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Msarro
07-30-2012, 09:41 PM
Hey everyone! This is my first post, but I come from a significant amount of experience in home brewing beer.

I am attempting my very first batch of mead in an effort to have it by Oct. 26 2013 for my wedding.

If everything worked out exactly and I got what I wanted, I would end up with a sweet aromatic mead, with a nice luscious mouthfeel. I am aiming for approximately 15% above. Based on the calculator, I should be fairly close, if not a little high.

Here is the recipe:
1 US gallon orange blossom honey
5 lbs wildflower honey
5.5 tbsp bee pollen
1 lb organic unsulphered raisins (reconstitute with water)
1/2 peel of a medium naval orange (pith removed)
2 packs d47 yeast.
~2 tsp potassium metabisulfite (add to all ingredients but yeast and let sit for 24 hours to sterilize must without a boil)

In secondary:
3 cinnamon sticks
2 cloves
2-3 threads saffron

So, off the bat D47 is supposed to be able to make it up to 14% abv. I assume there will be a few commandos who can survive a little longer. This was a suggestion at another forum. Originally my local home brew shop provided me champagne yeast (ec1118 ) but I was concerned that I'd end up with a completely dry end product. They suggested back sweetening, or tasting once every few days and stopping fermentation when e desired taste was achieved.

Honestly I like the process which keeps my hands out of the fermenter. With brewing beer, having yeast go into alcohol concentrations it can't handle can cause off favors. Is this a concern with mead? Is there another way to do this I haven't thought of?

Your feedback is much appreciated, as is any critiques on the recipe.

mccann51
07-31-2012, 12:05 AM
What is the size of this batch? I'm assuming a 5 gal for an OG of about 1.125. This is pretty high for only providing the yeast with raisins as nutrient. You may want to consider giving the little guys some Fermaid or similar product to avoid an unnecessarily large amount of off-flavors.

The off-flavors you're gonna get from pushing the yeast far are fusels. With beer, there's an expectation of a quick turnaround, which is not the case with mead. You're gonna want to let this age no matter what, so this will take care of the fusels. Also, with aging, a perception of sweetness returns to a mead, so my advice is always to wait until something is aged before backsweetening. If you want a fast turnaround, backsweetening can help cover up a lack of aging (ie fusels), but aging is a much better option if available.

JSquared
07-31-2012, 12:17 AM
Hey everyone! This is my first post, but I come from a significant amount of experience in home brewing beer...Honestly I like the process which keeps my hands out of the fermenter.

Welcome!

Mead is truly a odd change from beer...Because of the use of a more ABV tolerant yeast and the lack of nutrients provided by honey (recommend searching for SNA or step nutrient additions) "Getting your hands in" the fermenter, at least at the beginning, is pretty much a necessity between aeration, degassing, and nutrient additions. Also prevention of stressed yeast (by nutrient addition as well as careful temperature control) is the easiest way to prevent off flavors and/or aromas.

P.S. the search feature is your best friend here :)

Msarro
07-31-2012, 06:26 AM
What is the size of this batch? I'm assuming a 5 gal for an OG of about 1.125. This is pretty high for only providing the yeast with raisins as nutrient. You may want to consider giving the little guys some Fermaid or similar product to avoid an unnecessarily large amount of off-flavors.

The off-flavors you're gonna get from pushing the yeast far are fusels. With beer, there's an expectation of a quick turnaround, which is not the case with mead. You're gonna want to let this age no matter what, so this will take care of the fusels. Also, with aging, a perception of sweetness returns to a mead, so my advice is always to wait until something is aged before backsweetening. If you want a fast turnaround, backsweetening can help cover up a lack of aging (ie fusels), but aging is a much better option if available.

Bee pollen will be acting as the nutrient. Raisins and orange peel are there to provide tannins, not really as a nutrition source.

Medsen Fey
07-31-2012, 09:45 AM
Between the bee pollen and the raisins you probably have enough nitrogen for the yeast, but remember that D47 does not perform its best when hungry. It may help to add something like Fermaid O which is organic to insure they are well fed.

In a traditional mead D47 will rarely go beyond 14%, so you should end up with a nice sweet mead.

You don't need so much KMeta up front. That is a large dose. With a traditional mead you don't really need any. You can mix the must and pitch the rehydrated yeast without delay. Mead is much less prone to spoilage than beer.

If you chop up the raisins they may help keep the pH stable which is a common challenge with traditional meads that you don't see with beer.

I hope you get a great result.

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Msarro
07-31-2012, 10:50 AM
Between the bee pollen and the raisins you probably have enough nitrogen for the yeast, but remember that D47 does not perform its best when hungry. It may help to add something like Fermaid O which is organic to insure they are well fed.

In a traditional mead D47 will rarely go beyond 14%, so you should end up with a nice sweet mead.

You don't need so much KMeta up front. That is a large dose. With a traditional mead you don't really need any. You can mix the must and pitch the rehydrated yeast without delay. Mead is much less prone to spoilage than beer.

If you chop up the raisins they may help keep the pH stable which is a common challenge with traditional meads that you don't see with beer.

I hope you get a great result.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

Thank you! Out of curiousity - is there any problem with using the lower tolerance yeast in a high OG must? I know with beer it can cause fusel alcohols and other off flavors. Is that less of a case with wine yeasts?

Also, after seeing the temperature of my fermenting room (average 78 degrees) I'm going to have to switch to a different yeast. Most likely lalvin 71B.

Robusto
07-31-2012, 10:56 AM
Hi Msarro. Couple of things… First Welcome to Got Mead. It’s always nice to have another brewer here. I only brewed beer until about two years ago, and probably didn’t get serious making mead until last year. Being a brewer first, you will find quite a few things different when making mead than brewing beer. The thing that I found pretty surprising is the amount of nutrients that you need to supply to your yeasties. When brewing beer, all or the nutrients are in the wort. When making mead, there are very few nutrients in the must. Low nutrient musts can cause the yeast to make off flavors and smells. Take the time to research the proper nutrients and the correct dosages before you begin and you will have a better product that you can drink sooner. Keep in mind that with only about 3 months until your wedding, if you produce any fusel alcohols or off flavors, your mead may not be “drinkable” in time.
Also, it is my understanding (keep in mind that I’m no expert) that yeast make most of their off flavors closer to the end of their run- i.e. when they hit, or get close to hitting their alcohol tolerance. I have had good luck using a high tolerance yeast (mainly KV1-1116 and EC-1118.) and only giving them enough fermentables to hit my desired ABV, then stabilizing through a combination of cold crashing and adding campden tablets, and then back sweetening to the desired SG or to taste. I have used this method to make very good mead in only about 2-3 months. Your brew shop probably gave you EC-1118 because it is a very “clean” yeast that if you treat right will finish quickly with no off flavors and will do it under a wide temperature range. D-47 may not be as easy going. THe following web page helped me a lot when I was starting out:

http://www.lalvinyeast.com/strains.asp

Msarro
07-31-2012, 11:00 AM
I appreciate everyone's feedback. I should note that our wedding is in 2013 - not 2012 :)

So far I'm looking at the following changes:
No Kmeta

Keep the honey at the same level
Use 71B yeast

Medsen Fey
07-31-2012, 03:02 PM
Thank you! Out of curiousity - is there any problem with using the lower tolerance yeast in a high OG must?
..

There are some yeast that really don't like high-gravity starts such as Montrachet, but 71B and D47 will both handle an OG of 1.125 without problem.

And D47 is generally a poor choice at 78. 71B has always been favored for traditional meads because of low nutrient requirements.



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