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MJ7
02-05-2014, 08:23 PM
Hi, first post, first batch of mead.

Recipe:

- 12lbs wildflower honey, local
- 4 gallons spring water
- D47 (two packets)
- Ferment K
- 1 liter fresh squeezed OJ
- 5 cinnamon sticks

I started this 4 days ago in a large 6.5 gal carboy. At first I was sitting there waiting and waiting for it to ferment, no bubbling at the airlock. It had a very nice frothy foam on the top, that I later found out was the ferment, it started out at a good 2 inches, the next day it dropped to about 1 inch, the day after to 1/4 inch, and yesterday it was placid, no foam at all. I do not have a hydrometer so I could not take SG.

It appears the fermentation cycle had complete. There was a thick sediment layer of dead yeast (lees?). So, about 1 hr ago I racked it and now it's in the clean carboy, it is still hazy. I took a taste and it tasted like very good juice, no alcohol taste at all.

Did it even ferment? I was expecting a very bad taste. During the process the batch smelled of yeast/bread, but now it just tastes like juice. I have a feeling like it fermented, but only slightly and that the abv will be very low?

Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

Mrthekla
02-05-2014, 08:30 PM
Could still be fermenting. You can't tell visually. If you have an airlock, it will bubble when the ferment is active, but a slow ferment might be hard to see. Having a hydrometer and having a start in reading helps figure out what's going on.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

kudapucat
02-05-2014, 08:34 PM
Have you got a hydrometer? If not go out and get one, then take a reading and let us know.

I would expect this to go dry. I would not expect it to taste like juice after fermenting.
You really need a hydrometer to know.

I would be concerned about what preservatives may have been in the OJ. There's no real reason this shouldn't have gone off like a rocket. pH perhaps due to OJ acidity. Maybe temperature, is it especially hot or cold where you are D47 has little tolerance to extremes.

Did the airlock ever bubble?

MJ7
02-05-2014, 08:44 PM
Have you got a hydrometer? If not go out and get one, then take a reading and let us know.

I would expect this to go dry. I would not expect it to taste like juice after fermenting.
You really need a hydrometer to know.

I would be concerned about what preservatives may have been in the OJ. There's no real reason this shouldn't have gone off like a rocket. pH perhaps due to OJ acidity. Maybe temperature, is it especially hot or cold where you are D47 has little tolerance to extremes.

Did the airlock ever bubble?

The airlock did not bubble, however the mead was only a 4 gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon carboy (if that matters?). There was a good 2 inches of frothy yeast activity foam when it started, that slowly went away over the next few days, which is why I think it already fermented, but that has yet to be smelled or tasted. I keep it around 67 in my house and D47 is rated between 58 and 69 I believe, although warmer to kick it off wouldn't have hurt. The OJ was pure orange juice nothing else. There are countless mead recipes that have oranges or OJ added and none of them had issues with fermentation. I was debating throwing in another D47? I can pick up a hydrometer tomorrow.

MJ7
02-05-2014, 09:14 PM
If it were a pH problem, how could I correct for it?

Honeyhog
02-05-2014, 09:48 PM
If it was fermenting even 4 gal in a 6.5 gal carboy would have the airlock going unless there is a bad seal on the bung. Like has been suggested before maybe the OJ was sulfited and/or sorbated.

MJ7
02-05-2014, 09:52 PM
If it was fermenting even 4 gal in a 6.5 gal carboy would have the airlock going unless there is a bad seal on the bung. Like has been suggested before maybe the OJ was sulfited and/or sorbated.

This was hipster squeezed OJ from whole foods, nothing added, just oranges squeezed into a container. No chemicals, no heating just pure raw OJ.

I have chatted with a few colleagues that brew and they stated sometimes it can take a few pitches before it's off and bubbling. Is it possible to over aerate? I shook that bad boy up like crazy when I did it. One friend suggest that I pitch the yeast on top and just let it sit on top and not do anything to it. I could easily try this tonight, but I'm sure most the yeast I had it from the beginning died, huge sediment pile (as if they had reproduced and were happy for a bit and then just dropped off at some point).

Right now it's just sitting there placid, no bubbling no foaming, nothing. Should I wait until tomorrow, pick up some pH strips, calcium carbonate (if I need to bring the pH back up to 3.8), and a hydrometer to take SG before I pitch yeast?

kudapucat
02-06-2014, 03:04 AM
Right now it's just sitting there placid, no bubbling no foaming, nothing. Should I wait until tomorrow, pick up some pH strips, calcium carbonate (if I need to bring the pH back up to 3.8), and a hydrometer to take SG before I pitch yeast?


Yes, yes, yes and yes.
We need data. So do you if you don't want to just keep using up yeast.
Best bet when you do repitch is to make a starter and acclimatise it to the must.
D47's pretty robust, just don't let it get hot.

GntlKnigt1
02-06-2014, 03:06 AM
NOW you are on the right track with getting a hydrometer, some potassium (or calcium) carbonate, some means of testing pH..... The hydrometer is an essential tool for meadmaking. If it "tastes like juice" still, there is probably still a lot of sugar in the must. I would also concur with the posting that said you have an air leak in your fermenter, which would explain the lack of airlock activity. Just let it sit until you can get us some information to help you.

Right now, it's like saying "I turned the oven on, and put it in, but it's not done!" ...without supplying info about what temp the oven was, how long it was in there, and how bit the roast beast was.

MJ7
02-06-2014, 08:27 PM
Thanks everyone.

I just took a pH reading and a hydrometer reading.

pH is at 4, so no problems there.

Hydrometer = 1.073, can someone link me to a chart or a page that discusses this for mead, please?

I just pitched one more packet of D47 yeast.

I aerated it before pitching, should I aerate it again?

GntlKnigt1
02-07-2014, 09:11 AM
You might try a couple teaspoons of DAP and a couple of nutrient.....i think your guys may be hungry

Sent from Arthur Dent's towel smothering a volume of Vogon poetry, some of which just leaked out.

MJ7
02-07-2014, 08:30 PM
You might try a couple teaspoons of DAP and a couple of nutrient.....i think your guys may be hungry

Sent from Arthur Dent's towel smothering a volume of Vogon poetry, some of which just leaked out.


I threw in some Ferment K. I will be taking another hydrometer in a few, will post back later.

MJ7
02-07-2014, 09:40 PM
Hydrometer was 1.069, a drop albeit a slow drop. The fermentation is looking like it is going to be picking up some steam, the top is simmering, but still no airlock activity or fermentation foam. The smell and taste have a slight alcohol taste now.

I will be starting another batch tomorrow with the following recipe:

- 4 gallons spring water
- 15 lbs clover honey
- D47, one packet
- Ferment K

I want this one to be a straight medium mead, so I have a baseline for the future.

GntlKnigt1
02-08-2014, 04:20 AM
See the dosing recommendations.

http://www.scottlab.com/product-104.aspx

kudapucat
02-08-2014, 09:09 AM
If you can see bubbles, but no airlock activity, then your fermentation vessel DEFINITELY has a leak.

MJ7
02-08-2014, 10:37 AM
See the dosing recommendations.

http://www.scottlab.com/product-104.aspx

At 25g/hL my batch requires < than 1 teaspoon. I fed it around 1 and 1/2 teaspoons.

MJ7
02-08-2014, 10:41 AM
If you can see bubbles, but no airlock activity, then your fermentation vessel DEFINITELY has a leak.

These are very tiny bubbles, something similar to carbonation in San Pellegrino, small air bubbles, like a simmer. There are no large air bubbles on the top of the must. This is in a 6.5 gallon carboy, glass, no damage to it and brand new. It has a straight airlock (which I changed out from an S-type thinking there may be a leak) and a rubber stopper placed on snug. I highly doubt there is an air leak. I will test this when I rack it next.

It seems to be going at a slower fermentation, as indicated by the hydrometer. I would say this is probably due to the temperatures. It has been below 0 for the past few days here, even though I keep inside around 70 F. I do not mind a slow fermentation, as they tend to keep the flavors and aromas in the must rather than expelling them in the CO2 off gas.

MJ7
02-08-2014, 04:46 PM
If I shake or agitate my carboy the bottle foams up quickly and the airlock starts to bubble. After that it just dies out, to no bubbles and flat surface. Does this mean I need to aerate the carboy more?

kudapucat
02-08-2014, 06:29 PM
It means it's fermenting. But slowly. So slowly you don't see the bubbles because they're so infrequent.

Riverat
02-08-2014, 07:08 PM
You might try a couple teaspoons of DAP and a couple of nutrient.....i think your guys may be hungry

Sent from Arthur Dent's towel smothering a volume of Vogon poetry, some of which just leaked out.
I would have to agree, one and a half tsp of anything isn't close to enough for a 5 gal batch, even as one addition of a SNA

MJ7
02-08-2014, 07:27 PM
You might try a couple teaspoons of DAP and a couple of nutrient.....i think your guys may be hungry

Sent from Arthur Dent's towel smothering a volume of Vogon poetry, some of which just leaked out.


I would have to agree, one and a half tsp of anything isn't close to enough for a 5 gal batch, even as one addition of a SNA


Just added a few more teaspoons and it has woken it up, it has started to bubble slowly on it's own, SPOT ON GENTS. Thanks
The bottle says to add only 1/4 teaspoon per gallon, which is I did not add in all that much. Should I add more, thus far it's at 3 and 1/2 teaspoons. I do not have DAP, but I could pick some up?

MJ7
02-09-2014, 11:38 AM
Steady as she goes...

Hydrometer readings thus far:

1.073 hydrometer 2/6/14 @ 6PM

1.069 hydrometer 2/7/14 @ 7:35PM

1.054 hydrometer 2/9/14 @ 8:42AM

I have no idea what the starting must was, because my first hydrometer reading was a solid 5 days after I started it.

In a day and a half it has dropped .015 not that bad. There is still no airlock activity, but I do see bubbles coming to the surface of the must and it is taking on an alcoholic taste.

kudapucat
02-09-2014, 05:16 PM
This is good news. Keep watching it. It's low enough now that if balanced would be an ok desert mead. So you're doing ok. Most folks' first mead goes dry, so I expect this will, but have no real evidence other than statistics.

MJ7
02-09-2014, 06:34 PM
This is good news. Keep watching it. It's low enough now that if balanced would be an ok desert mead. So you're doing ok. Most folks' first mead goes dry, so I expect this will, but have no real evidence other than statistics.


I will do daily hydrometer readings. I plan to have it stop fermenting around 1.20, so I will rack it around 1.25 then add K sorbate. I'm not going for a dry on this one.

Edit: I will cold crash it 1-3 times, remove the yeast, then add the sorbate and let it sit until clear before I bottle.

MJ7
02-09-2014, 11:08 PM
I will do daily hydrometer readings. I plan to have it stop fermenting around 1.020, so I will rack it around 1.025 then add K sorbate. I'm not going for a dry on this one.

Edit: I will cold crash it 1-3 times, remove the yeast, then add the sorbate and let it sit until clear before I bottle.

MJ7
02-10-2014, 07:51 PM
Day 10

Hydrometer = 1.046 2/10/14

Tastes fantastic

MJ7
02-11-2014, 08:21 PM
Day 11

Hydrometer = 1.040

Taste is still good, it has a slightly higher alcohol back end.

MJ7
02-12-2014, 11:37 PM
Day 12

Hydrometer = 1.035

Taste has a nice orange fruity front, a nice cinnamon bite, and an ever so pleasant honey finish...not dry either, it is pretty wet and sweet.

Two more days and this one is being cold crashed.

mannye
02-13-2014, 11:51 AM
Awesome! Sounds like it's a success!

MJ7
02-13-2014, 10:21 PM
Awesome! Sounds like it's a success!

Definitely. I feel as though this one will take 1-2 months of aging before it reaches it's peak time, and I will be aging 10 bottles past that...I want this one to be ready for the season premier of Season 4 Game of Thrones.

Day 13

Right on schedule

Hydrometer = 1.030

Tomorrow night I will be attempting to cold crash this bad boy into my refrigerator, hopefully it fits.

Taste has dulled slightly, still very drinkable, but I think a bit of aging will be required (not much though).

MJ7
02-14-2014, 10:41 PM
Day 14

Hydrometer = 1.026

Taste has a distinct alcohol taste on the finish, it has a warming after bite, which right now I do not mind. This one is being cold crashed as we speak, straight into the refrigerator for awhile. I will probably pick up some Super Kleer and some sorbate tomorrow, last step is having it clear and then stabilizing.

MJ7
02-16-2014, 04:59 PM
Day 16

Two nights of cold, 1/2 inch lees layer, racked. Hydrometer reading is stable at 1.026, this is a very nice smooth mead for certain, CO2 is still there, and once removed will be very nice.

This is headed back into the frig for more clarifying.

The aroma and complexity is starting to shine. I would classify this a medium-sweet mead. It is flavorful up from, cinnamon, slight citrus, and a nice dark honey tone that finishes wet. The alcohol taste has gone down a lot and the yeasty/bready notes are subtle, I expect them not to linger long after a few more cold racks.

MJ7
02-18-2014, 09:24 PM
Day 18

Hydrometer stable at 1.026

Racked off 1/8 inch of lees, degassed slowly

Taste was pleasant and it is clarifying very nicely, a stronger cinnamon flavor is starting to shine through, while the citrus note is still around. The honey flavor is there and at this point it seems to be a two part taste. First part sweet, second part honey aromas (without the sweetness). It still finishes wet and smooth, this one is definitely getting better with refinement. Cold crashing and more cold racks to continue.

MJ7
02-20-2014, 10:26 PM
Day 20

No sediment on bottom. Added Super Kleer to clear some of the pectin haze from the OJ. Will let sit for 2 more days in the frig, then I will rack and bring back to room temperature before I feel comfortable to bottle.

T-minus 3 days before potential bottling. Pretty cool.

MJ7
02-22-2014, 04:04 PM
Day 22

Super Kleer has done it's job, very clear mead. Taste has a strong cinnamon presence, so much so I have named this mead MJ's Cinnabomb.

Racked and allowing to come back to room temperature, I will be taking hydrometer readings frequently over the next week to see if there is any yeast re-fermentation.

This mead has an upfront cinnamon taste, with a slight citrus presence on the nose. It tastes sweet of honey, but the sweetness is mellowed by the cinnamon. It finishes warm due to the cinnamon. It is a nice taste and I will be enjoying this starting today. I will likely bottle the rest and age around 10 bottles.

MJ7
03-05-2014, 09:12 PM
Day 33

Bottled. The taste initially had a citrus finish with an astringent problem, too harsh. I narrowed it down to being either the cinnamon or the alcohol from the OJ. It has been aging now for 1 week and I'm proud to say that harsh finish is diminishing rapidly, it is all but gone now. It is a sweet mead, a little sweater than I would prefer, but it is oh so good and oh so nice to get a buzz off of.