View Full Version : Traditional Swampwater Mead

11-02-2012, 08:34 PM
Ok, I've got my JAOM going, it's a little over two weeks old now and I want to start a traditional. I don't know if I can make a traditional demi sec from the "gitgo"or if I'll simply need to let it go Death Valley dry (which reminds me that Alabama's playing LSU Saturday night! >:D) and then back sweeten. :confused:

I've been trying to figure a recipe for 3.2 gallons of traditional mead. I want to make a little over 3 gallons so that after losses for racking and testing there will still be enough to pretty much fill my 3-gallon carboy. Anyhow, what I'd like is semi dec and medium alcohol.

If I'm using the mead calculator correctly the recipe gives a SG of 1.108 and a %ABV of 14.13. After a lot of cyphering and figuring (had to take my tennis shoes off twice to add things up) here is my proposed plan/recipe... :rolleyes:

9.6 pounds of honey
Water to finish out to 3.2 gallons or to bring the SG of the must up to 1.108
nutrients - to be determined by instructions that came with them
energizer - to be determined by instructions that came with them
1 packet of 71b-1122 yeast

My anticipated fermenting temperatures will be 66F-73F. I considered D47 but my temps I'm sure will get over 70F at times and I'm concerned about creating fusels.

Does this sound like the beginnings of a workable recipe? How do I figure what the FG should be when fermentation is finished? Would this finish out at 1.008?...slightly sweet?

Do I have a clue what I'm doing?:eek:


Chevette Girl
11-04-2012, 05:13 PM
Do I have a clue what I'm doing?:eek:

Yep, you now know enough to be dangerous :)

Everything looks OK at an initial glance (I'm not rechecking your math, too cold to take off socks today), just be aware that even if your yeast SAYS it's good to 14%, you're very rarely going to get exactly 14.0% alcolol from any given batch. It also tends to slow down as it nears its tolerance, so if you want to get something done and aging, it's best to aim low and then backsweeten.

11-04-2012, 10:42 PM
So, it might be better to go with less honey and shoot for a drier mead? According to the calculator reducing the amount of honey down to 9 pounds of honey will change the OG to 1.101 and the %ABV to 13.3 (calculated for my 3.2 gallon batch). Should that work better with the 71b?


Chevette Girl
11-06-2012, 11:17 AM
I regularly start with an initial gravity around 1.110-1.100 (13- 14% potential) and see what happens. I think the last time I did that with 71B it was my red currant batch which finished just over 1.000.

11-25-2012, 01:18 AM
I kept floundering around trying to find the "perfect" recipe for...traditional mead. I finally figured what the hay and pitched some yeast this evening around 7pm CST. I guess the first investment of more than a quart of honey made me hesitate a bit. Anyhow, here's what I did...

I marked my bucket at the 3.25 gallon mark. My idea was to use 9.75# of honey in the 3.25 gallons of must. Well, I never did weigh the honey, but rather added three quarts and mixed it very good and took a hydrometer reading. When I measure distilled water with my hydrometer I get a reading of 1.002 so apparently my hydrometer is off by .002. Anyhow, my first measurement was showing 1.098 which would've adjusted out to 1.096...it needed more honey so after a couple of honey additions I ended up with an adjusted reading of 1.108 OG. Ended up with 3-1/2 quarts of honey that made up a tad over 3.25 gallons of must.

I picked up a little aquarium pump and a 4" "airstone" at Wallworld. I let this bubble while I worked on the yeast.

I used K1V and Go-Ferm Protect. I added the Go-Ferm to 110F degree water. When the Go-Ferm had cooled down to 104F (actually it was around 101F) I pitched the K1V. I let it sit for the 15 minutes or so and then added a little must to the yeast slurry. I did this a few times until the temperature got down to within 10 degrees of the must. I then added the yeast slurry into the must in the primary. I set my timer and let the airstone bubble for one hour. The must is resting now with the lid laying on top of the bucket. Tomorrow I will replace that with a sanitized towel.

I have not added any nutrient or energizer. I am under the impression that I should wait until after lag time has ended and fermentation is detectable before adding any nutrients. I have a nutrient that is food grade urea and dap, and an energizer that has several things included in it...these are vendor created nutrients. I'll go by the instructions. Is it correct that I should wait until fermentation has started before adding nutrients?

Everything I worked with was santized with Star San, including the airstone and tubing. Will it be ok to leave the airstone in the must continuously, or should it be removed after each aeration? I figure if it was safe for it to be in an aquarium it shouldn't pose any problems....should it? ??? I'm planning on running the pump twice a day but I'm not sure how many days I should run it. I'll also gently stir the must before running the pump...I guess this would count as "degassing"?

Go-Ferm Protect definitely has a smell about it.

Must is sitting in a 66-67F degree room which might cool down a couple of more degrees over the next few days (cold spell coming).

Here's the rundown:

Indeschwomp Traditional Mead
Target Volume: 3.25 gallons (ended up a little over this)

*9.75 lb. Local Medium Colored Wildflower Honey (not sure of final weight...added honey
to make OG be 1.108)
*Added enough water to make 3.25 gallons must (probably 2.5 gallons)
*KIV-1116 w/Go-Ferm Protect

Calculator Results:
1.108 SG
14.13 %ABV

Tips, recommendations, suggestions, etc., are welcomed!!!! :)

Chevette Girl
11-25-2012, 01:38 AM
You can probably add the non-DAP stuff right after pitch but the general idea these days is to wait till after lag (visible activity) to add anything with DAP.

I don't see a problem with leaving the airstone in the must, probably more sanitary than removing it.

And yes, degassing is probably the correct term, and also a sensible idea if you don't want a mead explosion accident :)

11-25-2012, 10:42 AM
Thanks for the feedback, CG. It looks like lag phase completed overnight. I opened the bucket up to a nice fine foam over the surface, nothing thick but more than I started with. Looks like I need to re-read the instructions on the nutrients and get some in there.

I was thinking that leaving the airstone inside the bucket would be more sanitary, too. I'm wondering about sealing the top of the bucket, though. Right now I have the air tubing coming out of the airlock hole in the lid and the gasketed lid simple sitting down on top of the bucket. I want to think that running the airstone for an hour twice a day would bring enough oxygen into the bucket but I'm wondering about keeping fruit-flies out. We have them from time to time and I certainly don't want them being an issue. I'm still thinking of sanitizing a towel or t-shirt and fastening it over the bucket...I'd have to figure some way to secure the air tubing through/past it.

With a traditional like I'm making, will there be a chance of a substantial cap? As long as I keep it stirred once or twice a day I should be ok?...maybe? I don't want a MEA!!

Looking back at these pictures I see I was off on my time...probably an hour. Or maybe it was switching back and forth between different college ballgames that threw me off. :rolleyes: I'm thinking of re-naming this mead as "Iron Bowl 2012"...Alabama and Auburn's BIG rivalry game each year...it was yesterday. It might be ready to drink during next year's Iron Bowl and I can start another one then, too. Kind of a "tradition". ;)

Anyhow, here's some pics of the must (airstone is not running in either pic)...

Picture taken at 6:29pm CST on Nov 24, 2012

Picture taken at 8:03am CST on Nov 25, 2012


11-25-2012, 10:52 AM
With all the power and authority invested in myself by myself, I do hereby change the name of of this incredible mead from Indeschwomp Traditional Mead to...

Iron Bowl Traditional

Hence forth and so on...and a batch of this mead with the appropriate season year and score to be noted on the label to be made each subsequent year on the day the combatants gather on the field of battle that is known across the nation as "The Iron Bowl".

With all due notaries, judges, congressmen, lawyers, and a couple of old friends I used to run with involved, this is a legal and binding change.

With much sincerity (and probably a misspelling or three),

Keeper of the Iron Bowl Mead

11-25-2012, 11:49 AM
Ok, I probably just od'd my must but I've always enjoyed Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin's music (maybe more so when I was younger, but I still get a grin when I hear Purple Haze...better yet, when I see the old video! :D).

Anyhow, I dipped a little must out in a sanitized plastic cup and added 3 teaspoons of "nutrient" that contained a DAP/urea blend. I also added 1-3/4 tsp of Crosgy & Baker Ltd. Yeast Energizer...this contains DAP, yeast hulls, magnesium sulphate, and vitamin B complex. I stirred this up until dissolved in the cup of must and dribbled it into the primary fermenter while stirring the must.

I started the airstone pumping and though the airstone itself is putting out tiny bubbles there is a small patch of large bubbles forming on the surface of the must...the bubbles were smaller last night. The largee bubbles dissipate fairly quickly, though, with mostly the fine foam on the surface. I'm letting the airstone run for an hour, twice a day. After adding the nutrients I find myself checking the must a little bit more often while the stone's running...I don't want to have a Chernobyl incident. ...I sure do need to get a drip pan/tray under this bucket!!!! :rolleyes:


The must is already taking on a fermenting alcohol aroma. Seems this is giving off more aroma than my JAOM did when it started up...of course it's also over three times as big.

Chevette Girl
11-25-2012, 12:42 PM
Well, you've already taken the first step to avoid a MEA by mixing your powders into a small amount of liquid before dumping into the must. Giving it a good stir before you start the pump might also help. But yeah, traditionals aren't usually quite as susceptible to MEA's as anything with fruit particles. That said, my first MEA was a traditional (bottled too early without stabilizing).

Regarding the airstone and the fruit flies, probably tying a sanitized towel or cloth over it will do the trick, if you're concerned about the little buggers getting in beside the hose, wrap it with a strip of fabric or put a piece of easily-compressed foam on the hose right where you're going to tie the cloth down over it, should act like chinking in a log house, keep the fruit flies from licking your stuff :)

Your amounts of nutrients and energizer look like they're within tolerances. Lately I've been using 1/2 tsp each per gallon but a little more probably won't hurt anything, especially for a traditional.

11-25-2012, 02:40 PM
Avoiding an MEA is high on my goal so I've noted most of the tips regarding them. I stirred the must before I turned the airstone on, when I stirred I tried to "fold" the foam into the must. Of course I wasn't able to fold the foam into the must but I feel that this help stir some and also some of the yeast that might have been riding high on the foam got to re-enter the liquid must. Adding the nutrients to a bit of must was also something that I'd read about...I certainly can't claim any ingeniuity here, just thankful for other folks sharing their experiences! ;)

For now I've got a piece of cotton stuck down into the grommet with the air tubing. I santitized the cotton in Star San beforesticking it in there.

I'm still debating covering the bucket with a cloth. Does the must need the ventilation of the porous cloth or will the lid in conjunction with the airstone bringing oxygen in twice a day for an hour each time be good?

One thing on my nutrients is that I put what was called for per gallon into the must. I didn't put only half or a third in so I guess I won't be doing a staggered nutrient addition...? I had intended to hold some back, but...


Chevette Girl
11-25-2012, 03:37 PM
The lid of the bucket doesn't need to be off, especially since you're using the airstone a couple times a day. However, since it's at a stage where it doesn't need to be protected from oxygen, it doesn't need to be ON either, so whatever is most convenient and sanitary for you is best.

With regards to the nutrients, I used to chuck it all in at pitch, so you're already one better than that. For staggered nutrients, what I suggest is on your next batch, you figure out how much nutrients and energizer you're going to use for the whole batch, then mix it all together, give half or a third of it at lag, then every aeration, give it some more, try to time it to finish with your last aeration at the 1/3 sugar break, that's my patented (not really) lazy-ass staggered nutrient approach.

11-25-2012, 03:55 PM
Ok, that settles it...the lid stays on. I'll keep an eye out for the mischievious fruit flies, if they give me a problem I'll go to plan 'B'. ;)

Your way of splitting up the nutrients sounds good to me. The LA-SNA way...should work well here in L.A. (lower Alabama). ;D

Cool front passed through last night. Current must temperature is 65.5F using K1V...FWIW. ?


11-25-2012, 04:04 PM
In message #5 I made an error in reporting that I added honey until the must reached an OG of 1.10:cool:.

Some how or another I managed to leave an "8" out at the end of the gravity (I managed to get the cool face in there, though! :rolleyes:) ...that should've read 1.108 as an OG. The calculator results that I listed are correct, though.


Chevette Girl
11-25-2012, 06:56 PM
if there's a bracket behind the 8, you get sunglasses-face, so if you need to put a specific gravity in brackets and it ends in an 8, leave a space or you get 8)

11-26-2012, 11:31 AM
Should I stop aerating with the air-stone after tomorrow morning?...that will basically be 72 hours since pitching the yeast and aerating with the airstone 2x per day for an hour each time.

If I'm to stop aerating I still should gently stir for de-gassing purposes, correct?


Chevette Girl
11-26-2012, 12:30 PM
Yes, stirring to degas once you're done aerating is a good idea.

When do you stop aerating? When your yeast have eaten 1/3 to 1/2 of the available sugars.

Because your yeast may be sluggish or they may be going like hell, time isn't a great indicator. So if you started out at 1.110 for example, you'd want to stop somewhere between 1.066 and 1.050 if you assumed your yeast would finish the job.

11-26-2012, 06:06 PM
Thanks, CG, for the continued help. I'll continue aerating until the 1/3 sugar break which I'm figuring will be around the 1.072 mark, but your figures are lower. ???

I just got home a few minutes ago and checked the fermentation. It seems to be..."different". I stirred and aerated this morning and things seemed "ok". What I see now is not the fine thick foam completely covering the surface of this morning but rather bigger, thinner(?), bubbles with few around the edges. Does it mean anything? Here's a pic...



11-26-2012, 07:36 PM
Now I'm more worried...

I just peeked back in to see what was going on and the foam island has gotten much smaller in not quiet two hours. ???

I'm headed now to check pH and gravity... Ed


11-26-2012, 08:25 PM
Ok, here's what I read from my tests...

ph was between 3.6 and 4.0 (using test strips)
gravity was 1.092 (down from an OG of 1.108 in 48 hours...does that sound right?)

I dipped the must out with a sanitized cup and poured into the test tube. I was in a hurry (get it done quick, right!? :rolleyes:) and poured it fast. A nice head of foam about 1-1/2 tall rose up in the tube. I slowly poured the must back into the cup trying not to cause it to foam, dumped the foam from the tube and re-poured it. I was surprised to see that much foam rise up.

After checking these two things I figured I'd go ahead and aerate it some. I started stirring pretty hard and a foam quickly rose up (I could hear it and I can't hear thunder!!). I then turned the air-stone on and I'm letting it run now.

Has the fermentation gone long enough to settle down to a "light" foamy stage? K1V is supposed to be a robust yeast from what I've read but the lack of foam without it being freshly aerated kinda bugs me...probably natural, though....I dunno. I don't think I need to add any more DAP to it nor any of the "energizer" (it has DAP in it, too). I do have some yeast hulls but I won't use them until I hear someone say to.

Here is the must immediately after stirring it up hard...
http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/th_fIMG_4014a.jpg (http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/?action=view&current=fIMG_4014a.jpg)

Here it is a few moments after stirring and with the air-stone pumping air...
http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/th_eIMG_4016a.jpg (http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/?action=view&current=eIMG_4016a.jpg)

I finally switched back to the old version of Photobucket, I couldn't find a way to make clickable thumbnails in the new version. Sorry for the big images earlier.


Chevette Girl
11-26-2012, 08:42 PM
Retaining foam during fermentation is like head retention in beers, depends on the ingredients and the yeast. Don't sweat it, judging by foam is like counting airlock bubbles...

11-26-2012, 09:14 PM
Mr. Chekov, ignore the Klingons, warp factor five !!!!!!!

11-27-2012, 01:18 AM
I think it just wanted some attention...there's a nice sheet of fine foam over the surface now.


11-27-2012, 11:17 AM
...of course when I checked it when I woke up it was a still, placid lake. I stirred it, and turned the air stone on.

Oh, just to maybe make someone smile...when the must was a little over a day old and kicking off somewhat of an alcohol aroma I decided I'd just take a little from my stirring paddle and taste it....YUCCCKKKKIIIEEEE!!!! :toothy3:


11-27-2012, 11:19 PM
I read in another thread that most nutrient instructions are for grape fermentations and that for mead the nutrients can be increased, maybe doubled even. Here's the info on my current batch:

3.25 gallon traditional
3 tsp of a DAP/urea blend added after lag (instructions are for 1 tsp per gallon)
1-3/4 tsp of Crosby & Baker Ltd. Energizer added after lag (instructions were for 1/2 tsp per gallon)

Rather than doubling right now I'm thinking of feeding the must another 1.5 tsp of the DAP/urea blend and another 1 tsp of the energizer. This will be fed in the morning after taking a hydrometer reading. This should leave small amount of nutrients to add to the must at the 1/3 sugar break (if it's not already there in the morning and if the doubling of the amounts of wine nutrients when used for mead is correct).

Also, the newbee guide says to stop aeration at 3 days...correct?

Thanks (as usual :) ),

11-28-2012, 12:55 PM
Ok, just checked and the gravity is at 1.070 so right around what I figure is the 1/3 sugar break. pH was still 3.6-4.0 (according to strips). After checking these points I added 1-1/4 tsp of the DAP/urea blend(?). I stirred a little and ran the air stone for about 5 minutes. I then pressed the gasketed lid down, put an "s" air lock on, and called it GOOD. Now...patience, I guess? What else should I do for now? Let it go several days and begin checking the gravity again?


11/28/12 Gravity 1.070
11/28/12 pH 3.6-4.0

11-28-2012, 08:09 PM
I just came in and checked the Iron Bowl mead and the airlock has a long (5 seconds) stream of bubbles coming through it about every 15 seconds or so...a nice deep toned "gurgleburgalburgalgurgleburgal...". I know, don't judge a fermentation by it's bubbles...but they sure are comforting. :) It is a lot more active than the JAOM was when it had got up to speed, but as I mentioned before it is three times as large a volume. :)

Like the JAOM it is fermenting at 66-67F degrees.


12-01-2012, 09:30 PM
I was thinking that leaving the airstone inside the bucket would be more sanitary, too. I'm wondering about sealing the top of the bucket, though. Right now I have the air tubing coming out of the airlock hole in the lid and the gasketed lid simple sitting down on top of the bucket. I want to think that running the airstone for an hour twice a day would bring enough oxygen into the bucket but I'm wondering about keeping fruit-flies out. We have them from time to time and I certainly don't want them being an issue. I'm still thinking of sanitizing a towel or t-shirt and fastening it over the bucket...I'd have to figure some way to secure the air tubing through/past it.

Absolute rank amateur here. I have seen in my research of equipment that most brewery suppliers list the bushing or plug for the airlock hole as somewhere around 50 cents.

It seems to me it would be easy to drill another hole in the bucket lid, place the new bushing in it and run the aerator tubing through that and still be able to close the lid tight. Eliminates the cloth covering and the fruit fly flavoring all at the same time!!!

Pull the airlock bushing out of the lid when done aerating and use a solid plug to restore the lid until you need the bushing for the next batch.

Just a thought....


12-02-2012, 12:20 AM
Fyredawg, from what all I had read I decided to aerate for the first three days which also coincided with the 1/3 sugar break, after that I stopped. The way it worked out for my traditional must the 1/3 break came at the end of three days. Twice a day I stirred the must some and then ran the regular aquarium air stone for an hour. I have read of people aerating for a longer period of time than I did.

I ran the air tubing down through the air-lock gromet in the lid and simply let the lid rest on top of the bucket without "locking" it down. I could easily lift the lid off for stirring...it definitely wasn't an airtight seal, but I had no trouble with fruit flies. To keep fruit flies or whatever from trying to enter the space around the tube where it went through the gromet I soaked a piece of cotton ball in some Star San and filled the gap around the tubing.

When I stopped aerating I pulled the air stone and tubing out, pressed the lid down tightly, installed the air lock, and now just lightly "swirl" the must once a day. Seems to be working. I will be taking a hydrometer reading tomorrow afternoon to see where the fermentation is at....today was a week since I pitched the yeast and it is putting out a small string of bubbles about every 4 seconds with a break every now and then of 10-15 seconds between the bubble strings. The second hole in the lid is interesting but for myself I don't see a need for a second hole in the lid because by time I'm ready for the air-lock the air tubing is gone.

As for being an amateur....join the crowd. :)

Oh...and welcome to the forum!!!!

12-03-2012, 12:45 PM
I got delayed over the weekend in checking the gravity on the traditional but here is what I came up with...

SG = 1.024 (maybe could be 1.025)
pH = 3.6

It's moving along. I figure I've got another week and then probably rack it off the lees? Depending on the gravity. Anybody got comments on that?

I only tasted a drop on the tongue and it had a *much* more pleasant taste than the first time I tasted it...no "sting". At eight days old I don't expect much from this mead. I saved the test tube mead and will sample it a bit more this evening after work. I gave the must a gentle stir and closed it back up. Some pics...


I knock 2 points off of my measurement because when I checked distilled water I had a reading of 1.002. I guess I'm doing the right thing. ???
http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/th_IMG_4056a.jpg (http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/?action=view&current=IMG_4056a.jpg)

Definitely not clearing a lot but you can vaguely see the hydrometer in there. :D
http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/th_IMG_4046a.jpg (http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/?action=view&current=IMG_4046a.jpg)

Chevette Girl
12-03-2012, 09:53 PM
I wouldn't expect it to really clear up until it's done and the SG isn't changing much anymore. While they're still busy eating, yeasties wiggle around and keep themselves in suspension... when they're done, they quit wiggling and settle out...

12-04-2012, 09:25 AM
Yeah, I wasn't expecting to see it clear this early, but it was interesting to see it a bit clearer than when it started. Kinda like seeing my JAOM starting to clear, a cool process... :)

I saved the test tube mead in a soda bottle (at this stage do we call it a must or a mead?) and put it in the refrigerator. Looking at it this morning not quiet 24 hours later it has cleared up a good bit and has sediment in the nubs on the bottom of the bottle...a small experiment on cold crashing underway. ;D


Chevette Girl
12-04-2012, 11:32 PM
Well, that's how it works, you decrease the temperature, the yeasties quit wiggling and settle out...

12-06-2012, 01:20 PM
It is basically 11-1/2 days since I pitched the K1V, it has fermented at a range of 65F-69F. It was stirred with a paddle and an aquarium stone ran for an hour...twice a day for three days. It received DAP and a multi-nutrient at the pitch and another 1-1/4 tsp of DAP at the 1/3 sugar break.

pH has been running in the 3.6-4.0 range.

11-24-2012 OG = 1.108
11-26-2012 SG = 1.092
11-28-2012 SG = 1.070
12-03-2012 SG = 1.024
12-06-2012 SG = 1.012

The pH today (12-06-2012) seems to lean more to the 4.0 color on my strips.

(FWIW) The airlock gives a big bubble off about every two minutes now.

While I had the lid off I gave a gentle stir with my paddle, I hit the bottom and some lees stuck momentarily to the tip of the paddle, but with a little movement washed off the paddle. I hope I didn't mess the yeast cake up badly or hurt anything by stirring. Don't ask me why I did that... a case of "newbeewannamesswifthings", I guess.:rolleyes:

From what I can tell, I think it is about time to rack this over to secondary. Is that correct? Would it hurt to leave it on the lees (I think K1V is ok with that??) for a week or so and let the yeasties nibble on the remaining sugar a little longer?

Looks like I'm at the point of..."Ok, what do I do now?....HELP!!!!!!!! ;D

Thanks, as usual!!

Adjusting for the .002 calibration of the hydrometer I'm reading this as 1.012...
http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/th_IMG_4073a.jpg (http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/?action=view&current=IMG_4073a.jpg)

12-06-2012, 05:50 PM
A correction to the post above. The initial nutrients were given after the lag phase.


12-14-2012, 11:40 AM
Well, I've still got the mead in the primary but I noticed yesterday that the vodka/water mix in the "s" airlock had balanced out on both sides. Prior to then the mead had been keeping positive pressure inside the fermentor and thus kept fluid only in the outer bubble and none in the fermenter side bubble. I'm seeing no activity in the airlock. I'll be taking another another gravity reading tonight or in the morning. I guess that I will start checking the SG every few days to see if it's still changing or if it's staying constant. I'll check the pH also and see if it's holding around where it has been at. Using K1V I don't think there's a problem with leaving the mead on the lees for a while. I have been swirling the mead around once or twice a day but I may stop that and let it settle good in anticipation of racking to secondary.


12-15-2012, 07:31 PM
I checked the Iron Bowl 2012 mead out today. The pH is 4.0+. I'm still not sure about why it is elevated. I'm checking it with test strips and dipped a test strip in vinegar the other day and it lightened up greatly toward the low side. Dipping it in my mead sends it in the other direction toward dark. Ah well, it has gotten a lot more tasty than the previous taste tests that I did so I'm happy. ;)

I'm logging the gravity at 1.009 (considering my .002 hydrometer correction). The mead has cleared greatly since 12/06/2012 and tastes much better. I was actually surprised to see that it had cleared as much as it has.

Figuring an OG of 1.108, my current reading of 1.009 should mean 13 %ABV. K1V has a much higher alcohol tolerance than this so I'm trying to figure out if the yeast is beginning to run out of sugar or what is happening. Once again I'm wondering what to do...it has been fermenting for 21 days as of today...

Should I gently stir the must to get some of the yeast (and sugar?) back in suspension and let sit on the lees for a few more weeks occasionally stirring (batonage?)?

Should I let it sit quietly on the lees for a few more weeks without stirring?

Should rack to secondary and see if it starts back fermenting?

Should I rack to secondary, stabilize, and let it begin clearing? This question is because for such a young honey wine the taste is good to my wife and myself.

I think the most important thought right now is oxidation. Whether I stabilize or let the fermentation continue I feel that I should rack this into a carboy to cut down on headspace...it is currently in a plastic fermenting bucket. Is this correct?

It has been only three weeks and I feel like I need to let it ferment on dryer so that I can get the %ABV up anothe point or so for preservation. If I let it ferment to a dryer state I know by today's tasting about what SG to backsweeten it back to. ;)

Comments anyone...?

12-15-2012, 07:44 PM
Clarity comparisons between December 06 and December 15...
http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/Iron%20Bowl%202012%20Clarity%20Comparison/th_IMG_4073a.jpg (http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/Iron%20Bowl%202012%20Clarity%20Comparison/?action=view&current=IMG_4073a.jpg)http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/Iron%20Bowl%202012%20Clarity%20Comparison/th_IMG_4098a.jpg (http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/Iron%20Bowl%202012%20Clarity%20Comparison/?action=view&current=IMG_4098a.jpg)
http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/Iron%20Bowl%202012%20Clarity%20Comparison/th_IMG_4046a.jpg (http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/Iron%20Bowl%202012%20Clarity%20Comparison/?action=view&current=IMG_4046a.jpg)http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/Iron%20Bowl%202012%20Clarity%20Comparison/th_IMG_4089a.jpg (http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/Iron%20Bowl%202012%20Clarity%20Comparison/?action=view&current=IMG_4089a.jpg)

12-16-2012, 03:42 AM
Well, I guess I'm on my on...

Chevette Girl
12-16-2012, 06:28 PM
Gah, work really gets in the way of my mead time!

If you're happy with the taste, I'd stabilize it and let it clear.

If you want to see it go a little drier, I'd keep gently stirring the lees up into suspension (you don't have to worry about the sugar, it's dissolved in the must and should be a constant concentration across your fermentation vessel due to diffusion).

If it were my brew I'd probably be racking it within the next week because I don't mind a sweeter finish.

Likely the reason it tastes good at this young age is that residual sugar. I don't always get a complete fermentation with EC-1118 or K1V, especially with a traditional so don't feel too bad about that... I wouldn't worry too much about preservation, I've had 8-10% batches stay good for years. And if it's still fermenting, even slowly, you shouldn't have to worry about oxidation either.

12-17-2012, 07:24 PM
Thanks for the feedback, CG. I appreciate the time you take to respond to my newbee questions. Be thankful that work gets in the way of your mead making...I'm somewhat afraid my business may not make it, I probably could've made it OK with about a half billion dollar bail-out ;D (I gotta keep on grinning...), I guess. Oh well,...

I racked the mead into a carboy Saturday night. I'm going to give it a week or two to settle out and then rack it again and stabilize it. Maybe the taste will not have changed too much. If it has fermented too dry by then, I guess I get to learn how to backsweeten. ;)


Chevette Girl
12-19-2012, 12:06 AM
Thanks for the feedback, CG. I appreciate the time you take to respond to my newbee questions. Be thankful that work gets in the way of your mead making...I'm somewhat afraid my business may not make it, I probably could've made it OK with about a half billion dollar bail-out ;D

I think if you CAN'T make a business work with half a billion dollar bail-out, you're doing something seriously wrong! It's not terribly exciting work, I've essentially gone back to the job I had when I was a teenager, mucking out horse stalls, and doing some carpentry and repairs around the barn. But hey, it paid my horse's board and my last car repair :p Good luck with your business. Times are tough all over.

Backsweetening's not hard. I've only done it a couple of times though, I keep either step-feeding till it stops on its own where I want it, or hoping I'll come to like the drier stuff...

12-19-2012, 12:44 AM
Yelp, a half a billion would come in pretty handy...some folks got filthy rich and then skipped out on the taxpayers.

I'll check the mead again, probably tomorrow night and see if the gravity has moved any. I think I'd rather go ahead and get it stopped at a sweetness level now so that I don't spend a lot of time letting it clear and then possibly create a haze in it by backsweetening it later. Does that make sense?


Chevette Girl
12-19-2012, 01:39 AM
Yeah, just be aware as mentioned in the other thread that hitting it with chemicals is not a sure thing if it's still fermenting.

12-25-2012, 07:26 PM
Krausen...I hope.

12-29-2012, 02:55 PM
Not Krausen, but normal anyway. Gently rock the carboy back and forth, it will dissipate, removing a surface for potential spoilage organisms to take root.

12-29-2012, 11:53 PM
Not Krausen, but normal anyway. Gently rock the carboy back and forth, it will dissipate, removing a surface for potential spoilage organisms to take root.
Thanks icedmetal. I'll go give it a swirl now.


Chevette Girl
12-31-2012, 12:26 AM
I second that, a lot of my batches get that... I don't get concerned unless it's something that takes over the whole surface.

12-31-2012, 11:56 AM
Ok, I swirled it the other day but it came back a couple of days later. ???

I've also got about a half a liter of "overage" in a 1-liter pet drink bottle (squeezed to reduce headspace) sittnig beside the carboy for topping off later. It also acquires this white ring. If I pick the drink bottle up to look at it the white ring is disturbed and a very light "cloud" can be seen from where it was disturbed. There is no air lock activity on the carboy...I'm wondering if I have an air leak as both sides of the "S" lock are level with each other which tells me there is no positive pressure inside the carboy. Everything is looking good and smelling good, though...and hopefully soon I'll find that it's still tasting good! :D I'll just keep giving it a swirl all along.


12-31-2012, 12:58 PM
I figure it's mostly yeast or proteins that have caught a little co2 and hitched a ride to the surface. Quite common in my batches, and the only worry it gives me is over it providing a surface where spoilage organisms might take hold.

Chevette Girl
01-02-2013, 12:54 AM
Ok, I swirled it the other day but it came back a couple of days later. ???

Yep, it does that...

01-04-2013, 05:22 PM
I'm beginning to think I may have a leak in my air lock. When I swirl the carboy I can see micro-bubbles moving toward the surface of the mead and the the mead side of the S air lock lowers while the air side raises. This change in liquid level only lasts for a couple of minutes, though. It is like the pressure builds for a few moments but then slowly dissipates without creating an air bubble to escape through the air lock.

Something else that I'm seeing are small white specks or flakes in a size range from fine to coarse black pepper. I'm seeng these flakes or specks close to the surface of the mead when I swirl it. The micro bubbles mentioned earlier seems to stir them up. I don't know if these specks are coming from the sediment ring in the neck of the carboy or from where...but most importantly I don't know if this is a bad thing or not. :confused:

I haven't tested the mead since I racked it from the fermentation bucket to the carboy but will probably check the pH and gravity this weekend (or not, if anybody thinks there is no need to).


Chevette Girl
01-04-2013, 08:53 PM
Sounds like you do indeed have an imperfect seal on your airlock.

With respect to the other bits floating around, it could just be coagulating yeast or gross lees that haven't settled out yet.

Check your SG and if you think it's done fermenting enough and you're concerned, hit it with metabisulphite.

I sometimes get this flaky stuff on some of my batches, I'm told it may be a brettanomyces (sp?) infection but some people innoculate their brews with it intentionally, but I've never had it happen in anything that was still fermenting, only stuff that was aging.

01-05-2013, 07:28 PM
I definitely had an air leak somewhere. I was using one of those orange carboy caps with the two holes in it. I DON'T LIKE THEM!!! I had bought two of them and I saw a pin-hole in one as I started to use it...small indentation showed on the shiney outside surface and on the inside was a hole where apparently a small bubble had been. I set it to the side and used the second one. To the best of my knowledge it never held pressure...evening after wrapping the bottom edge of it and the neck of the carboy in plastic food wrap.

Today I replaced the "cap" with one of the hollow-type stoppers. I sanitized it and the air lock and put them together. I santitized again and set on and under some paper towels to dry. I pushed and twisted the stopper into the mouth of the carboy. Topped it off with some water and vodka. And gave the carboy a slight swirl and......BUBBLES. Yelp, that orange cap had been leaking *somewhere*.

I did not do any testing. I figured I'd wait another week or so...what's the hurry, eh? At least I got the air leak fixed. :)


01-11-2013, 01:36 AM
Ok, the white ring has more or less gone now. I'm still swirling the mead a little bit twice a day and it is releasing co2 (at least I guess that's what it is). The "white specks" that I mentioned earlier are still present some but I've decided that they're weird air bubbles that dissipate once at the surface of the mead. Here is a short 37 second long video of the bubbles coming to the surface after a swirling of the carboy...there's a couple of the "white specks" in it.



01-11-2013, 12:22 PM
For folks that really don't have anything to do here's another video of bubbles in the mead. ;D This one is 1:32 minutes long and shows some larger "white specks". But even these big specks break up at the surface and dissappear....odd. It's kinda mesmerizing to watch. Note that you can see what appears to be bubbles going "down" rather than up...an optical illusion?...I can see this "illusion" in real-time without a camera...this is odd, too. At about the 50-second mark the carboy gets another swirl to re-invigorate the bubbles and specks.



Chevette Girl
01-11-2013, 12:29 PM
...pining away for the old lava lamp?

01-11-2013, 12:42 PM
...pining away for the old lava lamp?


01-14-2013, 01:39 AM
Well, I'm not sure about those "white specks" that I've been seeing. I'm not sure whether they are air bubbles or "something else". The white ring is back to forming around the sides of the neck. A simple swirl and the white ring is gone in a cloud of fine sediment.
http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/th_IMG_0015a.jpg (http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/?action=view&current=IMG_0015a.jpg)

This is about 1/2 liter in a 1-liter PET drink bottle (that I've compressed in size to get rid of some headspace). This is overage of what was racked into the carboy. It has about as much of the "white stuff" as I've seen in this bottle. There is an interesting looking patch of it in the center of the surface, but like the larger carboy a simple swirl will disperse this stuff into a thin cloud of sediment.
http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/th_IMG_0006a.jpg (http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/?action=view&current=IMG_0006a.jpg)

It smells pretty good....definitely doesn't smell bad.

Is this just regular yeast/sediment/protein/mystery-stuff or...? ???


01-19-2013, 03:37 AM
Ok, let's get an understanding here...I've had maybe 2 or 3 drinks over the last 3 or 4 (or 5?) years. Anyhow, call me a wimp or whatever but I've got a buzz off the test tube of the traditional mead. Before messing with the traditional I bottled 7+ bottles of my JAOM to start with this evening (my first bottling job). I checked the gravity on it and it's something like 1.040. It's a bit bitter to me, but I was sampling the "dusty" +bottle...I'll let it age for a while...bottled in 12oz beer bottles.

I checked the traditional batch tonight...the one I've been worried about. I thieved a test tube full. The pH is off the scale high according to my test strips...I'm wondering if something is weird with the strips but they respond quickly to vinegar. Anyhow, the gravity I'm reading at 1.008...my hydrometer is off .002....the OG was 1.108 The taste is...like a heavy wine or something:cross:...kinda reminds me of some moonshine I've got that an old gentleman that used to run with my granddaddy made....both are dead now and the shine is now over 25 years old. The moonshine didn't kill'em. ;D The mead doesn't taste as high alcohol as the shine or anything but I seem to sense a grain taste in the mead but their ain't no grain in it. I guess it's kinda of a hybrid between a white wine and some low alcohol moonshine. It's good, has a bit of an edge to it, will mellow out, will get you drunk I believe given a chance.

Anyhow, I could sense kind of a hot alcohol with my nose (it's going on 2 months old so it ain't exactly grown yet). I'd drink some and thinik to my self....myself, this don't taste bad at all and wrinkle my nose just a touch. If age does what folks say it does then I think this will be pretty doggone good. :tank: I'm sitting here looking at the now empty glass (3rd one) kinda wishing I had a little more but I've done topped off the carboy and sealed'er back up...probably a good think. Gee, at test tube amounts this 3-gallon batch oughta last me a long time!

So, did someone say something about white speck, speckles, er specklers, uh, Mr. Spock...tell Scotty to beam me up!!


Be sure and look at this one...look at the line of bubbles right under the "1"...
http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/th_IronBowlSGa.jpg (http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/?action=view&current=IronBowlSGa.jpg)

http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/th_IMG_0117IronBowl.jpg (http://s111.photobucket.com/albums/n153/intheswamp00/Honey%20Bees/Mead/?action=view&current=IMG_0117IronBowl.jpg)

01-22-2013, 08:24 PM
After dealing some with a new batch that has turned into a stinking mess I've gotten paranoid about my batch of traditional again. :rolleyes:

The mead is just a couple of days shy of two months old. It has been in the secondary for about five weeks. It has not been stabilized yet. Should I go ahead a rack it onto sulphite and sorbate? This batch tastes good and I'd hate for something to happen to it.


06-26-2014, 10:02 PM
BOO!!!!!! ;D

Howdy everybody. Howdy CG. Ok, so it's been a while since I posted. No...aliens didn't abduct me, though I've been accused of being one a time or two... I hope everybody's doing, done, did well. Ah, well....

Guess what?...the Iron Bowl mead is still in the 3-gallon carboy that it was racked into from the primary fermenter. It has been sitting on the lees of KIV-1116 for the last 558 days...all total it has been 579 days since the yeast was pitched. It looks really clear, though a reddish(?) color. It has been air-locked with vodka all of this time and in a dim room. I guess before long I need to either rack it over into another carboy or either bottle it. I'm curious about it being on the lees for so long, though...as to how it tastes. :) One bad point about being sidetracked for so long is that I've forgotten so much of what I (vaguely) knew about fermenting mead. I'll try to get a picture of it before long and post. I've also got a few bottles of JAO that have been sitting for about that same amount of time. The crazy thing is that I don't drink very often...I mean, it's been several years since I had a beer! Actually, the last time I had a drink of anything was when this mead was racked into the carboy. This should be interesting....;D

What do ya'll think...rack it into another carboy for some more settling or bottle it?


07-06-2014, 09:11 PM
Whatever you do, get it off the lees! It should be ready to bottle and drink by now.