View Full Version : A Few Questions

11-28-2014, 01:23 PM
I had bought some dry hopped mead at the farmer's market. It was really good, and so I decided to try to make something similar with the exception that I'd boil a small portion of there mead to make a 7 min hop addition figuring it would lock in the aroma longer.

I had a 1/2 packet of US-05 beer yeast, and figuring it a "clean" type and making a lower gravity (~8% ABV) would likely do just fine. And maybe it wouldn't need a longer conditioning time, that it might be good to go in 6 months or so.

I found a thread on a beer forum in which this had been done, but that yeast nutrients were required at initial yeast pitch, at 1/3 of the way to FG and again at 2/3 of the way to FG. I have this (the bulk of it at least as SWMBO tried making 2 wines), but this seemed a little more than I was familiar with and I needed to use the yeast as it had been opened for a few weeks, and so I just brewed a test batch of beer instead.

SWMBO didn't use the yeast nutrients beyond initial pitch. At final transfer the cranberry was very good (I hate cranberries) and the orange was weak, but OK. Is it necessary to add nutrients throughout the fermentation? Was it with beer yeast as they just aren't quite proper for that?

Is there a better way to do a 7 min or even a 21 min hop addition where boiling the honey isn't necessary? My understanding is boiling in plain water doesn't quite work that well with the hop oils.

Can a mild mead (7-8% ABV) be ready to go in 6 months and not be young? Or is it still best to give it a year?

Were I to lightly carbonate (<2.0 vols) would this leave sediment in the bottle (using corn or table sugar to prime)?

Does using local honey help with allergies or does the fermentation process disrupt this?

11-28-2014, 03:53 PM
Cannot speak about honey and allergies, but I will comment on one or two of your questions.
All the flavor in a mead comes from the honey... and if you aim for a low ABV then that suggests that you will be "diluting" your must (the liquor before you pitch the yeast) and so you will be diluting the flavor. Obviously that is your call, but mead would seem to need to comprise of about 2 lbs of honey - at a minimum - per gallon unless the honey variety had a very strong flavor (buckwheat?).
I make a hopped mead and I boil the water for 60 minutes with the hops in it (and add hops for flavor at other points in the boil). I cannot speak to whether this doesn't work "well". It certainly works well enough... Brewers presumably boil their hops with the wort because to boil them separately would increase the cost (energy use) and the time of their "brew day". Chemically, I have seen no explanation that suggests that isomerization of the alpha acids can only take place in the presence of sugars. Indeed, the presence of too much sugar in the wort can reduce the utilization of the hops. Long story short, I boil hops in water, cool the water, blend the water and the honey, pitch the yeast and dry hop (albeit with pellets ) after I have racked the mead from the primary to the secondary.
It is the honey that is short of nutrients. Doesn't matter, I think, whether you use an ale yeast, bread yeast or wine yeast... those yeasts need the nutrients that honey really cannot provide.
Not sure I understand your reference to oranges and cranberries... They don't have anything to do with honey wine - unless you are perhaps following a recipe that includes oranges and cranberries. Not sure that either would add the nitrogen and minerals that the yeast may need. But suitable nutrient can be obtained if you add a handful of chopped raisins (grapes are a great source of nutrient), or if you allow a tablespoon of bread yeast to proof in water and then boil the active yeast in your microwave.