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Crowing
11-12-2014, 08:59 AM
Hi all, I recently started my homebrew career with my first batch of mead on the 9th and I just have no clue if it's progressing accordingly.

My one gallon recipe for cyser:
2.5 pounds of local wildflower honey
1 gallon of local cider
5 grams lalvin D47 rehydrated in goferm in 4.4 ounces water
0.8 grams fermaid k
1.6 grams dap

1 cinnamon stick in secondary
Some cherry juice in secondary

The dap and fermaid numbers are total amount of SNAs.

The basement temp is roughly 58 degrees and the must has fluctuated from 64 down to 60 back up to roughly 63.

I got a reading of 1.110 for my OG, but 8 hours later it was at 1.120 so my OG was wrong or gravity increased. Using the mead calculator (which like everything else I have no clue what I'm doing) I estimated that my FG would be 1.030 from OG of 1.120 but as of this morning (56.5 hours since pitching) I had a reading just under 1.100. I was under the impression that this would sit in primary for a least three weeks but if I'm anything close to correct in readings/calculations it seems like it won't take that long.
I can't see any lees or sediment because I can't see to the bottom with the cider cloudy as it is. I have been aerating 2-3 times per day and am seeing some foam but nothing crazy. Now, I'm sometimes seeing activity in the airlock and sometimes not, this bucket has no o-ring so I don't think the airlock is a reliable way of gauging activity, and since this is in a 2gallon bucket I can't take readings now as the hydrometer will rest on the bottom, so I'm kind of flying blind and i guess I'm just looking for input whether anything sounds weird here and when I should rack to a jug.
Thanks for any help, sorry for the wall of text, just trying to get all the information possible in.

Chevette Girl
11-12-2014, 12:46 PM
Welcome to the forum!

Looking at your DAP and Fermaid amounts I think you might be a little light on the nutrients and energizer. Typically I use about 1.5 tsp in total of combined nutrients and energizer per gallon of must which I think is something like 6-7 grams. But then, you're using apple cider, and leasties LOVE that stuff.

Your SG reading may have gone up if the honey wasn't completely dissolved at the beginning.

Make sure you don't let this batch get too warm, D47 is known for making some interesting fusels when it's fermented too warm.

Fermentations don't really go by time (yeast don't wear wristwatches or have calendars), and you're absolutely right not to trust your airlock, that's why we use hydrometers :) And if you can't tip the bucket enough for your hydrometer to have the depth it needs (I had that problem with 1 gal batches in a 5 gal bucket too), you might consider getting a wine thief that your hydrometer fits in, then you just sanitize it all, draw up enough must to take your reading, record your SG, then let the must back out.

You don't want to rack anything out of primary until it's met one of the following conditions: SG at or below 1.000, or SG near an estimated completion point that is staying stable over a few days.

Crowing
11-12-2014, 06:18 PM
Thanks for the response! It seems like it has a slight vinegary smell to it, but the teeny samples so far don't taste like vinegar, just very sweet. Should I be worried about this? Also how long should I aerate/degas? I've stirred it for 30 minutes and bubbles still keep coming.

Crowing
11-13-2014, 08:19 AM
I can't figure out how to edit my last post but I'm also curious as to when I should stop degassing.
The last two times I popped the lid there's no foam or bubbles sitting on top, but there's sort of a "micro-bubble boil" action going on where I can see activity disturbing the surface constantly. I was planning on adding another nutrient scoop today and degassing/aerating for another 3-4 days with one final nutrient addition

Chevette Girl
11-14-2014, 07:39 PM
Where's your SG at?

When you get about halfway through your fermentation according to your SG, that's when you want to stop aeration. But degassing seems to be beneficial up until you rack it out of primary. You also don't want to be adding more nutrients (DAP especially) if your fermentation's half over.

I usually go till my arms get tired and call it better than nothing. Because there's active fermentation going on and it's continuing to produce CO2 while you're stirring, you're never going to get ALL the bubbles out so don't sweat it.

And you get an hour to edit a post, after that there's no edit option.

Crowing
11-15-2014, 02:08 AM
Well I purchased a wine thief assuming it would have a plunger to draw must up, which it didn't, so after siphoning must INTO the wine thief I was able to take a reading. So if I didn't contaminate my batch just now then I'll consider it a miracle.
Anyway, my SG right now is just under 1.060 down from OG of 1.120. I really don't know what I should expect for my FG, but it seems like it's still fermenting at a decent rate, audible fizzing sound and it's staying about 8 degrees above the room right now (64 degrees in the 56 degree basement). It's pretty sweet and tastes cider-y but that's about all my palate is good for.
Should I just let it sit for another week and take another terrible mess of a reading? Or just rack it when it stops fizzing?

Chevette Girl
11-15-2014, 11:54 AM
I use my mouth to create suction to draw up some must into the thief (I consider it perfectly safe, it's a dry connection and my mouth is nowhere near the must), if you're not comfortable with that, you could probably use the squeezy bulb part of a turkey baster shoved into the top of the thief to accomplish the same thing, the thief should have a valve at the bottom which should hold the liquid in long enough for repeated applications of suction if you're doing it the hard way with a baster bulb.

Practise with a jar of water till you get the hang of it, however you decide to do it. The whole point of the thief is no fuss, no muss :) It should fill to the depth of the waterline if you sink it in to the bottom to cause the valve to open, that'll be half the work for you right there.

Well, you're at the halfway point now, so no more need for aeration or nutrients unless something goes funky. A gentle degassing would be beneficial but if you don't, it's not the end of the world.

I'd check the SG again when it stops fizzing, that will probably be arond the time you want to rack.

mannye
11-15-2014, 12:54 PM
I just stick the thief in and let it fill then put my thumb on the opening. You don't need much... just enough for a taste. Even my little 12 inch thief pulls enough.

Crowing
11-15-2014, 01:43 PM
Sounds good, I'll apply a little suction then next time. I'll just give it a little swirl every once in awhile and I'll update this thread next time I take a reading.
Thanks for the help!

Crowing
11-16-2014, 12:05 PM
Ok so, problem; my must dropped to 57 degrees last night.
I know that D47s optimal temps are 58+ but I don't know if that means I'm gonna stall out or not, and it's only gonna get colder.
I did search, and i can find plenty of warnings about D47 gonng too hot but nothing on the cold side. Has anybody used D47 at 57 or lower? Will it stall or simply slow down? If needed I can bring it out of the basement but there aren't any really safe out of the way places.

mannye
11-16-2014, 01:44 PM
Usually any yeast at all stalls when it gets too cold. I use this when I want to stop a ferment. Put the carboy in the fridge and all the yeast goes to sleep and crashes down. That's why they call it cold crashing.

I'm not too familiar with D47 but my guess is that the colder it gets the slower it will go. This is not altogether a bad thing because slow ferments are low in fusel production. Usually if it gets too cold for a yeast it will stop but once warmed up, it will start right back up where it left off.


Sent from my galafreyan transdimensional communicator 100 years from now.

Crowing
11-19-2014, 06:55 PM
I took another reading today and my SG was 1.025. It seems to still be going, so anyone have an opinion for a good ABV for a cyser? My mazing partner thought there was an off smell but it's so cold our noses won't work properly. I think D47 can take this around 1.010, but again, I have no experience so correct me if I'm wrong.

zapped
11-20-2014, 08:29 AM
I took another reading today and my SG was 1.025. It seems to still be going, so anyone have an opinion for a good ABV for a cyser? My mazing partner thought there was an off smell but it's so cold our noses won't work properly. I think D47 can take this around 1.010, but again, I have no experience so correct me if I'm wrong.

I started my cyser about the same time as you, using d47. Im at day 8 now and its still bubbling along with 1 bubble every second or so.

From what Ive read here and elsewhere, you need to give it at least 2 weeks before racking. Most recommend longer...... as well as having stable hydrometer readings for a week.

One bubble every 30 seconds is mentioned as a good indicator as well but dont rely on that by itself.

I found that airing the first three days as well as a gentle swirl of the bottle when I added nutrients helped too.Added those on day 2, 3 and 7.

I also seem to remember reading or seeing somewhere that d47 gives you roughly 14 percent abv...dependent on how much sugar is present of course.

Crowing
11-20-2014, 08:43 AM
What temperature have you been around zapped? The past couple days I've been using a space heater fighting to stay around 60-62 degrees without killing the electricity bill so mine is movin pretty slow.

EJM3
11-20-2014, 09:06 PM
I had a batch of either mead or cider (can't remember without looking at my notes) that bottomed out at something like 50F, stalling the yeast, and initiating a panic mode in a total newbie (like my 4th attempt or such). I was rewarded with the knowledge that all you do is warm it back up and they will start where they left off. Kind of like a laptop in hibernate mode. In fact that is exactly what it is!

zapped
11-20-2014, 10:13 PM
Ive been hovering between 65-68. I did slow down on day 7 when the temp dropped to 61. Went from 2 bubbles a second down to 2 every 2 seconds.

Pulled out the ceramic space heater just like you and have it aimed in the general direction of the must just to be on the safe side.

Now Im thinking that maybe it peaked instead of the cold affecting it?

The only difference I see in our recipes is that I have a half pound more honey in mine......Ive also been really generous with the nutrients. 1 tablepoon on day one, half tablespoon on day 2, skipped day 7 completely (was meaning to but got sidetracked)

Give it some time, Im sure it will be fine.

Crowing
11-23-2014, 08:06 PM
Well my SG is finally at 1.010, a little lower than I thought it would go which means that in my case at least, D47 wont stall out even into ~55 degrees. so I'm ready to rack tonight. I've got a gallon jug that actually comes out a little over a gallon, I plan to add some tart cherry juice and a cinnamon stick in secondary. Any opinions on whether one stick or only half, should I throw it in a spice bag, how long to leave it sitting on cinnamon? Do I need to use campden tablets at all?
Another question, with the bucket free this means it's time for batch two.
We plan to do a standard mead with our dark wildflower honey, with only D47 and E1118 which yeast would be a better choice?
Thanks again guys

zapped
11-24-2014, 03:28 AM
Well my SG is finally at 1.010, a little lower than I thought it would go which means that in my case at least, D47 wont stall out even into ~55 degrees. so I'm ready to rack tonight. I've got a gallon jug that actually comes out a little over a gallon, I plan to add some tart cherry juice and a cinnamon stick in secondary. Any opinions on whether one stick or only half, should I throw it in a spice bag, how long to leave it sitting on cinnamon? Do I need to use campden tablets at all?
Another question, with the bucket free this means it's time for batch two.
We plan to do a standard mead with our dark wildflower honey, with only D47 and E1118 which yeast would be a better choice?
Thanks again guys

Glad to hear it's doing well. Id go with half.That way if doesnt have as much cinnamon as you want you can add it on the next rack.... or maybe even add a bit when bottling if needed?

I just ran by second batch with d-47 and it already bubbling its butt off. Certainly no expert but Id say go with what you know and whats worked in the past.

Crowing
11-24-2014, 07:53 AM
Thanks zapped, we decided to use D47. If you look at my new thread you'll see that we managed to get every mistake in our mazing careers out of the way this time, so at least this cyser will do well.

EJM3
11-24-2014, 09:43 PM
I just like the way that D47 turns out more than any of the other yeast I have tried (K1V, RC212, EC-1118, 71B, D47, Pasteur Red, Pasteur Champagne, Vierka (strange one)). It goes to a decent ABV (14% is plenty for aging purposes), ferments well at lower temps (59F to 68F), produces an almost immediately drinkable mead/cider/cyser (in my hands anyway!), and you can Sur Lie with it quite well (mine were all quite tasty little experiments), amongst other considerations (.78 a packet at my LHBS).

Crowing
11-27-2014, 01:16 AM
So this is sitting in a 1 gallon carboy now. The airlock has been bubbling since racking and bubbles are visibly rushing to the top so I have now idea when this is gonna be done fermenting. It was bubbling about 16/minute which seems like a bit more than residual co2 from 3 days ago.
Anyway my question now is a bit of a weird one, we have a stick of cinnamon sittin on the bottom but I'm worried that the amount of sediment dropping may have entirely covered it up. If that's the case is it still going to impart any flavor? Also should we rack this again soon, cause its dropping tons of sediment. It still isn't remotely clear (light wouldnt shine through it after racking).

mannye
11-27-2014, 11:12 AM
Relax. Let it go until it starts to clear. Once the activity has stopped, take measurements. Sitting on the lees for a few weeks in primary will have no issues. The invisible cinnamon stick will also impart its flavoring so that's perfectly ok as well.


Sent from my galafreyan transdimensional communicator 100 years from now.
U g

Crowing
12-22-2014, 01:25 AM
This is pretty clear now at one month since racking. It's still bubbling ~3/min, I want to wait until it is completely still and clear before racking again. There's a pretty big layer of lees on the bottom, hopefully this will still fill a gallon jug after racking (the jug it's in now holds slightly more than the gallon carboys). If it doesn't, we planned on adding tart cherry juice anyway, so we'll be able to top it off. Haven't tasted or even smelled it in these past 30 days, anticipation is killing me.

Crowing
01-11-2015, 06:22 PM
So we just racked this today. It tasted strongly of cider, but that's all I could taste. After racking it needed topping off (lots and lots of sediment) so it was topped off with 5.782 ounces of tart cherry juice like I planned on topping with. It's all red now but I'm sure it will end up almost the same golden color as before adding cherry juice, just curious if anyone has done something similar and if that amount of cherry juice will balance nicely or not.

Crowing
01-17-2015, 05:58 PM
Does anyone think this could restart fermentation? I'm wondering if I should brin it out of the basement to let it go rather than have it spontaneously do it in the spring.

Medsen Fey
01-18-2015, 06:34 PM
If the ABV is below the tolerance of the yeast, it is likely to restart at some point. I'm not sure where your ABV and gravity are now, but since apples often push yeast higher than their usual ABV, it's probably a good idea to let it warm up and finish.

Sent from my THINGAMAJIG with WHATCHAMACALLIT

Crowing
01-19-2015, 04:52 PM
Well I brought it up to sit next to my JAOM and see if the dilution from the juice kicks it up again. Figure it'll be better so if its gonna start up again it can get it over with and then start aging.
Hopefully the temp flux won't cause any issues; the basements in the low 50s and the bedroom is about 60. If the volume swells we might have a problem...

Crowing
01-20-2015, 07:18 PM
Well, the volume did increase AND it's starting to ferment again, the mead is only about a half inch up the s-lock, it should be fine just to leave it right? That's all sterilized there anyway

Crowing
01-21-2015, 01:30 AM
I don't think this will end well. Mead has risen to the second "45 degree" curve in the s-lock. There just isn't really anything I can do about it right now. It's like a slow motion MEA and it's too late, any gear is dirty and unsanitized. I'll and post pics tomorrow after it most likely erupts.
Note to anyone finding this thread, keep consistent temps throughout fermenting and into aging.

Medsen Fey
01-21-2015, 11:24 AM
If you take the airlock off, smear antifoam drops around the neck of the fermenter, then clean & replace the airlock, it should be fine.

Sent from my THINGAMAJIG with WHATCHAMACALLIT

kudapucat
01-21-2015, 04:51 PM
Putting it somewhere cool should also help.

EJM3
01-22-2015, 04:23 AM
A great "no-rinse" sanitizer that I use is vodka. Just rinse everything well to get all the gunk off with regular water, spritz with vodka (I use a 10cc syringe with a 14g or smaller needle), just a few seconds contact is all you need.

Medsen Fey
01-22-2015, 06:20 AM
Vodka is certainly effective as a sanitizer, but it has 2 downsides. One is cost. For $10 you can buy a liter of vodka, but $10 worth of KMeta or Star San can make a 50-gallon barrel of sanitizer. The second issue I have with vodka is flammability.


Sent from my THINGAMAJIG with WHATCHAMACALLIT

kudapucat
01-22-2015, 06:30 AM
$10/litre!? I wish it were so cheap!

Crowing
01-22-2015, 12:13 PM
Well the mead seems to be in a state of expanding and receding so I don't think it's going to erupt anymore. My only worry now is if it might oxidize because of this, but I don't think there should be any oxygen on that side of the airlock.
I don't have any anti-foam stuff.
Can contact with the rubber bung taint mead in any way?

Medsen Fey
01-22-2015, 06:50 PM
It won't be a problem and the O2 exposure won't hurt during active fermentation.

You can get anti foam at any pharmacy or supermarket that sells infant formula. The drops they have to add to baby bottles to prevent gas - it is the same stuff.

Sent from my THINGAMAJIG with WHATCHAMACALLIT

EJM3
01-23-2015, 12:43 AM
The vodka makes a good stop gap measure as it works, is available most everywhere and as long as you are not smoking around it you should not have a problem. But again, just a stopgap in this case.

Crowing
05-28-2015, 04:50 PM
Just racked this and had a little taste. It's a little too dry, definitely fruity, and the cinnamon doesn't really come through. I think I might backsweeten this a bit, just a shame to cloud it up again when it's so perfectly clear.

mannye
05-29-2015, 10:58 AM
Give it some time before you fiddle with it. How long has it been since you pitched?


Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

Crowing
05-29-2015, 08:20 PM
It was pitched on 11/9, almost seven months now

mannye
05-30-2015, 05:20 PM
Oh well then back sweeten away! I think someone said something about adding pectin to keep it clear? Not sure. If you search or someone with the knowledge can maybe elaborate?


Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

Crowing
06-01-2015, 10:24 PM
Well this has been a week since I racked it, it's probably about a cup of headspace (gallon jug) so I need to take care of it pretty soon before I oxidize it. It seemed to release a bunch of dissolved co2 when I racked so I think it should've been fine till now.
Question is how can I top it up without diluting it too much? I figure 4-5oz of honey might be a good place to get it sweeter, but the leaves about half a cup of headspace still. I'll have to continue bulk aging to re-clear it.

Crowing
10-10-2015, 01:37 PM
So I entered this into the Southern New England Regional Homebrew competition at almost the one year mark, ended up taking second place in a collapsed category of "spiced and specialty meads" with a score of 33. Didn't blow anyone away but I'm pretty happy with it being the first batch ever.

mannye
10-11-2015, 02:41 PM
Congratulations! How did you finally top it up?


Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

kudapucat
10-11-2015, 03:07 PM
Well done!

Crowing
10-11-2015, 03:37 PM
Congratulations! How did you finally top it up?


Sent from my TARDIS at the restaurant at the end of the universe while eating Phil.

Ended up just bottling it as it was, now have two bottles left that will probably sit for a long, long time.
Was a good thing that no honey was added, judges felt it was already pretty sweet for a dry mead (tasted pretty dry to me), other comments stated that it had a bit too much tannin (don't know what it was from), and I little too much warmth from the alcohol and cinnamon (with no smarts to do in-depth calculations I figure this ended between 15-16%)
All in all I think we'll be able to improve on this one know that we've got almost a year of experience under the belt.