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View Full Version : First Batch concerns and questions



Linder
06-26-2014, 01:38 AM
I decided last Spring to make my first mead, I spent hours scouring the internet and books for information and to get the research, I came upon what I thought was a great recipe and did some of my own tweaking to it, really wanted a tart-dry mead. The recipe is as follows:

1 gallon of organic, non-pasteurized, clover honey
64 fluid oz organic, preservative free, pear juice
filled with water to a final volume, after pitching, of 5 gallons.
2 grams of yeast nutrient, local brew store's brand.
1 packet of Lavilin 71B-1122, reconstituted and activated to the instructions, and pitched at 80F.

However, i Brewed it as follows:

Sanitized everything, I used san-star. I then proceeded to heat the honey to get it runny, added that to my clean 5 gallon pot, added in 2 gallons water & the pear juice and proceeded to slowly get to pasteurization range, I remember getting to around 160F and holding there for close to 30 minutes. While this was happening I was constantly skimming the surface and removing all the scum, etc. The then let it cool in an ice bath to get it down to room temp faster and proceeded to add in water to a final volume of 5 gallons. Pitched the mead and sealed up the entire thing and let it go. The primary fermentation started slow, but after a couple days it picked up and stayed steady for almost a week, after that point I let it go until it stopped outright. At this point I began preparation for racking, sterilizing etc., and racked the mead into my secondary and sealed that up. So here we are, almost a year later and I am feeling like its time to start a new batch of something and wanted to bottle the still mead, however I have tried the mead and it is very aromatic at this point, as in smells strongly alcoholic. This is my first concern, I don't know if it is too pungent as a result of a Volatile Acidity problem or if its just potent stuff. (I do not have a hydrometer so I cannot give an ABV) So to see if it was just a lot of alcohol evaporating, I let the tasting glass breathe for 10 min undisturbed and the smell improved significantly enough to where you start to get some of the pear smell notes. So in a mix of frustration and fear that my first batch when very wrong I opened the fermentor and saw this (http://tinyurl.com/oyv9jxu) close up and this (http://tinyurl.com/q2tsrdl) .

So to my final question: Should I be worried about infection? Is there a way to salvage or am I out of luck?

Regards,

Linder

fatbloke
06-26-2014, 02:16 AM
Well I haven't seen an infection looking like that but that doesn't mean it isn't, though from your description I'd have thought not..

Only used pears the once but I understood they can be a little weird to work with.

Personally I'd get it racked off the sediment and into a glass fermenter. Either let it clear naturally or used fining chems ( 2 part kiesol and chitosan based ones) to start with. Get some pectic enzyme as well as that's often needed with fruit. Having heated the juice it's possible that some of the suspended material may be pectin.

IMO this is far from binable, it may need a few processes but you're most of the way there.

It just likely needs racking clearing and aging......

Linder
06-26-2014, 02:27 AM
So is that 2 parts kiesol and 1 part chitostan for the whole recipe or for 1 gallon? I definately inherited the fermetors from my father, my plan was to eventaully get some glass ones, now i have a good reason! Any rules of thumb for adding the pectic enzyme or just add per the labeled instructions?

fatbloke
06-26-2014, 02:22 PM
No the K&C finings will (or should) have dosage instructions - just that of all the ones I've tried, they worked the best.

Pectic enzyme is usually added before the ferment as it's more efficient. - Plus once there's alcohol present you have to double the dose.

The other reason for adding it pre-ferment is that it not only sorts the pectins but also helps with flavour and colour extraction if whole or processed fruit is used (a friend of mine adds it irrespective of need - there seems no.downside if useed as per recommended dose)......

Linder
06-26-2014, 04:19 PM
Awesome. Thanks a lot for your help with that. So I was planning on adding K and C into my next vessel as well as the pectic enzyme then racking in the mead is that a good plan?

ostensibly
06-26-2014, 07:29 PM
You could try refrigerating the entire bucket for several days prior to racking onto the finings - a step called cold crashing - although after a year in secondary yeast in suspension is probably not your issue.

I've had stuff like that floating on the top of mead and it hasn't turned out to be an infection yet *knock on wood*

Linder
06-27-2014, 08:51 PM
going to rack onto the pectic enzyme for a week or so to give it a chance before i do a K & C fining. Thank you all so much for you help! If i did want to back sweeten to get a mid range sweetness for a 5 gallon batch how much would i need to add before bottling, obviously after adding the potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfate?

Linder
06-28-2014, 01:05 PM
Already did the first rack onto pectic enzyme, last night, and holy crap! It has cleared alot! Can't wait til next week to do my finings/sorbate/metabisulfate and then back sweeten and bottle!

Linder
07-01-2014, 10:40 PM
So bottled the mead up tonight, I got a nice clear result in the end. No funky smell! Came out super dry, which I wanted, can barely taste the pear so a couple months aging should do wonders. Thanks again for all your help!