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mrngbear
01-23-2016, 12:34 AM
This is my first post here, so first of all... Cheers to all!

I have never brewed anything but a cup of coffee or an occasional herbal tea, but I've have had an interest in Mead and Mead making since I visited "Rocky Mountain Meadery" in Grand Junction, CO. several years ago.
I've spent many, many hours reading here, and on other sites taking in as much as possible, there's a lifetime of learning in this craft, and far more than I'll ever know, but if you never start, you'll never finish.
So here's a brief summary of where I'm at, and perhaps with the help from some of you, I'll get to some decent Mead's someday (you got me this far).




Today I visited a local Honey Farm ("The Bee Tree" in Lewis Colorado) and picked up 6lbs of a raw honey (Clover/Sagebrush). What an amazing flavor!

Mixed up a batch in a 3gal carboy to be racked-off into 1gal glass jugs. I'm thinking I'll leave 1gal as a Traditional Show and the 2nd perhaps will get cherries or black currants, maybe some spices or toasted oak cubes, who knows (I might enjoy the Traditional so much I won't be able to add anything)

2.25 gallons of spring water
5.5 lbs of the Bee Tree honey
5 g pack of Lalvin D-47
Staggering "LD Carlson's" (started with pitch)
Yeast Nutrient (total 2 tsp) and Yeast Energizer (total 1 tsp) over the next 48hrs or so.
OG is at 1.079 (seems a little low using Got Mead Calculator???)

I prefer a med dry but might have to back sweeten this a bit?


I also have a "Storm The Castle" easy mead that I started on 01/06/16 (balloon on plastic "Spring Water" container is still inflated, LOL, this is my first brew ever)
1 gal water
2.4 lbs clover honey (walmart)
1pkg Flieshmans bread yeast
1 orange
12 raisins
OG 1.096
Plan on adding 2 cups of blueberries and 1/2 cup dried rosehips to the secondary

Any thoughts on today's mix, or the balloon experiment (LOL) are welcome

Thanks to all of you who share your knowledge and experience here, and to those who take care of this great site!

TK

mrngbear
01-23-2016, 01:01 PM
Now I'm worried. 25 views and no reply, is it because everything I've done is hopeless?

I am hoping for a little feedback as to (primarily) my new batch in the 3gal carboy.
The airlock is steady this morning at about 1 bubble per/ 60-90 seconds (approx. 12hrs after yeast pitch).

I am not looking for a high ABV but seems a little too low( I have no idea). With the OG at 1.079 (is my OG too low?) and a Final Gravity of 0.998 potential ABV of 10.8%
1) Should I be concerned that the ABV level might not be high enough to prevent any nasty bugs? Should I consider something like Campden tablets, and if so when would I add them?
2) Am I making this TOO dry, should I add more honey now, or should I wait to back sweeten and if so, when (during secondary)?

Any thoughts would be appreciated,
TK

Farmboyc
01-23-2016, 01:17 PM
As far as your 3 gal batch I think our are doing fine. A lower a ABV mead will generally age faster and become drinkable earlier. You may want to stabilized this after secondary with Potassium Metabisulfite and Potassium sorbate particularly if you are looking for long term storage and/or a back sweetening.

The recipe will likely result in a dry mead with D47 but how dry you like it is a personal call. Adding more honey now will certainly increase your ABV but I believe D47 can easily go 14% so it really depends on you goals here.

Mazer828
01-23-2016, 01:18 PM
Don't be discouraged! There always seems to be a conversation or two on here that has everyone (myself included) too wrapped up to remember we're here to help the newbees too! My apologies.

It looks like you have a pretty good start. I have looked at the storm the castle recipes myself a few times, and it looks like you're making a JAOM (Joe's Ancient Orange Mead). Excellent choice for a first mead. It is simple, easy, foolproof if you follow the instructions to the letter (!), and really good to drink! I myself have never made a JAOM and can't rightly explain why not. 😕 Guess I'll have to rectify that someday. Word of advice: have you ever seen one of those movies like American Werewolf in London, where they tell the protagonist in the beginning of the movie "don't go out at night, and never leave the road"? And they always do, and that's when all the running and screaming and turning into werewolves starts? Yeah, that's what a JAOM is. Don't leave the path! When it says put it in a closet and forget about it, do it. When it says go out in your front yard in a toga and dance a Scottish jig, do it, and post the video here. 😆

mrngbear
01-23-2016, 03:31 PM
As far as your 3 gal batch I think our are doing fine. A lower a ABV mead will generally age faster and become drinkable earlier. You may want to stabilized this after secondary with Potassium Metabisulfite and Potassium sorbate particularly if you are looking for long term storage and/or a back sweetening.

The recipe will likely result in a dry mead with D47 but how dry you like it is a personal call. Adding more honey now will certainly increase your ABV but I believe D47 can easily go 14% so it really depends on you goals here.

So stabilize with Potassium Metabisulfite and Potassium Sorbate AFTER secondary? So I should not add either to the secondary?
I do plan on bottling for long term storage (at least what I don't drink)

And...the back sweetening is done best at what point in the process?

I suppose my goal is a med-dry (semi-sweet) with an ABV of 10-12%

Thanks

mrngbear
01-23-2016, 03:46 PM
No worries Mazer, and thanks for the JAOM info!
Video coming soon!

Farmboyc
01-23-2016, 03:50 PM
Yeah you stabilize after secondary. Basically what I do is rack from secondary onto a mixture of dissolved sulfide and sorbate.
You can tell when secondary fermentation is completed using your hydrometer. When readings have been stable for a couple of weeks your fermentation is complete. I personally like to wait for things to clear up before I rack.

Cold crashing before racking can help clear your mead as well as put the yeast in a dormant state and is often recommended prior to racking. This involves putting your secondary in a cool/cold environment for a period of time.

I would expect your batch to be 1.000 or likely even less.
After you rack onto the sorbate/sulfide let it sit for awhile 1 or 2 weeks then taste. This is the time to add sweetness if you want to.

There is a bit of debate as to what to use. One camp says use a priming sugar other camp like to use honey. The choice is your but know that if you use honey then your mead will become cloudy and require additional time to clarify.

That is my take on things but I am fairly inexperienced. I just clearly remember what it is like to be in your shoes so I hope that helps.

mrngbear
01-23-2016, 04:06 PM
Thanks Farmboyc! What you say makes complete sense, I was thinking that I would back sweeten with the original clover/sage honey, but it does have a light film of pollen as it is raw (would time clarify that, or perhaps bentonite?) I might be better off using priming sugar? (then again I might be best off adding the honey now...so many decisions, LOL)
Is the priming sugar like sugar dissolved in water? If so, at what proportions?
Thanks

Update on airlock...bubble approx. every 10-15 seconds now!

Farmboyc
01-23-2016, 05:37 PM
Priming sugar is dextrose. It is what you mix with a fermented beer before bottling to carbonate it. I have yet to back sweeten but I imagine you could dissolve in a small amount of hot or boiled water them stir into your mead.
Sweeten to taste. I think it is wise to start small and wait for it to integrate so you don't end up with a product that is too sweet.

Others more experienced at this please feel free to chime in.

brentG
01-23-2016, 06:06 PM
D-47 likes cooler temperatures, so keep that in mind. Ive had batches throw off a lot of fussels using D-47 when I fermented it in the mid-70 degree range (took two years to age out).

I wouldn't bother stabilizing the balloon batch (unless you plan on back-sweetening). From what I understand, once bread yeast goes dormant it tends to stay that way.

Just my .02 -- I'm sure someone with more experience will chime in.

bernardsmith
01-23-2016, 08:52 PM
Importantly, you want to stabilize (add K-meta and K-sorbate) when you have virtually no living yeasts left. Stabilization does not in fact kill an active colony of yeast. It will prevent a small population from reproducing... So it is always best to stabilize AFTER you have racked several times and allowed about 2 -3 months to elapse between rackings. In other words, after you rack to the secondary, allow the mead to age 2 months, then rack. Allow that to age another 60 -90 days then rack. Allow it to age another 60 days then rack and then if it is bright and clear (you can read a newspaper through the carboy) and you are ready to bottle then you can stabilize...
As for the JAOM... I agree (and now I understand the use of bread yeast) - follow those instructions to the letter... If you deviate then all bets are off! JAOM is a counter-intuitive recipe but it makes use of key principles and good science..

mrngbear
01-23-2016, 09:01 PM
D-47 likes cooler temperatures, so keep that in mind. Ive had batches throw off a lot of fussels using D-47 when I fermented it in the mid-70 degree range (took two years to age out).

I wouldn't bother stabilizing the balloon batch (unless you plan on back-sweetening). From what I understand, once bread yeast goes dormant it tends to stay that way.

Just my .02 -- I'm sure someone with more experience will chime in.

Thanks, The current temp on the carboy is 69 deg. F Only 10hrs into fermentation.
Am I wrong, or did I read that there is a increase in temp as brix level goes down during fermentation? And if that's true what might be expected?

I am fermenting in a walk-in closet and shut the heater vent (after reading this), however, it might not help too much because there is no door to the closet, but should drop the closet temp at least a degree or two from the 69 (house, room temp) . I also dampened a towel and draped that over my carboy, hoping that the cooling effect from evaporation may help also.

I will monitor it closely, thanks and..........yikes!

Squatchy
01-24-2016, 12:13 AM
You did read right. However in small vessels it's not something to worry about. If you were doing big batches and/or not doing cap managemnt you could run into problems. It's very easy for the small amounts of heat to dissapate in your particular situation. I would try to keep your temps stable (with in a couple degrees) if you can.

mrngbear
01-24-2016, 09:21 AM
Thanks Bernard!

mrngbear
01-24-2016, 09:56 AM
You did read right. However in small vessels it's not something to worry about. If you were doing big batches and/or not doing cap managemnt you could run into problems. It's very easy for the small amounts of heat to dissapate in your particular situation. I would try to keep your temps stable (with in a couple degrees) if you can.

GO BRONCOS! sorry, couldn't resist after seeing your in Denver. I am in SW CO been here from Ft Collins now for just over a year.

This must be what it's like to be pregnant (sort of). I woke up at 5:15am concerned for my little yeasties, checked the fernometer on the carboy and Viola! it was reading about 64 F. The room temp had no noticeable change, so I can only attribute the change to the "damp towel" (wish I could remember where I read this suggestion so I could give credit)
Overnight I had a dry washcloth folded over and taped over the fernometer, with a thick piece of plastic over that, to minimize the direct effect of the damp towel to the fernometer.
I removed the damp towel from the fernometer side at 5:15 (and have left it off that side), when I first checked the temp, and now over 1 1/2 hrs later it is holding a temp of 64 F. so it does seem that I will be able to have some control over temp with the damp towel.
Now it only remains to be seen if I can maintain an acceptable temp to within a couple degrees. Luckily I'm currently semi-retired and will be able to monitor throughout the day.

58limited
01-24-2016, 12:22 PM
Welcome mrngbear! Looks like you are off to a good start and already have some good advice. My take on back sweetening is this: I like meads for the honey so I choose to use honey - no other reason than this. I have had good meads back sweetened with sugar so try both and decide what you want to use.

Personally I like my meads semi - sweet (around SG 1.012-1.015) so I back sweeten to that level if fermentation goes too low. However, taste first! Some of my meads have been great at 1.005. My first pyment (made last year with Tempranillo and Zinfandel juice and wildflower honey) went from a starting of SG 1.097 to a final SG 0.991 and is very astringent, lacks body, and has a strong alcohol taste. Not a very good pyment. But by adding a little honey to each glass it really smooths out and it becomes good. I'm going to open all the bottles and pour them back into a bucket so I can add some honey and Zinfandel juice to the entire batch to an SG of about 1.010.

I've been making meads since about 1997 and I'm still learning. A lot of new ideas have come out in the last decade such as staggered nutrient additions, etc. I joined GotMead last spring and this site has really opened my eyes and expanded my mead knowledge.

mrngbear
01-24-2016, 12:42 PM
Welcome mrngbear! Looks like you are off to a good start and already have some good advice. My take on back sweetening is this: I like meads for the honey so I choose to use honey - no other reason than this. I have had good meads back sweetened with sugar so try both and decide what you want to use.

Personally I like my meads semi - sweet (around SG 1.012-1.015) so I back sweeten to that level if fermentation goes too low. However, taste first! Some of my meads have been great at 1.005. My first pyment (made last year with Tempranillo and Zinfandel juice and wildflower honey) went from a starting of SG 1.097 to a final SG 0.991 and is very astringent, lacks body, and has a strong alcohol taste. Not a very good pyment. But by adding a little honey to each glass it really smooths out and it becomes good. I'm going to open all the bottles and pour them back into a bucket so I can add some honey and Zinfandel juice to the entire batch to an SG of about 1.010.

I've been making meads since about 1997 and I'm still learning. A lot of new ideas have come out in the last decade such as staggered nutrient additions, etc. I joined GotMead last spring and this site has really opened my eyes and expanded my mead knowledge.

Thanks for the welcome! I am so happy to have found this site and to receive so much great advise from people like you, thx.
I just added my 24hr staggered nutrient/energizer pre-mixed into 1/2 cup of must and slowly added...swirled the carboy several times... replaced the airlock (sterilizing everything I use).

I too like Meads for the honey so if I do need to back-sweeten I will use honey... Hopefully with the "Bee Tree" honey, still wondering if the (minimal) pollen in the raw honey can be cleared through racking or otherwise if used to back-sweeten.

Temp at 0940 is still at 64F

Squatchy
01-24-2016, 01:26 PM
[QUOTE=mrngbear;252388]GO BRONCOS! sorry, couldn't resist after seeing your in Denver. I am in SW CO been here from Ft Collins now for just over a year.

What part of "SW"? The reason I ask is we are starting to have a monthly get together with other CO mazers and I'd like to invite you if you think you could make it :)

Another way you can control you final sweetness level is this: I have some traditionals that I have made with the intent to use them to add sweetness to something to dry,, or dry out something that is too sweet. By simply making a trad too sweet and another too dry you can use these to balance out your new batches.

mrngbear
01-24-2016, 01:48 PM
Cortez, CO
Where do you meet, I would love to meet some "real" CO mazers. Always looking for a destination to take my scoot (summer for the scoot of course)

Squatchy
01-24-2016, 02:03 PM
Suburbs of Denver mostly

mrngbear
01-24-2016, 02:12 PM
That's a long way to go (about 400 miles) to meet some fellow brewers, but I usually ride to Sturgis in August (with a Denver area stop-over) so perhaps if something is going on around the first week of August... or we could at least go out for a beer and burgers, or is it a burger and beers?

mrngbear
01-25-2016, 02:26 PM
What an idiot I can be...I provide my recipe for a batch, looking for some expert thought on it, and today while posting a new thread I realized that the previous information I provided on this thread was far from accurate. The amount of honey added was not 5.5lbs but 4.5lbs

My apologizes go out to all who contributed to this discussion (some probably dumbfounded as to my OG)

Sorry!

Mazer828
01-25-2016, 02:37 PM
Apparently 7 out of 4 people also have trouble reading their own notes! Lol. And I'm one of the 7. Or is it one of the 4...

mrngbear
01-25-2016, 03:42 PM
Thanks bro!

added 12oz (or was it 12lbs) of honey today to bump up the ABV and sweetness a bit.
New estimates for OG 1.085 (from 1.079) ABV 11.24%
current SG 1.075

mrngbear
01-29-2016, 02:40 PM
A quick up-date...8th day after pitch, gravity is progressing nicely (I think) considering d-47 at a temp of 65F
OG 1.085
current 1.031

Bernardsmith and Farmboyc,
I decided to not stabilize the traditional (1gal secondary), but I am considering adding fruit to (1gal secondary) and was wondering what your thoughts are in regard to adding a lessor amount of K-meta and K-sorbate to the melomel other than the recommended amount, if I do decide to add fruit.

mrngbear
01-29-2016, 04:05 PM
A quick up-date...8th day after pitch, gravity is progressing nicely (I think) considering d-47 at a temp of 65F
OG 1.085
current 1.031

Bernardsmith and Farmboyc,
I decided to not stabilize the traditional (1gal secondary), but I am considering adding fruit to (1gal secondary) and was wondering what your thoughts are in regard to adding a lessor amount of K-meta and K-sorbate to the melomel other than the recommended amount, if I do decide to add fruit.

No, I have not racked into secondary!!!!! Waiting for who knows, days, weeks, waiting... for gravity stability. Just thought I would mention this in case.
Added this in a reply because the 'edit' option does not appear.

Farmboyc
01-29-2016, 06:54 PM
Honestly I have only made a few melomels and one Capisumel. I have added all my fruit/vegetables to the primary so I have no experience in this.
However here is my understanding of things. With a relatively low ABV I would suggest that you sanitize the fruit in K-meta and wash thoughly afterwards. Then freeze the fruit the help break down cell walls and maximize juice extraction. With the added sugars and dilution nature of a fruit addition I would expect to see a re-start in secondary . I think that a re-start would be reasonable as the CO2 produced would displace any air in the carboy and protect your fruit from spoilage.

I think the generally accepted time frame to leave on-the-fruit in secondary is 2 weeks with the exception of JAOM. Longer can lead to off flavours. You would then re-rack off the fruit and wait foe a stable SG and product clearing before stabilization.

I have personally not stabilized a melon melomel that I made before I really had any idea about SNA. I bulk aged this one for a year before bottling because it was packed with fusels and it has been in the swing - top bottles for 9 months now with no ill effects. It's actually quite nice now not too sure how this one will make out in the long term but I seriously doubt it will last long enough to find out.

mrngbear
01-29-2016, 07:56 PM
Thank you very much Farmboyc!
I was wondering if I might get a re-start, if so I'll be ready... IF I add fruit!