View Full Version : SNA with Boiled Yeast, and other NewBee Questions

08-29-2014, 11:38 AM
Hello all! I'm new to meadmaking, having made a JAOM last fall. I unintentionally made a dessert mead, using 3lbs 8oz of honey in a one gallon batch. I didn't take gravity readings, but it's extremely sweet. I've still gotten rave reviews, though, and have had one person gnashing his teeth that I don't currently have more in the pipeline.

I'd like to make a few other batches now, but making a medium traditional mead. My difficulty is I want to make a kosher mead, but several common ingredients found from searching here aren't kosher. For example, out of the nutrients, I've only found "Fermaid-K (Kosher)", a variant that I can't actually find for sale anywhere, it's just listed on Scott Labs website as existing. I've found Superfood (http://thevintnervault.com/product/1344/Superfood.html), which is repackaged from a bigger batch that was certified kosher, which might be okay, but not my preference. And none of the 5g packages of Lalvin yeasts are kosher, only the 500g blocks (which is a bit much for novice), so I'm limited to Red Star or liquid yeasts.

So with that said, I've developed a recipe after reading through the FAQ here and much searching. I'm hoping for a medium mead, FG of 1.010, ABV around 13% (based on the tolerance of the above listed yeasts), so if I messed up any quantities, I would appreciate a correction.

2lbs 11oz Honey (I'm making a few batches, each with a different type of honey to compare)
Yeast: Either Red Star Montrachet or Cotes des Blancs, rehydrated in 2oz water at 100F
Boiled Yeast: 4g Fleishmann's Instant Dry Yeast boiled in 8oz water for 15 minutes
Water: Enough to bring my level up to the 1 gallon mark on my fermentation jug

Aeration will be done by hand, heating up half a gallon of water to about 115F, adding it to the fermenter, adding the honey, and shaking the heck out of it. My basement is currently around 70F degrees, so that would be the highest fermentation temperature. I don't mind letting it sit in primary or secondary for six months to let it finish and clarify (by which time the basement will be down to about 60-62F, so a gradual decrease as we approach winter).

My questions are:
1) In all my searching for boiled yeast here, I've never seen anyone mention doing a staggered addition. Would this be recommended? If so, how much of an addition each time? Or is it not worth the bother and can I just dump the full amount in on "brew" day (my preference)?
2) I'm looking for something pleasant to drink, no weird flavors, something that lets the honey flavor come through so I know what to use for future meads. Given my choice of nutrient, would either of the yeasts mentioned above be preferred, or a better one?
3) Can I boil the yeast in a measuring cup in the microwave? If so, for how long?
4) Did I miss anything? :)

Thanks for your help, everyone!

08-29-2014, 12:54 PM
Why not try the Wyeast 1388? Unless it gets in the way of being kosher it's a great yeast to make a quick traditional with.

Sent from my galafreyan transdimensional communicator 100 years from now.

08-29-2014, 01:32 PM
Why not try the Wyeast 1388? Unless it gets in the way of being kosher it's a great yeast to make a quick traditional with.

1388 is definitely a possibility (and kosher, as are White Labs brewing yeasts, but not their nutrient packs). I've read loveofrose's experiments with interest, but it looked like he generally uses either DAP+Fermaid-K or fruit to provide the nutrients. It's possible that this yeast would work great with just boiled yeast, but I'm hoping someone smarter than me would be able to confirm that and in what quantities. :) I just don't know how it'd like boiled yeast as a sole nutrient. But I don't need it ready in a month, so even if it's 6x slower than the BOMM due to insufficient nutrients I'd be happy. Of course, if it WERE ready in a month, I'd be thrilled, but I'd probably still let it sit in secondary a while to settle out since it's a low flocculator.

08-29-2014, 03:16 PM
Ok, while I'm aware of kosher certification, if yeast X is certified kosher because it's in a commercial sized pack, so the certification can be passed on to the finished wine, why would a home brew pack of exactly the same product (albeit in home brew sized portions - but with packaging not aimed at the kosher/Jewish market) be any different ?

I seem to recall another member asking similar questions last year (maybe the year before) who also keeps kosher.

Oh and from memory, some of the products were ok for "normal" kosher certs, but not for Passover......

Ergo, a good search of the site might help.......

In the meantime, if I remember the username, I'll post that to.

p.p.s. if you have any contact with someone in the Israeli wine world (or know someone who does/might), well that's likely the place to find FermaidK-kosher (they do one for the Australian market too, guess where you might find that;) )......

08-29-2014, 03:48 PM
Thanks! I did see a couple of threads on here in my previous searching about kosher ingredients, most recent one was http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/20535-Red-Star-Yeasts which I resurrected to ask a couple of questions. Maybe that's what you're thinking of? You had responded in that thread, so it's likely. Sadly, no one actually answered his original question of what types of Red Star yeasts would be good for different types of mead; the FAQ in Chapter 9 has a nice breakdown of Lalvin yeasts, but no other brands.

For the homebrew pack of Superfood, it's probably okay. There's a risk (extremely small, if not non-existent) that the homebrew shop, in making the smaller packages, would accidentally add some extra ingredient that isn't kosher. So if I'm told in this thread "no, your recipe will never work, you need to use the Superfood or your mead will always taste like rocket fuel," I'd likely buy the Superfood. If I can get a decent, albeit slower, result with boiled yeast, maybe with some extra vitamins I forgot about, I'd prefer to do that. I used to have a friend who made kosher wine in California, but he got out of the business several years ago so I doubt he has any Fermaid-K lying around anymore. For the Lalvin yeast, I sent Lallemand an email a few days ago, and their response was the 5g packages aren't kosher, the 500g packages are, with some being standard kosher and others being kosher for Passover, depending on the lot number.

So that's my reasoning behind wanting to use boiled yeast, maybe some vitamins, and a different brand of yeast than Lalvin. :) There's a lot of different ways of making mead, I just wanted to see if the one I was thinking of was at least a semi-decent one.

P.S. I was reading a PDF version of the NewBee guide, as the link to it from http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/9694-How-do-you-get-started-making-mead didn't actually go anywhere with any links; is the PDF one the only one available at the moment?

Medsen Fey
08-31-2014, 12:55 PM
1388 is a pretty-forgiving yeast from what we are seeing posted. I may be one of the few people who've been able to make it get stinky, but that was probably due the fruit I was using.

If you want to use boiled yeast for nutrient, I'd suggest using at least oz per gallon.

Another alternative you might consider for keeping it kosher is bee pollen.

Chevette Girl
08-31-2014, 01:37 PM
If you check out LoveofRose's posts I think he has an all-natural ingredients BOMM going withe 1388, might be worth checking out.

I think you would be safe to dump in all your boiled yeast right at the beginning, as front-loading really shouldn't hurt your must, or you could do several applications. My usual method is to add about half to 1/3 of the total nutrients/energizer I plan to add up front and then add more when I go in to aerate, so if you nuked a new batch of yeast every day for when you went in to aerate you'd be fine too.

Yes to microwave and measuring cup, I usually put a tsp or two in 1/2 cup of water and then nuke it for 30 seconds at a time (otherwise it spits and pops and makes a mess), I usually boil it down into paste and then let it cool, then add a little more water so I can pour it. Warning, your SO will not be happy with the way your microwave smells after doing this :)

The only thing I can't help you with is quantities, I only use boiled yeast when my fermentation is complaining that it's hungry and it's too late in the fermentation to add anything containing DAP so I just go with a teaspoon or two at a time until the batch smartens up. I think someone somewhere on here has posted YAN (yeast-available nitrogen) amounts for a bunch of different things but I can't think of any better search criteria right now. The info might be available somewhere on the internet too, if the Gotmead search engine gets the better of you.

Medsen Fey
08-31-2014, 02:14 PM
1 g/gal probably provides 9-10 ppm YAN, which is why I suggest at least oz (14g)

08-31-2014, 05:37 PM
Sounds good to me! I'll do 14g boiled yeast up-front, then on subsequent days just shake it up to aerate/degas, without adding anything extra.

So my recipe looks like:
2lbs 11oz Honey
1 Smack pack Wyeast 1388
14g Fleishmann's Instant Dry Yeast, microwaved in TBD oz water for TBD minutes
Enough water to top off the jug

Thanks, everyone! Planning to head to the home-brew store later this week for yeast. Hoping they have Wyeast; their website doesn't mention it, so I may be going back to a Red Star after all (since I saw in searching here by loveofrose that the White Labs equivalent doesn't work that well for meads).

Finally, I saw the all-natural BOMM thread, but it's got a lot of fruit (to make up for the nutrients) and I wanted a traditional this time around. I can always go back when I want something different. :)

09-07-2014, 06:10 PM
Made the above recipe this evening, in triplicate. In three 1 gallon fermenters I have a batch, using wildflower, summer thistle, and orange blossom. Each using a pouch of Wyeast 1388. Here's hoping things go well with just using the boiled yeast as a nutrient. For the boiled yeast, I cooked it in the microwave in 4 ounces of water for 4 minutes.

Only problem I encountered was using my new refractomer for the first time. I was getting Brix readings around 17, when I expected them around 25 (43 oz of honey with water to make a 1 gallon batch). I hope that's not accurate, it'd give me a dry mead at around 8% instead of the semi-sweet at 13% I'm hoping for. I'll read again in a day or so when I aerate and see what it's at then.

09-07-2014, 07:34 PM
Allright! Good luck! Keep us posted.

Medsen Fey
09-07-2014, 08:57 PM
When starting with a refractometer it is a good idea to also measure with a hydrometer to insure that they correlate.
Once fermentation starts, remember the alcohol will interfere with the readings of the refractometer so you have to use a calculator to make the adjust to have an accurate reading.

09-07-2014, 09:27 PM
I've got the online correction calculator up from Northern Brewer in a tab somewhere that I can refer to. :) I also realized why my reading was so low; I'd added the honey to 1/2 gallon of water and shook it up a lot. But then I added the rest of the water and took a reading without mixing it together. Oops. So the good news is my reading should be higher, since I grabbed a sample from the top half of the jug. Rookie mistake.

09-09-2014, 12:48 PM
Based on what Medsen Fey said, I went back in the next evening to take a reading with a hydrometer, since I was worried that I was showing up at an OG of 1.070 when I was expecting 1.108. A day after I'd started, the hydrometer showed 1.106. It was early enough in the process that I could float the hydrometer in the 1 gallon jug; it can only get to about 1.060 or so before it hits bottom and isn't floating anymore.

So I'd say that's good enough, and I stopped worrying about a low OG, but I do wonder why the refractometer showed so low. Even after degassing the first night (i.e. mixing up everything so it's definitely a uniform consistency now), I was still getting a Brix of 21 (1.085), not the 25 I was expecting. As mentioned above, the OG and the SG after one day weren't that different, so the refractometer shouldn't have been thrown off by the alcohol. I had done a calibration test before using it, and showed that filtered water was right at 0 Brix. I guess I need to play with it more. I haven't taken any more gravity readings, but I've degassed twice a day since Sunday and there's plenty of bubbles coming out, so I know the yeast is doing something at least. I guess the real tests will be when it bottoms out, and what it tastes like in a month. :)

09-09-2014, 06:12 PM
I always buy 500g packs of lalvin.

Here 5g costs $4
500g costs $40
So it's the same cost as buying 10 5g packs, which is not much.

Now I have 90% yeast I practically didn't pay for.
So I use this as boiling yeast, gently boiling it, knowing if any freaks survive the process, it's the same yeast that I am inoculating with.
Further to that, I'm never concerned about it giving off flavours due to autolysis or anything, because I've already considered that with the pitching if the active yeast.
Just my 2c

Medsen Fey
09-09-2014, 06:28 PM
Did you calibrate the refractometer?

09-09-2014, 08:53 PM
Here 5g costs $4

Holy smokes my HBS sells the Lalvin 5g packets for 75 cents a pop.

09-09-2014, 10:36 PM
Did you calibrate the refractometer?

With plain filtered water, it showed as exactly 0. I'll need to buy a jug of distilled water to see if it makes a difference, but I didn't think it would.

09-10-2014, 02:25 AM
Holy smokes my HBS sells the Lalvin 5g packets for 75 cents a pop.

Shipping, export duty, exchange rate, import duty, retail margin, sales tax...
They add up.
I expect it's proportional though. 500g is still better value.

Medsen Fey
09-10-2014, 05:47 AM
With plain filtered water, it showed as exactly 0. I'll need to buy a jug of distilled water to see if it makes a difference, but I didn't think it would.
Plain water works fine for calibration.

With a refractometer, if all the honey is not well mixed in you can get a drop that reads low.

12-24-2014, 04:07 PM
Posting an update. I know it's a one-month recipe, but I was just a wee bit lazy and bottled it a few days ago, at around the four month mark in the primary fermenter. All in all, I'm pretty happy with the results.

To recap, I made three batches of 1 gallon each, all with a different varietal of honey (summer thistle, wildflower, and orange blossom). In each gallon jug I included boiled instant yeast for nutrient (staggered over the first few days), and fermented with a pack of Wyeast 1388. I only measured the OG from one jug, and it was 1.106. Next time, I'll have to measure each one, because my FG results confused me and I wonder if it's related to the OGs.

Out of the three meads above, the FG for each was 1.000, 1.004, and 1.010, respectively. And each one tasted like it, too; the first had a slight alcohol burn (which I'm hoping will mellow with age) and was quite dry, and they got slightly sweeter as I went on. I think they're all pretty good, so I'll use the yeast hulls technique in the future. I appreciate the help I received here in formulating the recipe!