View Full Version : Help with my first batch

09-06-2013, 05:31 PM
I am new to homebrewing mead and have a few questions that I cannot find answers to. I'm a week into the fermentation and I think there may be something wrong with my first attempt.

Here is my recipe followed by my log.



3 cups 4 oz = 2.5 lbs of Deer Creek clover honey
2 small organic oranges (zested & peeled)
30 organic raisins
1 stick of organic cinnamon
1 whole organic clove
1 Pinch of finely ground organic nutmeg
1 whole organic allspice microplaned
1 pkg Lalvin D-47
1 gal Spring water



8/30 Prepare Must:
Use a clean 1 gallon carboy

Sanitize all utensils & use gloves while prepping

Dissolve honey in some warm water and put in carboy
6 cups spring water at 150, ~#3 on stove, for 20 min to pasteurize honey

Sanitize orange well to remove any pesticides and wild yeast, then zest oranges, peel off excess rind, and slide slices through opening in carboy

Put in raisins, clove, allspice, nutmeg cinnamon stick and fill to 3 inches from the top with spring water. ( leave room for some foam and top off with more water after the foaming subsides in ~ 2 days)

Cap the carboy and shake for 10-15 min for aeration

Install wireless thermometer to monitor temperature

8/31 Rehydrated yeast:
When at room temperature, rehydrate D-47: add yeast to 50ml of 100 tap water stir to moisten all yeast, let sit for 15 min (you should see bubbles forming) then stir to get lumps out (if yeast refrigerated, warm to room temperature before rehydrating), add to carboy & stir

Install spring water filled airlock.
Put in dark place.

9/1 Bubbling started 73

9/2 0.62 bpm 73: (bubbles per minute)
Yeast appears to be on bottom with zest. Wondering if dying yeast

9/3 2 bpm 73:
Feeling better about yeast on bottom since bpm is picking up

9/4 4.51 bpm 71:
: ) Bpm more than doubled

9/5 4.65 bpm 72:
Hmm? Bpm nearly the same. Moved bottle slightly to get yeast moving. Noticed clove sitting on top of orange slices out of must & cinnamon stick sank to bottom

9/6 3.68 bpm 70:
I'm getting worried again. Bubbling has slowed slightly. There was no vigorous bubbling the first week as expected. Post on GotMead for help


Should I be worried? Do I add nutrients or energizer? Maybe the ph is off? Or should I just leave it alone?

I just do know where to even start and any help would be greatly appreciated!


09-06-2013, 06:09 PM
First of all, get thee a hydrometer. It is possible that it has finished fermenting (or very nearly so) already. 2.5 lbs of honey is not a lot in a gallon mix.

Smell it and, if it doesn't smell foul, taste it.

D-47 doesn't like temperatures above 68F, so you will probably have some 'off' taste, but that's different than moldy.

You used enough honey to give you about 11.85% ABV, so if fermented dry, that's enough alcohol to keep spoilage organisms at bey.

But a dry mead with orange will likely taste somewhat bitter because of the orange rind. I made that mistake on my first mead. I have been assured that age will help a lot with that. So I did the only thing I could.... I made another batch to enjoy while I wait. Then another. Then another. Then another. <grin>

Good luck,


09-07-2013, 11:18 AM
I just found a local hardware store that sells just about everything you need to homebrew, so I purchased a hydrometer and few other supplies.

Here are my test results:

2013-09-07 10:30 AM
3.33 bpm 70
Smell: of yeast & citrus
Taste: quite sweet & mellow with a hint of yeast & only slightly bitter.
PH: ~3.8 (3.6-4.0)
SG: 1.07

How can I use the SG & PH measurements to help in my endevor?
Should I go ahead and rack it?
Can I use any cleansers or additives to improve it?
Is there a good resource such as a book or website, other than GotMead of course, that I can reference, so I don't have to bother you guys?

I'm such a noob... :sign4:

PS - What is this taste that I still have in my mouth 45 minutes after I tried my mead?

09-07-2013, 08:31 PM
The pH looks fine. The SG is still high so I am not surprised it tastes sweet. Your temperature is a little high for D47, which Joe already mentioned, but it should work at that temperature, it just may have some off tastes. You didn't put in any nutrients other than raisins so it might be a little slow but it is still going so I would just let it go for now. Check the SG again after a day or two and hopefully it is still going down. Racking it will only slow it down. At this point I think the only thing you need to add is patience. :)

If it does stall, Fermaid-O, if you can find it, might help but otherwise I would just boil some bread yeast and add that.

Google can find lots of information but if you want a book, I would suggest "The Compleat Meadmaker" by Ken Schramm.

09-07-2013, 08:56 PM
Kens book is indeed good, but the best "value for money" advice is to be found here ! (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14) after all, you can't get better value than free can you.......

09-07-2013, 09:34 PM
Several of us are ready to buy fatbloke's book too, when he writes it. :)

09-08-2013, 10:54 AM

I'll check and see if my local brewer's supply has any Fermaid-O & if not, I'll run to the grocery and pick up some Fleischmann's.

I did pick up some yeast nutrient. Is it too late for that? Should I add some when I stir in the Fermaid-O or Fleischmann's?

I'll also see if my local brewer's supply has "The Compleat Meadmaker".

fatbloke ,

I have read a lot of THE NEWBEE GUIDE TO MAKING MEAD, but I need to sit down and finish it.

Are you really going to be writing your own mead making book? I see you have a blog. Is that where I should look to be notified on the progress of it?

Thanks again guys for helping me out on my quest!


09-08-2013, 11:51 AM
Using the mead calculator, it seems 2.5 lb honey in a 1 gallon batch should give you an starting gravity of 1.089. Maybe a little more for the orange & raisins. You said your SG is now at 1.07. The D-47 yeast should be able to take that dry so you are not yet past the 1/3 point and can probably add some nutrients. Most nutrients are only useful before the 1/3 point which in your case is probably around 1.06. I would add in some Fermaid-K (or equivalent) and some DAP and stir it around as much as you can to get some oxygen in it. Make sure you stir it some before you add the nutrients or you might have something resembling a volcano on your hands. I have heard some people take out a sample, mix the nutrients with the sample and then return the sample. I think I read somewhere that fatbloke will take a sample of the mead, and give it a good frothing and then return it to oxygenate the must. I use a bucket and have a drill attachment I use.

09-08-2013, 02:18 PM
If a batch has fruit in it, and I don't want to destroy the fruit cells/flesh (and end up with racking problems) I do take a pint or so out and then blitz it in a sanitised liquidiser and put it back.

If it's just a traditional, I usually start it in a bucket and then it gets blitzed with a stick blender

Just looking at DTOMbrewers numbers and if it's just 2.5lb of honey, then it's likely that it's running reasonably slowly if it's still in the 1.070 area at the moment. So it should be OK to just use rmccasks suggestions about how to mix in some nutrients.....

As for books ? No. Just the blog. That way I can post what the hell I want, be critical of poor technique/method and display as much "verbal gnashing of teeth" about what I think of as bad practice. I use a "no names, no pack drill" method of being critical, but am more than happy to credit good ideas, method, technique and results etc.

I'm happy to ignore copyright stuff to post a quote or illustrate a point, but it's always fully credited to the original author if I can work out who that is.....

books etc, are fine for reference, but far too professional (and bloody hard work) for my liking ;D

09-09-2013, 06:50 PM
Well, my local brewer's supply doesn't have Fermaid-K or DAP. I did get some Fleischmann's and I also have some yeast nutrient & energizer. The SG is 1.6 and the PH is still ~3.8. Should I just go ahead and rehydrate some Fleischmann's and add some nutrient & energizer? Not sure about the boiling yeast process.

Chevette Girl
09-09-2013, 07:57 PM
You want to boil the yeast so that the cells pop and spill their guts, this makes the nutrients within available to your wine yeast. But as Fatbloke said, if your SG hasn't changed much you're probably still safe to use nutrients and energizer (my local places don't stock Fermaid either). Oh, and check the ingredients of your packet of yeast nutrients, it will probably list DAP (by its full name diammonium phosphate) as its main ingredient :)

09-09-2013, 08:10 PM
Thanks for the info and confirmation Chevette Girl!

I did just add some energizer and nutrient so hopefully that will help and it won't stall out.

This has to be one of the best forums that I've been a part of! Thanks for all the help everybody!

Chevette Girl
09-09-2013, 11:31 PM
I've been really lucky, the three forums (fora?) I've ever belonged to have all been full of sensible, nice, helpful people... unfortunately, the other two have gone extinct...

09-10-2013, 09:30 PM
After adding nutrients, energizer and moving to a lower temperature room, it seems to be fermenting much faster... 9.38 bpm @ 67

Again, thanks for all the help everyone! Hopefully, with your assistance, I've salvaged this batch.

Now time to start another one! ;)