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View Full Version : Questions about additives/the process - New to mead



Newbrewcrew
02-10-2014, 11:52 AM
I'm new to mead making and only have one mead under my belt. I started a strawberry melomel Jan. 27 for the heck of it and it was finished fermenting by Feb. 5th, racked into 3 gallon carboy and bulk aging. Racking again in 3 to 4 months. My fiance and I want to serve our own mead at our wedding.

NOTE: These questions will pertain to 5 gallon batches of melomels using a D-47 yeast or similar. I will be using 12.5lbs wildflower honey and 15lbs strawberries, giving me an ABV% of 13.06% (according to the calculator) D47 yeast tolerance is 14%.

- Pectic Enzyme: When should I use it, how much should I use and how do I use it? I've had people tell me to add it to the must 24 hours before pitching yeast, after it's started fermenting it's affects will diminish.

- K metabisulphate: I've had a local winemaker (who makes wines from his own berries) tell me to add this to the must to aid in aging so the mead doesn't spoil. I've chatted with others online, their opinions were "It's not necessary but it's a good and safe practice" Is it? If so, how much should I be using and when?

- Fermaid K & DAP: I've read a few guides on mead making, I'm making up my own notes to follow when I do start another mead. One guide said use 2 tsp DAP (8grams) and 1 tsp Fermaid K (4grams), add one quarter of both at the beginning and then continue 1/4 feeding of the rest a day (or ever other day) until you run out. Is this a good regiment? The guide listed on this site has a similar regiment.

- The recipe I punched in on the mead calculator gave me an ABV of 13.06%, D47 yeast tolerance is 14% ABV content. Is this too close? Should I change up my recipe to lower the ABV% closer to 12%?

EDIT If I'm making a 5 gallon batch, can I made a 1/2 or full gallon more to account for loss, as long as I calculate it?

That's all I can think of for now, folks. I'm currently going through guides found on reddit and the new comer guide here, compiling information in a notebook for when I start my wedding melomels. Any additional information is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time!

fatbloke
02-10-2014, 03:38 PM
You should really have a read of the NewBee guide in the left side yellow box <------
as a lot of the info is explained there.......

GntlKnigt1
02-10-2014, 03:51 PM
Wow!!! I guess you DO have a few questions!!! Guess I have a soft spot for your situation as I was back in Chicago for Christmas and started a 12 gallon batch of 'wedding mead' with my son, who is getting married in June. First of all, Don't Panic (see that on my signature line? )

Pectin - Pectic enzyme breaks down pectin in fruit. Pectin is what makes your jams thick and sticky, which is NOT a good trait in mead, especially when you are trying to get it clear. Strengths/concentrations may vary, but the general idea is to follow the manufacturers directions for how much to add to your fruit before you freeze it. To kill off stray yeast on your fruit, you probably also want to mix in a cup of sanitizer made from potassium metabisulfite (did I mention it should be made per manufacturers instruction?) Freeze the fruit to break down the cell walls so it is mushy when it thaws again, and then put the fruit in a muslin brew bag so you can retrieve your mushy berries and squeeze the liquid out.

Yeast - You are fine if your yeast is rated at 14%. In a nutrient rich environment, it might even go higher than that, and lt will leave you with a dry mead. Plan on backsweetening with additional honey after fermentation is done. Adding sulfite to the must also kills stray yeast, and works to prevent oxidation. You need to wait 24 hours, though, after sulfating the must so that you don't kill your yeast.

Additional batch - sure, you can make additional half or a gallon.... I made about 5 liters extra to account for loss from racking etc. He plans on bottling it in 375 ml bottles, probably in early June or so.

Hope this answers most of your initial questions here...

Ah... and Fatbloke was writing while I was as well. He is correct about reading the newbee guide... there is a LOT of goofy information out there that can get you in trouble. The guide here is reliable and repeatedly tested.

Newbrewcrew
02-10-2014, 04:08 PM
Thank you so much, you did indeed clear lots of questions. I've read the guide - I've read three, hah. That's the reason I wanted to ask actual mazers. I know everyone has their own way of doing things thus different guides will most likely generate different ways of mead making. I won't be making another batch until the summer, so no panic at all. :) Just trying to get as much research in as possible. Again, much thanks.

Newbrewcrew
02-10-2014, 04:12 PM
I did indeed read through the guide. Loads of useful information, just had some things I didn't quite understand I needed cleared up. Thanks!

GntlKnigt1
02-10-2014, 04:21 PM
Let us know when you are preparing. Aging 6 months to a year would be good. When is the wedding?

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

Newbrewcrew
02-10-2014, 04:50 PM
Preparing in June or July. Wedding is not until October 2015

GntlKnigt1
02-10-2014, 04:56 PM
Well...then now would be a good time to start

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

Newbrewcrew
02-10-2014, 05:53 PM
Unfortunately there's no honey available here until the summer when the two farms produce again. Otherwise I'd have to use the supermarket stuff. Same with the berries, no fresh berries until summer.

GntlKnigt1
02-10-2014, 06:36 PM
You're gonna be in a race for time to get it finished by then. How many people at wedding, and how much mead each? Did you work up a budget yet? I managed to find honey in December....required a lot of phone calls and had to drive over an hour, but we got some awesome tasting honey.

Sent from the Nexus of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which has been infected with Vogon poetry, some of which leaked out here.

Newbrewcrew
02-10-2014, 07:38 PM
Going to be tight timing, huh? About 50 at the wedding, if we're lucky. Maybe we'll have to scrap the idea if it won't be done in time. There's two honey bee farms here, one is five minutes away - not producing yet snd the other is four hours. Anything else is much too far. Either way we'll be making mead this summer. Just thought the wedding idea was nice.

MJ7
02-10-2014, 07:58 PM
Going to be tight timing, huh? About 50 at the wedding, if we're lucky. Maybe we'll have to scrap the idea if it won't be done in time. There's two honey bee farms here, one is five minutes away - not producing yet snd the other is four hours. Anything else is much too far. Either way we'll be making mead this summer. Just thought the wedding idea was nice.

Search the forum for BOMM, it is a one month mead, ready to drink after one month. D47 will not necessarily take that long to ferment, and you could always try to stop the fermentation process by cold crashing it a few times and then adding sorbate. Go BOMM route and use Wyeast 1388 instead of D47 if time is an issue. Good luck on marriage and congrats.

EJM3
02-10-2014, 09:45 PM
I have 1 batch of straight mead still perking away after 3 months, one batch I just started out a couple days ago, and otherwise I have made cider, cyser, and melomel as well. All of the cider, cyser, and melomel have finished in 7 to 21 days... But the straight mead seems to want to take it's time. Not a problem as I have LOTS of spare time, but it just does not want to be rushed it seems.

Then again I have used D47 on everything, and am just now branching out to using some 71B, and will be getting around to some K1V in the future... It gets a little warm here in the Summer...

I picked the D47 due to the cool temps we have in the house this time of year. The 71B and K1V are better at higher temps without producing lots of fusels so I have heard and read, and a giving them a try.

But the biggest thing is that the yeast will do as they want to, and forcing them is NOT and option...

MJ7
02-10-2014, 11:44 PM
I have 1 batch of straight mead still perking away after 3 months, one batch I just started out a couple days ago, and otherwise I have made cider, cyser, and melomel as well. All of the cider, cyser, and melomel have finished in 7 to 21 days... But the straight mead seems to want to take it's time. Not a problem as I have LOTS of spare time, but it just does not want to be rushed it seems.

Then again I have used D47 on everything, and am just now branching out to using some 71B, and will be getting around to some K1V in the future... It gets a little warm here in the Summer...

I picked the D47 due to the cool temps we have in the house this time of year. The 71B and K1V are better at higher temps without producing lots of fusels so I have heard and read, and a giving them a try.

But the biggest thing is that the yeast will do as they want to, and forcing them is NOT and option...

3 month primary or did you rack it to secondary already? That seems very slow for D47. How cold is it?

Honeyhog
02-11-2014, 11:06 AM
All of my traditionals have been slow fermenters. Cysers for me have been super fast for the most part, like one week or less and melomels somewhere in the middle.

fatbloke
02-11-2014, 02:43 PM
Going to be tight timing, huh? About 50 at the wedding, if we're lucky. Maybe we'll have to scrap the idea if it won't be done in time. There's two honey bee farms here, one is five minutes away - not producing yet snd the other is four hours. Anything else is much too far. Either way we'll be making mead this summer. Just thought the wedding idea was nice.
If you just went for JAO with mail ordered honey (depends where you are, but google the honey locator), then it will take 3 to 4 months to actually make, then you'd have a year or so to age it......

it would of course, be good to use local honey, but if that's likely to leave you tight for time, then what the hell, the memory would and should be worth the effort......

EJM3
02-11-2014, 03:14 PM
3 month primary or did you rack it to secondary already? That seems very slow for D47. How cold is it?

Nope, still in primary. I have been taking SG readings every 3 or 4 days, but the SG just slowly meanders it's way down like molasses in Winter. Which is fine for me, it means I have lots of time to observe the entire process start to finish. The Mead #1 recipe was stuffed into its cubby back on 11-25-2013, and has been kept pretty constant at ~64F (60F & 66F are the Lowest and Highest values to date). For the last 3 days I have had no airlock activity while swirling the container, so it may be getting near time to rack in a few more weeks, I'll have to take another SG tonight.

Both batches of cider have finished out in 7 days, they are both VERY tasty and VERY VERY drinkable after only the 7 days, yeastie cloudiness and all, and no hot fusel gasohol flavors to choke on either. But a bit of a fog the next day... ;D

Bob1016
02-11-2014, 03:25 PM
That is pretty slow, are you degassing your gravity samples? For proof of activity I'd pull a small sample (~50ml), Shake the crap out of it for a good few minutes and let it sit covered in a warmish (70-80F) place over night. If you shake it nest day and there is a nice foam then they're (the yeast) still working. Sometimes the CO2 in solution can throw off FG determinations because it's off gassing while the yeast are done.

EJM3
02-11-2014, 07:18 PM
That is pretty slow, are you degassing your gravity samples? For proof of activity I'd pull a small sample (~50ml), Shake the crap out of it for a good few minutes and let it sit covered in a warmish (70-80F) place over night. If you shake it nest day and there is a nice foam then they're (the yeast) still working. Sometimes the CO2 in solution can throw off FG determinations because it's off gassing while the yeast are done.


I have been pretty thorough with the degassing, as all my other readings from the other 8 batches I have done seem right in line and accurate. Then again this has gone past it's rated tolerance of ~14%. Currently it's ~18%, it has dropped ~135 points from and OG of ~1.140 to a current reading of 1.005.