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Dunn1994
04-28-2014, 04:31 AM
My first mead has been on for 2 weeks and a day. I followed the simple 1 gallon recipe:

3lbs of honey

Made up the the gallon with highland spring bottled water

Used a combined yeast and nutrient for white wine

I mixed the yeast with warm water. I also warmed the honey to make it a little more viscous.

Bubbling started after about an hour, for the first week the bubbles were large and fast through the airlock. It's slowed right down to about 1 a minute over the last couple of days and there is a nice amount of Lees at the bottom (sorry if that's incorrect terminology). It's definitely gotten a lot more pale but it is still murky.

So now to the question :')

Do I rack into the secondary now so the yeast can purge the oxygen out itself? Or leave it till it completely stops?

Also, is it normal for it to smell a little bit like cider ( that's taking the dust cap off and Sniffing what's burping out) as for start gravity, I have not yet purchased a hydrometer, are they absolutely essential?

Thanks for reading,
Sam :)

mannye
04-28-2014, 12:17 PM
They are not absolutely essential, but a hydrometer will tell you your starting gravity, and allow you to be (reasonably) sure that your mead is done fermenting. It is better to say that if you plan on making a second batch, you will want one. Otherwise it's going to be a guessing game.

If you can tell us what yeast it was, then it will be easier to tell you if it's time to rack. Generally however, (and this is why you want a hydrometer) slowing down does not mean it's done or that it's time to rack. A steady hydrometer reading (there's that hydrometer again) over several days or weeks will be the best indicator of when it's done fermenting.

I am still new at this, but in general, it's OK and probably advised to leave the mead on the lees (yes, that's the correct term) for 4 to 6 weeks in primary before racking off to a secondary. This allows the Co2 (not o2) to escape and the yeast to fall out of the solution. A little cider smell is probably fine (I'll let those with more wine yeast experience take that one further). Generally, when the mead begins to clear, as in you can see through it somewhat and all activity has stopped, you're ready to move to secondary.

As it is right now, you have plenty of time to order a hydrometer and test the mead. You want to see a reading of 1.000 or less and while this may not give you the total ABV of your finished mead, it will be a god indicator that it is time to go into the secondary. Then you can forget about it for a year or so.

While that year is going by, I highly suggest you take the primary, clean it out and make a gallon of JAOM. This is the thread here:

http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/6885-Joe-Mattioli-s-Foolproof-Ancient-Orange-Clove-and-Cinnamon-Mead?highlight=JAOM

That will give you delicious mead in about 2-3 months.

Dunn1994
04-28-2014, 03:40 PM
I borrowed a hydrometer from a friend at work and it read 1.001 so I racked to second (was that the correct thing to do?). I'm not sure on the number but it's ritchies in a 100g tub if that helps?

Sam :)

mannye
04-28-2014, 04:01 PM
Not really...I'm not familiar with that brand and regardless, yeast is really identified by strain rather than brand. 1.001 is pretty near the end. It's not the end of the world if it's not done yet. Keep an airlock and an eye on it. If it was still really opaque when you racked it then you will most likely have more lees settle to the bottom. Give it a taste. Don't panic if it tastes like crap. Chances are it's not completely done fermenting plus most mead made with wine yeast needs 6 to 12 months to develop. Mead that is wonderful at 12 months can often taste like used sweat socks at 12 weeks.

That's why I recommend the JAOM so you can start to quickly taste what all the hubbub is about.

Bob1016
04-28-2014, 04:30 PM
I did find a site for that Ritchie's stuff, but there's almost no info on it (and a disturbing description of "real ale" yeast, selected in Mauri (wine AOC), that bottom ferments great lagers!). No abv tolerances or even temp ranges. All I can say is let it sit and make sure nothing goes off (things growing, really bad smells, glowing under UV light, etc.).
Get a batch of JAOM or BOMM going in the mean time (or brew some beer), and definitely get a hydrometer, they really are priceless (I've got 2 standard types, and three high precision, and I check them all against each other because I'm crazy!).

As for regular traditionals, they don't all take that long, the problem is they jut get much better, and it's just easier to wait for them to hit a peak than drink half only to realize later how good it could have been!


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Dunn1994
04-28-2014, 05:53 PM
Thanks for all the help :) it was what the brew shop suggested at the market by me. I'll try to attach a picture tomorrow. Is it better for it to clear by itself or should bentonite be added?

Sam :)

Bob1016
04-28-2014, 06:06 PM
Tough to say. If it was a healthy fermentation it can sit on the sediment until completely clear with no problems (if it was healthy, it should clear within 6-8mos). If the fermentation was a little finicky, it might be best to rack when the sediment gets more than a cm thick.
There's also the question of when you want to drink it. If your going to age it, time is the best way to clear a mead (it also serves as a good excuse not to drink it "it's not clear yet, I should let it sit another year"); if you want to drink early (or pull the yeast ou of suspension due to a fear of problems to come (unhealthy yeast produce some nasty things when sat upon)), then clear it by all means.
Aside from the issues of bad yeast health, sediment contact and racking is very personal mead maker to mead maker. Some (like me) almost always give some sur lie contact, some crash cool right after FG is hit and get it off the lees as fast as possible, and some just do something sometimes (rack, or not, clear or not, do whatever, whenever they get to it). It just depends. All can produce great meads.


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Medsen Fey
04-29-2014, 05:48 AM
I like to let it clear a lot on its own, and then treat with Bentonite. However, Bentonite creates thick fluffy lees that will increase the amount of mead loss when racking. In a one gallon batch you usually want to minimize losses. You might be better off just putting it in the fridge.

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Dunn1994
04-29-2014, 06:43 AM
When I woke up this morning, it looked like it had cleared somewhat overnight, in the top inch or so I could my bedroom wall (a little blury of course). It does look quite promising though :) I will start some JAOM on the weekend, are some ingredients optional or do I follow to the tee?

Sam :)

mannye
04-29-2014, 07:43 AM
When I woke up this morning, it looked like it had cleared somewhat overnight, in the top inch or so I could my bedroom wall (a little blury of course). It does look quite promising though :) I will start some JAOM on the weekend, are some ingredients optional or do I follow to the tee?

Sam :)

The warranty on JAOM is void unless followed to a tee. I know what you're thinking... if the bread yeast is good, then the wine yeast will be better... no it won't. Follow all instructions and amounts exactly. It's not a recipe, it's a formula.

Dunn1994
05-02-2014, 02:14 PM
Just took another reading and got 0.998 it tastes dry and hot, I don't mind the dry but will the hot age out :) without my Og is there anyway to calculate an ABV value? :)

Get_Wiggly
05-02-2014, 02:35 PM
Hot takes long aging times, 6 mo - a year.

UNLESS YOU TESLA THAT B!
http://people.math.aau.dk/~cornean/index.html/ACwine.pdf

Dunn1994
05-02-2014, 02:43 PM
I'll might just let it age the natural way ;) I'll leave that experiment for when I'm a little more experienced :') bit extravagant for my first mead :') but you suggestion was greatly appreciated :)

Any ideas on the percentage? :)

Sam

Dunn1994
05-02-2014, 02:45 PM
Also, is condensation normal? I didn't notice any in my primary :/ (there is in the second)

mannye
05-02-2014, 04:24 PM
Ummm not really. Usually the must is either room temp or a little warmer than room temp (or a LOT warmer than room temp) so there shouldn't be any condensation on the carboy. There is no way to know the percentage of alcohol without knowing the starting gravity or doing the boiling test which will use up way too much of your one gallon batch. Just drink 8 ounces and see if it hits you hard, soft or not at all.

Dunn1994
05-02-2014, 04:38 PM
It's dry and hot :') it very slightly smells like vinegar, but tastes good. At 3 weeks is that acceptable or is just going to get worse?

I used 3lbs of honey
Highland spring bottled water up to the gallon
And wine yeast? (not sure what strain)
Is there anyway to guess the og?

Sam :)

Bob1016
05-02-2014, 05:00 PM
I'd bet 1.100-1.110, so ~14%abv. You can get condensation if you cold crashed before racking (if I'm not doing sur lie I do this; though it's rare). I also tend to rack with CO2 in solution (to fill headspace) which can bring some volatiles with it when it off gases causing some condensation. It can happen, don't worry.


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Get_Wiggly
05-02-2014, 05:11 PM
Condensation can happen if the room temp is lower than the internal temp. A lot of condensation would be strange though.

Dunn1994
05-03-2014, 02:02 AM
Hmm, I'm not sure then... I'll take some readings over the next couple of day and then just let it age, what amount of Lees are you safe to leave it to age on? There is about 5mm on the bottom at the minute

Sam :)

mannye
05-03-2014, 03:25 AM
Which one has 5mm? The first one or the JAOM?


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Dunn1994
05-03-2014, 04:11 AM
The first one, I've got to get another air lock or wait for this one to finish before I can start the JAOM :)

Sam :)

Dunn1994
05-03-2014, 04:48 AM
The first one, I need to get another air lock and drilled bung before I can start the JAOM, or wait till this one has finished and I can put the solid bung on. And move the airlock over. Is it better to age it in a dark place? Or is normal lighting okay? (not over exposed to sunlight)

Sam :)

Chevette Girl
05-03-2014, 09:57 AM
Sunlight and fluorescent light can cause wines to oxidixe. Meads are more resistant to oxidation but it's usually best to err on the side of caution. If you can't move it to somewhere dark, you could wrap a towel or shirt around the carboy, that works just fine. I used to have my carboy shelf in front of a south-facing window but the tablecloth I put across the lower half of the window seemed to do the trick, none of the off flavours from my early winemaking could be attributed to oxidation (plenty of other things I did wrong, but not that!)

mannye
05-03-2014, 10:46 AM
I think you should be ok with a little yeast on the bottom. I haven't really aged mead much but I would probably rack it as the yeast built up significantly. But that's me and I'm a freak.


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Chevette Girl
05-03-2014, 11:34 AM
With a new batch, I usually rack as soon as the SG stops dropping or gets close to 1.000, then again in a few weeks if a lot of sediment has built up or if I used 71B yeast.

Dunn1994
05-03-2014, 11:58 AM
Perfect! This is such a good forum! :) if I take readings over the next couple of days and nothing changes, if I want to back sweeten should I still use SM and campden? :)

Sam

EbonHawk
05-03-2014, 02:56 PM
Perfect! This is such a good forum! :) if I take readings over the next couple of days and nothing changes, if I want to back sweeten should I still use SM and campden? :)

Sam
Well, if you don't use something to halt the yeast, you're going to possibly wind up with a carbonated (sparkling) mead. I know that's not preferable for everyone, but me, I prefer sparkling over non-. It's just personal preference really. On the other hand, if your yeast is pooped out (reached its max) then back-sweetening will occur just fine. Although, if you haven't been step-feeding them with shots of honey/sugars, then you'll likely do just that by trying to backsweeten without something to halt fermentation. Depends on temp, too, as you can get some more residual fermentation with higher must temps.

Certainly someone more knowledgeable than me can give you more specifics. For now, I tend to "wing it" too much and I don't think the majority of folks around here do that as much as I do. (Or maybe they don't admit it anyway. ;)) I'm new here, but I've been making sparkling cysers for 2 decades, just not lately. I brewed beer/ales for about 25 years total, with longer breaks toward the end when things just didn't work out or weren't conducive to brewing in my new place. I'm certainly no mead expert, although cysers are similar in nature; they're just more forgiving. I've never made a true mead as I am always tempted to throw some kind of fruit in there, some spices, experiment, etc.

This is a great website, and I hope these guys aren't too polite to at least point out when I'm being an idiot or suggesting something stupid. They won't hurt my feelings; and I'm sure some of my techniques learned by trial-and-error are outdated and non-avante garde. I hope to correct a lot of that in the upcoming weeks/months/years. :)

Dunn1994
05-03-2014, 03:40 PM
Will back sweetening with honey still create a sparkling mead? :) do you finding bentonite gives it a better taste? I've heard mixed reviews. Some say it's makes it crisper and smooth... Others think it dulls down the body etc... What's everyone's preference? I think mine will clear just fine by itself, but I'm still up for improving :)

Sam

mannye
05-03-2014, 10:51 PM
It's always always better if you give it time to clear itself. Clearing agents are additions used by those too immature and desperate to just wait the prescribed time to let the yeast fall out of suspension on its own. I am one of those people. I used to use gelatin as a fining to clear beer, but recently discovered the miracle of Super Kleer. It will make a turbid opaque mead crystal clear in as little as 24 hours and in no more than a week! Get some!

As to your other question... it's highly likely that adding any additional sugar in the form of honey or sugar or anything will re-start the fermentation. This is most dangerous if you bottle the stuff because you will be making bottle bombs that at worst could seriously hurt someone and at best will blow up and send mead all over the place. Stabilize before you bottle or get ready for the BOOM!

Chevette Girl
05-04-2014, 01:28 PM
If the idea of sparkling mead appeals to you as it does to Ebonhawk, you might want to consider planning the batch out that way. Just winging it is a recipe for bottle bombs, you only want to give the yeast a certain amount of sugar with which to create carbon dioxide, so you don't want to add too much (the yeast won't stop at a safe carbonation level) and you don't want to add it when there's already sugar present (same as adding too much). Since your mead is at .998 already, it's probably done all the sugars it had, so if you wanted to carbonate it safely, I'd recommend letting it clear and then priming it, then bottling in bottles rated for carbonation... Or if you want to just wing it in a somewhat safer manner, sweeten it up and use a PET pop bottle and when it gets hard like a new bottle of carbonated drink, put it in the fridge and drink it within a month.

But if you don't want it sparkling, then as Ebonhawk said, you can either keep feeding it honey till it poops out (step feeding) or stabilize it with metabisulphites and potassium sorbate (either one on its own isn't sufficient, you need the one-two punch).

When I do the boiling test to figure out the actual alcohol concentration, I fill my hydrometer test tube to a line I drew on it with Sharpie (where it's enough to float the hydrometer but won't overflow) and that's all the sample I use (admittedly a bigger sample would make it more accurate but I'm usually only interested in a ballpark figure). Boil it in a very small pot till I've lost more than half the volume, then let it cool, put it back in the sample tube, and keep adding water (I rinse out the pot with small amounts of water to make sure I get everything and then pour that into the tube) till I get back to that line, then let it adjust to room temperature, then check the SG. Go online and look up Spirit Indication and you should be able to find a website that tells you what your alcohol % is based on the SG with the alcohol and the SG once you've boiled it all off and replaced it with water. I have it bookmarked on another browser or I'd post the link :p but I'm a lazy-ass :)

Dunn1994
05-04-2014, 02:43 PM
I might re-create that batch to get the OG. I can tweak it after then if I choose? My understanding is:

FG - OG = X
X / 0.00736 = ABV

Correct me if I'm wrong? :') I've ordered some sodium metabisulphate and some potassium sorbate so I shall add them when it comes, do I wait 24 hours to back sweeten? Also I have lost some amount of mead to racking, the SM and the PS are giving directions for 1 gallon, will they be that precise?

Sam :)

Chevette Girl
05-04-2014, 03:01 PM
If you're close to a gallon, use the directions for a gallon.

Again, about being a lazy-ass, I just run the OG and FG through a wine calculator.

And sure you can tweak it, do anything you want! :)

Dunn1994
05-04-2014, 04:49 PM
I might try both, see if they are the same :) Can it clear in three weeks? Its 99%clear now, just some small bits still in suspension
Sam :)

Chevette Girl
05-04-2014, 07:04 PM
I always get a lower % for the boil test but I think that's because I don't think we account for the ethanol (which has a lower SG than water and hence brings the SG lower than 1.000) in our calculations. But do compare a calculator and your calculation. I always figure we're going to be within a percent or two and that's really close enough.

Dunn1994
05-06-2014, 07:17 AM
Cherry mead: http://youtube/pvJ9YUuH3Ug

Right, I bottled the first mead yesterday , still at 0.998 and it tasted decent. A little hot still, but nice none the less (I drank a half bottle left over when bottling). I started a cherry mead after and can't quite decide what going on! I used the same recipe as before but substituted 1 litre of water for 1 litre of cherry juice (checked the ingredients, no sorbates mentioned) same yeast same method. But there is what looks like pulp floating around (juice is pulpless) is this normal? I assume it will settle to the bottom and it can be racked off? *
Sam :)

Honeyhog
05-06-2014, 09:26 AM
I would bet it is the yeast colony establishing itself. It often clumps up and looks like fruit debris, but it's not and it will settle out.

Dunn1994
05-06-2014, 10:54 AM
It looks rank! I've tried to upload a link but I don't thinks it's worked :/

Sam :)

EbonHawk
05-06-2014, 01:39 PM
Every brew is different. I'm going to miss brewing/mazering in clear carboys. Watching the activity in a clear glass carboy...just you and your brew, alone, in the dark...ahhh, memories. Interesting things happen in the magic wonderland that is a growing, changing cyser. I'm seriously going to miss it, and I might have to do some primaries in glass just so I can watch.

It's probably okay. Are there any obviously "wrong" smells coming through the airlock? Something to indicate that something actually might be wrong? Maybe there was some suspended protein or fruit fiber/pectin (more than the other batch anyway) that's "precipitating" out and floating because of the CO2 being produced. #1 rule..be patient.

Dunn1994
05-06-2014, 03:50 PM
It smells beautiful through the airlock... I'd drink it now if I couldn't see what was floating around in it :') I'll just leave it alone and see what happens :)
Could anyone shed light on uploading pictures? It doesn't matter what res I take the pictures in, it tells me I'm 40kb over sized :S

Sam :)

mannye
05-06-2014, 04:57 PM
Get tapatalk and use your smartphone to post. So much easier.


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Dunn1994
05-06-2014, 06:16 PM
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/05/07/vana4ysa.jpg

Does that work? :)


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Dunn1994
05-06-2014, 06:22 PM
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/05/07/zu3upypy.jpg

I do have a video, but it won't let me upload that... There lumps you see underneath the foam and all the way down and you can see them rising and falling with all the co2

Sam :)

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Dunn1994
05-06-2014, 06:25 PM
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/05/07/zu3upypy.jpg

Cherry mead: http://youtu.be/pvJ9YUuH3Ug

I do have a video, but it won't let me upload that... There lumps you see underneath the foam and all the way down and you can see them rising and falling with all the co2

Sam :)

Sent from my GT-N7105 using Tapatalk





http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/05/07/zu3upypy.jpg

I do have a video, but it won't let me upload that... There lumps you see underneath the foam and all the way down and you can see them rising and falling with all the co2

Sam :)

Sent from my GT-N7105 using Tapatalk





http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/05/07/zu3upypy.jpg

I do have a video, but it won't let me upload that... There lumps you see underneath the foam and all the way down and you can see them rising and falling with all the co2

Sam :)

Sent from my GT-N7105 using Tapatalk



Sent from my GT-N7105 using Tapatalk

Honeyhog
05-06-2014, 10:25 PM
Relax, it's little blobs of yeast being churned into suspension by the vigorous activity of the ferment. As the ferment slows down they will drop out of suspension and they will accumulate on the bottom. I would say you have a very happy yeast colony there.

EbonHawk
05-07-2014, 12:47 AM
Yep, flocculated yeast that's getting its jollies riding on the upcurrents of CO2. Sometimes, I wish I was a yeast flocculate. I'm just weird that way. :)

The youtube vid link worked fine for me. Looks yummy.

Dunn1994
05-07-2014, 02:07 AM
Thank you all for the re-assurance! :D that video was about 20 minutes after pitching the yeast, that cheap ritchies stuff isn't bad :')

And thankyou mannye, Tapatalk is ace! :)

Sam :)

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Dunn1994
05-07-2014, 07:25 AM
On my cherry mead I took a hydrometer reading, it came up with 1040, I used just over 3lbs of honey and a litre of cherry juice (very sweet) topped up to the gallon with water. The gravity seems low because it reckons it will only come out at about 3.5%. I tested in a trial jar that came with the hydrometer, do you think that could be too small?
Sam :)

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EbonHawk
05-07-2014, 10:06 AM
I think something's off, or I'm using this calculator incorrectly...
http://meadcalc.freevar.com/

But according to it, your OG should be around 1.108, and that's not accounting for the cherry juice, which would raise it a little bit more.

What did you mean by "do you think that could be too small?" Were you talking about the sample size, or the SG being too "small"? Sample size shouldn't matter, as long as your hydrometer is floating freely and not touching the sides of your test jar.

Dunn1994
05-07-2014, 10:19 AM
I think the cylinder I am putting my sample in is too small, like you say it's not letting it float freely :/ I'll have to get on the eBay
Sam :)

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EbonHawk
05-07-2014, 06:40 PM
Most homebrew supply shops probably have what you need. If you have one close by. Most hydrometers are sold in a plastic tube...that will work until you can get a "fancy" one. I want to get one that has a bottom that will stand more stably. My sample tube topples over with the slightest nudge if I'm not careful.

Bob1016
05-07-2014, 07:12 PM
Morewine carries a 100mL glass graduated cylinder that can fit a hydrometer as long as the sample doesn't have a gravity below 1.030. I love it. For FG samples I use my sample thief or a narrow range hydrometer in the graduated cylinder (lowest reading is 0.980 so there is enough floating room in the 1.010-0.990 range).


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mannye
05-07-2014, 07:23 PM
Mine is about 200 ml and floats my hydrometer lower than the scale can reach. I find it's perfect for any reading and has a crappy looking orange base that holds it nice and steady. It's going on 24 years old now however, and the plastic isn't as crystal clear as it once was. I think it cost 4 bucks when I bought it. It's also just the right size for a sample about 3/4 cup so when I'm done measuring, it's down the hatch!

Dunn1994
05-09-2014, 03:28 AM
I've managed to 'find' a 100ml cylinder, it's double the size of the one my hydrometer came in so hopefully I'll have more luck :)
Sam

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mannye
05-09-2014, 06:38 AM
Some people just put the hydrometer in the carboy but I suspect krausen would make readings harder at the beginning


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EbonHawk
05-09-2014, 07:14 AM
Wouldn't it be a lot harder to read in the carboy too? From what I remember, especially if the top of the must was up in the curved part of the carboy, it would be tricky being able to read it correctly.

Dunn1994
05-10-2014, 10:26 AM
I had bought two kilner bottles (swing top) and used them for bottling, I was walking round some shops the other day and noticed replacement seals... The one bottle I hadnt used, I swapped the seal and it felt like a much much beer fit...
So my question is, would it affect the mead that i bottled if I opened and changed the seal? (bottle aging them)

Sam :)

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Dunn1994
05-10-2014, 10:27 AM
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/05/10/9e8uguga.jpg



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Honeyhog
05-10-2014, 11:43 AM
Just have a cork handy and when you pop the top stick the cork in quick to seal it while you exchange the seal. If you were quick about it I think you could get away with opening the bottle, changing the seal and then closing it right away without any adverse effects.

mannye
05-10-2014, 12:25 PM
Or get one of those wine saver things and give the bottles a quick shot of co2 when you open it.


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Chevette Girl
05-10-2014, 05:34 PM
I've only ever taken the SG in the carboy when something was in secondary and so the hydrometer sits a lot lower, I always tied a piece of sanitized waxed dental floss or something to it to make sure I could get it out again!

brettcebner
06-16-2015, 06:55 PM
The warranty on JAOM is void unless followed to a tee. I know what you're thinking... if the bread yeast is good, then the wine yeast will be better... no it won't. Follow all instructions and amounts exactly. It's not a recipe, it's a formula.

To start im new here, started my first mead a couple weeks ago and was wondering where i can find a JAOM recipe while i wait. thanks.

joemirando
06-16-2015, 09:12 PM
I want to comment on the 'cider smell'...

Many of my batches have had that scent when young. None of them have ever retained it through maturation, so I wouldn't worry about it.

I would recommend, just for the sake of making things easier, to let it sit on the lees for a month (counting from when you started, not from end of fermentation). A month shouldn't hurt anything, and may well save you a racking.

EbonHawk
06-17-2015, 10:15 AM
To start im new here, started my first mead a couple weeks ago and was wondering where i can find a JAOM recipe while i wait. thanks.
Only stickied thread in the General Recipes Discussion forum:
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/6885-Joe-Mattioli-s-Foolproof-Ancient-Orange-Clove-and-Cinnamon-Mead