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View Full Version : another noob to mead :) first batches



bigdan110
11-02-2012, 05:06 PM
hello all first post on here so thought id post up my 3 batches

1st batch rasberry melomel?

1kg frozen rasberrys crushed
3lbs lime blossom honey
half a lemon
yeast nutirent
pectinese
lavlin EC-1118
spring water to make it to 1g

2nd batch

1.5lbs fresh strawberys frozen crushed
3lbs orange blossom honey
half a lemon
yeast nutirent
pectinese
lavlin EC-1118
spring water to make it to 1g

3rd batch


1lbs fresh strawberys frozen crushed
2.5 lbs orange blossom honey
half a lemon
yeast nutirent
pectinese
lavlin EC-1118
spring water to make it to 1g

all batches are raw and unpasturised and are bubbling away very well. i plan to add more fruit to the secondary or tawards the end of the primery. i also plan on using vanila and cinnamon in one of the strawberry batches. i also plan to add more honey/water to the must for my 3rd rack to get the volume back up towards 1g. again as i said earlier these are my first attemps so any help/suggestions would be appriecated 8)

kudapucat
11-03-2012, 12:05 AM
You have a hydrometer I hope?
What were the OGs of each batch.

NB. If you don't have a hydrometer, run out and get one. Then measure the OG.

My feel is EC1118 will take these dry. Is that your intention? You're going to have a dry 12.5% ABV batch.

Talk to us a little about what you want from the brews.

bigdan110
11-03-2012, 01:33 PM
i dont have a hydrometer atm but do intend to get 1 on my next run to the homebrew shop need to get anouther 1g jug for when i rack from the primary. ended up with 3 batches i had only planned for 2, didnt compensate for friut/honey taking up so much room. wat i want realy is to get hese meads around 15% sweet(had planned for 2 sack melomels) and would like to have them natrally carbanated if possible. i know ec1118 will go 18%+ and would allow low tempriture brewing aswell as be good for priming for carbination. only had the option of v116? or 1118. still learning so feel free to correct me with anything from what i can find there's a lot less info in the uk for brewing mead.

fatbloke
11-03-2012, 02:49 PM
Depends on where you are on the coast. I'm lucky to have Paynes 10 miles up the road for honey, but for yeasts, nutrient, etc its either mail order or equivalents.

IMO, K1-V1116 is better than EC-1118, as it doesn't seem to blow the aromatics and more subtle flavours straight out the air lock.......

bigdan110
11-03-2012, 03:23 PM
u are lucky cheaper for me to get delivery all the way down in southampton, 40 odd hours in and i can smell the alcahol :D musts seem to be keeping between 21-24 degrees and churning away like crazy, u had much luck finding other suitable yeast here or are we stuck with 1118 1116 and ale yeasts ?

kudapucat
11-03-2012, 07:18 PM
Natural carbonation requires 1 of 2 things.
1. Dry mead in a sealed bottle with priming sugar.
2. Mead with residual sugar for sweetness brewed in a pressure container with a blow off valve. Like a keg.

The second is a PITA, you might as well force carb if you've got a keg.

If you go for residual sweetness and EC1118, you'll get 18% but as I said. You've only enough honey for 12.5% though the fruit will give a little more sugar, and take up some room too. This is why you need a hygrometer, it's simply too hard to guess.

bigdan110
11-04-2012, 02:52 AM
well i was only going to do 2 batches with 4.5lbs honey and 1kg fruit each starting off with 3lbs and racking onto anouther 1.5lbs honey and anouther 1kg fruit. if i had correctly estimated how much room the fruit/foam would take up i wouldnt of needed the 3rd batch. only started it because i had everything to hand and had extra fruit/must i couldnt fit into my 2nd batch.

will be getting a hydro today there any way to work out wat the initial starting gravity was from the current gravity ?also wen is it best to rack off the fruit still have very active yeast churning around the primary. would i be right in thinking 3 days from pitching the yeast ?

bigdan110
11-04-2012, 03:17 AM
looking at the calculater for my planned first mead it works out at 21.39% for a target volume of 1 us gallon or 18.25% for imperial gallon.knowing my yeast will likely die at 18% when would i have to bottle to make the most out of my yeast for carbination to keep some sweetness ?

dont really want dry rocket fuel would it be worth killing off the ec1118 early 12.5%? and pitching a different yeast for carbination say around 14-15% leaving it sweet ?

bigdan110
11-04-2012, 02:24 PM
i now have a hydrometer, when is it best to check the sg ? its almost been 72hours since i pitched the yeast so was wondering if i should rack off the must from the fruit? or should i just take a sg reading and go from there ?

bigdan110
11-04-2012, 05:00 PM
OK CG of my batches are as follows

batch 1) 1.009
batch 2 1.012
batch 3 1.016

all are tasting good and fruity and on the dry side.

when i rack i will take gravity again before and after the addition of more honey and friut.

Chevette Girl
11-05-2012, 03:05 AM
looking at the calculater for my planned first mead it works out at 21.39% for a target volume of 1 us gallon or 18.25% for imperial gallon.knowing my yeast will likely die at 18% when would i have to bottle to make the most out of my yeast for carbination to keep some sweetness ?

dont really want dry rocket fuel would it be worth killing off the ec1118 early 12.5%? and pitching a different yeast for carbination say around 14-15% leaving it sweet ?

Killing off a yeast while it's doing its thing is not always the simple task you'd expect, and I'm not sure you'd be able to get another yeast to take over at that point, and even if you did, there's no guarantee it's going to die off at 14-15% anyway, yeast never quite do what you want them to...

The best way to get a sparkling mead is to plan for it from the beginning. Plan your mead so that it's at least few % short of your yeast's tolerance, ferment it dry and then prime and bottle it.

There are a few tricks to get it sweet and sparkling safely, but none of them are simple. If you're going to drink it quickly, the best way would be to catch it near its tolerance, sweeten it up to where you want it, bottle it in PET pop bottles, let it sit out until they're firm like an unopened bottle of pop, then immediately refrigerate and drink it within a month or two.

If you can stand non-fermentable sweeteners, you can try Splenda, Stevia extract (I recommend the stuff in glycerine rather than the drops in ethanol), glycerine or lactose... Splenda's OK if you don't use too much, the Stevia extract in glycerine is not too chemically tasting like the stuff in the ethanol is, and I haven't used glycerine or lactose myself.

If you're up for some excitement, ferment it dry with at least a few % left before you hit the yeast's tolerance, prime and bottle it in easily-opened bottles (I use screw-top pop bottles) and then let them carb up... when they're all nicely carbonated, put the full bottles in the freezer until they JUST start forming ice crystals in the neck (not longer or you have to thaw them out again), meanwhile you're preparing some sanitized bottles of the same size which will contain a solution of stabilizing chemicals and backsweetening honey and you put those in the freezer too. When your mead is just around the freezing point and your empty bottles are frozen too, you carefully pour the chilled carbonated liquid into the new bottles, leaving most of the yeast behind, and it SHOULD stay relatively carb'd and the chemicals SHOULD do the trick and keep the yeast from eating the new honey.

bigdan110
11-05-2012, 10:12 AM
was thinking of doing the frezeing method after i did some digging on here i found a few of your other posts on the subject how long do they stay fizzy for using PET bottles ? also wont the mead need time to age ? ec1118 would leave me with 18% odd of i keep feeding it and from what ive read high % meads need time for the heat to setlle down?

Chevette Girl
11-05-2012, 10:37 AM
As they stand now your meads are around 12%, you don't HAVE to keep feeding it. There's no rule saying you HAVE to max out your yeast. Just be aware that sparkling AND sweet takes some doing. The last thing I step-fed to over 18% was fine in a year. It'll still age out better as I leave it in the bottle, but they don't take forever... and also the harshness of a high-alcohol batch is somewhat mitigated if it's still sweet.

The advantage of using pop bottles is that if you find they're getting alarmingly hard, you can just crack the cap and let off some pressure.

Some folks say the pop bottles only hold pressure for a few weeks but that's not what I've found with my Brew in a Bottle batches, even with a vent pinhole in the cap, those have stayed carb'd for months for me.

bigdan110
11-05-2012, 10:50 AM
looking at it i think i might well get some Pet bottles found some clear 500ml bottles that should do well, at 5 for 20 bottles thats alot cheaper than champagne bottles 8)

bigdan110
11-05-2012, 07:26 PM
quick update the first of my batches i believe to have run dry as i have very little activity in the air lock bubbles every 20/30s or so, the other too are close behind would this be a good time to rack ? still have flouting fruit should i wait till the fruit pieces settle first ?

Chevette Girl
11-06-2012, 02:15 AM
The only way you can be sure it's done fermenting is with hydrometer readings... when they stop changing, it's done.

bigdan110
11-06-2012, 12:59 PM
ok so all 3 meads hit 1.000 today so i racked onto another 1lb'ish of honey and 2lb of fruit gravity readings as follows after racking

rasberry 1.040 still honey sitting on the base so guess it is higher?

starwberry 1.035

strawberry+pommagranite 1.025 was the stronger of the 2 strawberry meads initialy so used less honey more fruit to balence them out.

after racking i was left with a pint or so for each mead so i froze them to be used to top up after next racking.

each mead has been treated to a sliced vinnila pod.

would i be right in thinking that this should be a more relaxed fermentation ?
also do i keep them at the same temps for secondary of can i cool them off a bit ?

Chevette Girl
11-06-2012, 10:49 PM
I'd keep them at the same temperature until the SG stops changing appreciably.

You might want to mix in the honey to get an accurate SG, if it's sitting on the bottom, your SG is going to read low.

bigdan110
11-08-2012, 06:56 PM
CG would it be more suitable using 2 litre bottles to do the freeze/carb thing ? (sorry have no idea what else to call it) then carefully decant into 500ml bottles primed with honey+sulphites would be very time consuming doing it with only 500ml bottles.

also using the calculater i should be on track for 17% knowing that ec 1118 can go 18% would 1lb more of honey be overkill for carbination/ back sweetening is for an imperial gallon ? hopeing to hide the high alcohol....

Chevette Girl
11-08-2012, 08:50 PM
I prefer using matching container sizes but decanting like you suggest will work, I've done both. You just risk kicking up all the sediment when you slosh it back and forth between bottles, but if you don't care about that, what the heck. And it's harder to pinpoint it when a plastic 2L bottle is chilled enough... I ended up overfreezing mine and it takes a LOT longer to thaw it out again than it did with the glass beer-bottle sized screw-cap pop bottles I'd used before.

I can't really answer your second question, 18% is really only their best guess, it might poop out right at 17% or it might keep on trucking till 20%, there's no way to be sure. So you're going to go the route of backsweeten/priming it, putting it in a pop bottle, allowing it to carb up so you can feel the pop bottle is turgid, then almost freezing it and decanting it onto sorbate/sulphites?

bigdan110
11-09-2012, 01:52 PM
hmmm think ill experiment after the next racking how long do mels normaly take to clear ? was planning on racking it to clear +top up with the extra frozen must once the yeast is done, then mix in 1 more pound of honey bottle in 2litre bottles wait till carbed freze/decant onto sulphites....

theEnvoy
11-09-2012, 02:36 PM
Just wondering, did you take the gravity reading on any of these --- I'm wondering how last one is doing, with 2.5 lb of honey.... (I'm a noob too)

bigdan110
11-09-2012, 04:42 PM
i didnt at first no got impatient and made it before i had a hydrometer.

using the calculater tho it would of been around 1.077 ... 10.5% ish. since racking onto new fruit+honey this has already gone from 1.025 to 1.010 in 3 days think i may have mixed up these 2 as the other one is still sweet and is very drinkable allready :headbang: this may be as i used 2 vinilla pods tho :rolleyes:

on a side note my rasberry has confused the hell out of me should it still be gaining gravity ??? in 3 days its gone up from 1.040 to 1.043 still bubbleing away every 6 seconds tho so i guess its not stuck ,only time will tell ;D

theEnvoy
11-09-2012, 04:54 PM
Sounds good. I have the JAOM working, about 2 weeks into it, going to start this weekend the blackberry mead variant recipe that Chevette_Girl uses. Also I'm doing a cyser (into 3rd week of ferment), today I did a ginger beer, and next week a Porter Beer. Loving this stuff!

bigdan110
11-09-2012, 05:07 PM
definetly addictive this mead making lol

Chevette Girl
11-09-2012, 05:45 PM
definetly addictive this mead making lol

um, just a teensy-tiny bit... :rolleyes:

bigdan110
11-09-2012, 06:02 PM
is it wrong i want to start drinking my strawbery mel allready? 8 days in :p its damb tasty

Chevette Girl
11-09-2012, 06:39 PM
Don't be too disappointed if you taste it again once all the sugar's gone and you're all "Echhh! What happened to my beautiful mead?" ... they often go through awkward teenager phases...

bigdan110
11-25-2012, 04:42 PM
would i be right in thinking that cold crashing /freezing would help this clear ?

currently these are all sat clearing after there 2rd rack . well havent confirmed with hydrometer but all 3 have a buble rate of around 2 a minute degassing possibly?

would i be right in thinking i would need some sediment in the bottles for carbing or will there be enouth yeast still floating around ?

kudapucat
11-25-2012, 04:46 PM
It could help it clear, but I rarely bother. Have patience padawan.

bigdan110
11-25-2012, 05:01 PM
thats half the problem :P it tasts to good to be patient . was just thinkning could i carb/clear in same bottle and then use the freeze/ champagne carb trick. 2 of the 3 batches are nearly clear as it is and the rasaberry is far to dark to tell.

fatbloke
11-25-2012, 05:39 PM
Well if your impatience is getting the better of you, just make sure the batch has finished, then hit it with 2 part finings as it should clear in 24 to 48 hours.

But if its still got some residual sugars you'd be risking bottle bombs.....

bigdan110
11-25-2012, 05:49 PM
thats why i was going to use the champagne style carb/freeze method rack into pet bottles with priming suger/honey till dry to carb then once carbed part freeze to get off the yeast decant into pet bottles with sulphites/sorbates so should have some residual suger and be nice and carbed :). just dont want to start to early and end up with sediment in the bottles. i know ive done this the long way round anyway problem with not planning properly, still we learn form our mistakes so should be much more prepared for next time

bigdan110
12-04-2012, 08:43 PM
ok these look all done fruit has dropped in the process of clearing really well should i rack into carbing bottles with a small amount of sediment and honey to prime untill carbed? or be patient and wait a little longer

theEnvoy
12-04-2012, 10:20 PM
Hey Dan, I wouldn't bottle anything until I took SG readings. Go get you one, you won't regret it.

Chevette Girl
12-04-2012, 11:48 PM
I second The Envoy :)

bigdan110
12-09-2012, 08:03 PM
quick update racked into 2 liter PET drink botles over sweetened to carb + leave residual suger. very very good atm can see what you guys ment now by sweetness coverening the high alch%. planning to let them carb till im happy with them then freze/carb to rebottle onto more honey if needed and stabilisers all to gether very happy with them :) thank you guys for all your help :)

bigdan110
01-01-2013, 03:13 PM
thought id give an update on these as ive drunk most of these now :eek:
carbination failed for the bottles i tried it with still have a gollon in Pet that seems to have carbbed in the fridge. all i will say is wow these all came out great considering i made so meny misttakes along the way. am suppised this was so good so young will defginetly do these again and get a workable recipe out of it. agian id like to thank everyone who helped me and im sure ill be back soon witha few more meads fermenting :cool: