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Squatchy
11-04-2014, 02:48 PM
Hi

I just started making mead a few weeks ago and found this forum a couple days ago and became a patron this morning. I'm overwhelmed at this point and have a few questions.

Making mead is much more complex than what it might seem at first glance. I have been a longtime member on other post and I think that there is always a lot of misinformation of good intended, unexperienced and uneducated people. In just a few weeks quietly lurking in the background on different forums I find lots of contradictary post regarding mead.

I didn't realize I am as unpatient as I am until I started diveing into this full on. Can anyone tell me where the glossary of terms is at? I know you all want recipies when someone like me is asking about things. I don't have time for that just now. I realize it's important in order to give sound advice. I'll do that in a different threads to keep the advice all pertaining to single recipies separate rather than confusing the issue here with many different recipies. I do have some generalized questions if you don't mind.

1. I bought some used food grade pails. The lids have gaskets but the slots in the lids have been cut to open them to get out the original ingredeints. Will the work now that they have been sliced? Will bad guys be able to get into my buckets through the pre opened lids? Can I tape around the outside to make it beasties free?

2. Seems like some of my current batches are very different in that some are going crazy with the rate of bubbles through the airlock, while other are very slow. I did follow recipies but am not sure how reliably the recipies are. Could fermentation still be going on if the bubbling has stoped and the must has started to clear after 2 weeks?

3. If a batch is gooing very fast does that blow off a lot of flavors through the air. I have a cyser that the smell is wonderfull and also fills up my small storage room it is in.

4. Is it common to pause the fermentation process if the must is mixed up some while moving to other locations or if the cap is swirled around in the first few days?

5. Would anyone care to list or add links to the most common newbie mistakes and how to avoid them?

That sprobably enough questions at one time as if I have too many I won't get answers to all of them

Thanks for your help

Ryan in Colorado

NatiMatt
11-04-2014, 03:51 PM
Bro I'm totally with you in this wild new adventure. Seriously though I am locally notorious for having a great home bar/keg fridge/open back door. I live in a small town and most of the other "husbands" as the girls call us hang out in back of my house a few days a week after work. It's a sweet setup, but I wanted to take it to the next level with some home made mead. As it turns out most of the people I know have heard of it, but have never tried it. In fact most of them weren't even sure what it was. I think they mostly associated it with some tar thick black grog from the middle ages. Anyways I too and beginning to accumulate supplies and ideas for my first brew. Here's what I'm thinking about doing at this point.

My Plan

I am going to start off with three one-two gallon batches based on what carboys I can get. I have read that no one can screw up Joes Ancient Orange recipe so that is going to be one. For the second batch I was thinking of making a melomel including black raspberries. Again it seems to be a common recommendation for the first timers to try something with a fruit flavor as it will cover up any of the mistakes I make that would be more apparent in a show mead. Which brings us finally to the show mead. I am going to attempt to make a dry show mead I have some yeast tables and I am just going to pick something recommended for such things and then only add enough sugar such that it should just about be gone around the same time the yeast gives up due to the alcohol. I am hoping for something in the 14% ABV, but have not yet found anything recommending any ABV to shoot for in show mead. Basically I'm going to do 6 pounds of wildflower honey in 2 gallons and pitch Lalvin 71B-1122. I don't know what it'll take after that, but I guess we'll see.

So those are the three I am going to attempt. I am going to get an extra jug so I can swap things out for racking. The Joe’s Ancient recipe says specifically not to do anything then just bottle it, but the melomel will definitely need to be racked probably twice and the show mead may need to as well. So all that said I have just a couple questions;

1. Firstly I am looking for someone who is or has been doing this actively for some time and who would be willing to help me answer questions as I go through the process. I am looking for a mead mentor.
2. I am concerned about knowing when the right time to bottle is. I understand that the fermentation takes a long time to finish, but then after that when is ok to bottle? I read forums about sometimes people waiting years to bottle?
3. I looking for some tips on what kinds of things to document. If I don’t get any suggestions here I am going to document e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. I will make charts and record daily room temperatures, weights, types, and conditions of all starting ingredients, etc…I will document to the hilt, but much of this may not be necessary.

Finally I think it is important to know my intent. I intend to have at a minimum 3-1 or 2 gallon jugs going full time for the next 18 months. That probably means in the neighborhood of 8-12 full batches all the way through to bottling pending question 2 above. At that point I have hopefully identified some good practices and I can upscale to larger batches without the worry of just throwing one out due to ineptitude. I would like to share this stuff with the people I love. I would like to have a fully stocked mead cellar in a few years.

I will be open to any advice you may have or resources you can direct me towards. I am also open to any suggestions or tips you may have that could help me along the way. I read most of the site and it looks like you’ve put some time in it. I appreciate in advance anything you can do to help or encourage.

Feel free to email me if you have questions or want to talk through ideas. I don't really know what I'm doing, but I will learn how to do this. Good luck!

loveofrose
11-04-2014, 06:12 PM
Try getting through my article, then fire away.

Good Mead Making Practices and "Fast" Mead Making

Most seasoned mazers (mead brewers) will tell you that mead needs at least a year of age to be drinkable. So why does mead take so long to be drinkable? If you had to answer that question in one word, it would be "fusels". Fusels are the hot, solvent like taste (many folks say gasoline, paint thinner, or rocket fuel) you generally get in a young mead. When fusels are present, you have to age the mead until the yeast metabolize them. Aging time to drinkable mead largely depends on the amount of fusels produced to begin with.

So how do we avoid fusel production from the start?

First, let me list known causes of fusel production and the "cure". By cure, I mean we can cut down on fusels significantly, but probably not all together. If you follow all suggested practices, your mead will be drinkable faster. How fast is "fast" largely depends on the yeast you use as some yeast produce more fusels than others even in optimal fermentation conditions.

1. Fermenting Temperature (especially hot temperatures) - The fermentation temperature considered too hot is dependent on the strain of yeast you choose. For example, D47 is known to give horrible fusels over 70 F, but Wyeast 1388 is quite clean at 80 F. You can look at the manufacturers website for the temperature range of your yeast. Try to stay in the middle of the range as opposed to the extremes. High end temperatures makes fusels and the low end generally leads to stalled fermentations.

2. Leaving mead on the gross lees ( yeast cake) too long - This is another yeast dependent issue that comes up. Generally speaking, it is good practice to rack after primary fermentation (Read FG). (Rack means to siphon the mead off the yeast that have settled on the bottom of you fermenter. This also aids in clearing) Some yeast are notorious for producing fusels if left on the gross lees (yeast cake) too long (71B) while others have little to no issues (DV10, KIV1116, EC1118, 1388). It is generally good practice to rack mead as soon as the Final Gravity (FG) is reached to avoid any off flavors. Racking before FG leads to stalled ferments!

3. Low nutrients - Honey is naturally very nutrient deficient. We generally supplement free nitrogen through diammonium phosphate (DAP) and trace minerals/vitamins with Fermaid K. You will see this called Staggered Nutrient Addition (SNA). Too little nutrients will cause fusels, slow ferments and even stalled fermentations.

4. Unbuffered pH (ie. pH dropped below 3) - As implied in the fact that honey is nutrient deficient, honey is also lacking in pH buffering salts. Starting pH can vary widely in honey must (3.5-6!) depending on the honey source. Many folks think if the starting pH is high, then they don't need to add K2CO3 (you will see this called potassium carbonate or K2CO3; potassium bicarbonate or KHCO3 is also used). High starting pH does not equal buffering capacity. Once again, high starting pH does not equal buffering capacity! High starting pH improves the chance you will get through ferment without hitting pH 3, but without buffering salts, your pH will drop like rock as soon as fermentation begins. You may still end up with a pH below 3 even if your starting pH was 6! Buffering with K2CO3 prevents these massive pH swings and keeps the pH above stalling range.
Note: Potassium is also a limiting nutrient in honey so two birds, one stone. Potassium (and solubility) is also why K2CO3 is preferred over calcium carbonate. Also, calcium carbonate can lend a chalky taste if over used.
Note 2: This fast pH drop during fermentation is also why adding lemon juice or acid blend upfront is no longer advised. Make these additions post fermentation to taste.

5. Yeast Rehydration - This section is only for dry yeast. Dry yeast need to be rehydrated before they are introduced to must. Otherwise, they encounter a very stressful situation upon introduction to the must and produce fusels. Simply hydrating a pack of yeast in a 1/2 cup of warm sterile water for 15 minutes can really help your ferment get off to a good start. If you add 1 tsp GoFerm nutrient to the rehydration water, the yeast will be even better prepared for a clean fermentation.

6.Yeast Strain - Some yeast naturally produce more fusels than others. In the case of wine yeast, there has never been selective pressure for clean wine yeast. Why? Historically, wine makers have aged wines for many years before consumption. Most of the fusels have aged away at that point anyway, so who cares if it's clean early? Beer yeast have had this pressure applied for quick turnaround and are generally cleaner. So why use wine yeast? Well, wine yeast consistently hit high ABV. They also provide a completely different ester profile that many find appealing in mead over beer yeast. Some beer yeast make mead "taste like beer" which is good or bad depending on personal taste. Some beer yeast like Wyeast 1388 in my BOMM (Bray's One Month Mead) recipe break the mold and do mead very well without the beer taste. In my hands, DV10, KIV1116, EC1118 wine yeasts are all fairly clean (for wine yeasts) and not too fussy (although they all have very distinct ester profiles). I've heard good things about D21, but I've not tested it yet. As far as beer yeasts go, Wyeast 1388 following the BOMM protocol is the champion, but US05, Nottingham, and S33 (in that order) aren't bad if you don't mind some beer flavor. The difference is that (with optimal conditions) mead made with beer yeast will be ready in a few months while wine yeast will require 8 months to years to be drinkable; however, the end product will taste very different.

7. Degassing/Aeration - While not always as important, getting some oxygen into the must early in the ferment definitely helps speed things along. Yeast need oxygen early in the ferment to multiply their numbers. You are also removing CO2 which is acidic and can drop your pH. This point is more important for high gravity sack meads and show meads that are unbuffered.

8. Very High Starting Gravity - A very common newbee mistake. Almost every new mazer wants to push the ABV to the max. Pure honey is nearly impervious to infection. The sugar content is so high that the osmotic pressure on yeast is too great for the organism to survive. The same is true for must made at gravities exceeding 1.14. Not only does this stress the yeast into producing fusels, but it also causes stalled fermentations. It is far better to start with a lower gravity in the 1.1-1.12 range and allow the fermentation to go to 1.000. At this point, add honey to your desired FG and allow it to ferment again. Repeat this process until your mead stays at the FG you want indicating the yeast have given up. This method is called step feeding and has the advantage of never producing stupidly sweet mead. Be warned, a high ABV mead made this way does usually require extra aging time to be drinkable. For your reference:
FG <1.000 = Dry Mead
FG 1.005-1.01 = Semi-Sweet Mead
FG 1.01-1.02 = Sweet Mead
FG >1.02 = Dessert Mead

Well, I hope that dissertation helps. If you are a new mazer, I highly suggest you make a JAOM (Joe's Ancient Orange Mead) first for a fix and forget first mead, then a BOMM (Bray's One Month Mead) to learn SNAs, pH buffering, and degassing practices. In fact, using the BOMM protocol with any yeast will improve your mead due to the good practices used. It just won't be ready in a month unless you use Wyeast 1388.

After that, it's up to you. Just remember to keep your yeasties happy. If you do, they will give you fast, clean ferments!

Recipes

JAOM - This mead appears to break all the rules, but in actuality the fruit provides all nutrients and pH buffering required by the yeast. It definitely needs 6-8 months aging in my opinion though. Copied verbatim from Joe:

Ancient Orange Mead
(by Joe Mattioli)
1 gallon batch

3 1/2 lbs Clover or your choice honey or blend (will finish sweet)
1 Large orange (later cut in eights or smaller rind and all)
1 small handful of raisins (25 if you count but more or less ok)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole clove ( or 2 if you like - these are potent critters)
optional (a pinch of nutmeg and allspice )( very small )
1 teaspoon of Fleishmann’s bread yeast ( now don't get holy on me--- after all this is an ancient mead and that's all we had back then)
Balance water to one gallon

Process:
Use a clean 1 gallon carboy
Dissolve honey in some warm water and put in carboy
Wash orange well to remove any pesticides and slice in eights --add orange (you can push em through opening big boy -- rinds included -- its ok for this mead -- take my word for it -- ignore the experts)

Put in raisins, clove, cinnamon stick, any optional ingredients and fill to 3 inches from the top with cold water. ( need room for some foam -- you can top off with more water after the first few day frenzy)

Shake the heck out of the jug with top on, of course. This is your sophisticated aeration process.

When at room temperature in your kitchen, put in 1 teaspoon of bread yeast. ( No you don't have to rehydrate it first-- the ancients didn't even have that word in their vocabulary-- just put it in and give it a gentle swirl or not)(The yeast can fight for their own territory)

Install water airlock. Put in dark place. It will start working immediately or in an hour. (Don't use grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away in the 90's)( Wait 3 hours before you panic or call me) After major foaming stops in a few days add some water and then keep your hands off of it. (Don't shake it! Don't mess with them yeastees! Let them alone except its okay to open your cabinet to smell every once in a while.

Racking --- Don't you dare
additional feeding --- NO NO
More stirring or shaking -- Your not listening, don't touch

After 2 months and maybe a few days it will slow down to a stop and clear all by itself. (How about that) (You are not so important after all) Then you can put a hose in with a small cloth filter on the end into the clear part and siphon off the golden nectar. If you wait long enough even the oranges will sink to the bottom but I never waited that long. If it is clear it is ready. You don't need a cold basement. It does better in a kitchen in the dark. (Like in a cabinet) likes a little heat (70-80). If it didn't work out... you screwed up and didn't read my instructions (or used grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away) . If it didn't work out then take up another hobby. Mead is not for you. It is too complicated.
If you were successful, which I am 99% certain you will be, then enjoy your mead. When you get ready to make different mead you will probably have to unlearn some of these practices I have taught you, but hey--- This recipe and procedure works with these ingredients so don't knock it. It was your first mead. It was my tenth. Sometimes, even the experts can forget all they know and make good ancient mead.


Bray's One Month Mead (BOMM) Recipe - 1 gallon
(Updated for clarity & post fermentation options)

Start with 1 gallon spring water.
Remove 1/2 cup water to compensate for smack pack volume.
Draw line on jugs at this water level.
Remove an additional 3.2 cups of water from jug (757 ml).
Add Orange Blossom honey (or your favorite varietal honey) back to line.
-About 2.5 lbs. SG 1.099ish.

Add 1/4 tsp DAP and 1/2 tsp of Fermaid K. Add these again at 2/3 (1.066) & 1/3 (1.033) sugar break.
-These are nutrients you can get at morewine.com or Amazon. Diammonium phosphate (DAP) is a free nitrogen source. Fermaid K contains vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients. Honey is very deficient in nutrients so you need both to prevent fusel production and stalled ferments.

Add 1/4 tsp K2CO3. One time addition.
-Potassium carbonate (K2CO3) is preferred due to high K+ levels, but potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3) will work fine. This is for pH buffering and to provide K+ for the yeast.

Shake with the top on until honey is fully dissolved. It will require some effort! You're earning your mead!
Add activated Wyeast 1388 yeast smacked for about 2 hours.
No water in airlock for 7 days or the gravity falls below 1.033. Whichever comes first, add water or vodka to airlock.
Ferments dry in about a week.

NOTE: Wyeast 1388 is NOT sensitive to temperature. Temperatures of 65-80 F all yield clean mead free of fusels. The yeast do ferment the fastest at 68 F however.

Post Fermentation (Optional!)
Add 1 vanilla bean, 5 cubes American Medium toast oak for 2-4 weeks to taste.

You can also step feed small additions of honey until the yeast give up to sweeten. Just be sure your gravity is stable over several weeks to avoid bottle bombs!

I've also had good luck racking on 3-5 pounds of frozen berries to make a melomel.


JAO All Natural BOMM - 1 gallon
Note: This is a hybrid recipe for those who cannot obtain the nutrients needed for a BOMM or want a true 1 month JAOM.

Start with 1 gallon spring water.
Remove 1.5 cup water and draw a line at this water level.
Remove 4.66 cups of water.
Add honey back to previous line (3.5 lbs).
-Sue Bee Raw Honey is fine or your favorite varietal honey.
Add zest and fruit of one organic Valencia orange, minimal pith. If you like pith bitterness, add 1/4 of the orange pith.
~25 raisins (a small box)
1/2 cup of dried currants for additional K+ and nutrients.
1/2 small clove
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/8 whole nutmeg and 1 allspice berry
1 vanilla bean
Smack pack of Wyeast 1388 activated for 2 hours.

This mead may or may not be clear in a month, but is perfectly drinkable in a month. Age doesn't hurt it though!

If you really want it clear, apply SuperKleer according to directions. Afterwards, cold crash for a week. Bottle the semi-clear mead and it will clear in the bottles in a matter of weeks.

Using the highly technical pin pricked balloon airlock for JAOM authenticity!


Cyser BOMM - 1 gallon
Start with 1 gallon of sprouts apple cider.
Remove 2.33 cup of juice to compensate for volume of othe ingredients.
Added 2.4 oz dark brown sugar, 1.6 oz dates, and 1.33 cups orange blossom honey.
Added 1/2 tsp pectinase.
Add 1/4 tsp DAP and 1/2 tsp of Fermaid K.
-Add again at 2/3 & 1/3 sugar break.
Add 3/4 tsp K2CO3
Shake like hell to mix honey and aerate.
SG - 1.099

Add 1 smack pack of Wyeast 1388.

After it reaches 1.000, rack into secondary.

In secondary:
Add 1 vanilla bean and 5 medium toast Hungarian oak cubes 1 month before bottling or to taste.


References

The Compleat Mead Maker, by Ken Schramm

www.gotmead.com - By far the best site for anything mead related.

www.homebrewtalk.com - Newbees there taught me more than the seasoned professionals at gotmead.com on what NOT to do. I appreciate it and think it deserves mention.






Better brewing through science!

loveofrose
11-04-2014, 07:03 PM
Well, that will either draw you in or run you off!


Better brewing through science!

Squatchy
11-04-2014, 10:28 PM
WOW

Thanks for a great read. That helps enough to get underway with some confidence. I appreciate the fast reply. I already have made a list of things to buy from that article that I don't already have. It also takes away some uncertainty to be able to floolw a proven recpie. I can follow instructions if I trust them. I wanted to buy a book but the one I was thinking of buying (Ken Shram) but have heard it's been around long enough that the info is a bit old fashioned compared to todays more advanced methods. Any recomendations for a book or particular web sites or fourm threads?

Thanks

Ryan

NatiMatt
11-04-2014, 11:49 PM
I really enjoyed the read as well. I haven't heard anything about phenols before, how to manage them, or that they can be detrimental. I also didn't know anything about pH stability. I would have thought that if you started at 6 you were safe. I did actually buy the Schramm book, it hasn't arrived yet, but I am hoping that there are some bit of useful information in there. I guess even if the book is dated a bit it is at least useful to set a backdrop from where modern meading practices come from.

So out of the gate you would recommend trying a JOAM and a BOMM. I am looking to try a 3rd batch along with these two if that's what you recommend. I wanted to do three because even if one doesn't go well at least i have a decent shot of making something productive. That and it seems like the majority of wisdom in this field comes from the personal failures of your own past. Please let me know if there is a 3rd recipe you like that you feel someone new to this could take on. Keep in mind one of the things I want to avoid is a very sweet product. In my experience with most things sweet is not especially good.

Finally keep pouring out the wisdom. I enjoy learning about the different methods, recipes, and challenges other people are going through to make something great.

kudapucat
11-05-2014, 07:16 AM
The compleat Meadmaker was a great introductory book for me, and is how I found this forum (in the references) the author is also a patron, and now meadery owner.

bmwr75
11-05-2014, 08:04 PM
This is a great thread,so subscribing.

NatiMatt
11-05-2014, 10:59 PM
IT HAS BEGUN! Alright seriously though I started my JAOM tonight. First batch of mead ever. Actually first batch of anything ever. I made two small changes; I used slightly less honey (3.25 pounds vs 3.5) because I was worried it would end to sweet, and I also cut the ends off of the orange because I read somewhere that makes it a little less bitter due to less rind. Honestly I was thinking about taking all of the rind out and just putting the fruit and the zest in, but I just did have enough cahonas. Anyways I checked it initially and it was 1.115. I used honey I bought at Krogers which is allegedly locally sourced. All I can say about it is that is was fairly dark compared with the clover honey it was next to, but other than that I saw no identifying markings. Unfortunately my palate really isn't tuned to the different kinds of honey yet so i couldn't tell you what kind it was. My wife never turns off the light in the basement where I set everything up so I dressed the whole thing in an old shirt because it's supposed to be dark. I did not elect to use the optional spices in the original recipe, and I only used one clove. I started everything around 7 and it is already pretty actively bubbling at 9:30.

I want to go on the record for Listerman's Brewery and Supply House in Cincinnati at this point. I went there tonight like a total newb, and the people there really stepped up to point me in the right direction. As of tonight I have 4, 1 gallon jugs, and 2, 3 gallon carboys. I also got an auto-siphon, a hydrometer, some bungs, a kitchen scale, and some balance pot carb and cal carb. They also had the WYeast-1388 I am going to use in the BOMM I am going to make after I check out Findley market for some local Honey this weekend.

So I guess that's that. I think I am of the flavor that I will wait until everything including the oranges sink to the bottom before I bottle this thing unless some of you wise folk tell me otherwise. I will say I think it would be more appropriate for Joe to come up with a cherry mead for people's first, but I guess beggars can't be choosers.

Oh one thing I almost forgot to ask. When I took the sg I poured some of the must into a beaker, but then I didn't pour that back into the gallon I just tasted it. I then topped the thing up with a few more ounces of water. I don't know if you can pour your test vial back in to the mead? If you can't how the hell are you supposed to test it pretty often (mostly for other meads that need to be monitored more regularly) and still have anything left by the time you decide the thing is done? It's not really important now, but if one of you can let me know on this point I would appreciate it.

Squatchy
11-05-2014, 11:55 PM
[QUOTE=loveofrose;237066]Try getting through my article, then fire away.




I don't know what you mean by "sugar breaks". Is that when it reads at your listed numbers on a hydrometer?

Lastly When you say You can also step feed small additions of honey until the yeast give up to sweeten. " Please clarify. Does that mean the alcohollevel overtakes the yeast and it dies?

Lastly I read a mention of a definition of terms/vocabulary and can't find one anywhere on the web.

Thanks again.

I'm trying to find some of the ingredients locally and have not had any luck on a few items. I want to make the BOMM for x-mas and was hoping to make it in the next day or so. I might just have to order on line although I can't find some of the things on the web either, K2co3,fermaid K, pectinase.

loveofrose
11-06-2014, 09:26 AM
IT HAS BEGUN! Alright seriously though I started my JAOM tonight. First batch of mead ever. Actually first batch of anything ever. I made two small changes; I used slightly less honey (3.25 pounds vs 3.5) because I was worried it would end to sweet, and I also cut the ends off of the orange because I read somewhere that makes it a little less bitter due to less rind. Honestly I was thinking about taking all of the rind out and just putting the fruit and the zest in, but I just did have enough cahonas. Anyways I checked it initially and it was 1.115. I used honey I bought at Krogers which is allegedly locally sourced. All I can say about it is that is was fairly dark compared with the clover honey it was next to, but other than that I saw no identifying markings. Unfortunately my palate really isn't tuned to the different kinds of honey yet so i couldn't tell you what kind it was. My wife never turns off the light in the basement where I set everything up so I dressed the whole thing in an old shirt because it's supposed to be dark. I did not elect to use the optional spices in the original recipe, and I only used one clove. I started everything around 7 and it is already pretty actively bubbling at 9:30.

I want to go on the record for Listerman's Brewery and Supply House in Cincinnati at this point. I went there tonight like a total newb, and the people there really stepped up to point me in the right direction. As of tonight I have 4, 1 gallon jugs, and 2, 3 gallon carboys. I also got an auto-siphon, a hydrometer, some bungs, a kitchen scale, and some balance pot carb and cal carb. They also had the WYeast-1388 I am going to use in the BOMM I am going to make after I check out Findley market for some local Honey this weekend.

So I guess that's that. I think I am of the flavor that I will wait until everything including the oranges sink to the bottom before I bottle this thing unless some of you wise folk tell me otherwise. I will say I think it would be more appropriate for Joe to come up with a cherry mead for people's first, but I guess beggars can't be choosers.

Oh one thing I almost forgot to ask. When I took the sg I poured some of the must into a beaker, but then I didn't pour that back into the gallon I just tasted it. I then topped the thing up with a few more ounces of water. I don't know if you can pour your test vial back in to the mead? If you can't how the hell are you supposed to test it pretty often (mostly for other meads that need to be monitored more regularly) and still have anything left by the time you decide the thing is done? It's not really important now, but if one of you can let me know on this point I would appreciate it.

Joes recipe doesn't fair very well if you don't add all the honey. The sweetness is needed to balance the bitter orange pith. You can always add the honey later though.

For readings, I just drop a sanitized hydrometer directly in the bottle. If your test breaker was sanitized, you can pour the sample back in if the jug is too shallow.


Better brewing through science!

loveofrose
11-06-2014, 09:33 AM
[QUOTE=loveofrose;237066]Try getting through my article, then fire away.




I don't know what you mean by "sugar breaks". Is that when it reads at your listed numbers on a hydrometer?

Lastly When you say You can also step feed small additions of honey until the yeast give up to sweeten. " Please clarify. Does that mean the alcohollevel overtakes the yeast and it dies?

Lastly I read a mention of a definition of terms/vocabulary and can't find one anywhere on the web.

Thanks again.

I'm trying to find some of the ingredients locally and have not had any luck on a few items. I want to make the BOMM for x-mas and was hoping to make it in the next day or so. I might just have to order on line although I can't find some of the things on the web either, K2co3,fermaid K, pectinase.

Sugar break is an abstract term describing how much of the original sugar remains. If you start with a SG of 1.12, 2/3 of the sugar left is 1.08 and 1/3 sugar left is 1.04. It's division of your SG into thirds.

When alcohol exceeds the yeasts ABV tolerance, they can no longer metabolize the sugar and give up. They are not dead, just stunned beyond fermenting any further. If you add those yeast to new must, they will start up again.

Gotmead used to have a vocabulary list, but upgrades have made thing difficult to find. Ask it you need any explanation on something specific.

For nutrients, pectinase, and K2CO3, www.morebeer.com is where I get my stuff. Local HBS generally don't have everything.


Better brewing through science!

NatiMatt
11-06-2014, 09:39 AM
I was only short about 1/4 pound of honey, but what should I be looking for in the final product to feel the need to back sweeten it? Guessing at the procedure for that, but I would imagine that I could just wait for everything to clear, taste it, and then throw some more honey in if it needs to be more sweet. I understand that this would possibly restart fermentation because it could take the ABV down a bit so then I would think unless I want it sparkling I would need to add the stuff that stop fermentation? I guess the alternative would be to let it ride out for another month until the airlock stops again?

How can you take Hydrometer readings directly in the primary when you can't see where you stand through all of the foam and the fruit chunks grabbing on your instrument?

Lastly I checked the brew this morning with my nose/eyes. My airlock is going at about 8 bubbles in 10 seconds and the smell is predominantly orange. The directions say don't touch it so I won't be taking in Hydrometer readings until things start to clear a little bit and fermentation slows way down.

Thanks again for your encouragement and advice.

NatiMatt
11-07-2014, 10:45 AM
On to the next brew. I am about to start the original BOMM so maybe I can get something to at least put on the table at Christmas time. I am going to follow this (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/22295-Bray-s-One-Month-Mead-aka-the-quot-BOMM-quot-1-gallon) to the letter unless anyone has a recommendation to do otherwise. It seems like people have done some variations on this so if there is something I should/could add to make it more christmasy let me know and I'm game. This will drop by the time football games start on Sunday.

Thanks,

Chevette Girl
11-08-2014, 01:50 AM
I made two small changes; I used slightly less honey (3.25 pounds vs 3.5) because I was worried it would end to sweet, and I also cut the ends off of the orange because I read somewhere that makes it a little less bitter due to less rind. Honestly I was thinking about taking all of the rind out and just putting the fruit and the zest in, but I just did have enough cahonas.

I tried dropping a quarter-pound of honey in a lemon JAO variant and it was pretty bad (too bitter), I ended up blending it with another JAO variant where I didn't have enough acidity or bitterness and it was too sweet. Try the recipe exactly per the recipe once, just so you have a basis for comparison... plus, WE all know what a standard to-the-recipe JAO is supposed to taste like... Also, for the time AFTER the time you make it exactly to the recipe, it does work successfully if you just use the juice/fruit and the zest, I've been modifying JAO that way since I discovered that orange pith in JAO is the one thing that ever gives me heartburn.

And always good to hear about a brew supply store that knows its stuff :)

NatiMatt
11-11-2014, 03:12 PM
Anyone know if I should check the SG on my JAOM? It has lightened in color a lot and fermentation is slowing down somewhat as of last night. It looks like all of the fruit is still floating, but the raisins have taken on a much lighter color. Actually the whole thing is a much lighter color than originally. My gut says this recipe is so well tested it doesn't really matter and I should just let it ride for another couple months until it clears and the fruit drops.

GntlKnigt1
11-11-2014, 04:42 PM
Trust your gut. Doesnt hurt to check SG, but there will be residual sweetness by design.

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

NatiMatt
11-25-2014, 02:54 PM
Just a quick update on my JAOM. Fermentation has basically stopped. I am down to maybe 1 bubbles through the airlock every few minutes. There is a lot of sediment in the bottom now, but all of the fruit is still floating. It's been about 3 weeks exactly so I guess in another 3-5 weeks the fruit wil start to drop out and it will clear all the way. I'll keep you guys up to date on what happens next.

Thanks,

mannye
11-27-2014, 01:23 PM
It can take up to 90 days for JAOM to clear so just relax and don't fuss with it.


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NatiMatt
12-04-2014, 01:51 PM
My JAOM is completely clear. I mean crystal clear. You can read the terms and conditions from a credit card offer through the jug. There is still some fizzing similar to a draft beer in a glass coming up, but the airlock is very still for long periods of time. That said not a piece of fruit has dropped or is ever sagging. There are tons of little bubbles on the bottom side of all the fruit, although it doesn't really look like a solid cap. I will continue to wait, but wanted to get an update in here.

Also I'm not sure the procedure for getting the mead off of everything when it finally does drop out. I have heard that you can sort of tip it so it settles in a way that will allow you to get the auto siphon to the bottom. I have also heard that it may be best to rack the thing and then wait for a while while things further settle. I have also read about cold crashing the thing to get even more of the yeasties out. Really I don't know how I'm going to handle the whole thing when it's done and am looking for some suggestions. I know all you seasoned vets will laugh at me, but I've been waiting a long time it feels for this to comes together and don't want to botch it up in the final stages.

Thanks,

mannye
12-09-2014, 08:42 AM
No one that remembers wondering the same exact thing you are the first time they made JAOM is going to laugh at you. I remember thinking how I was going to lose 1/4 of the stuff I waited so long to drink!

First, if you can stand it, give the fruit a poke with a sanitized chopstick or some other utensil. I find that sometimes it will keep floating because co2 trapped in and around the fruit make it buoyant. Just be prepared for the mead to go a little cloudy as yeast and other detritus fall off the fruit.

I would also ask how long it has been. If it's less than 90 to 100 days then you need to wait at least that long before you go poking around. I start thieving at around 90 days. Usually by 100 days the fruit is either falling or doing the lava lamp.

Racking. You can cold crash before you rack which will help get everything to drop as well as make it even clearer.

Once you get the fruit on the bottom or it's been over 100 days and you just can't stand it any more, you use your siphon to remove as much JAOM as possible without disturbing the lees. You should be able to get at least half of it out nice and clear. More if you cold crash, maybe 3/4 or more.

Eventually however you Will find that you've reached that point where the siphon is going to get yeast. Now what you do is switch to a different receiving vessel. Experience dictates you find one as tall and slender as possible. That way the yeast will settle and you can pour off more clear mead. The thinner the bottle, the more mead you can get.




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EJM3
12-09-2014, 08:25 PM
What I have done when I siphoned my JAOM was to put a couple pieces of gauze and some sterilized silicone bands on the end going into the ambrosia. This kept almost all of the lees out until the last glass. It was slow though, but it's better than having to wait for it to flocculate again and again. All in one shot, straight from the fermentor to the bottle...

Chevette Girl
12-09-2014, 10:54 PM
I usually find the fruit starts dropping a week or two after it goes completely clear. Swirling it around gently can help by knocking off the bubbles keeping the fruit floating, but Joe might find out about that and give you a stern talking to. And me, for suggesting it.

I usually rack it into a clean carboy a week or two before I want to bottle it. And I often put the dregs into a sanitized mason jar or something, which I then refrigerate, it usually drops out clear overnight and then I pour the clear stuff back into the carboy with the stuff I racked. I used to siphon through cheesecloth but I found that really only stops the cloves from getting stuck in the racking tube, the yeast can get through the cheesecloth just fine.

EJM3
12-14-2014, 05:34 PM
When I want something to rack over slow (like a JAOM) then I use my special siphon hose. It's 3/16" OD, 1/8" ID. Call me a masochist but sitting there and carefully siphoning things that slowly means I can get virtually all of my mead out the first try. But I only use it on 1 gallon or less, a 5 gallon batch would take until next week to rack!

mannye
12-16-2014, 09:10 AM
When I want something to rack over slow (like a JAOM) then I use my special siphon hose. It's 3/16" OD, 1/8" ID. Call me a masochist but sitting there and carefully siphoning things that slowly means I can get virtually all of my mead out the first try. But I only use it on 1 gallon or less, a 5 gallon batch would take until next week to rack!

I think that's a great technique! Aquarium hose basically. Actually
1/8 I/D seems less than aquarium hose. It may take a while but I would trade waiting a bit for all the extra hassle of my way in a second. Maybe with a co2 purge and some creative capping a five gallon could be a "set it and forget it" until the last half gallon.


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kudapucat
12-16-2014, 09:22 AM
I use 1/4" OD, I'm guessing it's about 1/8" ID for that... Especially if I'm rebottling for a show because I've found sediment in my archived bottle.

EJM3
12-16-2014, 05:17 PM
Yup, that's the stuff I use as well. OK maybe not aquarium hose, but same idea, and it's slow all right, but perfect for delicate rackings.