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mcdougal
09-09-2012, 11:06 AM
Thank you for those of you willing to take the time to contribute your knowledge.

First off, I am extremely cherry to the entire process of brewing, and have chosen the art of Mead as my first. Mostly, because Mead is a hearty wine that is much more difficult for a newbie such as I to ruin..

I have started with a 5 gallon trial batch. My process was simple and straight forward. I used 16 pounds of Grade A Clover Honey, Lavlin D47 yeast, and purified water. For steralization, I used EasyClean as recommended by multiple brewing websites.

Firstly, I was extremely serious about sterilization. I cleaned everything with sterilized purified water and nothing un-sterilized touched the ingrediants at any time.

After bathing the honey in warm water (inside their bottles), I added the softened liquid to 4 gallons of purified water in a 5 gallon fermentation bucket. This mix came exactly to the 5 gallon line, leaving 1 gallon of airspace above it.

While I was mixing the Must, I bloomed the yeast in warm water(not over 110 degrees), and then pitched in into the center of liquid. I then agitated everything for 5 minutes by hand stirring.

I decided not to use a yeast exciter, nor a yeast nutrient, but rather used peach slices(sterilized as well) to add extra food for the yeast.

I then sealed the fermenter and let it sit in the dark for 24 hours. I then removed the lid and covered with a thin cloth to allow aireation.

The fermentation bucket has a very slight leak on the spigot, and I belive this has slowed the fermentation process slightly, but other than the sluggish start, it appears to be coming along splendid.

I have enclosed a picture I took today of the surface. I would really value any advice on the appearance, if anyone sees any danger signs. I have re-sealed the fermentation bucket and added an air-lock for the next two weeks or so of primary before in goes into my carboy.. How am I doing?(besides my terrible spelling)

cheers.
http://s1190.photobucket.com/albums/z457/imcdougal/?action=view&current=brew.jpg

mcdougal
09-09-2012, 11:07 AM
http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z457/imcdougal/brew.jpg

Here is the promised picture.

Riverat
09-09-2012, 12:12 PM
Do take a read of the Newbee guide at the upper left, do keep D47 at 65 degrees or so, do get some nutrient, the peaches are not likely to be enough do aerate this for the first third of the fermentation, do get some gravity readings (or get a hydometer so you can) and welcome to Gotmead!

fatbloke
09-09-2012, 02:23 PM
Concur with Riverat. The pic looks good for a batch newly started. The NewBee guide is found here (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14) (linked for ease ;D).

What I would say, is that that doesn't look like much in the way of fruit in a 5 gallon batch! For fruit additions, I usually look around the net to find a recipe for X wine (whatever the fruit may be), then I use that as a guide quantity.

You'll probably come across the "fruit conundrum" as well i.e. put the fruit into primary or secondary. There's benefits and pit falls in both methods.

Fruit in primary, tends to give less of a fruit flavour and less of any colour that may be in the fruit. The resulting flavour isn't what you'd expect as the sugars will have been fermented to alcohol, which is why the fruit flavour with the "fruit in primary" method can sometimes be a bit weird - some enjoy it.

If you use fruit in secondary, you often get a much more fruity flavour, especially if you stabilise the base ferment first, so that the fruit sugars aren't then further fermented out.

Of course, you can do both, but I'm unsure from your post whether you've just used the fruit as nutrient for the yeast or whether you're aiming at having some peach flavour as well.

mcdougal
09-09-2012, 03:26 PM
Of course, you can do both, but I'm unsure from your post whether you've just used the fruit as nutrient for the yeast or whether you're aiming at having some peach flavour as well.


The peaches were added purely for nutrient. I was attempting to keep the recipe completely natural, i.e. no use of chemicals to accelerate the process.. (only chemical used was the EasyClean for sterilization) However, everyone seems so in favor of the yeast nutrients and exciters, I may just try a batch using both as well, to see what the difference in flavor and process is. Do these types of chemicals make a vast difference?

mcdougal
09-09-2012, 03:29 PM
do get some gravity readings (or get a hydometer so you can)

I plan to purchase a hydrometer in the close future, but I wanted to see if I had the ability to create the mead just by look and smell. For my future batches, I will be going by readings instead of just visual.

Riverat
09-09-2012, 04:24 PM
Well remember that honey is essentially devoid of nutrition, it only contributes fuel / calories. Yeast are surprisingly like you and I in that they need a balanced diet to build cell walls, proteins and fats and so forth. Once they have done so and grown the colony to a concentration level they then can do without additional nutrients (they can eat dead yeast) and then mostly consume fuel

mcdougal
09-10-2012, 10:43 PM
Well remember that honey is essentially devoid of nutrition, it only contributes fuel / calories. Yeast are surprisingly like you and I in that they need a balanced diet to build cell walls, proteins and fats and so forth. Once they have done so and grown the colony to a concentration level they then can do without additional nutrients (they can eat dead yeast) and then mostly consume fuel

Is it too late to add additional nutrient, such as raisons? The process seems to be started, but as you stated, it will probably take much longer to reach a concentration level as the peach probably isnt that much extra help.

Vance G
09-10-2012, 11:41 PM
It is not too late but you need to get after it. Take an ounce of bread yeast if you have it in stock and boil it to kill it and turn it into nutrient. That is what I just did when I discovered I did not have my nutrient and energizer. Raisens would help too and it will be quicker for the process if you crush them up so they don't just turn back into grapes. I know there is better advice out there but I figured you needed some options now.

mcdougal
09-12-2012, 01:05 PM
It is not too late but you need to get after it. Take an ounce of bread yeast if you have it in stock and boil it to kill it and turn it into nutrient. That is what I just did when I discovered I did not have my nutrient and energizer. Raisens would help too and it will be quicker for the process if you crush them up so they don't just turn back into grapes. I know there is better advice out there but I figured you needed some options now.

Ok so I have an update today for those willing to advise..

I took the lid off the fermenter today to add a box of organic raisens. The bubbles and foam have cleared from the surface, which leads me to believe the yeast have already consumed most of the sugars and have gone into the next stage. However, I am concerned as the batch is 5 gallons, and this is only day 7.. so I added the raisens in hopes to get them going a little bit more.

Any other advice as to what I should do to encourage my yeast? (Remember, I am attempting this batch with only natural ingrediants and without a Hydrometer, I just want to experience the process the old fasion way first!)

Also, I sanitized the raisens in EasyClean and purified water. I drained the bowl and spooned the raisens in. Is there a chance that any EasyClean residue on the raisens could harm my yeast at this stage? I'm a little paranoid about killing my yeast at this point, as these are my first ones..

Thanks for any advice.

mrperq
09-12-2012, 01:54 PM
Hey McDougal,

I'm a fellow newbe myself, so dont take anything I say as seriously as
the experts, but I have a few questions/remarks?

Why try this one on look and feel, and once more experienced
try it with more equipment? Sounds like learning to ride the bike,
and only add aiding wheels when you stop falling down?

Without a hydrometer it seems hard to know if your fermentation
stalled, finished, or is just continueing without much visual signs.
My second batch, which is fermenting much better then my first,
actually shows little signs of fermentation, while my first, even
when stalled, bubbled like lemonade. If stalled, raisins might help,
but also follow Vance's advice for the boiled bread yeast. Yeast
happens to contain all building blocks yeast requires to survive,
who could have guessed :)

Btw dont worry to much on the Yeast dying on you. I abused mine
quite extensively (Waaaaay to low PH), and guess what, after I
corrected my must they started again like nothing happened.

Cheers!

mcdougal
09-12-2012, 02:41 PM
Why try this one on look and feel, and once more experienced
try it with more equipment? Sounds like learning to ride the bike,
and only add aiding wheels when you stop falling down?



Oh absolutely it is! I've always been a bit of a traditionalist and learning to make things the most difficult way possible, whether failure or success, always cements the process for me for some reason. Although, this will most likely be the last time I don't use hydrometers and extras. (I forsee myself ending up with a pretty dry , yet successful Mead this go around.)

As for the batch stalling, I am pretty convienced this is the case, as I only SAW activity for a couple days before the surface cleared up. It's 5 gallons and I only added one peach (folly on my part in underestimating the demand of the little yeasties), but I have now added a box of raisens and given the mix a gentle swirl and there seems to already be renewed activity as the air-lock is much more active than previously!

So I will continue to monitor it, and perhaps we will be ready in another week or so to transfer to the carboy!