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laflaone
12-05-2012, 07:09 PM
Starting a 5 gal batch of cyser in a few days. First after a layoff of 14 yrs. Now retired, so I can do what I enjoy.

basic ingredients:
5 gal musselman's cider. not from concentrate, no preservatives.
Suebee honey to bring the OG up to the point that I get about 12% alcohol, and the result to be semi dry.
lalvin 1118 yeast(in Florida, have to have a higher temp tolerant yeast)
yeast starter nutrient, and a later nutrient

In my research, I have found that the ph of the must is important. I think this is most important if you are using a raw cider, not store bought. Using the above, should I have to check? The ph testing stuff is not that cheap, and I do not want to put out the money if it is not necessary.

Comments on the above that are intended to be helpful, and are not sarcastic, will be most welcome.

magneto
12-05-2012, 07:51 PM
You don't need any fancy equipment to measure pH - you can get inexpensive test strips (litmus paper) from your brewing supply store. You dip the strip in the solution and compare the color change to a chart on the bottle. This gives you a pH range that is very easy to read.

Check out this link. There is some great info on pH and mead in this little guide (a PDF document) (http://www.morebeer.com/public/pdf/wmead.pdf).

Here is the relevant info from the guide:


The pH of a mead fermentation should be taken into account,
and preferably earlier than later! Honey is naturally acidic and
often attains a pH of 3.5–5.0 once diluted to typical mead-
must densities (usually around 21–24° Brix). However, it has
very little in the way of natural buffers, and this means that
as the fermentation gets underway, with the rise of carbonic
acid (CO2) along with the various organic acids produced by
the yeast themselves, the pH of the must can quickly drop to
2.6–2.8 in a 24–36 hour period. This is well past the desired,
lower-end threshold for a wine yeast fermentation (which is
around pH 3.2). This low pH, if left uncorrected, will cause
the yeast to become stressed and the resulting fermentation
will often become sluggish or even stuck.

To avoid these potential problems, the answer lies in correct-
ing the pH upwards by the use of a carbonate about a day or
so after the must has been inoculated to maintain a pH of
around 3.4–3.5 (potassium carbonate is a good choice for
this). Later, once the fermentation has ceased, you can then
fine-tune the final TA% with an acid blend or more carbonate
if needed.

Note: that as each honey will have a different elemental make-up,
each honey must will therefore naturally differ in the exact amount
needed to achieve the desired pH adjustment. However, if you
don’t want to take the time and do a proper bench-trial in order to
find the precise amount needed, around 0.45 grams per gallon of
carbonate is usually a good “ball-park” figure. (That being said, a
bench trial is truly the best way).


After fermentation is handy to know the pH number of the wine for addition of sulfates, if desired.

Good luck!

Medsen Fey
12-05-2012, 08:55 PM
With a cyser, you don't have to worry much about pH. The juice has a lot of buffing capacity to keep the pH stable during fermentation.



...bring the OG up to the point that I get about 12% alcohol, and the result to be semi dry.
lalvin 1118 yeast(in Florida, have to have a higher temp tolerant yeast)


This time of year the temperature should not be a problem for you, but just to set the record straight EC-1118 is not a high-temperature-tolerant yeast. It will survive and complete fermentations OK at high temp, but the results will be very harsh with fusel alcohols. It will work OK for red wine fermentations at high temp, but that is a different animal than mead. There have been a few mead tests comparing different yeast at high temperature and EC-1118 did poorly in them. For high-temp mead making, K1V and D21 are better options.

Also, it will usually take a batch with a potential ABV of less than 18% bone dry (not semi-dry).

laflaone
12-06-2012, 09:14 AM
With a cyser, you don't have to worry much about pH. The juice has a lot of buffing capacity to keep the pH stable during fermentation.




This time of year the temperature should not be a problem for you, but just to set the record straight EC-1118 is not a high-temperature-tolerant yeast. It will survive and complete fermentations OK at high temp, but the results will be very harsh with fusel alcohols. It will work OK for red wine fermentations at high temp, but that is a different animal than mead. There have been a few mead tests comparing different yeast at high temperature and EC-1118 did poorly in them. For high-temp mead making, K1V and D21 are better options.

Also, it will usually take a batch with a potential ABV of less than 18% bone dry (not semi-dry).

Is the K1V the Lalvin K1V1116? I bought two packets of that as well as the 1118.

Intheswamp
12-06-2012, 09:54 AM
That's the one. I just started a traditional with it. Best wishes to you and your cyser.

Ed

magneto
12-06-2012, 10:11 AM
Laflaone:

FYI, here is the datasheet on EC-1118 from Lalvin:

http://www.lalvinyeast.com/EC1118.asp

It provides some interesting information.

Good luck!

Chevette Girl
12-06-2012, 11:47 PM
I think I like K1V-1116 for my cider and cyser, it seems to have done a good job. And I only bother checking the pH if I'm working with a lot of a fruit with known high acidity, like citrus or red currants...

magneto
12-07-2012, 11:50 AM
This might be help too. Here is an article by Ken Schramm, author of "The Compleat Meadmaker", titled "Optimizing Honey Fermentation", published in November/December 2005 by www.beertown.org.

Here is a link:

Optimizing Honey Fermentation (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CC0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2F486286.cache1.evolutionhosting.co m%2Fattachments%2F0000%2F1256%2FNDzym05_MasterMead .pdf&ei=bQvCUOGNLcbZ0QHPxoHACg&usg=AFQjCNGl67NwnrFo-EBNRVD35gAYJcNMsQ&cad=rja)

Mr. Schramm mentions some scholarly research about the role of pH in honey fermentation:


Role of pH in Better Detail

Drs. Roger Morse and Keith Steinkraus
established many years ago that low pH in
a fermenting mead must can lead to a
slowdown in fermentative activity and a
prolonged and unhealthy fermentation.
Bisson explains the phenomenon in her
text on fermentation for her course at UC-
Davis. Movement of amino acids across
the cell membrane (by transporters, or
trans-permeases) is coupled to proton
movement into the cell. Those protons
must then be transported out of the cell
by ATPase pumps (at the expense of one
ATP > ADP hydrolysis per transport).
When the pH drops, additional protons
enter the cell due to passive proton flux. If
the number of protons inside the cell wall
exceeds the capacity of the ATPase pumps
in the membrane to evacuate them, amino
acid uptake slows and fermentative activ-
ity is reduced.

Bisson also notes that fermentations that
falter and stick can be extremely difficult
to restart, making the maintenance of an
appropriate pH all the more important.


He also talks about feeding in small increments over time, proper nitrogen levels and proper amounts of vitamins and minerals. "Vigorous aeration" is recommended at the end of the lag phase and then every 12 hours "until 50% sugar depletion or 5 days, whichever comes first."

I can say that using the processes he describes in this article does make a difference in how fermentations go.

Vance G
12-07-2012, 03:07 PM
Great information! It makes so many former tidbits of anecdotal advice fall into place.

laflaone
12-07-2012, 04:24 PM
I thank all of you for your replies. My mama always told me you may ask a stupid question, but it is even more stupid to not ask.

I just received my copy of The compleat Meadmaker by Schramm. I am impressed with the book.

On of the subjects brought up is aeration. My batch will be 5gal, and in a 6 1/2 gal glass carboy. At age 70, I am not going to be picking that thing up and shaking it. One method that intrigues me is the aquarium pump and a bubble stone. Aeration is what they are make for, right? Has anyone used it, and how did it work?

magneto
12-07-2012, 04:50 PM
I think there is some merit to the idea that having CO2 in the must is not so big a deal, but aeration with an aeration stone (aka oxygenation stone) and aquarium pump will help push the CO2 out as well as infusing some O2 in.

I follow Ken Schramm's advice to "vigorously" aerate just after the lag phase ends and then at 12 hour intervals through the 1/2 sugar break or 5 days, which ever comes first. While running, the stone with the pump really stirs things up.

The stone is usually sold as part of an oxygenation kit with an O2 tank regulator (which you won't need, unless you want to use pure O2.)

Intheswamp
12-07-2012, 06:08 PM
On of the subjects brought up is aeration. My batch will be 5gal, and in a 6 1/2 gal glass carboy. At age 70, I am not going to be picking that thing up and shaking it. One method that intrigues me is the aquarium pump and a bubble stone. Aeration is what they are make for, right? Has anyone used it, and how did it work?

I picked up a 5" aquarium stone, 10' of tubing (didn't use but maybe 3'), and a small air pump at Walmart for somewhere around $12-$13. Seemed to work pretty good. If I decide to use an airstone to make some sparkling mead in my corny keg I may spring for one of the stainless steel stones but for using with an aquarium pump I think the cheap aquarium stone does a pretty good job.

There's a shot of the airstone working in this post...
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showpost.php?p=201328&postcount=20

Ed

magneto
12-07-2012, 06:24 PM
That looks great! If you think about it, that is exactly what the stone is supposed to - only for fish, not yeast!

Medsen Fey
12-07-2012, 06:58 PM
I don't want to dampen anyone's enthusiasm, but the amount of O2 needed for healthy fermentation really isn't that much- about 10 mg/L. This is best if given on the second day of fermentation according to studies done in winemaking. One good aeration that saturates the must will dissolve about 8 mg/L into solution.

Beyond that you are probably wasting time and effort, and could potentially be doing harm.

magneto
12-07-2012, 07:01 PM
Talk to Ken about it!

laflaone
12-07-2012, 07:16 PM
My idea of the stone and pump would be only to use it before I pitch the yeast, to get the apple cider/honey oxygenated.

Any other ideas about proper oxygenation besides the stone and pump?

Also, I have been using forums for many years, over a wide range of subjects. Forums are for helping each other, not sarcasm, which unfortunately seems to have crept in on several of the latter responses.

magneto
12-07-2012, 07:24 PM
I do this to learn, not to argue with people. I have 14 posts on this site and am a nobody -- so take my opinion for what is is worth, which is not much.

I offered the OP my experience, which included citing a recognized, published author who is also a contributor to this website. I have personally found Mr. Schramm's advice to be sound, with measurable results.

I only wanted to help - not argue!

Medsen Fey
12-07-2012, 11:23 PM
Talk to Ken about it!








I have personally found Mr. Schramm's advice to be sound, with measurable results.

I only wanted to help - not argue!

I quite understand. I have the greatest respect for Mr. Schramm's advice and his contributions. However, I generally won't accept something as fact just because Ken says so. That applies to Oskaar, Hightest, and everyone else including the mead-maker of the year. I'm very "data driven" and like to see scientific evidence to support best practices because we have found countless "accepted beliefs" that turned out not to true.

For example, it was generally understood that you had to dissolve all the honey in the must. In fact, you can just pour in the honey without stirring it in, and the yeast will ferment it without problem. High temperature fermentation was considered bad (and it is) but you can still make great mead at high temps. Old recipes used to call for acid additions at the beginning, but we've learned that often creates pH problems. Anytime you read something that says this is what you need to do to make great mead, take it with a grain of salt as there is often more than one way to skin a cat.

My evidenced based approach isn't without faults either. For one thing, there is damned little scientific study documented about mead. Most of the studies I draw from are based on fermentation of wine or beer. While I often figure that the results can be extrapolated to meads, the fact is that meads behave differently. So my point to this rambling digression is that it is wise to maintain some skepticism of advice even from experts.

Of course, with that said, Oskaar and Vicky did create the mead mentors so that newcomers would have some help in weighing the validity of advice being provided. :)

magneto
12-08-2012, 05:04 AM
No worries! I appreciate your point of view. Thanks for taking the time to give a thoughtful reply. Sometimes it is easy to misunderstand intent and tone in these messages. I meant no offense and I took none! Please forgive me if I caused any upset.

-Joe

laflaone
12-08-2012, 08:14 AM
Medsen Fey, thanks for taking the time to send your response. Good points. Joe, thanks for your replies. Maybe I was a little too touchy. Lets go from here.