View Full Version : 3 yeast experiment, need help with options!

08-21-2015, 12:11 AM
My wife and I are new to Mead and wanted to try 3 different types of yeast to see what taste differences we could get.
For now I'm in a bit of a time crunch and thought I would post our experiment to see what the community had to say.
We started the experiment with 3 straight meads using all same ingredient except yeast. We are backyard beekeepers and always have between 4-6 hives. This gives us plenty of honey for mead experiments and plenty left over for gifts and PB Honey sandwiches. Our honey is very sweet, thick and flavors between clover, wildflower and russian sage, depending on the time of year. These batches were made with honey harvested early/mid summer so its a mix of clover and wildflower.

Recipe for each of the 3 batches:
06/29/2015 SG 1.1010 (is that right or maybe I need a lesson in reading my gravity :-/)
18 lbs Honey
6 Gal Spring water
using common staggered nutrient and degassing process for 5 days.
each batch was given 2 packets of yeast hydrated with water and nutrient 1 hour before pitching
2 packages of Saison ale yeast
2 packages of Lalvin B71
2 Packeges of Lalvin D47

Moved to secondary 08/06/15 FG 1.000 (all finished dry)

Tasting notes:
D47: is by far the best! honey smells, fruit notes and low fusel flavors
B71: second favorite, nice honey smells, but more fusel flavors and other strange flavors we couldn't put our finger on
Saison ale: least favorite, tasted and smelled yeasty and a little funky, I could taste a hint of honey and could imagine what it would be like when aged but deficiently needs time (I imagine with more complex flavors when aged) .

Now for the question:
D47 it was so good I'm going to keep as a straight mead and see what age does to this already tasty mead. BUT... should I add anything to help flavor/complex?
Saison ?
71B ?

I'm thinking of adding 3 cans of frozen white grape juice and 10 lbs of frozen peaches (maybe more peaches if you suggest, from our orchard) to the B 71. But its been nearly 2 months since first pitch, is that to late to be adding fruit? and what would this do to the final ABV? i would try and go for a slightly fizzy peach drink for summer next year (2016).

I was think of adding 6oz of fresh juiced ginger and 3 lbs honey to the Saion mead. I'm not sure why but when I tasted it that's what popped into my head on how to fix it.

we are really open to any suggestions, what would you do?

Any help or suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated

P.S. I do have 3 other meads that have been aging for 8 months, I will post the recipes at some point in the very near future. spiced apple, blueberry and lemon lime. Not sure if they would win any awards but so far they seem decent, looking forward to sharpening my mead skills along with my nunbchuck, bowstaf and computer hacking skills. time will tell...

08-21-2015, 09:49 AM
It's not too late to add fruit.

You may want to peel the peaches before putting them in - my experiment last summer found that peach skins give a lot of bitterness.

The fusel flavours will probably age out with time. Give it a year once you're done fiddling with it.

08-21-2015, 05:39 PM
Thanks curgoth for the advice. I peeled the peaches before I froze them. What do think about my ratio of fruit, is 10 lbs enough and does anyone use the pits for tannin?

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08-21-2015, 06:37 PM
It depends on what you want in your Mead. 10 lbs is not much in 6 gallons. You would get some peach flavor with that. You can easily use 4-5 lbs if you want a fruit bomb. It's not too late either to add them. If your yeast have reached the croaking stage and died of alcohol poisoning adding it will dilute you ABV. If they still are in good shape you will start up the fermentation process again and it will make more alcohol. I have found for my taste I like fruit in primary and in secondary. That would be a good experiment for you latter down the road. Make 3 batches. All with the same must and yeast. Make 1 with fruit only up front, one with half/half split and a third with fruit only in secondary

08-24-2015, 11:19 AM
I used about 7lbs of peaches in what was supposed to be a 1 gallon batch, before I really got a significant peach flavour. 10 lbs for 5 gallons is probably going to be on the light side.

Like Squatchy, I personally like to split some of the fruit during primary, some after, so that I get the flavour of the fermented fruit in the profile, but also some of the fresh fruit flavour that comes with adding in secondary.

Also note that peaches have a lot of water - adding in all those peaches to a recipe that started at 1 gallon resulted in nearly 2 gallons of mead at the end.

08-24-2015, 08:16 PM
Thanks squatchy and curgoth! That brings me to another question... When I racked onto the fruit and three 12 oz of frozen grape juice I just about topped the 7 gal bucket. Would you recommend splitting the batch with more peaches?

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08-25-2015, 10:40 AM
Melomels (mead with fruit) have a reputation for foaming quite a bit during fermentation. You should aim for a gallon or two of headspace while there's still active fermentation to avoid the dreaded MEA (mead explosion accident). Some folks have had to clean mead off their ceilings...

When it's done fermenting, and moved to a carboy to age and clear, then you want as little headspace as possible to prevent oxidation.

08-26-2015, 12:52 PM
Curgoth I think I lucked out by adding it to the secondary. The new sugars from fruit and juice kicked off some fermentation but it's going slowly. I was planning on taking another gravity reading later this week. I literally only have an inch or two to the rim of the bucket. I think I'll just take this one as is and start a new peach the right way. Thank you for the advice!

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08-26-2015, 12:58 PM
Squatchy thanks for the advice, I like the idea of your experiment. I think I'm going to scale it down to three 3 gal batches and post my experiment with pics. What do you think about a ginger, peach, white grape mead? Any advantages to using whole ginger vs freshly juiced (cold pressed)?

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08-26-2015, 07:22 PM
That combo sounds pretty good to me. I have only used fresh sliced ginger the few times I have added a ginger note. I think either is fine because you can control the amount pretty easily.