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CANNABISAURUS
08-29-2013, 03:41 AM
hey whats up guys i just had a quick couple of questions.

i started my first batch of mead, a 3 gal apple pie cyser, about two and half weeks ago. when i racked the cyser a few days ago there was only two gallons, i added another gallon of my honey mix to top it off. before i added it though i tasted what was in my hydrometer tube and was none too impressed. it tasted kind of foul i cant describe it well. it tasted very bland and sort of sour?ish. my question is: does this taste resemble what my final product will be? do i need more of the ingredients that i used? i thought maybe what i was tasting was the live yeast and that it was masking the delicious apple pie flavor i was hoping for.

one more thing.. the yeast i am using is lalvin ec1118. the guy at the brew store told me that it has a very high alcohol tolerance which he recomended to me because i want a strong finished product. my question is: do i need to add more sugar(honey) untill the alcohol content kills the yeast? when i racked it off of primary, the gravity went from 1.107og to 1.000( basically no sugar left from what i understand, again im a newbee) and when i added my secondary ingredients it kicked back up instantly from what appeared to be a halted ferment.

I lost my notes/recipe paper i was using to keep track of the process but my recipe went something like this:

2 gallons fresh unfiltered applejuice(the good organic stuff from sprouts)
1.5 lbs organic honey
2 lbs brown sugar
a couple tablespoons of apple pie spice
3 cinnamon sticks
lalvin ec1118 yeast
diamonnium phosphate yeast nut.
additional ingredients for secondary:
1 lb of organic honey
a little more apple pie spice
2 cans of apple juice from concentrate (no preservatives)
water to fill

thanks for the help guys and any additional help/tips would be appreciated.

Chevette Girl
08-29-2013, 07:16 AM
Welcome to the forum!

First off, no, what you taste in the hydrometer tube during fermentation generally has very little to do with what the finished product is going to taste like. Fruits with all the sugars fermented out can taste bland at first, and fruit is acidic, honey is acidic and yeast produce more acidity so that's probably the sourness you taste. Age will generally make a huge difference as the acidity rounds off, the harshness from the alcohol mellows out and the flavours meld together.

Adding more sugars generally doesn't kill the yeast, they just go dormant when they've had enough. If you want to continue adding honey until it stops, you'll likely end up with a strongly alcoholic result that may taste pretty harsh for a while (like, years), if you want something drinkable in a more reasonable time frame, the solution would be to stabilize and backsweeten it. A lot of newbees (myself included!) start out making high-test alcohol because we can... eventually you come to appreciate the lower-alcohol brews too. Now, if you add something that's the same as the initial SG, it'll ferment down to the same final gravity and it won't have increased the alcohol percentage because you've not only added more honey but you've also added more water to dilute it. If you really want to step-feed to push the alcohol limit, you can use straight honey or honey mixed with just enough water (or must) that it'll stir in easily...


Sometimes adding new things makes it LOOK like it's perked back up instantly because it allows a lot of degassing to happen when you add anything. Did you get a hydrometer reading of your new SG so you can see if it's dropping? That's the best way to make sure it actually is still continuing to ferment. I expect it truly is, because you're well within EC-1118's tolerances, but with yeast you never really know!
Oh, and get a log book or duo-tang or something to keep your papers together, down the road you'll wish you had better records.

CANNABISAURUS
08-29-2013, 04:35 PM
Welcome to the forum!

First off, no, what you taste in the hydrometer tube during fermentation generally has very little to do with what the finished product is going to taste like. Fruits with all the sugars fermented out can taste bland at first, and fruit is acidic, honey is acidic and yeast produce more acidity so that's probably the sourness you taste. Age will generally make a huge difference as the acidity rounds off, the harshness from the alcohol mellows out and the flavours meld together.

Adding more sugars generally doesn't kill the yeast, they just go dormant when they've had enough. If you want to continue adding honey until it stops, you'll likely end up with a strongly alcoholic result that may taste pretty harsh for a while (like, years), if you want something drinkable in a more reasonable time frame, the solution would be to stabilize and backsweeten it. A lot of newbees (myself included!) start out making high-test alcohol because we can... eventually you come to appreciate the lower-alcohol brews too. Now, if you add something that's the same as the initial SG, it'll ferment down to the same final gravity and it won't have increased the alcohol percentage because you've not only added more honey but you've also added more water to dilute it. If you really want to step-feed to push the alcohol limit, you can use straight honey or honey mixed with just enough water (or must) that it'll stir in easily...


Sometimes adding new things makes it LOOK like it's perked back up instantly because it allows a lot of degassing to happen when you add anything. Did you get a hydrometer reading of your new SG so you can see if it's dropping? That's the best way to make sure it actually is still continuing to ferment. I expect it truly is, because you're well within EC-1118's tolerances, but with yeast you never really know!
Oh, and get a log book or duo-tang or something to keep your papers together, down the road you'll wish you had better records.

thanks chevette girl.. im glad that the tast of that foul liquid in my closet isnt what is going to be bottled haha. i did forget, however, to take an additional SG reading once i added to the must. does that mean i wont be able to calculate my final gravity?

i wont add any more sugar. i should just wait untill the existing sugars have fermented out. when should i stabilize? how do i do it? and what stabilizer should i use? what can i expect my ABV% to be approximately with ec1118?

one more q: since i used unfiltered apple juice, my must is very opaque. can i expect it to clear? i know there are clarifying agents you can add but can i achieve clarity without it? if i do pitch a clarifying agent, how long will it take to clarify?

thanks for the help!

Chevette Girl
08-29-2013, 08:38 PM
All the crap floating around in apple cider will settle out with the yeast. And if not, hit it with some bentonite and see if that does the trick, if not, hit it with Sparkolloid. At least, that's my standard procedure. But really, most everything will settle out once fermentation's done. I haven't had to use bentonite on many batches and I've bottled a lot. Some batches take a couple weeks after bentonite, others drop clear overnight. And oddly enough, sometimes the rather large particles you get in unfiltered juices help things clear up because the smaller particles that want to stay in suspension end up sticking to the big particles that settle out.

When to stabilize? When the SG stops changing is about the earliest you'd want to stabilize. The usual method is 1 campden tablet (potassium metabisulphite) and ___ tsp of potassium sorbate per gallon (sorry, must go confirm the amount, I think it's a 1/2 tsp but I have a remarkably crappy memory), some people hit it with the sulphites first and then the sorbate but you shouldn't have a problem with doing both at the same time. I ususally let it settle out for a few days, put the chemicals in a clean carboy, and rack the must onto the chemicals.

EC-1118 can get up to (sometimes above) 18%. I think that info is probably on the Yeast Table over there in the yellow panel.

If what you added to the must was the same honey/water proportion as the original, your math is simple, just use the new gravity and the original gravity and it'll be accurate. If not, you can either make an educated guess with the Mead Calculator (again, over there on the yellow panel) or do a spirit indication test, where you take a measured volume of your finished mead, boil it till you're sure all the alcohol's gone, make that volume back up with water, and you can calculate how much ethanol you lost by the difference in specific gravities.

HenryJordan
09-02-2013, 03:05 AM
I love mead. In my construction company there is a pantry, there we (my colleagues and I) go and do some funny experiments on the food. However the food tastes, by the lunch time we all get so damn hungry that we eat the whole things without leaving one piece of grain.

mannye
09-02-2013, 09:13 AM
I love mead. In my construction company there is a pantry, there we (my colleagues and I) go and do some funny experiments on the food. However the food tastes, by the lunch time we all get so damn hungry that we eat the whole things without leaving one piece of grain.

I don't think he's talking about mead...or food for that matter.