PDA

View Full Version : Help with a recipe/yeast selection.



Stilgar
11-11-2012, 07:21 AM
So my Botchet mead is coming along nicely as it sits aging along side my hard apple cider, I wanted to run another batch of mead to keep things going. The recipe I came across (was looking for a fairly simply blackberry mead) was this.

Wolf Moon Mead
1 package of Red Star "Premier Cuvee" yeast
Yeast nutrient
4 pounds of clover honey
1 gallon of spring water
8 ounces of Black berries - Frozen
1 whole clove
inch and a quarter ( 1 1/4 ) long section of a vanilla bean. Split length-wise.

I tend to like things a bit sweeter but not sickeningly sweet. I was thinking of going up on the berries a bit more as it was reading 8oz to give more of a hint of blackberry. My questin is mostly concerning the yeast. My local home brew is under remodel and I'm trying to work with what I have on hand which would be Nottingham ale yeast and Red Star Champagne yeast. Given I'd only worked recently once with mead I didn't know what to expect if I went with the Nottingham, or if it might be better going with Champagne. Anyone have any experience using Nott in mead? I just wasn't too sure what to expect(if anything). Next concern would be how much headspace should I look to leave in a 1gal glass carboy and any special treatment for the berries past freezing and thawing/mashing? Id assume they'd be fine without tablets.

Just basic questions is all before I start fermenting. Thanks for the help!

triarchy
11-11-2012, 10:44 AM
Having never used Nottingham before, I cant really speak to the flavor aspect of that choice. But, with 4 lbs of honey in a 1 gallon batch, Nottingham will most likely leave that sweet, around 1.020 roughly. I think Nottingham has a tolerance of about 12% ABV. The champagne will probably take it closer to dry.

I dont think using campden tablets are necessary, but it never hurts to do it. I personally dont and have not had problems, YMMV. Freezing and crushing is the way to go, dont blend as it might break the seeds and add a bitter aspect to the mead.

The more head space you can give in primary fermentation, the better. You risk a lot of clean up and lost product if you dont.

Chevette Girl
11-11-2012, 10:48 AM
Did you try a forum search? I'm pretty sure I've heard of a few recipes that use it.

And yeah, you probably don't need campden tablets unless there's something questionable going on, I only bother when I'm using pears which spoil too quickly for the pectinase to do its thing.

akueck
11-11-2012, 12:10 PM
The Champagne strain will act more like Premier Cuvee. Nottingham is a nice yeast though, and I find it leaves a more "fresh fruit" kind of flavor. (In beers it tends to leave a malty impression.) You could certainly use it, though I'd drop the honey amount. I'd not be surprised to see it hit 13-14%, but you might want to bank on 12-13% instead.

theEnvoy
11-11-2012, 01:53 PM
I've worked with Nottingham with Ciders and Cysers, and it is my favorite -- leaves a nice fruity finish. Recently finished a cyser that finished out at 1.008 and has a nice fruity, sweet honey flavor. Very nice. I calculated 11.16% ABV.

Stilgar
11-13-2012, 01:54 AM
Thank you all for the replies! Will be getting this started tomorrow hopefully.

As far as head space goes I do have a 2.5gal ferm bucket I can use. I'd actually considered turning this into a 2gal batch, question is though(as someone I noticed mentioned using less honey) Would it be ideal to simply double up the recipe and go 8lb or drop it to 6.5-7. I just want to try and keep it sweet but not overly so, and at the same time not try to bully the nottingham yeast and over stress it. Thanks again!

akueck
11-13-2012, 06:48 PM
In terms of volume, keep in mind that those 4 lbs of honey will take up more than a quart. And you've got fruit. So it's not really 1 gallon, it's closer to 1.5 gallons. Doubling will probably overflow your bucket, and especially with fruit you want lots and lots of headspace.

Personally I would say aim for a SG of 1.090 or so. It will probably end close to dry, but then you can always stabilize and add more sweetness at the end. Much easier than trying to guess ahead of time how much sugar your yeast will eat.

Stilgar
11-13-2012, 08:25 PM
In terms of volume, keep in mind that those 4 lbs of honey will take up more than a quart. And you've got fruit. So it's not really 1 gallon, it's closer to 1.5 gallons. Doubling will probably overflow your bucket, and especially with fruit you want lots and lots of headspace.

Personally I would say aim for a SG of 1.090 or so. It will probably end close to dry, but then you can always stabilize and add more sweetness at the end. Much easier than trying to guess ahead of time how much sugar your yeast will eat.

Talking to some buddies of mine I'm actually able to use a 3gal carboy so should cover head space most definitely. I was trying to avoid sweetening before bottling but I agree it does take out the guess work, Should be interesting regardless how it goes tonight. Thank you again was much appreciated.

Stilgar
11-14-2012, 12:15 AM
Well everything went smoothly, until I had help from around the house.

Took a reading at yep sitting right at 11%. Since I had some extra hands around to help someone volunteered to attach the airlock and stopper. Didn't have any vodka around to fill it with and was told using water with one step works fine as well. Not to say anything about people under 16 but I turn around, turn back and the one step mix that was in the airlock is now<dramatic pause> gone. I asked if they filled the airlock and was told "Yeah we filled it put it on the stopper and put it on the bucket and we think it emptied inside". Soo pressure pushed water/step solution from the "S" airlock into the bucket. So guess my question here is how screwed might I be if at all lol.

akueck
11-14-2012, 08:41 PM
A small amount shouldn't hurt much. If anything it will leave a slightly salty flavor, but I think you'd need more than that to change the flavor. I'd not worry about it.

Stilgar
11-27-2012, 11:39 PM
Just an update, fermentation is still going well and strong after 2 weeks, sitting at 1.050. Definitely has a nice sweet(but not overly so) fruity taste, no off flavors noticeable so yay for that. Guessing another week should do it but everything seems on it's way. Thanks for the help.

Stilgar
12-04-2012, 06:14 PM
So transfer and all went well, took a reading before moving to secondary but I noticed after moving (8 hours after) there's already a fairly healthy layer of lees in secondary, should it be fine? Or should I transfer again after a few days. I'm just worried about it being fine or not with that in the carboy, more so since I planed on adding the vanilla bean to it in a few days.



Which brings me to another question. The recipe suggest steaming a muslin teabag with the split vanilla bean and adding to the mead for 4 days. I'm not looking for a strong vanilla but more of a hint of vanilla, planned on checking the flavor after 2 days to see where it's at, Would 4 days be a bit much?

Vance G
12-04-2012, 08:06 PM
One small piece of avanilla bean will not have a huge effect on a gallon batch. I have put several in a couple batches and after a few weeks, I can't find the taste at all. Vanilla does enhance other flavors even when it is not the star of the show. I think you are far enough into your fermentation that you could just drop that bean in the secondary, split it if you like, but it won't bring any infection and you won't lose any vanilla trying to sanitize it some way. I don't think the champagne yeasts are that much of a problem to leave the lees. I personally would wait and let the fermentation play out and stabilize before I worried about it.

Stilgar
12-04-2012, 10:36 PM
Thanks for the help, the recipe mentioned steaming the muslin bag and vanilla before adding, I'd never steamed one before honestly so not sure how to go about or if that may help. I'd read a few people soak the split bean in vodka for a few days then toss into secondary, Since this is such a small batch (2gal) I was just looking for a safer route for now but like the idea the vanilla overall will help aid in it overall. I'd split the two into 1 gal carboys so I can test how the vanilla goes, and toyed with adding 1 clove.


I know the gravity dropped 10 points since last week but the flavor did take a noticeable change from sickeningly sweet to sweet but with a slight bitter hint, nothing bad. Overall though looking forward to how this turns out. Sometimes hate asking what seem like dumb questions but better asking than saying nothing at all. Thank you again!

Chevette Girl
12-05-2012, 12:02 AM
I boil my fruit bags before use both to sterilize and to remove any residual laundry detergent... but I've never thought of steaming it. I guess you could just put the vanilla in the bag and chuck it in a vegetable steamer to sterilize it before chucking it in...

I HAVE had icky things grow on vanilla beans in musts but only when one end is poking up into the headspace.

Stilgar
01-02-2013, 05:31 PM
Just an update a long with a question. Checked on the mead and it's cleared up incredibly well. Clear enough to read through and the color is a nice deep blush. Had planned to move over to a new carboy(removing from the lees) and let go another month or so before bottling, will taste test and one more hydro reading when I do. The only thing I saw I wasn't too sure of was the top of the mead. Both seem to have a ring of bubbles and some floating toward the middle as well. No bacteria I can see or anything bad. I'm not too concerned but I was curious what this may be or be from. Attaching a picture to try and show if that helps. I'd just never seen that on a brew during secondary and wasn't sure if perhaps it was from the yeast, something bad or falls into the 'just something meads can do' folder.


http://img713.imageshack.us/img713/4060/img96432.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/713/img96432.jpg/)

Medsen Fey
01-02-2013, 05:59 PM
It kind of looks like it still might be slowly fermenting. What was the OG and where is it at now?

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

Chevette Girl
01-02-2013, 08:17 PM
... or falls into the 'just something meads can do' folder.


That's got my vote... it's possible that there's some kind of surfactant action going on in there keeping the bubbles from popping, I occasionally get a batch that does that, either from moving them around or from it still fermenting slowly.

Stilgar
01-02-2013, 10:25 PM
It kind of looks like it still might be slowly fermenting. What was the OG and where is it at now?

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

original gravity had this sitting at about 11% if I recall, will check my notes when I'm on my laptop. Tested earlier today and its sitting right at 1.025

Which is pretty close to the target some said it would finish up at(think they mentioned 1.013-1.020) Hope that helps.

And yeah for the most part I think I am putting this under the just something meads do because in the past I've had different yeast act, well differently during and after ferm, hopefully that's all. Taste wise its just fine, sweetness dropped from overly sweet to just about right.

Medsen Fey
01-02-2013, 11:47 PM
If you used premier cuvee and you have 11% ABV then it ain't done. It may be nearly stalled, but those yeast may keep chugging for a long time.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

Stilgar
01-02-2013, 11:48 PM
Went with Nottingham Ale yeast for this batch.

Medsen Fey
01-02-2013, 11:58 PM
Sorry I missed that. That makes continued fermentation much less likely unless there is another yeast (or other organism) that got in there. I would check the gravity again in a few weeks just to make sure it remains stable.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

Stilgar
01-13-2013, 05:49 AM
So an update. I planned on racking tomorrow and figured I'd do a gravity check before and it's gone from 1.025 to 1.020. So it has dropped some over 11 days. which the 1.020 was my target for this brew anyway lol. Took a closer look at the bubbles collected along the rim of the carboy and you could see tiny bubbles ever so often crawl up the sides of the carboy to the top with the others, but never changed. Def not as sweet as it was before when tasting, much milder sweetness but no real off taste aside what I guess you'd expect from sitting on the lees this long. So should I imagine be ok to move over and toss in something to stabilize and stop it where it's at yes?

Stilgar
01-13-2013, 07:34 PM
Correction, shall cold crash then sorbate and so on I guess unless there's a better course to help.

Note to self, no posting at 4am without rereading post.

Stilgar
01-20-2013, 03:54 AM
Transferred both gallons after a week cold crashing outside, added sorbate and meta. Took a reading before and things are still at 1.020. Crystal clear and looking happy happy.

It could be me but after transferring it seems to have lost its deep rose "pink" tone and looks near golden. Not sure if that's normal or just my eyes, which after a visit last week proved in need of new glasses. Since I'm getting close to bottling here soon is there anything I could do to deepen the color some, using fruit juice(ideally blackberry) More a curious question really.

Bought some clear bottles and debated frosting them thought it would give a nice look overall with the light tones the mead currently has. I know I say thanks more than I probably should at times but you all have helped me a lot through a few different brews and I may feel dumb asking some of the things I do but I'd rather ask even if my own mind is working over time opposed to not ask and end up regretting it. Thank you.

Medsen Fey
01-20-2013, 09:02 AM
It could be me but after transferring it seems to have lost its deep rose "pink" tone and looks near golden. Not sure if that's normal or just my eyes, ...

It is very common to have light reddish color fade with fermentation and aging. Adding sulfites may do this as well. You can certainly add some more berry juice to bring back color, and it usually doesn't take too much.

Stilgar
01-21-2013, 08:25 PM
It is very common to have light reddish color fade with fermentation and aging. Adding sulfites may do this as well. You can certainly add some more berry juice to bring back color, and it usually doesn't take too much.

Seeing as most places don't carry blackberry juice(I was considering alternatives but wasn't so sure deviating too far from it's original flavors) I debated crushing some store bought blackberries but if I did that would it be best to pasteurize the juice or sorbate it just incase? Since this is 2gal and not much would be needed I imagine maybe close to a cup for each carboy.

Steve Works
10-30-2014, 06:37 AM
I tried you recipe out, Stligar. Awesome stuff, man!
___________________________________________
demi sec champagne (http://www.canard-duchene.fr/en/champagne-authentic/authentic-demisec)