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Damian
07-31-2013, 07:48 AM
Hi everyone, looking at doing my 1st mead (JAOM) and was wondering how long it will last in bottles with crown seal caps? I have quiet a backlog of beer and cider to get through first. Would 3 years be pushing it? Thanks.

Marshmallow Blue
07-31-2013, 10:15 AM
Ken Schramm - One of the kings of mead knowledge has posted around that he's had crown capped ones sitting around for like 20 years if I recall. I'm going to say crowns are probably fine if you get the good oxygen absorbing caps, they aren't expensive http://www.graintoglasshomebrew.com/product_p/ccoxycrown1.htm .

Plus most of the low grade cheapo corks are only good for 2 years before they need a changing. long aging oxy caps might be better anyways.

Welcome to GotMead and good luck having your first mead last 3 years.

Damian
08-01-2013, 05:58 AM
Thanks Marshmallow Blue. Sorry about going OT but is it okay to use a plastic fermetor instead of glass. I know the head space will be an issue but could I get away with it? I was thinking of doing a big batch (26 lbs of honey). Anything to look out for on large batches? What is the best way to build up Sweet Mead yeast? Thanks.

Chevette Girl
08-01-2013, 07:29 AM
I've not had problems with using plastic secondary fermentors even for a year or two of bulk aging, you just need to make sure you keep your airlocks in good shape. As for JAO, it should pretty much last indefinitely, I don't drink anywhere near as fast as I brew so I've always got a backlog and I think I'm into three or four year old JAO's and variants pretty regularly.

akueck
08-01-2013, 07:36 PM
Larger fermentations become a problem of heat dissipation. I would try to run the fermentation at the low end of the temperature range (low 60s) to try to slow it down a little. You will probably want to plan for a way to take heat out of the fermenter, e.g. a chilled water bath or stick it in a refrigerator.

If you want to build a starter, I would recommend making some honey musts in the 1.040-50 range. Build the population up with these and then unleash them into the full batch. If you are starting from only one vial, you will want to take several steps, e.g. 1 L, 2 L, 4 L.

Damian
08-03-2013, 06:13 PM
Thanks again peoples, very helpful. As with most things the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know. So I have a few more questions...
I have decided to use 4 packets of Lalvin D47. Is this okay. I have a lot of beer yeast nutrients(3 years old) but I don't think it is suitable. Is Fermaid A all I will need or should I get something else from this web page? http://www.ibrew.com.au/collections/winemaking-acids-enzymes
The honey I'm getting is raw and unfiltered, should I kill any wild spores? what is the best way to do this? Thanks.

Vance G
08-03-2013, 09:40 PM
I don't know beer nutrients or how to translate them. The products sold as yeast nutrient and yeast energizer work for me when I follow directions for amount and the wisdom on the forum for timing, but I am not too technically advanced. Do not heat and hurt fine raw honey! The commercial yeast will out compete the wild spores rapidly, especially if you are making a starter with that four package of D-47 yeast bomb.

WVMJack
08-04-2013, 05:04 AM
Didnt you read the directions carefully for your JAOM? Bread yeast, not D47, or its not guaranteed to work. It seems (a guess) that the higher alcohol of wine yeasts can pull out the nasty bitter stuff from the pith more than the lower alcohol content of the bread yeast. We did our first JAOM with wine yeast, not good, very very bitter, next one will be spot on the directions. As this is your first one it might be better to stick to the recipe. WVMJ


Thanks again peoples, very helpful. As with most things the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know. So I have a few more questions...
I have decided to use 4 packets of Lalvin D47. Is this okay. I have a lot of beer yeast nutrients(3 years old) but I don't think it is suitable. Is Fermaid A all I will need or should I get something else from this web page? http://www.ibrew.com.au/collections/winemaking-acids-enzymes
The honey I'm getting is raw and unfiltered, should I kill any wild spores? what is the best way to do this? Thanks.

fatbloke
08-04-2013, 05:33 AM
Damian,

Being in Sydney is likely to be the biggest nuisance. As most of the wine yeasts are happiest at European sort of temps and even then its those associated either with reds or more Mediterranean locations that're likely to handle the warmth better.

I wouldn't mind betting that most of the big Oz wine concerns are actually making in temp/climate controlled facilities.

I'd suggest that unless you have enough AC'd space that you avoid D47 as it makes lots of fusels when fermented above 70F/21C.

Whereas if you look at the Lalvin yeast chart (sorry can't link from this bloody phone) you'll find K1-V1116 is a likely better bet. Just about the widest temp range, high alcohol, low nutrient etc its the Montpellier strain from right down in the Languedoc hence its a very capable yeast. Plus it's the one with the killer factor so will out compete any wild stuff.

It's very good for meads.......

Chevette Girl
08-04-2013, 03:56 PM
Sydney's winter temps might be low enough for D47, although Akueck brings up a good point about temperature problems with large batches.

If you're doing a JAO, stick with bread yeast or it isn't a JAO and won't be anything you want to drink earlier than a year.

With that much honey on hand, why not do several small batches to figure out what you want to turn into a big batch?

joemirando
08-04-2013, 05:56 PM
If you're doing a JAO, stick with bread yeast or it isn't a JAO and won't be anything you want to drink earlier than a year.

Heed this advice well. This recipe was designed FOR bread yeast, and it counts on the yeast giving up at a certain point. Using a more alcohol tolerant yeast will ferment it dry, leaving little sugar for sweetness to balance the other tastes.

I made my first batch of JAO with only 3 lbs of honey, since I don't generally like sweet wines. It came out terrible! After my first taste, my ONLY comment was, "Oooooh, you can REALLY taste the pith!"

It was bitter (imagine peeling an orange and eating nothing but the white pith beneath the orange part of the peel), and in no way enjoyable. It has now been relegated to the back of a cupboard, to wait out its days until it is fit to drink.

Even though I used bread yeast, cutting the amount of honey down to 3.0 from 3.5 lbs allowed it to ferment dry like it would have with the proper amount of honey and a bona fide wine yeast, albeit with less alcohol.

My advice to anyone who asks (or will listen) is to follow the recipe to the letter the first time, THEN get creative.


Good luck,

Joe

Chevette Girl
08-04-2013, 07:08 PM
All the dicking around I've done with that recipe has led me to the following conclusions: for it to turn out pleasant, you need at least an initial gravity of 1.125 (usually 3.5 lb honey unless you use fruit that takes a lot of volume, I made one batch with 3.25 lb and it was gross), bread yeast, and enough acidity from the fruit to be about equivalent to an orange or lemon OR use something bitter like citrus zest or a very tannic fruit. Oh, and don't use unripe apples thinking that they're bitter and acidic. Blechh. Try crabapples instead.

Damian
08-05-2013, 06:54 AM
Thanks everyone. I should of mentioned that I have a fridge and heater so I can set and forget. I found Oskaarz Traditional Orange Blossom recipe.... http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15255 I think I will give this a go.
I would still like to add some orange zest, cinnamon and clove but not sure about how much and when to add? Any input would be appreciated.
BTW I can not purchase K1-V1116 in Australia. And chevette Girl I would love to do a few different bathes but I don't have the fermentors to spare. I'm really looking forward to using berries in my next mead.
Do most people have sparkling mead or still? Thanks.

fatbloke
08-05-2013, 07:29 AM
Pretty sure I've seen mention of K1v1116 and the other usual suspects from Lalvin both in Aus and NZ mention by Aus and Kiwi brewers (mead, wine and beer makers) as available. ....possibly mail order though. When I want something off the beaten track I just mail order from the US (I like D21 for traditionals and uvaferm 43 is the dogs knob for restarting stuck ferments)......

Meads generally still unless you've got kegging facilities as methode champenoise is quite a few extra stages and champers/sparkling bottles, stoppers and wire cages can be harder to get......

Damian
08-07-2013, 06:02 PM
Thanks fatbloke, I do have a kegging set up. What is the consensus on carbonating mead? I would imagine it would hide some of the flavor. What temperature would you serve carbonated mead at?

Chevette Girl
08-07-2013, 09:43 PM
Not sure what temperature specifically but I'd go for cool, not cold, as much as I can't stand a beer that isn't cold, I rather prefer even carbonated meads at room temp. I've only had one carbonated mead (it was an accident), and we took some and intentionally flattened it just to compare side by side, it was like two completely different drinks. So you may just have to experiment and figure out what your own preferences are.

Damian
08-08-2013, 08:40 PM
Will I need anything besides FERMAID 'A' and Go-Ferm for a healthy ferment. I'm not sure if I'll be making a second so I'm trying to keep it as cost effective as possible. Thanks

Chevette Girl
08-08-2013, 09:57 PM
Heh, I've never even used go-ferm, far as I know it's just for rehydrating your yeast. I keep DAP and yeast energizer on hand but if you get a batch that starts smelling sulphurous you can always try feeding it some boiled bread yeast if it's too late for adding the other things. I had decent ferments for years using just DAP, for that matter. Heck, I barely even aerated... those were the dark ages where everything was hit or miss. Now armed with a bit of knowledge and a small number of chemicals, I'm getting better and more consistent results, but it's not to say you absolutely need to have a full stock of everything you could possibly want.

I just accumulated the other items in my brewing cabinet as I needed them, and things like a packet of campden tablets and a container of potassium sorbate when I needed to stabilize something, bentonite and sparkolloid when something wouldn't clear, and a container of precipitated chalk when I was having some pH problems... and these are all buck-or-two items at my local brew store.

The pH strips were a little more (I think $8 for more than I could use before they expired), but hey, they were worth it because they've probably saved me a lot of pissed off yeasties due to excess acidity.

Regarding your question about adding to the OB recipe: if you take a look at the JAO recipe as a guideline, one or two cloves, one cinnamon stick and the zest of one orange per gallon is the amounts they use, if you can get a gallon jug and 3.5 lb of honey and give that recipe a try, it will establish a baseline for a bigger batch so you can tweak your amounts before you modify a large batch...

Damian
08-12-2013, 04:11 AM
Thanks Chevette Girl, you put my mind at ease, somewhat. I'm just going to add some FERMAID 'A' at staggered intervals. I have an aquarium pump and a air stone I will use for aerating.
I would like to start with a small batch but unfortunately I suffer from tunnel vision when it comes to most things but especially anything brewing. I have ordered 20 lbs and I get free shipping. Thanks.

Damian
09-04-2013, 09:37 AM
Well it's ready to go to secondary. :) I want to add some fresh strawberry's. Do i cut them in half or squash them? Should i soak the strawberry's in a camden tablet solution? Thanks.

Chevette Girl
09-04-2013, 09:47 PM
You shouldn't need to campden your strawberries, although anyone who uses fruit in secondary (I don't), please chime in! I know with a full fermentation, strawberries get pretty mushy pretty quickly so you might be able to get away with just slicing them, but squashing them will give you the best extraction.