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TheProdigalSon
01-24-2014, 11:33 PM
Hey,
Been lurking for a few weeks, and I decided to post!! Made my first batch last night, and I hope it comes out ok. I would appreciate feedback!!

One Gallon Batch

3lbs local raw honey
One Vanilla Bean (cut in halves)
One large Navel Orange
Lalvin EC-1118
1 teaspoon Fermax (split up. Gave 1/2 teaspoon at beginning, waited 24 hours and added 1/8 of teaspoon, and tomorrow after 48 hours will add another 1/8 teaspoon, and so on until I reach 1 teaspoon)

OG 1.122 (Had a hard time seeing the damn hydrometer!! Hope thats close)

Checked it after 24 hours and is currently at 1.104

Any advice is much appreciated.
This Forum is amazing and I have overloaded my brain with so much info from here!! Thank you guys!!

xanderphillips
01-25-2014, 12:57 AM
Apparently we were making up our first batches at the same time! I started my first batch yesterday too! Good luck, hopefully we both end up with some quality beverage!

-Xanderphillips

fatbloke
01-25-2014, 01:25 AM
My only thought is the orange........

whole ? Sliced ? Zested ? Just the flesh ?

Why ask this...... Ok, so you see an orange listed etc, in the JAO recipe, but that is a very specific recipe, developed presumably, for the new mead maker to be able to get all the ingredients from a local food/grocery store and by following the recipe as closely as possible, end up with a successful batch of sweet mead that is eminently repeatable, in quite a short time.

Orange used for flavouring like this should be zested and the flesh segmented out. Why ? That throws you back toward the JAO recipe.

It is used whole just chopped up in JAO because the amount of honey used and the use of bread yeast. The bread yeast will routinely die off at about 12% ABV and the honey ratio is enough that there's enough residual sugar for the sweetness to mask the bitterness extracted from the pith.

Ergo, why JAO doesn't make a good dry recipe. It's pithy bitterness comes to the fore of the flavour.

Roll forward to your batch. Now you've used EC-1118 which is a champagne yeast and quite aggressive. It will do 18% ABV, which strangely enough, equates to a drop in gravity of 133 points, so if your batch finishes dry, which it feasibly could, that depends whether you hit 1.000 or less and 0.990 final is 132 points so that's a shade under 18% alcohol and very dry.

now when it comes to aging, there's a sort of "rule of thumb" that alleges 6 months for each 1% alcohol, but if your orange is whole you could bury the batch now and it'd be unlikely to have mellowed to mask the pithy bitterness in a couple of millennia. .......

So I'm just gonna suggest you finish the ferment as it is and while it's finishing, read up on back sweetening methods, because I suspect you will need to add back in some residual sweetness to mask the pithy bitterness. ......

Hopefully that all makes sense.

Oh and I'd increase the format by at least a half teaspoon.....

GntlKnigt1
01-25-2014, 04:19 AM
Wow !!! Well written, FB !!! Great explanation, and you've clearly devoted more time to it than most of us would have.

fatbloke
01-25-2014, 04:48 AM
Wow !!! Well written, FB !!! Great explanation, and you've clearly devoted more time to it than most of us would have.
No, not really Doug. I tend to "open mouth, before engaging brain", which often gets me into trouble........

I just read the new posts, then after a nano-second of comtemplation, work out if I have anything to say, or comment on.......or "bring to the party".

My example is just a basic critique of a few ingredients often seen and (ab)used, often by newer mead makers who have yet to make the mistakes I have......

I also, as you'll know, don't like bloody champagne yeasts. Yes, they're fine for what they were intended/discovered/isolated etc, making a bubbly version of a bland white while, and they have some additional uses (which you'll also know) like restarting stuck ferments etc, but as for using them as a "main" yeast, they blow too much of the volatile aromatics straight out the airlock and with those, some of the more subtle flavours that might be tasted in the presence of the lost aromatics........

Hence one of the main/bigger reasons why I prefer K1V/D21/71B etc etc. They do you more favours, especially with traditionals........

Yadda, yadda.........

UKTony
01-25-2014, 09:56 AM
Maybe I should've made the champagne yeast point, either number one or number two in my top 10!

TheProdigalSon
01-25-2014, 12:12 PM
Yeah, I didn't want to use that yeast but its the onlyl one my Local Brew store had!! I'm going to experiment with other yeasts. The orange I cut into slices and put the whole thing in, oh no!!! I tried to remove the white stuff though. I was planning on backsweetening anyway so maybe it will be ok. Thanks so much for the info!!

And did you say add 1/2 teaspoon of fermax or just up it to 1/2 teaspoons?

GntlKnigt1
01-25-2014, 12:36 PM
Or he could cold crash it and stabilize, assuming he isnt down to 1.000 yet. Outdoor temps should allow him to do that for a few days, unless he is in Chicago, where I see it is supposed to drop to minus 13 (again). Hardy bunch over there.....

Sent from my HTC Vision using Tapatalk 2

fatbloke
01-25-2014, 01:26 PM
Increase the format by at least an extra half teaspoon....

TheProdigalSon
01-25-2014, 01:27 PM
Apparently we were making up our first batches at the same time! I started my first batch yesterday too! Good luck, hopefully we both end up with some quality beverage!

-Xanderphillips

Heck yeah man!! Good luck to you! Keep me updated.

TheProdigalSon
01-25-2014, 01:28 PM
Increase the format by at least an extra half teaspoon....

An extra half teaspoon total? To make a total of 1 1/2 teaspoons?

TheProdigalSon
01-27-2014, 11:32 AM
So 4 days in so far, its fermenting like a champ, the gravity after 72 hours was 1.070. I also sneaked a little taste, and man the vanilla is really taking over, didn't taste much orange or bitterness at all really, I'm sure the taste will change. My question is when I backsweeten is it ok to add a little orange juice with the honey if the vanilla is still over powering? And if so how much?

fuelish
01-30-2014, 07:56 AM
maybe because I enjoy beers hopped to near-death-experience levels, but I don't mind the "pithiness" that folks comment about in orange meads...I have a ginger orange batch recently bottled, yeah, you can taste it, but, from previous experience, this'll be dang fine by next winter.