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View Full Version : New and Trying to tame EC-1118



Cajun-Mead
02-22-2013, 03:42 PM
I have made several 1 gal batches of mead with bread yeast based off of a old book i found at my grandmother's house. I thought i had reached the pinnacle of my mead making career. The i started a google search and realised that i was grossly mistaken.

I read that i need to start with my desired ABV and go from there. I was able to reach a SG of 1.140 using 12lbs of local (South Louisiana) honey. I mixed this with distilled water and 3tsp of yeast nutrient. I pitched in my EC-1118 using the 15min at 100 degrees F method.

This resulted in great and vigerous fermentation. I utilized a 3 gal glass carboy and a 3 piece airlock filled with glycerin. I plan on letting it sit in primary for 3 weeks and raking into secondary 1 gal glass jugs with air locks until the SG is about 1.00. Then possibly racking again if needed for clarity. I then plan on racking each jug over a campden tablet and sorbate and letting it sit for another week before i bottle.

Is there any traps that i can fall into besides slow fermentation trying to make sack mead in this manner. I greatly enjoy this forum and see myself being a long time mead maker.

WVMJack
02-22-2013, 07:15 PM
Its like you were riding around on a little donkey with your bread yeast meads and then went out and bought a crazy thourobred stallion in the middle of mating season when you unleashed the EC. Your are not going to tame it, if you are lucky it wont hurt you, at best a standoff is all you can hope for. Its going to eat all your honey and ask for more, it will treat you harshly if you let it, be careful, its our meanest yeast. If you would have asked before you started this batch we might have eased you into it with something like a Montrochet, its like a little poney, just feed it right and it just hangs around the yard. Give EC a chance, it will blow your corks into the ceiling and laugh about it.

It looks like you have a good game plan, but so many people have laid out a "plan" for EC and it just burbed all over their floor. Be careful and good luck. There are people here to help you when it gets tough, we have all be through it before.

WVMJ

Cajun-Mead
02-22-2013, 07:58 PM
It would appear that i severly underestimated the yeast. if i get a consistent SG and if i use the campden and the sorbate. will it play nice and not blow up on me in my bottles?

WVMJack
02-22-2013, 08:05 PM
Sure. Actually it looks like you got a good game plan. Be a little patient, when it drops clear a while from now take a couple of SG readings, when stable you can even backsweeten and add sulfite to protect against oxygenation and sorbate to keep the yeast from multiplying and bottle. You can feed them a little extra honey now and make a stonger mead or let it go with what you have and it might get done a little sooner.

Now, what is your next batch going to be?

WVMJ

Bob1016
02-22-2013, 08:11 PM
Distilled water is a no-no, there are very few nutrients in honey, your best off to use spring water with some minerals to help out.
The horse metaphor was spot on (seriously, hilarious!). I tried EC on a 1gal test a little while ago. I won't do it again. There is nothing "wrong" with it, but I think there are better choices. The guy I got my honey from in Orlando (still buy his honey come to think of it) used it to step feed a mead to 21%abv! He said he'd never use it again unless he wanted more rocket fuel. I've got a bottle that ill open in about 5 years, we'll see how it is then.
I "think" that if you ferment it dry, rack, age a few months, cold crash, rack again, and age for another few months, you should be able to stabilize without too much fear, but don't just stabilize after a month of aging. Better off safe with these workhorse yeasts (pun intended). ;)

WVMJack
02-22-2013, 08:21 PM
We like EC2228 and Premier Cuvee in our melomels, you wont find our recipes in any old meadmaking books. We try to use 4 gallons of berry juice, sometimes you can use that much juice like with black raspberries, just to much flavor, but blackberries and elderberries its easy to go with 4 gallons of pure juice and a gallon of honey, let it ferment and keep step feeding it until the yeast just gives up, let it set for a long time to clear, racking as needed of course, and then backsweeten with at least another quart of honey. Somehow everything turns out well balanced, the acid and the sweetness, the berry flavor is more than matched with the honey (of course us good honey matched to the berry). I dont have much experience with the trads yet so EC might be as you guys say way over the top for just a straight honey wine, but dont throw it away just in case you get a lot of berries on day. WVMJ

Cajun-Mead
02-22-2013, 08:35 PM
I do appreciate a good pun. I am going to go with the ferment dry then back sweeten method. Since the Batch will be in 3, 1 gallon jugs i can vary the level of sweetness and possibly sweetner. I understand that an 18% ( what i think i will get to based on my starting SG) will take a while to age. I am blessed with a rare trait of patience. So aging and investing alot of time in a strong mead will not be a problem.

Cold crashing seems like a good idea. For this type of mead how would i go about doing that?

As for my next mead, i will likely use the same poundage and yeast. I bought a 12 lb bucket of blackberry honey at the homebrew store when i bought my supplies.

I understand it may seem stubborn of me to use EC -1118 based on my inexperience. I do like the idea of having a high alcohol mead that i can sweeten to taste. Even if i were to make a low alcohol mead i would probaly age the mead signifigantly. I would have to much remorse drinking a young mead and thinking about what it could have been. And yes, the Cajun in me is drawn to a mead with a high alocohol.

Cajun-Mead
02-22-2013, 08:38 PM
and of course i will will switch to spring water. i was think distilled = clean. I wasnt thinking of the nutritional value.

Bob1016
02-22-2013, 09:04 PM
I am not trash talking EC, I have two packs in the fridge just in case (stuck ferments or what ever). It just seems excessive; when you can use K1v or D10, why bother you know? I have put a 6gal carboy in the fridge for a month with no issues, take out some shelves and it will fit.
If you've got the time, patience, and space go for it. Patience is a trait easily learned with this hobby, the fact that you already have it means you have an advantage!
Jack- did you check out the new spreadsheet? What do you think?

WVMJack
02-22-2013, 09:41 PM
Cajun, one thing about a thoroughbred yeast is that it WILL get the job done, so actually in a sense its not a bad yeast for a beginner as its a strong yeast and can take a lot of abuse, its like guaranteed to work, and keep working if you are not careful:)

BOb, the formatting has somehow changed so I cant view 3 of the sheets in Libre, the varietal one is good with the TA inclusion, that will make it much easier for normal people to use. On problem though is including the % moisture, that is so variable that the inclusion in the table is not very useful and may actually be misleading if its included in any formulas. The standard of stable moisture for most honey is 18.6%, does is vary with different types of honey that is ripe?

WVMJ

Bob1016
02-22-2013, 10:14 PM
Jack- Try the first posted hyperlink on this (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?p=204910#post204910) thread. It is the famous study White Jr did. There is a huge table in the study, samples taken from all kinds of honey, all different ages, all different processing levels, and from multiple areas. There is a definitive correlation between varietal and moisture level, even from different regions and even heated honey! There is a disclosure at the bottom saying that it may vary based on climate of storage area, however the variance is less than 0.4%! as proven in a later study by Mr. White Jr.
In summary, yes, including the moisture is accurate. The GotMead calculator uses a sugar content of 79.5%, the other 20.5% is moisture and other stuff. Mine is just varietal specific. But their's has fruit :p.

Sorry for the slight thread jacking Cajun. It is not a stubborn thing. We all started with some yeast, either based on research or advice. Honestly, if you like it, it is a good idea to keep using it to hone in on it's unique characteristics. My first was D21, and I ran quite a few 1gal test batches after that just to get used to that yeast, what it likes, and what I like. If you can say "I think this honey will work good with EC at 68*F, 175ppm YAN, and pitched at 1g/gal" then you might be better off than the guy who can say "maybe we'll try BA11 with this honey". Just a thought ;).

WVMJack
02-22-2013, 11:00 PM
THanks Bob, I had wondered about the varietal differences in moisture, interesting. We can have a hard time getting it dried here in the Mid Atlantic with our humidity. WVMJ

Bob1016
02-22-2013, 11:04 PM
Ft. Lauderdale Florida, don't even talk to me about humidity :D.

Cajun-Mead
02-22-2013, 11:51 PM
Thank you fellas i will keep ya'll posted. in a new thread because nobody like 3 week old necros.

Chevette Girl
02-23-2013, 12:53 PM
Actually, we don't consider 3 weeks to be necro, if it's the same brew and the same conversation, especially if you started it, go ahead and drag it back up, it saves us all from saying all the same stuff all over again or going looking for the original post :) By the time it's a couple years old though, just reference it with a link so we know what you've read before we respond ;D

My experiences with EC-1118 haven't been nearly as dramatic as everyone else's seem to be, a few times I've had it stick at 12-14% (once at around 6%) and I've never had it take an acerglyn dry on me no matter how hard I try (turns out to be a good thing after all, it's better sweeter anyway). So either I'm a horrible brewer and mistreat my yeasties so horriffically that the thoroughbred stallion just wants to cuddle and go stick his head in a round bale like my own mixed-breed pony mare does, or it might not be as bad as all that... I know Fatbloke and several others complain that it blows all the delicates right out the airlock so I've mostly switched over to K1V if I want to ignore it, 71B if I know I'll be racking it regularly, D47 in the winter when I can keep the temperature down, and RC-212 when I don't mind babysitting a fermentation... although testing all these yeasts against each other is definitely on my to-brew list.

Cajun-Mead
02-23-2013, 02:28 PM
Well good, i chose the EC -1118 because i want to to eat everything to get the high ABV. i also like the temp tolerance considering i live in south louisiana. Hopefully my glycerin airlocks dont let me down because i work offshore for 2 weeks at a time and sometimes for a month and a half until i can get home. I dont want to rely on my wife to keep my airlocks wet. Its not that she wouldnt, its just that she has her hands full with our daughter and the sewing/embroidery hobby she has.

Does anyone have experience with using glycerin in there airlocks? i know it can absorb the water from the atmosphere(which is always humid.) But will the absorbtion and evaporation of the water affect the glycerin.

WVMJack
02-23-2013, 02:47 PM
Dude, your airlocks will be more than fine, they dont need that much attention, filled up correctly they should hold that long. Be carefull out there, do they let you fish in your offtime? WVMJ



Well good, i chose the EC -1118 because i want to to eat everything to get the high ABV. i also like the temp tolerance considering i live in south louisiana. Hopefully my glycerin airlocks dont let me down because i work offshore for 2 weeks at a time and sometimes for a month and a half until i can get home. I dont want to rely on my wife to keep my airlocks wet. Its not that she wouldnt, its just that she has her hands full with our daughter and the sewing/embroidery hobby she has.

Does anyone have experience with using glycerin in there airlocks? i know it can absorb the water from the atmosphere(which is always humid.) But will the absorbtion and evaporation of the water affect the glycerin.

Chevette Girl
02-23-2013, 02:52 PM
Even with just plain water, your airlocks should be fine if you can only get to them every two weeks, I think I check mine every two months or so. But thanks for the suggestion, I may add glycerine to a couple of mine that are harder to get to...

Cajun-Mead
02-23-2013, 03:00 PM
@WVMJack They did. But like all good things it got "taken away" due to stupidity. We had ready access to pistachios / sunflower seeds. People throw the shells on the deck of the platform so they got taken away. We had gum, Same problem. and unfortunately someone didnt wash off the scales from cleaning their fish and that got taken away as well. I basically make my money by going to prison for half the time. But atleast it is a prison with internet and it helps me with my mead because i dont look at it 20 times a day and just watch it bubbling. So thats the reason i have patience. not that i have it willingly but it is forced on me through work.

YogiBearMead726
02-23-2013, 07:13 PM
I know it's not quite what you're after, but I personally love using EC1118 for lower ABV (12-14% range) dry traditional and show meads. Keep it a bit cooler as it works (a bit of a challenge in warmer climates), a bit of batonage with the lees, and then a few months of sur lie aging on the fine lees makes for a delicious mead in my experience. It gives such a lush, creamy mouthfeel without getting buttery that helps flesh out the body of a dry lower ABV traditional.

Just some food for thought. :)