruit pulp would have been added towards the end of the third week of fermentation (today marks day 14 of fermentation) that I thought would be the right time to add fruit pulp and "tea" of rosemary leaves and cardamom seeds. I had thought the entire fermentation would last about 6 weeks due to the large amount of must.

When I filled the fermentor, I mixed water, honey & three 4 oz. jars of Yeast Energizer (Nutrient Booster) labels says each jar sufficient for 35 gallons of wine. I did this to ensure a successful start to the fermentation. I mixed the water, honey and Yeast Energizer in 5 gallon food safe plastic bucket (during several hours way past midnight) aerated it with an electric whisk and poured it into the fermentor.

I then added an additional jar of the Yeast Energizer when I noticed the fermentation slowing down considerably a few days ago.

Not having yeast hulls, could I boil the left over White Labs Sweet Mead Yeast WLP720 and add it to the must? I wonder if I have sufficient time to order yeast hulls. If I order tonight from E.C. Kraus, I might get it delivered by Monday or Tuesday. Next Friday would be third week of fermentation.

I am wondering if because of all the Yeast Energizer I added when I mixed the must that the fermentation took off fast and is coming to completion faster than usual.

I guess I may not have time now to add the Passion Fruit pulp and spices without negatively affecting the must or I wonder if the Passion Fruit pulp (highly acidic) might provide nutrient for the must. I read adding Camden tablets to fruit pulp would kill wild yeasts and bacteria.

In summation, I suspect I will have to decide, considering the time factor for receiving the yeast hulls and the addition of fruit pulp and spices, to simply let the mead do its thing until the fermentation is totally stopped. Add the Potassium Sorbate to make sure the fermentation is completely stopped, rack it using the elelctric pumping system with filters, clarify it with Bentonite for three days, taste it and, if its good, bottle it, age it and sell it next year.

Would my adding fruit pulp with Camden tablets and spices after racking for three days before clarifying with Bentonite be inviting a contamination? Maybe skip the fruit pulp and just add the spices tea to avoid contamination?

The unexpected sluggish fermentation really threw my time calculations for adding fruit pulp and spices out of whack.

BTW, the CO2 is bubbling out of the air lock at 3 1/2 minute intervals.

It just occurred to me to mention that the space in which the fermentor is has an average all day temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Regarding that current hydrometer reading, I'm a bit tired now and would like to take it tomorrow morning when I am fresh and, besides, I don not want to interrupt the fermentation because I noticed that each time I opened the tank for aeration or adding Yeast Energizer, the fermentation would take long hours to start up again.

Keep that feedback coming. It's 8:54 PM Caribbean time. I will check Got Mead forums again at about 10:00 PM and again in the morning. Thanks everybuddy...

TAKeyser
05-24-2012, 09:18 PM
46 Gallons of Honey equal 552 lbs so you are looking at a Potential Original Gravity on that size batch at somewhere around 1.175 (about 23% abv potential) and that's not counting the fruit pulp. The White Labs Sweet Mead Yeast is said to give about a 15% abv tolerance, so there is a good chance that you have maxed out the yeast (if maxed your current Gravity will be around 1.060, which is extremely sweet).

As for boiling the Yeast, yes you can use your leftover yeast. I usually just use Fleischmans Bakers Yeast, which you can pick up cheap at any grocery store.

The airlock activity you are seeing could be slow fermentation or it could be the natural degassing process.

Lastly, I would use the bentonite to get as much to drop out of suspension as possible before you filter.

Chevette Girl
05-25-2012, 12:16 AM
Regarding that current hydrometer reading, I'm a bit tired now and would like to take it tomorrow morning when I am fresh and, besides, I don not want to interrupt the fermentation because I noticed that each time I opened the tank for aeration or adding Yeast Energizer, the fermentation would take long hours to start up again.

The must has an amount of CO2 that it can hold when left to its own devices, and once it reaches that threshhold, it starts releasing it, making bubbles. Every time you agitate it, you knock extra CO2 out of solution and it just takes a while for the yeast to make enough CO2 to replace it. It's not that you've ticked off the yeast and they've stopped doing their job, more like they're slowly filling a bucket that eventually overflows, and you just emptied it on them, takes a while to fill up enough to start overflowing.

And if you add powdered DAP or energizer and the yeast starts fizzing like mad, it's not because it's "happy", you've just added nucleation sites, which are things that allow the CO2 come out of the must in a rush, like adding a spoonful of sugar to a carbonated drink...

And without a SG reading, we can't tell you if it's too early or too late to add fruit or consider stabilizing or fining it.

If your fermentation room is that warm, you probably WANT a slow fermentation, otherwise it could generate too much heat inside from the chemical processes. And don't ever try using Lalvin D-47 yeast.

If you've got pH strips, check the pH while you're getting the SG in the morning, let us know and we'll troubleshoot for you :)

... and if it's sticking around 1.060 like TAKeyser calculated, you will probably want to either dilute it with water (and it might drop a few percent more by itself) or add the fruit juice (which will also dilute it because it's got higher water content than the original must).

And if you're leaving it at that, even if you leave it there for a while while you figure out what you're doing with it, it's so sweet and so alcoholic that it'll be very resistant to infection...

HowardVic
05-25-2012, 09:52 AM
Hi Chevette Girl et al...

Just a quick reply before taking the hydrometer and ph readings and I will return to this forum later.

A good night's rest does wonders. I am boiling the Rosemary leaves and slightly heated Cardamom seeds. Maybe I could use the Rosemary and Cardamom tea in response to your advice regarding the following:

"...and if it's sticking around 1.060 like TAKeyser calculated, you will probably want to either dilute it with water (and it might drop a few percent more by itself) or add the fruit juice (which will also dilute it because it's got higher water content than the original must)..."

Thanks and Later...

Chevette Girl
05-25-2012, 10:08 AM
Sounds like a plan. Don't forget to check the SG before you add the herb-water and after!

HowardVic
05-25-2012, 11:22 AM
Today, May 25th at 11:05 AM, the readings on the must were as follows:

Triple Scale Hydrometer:
Percent sugar balling - 21%
Potential Alcohol by Volume - 11.5%
SP GR - 85

PH - between yellow weakly acid PH 6.0 and orange stongly acid PH 4.0

BTW, when I took a pic of the must inside the fermentor the smell was VERY strong alcohol content. I thought my nostrils would catch fire. ;D Not a bad smell at all but not what the finished mead should smell like. Uffff!

Can I place the pic in this forum text format or is it against the rules?

On taking the pic, I saw some Passion Fruit pulp and seeds floating on the top and remembered that I added about a 2 -3 cups of the fruit pulp before stopping because it ocurred to me that I did not want to interfere with the full force of fermentation process and decided to add the fruit pulp 2 or 3 weeks later into the fermentation.

I felt relieved that there wasn't any odd colored or smelling scum/contamination floating on top of the must. Whew!

Let me know when it's safe/best to add the fruit pulp and spice tea.

There are almost two gallons of the Rosemary Cardamom tea cooling on the stove. Really powerful fragrance. Let me know if I should add this spice tea (after straining it) full strength as is or if more water is necessary to be added to it and if it should be added at room temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Thanks.

Chevette Girl
05-25-2012, 03:10 PM
Yes, you can add your photo into the text. If it doesn't work directly, you can insert the image link if you host it somewhere else (I use facebook because I can never get photos to upload, it always tells me they exceed the allotted size even when they aren't too big), just remember to resize it first so we don't have to scroll sideways, that's about the only general rule we have for putting photos within your text.

As for the fruit pulp, you can put that in anytime. If you're at 1.085 for SG it's within 20 points of where TAKeyser figures it'll stop anyway... there's nothing wrong with putting it in now, your pH is fine, just take a reading before and after so you know how much you diluted your must, same as when you add your herb water.

As for amounts, I can't really help with that, you'll have to do it by taste... I recommend adding the fruit pulp, checking the SG, then adding a quarter of your herb water, then take a taste... add enough that you can taste it, in small amounts with frequent tastings until you think it's enough, then check the SG again.

Good luck!

Oh, and that burning nostrils thing? A lot of that is carbon dioxide buildup on top of the must, or at least that's what I've found, having been knocked on my butt by that a time or two! Once the fermentation's all done, the smell will calm down a bit, then the taste will mellow with aging.

TAKeyser
05-25-2012, 03:25 PM
To add to what CG already stated, by diluting your must your final gravity will go lower than my stated 1.060. It won't go down a lot with just an extra couple gallons, but it will go down.

HowardVic
05-25-2012, 05:00 PM
Hi TAKeysar and Chevette Girl. Thanks for all your advice.

In summation, the fermentation is reaching its natural end and the mead will end up very sweet and it's safe to add the Passion Fruit pulp and spices tea.

What's the range of the final alcohol content going be? I was hoping for 14%.

After adding the fruit pulp and spices tea, should I expect the fermentation to continue at a slow pace or come to a complete halt? How long should I leave the must in the fermentor before racking into a large food grade container I have on hand?

I could sanitize a metal strainer, scoop out all the fruit pulp possible, then, transfer the must to the racking container using the electric pump with the three filters. Add the Bentonite wait about three days and filter pump the clarified mead back into the freshly sanitized fermentor in order to more easily bottle the must. Age it. Taste it in six month's time.

All the above could be done tomorrow morning???

I will check in later. I greatly appreciate your guys' coaching. Thanks.

Chevette Girl
05-25-2012, 05:17 PM
I would recommend leaving it on the fruit for a week at least. By then just about any goodness that the yeast is going to get out of it, they will have gotten.

And then, rack it off whatever fruit has settled out and out from under whatever's still floating, and then let everything settle out for a few weeks before racking again, I would not recommend trying to filter it as long as there's fruit pulp in there, all you'll do is gunk up your filter really quickly. If there are a lot of seeds and big pulp bits, a strainer might be useful, but straining it does increase your chances for picking up too much oxygen or exposing it to other organisms you don't want in there.

Because of dilution, you may actually see the rate of fermentation (drop in SG rather than your bubble rate) increase over time for a little while before it finally peters out, I would be surprised if it stopped altogether, although as I mentioned before, it might take a few hours or a day or two for the yeast to make enough CO2 that it comes out the airlock.

If everything goes well, your must should have an approximate alcohol content of your yeast's tolerance, so it probably won't go more than 15%. And unless your yeast goes psycho on you, it should still be pretty sweet by the time it's completely done.

TAKeyser
05-25-2012, 05:19 PM
Hi TAKeysar and Chevette Girl. Thanks for all your advice.

In summation, the fermentation is reaching its natural end and the mead will end up very sweet and it's safe to add the Passion Fruit pulp and spices tea.

Yeah you are nearing the end of your yeasts tolerance, it should go for a little while longer so you are more than safe to add the Passion Fruit and spice tea. It's going to end up really sweet, High end of Dessert Style sweet.



What's the range of the final alcohol content going be? I was hoping for 14%.

Right now you are sitting right around 11.5% ABV and your yeast has a tolerance of 15% so like I said your fermentation will probably continue slowly for a little while longer



After adding the fruit pulp and spices tea, should I expect the fermentation to continue at a slow pace or come to a complete halt? How long should I leave the must in the fermentor before racking into a large food grade container I have on hand?

Like I said above fermentation should continue and will probably pick up some due to the dilution of the must. Check your gravity again in a week and see where it is sitting, hopefully it has dropped.



I could sanitize a metal strainer, scoop out all the fruit pulp possible, then, transfer the must to the racking container using the electric pump with the three filters. Add the Bentonite wait about three days and filter pump the clarified mead back into the freshly sanitized fermentor in order to more easily bottle the must. Age it. Taste it in six month's time.

Give it some time to finish up before racking it anywhere. You will usually see the suggestion of wait until you get the same hydrometer reading for 3 straight times. After that scoop out as much of the pulp as you can. I would use the Bentonite before I thought of filtering. The Bentonite will get everything to drop out of suspension which will prevent your filter pads from getting clogged. From experience I can say that clogged pads lead to a sticky messy situation.

So if it was me I would scoop out the pulp and either add the bentonite straight to the fermentor or pump it to your container (without using a filter) and add the bentonite to that container. After the Bentonite has done its thing I would rack and filter it back to another container or back into the fermenting vessel to age for a while.

HowardVic
05-25-2012, 06:08 PM
Evening TAKeysar & Chevette Girl.

I am thawing out the frozen fruit pulp overnight and tomorrow I will add it with the spices tea to the must. Do you think it's necessary to add Camden tablets to the fruit pulp to prevent wild yeast and the like?

I will strain the spices tea tonight and boil it again tomorrow to make sure it's sterile, cool it and add with the thawed out fruit pulp.

You guys are a great asset. One thing is doing one gallon batches for fun another thing is 116 gallons for winning one's "daily bread." I should put two bottles away until I have the permits to export and send them to you as a gift for your expert advice. At least, they should be two years aged by then. :cool:

Later...

TAKeyser
05-25-2012, 06:32 PM
Evening TAKeysar & Chevette Girl.

I am thawing out the frozen fruit pulp overnight and tomorrow I will add it with the spices tea to the must. Do you think it's necessary to add Camden tablets to the fruit pulp to prevent wild yeast and the like?

I've been known very being overly cautious so adding Campden Tablets to the fruit juice/pulp and waiting the 24 hours before adding wouldn't hurt, that being said it probably isn't necessary considering the environment that you are adding it to.

HowardVic
05-25-2012, 08:58 PM
Thawed out the Passion Fruit pulp, boiled the White Labs Sweet Mead Yeast and let it cool in the fridge, did the same to the spices tea and let them in gently into the must and stirred slowly with a large plastic paddle to avoid aerating.

The Triple Scale Hydrometer readings are the same as the first time earlier today. The Ph is the same between yellow and orange.

Will watch the air lock until Monday when I will take hydrometer and PH readings again.

Too pooped to pop. Not going out tonight.

BTW, I forgot to add the Camden tablets. Good thing.

Good night all. Thanx. Lights out. :cool:

*Click* light on.

Night Cap: Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.

Lights out. "Click*

HowardVic
05-26-2012, 07:24 AM
Good morning all.

It's been approximately 10 hours since I added the fruit pulp, boiled yeast and spices tea, however, there is no CO2 action in the air lock.

I hope I didn't kill the fermentation.

I have a 5 gallon batch made with left over of the same White Labs Sweet Mead Yeast that has been fermenting for 7 days. Is adding it to the must to jump start it a bad idea?

Later...

Chevette Girl
05-27-2012, 07:50 AM
I have a 5 gallon batch made with left over of the same White Labs Sweet Mead Yeast that has been fermenting for 7 days. Is adding it to the must to jump start it a bad idea?


Check your SG again and see if it's dropped any since your last measurement, lack of airlock activity could mean that it got a really really good degassing and hasn't built up enough CO2 yet, or possibly the lid isn't a tight seal (I have one fermentation bucket that never ever bubbles and one that only does sometimes). It's also possible your yeast has had enough and the fruit juice and herb water didn't dilute it enough to make a difference. But to know for sure, check your SG. Sometimes it can be sneaky and drop without giving you any other clues that anything's going on!

And no, adding some vigorously fermenting stuff to a batch to kickstart it is not a bad idea, I've done it myself.

HowardVic
05-27-2012, 09:57 AM
Good Morning Chevette Girl et al.

I woke up last night around 2:00 AM to check the air lock activity. Totally still. I woke up again this morning around 5:20 AM and checked the air lock. After, approximately 32 hours after adding the fruit pulp, boiled yeast and spices tea, the air lock was completely still. Later, this morning at around 8:30 AM, I think the air lock's part that resembles an inverted plastic cup may have risen just the slightest. Maybe. I will check it out at noon and if it has risen more, I will not follow through with the decision I made this morning at 5:20 AM to remove the fruit pulp today before it host a bacterial contamination (my worst fear) with a strainer and rack the must, add the Potassium Sorbate to make sure there's no chance of fermentation (yeah, right), wait 24 hours, add the Bentonite to clarify, wait four days and bottle.

What do you think?

TAKeyser
05-27-2012, 10:58 AM
I went back to the beginning of the thread and it looks as though you started the Mead on May 10th (your first post was on the 17th and you said it has been fermenting for 7 days), so you're not even 3 weeks into the process yet. It seems like you are trying to rush this batch, I say give it some time, stop watching the airlock and trust in your Hydrometer. Don't make any decisions yet. You have 16 gallons of headspace in your vessel and it is going to take a while for your must and that headspace to become saturated with CO2 again, so if you are degassing and taking readings like you should be doing you may not see activity again. Airlocks are not indicators of fermentation.

Does the temperature drop at night where you are? If so that change would mean the liquid can now hold more CO2 and where would that CO2 come from? the headspace which means the must now needs to create more CO2 to compensate what the must just took in. When it warms up the must can't hold as much so it releases everything and you will get a brief flurry of airlock activity. If you aren't watching it at that moment you will miss the activity. None of that has anything to do with fermentation which is why we say that the airlock is not reliable and to use your hydrometer. It is not finished until you get consistent reading on the Hydrometer over a matter of days if not weeks.

HowardVic
05-27-2012, 11:17 AM
Hi TAKeysar.

I didn't want to take anymore hydrometer readings in order to not affect the CO2 build up and resulting air lock activity.

I will take hydrometer readings at 1:00 PM, 5:00 PM and 10:00 PM.

Yes, the temperature does drop but only about 5 degrees or so. I have noticed that the stick-on thermomter adhered to the side of the fermentor has been at a constant 86 degrees Fahrenheit for the last two weeks while the thermometer on the wall of the kitchen has been at a constant 89 F.

I will move the fermentor closer to the air conditioner for my next 116 gallon batch in two months' time and put a partition to make the area around the fermentor in the large kitchen smaller to make sure the AC makes a difference where it's needed.

Or, maybe go to Home Depot to check out a portable AC to be placed in the partitioned area close to the fermentor which is on a concrete platform a bit distant from the AC on the opposite wall.

What a trip...

Thanks for the feedback. Later...

HowardVic
05-27-2012, 06:04 PM
A "bit" late for my aforementioned scheduled hydrometer and PH readings.

At 4:26 PM today, the readings were the same as for yesterdays reading at 11:00 AM and 7:50 PM, being as follows:

Triple Scale Hydrometer Readings:
% sugar balling - 21%
potential alcohol by volune - 11.0
SP GR - 85
PH - btween yellow 6.0 and orange 4.0 (maybe a bit more orange but could be imagined).

Tastes good though very cloudy orange in color.

Next reading should be around 10:00 PM tonight.

Thanks for your continued help.

Later...

TAKeyser
05-27-2012, 06:30 PM
You don't need to watch it so much, at this point a gravity reading every day or two should be enough. Fermentation is way more vigorous at the start but as it begins to slow down you may only get a .001-.002 drop a day and that gets kinda hard to read on a hydrometer. So like I said at this point every other day should be sufficient. Like they say "a watched pot never boils".

HowardVic
05-27-2012, 07:44 PM
Thanks TAKeyser.

It's the bacteria contamination before I get the mead bottled is what has me worried. From what I have read, the stage where fruit pulp is added is potentially the most dangerous contamination period. Hate to have to dump it.

Let me know when it's ok to rack. I'm taking notes with dates, time, etc. I should be broken in as a laid back mead maker in time for the next batch in two month's time.

Good night everybuddy.

Chevette Girl
05-27-2012, 07:47 PM
I'd advise against removing the fruit and trying to stabilize and fine it at this point. It's not going to develop an infection at this sweetness level and you're probably around 10% alcohol in there already to further assist in making life difficult for bacteria. You should be fine to leave it on the fruit for a week to get the maximum extraction... and checking the SG every other day should be sufficient. Just don't make decisions based on what your airlock is doing.

And if you want to see if you can get it to go a little further, that 5 gallon batch of active must wouldn't be a bad plan. What was its initial SG and what's it at now?

The amount of time between adding a fining agent and bottling should be on the timescale of weeks, not days. This (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19888)is what can happen if you bottle too soon after fining, you won't want to rebottle 116 gallons.

HowardVic
05-28-2012, 01:41 PM
Hi Chevette Girl.

This morning on the way to Home Depot to buy a portable AC to keep the area of the fermentor a constant 75 F, I noticed the air lock had lifted considerably. At the 1:26 PM, a few minutes ago, after bringing the portable AC from Home Depot and taking measurements for partitioning the fermentor area, I was looking at the fermentor and saw the air lock let loose a stream of bubbles giving me hope the fermentation process will be able to recuperate and continue its thing.

Regarding the link to the guy who had white fluff in his mead bottles, I used Bentonite on a test batch that must be close to a year old and to this day the bottle is crystal clear and no sediment whatsoever on the bottom.

With this renewed bubbling in the air lock, I will give the must another week but I won't take anymore hydrometer reading for 3 days in order to not interrupt the CO2 build up in the tank.

I forgot to take a hydrometer reading when I pitched the 5 gallon must - again. Maybe it won't be necessary as a boost for the 116 gallon batch. Besides, I added rose and jasmine extracts to it thinking about test running a sparkling mead to bottle in champagne bottles for weddings. Sounds like a romantic combination for weddings - honey moon mead scented with rose and jasmine.

Maybe a mead with jalapeño peppers might be more to the liking for a biker's club.

Got to keep thinking about prospective markets.

BTW, good thing I kept the old screened kitchen door that was replaced because it's a perfect fit for the partion for the fermentor area. I just need to replace the screen with see-thru plastic. Waste not, want not.

Later...

HowardVic
05-30-2012, 09:50 PM
A few days ago, I sent an SOS email to the company that makes the sweet mead yeast I used and basically they advised me just like the experienced members of this forum who have assisted me in that:

"...If your mead is sitting at 11.5% alcohol by volume, there is very little danger of bacterial contamination since the bacteria won't be able to live in that environment. There is a good chance that the yeast is finished, but since you just added the fruit and spices you should probably let the mead sit for at least a couple of weeks to get the flavors to come out. Don't be afraid to taste a sample to see how it's coming along either; once the flavor from the fruits and spices is strong enough, then you should transfer the mead off of them and prepare to bottle. Your pH is in the right range, so as long as things aren't too sweet then fermentation may be finished. Sometimes, fast fermentation can produce fusel alcohols which make the mead taste "hot", so if that's the case then you'll need some additional aging time (months) for it to mellow out..."

From what I have noticed, the air lock let's out bubbling every 18 - 24 hours. But, then, I took TAKeyser's advice about a "watch pot..." and haven't been using my mobile phone's chronometer to time the bubbling like I did a couple of days ago.

Again, thank you all for giving me advice.

Chevette Girl
05-30-2012, 09:53 PM
Well, it's nice to know the experts agree with us :) Hope it turns out like you wanted!

HowardVic
06-09-2012, 02:35 PM
Hi Chevette Girl. I have been busy having the "meadery" divided into two parts each one with its own AC so I can keep the room temp at 75 F.

In an hour or two, I am going to open the fermentor and take the first hydrometer readings in quite a few days and will, probably, remove the fruit pulp. I need to decide if tomorrow, Sunday, I will transfer the mead into a holding tank while I clean out the fermentor and santize it so I can pump the mead back into it to clarify with Bentonite for couple of days before bottling.

Later, and thanx to everybuddy for their feedback...

HowardVic
06-09-2012, 09:01 PM
At around 3:30 PM today, I took hydrometer readings and they remain exactly the same as when last taken on May 27th. I boiled water, dunked the strainer, sanitized it with Cleanpro SDH and skimmed off most of the Passion Fruit pulp and seeds that were floating at the top of the fermentor.

It tastes sweet, the Passion Fruit fragrance is strong but, definitely, needs to age - big time. The Rosemary and Cardamom fragrances aren't that apparent maybe with ageing, they will emerge from all the harshness. I was hoping to hit the 14% alcohol content but 11% is what I have to deal with. I thought the more honey used, the higher alcohol content produced. I wonder if the alcohol content will differ with the next batch of must to which I will add the fruit pulp and spices tea three days into the initial fermentation process instead of so late into the fermentation process as with this first batch.

I will rack it on Monday to add the Bentonite clarifier. Too much excitement for one day. I took an Alkazelter for the butterflies in my gut this afternoon before the opening the fermentor.

Good nite, everybuddy. Later...

TAKeyser
06-09-2012, 09:30 PM
I was hoping to hit the 14% alcohol content but 11% is what I have to deal with. I thought the more honey used, the higher alcohol content produced. I wonder if the alcohol content will differ with the next batch of must to which I will add the fruit pulp and spices tea three days into the initial fermentation process instead of so late into the fermentation process as with this first batch.


I regularly hit 14% abv with 3 lbs of honey per gallon and 16% with 3.5 lbs. It all depends on proper yeast for the job and proper yeast management. Using the White Labs yeast strain you chose you got close to what I've seen others get out of it, especially in the harsh environment you introduced it into (5+ lbs of honey per gallon is a ton for that yeast).

I think the issue was the amount of honey and your yeast selection and not when you introduced the fruit and tea, many here add it much later than you did. I'd suggest that when you revamp the recipe for the next batch you post it first and see if anyone has any comments to make on it.

best of luck with the meadmaking.

HowardVic
06-10-2012, 08:53 PM
Hi TAKeyser.

Much to my surprise, I saw the air lock bubble this morning, therefore, I am considering waiting until Wednesday to rack and clarify. Today is the 31st full day of fermentation. Any suggestions on how much longer to wait before racking, clarifying and bottling?

I have read about 2nd and 3rd racking along with 2nd and 3rd fermentations. Considering the extreme slow rate of air lock activity which indicates the end of the fermentation is very near, I should just rack, stabilize, clarify and bottle.

The reason I chose that liquid yeast was because it is specifically for sweet mead. I made a dry mead long ago when I was experimenting with different proportions of honey to water and I don't like it. After tasting the mead yesterday, which was very sweet, I think I will lessen the amount of honey in the future, especially, with what you said about reaching the 14% alcohol with less honey.

What yeast is best for hitting the 14% alcohol content mark for a sweet mead along with lowering the amount of honey?

I am looking forward to bottling and taking a month or two to relax before starting the next batch. I have a lot of researching to do. Good thing there's plenty of info in these forums that will be of great assistance to me.

Thank you, TAKeyser. Later...

TAKeyser
06-10-2012, 09:23 PM
Hi TAKeyser.

Much to my surprise, I saw the air lock bubble this morning, therefore, I am considering waiting until Wednesday to rack and clarify. Today is the 31st full day of fermentation. Any suggestions on how much longer to wait before racking, clarifying and bottling?

Again you need to stop watching for airlock activity. Temperature changes, atmospheric changes, degassing, etc can all cause bubbles in the airlock and do not indicate fermentation. The hydrometer is the only reliable indicator.




The reason I chose that liquid yeast was because it is specifically for sweet mead. I made a dry mead long ago when I was experimenting with different proportions of honey to water and I don't like it. After tasting the mead yesterday, which was very sweet, I think I will lessen the amount of honey in the future, especially, with what you said about reaching the 14% alcohol with less honey.

What yeast is best for hitting the 14% alcohol content mark for a sweet mead along with lowering the amount of honey?

Any mead is capable of producing a sweet mead if the recipe has been formulated correctly and the yeast is managed correctly. It is a matter of figuring out the various conditions that are contributing to what you are trying to accomplish. Some yeasts are not going to do well in your locale, some yeasts can help a melomel by helping to retain color, some yeasts are known for increasing mouthfeel which can help a lower alcohol traditional and some yeasts are known for contributing certain flavors or aromas which can compliment the ingredients in your mead. So it is all a matter of trying to figure out what you are trying to create.

I really prefer Lalvin yeasts, they are inexpensive, easy to use and come in a wide range of strains. A good source on the wide range of Lalvin yeast is the MoreWine catalog (http://morewinemaking.com/search/103218//1) it explains tolerances and temperature ranges as well as what characteristics it may contribute.

HowardVic
06-10-2012, 09:36 PM
Hi TAKeyser.

Since the hydrometer readings have remained unchanged over a week's span of time, it's safe to assume the fermentation is over and I should rack, stabilize, clarify and bottle at any time?

Thanks for the valuable info on the wide variety of Lalvin yeasts at the MoreWine catalog, I will check it out tomorrow.

I was meandering around the info available in the forums and found the following comment you made last March:

“...I usually start checking the things I have**aging*at around month 8 and about 75% of my meads seem to be ready for bottling somewhere between month 8 and 12. I'm personally not a big fan of super high**alcohol*meads which seem to take longer to age and I like my meads at around semi-sweet (1.010-1.015 range) so those may be the reasons that a majority of my stuff seems to be ready to bottle withing a year. Occasionally I do get that stubborn**mead*though.

After I bottle I usually let them sit for another two or three months to get over any bottle shock...”

Thanks, again. Have I got a lot to learn...

Later. Good night.

Chevette Girl
06-10-2012, 09:43 PM
If the SG has stabilized, it's probably time to rack it, you can stabilize at this point if you want, check the SG for another week and make sure it hasn't changed, then if it's still stable, backsweeten if you need to, and then you can add the clarifying agent. I'd allow at least a few weeks between adding your clarifying agent(s) and bottling it. Also, the first clarifier you try might not be the one that works, so you may well need to allow for another week or two for another type of clarifier.

A good indication is whether you can see the beam of a flashlight through the must, if you can still see the beam, it's not clear enough to bottle because it will just keep dropping sediment. Don't rush it, let it do its thing...

TAKeyser
06-10-2012, 09:46 PM
Based on everything in this thread I think it is safe to say that your mead has finished. I think it's safe to rack and stabilize and then let it clear and age.

As for the time line I have the option of letting it take it's time, since you are doing it commercially I don't know if you have that freedom especially with these early batches.

TAKeyser
06-10-2012, 09:48 PM
If the SG has stabilized, it's probably time to rack it, you can stabilize at this point if you want,

Even though I think your yeast is done, with the amount of residual sugars left in your batch I would definitely stabilize this batch.

Chevette Girl
06-10-2012, 09:57 PM
Even though I think your yeast is done, with the amount of residual sugars left in your batch I would definitely stabilize this batch.

sorry, I'm currently running on nowhere near enough sleep to properly express myself. The "if you want" part was intended to refer to timing, not whether or not to do it, it definitely needs to be stabilized. You could rack it and stabilize now, or you could rack it and stabilize it in a month or a year. just do it before you backsweeten, and backsweeten before you clarify (although if you're not backsweetening it after all, you can clarify it before or after stabilizing it). :p

TAKeyser
06-10-2012, 10:44 PM
With a Gravity of 1.085 there is no need to even consider back-sweetening. Stabilizing this batch is to prevent bottle bombs just in case the yeast kicks back up at some later date (sometimes months later).

Even though you got up to 11.5% abv you still have a ton of residual sugars, so I definitely say play it safe. Stabilize, age, clarify if need be and then bottle.

HowardVic
06-11-2012, 11:05 PM
Greetings Chevette Girl and TAKeyser.

The reason I am so keen on racking and stabilizing at this time is because I don't want to chance a bacterial contamination, although, from what was said earlier in this thread, due to the alcohol content and high sugar level, bacteria isn't likely to be a threat.

All those bits of Passion Fruit pulp and seeds that are still floating and, probably lying on the bottom of the fermenter along with the all dead yeast cells, keep me thinking about possible contamination if racking is not done soon.

Therefore, it is safe to allow the mead to sit a while longer before racking, maybe, an additional week in the fermenter, then rack it, clarify it and bottle and, lastly, age it for a minimum of six months.

I have read people saying they rack several times before bottling but doesn't racking so many times expose the mead repeatedly to oxygen and outside contamination getting in? If the purpose of racking is to clarify the mead, then, why not just rack it once, add a clarifier and bottle it before any contamination has the opportunity to ruin all the time, work and investment?

From all I remember reading on mead making, you ferment the must, rack it on cessation of fermentation, clarify it, bottle it and age it once it is bottled. Therefore, I am curious as to why TAKeyser racks, stabilizes, clarifies, ages and then bottles. In what do you age your mead, TAKeyser?

Again, thanks to Chevette Girl and TAKeyeser for their coontinued advice.

Good night, everybuddy. 8)

TAKeyser
06-11-2012, 11:45 PM
You are safe to rack it now and get it off of any remaining fruit and seeds. I will usually rack twice. The first time after fermentation has ended, a second time a couple months later since usually you will still have yeasts and proteins falling out of suspension and than I bulk age in this tertiary container. If it hasn't fully cleared while in tertiary I will hit it with the clarifying agent.

I choose to age in bulk instead of in bottles because the mead is less effected by temperature changes when it is in bulk and it gives the flavours in the mead more time to meld together making for more consistency between bottles.

Chevette Girl
06-12-2012, 12:06 PM
I also usually rack at least twice, because not everything will have dropped out at the first racking and I'm a total klutz and always end up stirring up the crud on the bottom if I bottle when there's any sediment in the carboy so I often rack a week or two before I bottle, especially if I used a fining agent to clear it up. I also prefer to bulk age in carboys rather than bottles because one five-gallon carboy takes up less room than two cases plus a few bottles. I also prefer bulk aging over carboy aging because the whole batch ages the same and as TAKeyeser said, a carboy is less sensitive to temperature changes.

HowardVic
06-12-2012, 01:51 PM
Greetings Chevette Girl and TAKeyser.


I choose to age in bulk instead of in bottles because the mead is less effected by temperature changes when it is in bulk and it gives the flavours in the mead more time to meld together making for more consistency between bottles.

Great info. I think I will do likewise. Thanks, TAKeyser.


"...rack at least twice, because not everything will have dropped out at the first racking and I'm a total klutz and always end up stirring up the crud on the bottom if I bottle when there's any sediment in the carboy so I often rack a week or two before I bottle, especially if I used a fining agent..."

Useful detail, Chevette Girl. Yes, I've been reminding myself that I will have to keep the end of the hose far away from the sludge on the bottom of the fermenter when transferring. Thanks.

1:51 PM. Temp in the Caribbean is lower 90s, breeze blowing, more mangos rotting in the back yard than we can eat and give away to family, friends and neighbors. Mango mead? Maybe for personal consumption but nothing I want to slush around in at this point after the Passion Fruit episode. Maybe next mango season. It's time for a nap. Later... Everybuddy...

wayneb
06-12-2012, 04:37 PM
Mango mead is actually really good - especially if you add some of the fruit in secondary, to preserve the more subtle citrusy, piney aromatics.

But mango mush (the gunk resulting from fermentation) needs to be managed with a fermentation bag, or some other way, or you end up losing about 30% of your total volume to liquid trapped in the residue.

TheAlchemist
06-12-2012, 04:44 PM
With all the engineer Mazers I'm aMazed none have figured out a simple means of using centrifugal force to extract the liquid. There must be a way.

wayneb
06-12-2012, 05:32 PM
Well, it's gotta be a cheap and reliable way, too! ;D

That leaves out most lab centrifuges, which are far too expensive and which work on much smaller quantities of material. I've seen posts on other boards in years past where people have tried various things, including the spin cycle on old washing machines, to extract fresh fruit liquids from crushed pulp - but I don't want to be subjecting my meads to any rough handling (not to mention infection exposure potential) like that.

Noe Palacios
06-12-2012, 07:10 PM
Mango mead is actually really good - especially if you add some of the fruit in secondary, to preserve the more subtle citrusy, piney aromatics.

But mango mush (the gunk resulting from fermentation) needs to be managed with a fermentation bag, or some other way, or you end up losing about 30% of your total volume to liquid trapped in the residue.

All my experiences with tropical fruits have had bad results and for a long time I was asking to myself - Why? - The only good answer that comes to me is that I bought the fruits at our marketplace, which means: no hygiene, no ripening control, no cold chain ... nothing that could help me to get a decent mead.

But I didn't give up, yet. There is a company 40 miles from home that exports mangos to the US and I'm planning to buy two or three boxes of size rejected mangos.

I'm planning to extract the must's juice with one kitchen screwpress.

Then I'm going to freeze the cake. When the time comes I'm going to place it in a muslin bag and ad to the stabilized mead during the 2nd racking. The idea of doing this is that I should get back some (not much) mago flavor to the mead and also I should raise sugars naturally (I usually make dry or semisweet).

Well that's it. In three years I'll let you know what happened.

Saludos,

wayneb
06-12-2012, 11:12 PM
Noe, that sounds like a good plan. If the fruit are ripe (but not overripe) you should be able to press enough juice for primary to provide a detectable mango presence in the finished mead, even if you don't use the pressed cake to add more mango later. I suppose we will need to wait three years to see if the plan really works. ;)

HowardVic
06-12-2012, 11:13 PM
Greetings Noe, wayneb, TheAlchemist et al.

Yes, wayneb, mango does have a piney taste I like very much. I collected some mango tree sap to see if it burns like incense. Forgot about it. Even where I tucked it away to dry. Green mangos set off a coughing fit. I prefer the really ripe ones in our back yard they call Cuban mangos which are a bright orange yellow color cold from the fridge. Yeah, I can really wallow in it. Oink.

As I mentioned from the begining, my intent was that my mead would have a 14% alcohol content. If as TAKeyser said, the honey/sugar content in my mead is high but that the yeast has run its course, could I introduce another batch of liquid yeast into the mead to start a new fermentation process that would convert sufficient honey in the mead to raise the alcohol content, hopefully, nearer to my desired 14% mark?

Good night. Later, Everybuddy...

Chevette Girl
06-13-2012, 01:12 AM
could I introduce another batch of liquid yeast into the mead to start a new fermentation process that would convert sufficient honey in the mead to raise the alcohol content, hopefully, nearer to my desired 14% mark?


Just dumping in another batch of yeast isn't likely to do what you want. It may not work at all but you could try making an acclimated starter, that might get the new yeast over the fact that they're already sitting around in alcohol.

HowardVic
06-13-2012, 11:33 PM
Hi Chevette Girl.

Thanks for the feedback. I have done some Google searching regarding acclimated starters but I need to find more specific results for fermentations that are not necessarily stuck but completed to see if the high honey/sugar content will feed a new batch of yeast and produce a second fermentation that will raise the alcohol content closer to 14%.

Later...

Chevette Girl
06-14-2012, 01:06 AM
The way I'd do it is rehydrate the yeast according to the package, give it its 15 minutes or whatever, then take an amount of must equal to the water used (ie, if it was 1/4 cup, add 1/4 cup must), wait until you see activity (foaming), should be about half an hour? then add 1/2 cup of must... every time you see activity, double the starter's volume, I make a litre of starter for a gallon, a gallon of starter for a 5-gal batch. For a restart like this one I'd want to try to get as close to 1/4 of the volume as possible. Or put the starter into another container the same size (once it's big enoug to cover the bottom, of course) and just keep doubling the amount until you've added all the must... and I'd use a yeast with a higher tolerance then 14% because it's already going to have a rough time of it.

TAKeyser
06-14-2012, 11:13 AM
HowardVic,

I know that you have a ton of headspace in your fermenter (119 gallons in a 132 gallon container) you could try and dilute your must with 5-10 gallons of water, which would lower the alcohol content giving your yeast room to re-reach their alcohol tolerance. It could restart the fermentation and even if it didn't it would lower that gravity and cut down some of those residual sugars. 1.080 is awfully high, I've seen meads have a starting gravity in that range.

HowardVic
06-14-2012, 09:18 PM
Hi Chevette Girl and TAKeyser.

@Chevette Girl - Rehydrate? Originally, I used a liquid yeast so, I guess, I should stick to liquid yeast.

@TAKeyser - If it's been so long that the hydrometer readings have not changed at all, then, it's safe to assume the fermentation has most probably ceased altogether, although, I have read comments that yeast have been known to suddenly kick up and start fermenting again after several week or even months if they weren't stabilized.

It's been very busy for me with family obligations and comparing alarm systems (having an alarm placed on Saturday) and I still have not transferred/racked the mead from the fermenter to the other container which I will do, hopefully, on Saturday, after the alarm system is installed and I will be left completely alone and undisturbed.

TAKeyser, since I have a nagging fear of contamination if I don't take out the last of the fruit pulp and rack ASAP, do you think I have time enough to test a small batch of the must and dilute it with water, add a bit of liquid yeast in a packet I have in the fridge to see if fermentation resumes and, if it does, go ahead with the full 119 gallons? The liquid yeast I have in the fridge is different from the one I used originally from White Labs, it is the WYeast, 4184 Sweet Mead, "...direct pitch activator for wine, mead, cider, distilling and saké, 70 billion yeast cells...% pure liquid yeast plus nutrient..." Enough to inoculate up to 6 gallons of must, juice, wort or seed mash.

I just remembered, I only have that one packet of liquid yeast so if I used a portion of it to test a sample of the must from the fermenter the larger portion left over would go to waste and not be usable for the must in the fermenter.

Is it ok two mix to liquid yeasts from different companies by adding six gallons of distilled water with the full packet of WYeast for sweet mead to the must in the fermenter which was originally fermented with the liquid yeast for sweet mead from White Labs?

Maybe, it's best to play it safe and accept the 11% alcohol content I have now and follow the all advice for hitting the 14% alcohol content in the next must a month or two from now.

Thanks for all the feedback, Everybuddy. Later...

TAKeyser
06-14-2012, 09:53 PM
I personally don't think you'll get much out of pitching more of the so-called "Sweet Mead" yeasts. If you are going to attempt to restart this fermentation I would go with either Uvaferm 43 or EC-1118 which were probably what you should have used to begin with. Be sure to make a healthy acclimated starter using enough yeast for your batch size.

How many smack packs of the sweet mead yeast did you use when you initially started the batch? That size batch I'd say 20-25 should have been used. From a business point of view using Lalvin yeast will only cost you 1/3 of your what you are currently using and from my experience will provide more consistent result.

HowardVic
06-14-2012, 10:55 PM
Hi TAKeyser.


If you are going to attempt to restart this fermentation I would go with either Uvaferm 43 or EC-1118 which were probably what you should have used to begin with. Be sure to make a healthy acclimated starter using enough yeast for your batch size.

How many smack packs of the sweet mead yeast did you use when you initially started the batch? That size batch I'd say 20-25 should have been used. From a business point of view using Lalvin yeast will only cost you 1/3 of your what you are currently using and from my experience will provide more consistent result.

Originally, I used an amount sufficient for the 119 gallon must of White Labs Liquid Brewers Yeast, Sweet Mead Yeast, WLP720, Size: Large (200 gallons), Volume: 1800 mls . From what was left over of the White Labs yeast, I used some to jump start slow fermentation somewhere after May 23rd mixing the liquid yeast with yeast nutrient and another portion of the White Labs left over liquid yeast for a five gallon test batch must mixed with jasmine and rose extracts, no fruit pulp.

I guess, with hind sight, I should have used the whole 1,800 mls of the liquid yeast with the 119 gallons of must loaded with all that honey but since the whole content was labeled for 200 gallons, I only used enough for the 119 gallons of must in the fermentor using the scale embossed on the container of liquid yeast as measuring guide.

Important Question: Do I have sufficient time to rack the mead, let it sit for two weeks until I can order and receive more liquid yeast with which to make an acclimated starter and maybe contact White Labs for their input in the matter or is the alcohol content of 11% likely to kill any yeast added to the must?

Later... Good night, all...

TAKeyser
06-14-2012, 11:09 PM
Important Question: Do I have sufficient time to rack the mead, let it sit for two weeks until I can order and receive more liquid yeast with which to make an acclimated starter and maybe contact White Labs for their input in the matter or is the alcohol content of 11% likely to kill any yeast added to the must?

Later... Good night, all...

Like I said I don't think you'd be able to get the med fermenting again using the same strain that you originally fermented with. Your best best is to use one of the more tolerant strains that I recommended and even that isn't a guarantee that it will restart.

HowardVic
06-15-2012, 08:20 AM
Thanks TAKeyser.

I need to contact the manufacturers of the yeasts you suggested in lieu of the original strain of yeast used in the 119 gallon must to see if they sell their yeasts in larger containers sufficient for the 119 gallon must.

I suspect I will most probably decide on accepting the 11% alcohol for this batch as is.

Since comments have been made that, after racking, mead can be left for extended months bulk aging, I guess I have a window of opportunity regarding time to explore my options, say, for the next two weeks, hopefully, sufficient time to get information, ponder a decision, make and receive order for additional fermentation ingredients.

What a trip...

Again, thanks. Later...

TAKeyser
06-15-2012, 09:14 AM
I get the yeast from MoreWine (http://morewinemaking.com/search/103218/beerwinecoffee/coffeewinebeer/Lallemand_Lalvin_Yeasts). They sell it in 80 gram and 500 gram packages so large enough sizes suitable for your needs.

Jas53
06-15-2012, 09:51 AM
I get the yeast from MoreWine (http://morewinemaking.com/search/103218/beerwinecoffee/coffeewinebeer/Lallemand_Lalvin_Yeasts). They sell it in 80 gram and 500 gram packages so large enough sizes suitable for your needs.

How long is the larger quantities viable if kept in refrigerator?

TAKeyser
06-15-2012, 10:02 AM
How long is the larger quantities viable if kept in refrigerator?

Not long enough to make it a good deal to purchase on your own. You could probably get away with buying 80 grams, but the 500 gram packages would probably go to waste since legally you can only make between 100-200 gallons a year depending on how many adults live in the house. Depending on which strains ordered and if we found a way to vacumn seal them we could organize a local buy since there's 8 or 9 of us in the area, something to discuss when we get together next.

HowardVic
06-15-2012, 11:54 AM
Hi TAKseyser et al.

I have all the federal/ATF-TTB and local state and municipal licenses and permits. This is it. The mead I have is what I am going to sell if it passes my taste test sometime in December. I will have to notify all authorities concerned as to any changes in the formula. The important thing is to have a good tasting product that will sell. The blend of Passion Fruit, which I grow myself as well as the rosemary which I also grow and the cardamom is imported, makes a sweet, fragrant mead that has been tasted by a few people who are wine connoisseurs and in the rum industry and they told me to go for it. I am. The honey is local.

Good thing I haven't had the labels made yet. I designed them but they won't be necessary until next year. It's a small cottage industry set up nothing the Rothschild's or Napa Valley need worry about. Let me see if I can figure out the picture posting format of this forum so I can post a pic of the wine racks I had made later in the week. Seems that icon of a mountain "Insert Image" is only for URLS and I need to upload pics from my pc.

I have contacted the manufacturers of the fermenters and I am waiting for their reply in order to pay for two more 132 gallon fermenters.

Good thing I have Peptobismol and Alkazelter on hand.

Later...

Jas53
06-15-2012, 01:42 PM
Not long enough to make it a good deal to purchase on your own. You could probably get away with buying 80 grams, but the 500 gram packages would probably go to waste since legally you can only make between 100-200 gallons a year depending on how many adults live in the house. Depending on which strains ordered and if we found a way to vacumn seal them we could organize a local buy since there's 8 or 9 of us in the area, something to discuss when we get together next.

Have a foodsaver vacuum system - just unsure how well it would work with yeast considering how staticy it is in nowmal 5 or 8g packets. Would it get sucked into vacuum or not. Will have to test out - bulk sharing/ordering would be great.

HowardVic
06-28-2012, 09:48 PM
Greetings everybuddy.

Sanitized everything in sight and racked the mead into a sanitized temp holding tank while I sanitized the fermenter to rack the mead back into it with electric pump at slow speed. Started in mid morning finished it all close to midnight.

We all know I have a LOT of air space in the fermenter so I mixed 100 crushed Campden tabs and 2 and 1/3 jar of Potassium Sorbate in 5 gallons of the mead set aside and added gently to the mead in the fermenter with pump at slow speed (although I tossed the crushed Campden tabs into the 5 gallon carboy along with the Potoassium Metabisulfite) to, hopefully, avoid oxidation. Should be receiving an order of more Campden tabs and Postassium Metabisulfite and ascorbic acid for added protection against oxidation. As soon as I can, I will clarify with Bentonite and bottle ASAP because with so much air space, there's no time for bulk aging due to risk of prolonged oxygen exposure.

Meanwhile, I added a page to my mead's web site with an English translation and photographs I tried to take as artistically as possible to woo future clients on the island because I have federal and local license to make and sell ONLY on the U.S. Territory of the island of Puerto Rico. If things go well a year or two from now, I will go through the additional red tape and fees to be able to sell stateside and overseas. We'll see.

On the upper right hand side of my web site's home page is a tab "English Version," which will open up to a descriptive text of my mead which is called Hydromiel Apidoro and the above-mentioned pics. Take a gander at the other pages as well, although, the text is in Spanish.

The URL is: www.apidoros.com (http://www.apidoros.com)

Hydromiel is Spanish for mead (hydro = water [Greek] + miel = honey. Apidoro is api meaning bee and doro Italian d'oro meaning "of gold." Golden Bee Mead.

Even if this batch tastes like the notorious cardboard because of oxidation, I will just have to buy more honey and go for it again having learned from my recent mistakes.

FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.

Feedback on the web site is appreciated.

Later...

PS - I made the top of the Greek style temple on the home page which houses the bottle of mead by making a rubber silicone mold and pouring a liquid plastic after using miniature architectural details such as Greek dentil molding then applying fake gold leaf. I haven't put the glass sides and front which are lying on a shelf to it yet. The columns were also miniature dollhouse details bought online which I painted and gold leafed. I bet I could buy a hollow bull's horn and make it look worthy of a Viking chieftain. Next project while the mead ages. What a trip.

skunkboy
06-28-2012, 10:48 PM
Nice english page. :)

Someone spent some time on the photography, and the mead.

HowardVic
06-28-2012, 11:12 PM
Hi skunkboy.

Yes, I spent a lot of time on taking the pics and making the mead which is still taking time but I like it. Mead is really a complex beverage. Great history, too.

I came back to check if there was a rule against posting your own web site or something to that effect because I was about to register at another mead web site because I saw an article in which a nameless yeast was used by someone living in a desert who said it was a good mead for hot climates and I wanted to contact the individual to get the name of yeast. I was about to register when I read in the rules that no web site or product pr was permitted.

I am really too pooped to pop at this time 11:09 PM Caribbean time and will check in tomorrow to check out the feedback. Thanks, everybuddy, good night.