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henrybond158
08-13-2012, 02:48 AM
I started my mead off in may in the hope that it would be ready for bottling (if not drinking) before September (when I go to uni), and September is now fast approaching. The mead has gone clear now, within the last week and it's still bubbling, and I was wondering, whether you people it though it would cease fermentation so I can bottle it and leave it for a few more months before two weeks is up, failing that, is there much of a problem transporting 5 gallons of mead, over 500 miles

I read that I should post the exact recipe, Lalvin EC-1118 15lbs of blossom honey and 4 gallons of mineral water

have a photo http://dl.dropbox.com/u/19553370/WP_000312.jpg

Deacon Aegis
08-13-2012, 03:16 AM
Greetings,
I am actually really surprised that your mead is still fermenting. By now, EC-1118 should have run that mead dry as a bone. What is the current hydrometer reading? I assume you are doing a show mead and not a traditional if it is taking that long to actually ferment. The difference between a show mead and a traditional being that a traditional you are adding nutrients, where-as a show mead is basically the honey, water, and the yeast and that's it...

As for the time period you have shot for, honestly except for some of the JAO most folks recommend that one should age their meads for at least a year before serving. That said, I've got one that I started in March that is pretty much drinkable now. The difference though is that a good mead now will be a great mead in another six months. Patience is everything in mead making.

As for transporting a mead, I refer back to what the hydrometer reading is. If you don't have a hydrometer, get one. The only way to answer your question is to know where the fermentation is at. The picture you posted actually shows a relatively cloudy mead. If the hydrometer reading is where you want it to be, say around 1.015 or less, then you might want to rack the mead over on top of sorbate and sulfate to completely park the fermentation. If you are doing a show mead though, you might not want to add anything to it and let it continue doing its thing for another year or so. Either way, racking it off of the cake into a new carboy before transport could save you a real headache of stirring things back into suspension. Moving it then would be a matter of keeping the carboy covered, out of sunlight, and well protected so it doesn't get jostled or spill. You'd also want to keep it out of the heat.

I'm sure some other folks who have some experience moving their aging meads will chime in as well as those who might have some good ideas for you, but these are the things that come to mind that I can think of in considering your questions. Hope a bit of it helps. Good luck with the move!

Chevette Girl
08-14-2012, 01:11 AM
By now, EC-1118 should have run that mead dry as a bone.

Nope, not a show mead, even EC-1118 will take its sweet time if you don't feed it...

If you want to move it and you're satisified with how it tastes (ie, not too terribly sweet) I'd go with Deacon Aegis's suggestion to rack it onto potassium sorbate and some potassium metabisulphate to make sure the yeast are DONE before you move it, you probably would want to be able to stopper it and you can't really take off the airlock until it's done.

I haven't tried moving batches so hopefully the others who have will chime in with the best way to do it if you can't bottle it first. Cases of bottles would be a lot easier to pack and ship, but you can't bottle it if it's still fermenting either. And you want a hydrometer to make sure the stabilizing chemicals actually did the job, you can't tell from the airlock.

Deacon Aegis
08-14-2012, 01:52 AM
Nope, not a show mead, even EC-1118 will take its sweet time if you don't feed it...

Aye, that's kinda why I jumped to the assumption that he's fermenting a show mead here. ;)

Chevette Girl
08-14-2012, 02:00 AM
Aye, that's kinda why I jumped to the assumption that he's fermenting a show mead here. ;)

Well, no mention of nutrients was made, just honey, water and yeast... although stabilizing it will cause it to be considered a traditional...

henrybond158
08-14-2012, 03:42 AM
Well, no mention of nutrients was made, just honey, water and yeast... although stabilizing it will cause it to be considered a traditional...

aye 'tis got no nutrients (other than some nutrient for the very initial suspension of the yeast, however, this is my first brew so I decided on something decidedly simple to get me going,

I do have a hydrometer but no trial jar, are they mandatory for taking readings?, or can I use something like a glass?

and I'm not sure my phone photo does it a lot of justice but it gave the general impression.

I don't mind ageing it for a year, in bottles would be better, so then I can get my next batch on the way =]

Chevette Girl
08-14-2012, 12:03 PM
You need something to float the hydrometer in, it's worth the $4 to get the test tube or $12 for a wine thief (I float my hydrometer right in the thief) although at least one member here sanitizes and uses the plastic tube their hydrometer came in, after removing any inserts or foam... although if you're really stuck, some waxed dental floss tied really tight (several times maybe, so it can't slip) around the top of it so it hangs vertical, you can carefully lower it into your carboy once everything's sanitized and you can get an approximate reading.

illuveatar
08-14-2012, 05:51 PM
If you do move it in the carboy and have it stoppered you'll probably want to make sure it's fully degassed. The vibration and gentle sloshing will probably build pressure behind a solid stopper and could cause it to blow off at some point. Others may feel differently about this though and I won't suggest any way to speed the degassing process, I'll yield to someone with more experience here.

Deacon Aegis
08-14-2012, 06:29 PM
Something you might want to do just for the transporting is rack the mead over to a corny keg (http://cornykeg.com/) and move it in something like that then rack it back to a carboy after the move.

skunkboy
08-14-2012, 07:03 PM
Degass and then corny keg would be my humble opinion...

fatbloke
08-15-2012, 03:26 PM
You're gonna learn about researching stuff HB, so it's helpful to know about a few places for the given subject.

The newbee guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14) is a good start. Plus, as you may have already gathered, a lot of the membership here are in the US - they have access to a far better stocked home brewing market than we do, but if you don't mind shipping prices from time to time and the uni' you're off too is located not far from a half decent HBS, then you'll be able to get a close equivalent.

Did your hydrometer come in a plastic tube or was it blister packed on card.

If it was the former, then you can actually use the plastic tube to take a reading. For a cheap sanitiser liquid, just get a hand spray from Wilko's or somewhere like that, then mix in 5 crushed campden tablets and 1 teaspoon of citric acid into a pint of water and stir it. I just mix it all in my spray bottle.

Give the inside of the plastic tube a good rinse with soap and warm water, rinse well to make sure all the soap is gone and then just spray the sanitiser in coating it well (same for the hydrometer), allow 2 or 3 minutes contact time then shake out/off any drips remaining. If you have a turkey baster, wash, rinse and spray that (inside and out) as well, as it's easy to use to take the sample out and put straight into the tube. Then supporting the tube on a flat surface, let the hydrometer settle and get the reading.

What you will find, is that because you've effectively made a show mead i.e. no nutrients, that it may still have some way to go. That's the nature of show meads, long, slow ferments.

Given your time frame, if you'd followed a traditional method, the ferment would have finished, it would have even probably cleared and be ready for ageing.

As for transporting it ? A padded (cloth, bubble wrap or even sheets of corrugated cardboard) box that doesn't give the fermenter any room to move. Wedge the box in amongst your stuff. Remove the airlock and replace it with a rubber balloon. You can spray, or tip a little sanitiser inside the balloon and give it a good scrunching, then pour out any excess liquid and then stretch it over the top of the fermenter. It should be fine.

If the movement does actually disturb the dissolved CO2, the balloon will start to inflate and take up any pressure generated.

Then once you've got it installed at uni', get some cheap bread yeast from the nearest supermarket, mix it with a little water and either boil it in a pan or nuke it in a microwave. Then let it cool before adding it to the batch, it should provide enough nutrient for it to finish, if it hasn't already done so. You'll know from the hydrometer reading.......

p.s. which uni is it you're off to ?

henrybond158
08-17-2012, 02:58 AM
awesome post, very helpful, thank you.

Unforunately I did know of this website until after I started my mead, although I did some (though less extensive) research, I was as I'm sure you've experienced yourself, keen to get it going. I think I am lucky to have got it going at all, I do have sanitizer.

I actually have a home brewing shop down the road from me, although when I went in and asked if she knew anything about brewing mead, she responded "what's mead?". Useful...

The hydrometer did come in a plastic tube, and I will use this to measure it today.

And I am off to Abertay Dundee university, and judging from Scotland's reputation, I am fairly confident that they will have a homebrew store.


Again, thanks for your post =]


You're gonna learn about researching stuff HB, so it's helpful to know about a few places for the given subject.

The newbee guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14) is a good start. Plus, as you may have already gathered, a lot of the membership here are in the US - they have access to a far better stocked home brewing market than we do, but if you don't mind shipping prices from time to time and the uni' you're off too is located not far from a half decent HBS, then you'll be able to get a close equivalent.

Did your hydrometer come in a plastic tube or was it blister packed on card.

If it was the former, then you can actually use the plastic tube to take a reading. For a cheap sanitiser liquid, just get a hand spray from Wilko's or somewhere like that, then mix in 5 crushed campden tablets and 1 teaspoon of citric acid into a pint of water and stir it. I just mix it all in my spray bottle.

Give the inside of the plastic tube a good rinse with soap and warm water, rinse well to make sure all the soap is gone and then just spray the sanitiser in coating it well (same for the hydrometer), allow 2 or 3 minutes contact time then shake out/off any drips remaining. If you have a turkey baster, wash, rinse and spray that (inside and out) as well, as it's easy to use to take the sample out and put straight into the tube. Then supporting the tube on a flat surface, let the hydrometer settle and get the reading.

What you will find, is that because you've effectively made a show mead i.e. no nutrients, that it may still have some way to go. That's the nature of show meads, long, slow ferments.

Given your time frame, if you'd followed a traditional method, the ferment would have finished, it would have even probably cleared and be ready for ageing.

As for transporting it ? A padded (cloth, bubble wrap or even sheets of corrugated cardboard) box that doesn't give the fermenter any room to move. Wedge the box in amongst your stuff. Remove the airlock and replace it with a rubber balloon. You can spray, or tip a little sanitiser inside the balloon and give it a good scrunching, then pour out any excess liquid and then stretch it over the top of the fermenter. It should be fine.

If the movement does actually disturb the dissolved CO2, the balloon will start to inflate and take up any pressure generated.

Then once you've got it installed at uni', get some cheap bread yeast from the nearest supermarket, mix it with a little water and either boil it in a pan or nuke it in a microwave. Then let it cool before adding it to the batch, it should provide enough nutrient for it to finish, if it hasn't already done so. You'll know from the hydrometer reading.......

p.s. which uni is it you're off to ?

fatbloke
08-17-2012, 06:32 PM
awesome post, very helpful, thank you.

Unforunately I did know of this website until after I started my mead, although I did some (though less extensive) research, I was as I'm sure you've experienced yourself, keen to get it going. I think I am lucky to have got it going at all, I do have sanitizer.

I actually have a home brewing shop down the road from me, although when I went in and asked if she knew anything about brewing mead, she responded "what's mead?". Useful...

The hydrometer did come in a plastic tube, and I will use this to measure it today.

And I am off to Abertay Dundee university, and judging from Scotland's reputation, I am fairly confident that they will have a homebrew store.


Again, thanks for your post =]
Well if you register at Winesathome (http://www.winesathome.co.uk/forum/index.php), there's a few members in a couple of different parts of Scotland (can't think of any around the Dundee area off the top of my head - there's a good representation around Aberdeen though), who should be able to point you toward equivalents and probably other handy stuff, like HBS etc.

It'd probably be me that makes the most mead there, but of course I'm at the wrong end of the country ;D Not that that matters as the "starter"/new wine maker recipes are made from cheap fruit juices etc (and just changing sugar to honey ? ho ho! instant melomels). The "local" info is likely to be very useful/handy etc.....

If it does turn out that your brew still has a fair way to go and you want it to speed up a bit, then boiled bread yeast is a handy one. Plus while it's not so easy to get FermaidK here, tronozymol would be a good equivalent and for DAP (di-ammonium phosphate), well Ritchies yeast nutrient is mostly that (it has something else in it, but I think it's an anti-caking agent). Oh and Vitamin B1 tablets are also handy, cheap etc.

Ha! it'd probably be handy to be able to make plenty of half drinkable booze - you may, or not, be having to cough up tuition fees, but half of being a student is managing to live on the cheap.....

If you can lay your hands on a few 1 gallon glass DJ's, then you can always have some JAO on the go as well.

Good luck with the move.......

henrybond158
08-18-2012, 08:00 AM
Well I see your south coast, I currently live in west sussex, on the coast, so hey ho, you have competition ;)

I think it would be a lot easier to just leave the mead at home for a term (4 months?) to remain to its own devices, and aye, I do have coughing of very large quantities of money, and this is the reason why I started brewing, to save costs, and I thought, hell mead's not something you can buy down tesco's anyway, why not ??


off topic post, as its my thread, i don't care, recipe idea, elderflower and pomegranate mead, thinking with a light honey?



Well if you register at Winesathome (http://www.winesathome.co.uk/forum/index.php), there's a few members in a couple of different parts of Scotland (can't think of any around the Dundee area off the top of my head - there's a good representation around Aberdeen though), who should be able to point you toward equivalents and probably other handy stuff, like HBS etc.

It'd probably be me that makes the most mead there, but of course I'm at the wrong end of the country ;D Not that that matters as the "starter"/new wine maker recipes are made from cheap fruit juices etc (and just changing sugar to honey ? ho ho! instant melomels). The "local" info is likely to be very useful/handy etc.....

If it does turn out that your brew still has a fair way to go and you want it to speed up a bit, then boiled bread yeast is a handy one. Plus while it's not so easy to get FermaidK here, tronozymol would be a good equivalent and for DAP (di-ammonium phosphate), well Ritchies yeast nutrient is mostly that (it has something else in it, but I think it's an anti-caking agent). Oh and Vitamin B1 tablets are also handy, cheap etc.

Ha! it'd probably be handy to be able to make plenty of half drinkable booze - you may, or not, be having to cough up tuition fees, but half of being a student is managing to live on the cheap.....

If you can lay your hands on a few 1 gallon glass DJ's, then you can always have some JAO on the go as well.

Good luck with the move.......

fatbloke
08-18-2012, 10:44 AM
Well I see your south coast, I currently live in west sussex, on the coast, so hey ho, you have competition ;)

I think it would be a lot easier to just leave the mead at home for a term (4 months?) to remain to its own devices, and aye, I do have coughing of very large quantities of money, and this is the reason why I started brewing, to save costs, and I thought, hell mead's not something you can buy down tesco's anyway, why not ??


off topic post, as its my thread, i don't care, recipe idea, elderflower and pomegranate mead, thinking with a light honey?
Between Brighton and Worthing myself......

Mead isn't exactly make and forget, to get on with itself, but the JAO recipe isn't far off. Sure as recently mentioned by Joe himself about the "voiding warranty" thing, but having made it with Co-op yeast, and forgetting about the difference between US and imperial gallons, it still comes out ok (I like to age it for 6 to 12 months myself, but hey, with student budgets under increasing stress, what the hell eh !).

I don't see why you can't use the Blossom honey from Paynes. It's their cheapest offering, but even when compared to drink prices up north, it probably can't be beaten. You'd just have to get a couple or three DJ's dragged up their with your kit.

Then anything else made to a more "correct" recipe could stay down at home between terms etc......

As for your suggested ingredients i.e. pomegranate and elderflower, just remember, when you put fruit and other flavouring items in primary, the harsh primary ferment will reduce the flavours down considerably.

Of course, it depends on what you're aiming at, but I've found that I prefer a more "fruity" and sweeter taste. Having recently been experimenting with Banana (long story, but the banana was all free). It's all, so far, worked out, best to use the fruit in secondary, allowing the alcohol in the finished ferment to extract the flavour(s) (not that I'm any kind of fan, of stuff flavoured with flowers - but have wondered about trying the "POM" pomegranate juice in the supermarkets to see how it might come out).

What you may find, is that once a brew has finished it's ferment and you've racked it off the gross lees, then there's enough room to put the fruit flavouring items into a DJ i.e. the fruit takes up the space caused by the usual racking losses, though not necessarily, as it depends on how much you're using.

In a full DJ of traditional, racking losses can be IRO 1 to 2.5cm depth, and how much fruit would fill that volume, to remove as much of the airspace as possible, would depend on the fruit size, density, weight etc....

Sounds like a reasonable mix of flavours though. A bit like I've been pondering, doing a rhubarb and ginger batch. I'll have to wait and see whether I can get my finger out or not.