View Full Version : Just started my first batch

10-17-2015, 04:59 PM
I just got done making my first-ever batch! I have no previous homebrew experience so this is a huge accomplishment.

I'm trying to make a simple, straight mead (nothing fancy this time). I'm using Lalvin D47, 6 lbs of local wildflower honey I got direct from the beekeeper at a farmer's market a few weeks ago, and 2 gallons of spring water. I used about 1-1.5 tsp nutrients per gallon (urea + diammonium phosphate). I ended up with about 2.5 gal in my primary bucket because the honey added some volume. I only used 6 lbs because I heard you're supposed to use 3lbs/gal.

My OG is 1.095. That seems kind of low but do you think it will be ok? My hydrometer says that will optimally end up at 11-12%ABV. I was aiming for 14% so in hindsight I should have added more honey. It's too late now, though. I sampled the raw must from the hydrometer after I was done and it tasted good-- sweet but not thick cloying sweet. I suspect it will come out pretty dry but I can always back-sweeten if I don't like it how it is, right?

I'm fermenting in a spare bathroom, about 5 foot square. There's not much room in there for much but a toilet and a sink. There are no windows (pitch black with the light off) and since the door is kept shut it is a bit cooler than the rest of the house with the AC on. Right now my house is about 70 degrees. I wish it were colder but I have no way to make that happen, unfortunately.

I'm wondering if I screwed up the yeast, though. I put about 1 1/2 cups of spring water in a coffee mug and heated it up to about 95-100F in the microwave. i opened the packet, put the yeast in the cup, stirred, and let it sit for 15 minutes. It didn't get all bubbly before I pitched it into the must, so did I do something wrong?

10-17-2015, 05:23 PM
You really want to find a way to get it a little cooler, d-47 will end up pretty rough and ragged at 70 degrees. Also, you can add more honey now, no problem. You don't even have to mix it in really, unless you want to get the correct gravity reading; the yeast will still eat it.
As for your rehydration, you should try to get goferm next time to maximize yeast health, but I don't always see much activity before I pitch it either. Your real concern here is if there was an 18+ degree difference between the starter and the must, as that would've hit the yeast pretty hard.
In any case, it should ferment and give you something to get tipsy on, so mission accomplished and welcome to the hobby!

10-17-2015, 05:36 PM
Is there a yeast that works better at warmer temperatures? 71B's pickiness about heat may keep me from brewing during the summer.

Towards the end of October my house usually ends up in the 65-68 degree range.

Edit: Extra honey in in. I poured in another pound (the same kind of honey I bought from the same farm) I was saving for day-to-day use. That's all I have left, not counting an opened jar that is not guaranteed sterile anymore (may have a few crumbs in it from biscuits). The fermenter has been resealed, hope everything is still ok after having opened it.

The must was about 84 degrees when I pitched.

10-17-2015, 06:46 PM
Whoops, I meant D47, not 71b.

10-17-2015, 09:20 PM
My fermentation bucket is now inside one of those plastic laundry hampers. I've filled it with cold water nearly up to the must line to bring the temperature down a few degrees (no leaks so far). That's the best I can do towards keeping that batch cool, hopefully it will be enough.

It looks like fermentation is already beginning! The lid is bulged up a bit in the middle and the vodka I put in the airlock isn't level anymore.

10-17-2015, 09:21 PM
double post, sorry.

10-21-2015, 10:05 AM
Look up "swamp cooler". That will help a lot and is very easy to implement.

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