View Full Version : New member, a couple questions...

12-09-2014, 03:41 PM
Hey everyone! I've been brewing for about a year now, have made some okay meads and want to learn how to improve my craft!

So nutrients. I understand that honey does not have all the necessary nutrients that yeast needs, so typically we add these things. I have fermax nutrient, and typically put in about half a teaspoon per gallon. What exactly is in fermax? Is this a good amount, do I need anything else (energizer)? Is staggered nutrient addition regarded as "better"?

Also, when I add whole fruits as flavoring, I typically won't need to add nutrients, correct.

I have a 5 gallon batch of traditional mead going right now. I think I made the starting gravity to high. And apparently I drank too much mead and can't remember what it was! Had to be over 130. I put approximately 1.5 gallons of gallberry honey and filled a little too far away from the top. There was a good amount of headspace, I'd guess I filled up to about 4.5 gallons. But that is a guess.

Anyway, it has fermented to 1.043, I'm gonna guess it's more than 11% ABV. Butbut it doesn't taste harsh at all. It does taste a little coy from the syrupy sweetness, but many of my friends have enjoyed it. It also is not clearing! I'm guessing due to either the high gravity or the high amount of gum in the honey. I guess what I'm worrying about is the potential for it to create bottle bombs, plus the thick texture of it.

Sorry for the onslaught of questions, by all means don't feel obliged to answer all of them. I probably broke every forum rule already anyway. :P

12-09-2014, 05:54 PM
Hello and WELCOME to Got Mead and the obsession (Kinda like OCD, except you compulsively ferment things).

Fermax contains: Fermax™ - contains diammonium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, magnesium sulfate, autolyzed yeast. The usual dosage is 1tsp per gallon usually.

When I use fruit I have not added any nutrients (other than a little boiled yeast), and have not had ANY problems with the ferment, other than they went like a racehorse outta the gate...

With 1.5 gallons of honey and 4.5 gallons of water would make a must of 1.144, rather high to start. Head space is good for the first part of fermentation, but you need to get as little head space after the ferment is done or the ferment will oxidize from too much free oxygen in the head space.

The ABV looks like it is ~13.26% by my calcs. How long has it been at 1.043??? If you like it where it is at you can cold crash then stabilize with K-Meta & K-Sorbate so you will not get a spontaneous restart and bottle bombs.

Also the recipe and methods used are EXTREMELY helpful for diagnostics on your mead and method. The yeast used is also a good indicator of weather or not it may be done or if it can go further.

Also 1.144 is a rather high starting gravity, try to stay below 1.130, or even at 1.120 and just step feed the yeasties until they give up, or you reach your goal.

There are so many ways to do or not do something that you just need to develop your own style, and if you are happy with the products then it's a success, and it looks like your friends already like yours, so great start!

These are just my opine and experiences though, YMMV..

12-09-2014, 06:55 PM
Thanks for the very helpful feedback!

One of the things that this batch has taught me is the importance of keeping good notes. I didn't write down anything for this batch and so timescale and exact recipes are not available. I can't even remember what yeast I used either.

This mead doesn't taste very hot at all, I guess the sweetness is covering it up. I don't know, I kinda did everything wrong with this one, I guess I'll just stabilize and bottle.

12-09-2014, 09:58 PM
Yeah, my first few ferments were done with no notes, hydrometer, or understanding of alcoholic fermentation, not even a recipe for the most part. But I muddled through, and the people on here are the ones that really got me step up my game as they say, and now I'm starting to produce things that are drinkable & tasty, not to mention repeatable.

Sweetness will cover a lot of faults like being young and full of fusels, bitterness, low ph and many others. Not a recommended way all the time though. I'm sure you could add enough sugar to a ph 2.0 drink, but you would eat the teeth out of your head swishing it around.

Sometimes you do it all wrong and get a good one, or do it all the "right way" and it's hideous. I know I'm going to be learning a lot more in the coming years that's for sure!

Chevette Girl
12-09-2014, 10:41 PM
And thus, you learned by experience to write everything down! I'm still wondering what yeast I used in a couple of my early batches... eventually you'll want a piece of information and not have it, that's when you realize you should have been noting it all along! :)

I usually use the nutrients/energizer even on batches with fruit, especially with certain yeasts (RC212!). The winemaking book I started out with (Terry Garey's Joy of Home Winemaking) recommends the use of yeast nutrients with just about everything, which is why I pretty much do. I think about the only batch I didn't add nutrients and energizer to was the apple cider, but it only had to hit 6% so I wasn't worried.

Typically "nutrients" refers to DAP (diammonium phosphate) and "energizer" refers to... stuff other than DAP, so your Fermax would probably be considered an energizer.

Cold-crashing isn't a necessary step in stabilizing but it may help a lot with clarifying it. If the SG is still slowly moving, that might be another reason why it's not clearing, but if it hasn't moved for a couple weeks or months, it's probably stopped and should start clearing. Anytime now...

:) Welcome to the forum.