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Leeham991
07-11-2012, 09:58 PM
Hello all,

I started a batch of mead a couple of days ago. Sanitized everything as good as I could.
I did however start in a little bit of a rush as I'd already had trouble getting hold of a fermentation chamber last month and really wanted some mead to take with me to a christmas festival in early december. Seems I may have missed the dead line for a nice smooth mead by then, but at least I'll have something drinkable for late december xD
As I've never brewed anything before (other than a few undrinkable sugar wines to test how well my designating brewing area could keep a consistent temperature) I am unsure of what it should actually smell like.

Anyway. Recipe... unfortunately dirt cheap, caught myself at a bit of a squeeze and had to use cheap honey, as well as missing out on a hydrometre and proper thermometre, but things go\\

3.4KG of cheap blossom honey
2.27KG of wild honey
- 5.67
23 litres of water
(I know I'm a criminal for mixing xD , but the wild honey was very expensive and the only way I could make close to the desired amount was to stock up with cheaper blossom honey)

That put me in at about 1.134KG a gallon (I was suggested 1.5KG a gallon for 'sweet mead' but I always prefered dry drinks, also I'm a bit broke), although I'm not entirely sure what a gallon is, but my recipe called for 'standard 5 gallon' fermentation chamber, and all 10 of the fermentation chambers I found in the shop were 23 litre, so I'm just guessing a little here xD

Anyway:
Used a small tube of yeast nutrient suitable for 23 litres (recommended in the recipe I was using as reference) and a 23 litre suitable packet of Champagne yeast.
It all started up fermenting after 22 hours and is now bubbling nicely. However, after all of this rambling and dancing around, the smell, the point of this thread, is what I'm unsure about.

About 50 hours since I put the fermenter in the cupboard as of posting this and it smells EXACTLY like bannoffee pie!
No idea if this is normal, doesn't exactly smell 'off', but it doesn't have the slightly sweet yeasty smell I expected from it, but it's bubbling away nicely and there is a large layer of foam on top. But like I said, I'm totally new to this.

Any suggestions/advice, put my mind to rest :3

Thanks
- JL

PS: I'm 90% sure that every gallon mentioned here is an American gallon, not a British gallon.

skunkboy
07-11-2012, 11:08 PM
Banoffee pie, I had to look this up on wikipedia : bananas, custard, and whip cream?

What did your honey smell like, and what is and ambient temperature that the mead is fermenting at?

My primary guess that your just smelling fermentation and its side affects...

Leeham991
07-11-2012, 11:14 PM
More specifically it smells like a home made bannoffee pie. Banana, toffee and whipped cream. It's uncanny how close the smell is.

The honey itself didn't smell that remarkable. Cheap stuff. The blossom honey smelled more or less like 'honey', the wild honey had a much deeper smell though, sort of thick, less sugary and more flowery.

Ambient temperature is between 19-23C
Can't prevent the flux unfortunately, but I'm keeping it as stable as I possibly can

fatbloke
07-12-2012, 04:43 AM
The aroma is nothing. Champagne yeasts have a habit of blowing a lot of the aromatics and some of the more subtle flavouring elements straight out the airlock (plus a lot of HBS recommend them as they know sod all about meads and make sweeping generalisations, given the levels of sugars in honey - mostly it's not bad/wrong advice, just poor, ill-considered).

The amount of honey used is likely to give you a dry mead. Which is "an acquired taste". To get it sorted for your time scale, I would let it ferment dry, then rack it off the sediment, then stabilise it with sulphite and sorbate, then back sweeten it with which ever honey it is that you like the most (you may need as much as 1lb of it). The back sweetening honey is mixed 50/50 with water, then added a little at a time. After each addition, take a hydrometer reading and a little taste - so you know when you've got a gravity reading that matches your preferred level of sweetness (commercial meads are often IRO 1.040 here, but they're too sweet for me, I like mine about 1.015, so that's what I aim for when back sweetening).

If you follow the above suggestion, and then let it clear naturally, or even using finings, you should have something ready for crimbo. The only extra thing you might need to consider, would be that it may need a little acid (I use the mix of 2 parts malic to 1 part tartaric, as suggested in Ashton & Duncans "Making Mead" book - now out of print, but it's from the same stable as CJJ Berry's "first steps in wine making"). As with the back sweetening process, adding acid is also done in small increments. You want something with a tiny bit of "bite" but not something that tastes like honey flavoured sherbert!

Leeham991
07-12-2012, 04:59 AM
I feel like maybe I shouldn't rush the next batch, which hopefully I'll be starting up in a few weeks when this rushed lot is ready to put in the second chamber, I'll take upmost care and spare no expense with that one.

Anyway, this mead I'm getting ready for christmas, champagne yeast I was told to use for mead, but if it kills the aromatics I'm wondering if I should go knock that person round the head or not.

I'll be getting a hydrometre at the earliest possible chance, then I'm sure what you said with the numbers will make more sense, and I'll get myself some better mead and try a hand at this back sweetening stuff. I think I'll have to do more reading into the acid thing though, that's gone totally over my head

Thanks for the advice though, believe me I'm writing this all down because I still don't have any idea what I think I'm doing xD

Chevette Girl
07-12-2012, 10:23 AM
Nah, don't knock the bloke in the head, it's not his fault he's ignorant about mead... They recommend that for a lot of things because it's mostly idiot-proof for newbies... just tell him that you've been researching it and champagne yeast tends to blow the delicates off and there are other better suggestions for the next time he's asked... spread the knowledge! (although you'll have to ask Fatbloke about what's good to use that can be found locally, I mostly only ever use Lalvin yeasts, I'm finding my favourites are K1V and D47 for meads, RC-212 for anything really fruity.

And yeah, it's mostly US gallons referred to here. I had to do a bit of math myself when I first got here but at least I'm still used to dealing with pounds :p My favourite conversion site for converting from American is here (http://www.onlineconversion.com/)...

I suggest you keep a mead log for each batch, mine are all in a notebook with the occasional interspersed page full of notes I've found in my readings...

Another option if you want something decent in time for Xmas is JAO, presuming you like sweet meads.

The acid addition Fatbloke mentioned is just in case the finished mead is lacking in something, gives it a little bite. If it tastes fine to you when it's done, don't worry about it.

kudapucat
07-12-2012, 09:45 PM
Nah, don't knock the bloke in the head, it's not his fault he's ignorant about mead...

This is the most common response I get from any LHBS when I ask him what yeast he has.
Interestingly, many are resistant to learning that they're wrong.
I told a guy once (major importer here in aust) that EC1118 was no good as it blows off volatiles. (we had already stated we were dealing with mead) and his response was [mockingly] "It's just the highest volume yeast we sell"
I was thinking,
1. I'm the customer, don't tell me I know nothing
2. Perhaps that's because you recommend it so strongly!


I suggest you keep a mead log for each batch, mine are all in a notebook with the occasional interspersed page full of notes I've found in my readings...

Definitely do this. I print 2 custom pages, on 1 standard sized page. Then I take to to my office supplies store who photocopies it 20 times, guillotines it in half and binds it with a pretty cover. If I'm hasselled, I could post the pdf for you to print.


Another option if you want something decent in time for Xmas is JAO, presuming you like sweet meads.

Definitely go brew a JAO right now.
it's too easy, and it serves two purposes
1. Gives you something to drink
2. Will be ready by XMas
3. Stops you losing heart because your other mead's not ready yet
Oh, that's 3 reasons, well you get one fore free OK?

Chevette Girl
07-12-2012, 11:09 PM
This is the most common response I get from any LHBS when I ask him what yeast he has.
Interestingly, many are resistant to learning that they're wrong.
I told a guy once (major importer here in aust) that EC1118 was no good as it blows off volatiles. (we had already stated we were dealing with mead) and his response was "It's just the highest volume yeast we sell"
I was thinking,
1. I'm the customer, don't tell me I know nothing
2. Perhaps that's because you recommend it so strongly!

[mock]That's because you sell to people who don't know how to make anything better than wine kit wines. Or perhaps because this isn't as much of a problem with grapes, but we're not fermenting grapes.

EC-1118 does have its uses and I'd still recommend it to a beginner as a hassle-free yeast, but I would explain that it's not the be-all and end-all yeast, even though it's pretty much all I used for the first 4 years I brewed, mostly because my wine book suggested champagne yeast for many of its recipes. Maybe I'm just lucky with my LHBS's but the owner of the one that specializes in wine kits recommended the RC-212 for fruity stuff, and I've probably taught him a thing or two about the weird stuff I've fermented (haven't told them about chevette parts though, I'd probably lose any brewing cred right then!). The other store that's a bit better stocked for home brewers that don't just do onsite wine and beer kits has made mead, and though I've never asked what yeast they'd recommend, just from my discussions with them about meads and fruit wines, they'd be open to learning more about something they don't do much of. Now I'm curious and will ask next time I'm in.

Although personally, I would need to do side-by-side batches using different yeasts to actually verify what it does to the honey flavour and aroma... I'm not sure I'd actually notice the difference otherwise. I myself do not have a good grasp of the effects of using different yeasts. It's on the to-brew list, honest.

Leeham991
07-12-2012, 11:23 PM
Does that recipe work well for larger batches?

I know where I was going to get hold of a pair of 12 liter glass carboys to rack this mead into, and if I picked up another one while I'm at it I'd possibly use that, but would also give an excuse for a larger batch if that works ok with it.

Chevette Girl
07-12-2012, 11:29 PM
Yes, JAO does upsize quite well, I've done several 3-gal batches. You just have to multiply all the ingredients by the number of gallons, technically you don't have to up the yeast until about 5 gallons but I do anyway because it's cheap and can't hurt anything.

Leeham991
07-12-2012, 11:38 PM
I'll be headed into town hopefully some time next week, so I'll gather ingredients there when I pick up the carboys and the hydrometre I couldn't find last week :D

fatbloke
07-13-2012, 01:16 AM
If you do try a JAO (and have enough time to read the JAO thread - its probably the longest thread here), don't worry about not finding the exact yeast (its a US brand), I use Allinsons or even a supermarket own brand, I just use half decent wild flower honey and I just make it up to an imperial gallon.

It still comes out fine........

Leeham991
07-14-2012, 03:15 AM
UPDATE:

The fermentation has slowed right down, or at least the airlock has slowed right down. I had some problems with the lid and had to wrap it in clingfilm to avoid too much air leaking, but couldn't get the seal exactly, so I'd guess it's a little more active than the airlock is indicating.
Anyway, the smell, which used to be like bananas and toffee, is now sort of sour general sour smell. Something has changed, not sure if normal or if I need to do something to fix it? :confused:

Chevette Girl
07-14-2012, 07:14 AM
Usually the smells you should be alarmed at would be sulphur, rotten egg, rubber, or vomit... if you're really alarmed, microwave some bread yeast in a small amount of water and chuck it in, it can absorb some smells and also feed yeast that might be making stink because they're undernourished.

If you're really concerned, get a taste!

And leaky bucket seals aren't anything to really worry about, just don't leave it in that bucket for secondary and you're fine.

Leeham991
07-14-2012, 09:01 AM
Unfortunately there wasn't any big carboys left when I went into town today, so I got 5 smaller ones. Unfortunately it left me a bit short so I wasn't able to put together all of the JAO mead, but I've got some expensive forest honey that it my favourite on toast, be using that to backsweeten, or maybe even add now.

I'll tell you what I decide when I'm next on xD

Leeham991
07-15-2012, 10:33 AM
UPDATE:

I did decide in the end, despite what I said on another thread, to add the expensive honey to the mead. It started up a giant foam and the mixture has gone a deep amber colour.

In the spirit of this thread though I should mention that the smell has changed to being what I can only describe as 'slightly sour bannoffee pie' xD

fatbloke
07-15-2012, 02:39 PM
UPDATE:

I did decide in the end, despite what I said on another thread, to add the expensive honey to the mead. It started up a giant foam and the mixture has gone a deep amber colour.

In the spirit of this thread though I should mention that the smell has changed to being what I can only describe as 'slightly sour bannoffee pie' xD
Ha ha!, well obviously the yeast like to produce some esters as well (often banana-ish smelling, especially with honey).

Once it's settled down, and finished and you've racked it off the main part of the sediment (a.k.a. gross lees), have a little taste. I'd put money on it that it will not taste as you expect it too. A lot of "young" meads, taste pretty damn hideous. The clearing and ageing process are the real magic IMO, because you put something that's a bit cloudy into a DJ, you know it's got some alcohol in it, as you can often taste it, sometimes a lot (the alcohol hot taste you might see mentioned in threads), but 6 months to a year down the line, you taste it and it's got the beginnings of something truely amazing.

I'd say, that at that point, is where you make sure it's stabilised, then with a 50/50 honey and water mix, you add that a little bit at a time, carefully stirring it in to mix, but you don't want to agitate the hell out of it, then you test the gravity and also have a little taste. That continues until you're happy with the level of sweetness. Then once it's finally cleared, bottle it. Complete ambrosia ;D:cool:

Leeham991
07-15-2012, 07:33 PM
I've been told to expect a taste not unlike boot polish even as far down the line as putting perfectly clear mead in bottles xD

I'm really hopeful for this mead now and I think I'll start collecting bottles right away, get everything ready/// I was thinking of racking to the glass carboys some time between monday 23rd and the beginning of next month, but I'm guessing it all depends on when all the yeast calms down to almost nothing. According to what I've read one of the only ways to ruin a mead other than bad sanitizing is to do the first racking too early

fatbloke
07-17-2012, 05:14 AM
I've been told to expect a taste not unlike boot polish even as far down the line as putting perfectly clear mead in bottles xD

I'm really hopeful for this mead now and I think I'll start collecting bottles right away, get everything ready/// I was thinking of racking to the glass carboys some time between monday 23rd and the beginning of next month, but I'm guessing it all depends on when all the yeast calms down to almost nothing. According to what I've read one of the only ways to ruin a mead other than bad sanitizing is to do the first racking too early
If it's still fermenting and you rack it, you're asking for a stuck ferment, as you will have left a lot of the yeast colony in the lees that's have been racked out.

It's usually best to leave it alone to ferment, then when there's no sign of bubbles in the airlock, you test it until you've got 3 identical test results taken across a period of about a week i.e. tests taken about 3 days apart.

Once that result is in, you can either leave it a while to drop sediment, or if you've got about a half an inch depth, then rack it.

With traditionals, I like to back sweeten it with honey, but doing that with a clear mead, can cause a protein haze, so I usually rack it a first time, then stabilise, then back sweeten to taste - so I know roughly how sweet it will be.

Then I clear it, sometimes with age, sometimes with finings.

That way, the only other thing that needs to be done is the final finishing i.e. if I think it needs a bit of acid bite, I will do that now, and the same applies to a little tannin. Then it just gets filtered (I could just let it sit, but I like to get it bottled at this stage).

Leeham991
07-18-2012, 08:29 AM
UPDATE

I took a hydrometer reading and honestly I forgot what it was because I was worried by the taste of the mead and felt the need to run to the computer xD

I was expecting a sort of hot alcohol taste, but what it actually tasted like was just sweet yeast.

The fermentation has slowed down again since I added the new honey on saturday and now the airlock isn't bubbling at all, but it is lopsided so I'm pretty sure that there is still some gases that are pushing their way out.

I'm a little worried because it seems to have no sort of alcohol in it at all, and the colour has gone from a deep amber to a yellow. It's also still cloudy.

Hydrometer I'm pretty sure was just at the black line which says 'bottle beer', around 10 on the 'specific gravity' marked side of the thing.

Temperature has been holding 24c for the last week.

On another note my hands smell like a pub from accidently getting some of the mead on me, so I'm thinking there is at least a little bit of alcohol in it.

Chevette Girl
07-18-2012, 11:18 AM
Well, if it still tastes sweet, it's definitely not ready to bottle. If it's been a slow ferment, you may never have that hot alcohol taste.

Check your hydrometer again, and if you haven't gotten one with numbers yet, do yourself a favour and get one, the beer one is just not appropriate to this situation.

Leeham991
07-18-2012, 12:09 PM
Well, if it still tastes sweet, it's definitely not ready to bottle. If it's been a slow ferment, you may never have that hot alcohol taste.

Check your hydrometer again, and if you haven't gotten one with numbers yet, do yourself a favour and get one, the beer one is just not appropriate to this situation.

I wasn't planning on putting it into secondary until the end of the month, but I took hydrometer readings on it because I was curious about it. Mine does have numbers on. It's got 3 sets of numbers actually. One seems to be simple on the side which says "start wine" "start beer" "bottle beer" etc etc, another side with very small numbers which appear to be the same, and on the other side is an alcohol potential chart.

I'll take another reading later in the day and give you better information. I wish I'd written down the number I got this morning but I was worried by the sudden drop in airlock bubbles to almost nothing and the bizarre sweet yeast taste and panicked a little

EDIT:
Took a reading. Around 1.090

There is also no foam and it smells sort of off. Smells a lot like my grandfather's compost heap actually...

Chevette Girl
07-18-2012, 02:10 PM
Yeah, that's still got a fair ways to go.

Compost heap, huh... well, I've definitely had fermenting stuff in my compost but I've never had the same smell from a wine... rotten egg, barf, vinegar, spoiled fruit, but not rotting compost.

Leeham991
07-18-2012, 02:19 PM
It doesn't smell of rotten egg, rubber, vomit or sulphur though, so I think what I'l going to do it seal it up as well as possible and forget about it for 2 weeks, then see what happens then.

I'm still a little worried about the fermentation. When it started it was bubbling every 20 seconds for days days, then it stopped and it didn't seem to be strong enough to bubble more, just push the water all into one side of the airlock. Then I added the extra honey a few days later and it repeated the 2 days of bubbling every 20 seconds, then back to just moving all the water to one side of the airlock and not seeming to bubble. I imagine that the air is escaping from the bad lid which I haven't been able to fully close, but still it seems a little slow to me.
Also the lack of foam on top of the mix is worrying me a little, although there is a centimetre of stuff at the bottom of the fermenter. I should note though that the bottom of my fermenter is coned inwards a little so that all of the sediment goes to the sides, so not sure how accurate the amount it by the measurement of height.

Chevette Girl
07-18-2012, 02:46 PM
This is exactly the reason we tell folks to go by their hydrometer, not by their airlock. I've got one bucket with such a crappy seal that it's never bubbled, I've even used a solid plug in its hole when I ran out of airlocks. And not all batches foam much, if at all. Trust your hydrometer, you can't honestly tell by sight how your fermentation is doing.


Have you been aerating it so far? I generally find that splashing it around is a good way to blow off stinkies from a must, also sometimes the stinkies can be caused by yeast in need of something, which might even turn out to be oxygen (in the first half of your fermentation, anyway).

I know you added some nutrients at the beginning, but likely the amount was geared towards a grape must, which already has some good nutrition for yeast, and you're making mead, not wine... perhaps your yeast need a little bit more? If you only had the one packet, you can always take a few tsp of bread yeast and microwave or boil it in some water. Sometimes this can soak up off odours too, as much as it may stink your house up while you're preparing it!

It's definitely early enough in your fermentation to still be aerating and possibly also adding nutrients.

Leeham991
07-18-2012, 02:53 PM
I've got another packet of yeast nutrient stored away, I could easily mix it in.

And honestly I'd not really put much thought into aerating, I have it written down as something I need to do, but not sure how to go about it. I imagine shaking up the barrel a little would do the job?

Chevette Girl
07-18-2012, 04:28 PM
If you're using a bucket, sanitize a whisk or plastic spoon or something and get in there and make as many bubbles as you can (without slopping over the edges) for as long as your arm holds out. If it's in a carboy, it's a little more difficult, it's almost easier to pour some out into a sanitized blender (liquidizer) and whip the crap out of it.

Be careful about just shaking it, you've shaken an open can of carbonated beverage before? Same deal, sometimes that can get kind of messy. Swirling it for a little while to dislodge some CO2 and then shaking it can help, but you need to make sure the lid's off so you're not just shaking it around in the carbon dioxide it's been making, remember, your goal is to get oxygen in to your yeasties. Anything that splashes it around (air entrainment) is fine.

Typically we do this a few times a day for the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the fermentation.

And if you're adding anything powdered to an active ferment, aerate it first or you're just asking for an eruption...

Leeham991
07-23-2012, 09:03 PM
UPDATE:

Decided to rack the mead today as it is the only free time I had for a few weeks and it just felt like the right day. Right in the middle of the times on all of the various recipes I've looked at.
The gravity reading was about 1.035 I think. I'm definitely getting a more expensive hydrometer for my next batch of anything I do... I was also beginning to mistrust the fermenter, so ya; I got up in the morning and get it set into my head that I must rack this stuff tonight, so that's what I did.

Anyway, a few things have changed since my last update. The smell has changed to a sort of sweetish sourish smell with a lot of yeast.

Racking went well, got out a full 23 litres without picking up any of the beige gunky stuff at the bottom of the barrel.

I also tasted it, which was the most interesting part for me.
It tasted slightly yeasty, but also bitter and pretty sharp. A definite alcohol taste too, definitely more ABV than I was expecting given my pessimism, maybe around 10%, but not exactly a hot taste. I'm guessing in the ABV based on the alcohol taste being about twice as strong as a 8% cider I had today and taking into account un-aged alcohol. Though you guys might tell me that it's more likely just really hot at about 3% ABV, which wouldn't surprise me by my luck xD
Anyway the thing that surprised me is that it had an under taste which was mead. It tasted like mead like I buy in a bottle, only with a layer of sharpness. Surprised me because I had more or less been expecting it to taste like sour milk and vodka xD

Anyway, odd smell, odd taste, though I'm sort of encouraged by it. But I'll leave it up to you people of experience to tell me to be happy to put it away for a few months or just put it back into the big barrel and make it into vinegar xD

Deacon Aegis
07-24-2012, 01:52 AM
UPDATE:

Decided to rack the mead today as it is the only free time I had for a few weeks and it just felt like the right day. Right in the middle of the times on all of the various recipes I've looked at.
The gravity reading was about 1.035 I think. I'm definitely getting a more expensive hydrometer for my next batch of anything I do... I was also beginning to mistrust the fermenter, so ya; I got up in the morning and get it set into my head that I must rack this stuff tonight, so that's what I did.

Anyway, a few things have changed since my last update. The smell has changed to a sort of sweetish sourish smell with a lot of yeast.

Racking went well, got out a full 23 litres without picking up any of the beige gunky stuff at the bottom of the barrel.

I also tasted it, which was the most interesting part for me.
It tasted slightly yeasty, but also bitter and pretty sharp. A definite alcohol taste too, definitely more ABV than I was expecting given my pessimism, maybe around 10%, but not exactly a hot taste. I'm guessing in the ABV based on the alcohol taste being about twice as strong as a 8% cider I had today and taking into account un-aged alcohol. Though you guys might tell me that it's more likely just really hot at about 3% ABV, which wouldn't surprise me by my luck xD
Anyway the thing that surprised me is that it had an under taste which was mead. It tasted like mead like I buy in a bottle, only with a layer of sharpness. Surprised me because I had more or less been expecting it to taste like sour milk and vodka xD

Anyway, odd smell, odd taste, though I'm sort of encouraged by it. But I'll leave it up to you people of experience to tell me to be happy to put it away for a few months or just put it back into the big barrel and make it into vinegar xD

From the sounds of it, be pretty happy about it. The 1.035 is a pretty sweet mead, but most meads fresh out of the fermenter taste like crap. Gotta give it six months to a year to age for it to really come into its own. I've got one that is at four months now and it is starting to smooth out nicely and taste fairly good. Give it time. It will improve dramatically with age.

Leeham991
07-24-2012, 11:15 AM
From the sounds of it, be pretty happy about it. The 1.035 is a pretty sweet mead, but most meads fresh out of the fermenter taste like crap. Gotta give it six months to a year to age for it to really come into its own. I've got one that is at four months now and it is starting to smooth out nicely and taste fairly good. Give it time. It will improve dramatically with age.

I looked this morning and saw that the airlocks have started up again into a mild set of bubbles, so it might lose the sweetness a little. I'm guessing that I was a little too rough with the racking as I had a real awkward job getting the siphon right. Pretty sure I need to do a little bit of improvement on the nozzle xD Anyway I'm not too worried, and I can see this being a good thing. Though I assume that I'll have to rack it again in a few weeks since fermentations has restarted? Or will it be fine to age how it is now until it's ready for bottling?

Deacon Aegis
07-24-2012, 03:28 PM
I looked this morning and saw that the airlocks have started up again into a mild set of bubbles, so it might lose the sweetness a little. I'm guessing that I was a little too rough with the racking as I had a real awkward job getting the siphon right. Pretty sure I need to do a little bit of improvement on the nozzle xD Anyway I'm not too worried, and I can see this being a good thing. Though I assume that I'll have to rack it again in a few weeks since fermentations has restarted? Or will it be fine to age how it is now until it's ready for bottling?

As long as you aren't using D21 yeast, you'll have no problem letting it sit on the lees for any length of time up to several months. I'd let it continue to ferment after the rack until the numbers on your hydrometer don't change for several weeks. Once it starts to clear a bit, rack it over again onto some sulphates and sorbate to assure the fermentation is halted and let it age and clear a bunch more then rack it again and backsweeten to flavor with some more honey and let it age some more and clear. That's how I'd handle it. If the final gravity is 1.015 to 1.020, then you can skip the backsweetening on it and simply let it age and clear. I tend to rack my meads over every few months after that as it is aging and clearing to move it off of the sediment. As it stands, I am not going to even begin bottling any of meads until they have bulk aged for at least a year, then I'll bottle some of them.

fatbloke
07-24-2012, 04:16 PM
As long as you aren't using D21 yeast, you'll have no problem letting it sit on the lees for any length of time up to several months. I'd let it continue to ferment after the rack until the numbers on your hydrometer don't change for several weeks. Once it starts to clear a bit, rack it over again onto some sulphates and sorbate to assure the fermentation is halted and let it age and clear a bunch more then rack it again and backsweeten to flavor with some more honey and let it age some more and clear. That's how I'd handle it. If the final gravity is 1.015 to 1.020, then you can skip the backsweetening on it and simply let it age and clear. I tend to rack my meads over every few months after that as it is aging and clearing to move it off of the sediment. As it stands, I am not going to even begin bottling any of meads until they have bulk aged for at least a year, then I'll bottle some of them.
Have you had a problem ageing D21 ? Or were you thinking of 71B ?

Cos I've had no probs with D21, but I'm fully aware of the issues with 71B.....

Leeham991
07-24-2012, 04:20 PM
My yeast came in a white packet with 'champagne yeast' on the front and 'open here' with a line on the back. No idea which breed number it is xD

kudapucat
07-24-2012, 06:18 PM
Hehe. Try to steer away from no name yeasts. It's impossible to know what they are. I'm guessing it would be similar to SN9 or EC-1118 though.
Having yeast with documentation helps you plan and manage your brews.

Deacon Aegis
07-24-2012, 06:24 PM
Have you had a problem ageing D21 ? Or were you thinking of 71B ?

Cos I've had no probs with D21, but I'm fully aware of the issues with 71B.....

Fatbloke, you're right. I was thinking of 71B... My bad.

Leeham991
07-24-2012, 06:58 PM
Hehe. Try to steer away from no name yeasts. It's impossible to know what they are. I'm guessing it would be similar to SN9 or EC-1118 though.
Having yeast with documentation helps you plan and manage your brews.

I can't remember the website it came from, but it was definitely shown with a different packet on there. It was a purple packet as far as I remember. Although it could have been a different yeast because a friend sent it over, but he linked to the page with the yeast in the purple packet to show what he was sending.

Now can take a shot in the dark with the aging for it. Do SN9 and EC-1118 age well?

kudapucat
07-24-2012, 09:02 PM
Sure. Most meads age well no matter the yeast.
Ageing's more to do with the alcohol content. 3% braggots or hydro meld don't age as well as 12% meads.
But then, they don't need as much ageing either.

kudapucat
07-24-2012, 09:03 PM
Sounds like a safale yeast. They're in purple and pink sachets.