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cosmogirl
09-05-2013, 02:54 PM
I have not made my first batch of mead yet, but I am very excited about making a batch. I have order a hydrometer, but I just cannot wrap my head around the calculations involved in ABV and SG.

I want to make 5 liters of mead to start with as a practice, so I don't waste too much if it goes wrong. I would like it to be 12% and be medium rather than sweet. I will add fresh orange slices to see what that tastes like. Does anyone have any idea how I make that calculation as to how much honey to make?

I know there is a section in the NewBees guide on the calculator and the statistics, but no matter how often I read it, I just can't understand.

joemirando
09-05-2013, 04:24 PM
I have not made my first batch of mead yet, but I am very excited about making a batch. I have order a hydrometer, but I just cannot wrap my head around the calculations involved in ABV and SG.

I want to make 5 liters of mead to start with as a practice, so I don't waste too much if it goes wrong. I would like it to be 12% and be medium rather than sweet. I will add fresh orange slices to see what that tastes like. Does anyone have any idea how I make that calculation as to how much honey to make?

I know there is a section in the NewBees guide on the calculator and the statistics, but no matter how often I read it, I just can't understand.

Welcome to the addiction! ;)

There is a fairly easy way to figure out a mix... use the handy-dandy mead calculator in the yellow box on the left. Here's the direct link (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Itemid=16).

Its a little intimidating at first, but don't worry. It is easy to learn, and makes the math much easier.

I will send you a draft of the tutorial I wrote up for myself for using the calculator later on.

Basically, since you want 5 liters, 12% ABV and medium sweetness, your best bet is to ferment your batch absolutely dry, stabilize (using potassium metabisulphate and potassium sorbate), then add more honey a little bit at a time until you achieve the desired sweetness. This is the most controllable way of doing it. I call it the FB method, since member fatbloke drummed this procedure into me. I have found it to be the best way (for me) to achieve both the ABV% and sweetness I want.

Using the calculator, I come up with 1.52 kg of honey to give you 12.09% ABV, with an Original Specific Gravity of 1.091.

I would add nutrient and energizer if you have it. If not, I would use 30 or 40 raisins and a teaspoon of bread yeast (rehydrated and boiled in half a cup of water for 2-minutes to kill it) in the must. Honey is deficient in most of the things that yeast need to be happy and healthy, so this will give them their needs.

Aerate for the first several days (to the 1/3 sugar break... once you get your hydrometer... 1.061 or so), and degass daily.

Once fermentation is complete, stabilize it and add small amounts of honey (perhaps 200g), mix well and taste to see if it is where you want it. In a 5L batch, 200g should raise your SG by about .010.

I hope this has helped instead of caused more confusion.


Good luck,

Joe

cosmogirl
09-05-2013, 04:46 PM
This has pointed me in the right direction, but has opened more questions for me! I look forward to the tutorial on the calculations, maybe that will help me. I am normally quite good at maths, I don't know why I find this so tricky to understand.

Regarding potassium metabisulphate and potassium sorbate, are they totally necessary? I try to be as natural as possible, so I am hesitant to introduce chemicals into my mead making if I can avoid it. I thought that after a certain point, the yeast gets "poisoned" by the alcohol content and the reaction stops.

I have ordered some lalvin d45 yeast as well as my hydrometer. It seems like there is so much to be learned, I will never be able to make a decent batch.

kchaystack
09-05-2013, 05:00 PM
Do you mean D-47 yeast?

If so, and you only want 12% ABV, you absolutely have to stabilize. D-47 has an ABV tolerance of 18%. So it will convert all the sugars to alcohol, and be bone dry. If you try to back sweeten before that ABV is reached and it is not stabilized it will just kick the fermentation on again and you will get bottle bombs. I would suggest using another yeast with a lower ABV tolerance, like Wyeast Sweet Mead strain. That has a tolerance of 11%.

Theoretically, you can let it do its thing until its ABV% is above the tolerance and the yeast go dormant/ die and then adjust the sweetness. But, I would not guarantee that a yeast will know that its tolerance is, and they might keep going.

joemirando
09-05-2013, 05:24 PM
This has pointed me in the right direction, but has opened more questions for me! I look forward to the tutorial on the calculations, maybe that will help me. I am normally quite good at maths, I don't know why I find this so tricky to understand.

I am terrible at math. I count on the calculator to do the hard part for me.


Regarding potassium metabisulphate and potassium sorbate, are they totally necessary? I try to be as natural as possible, so I am hesitant to introduce chemicals into my mead making if I can avoid it. I thought that after a certain point, the yeast gets "poisoned" by the alcohol content and the reaction stops.

You are correct. Yeast will die from alcohol poisoning at a certain point. For most common wine yeast, it is approximately 14%. Unfortunately, yeast do not read the specifications, so they do not always know this. Sometimes a "14% yeast" will die off before 14%. Sometimes it will not die off until 1 or 2 percent more.

This is why I recommended stabilizing with these two chemicals. I do understand the desire for as natural a product as possible, and I want the same thing if possible.

You could ferment as we have already discussed, cold crash it (put it in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or more) then carefully rack it, then let it sit for a long, long time before adding more honey, add more honey and hope that there is no live yeast left.

Yeast are very hard to kill off naturally. Some of them will "go to sleep" if there is not enough sugar and wait. And if there is even one yeast cell alive when you add more honey...

Well, you get the idea.

A year ago, I made a batch that fermented almost dry (SG - 1.000). It sat in its carboy for 3 months with no activity and no drop in SG. So did not stabilize it; I bottled and corked it. All was fine for another 3 months. Then one day I noticed sediment in the bottom of one of the bottles. I uncorked it to find that it had begun fermenting again. If I had not noticed this, the pressure might have turned it/them into bottle bombs. So since then, I have always stabilized. I mean, there was NO indication that this could possibly happen. It had been inactive for six months!


I have ordered some lalvin d45 yeast as well as my hydrometer.

Do you mean D47? This is a very good yeast. But you have to keep the temperature < 68F/20C. If it is warmer than this, it can give your mead a bad taste.


It seems like there is so much to be learned, I will never be able to make a decent batch.

Hahahahaha! Yes, there is much to be learned. But much can be gained from knowing and understanding the basics. With experience, you will have a good foundation on which you will build quickly. Mark Twain once said "Experience is something you only get AFTER you needed it". And the most important ingredient is patience. Most problems will get smaller with age.

There are many many many people here with much more experience and intelligence than I. They have helped me, they will help you.


Good luck,

Joe

kudapucat
09-05-2013, 06:04 PM
Where are you from Cosmogirl? Australia or England? You're certainly not from North America.
If you are from Aus, you'll not want to be using that D47, it's starting to warm up here and D47 dislikes being uncomfortable.

cosmogirl
09-05-2013, 06:22 PM
What gave me away as not being American? :)
I live in Northern Ireland.

I will look into buying what is necessary to stabilise things in a home brewing shop. That's good advice.

Is there another yeast I could try that is less temperamental? I did mean to type d 47, sorry about that!

joemirando
09-05-2013, 06:48 PM
What gave me away as not being American? :)
I live in Northern Ireland.

I will look into buying what is necessary to stabilise things in a home brewing shop. That's good advice.

The chemicals are not very expensive, and it is better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.

The amounts of the chemicals used are fairly small, and unless you have an allergy or are sensitive to sulfites, you are better off using them, in my opinion.


Is there another yeast I could try that is less temperamental?

There are many. My favorite is 71B. I have not used it yet but I have heard good things about 1116. These are both Lalvin yeasts. If you can get Red Star brand yeasts, Cote Des Blancs ferments very nicely, but slowly.

Yeasts I have not tried but have heard good reports of are:

Lalvin 1116 (which I have already mentioned)
Red Star Pasteur Red (which I will be trying next)
Red Star Montrachet (which I have heard can be a bit 'stinky')

There are also yeasts that are used for beer and ale that will make a good mead, but I have no experience with these. Others here do, and will probably add their knowledge, but I would recommend starting off slowly and learning as you go. One adage that I wish the government(s) would learn when trying to 'fix' the economy: You cannot build a house from the roof down.

I did not, by the way, ignore your mention of adding orange slices. I did not add them into the calculation because the sugar they add will likely be only a small addition.

I will send you the 'tutorial' when I find it.

Good luck,

Joe

moridin
09-05-2013, 06:50 PM
I'd suggest using b71

Chevette Girl
09-05-2013, 08:02 PM
You are correct. Yeast will die from alcohol poisoning at a certain point. For most common wine yeast, it is approximately 14%. Unfortunately, yeast do not read the specifications, so they do not always know this. Sometimes a "14% yeast" will die off before 14%. Sometimes it will not die off until 1 or 2 percent more.

Lots of good info Joe, but the yeast won't nececssarily DIE. They'll just become dormant. Which means under the right conditions, they can wake up again, and if there's any sugar for them to eat if they do, THAT is why you need to stabilize.

If you're OK with a dry mead, you don't really need to stabilize it as long as the yeast have eaten all the available sugars. I understand not wanting to add chemicals and crap to your brews, but you have to make some choices... you can accept that your mead will be dry, you can accept that you may have to backsweeten multiple times until the yeast finally poops out and stops eating your backsweetening sugar (which might take a lot of honey depending on how happy your yeast are, and thereby cost you more money which you already decided you want to save), you can accept that you should leave this in the carboy for at least a year before declaring it safe to bottle... or you can accept that stabilization chemicals save you time and money and also save you from the possibility of bottle bombs... it's all about the choices, and there is no one answer, just what's right for you for a given batch.

As for yeasts that are less tempramental, 71B is fine as long as you don't leave it on the lees too long (rack it before six weeks and then again any time you notice an accumulation of sediment on the bottom of the carboy). EC-1118 is a workhorse and will ferment almost anything and can hit 18% but some members report that it blows all the delicate flavours right out the airlock with its vigorous fermentation... K1V-1116 is becoming my go-to yeast, not only does it have a kill factor to get rid of any native yeast but it's pretty good at most temperatures unlike D-47 and isn't fussy about nutrients the way RC-212 is and it's not fussy about sitting on the lees like 71B. As you work with the various yeasts you have available to you, you'll eventually figure out which one should work best for which application.

Oh, and about so much to learn and never being able to make a decent batch? I'll tell you a secret... the yeast don't know whether you know what you're doing or not... as long as you fake it well enough, they'll do their job anyway! ;D

joemirando
09-05-2013, 08:16 PM
Lots of good info Joe, but the yeast won't nececssarily DIE. They'll just become dormant. Which means under the right conditions, they can wake up again, and if there's any sugar for them to eat if they do, THAT is why you need to stabilize.

It was my understanding that excessive alcohol DOES cause them to die, but I am probably wrong there.

And the 'right' conditions seem to be the absolute worst time possible for us poor multi-celled creatures. ;)

Joe

cosmogirl
09-06-2013, 02:15 PM
Ok confession!

I got too excited to wait on my hydrometer and special yeast. I went to tesco, bought a five litre of water, an orange, some raisins, four tubs of honey and quick rise yeast. I couldn't find regular yeast anywhere and I figure that the only additive to it is vitamin c. I know it's not as good but thought it was worth a try.

I dumped it all in together, shaking the five litre bottle half to death in process. I pricked a balloon and covered the top of bottle with that.

It's bubbling away and I feel quite proud of myself. I am under no illusion. This batch will taste horrible I imagine! But goodness, it just feels so satisfying watching those bubbles!

joemirando
09-06-2013, 02:52 PM
Ok confession!

I got too excited to wait on my hydrometer and special yeast. I went to tesco, bought a five litre of water, an orange, some raisins, four tubs of honey and quick rise yeast. I couldn't find regular yeast anywhere and I figure that the only additive to it is vitamin c. I know it's not as good but thought it was worth a try.

I dumped it all in together, shaking the five litre bottle half to death in process. I pricked a balloon and covered the top of bottle with that.

It's bubbling away and I feel quite proud of myself. I am under no illusion. This batch will taste horrible I imagine! But goodness, it just feels so satisfying watching those bubbles!

Hahahahaha! You're hooked now! ;)

It sounds like a fairly basic Joe's Ancient Orange (I am NOT that Joe). How much honey did you add to make a 5L batch?

For fun and practice, have you entered the numbers into the Mead Calculator?

You're on your way now. The only recommendation I will make is to make sure you have enough honey to finish semi-sweet to sweet. For a 5L batch, I would say that 2 kg would be just about perfect.

Your mead won't be terrible. It will taste rough at first, but like a fine wine, age will mellow and mature it.

Congratulations! You're a Mazer!


Joe

Chevette Girl
09-06-2013, 05:46 PM
It was my understanding that excessive alcohol DOES cause them to die, but I am probably wrong there.

And the 'right' conditions seem to be the absolute worst time possible for us poor multi-celled creatures. ;)



I think when you fortify with spirits, it's more likely, but I don't know if they themselves can produce enough alcohol fast enough to actually kill themselves off before they go dormant to protect themselves from the harsh environment.

Well, of course, it's yeast! If you want it to go dry, it'll cut out early and leave you with something sweet, if you wanted it to stop while it's still sweet, it'll eat like a teenager until there's nothing left...




And Cosmogirl, the quick rise yeast should do the job just as well, the only reason we insist for Joe's Ancient Orange that it be Fleischmann's regular baking yeast is because we KNOW how that one behaves. Most substitutions people have made have worked out fine. If you can get your hands on a cinnamon stick and a clove or two, you won't be sorry for adding them to what you've made (unless of course you loathe cinnamon or cloves).

Esys
09-06-2013, 06:30 PM
The problem isn't so much the mead-making addiction; I now find myself trying to ferment everything I can get my hands on while I wait out the aging of my batch. That last raspberry-brown sugar concoction was horrid.. Just sayin'.

cosmogirl
09-06-2013, 11:12 PM
Haha I imagine that the raspberry and brown sugar wouldn't taste great!

Joe I haven't ran things through the calculator. I will do so tomorrow. Right now it's four am and I have had far too much rum to do maths!

On a side note... If vikings can made mead with no concept of sanitation or standard gravity or anaerobic respiration, I figure I can make some sort of beverage in my lovely clean kitchen!

fatbloke
09-07-2013, 04:49 AM
Haha I imagine that the raspberry and brown sugar wouldn't taste great!

Joe I haven't ran things through the calculator. I will do so tomorrow. Right now it's four am and I have had far too much rum to do maths!

On a side note... If vikings can made mead with no concept of sanitation or standard gravity or anaerobic respiration, I figure I can make some sort of beverage in my lovely clean kitchen!
A lot of it isn't about getting too hung up on the numbers, it's about learning stuff as you go.

Spotting "non-US" isn't so hard. Sussing the AUS/NZ from us is different, a little harder, but doable ;D

So...... your excitement of getting something started is fine. The "ad hoc" method using tesco's water, etc is also fine. The only thing you need to watch for, is that in the early stages of anything, especially with fruit in it, is that even slight movement can trigger foaming, where it bubbles up and goes everywhere.

Which is why it's often suggested, to make the liquid part up to the target amount, then remove a litre or so and put it in a pop bottle in the fridge. So if you're using the water bottle/can, there's some room for expansion. Not always enough to prevent it foaming completely but enough so that if you prepare a bit, you can stop or reduce it's chances from coming out the top or through an airlock (or even through the holes in a balloon), by just grabbing whatever you have for stirring (plastic brewing spoons and stirrers are handy as you can spray or dip them in sanitiser first, then start whatever you're doing, then if it foams grab it and stir faster or slower whichever seems to be slowing the rise of the foam, until it stops rising).

If your batch is actually like a Joes Ancient Orange, but without the spices, it's actually good to add them even if you don't generally use them as they all help toward the balance of the end result.

You should be OK for using D47 most of the time in NI, as you can more likely find somewhere to put a fermenting batch, where it will stay below 70F/21C. Many in the US, parts of Canada and certainly South Africa and Aus/NZ have to think about that as their summers can get damned hot can't they.

As far as worrying with the maths, have a look at Winesathome (http://www.winesathome.co.uk/forum/activity.php), as Bob who runs it, has put some nice easily followed tutorials and other good info in the new winemaker section (all in his finest "geordie", with the generally used numbers and terminology here ;) ). Obviously meads are a bit different to wines, but not by that much, so when it comes to working out stuff like possible/probably ABV, there's a nice table that explains that a certain drop in gravity points equates to a certain level ABV - like this......

say 3lb of honey made up to a gallon, gives you a starting gravity of 1.090, then you do all the usual stuff with the yeast, nutrients and so on, and when it's stopped bubbling completely, you've done the checks to confirm it's finished it's fermenting and your hydrometer tells you it's finished at 0.990 ?

Ok, so that's a drop of 100 points yes ?, then just look that up on the table (I've got a copy of it downloaded to my desktop) and you find that it's 13.58% ABV. Easy eh ! no number crunching etc.....

Of course, when it's finished the ferment, it doesn't mean it's finished does it. You still have to get it clear, then taste it and if it's a bit dry, check out a few things before you proceed.

Extending the example above.....so your batch is 13.5%, yet the published tolerance for D47 is 14%, so there's a little space for further fermenting if you added more fermentable sweetness i.e. honey.

Now even when it's cleared, unless you ran it through a filter that's fine enough to remove all the yeast cells, there will still be some in the batch, so as it costs 's for a filter that fine, it's cheaper and easier to "stabilise" it, using sulphites (usually in the form of 1 crushed campden tablet per gallon) and sorbate (potassium sorbate, also sometimes sold as "wine stabiliser") with the dose as per the pack - usually.

After that, you can add a small amount of honey to sweeten it back up to how you like it.

Possibly, it still won't be perfect, hell it might even still taste bloody horrible. Meads are a bit weird, because they mellow and change with age, which is why you'll see so much mention of ageing in threads hereabouts.

Even the well known recipes like JAOM, which Joe himself says is drinkable once it's cleared and the fruit has dropped, I find less so and age it for a minimum of 6 months and even that relatively short time, it improves dramatically.

The NewBee guide covers most angles for the new mead maker, the rest is making some, experiments, learning curve, asking questions and patience.

The patience is the hardest part to learn........

Good luck with your efforts.....

p.s. rum :D rhymes with yum.......

cosmogirl
09-07-2013, 05:02 AM
Ok my first lesson has been learned - always use the mead calculator no matter how excited and impatient I am to get cracking!

I still don't have a great feel for the maths. I had bought 4x 340g of honey giving a total of 1.36kg. This was added to 5 litres of water.

I would like someone to double check this, but according to the calculator I should end up with something about 11% abv and an SG of 1.081.

I know that the SG refers to the amount of sugar but I have no idea what individual values mean. However I did think this batch would be closer to 14% abv.

Should I leave it well enough alone and let it do its thing or add more honey? If so, how should I add the honey? I don't want to cause the yeast to stop. What exactly does that value of SG mean?

Thanks for getting back to me FB. I will definitely check out that link. I wish there was a way to avoid adding chemicals to the mead, but I understand now how important stabilising is so I will get some soon.

fatbloke
09-07-2013, 05:41 AM
Ok my first lesson has been learned - always use the mead calculator no matter how excited and impatient I am to get cracking!

I still don't have a great feel for the maths. I had bought 4x 340g of honey giving a total of 1.36kg. This was added to 5 litres of water.
What, so that it was the 5 litres plus the 1.36 kg or the 1.36kg was made up to a total of 5 litres ?



I would like someone to double check this, but according to the calculator I should end up with something about 11% abv and an SG of 1.081.
See I don't like using the mead calculator, because it presumes too much for my liking. It presumes that all honey is 80% sugar, whereas in practice it varies. I seem to recall the 80% sugars things is to do with some legal requirement in the US.

Is the gravity of your brew 1.081 or is that what the calculator is telling you ?


I know that the SG refers to the amount of sugar but I have no idea what individual values mean. However I did think this batch would be closer to 14% abv.
The gravity reading actually equates to the density of the liquid when compared to distilled water (at a certain temperature). So that distilled water, at say, 20C, the hydrometer will measure 1.000 and that the presumption would be that a measure of 1.081 tells you how much denser the liquid is than water. So, while there are many materials/substances that don't add to the actual measurable density of water, sugar does, so it's measurable and that the 1.081 is tell you how much the density has increased and it's possible to work out how much alcohol that will make.

Don't forget, that if the yeast can manage it, it's possible to make a ferment that will measure at 0.980 when it's finished. That's because the alcohol that's been made is less dense than water. In practice, you're unlikely to see it that low, 0.990 is about as low as mead batches might achieve.

Using your example numbers, if the batch fermented to 1.000 a drop of 81 points would make it almost exactly 11% ABV. if it fermented to 0.990 then that's a 91 point drop and that's equal to 12.36 %ABV.

For 14% of so, if you've used the D47 you mention ? well that's capable of 14%, but you need a drop of 103/104 points gravity to get that.


Should I leave it well enough alone and let it do its thing or add more honey? If so, how should I add the honey? I don't want to cause the yeast to stop. What exactly does that value of SG mean?
Now is this the batch with bread yeast (and orange etc) or another one with the D47 you mention ?

You can normally just add it in and then stir it to incorporate it, but you wouldn't want to do that if it's a reasonably new batch. Stirring will mix up any sediment, which in turn create "nucleation points", which is what the dissolved CO2 (carbonic acid) will attach too and come out as gaseous CO2 a.k.a. bubbles, or more likely foam. When it happens it's quite a quick reaction which is why I mentioned having some expansion space before and something to stir it quickly/slowly (whichever reduces the bubbles/foaming if it happens - ah, yes, and it's handy to put the fermenter into a sink/bowl/something, because if it does foam/erupt, it makes a mess......)

There's another one that's worth remembering too, one that I missed completely when I started out. Take the JAO recipe as an example. It says to take the honey and oranges and spices and yeast etc, and then explains about making it up to a gallon, but uses the example of a 1 gallon jar/jug/demi-john container. Making it up so that there's some expansion space and that once it's settled down to a steady ferment, to top it up to the 1 gallon point. But Joe is in the US so 1 gallon is a US gallon and that's 3.78 litres, whereas here, a 1 gallon DJ will be 1 imperial gallon or 4.55 litres - there's even a few of the more recently made DJ's that are 5 litres in size.

So a batch made here is likely gonna be less sweet than one made in the US, especially if you don't spot the differences and measure it out accordingly (that's without learning that fleischmanns yeast is a US brand we can't get).

Hence it's not difficult, but all about "getting all the ducks in a row".

cosmogirl
09-07-2013, 05:54 AM
What, so that it was the 5 litres plus the 1.36 kg or the 1.36kg was made up to a total of 5 litres ?

I am not sure what this question is asking. I poured out some water from the five liter bottle, added everything... oranges raisins and honey... then poured enough water back in to leave about two inches at the top.


Is the gravity of your brew 1.081 or is that what the calculator is telling you ?

I don't actually own a hydrometer yet... bad I know. It's hopefully coming in the post soon.


Using your example numbers, if the batch fermented to 1.000 a drop of 81 points would make it almost exactly 11% ABV. if it fermented to 0.990 then that's a 91 point drop and that's equal to 12.36 %ABV.

For 14% of so, if you've used the D47 you mention ? well that's capable of 14%, but you need a drop of 103/104 points gravity to get that.

Now is this the batch with bread yeast (and orange etc) or another one with the D47 you mention ?

My fancy yeast hasn't arrived yet either! I couldn't find regular bread yeast so it is Allison brand quick rise. I am pretty sure that there is a rule against quick rise but it was all I could find.


You can normally just add it in and then stir it to incorporate it, but you wouldn't want to do that if it's a reasonably new batch. Stirring will mix up any sediment, which in turn create "nucleation points", which is what the dissolved CO2 (carbonic acid) will attach too and come out as gaseous CO2 a.k.a. bubbles, or more likely foam. When it happens it's quite a quick reaction which is why I mentioned having some expansion space before and something to stir it quickly/slowly (whichever reduces the bubbles/foaming if it happens - ah, yes, and it's handy to put the fermenter into a sink/bowl/something, because if it does foam/erupt, it makes a mess......

So you think that I should leave well enough alone and not add any extra honey? I was maybe going to buy a cinnamon stick as well to add today. I really don't want this to be too dry and weak.


There's another one that's worth remembering too, one that I missed completely when I started out. Take the JAO recipe as an example. It says to take the honey and oranges and spices and yeast etc, and then explains about making it up to a gallon, but uses the example of a 1 gallon jar/jug/demi-john container. Making it up so that there's some expansion space and that once it's settled down to a steady ferment, to top it up to the 1 gallon point. But Joe is in the US so 1 gallon is a US gallon and that's 3.78 litres, whereas here, a 1 gallon DJ will be 1 imperial gallon or 4.55 litres - there's even a few of the more recently made DJ's that are 5 litres in size.

So a batch made here is likely gonna be less sweet than one made in the US, especially if you don't spot the differences and measure it out accordingly (that's without learning that fleischmanns yeast is a US brand we can't get).

Hence it's not difficult, but all about "getting all the ducks in a row".

Haha American values just confuse me. I convert everything to metric!

Sorry about strange quote with my own answers in between. I am replying from my phone and it isn't ideal

fatbloke
09-07-2013, 06:12 AM
Haha American values just confuse me. I convert everything to metric!

Sorry about strange quote with my own answers in between. I am replying from my phone and it isn't ideal
Well that's equally fine (which is one of the ways you can tell Canadians, Kiwi's and Aussies - if the grammar is correct but they use metric values, they're less likely to be Americans.... they like their imperial units. Metric units but with either wrong/incorrect grammar and/or syntax, often suggests English as a second language etc etc).

Making mediocre meads is easy, making good meads less so and takes a bit of patience - not to mention perseverance.

If you dig around locally, probably specialist off license or wine dealer places, you can find commercially made meads, just that a lot of them tend to be very sweet. There's a thread about UK available commercial meads you can search for. The best one I've currently tasted is Moniack Mead. Made in Scotland - still quite sweet etc, but better tasting from current experience.

The other biggest snag, is finding either the same ingredients as you see mentioned here or comparable equivalents. FermaidK is the nutrient (or is it energiser - the US members here like to have special names for everything) that's made by Lallemand (who make the Lalvin range yeasts), but it's bloody hard to find locally, I've had to just mail order it from the US to get some. Or DAP a.k.a. di-ammonium phosphate is another one often mentioned.

The most easily available equivalent to FermaidK here, is called "Tronozymol". DAP ? well the Youngs yeast nutrient is mostly DAP, with another ingredient that also provides nitrogen according to google, so is pretty close.

For honey ? I don't really like the supermarket stuff, even branded stuff like the Rowse range (http://www.rowsehoney.co.uk/) is most likely filtered and heated etc (they process it for eating tastes, which isn't necessarily the best for mead making), which removes too much of the character of the original, as it was harvested.

If you can find a local bee keeper and get it direct from them, especially if it's raw honey (don't worry about dead bees, bits of wax etc, that will come out during the making) then that's likely to be the best quality you'll find.

cosmogirl
09-07-2013, 06:55 AM
I love moniack. It's the only brand that I have tried and what inspired me to make my own.

I think I will forget about measuring things too accurately for this batch. It's just a practice run to get a feel for it. I will add a cinnamon stick today and next week stir in another 600g honey or so.

When it stops bubbling i will transfer it to another clean container, then wait for it to clear. When it's clear then I will stabilise and figure out how to bottle. It is bound to give me something that I can drink, then my next batch will have bit more finesse

GntlKnigt1
09-07-2013, 07:32 AM
Looks like a nice place to look for supplies and yeasts..
http://www.homebrewwest.ie/

Also, I just posted a blog entry about making my first batch of mead, If you need to laugh, take a look. We all started somewhere...

joemirando
09-07-2013, 10:26 AM
fatbloke,


which is one of the ways you can tell Canadians, Kiwi's and Aussies - if the grammar is correct but they use metric values, they're less likely to be Americans....

So are you saying that Americans don't use metric values, or that we don't use correct grammar? ;D

Is you be sayin' we don't be talk good? ;)

Hahahaha

Joe

Chevette Girl
09-07-2013, 11:14 AM
I am not sure what this question is asking. I poured out some water from the five liter bottle, added everything... oranges raisins and honey... then poured enough water back in to leave about two inches at the top.

:) You answered the question even without being sure what was asked. Think about it, there's a difference between X amount of honey IN Y volume of water (gives you Y volume), which is what you did, and X amount of honey AND Y volume of water (gives you more than Y volume), and is what you'd get if you were using a fermentation bucket and added all the honey and all the water, there's still the volume of the honey.

...and yeah, some of us make sport of trying to guess where the new people are from based on their grammar (Americans drop the "u" in armour, neighbour, flavour but Canadians don't) and useage of units (Europeans and Aus/NZ generally work in metric, Canadians are half and half, Americans are generally imperial), and I'm still working out if it's just Brits or all Europeans who use the term "demijohn", which is not commonly used in North America.

Edit: yeah Joe, you 'mericains talk funny, ain't got no good English, stuff like "youse guys" and "I seen", and you spell worse, always forgetting the "u", not to mention the young folk's complete inability to process punctuation and proper sentence structure or tell the difference between to/too/two, or its/it's, then/than, lose/loose... (although that's not unique to US, I dunno what they're teaching in schools these days but it's sure not what I learned! And furthermore, get off my lawn! </old fart rant>)

GntlKnigt1
09-07-2013, 11:24 AM
:) You answered the question even without being sure what was asked. Think about it, there's a difference between X amount of honey IN Y volume of water (gives you Y volume), which is what you did, and X amount of honey AND Y volume of water (gives you more than Y volume), and is what you'd get if you were using a fermentation bucket and added all the honey and all the water, there's still the volume of the honey.

...and yeah, some of us make sport of trying to guess where the new people are from based on their grammar (Americans drop the "u" in armour, neighbour, flavour but Canadians don't) and useage of units (Europeans and Aus/NZ generally work in metric, Canadians are half and half, Americans are generally imperial), and I'm still working out if it's just Brits or all Europeans who use the term "demijohn", which is not commonly used in North America.

Edit: yeah Joe, you 'mericains talk funny, ain't got no good English, stuff like "youse guys" and "I seen", and you spell worse, always forgetting the "u", not to mention the young folk's complete inability to process punctuation and proper sentence structure or tell the difference between to/too/two, or its/it's, then/than, lose/loose... (although that's not unique to US, I dunno what they're teaching in schools these days but it's sure not what I learned! And furthermore, get off my lawn! </old fart rant>)

Dahbodeaahuse bees wrong. and fur dang sake, y'all quit hijacking duh poor youngun's thread !!!

fatbloke
09-07-2013, 11:50 AM
fatbloke,



So are you saying that Americans don't use metric values, or that we don't use correct grammar? ;D

Is you be sayin' we don't be talk good? ;)

Hahahaha

Joe
No, it's just that you get used to spotting the slight differences, in spelling especially, but also syntax and some of the terms/words being used.

Hell, you only need to visit here, to follow how the accents change quite quickly for a relatively small difference.

Ha! if only you could make it to grapefest, weekend after next. It's in Yorkshire, but it's run by a "geordie", with the locals being from the Wakefield area-ish, but then likes of me from the south east and the London/"Estuary" accent, some from the West midlands and their "Brummie" speak, a few from the South West and their "Yokel" sound, with an element from "the Northern Skirt wearers".......

Some systems/OS actually allow about 6 or 7 versions of "English"/GB/US/IE/CA/SA/AUS/NZ etc etc.

Maybe it's like the German speaking part of Switzerland. They're taught "high" German in school, but spoken is "SwizerDeutsche" (sorry, crap spelling most likely).

Hence you might not be able to tell the exact location/accent, but you get a fair idea......

GntlKnigt1
09-07-2013, 12:00 PM
No, it's just that you get used to spotting the slight differences, in spelling especially, but also syntax and some of the terms/words being used.

Hell, you only need to visit here, to follow how the accents change quite quickly for a relatively small difference.

Ha! if only you could make it to grapefest, weekend after next. It's in Yorkshire, but it's run by a "geordie", with the locals being from the Wakefield area-ish, but then likes of me from the south east and the London/"Estuary" accent, some from the West midlands and their "Brummie" speak, a few from the South West and their "Yokel" sound, with an element from "the Northern Skirt wearers".......

Some systems/OS actually allow about 6 or 7 versions of "English"/GB/US/IE/CA/SA/AUS/NZ etc etc.

Maybe it's like the German speaking part of Switzerland. They're taught "high" German in school, but spoken is "SwizerDeutsche" (sorry, crap spelling most likely).

Hence you might not be able to tell the exact location/accent, but you get a fair idea......

Rats. Wish I had know sooner. Later this month will be going to Koblenz, Germany for castles and wine, but it could have been UK. Please, let me know if/when other events happen there... maybe I can make one and see something of the UK at the same time....

joemirando
09-07-2013, 12:57 PM
Dahbodeaahuse bees wrong. and fur dang sake, y'all quit hijacking duh poor youngun's thread !!!

Hey, who let Boomhauer in here? <lol>

cosmogirl
09-07-2013, 12:57 PM
My husband must think I am a losing my mind as I just burst into laughing reading this thread! I thought I had of all the slang terms for the various English regional accents, but obviously not! What on earth is a Northern Skirt Wearer!

GntlKnigt1
09-07-2013, 04:14 PM
Laughter is good.. esp on math issues, where BC gets dropped from the calculation of dates, right Fatbloke? Grin.

cosmogirl
09-07-2013, 04:35 PM
What does the abbreviation BC stand for?
Btw I love your hitch hiker reference!

Esys
09-07-2013, 05:29 PM
I was always under the impression that American English is closer to Queens' English than..well.. English English..

fatbloke
09-07-2013, 08:47 PM
I was always under the impression that American English is closer to Queens' English than..well.. English English..
That sir, is very, very far from the truth.......

The best English spoken here, is believed to come from the Inverness area of Scotland.

A strong accent, yet clearly annunciated, with few, if any, dropped consonants...

GntlKnigt1
09-08-2013, 12:53 AM
Hey, who let Boomhauer in here? <lol>

Well, my mistake. Dahbodeaahuse is Chicago accent for "the both of you". The rest is more "Moonshiners" (Discovery channel) accent. I shouldn't have mixed the 2, so no wonder you didn't unnerstanit.

http://www.webproworld.com/webmaster-forum/threads/66522-Chicago-Slang

joemirando
09-08-2013, 10:22 AM
Well, my mistake. Dahbodeaahuse is Chicago accent for "the both of you". The rest is more "Moonshiners" (Discovery channel) accent. I shouldn't have mixed the 2, so no wonder you didn't unnerstanit.

http://www.webproworld.com/webmaster-forum/threads/66522-Chicago-Slang

Well ta be honest, I did had ta read it a couple two chree times. ;)


Joe

kudapucat
09-09-2013, 07:16 AM
What gave me away as not being American? :)
I live in Northern Ireland.

I will look into buying what is necessary to stabilise things in a home brewing shop. That's good advice.

Is there another yeast I could try that is less temperamental? I did mean to type d 47, sorry about that!

You said maths, not math.
Cosmo is a women's magazine in this country, and Cosmogirl is a term for a fan of the mag.
Also your English was good, you use metric, I guessed maybe UK because you spell liter the US way and not the French (litre) like we do.

kudapucat
09-09-2013, 07:28 AM
As for the maths.
SG is density. It is given as kg/litre or g/ml
Hence: water is 1.000
Honey on average has a gravity of 1.6

Mead has starting gravities of 1.060-1.160 depending on how strong and how sweet you like it.
Simply weigh the honey, measure the water, add them together, measure the total after mixing, the divide the weight by the volume for SG.

ie
SG = kg of honey + litres of water / total litres

(We don't need to weigh the water because we know its 1.000 kg/litre)

Now it starts getting a bit more complex.
First, your yeast has a tolerance. This should be on the packet or in the info sheet.

Second, this tolerance is a guide, not a rule.

Now we use a magic number. 135 (well that's the number I use - it's more suited to higher alcohol than for beer)

If your mead starts at 1.100 and finishes as 1.000 I say it's dropped 100 points.

So taking the tolerance of D47 (14%) we divide by 135 to get 0.104
So D47 should be able to drop your mead 104 points.
So for a dry mead start at 1.100 or less
For a medium about 1.115
For a sweet 1.130
For a dessert 1.140+

Does that help?

GntlKnigt1
09-09-2013, 11:24 AM
I want to hear how her batch is coming along.... and BC is a date... like Before Christ....refers to a posting elsewhere when yours truly forgot to include a thousand years or so.

cosmogirl
09-09-2013, 12:37 PM
Cosmo is my husband's nickname, though I can see how it could get confused with the magazine!

This batch seems to be doing okay. I don't have a hydrometer as amazon is taking time with the delivery. It went quite frothy but it has settled down now. It's bubbling away. I added in a cinnamon stick and 650g of honey. I have no idea what I am really looking for. I really regret starting without a hydrometer as it is impossible to track progress.

kchaystack
09-09-2013, 04:08 PM
Vikings didn't have a hydrometer. As long as it is bubbling and not smelling like rotting eggs, you are fine.

It will be more difficult to tell what your alcohol % is, but you have all your volumes so we can figure it out.

You really want the hydrometer to tell you when it is done. And that will be a few more days.

cosmogirl
09-09-2013, 05:29 PM
I think I will try and call over to a home brew shop and buy a hydrometer tomorrow. Though I feel sort of redundant! The yeast is doing all the work. I pretty much just have to stand back and watch.
How will I know when the yeast have finished their thing? I figured that it would eventually stop bubbling. With the hydrometer, am I looking for a reading of 1.000 or am I still confused?

I did pour some boiling water on to another sachet of bread yeast and let it cool. I then poured that in and stirred it all a bit. I don't really know if it will do any good (or harm) but I don't want my yeast pets getting hungry!

kchaystack
09-09-2013, 05:41 PM
The best way to know it is done is to take several SG readings over a couple weeks and make sure the SG does not move. Reading of .990 also indicates that all the sugar has been consumed. BUt if more sugar is added after that it could kick up again.

The boiled yeast are a source of nutrition. Next time I would let them boil for a bit to make sure all the bread yeast is dead, but I doubt it will hurt. Lets see if the Guru's ChevetteGirl and FatBloke agree...

:)

Chevette Girl
09-09-2013, 07:18 PM
You said maths, not math.
Also your English was good, you use metric, I guessed maybe UK because you spell liter the US way and not the French (litre) like we do.

Maths was a dead giveaway... I missed the litre/liter thing though, good catch! :)

And Cosmogirl, the non-hydrometer way to guess that it's done is when there is no more bubbling and it starts to clear. But don't trust it. Them yeasties can be pretty stealthy.

And yeah, kchaystack, I'd boil the yeast for a bit to make sure the cells are popped, I don't know that scalding it will do the trick, I like to use about 2 tsp bread yeast in about 1/4 cup water and nuke it in the microwave till I need to add more water so I can pour it in. A handful of raisins won't hurt either.

cosmogirl
09-10-2013, 05:28 AM
Hmm I'm worried now that I did harm the batch with extra bread yeast. I assumed that boiling water would kill it pretty quickly. Is there any chance that the extra yeast I added can do harm? I feel a bit I maternal towards my yeast now! I want them happy and healthy. I did add in thirty raisins or so at the start along with the orange segments.

Chevette Girl
09-10-2013, 07:29 AM
I don't think the scalded bread yeast will hurt anything. It's probably dead, just not necessarily lysed (popped).

cosmogirl
09-16-2013, 03:55 PM
Ok so this batch of joes ancient orange is still bubbling like crazy. It is about as fizzy as a soft drink! I am assuming that is a good thing. I haven't racked it and I am afraid to open it up to take a hydrometer reading. I'm a bit paranoid about contamination as that ruined a similar batch I attempted years ago.

There is sediment at the bottom. I don't know how much is normal but it looks like loads to me! Should I consider racking or just let the yeast work away? The sediment doesn't look pleasant but there is still loads of activity from the yeast

kchaystack
09-16-2013, 04:01 PM
Remember the directions for a JOAM. Don't touch it until it clears and the fruit drops.

cosmogirl
09-16-2013, 04:21 PM
So will I just ignore all the gunk building up?

GntlKnigt1
09-16-2013, 04:45 PM
So will I just ignore all the gunk building up?

Yep. Don't mess with it til it stops fermenting and clears at least some...

cosmogirl
09-16-2013, 05:09 PM
Thanks for the reassurance! If only all recipes were this easy and forgiving. I am hoping that it might be drinkable by Christmas

GntlKnigt1
09-27-2013, 03:06 AM
How's the fermentation doing?

BTW, here is the site I had found for supplies in Ireland.
http://www.homebrewwest.ie/

kudapucat
10-04-2013, 06:52 PM
Vikings didn't have a hydrometer. As long as it is bubbling and not smelling like rotting eggs, you are fine.

It will be more difficult to tell what your alcohol % is, but you have all your volumes so we can figure it out.

You really want the hydrometer to tell you when it is done. And that will be a few more days.

Neither did they have any confidence of how it would come out.
They just made mead, and got drunk, no matter the taste.
A hydrometer is not necessary, unless you wish to have some control over the product you're making.

Chevette Girl
10-05-2013, 10:24 AM
Neither did they have any confidence of how it would come out.
They just made mead, and got drunk, no matter the taste.
A hydrometer is not necessary, unless you wish to have some control over the product you're making.

They also likely didn't actually bottle the stuff in airtight bottles and so wouldn't worry about bottle bombs, which is my main reason for wanting a hydrometer...

And Cosmogirl, I ugually expect an inch to two inches of lees in a JAO so don't sweat it.