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d2005
07-11-2013, 10:04 PM
I've been brewing for about 6 years.

Thought I would try a mead. Did a lot of reading.

I'm very patient so after reading a lot online I didn't see why I should add yeast nutrients. Instead I just added two vials of yeast and tried to keep the gravity low.

Recipe:
6 lbs honey
2.5 gallons water
2x vials of WL german lager yeast (1st week, 1 3rd week)

Kept it at 58-60F
OG: 1.076
PH: ~3.5-3.6 (calibrated digital tool)

Well the liquid that I draw out is effervescent. But after 4 weeks the gravity is only about 1.051.

Is this fermentation rate "to be expected"?

This mead can be drained into a carboy and left next to the fermenter to clean up. At this rate it could take about another 8 weeks to finish up and i'm in no hurry to kick it along if its going to get the job done in 8 weeks.

It smells great, but still a lot like honey.

Has anyone else tried this procedure before?

Thanks for the help!

theEnvoy
07-11-2013, 10:09 PM
I'm not that experienced with lagers, but this lager yeast should ferment around 50 to 55 degrees. Could be part of the fermentation issue...

clone63
07-11-2013, 10:10 PM
That's warm for lager yeast... I'm not a beer brewer but that's room temperature, lager is supposed to be brewed at cellar temperatures.

Also, no nutrients, even for a low gravity mead can give you problems, especially with a less aggressive yeast.

d2005
07-11-2013, 10:19 PM
OK, well I can drop the temperature in the must down to 50-55F and see if it speeds up (thermowell in fermenter).

Midnight Sun
07-11-2013, 11:06 PM
At least to a certain point, warmer temps tend to cause yeast to ferment faster not slower. Lager yeasts are used to create steam beer when fermented at ale temps, so I very much doubt that temp is the cause here.

I would guess that nutrients are playing a part in the slow ferment. Beer yeasts are selected for malt ferments which have considerably more nutrients than honey musts. Boil a couple of tsp of bread yeast in 50ml of water and add to your must. If that doesn't work, then maybe go out and buy some commercial nutrients.

Age of the yeast vials could also be a factor. Vials almost always have a low cell count, requiring a starter. Did you make one?

d2005
07-11-2013, 11:25 PM
Both vials of yeast were very new with expiration dates in late august.

I did not make a starter though, and that is what I thought the problem was. The cell count in the tubes is pretty good, but when making beer you can usually count on the oxygen and nutrients in the wort to bump up your cell count many times over.

I did notice that everytime I take a hydrometer sample that my bubbles/minute jumps up (probably because i'm adding oxygen to the must).

So I guess I could also create a DME starter and aerate the heck out of it.

When making beer there is usually problems with aerating the wort once the alcohol content has started to increase.

Is there the same problem with mead?

Also, should I try a honey starter with nutrients instead of a DME starter?

Thanks again

Midnight Sun
07-11-2013, 11:47 PM
I figured you'd have good vials being a brewer.

I do think you'll do better with a honey-based starter vs DME, since that is what your yeast are going to eat in the end.

Mead can be aerated up to the 1/3 sugar break, which you are very close to. Might even be half, I am tired and don't remember offhand.

Related interesting thread: click. (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20835)

Robusto
07-12-2013, 09:51 AM
Hi. The link that MidnightSun is referencing is my experiment with lager yeast. Being a brewer, I'm sure that you already know that Lager yeast require more oxygen in the must/wort than other yeasts, but I'll mention it for those who are not. Also, as others have said, honey doesn't have nearly the nutrient content of a beer wort, so adding nutrients is usually need- this tripped me up in the beginning to, as I am mainly a beer brewer.

Good luck and keep us updated.

d2005
09-26-2013, 12:48 AM
Well after 15 weeks the mead dropped very bright. Tested the gravity it was around 0.95.

The taste is interesting. It's about 10-11%, so the heat is there. We used blueberry honey so the blueberry and honey flavor is very evident.

This is our first batch, so the plan is to keg it. Next batch we will probably try about the same gravity but try a different yeast to compare the differences.

Thanks for the help.