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DrunkenMaster
02-18-2016, 12:14 PM
Hi all,

I started helping out with production at a local meadery because the master meadmaker became seriously ill. I am looking for some general advice going forward, if you guys can point me to articles worth reading ( I just finished the complete meadmaker, and have been lurking here), things to avoid, things to pursue, ingredients, tehniques, anything that can help me get this place producing the highest quality mead, that would be great! I have about a years experience with brewing cider, and only 5-6 large batches of mead. So far we have made about 250 gallons in a week. Everything is good so far, general recipe:

5 gal carboys (looking to upgrade soon, thoughts?)
Ec-1118 (1 pack per)
30-60 min rehydration and starter w/ some honey and 1tsp Fermaid
Cotsco honey until orange blossom bulk order comes in (Should we stick with a high quality clover, orange blossom, wildflower?)
Pure granulated sugar (considering raw sugar but is 3x as expensive)
Lemon Juice
SG ~1.060-1.075 or ~8-10%

We heat the honey and sugar together until almost boiling, I noticed Ken Schramm recommends the no heat method, is this adversely affecting flavor?
Pitch starter and aerate with drill and mixer attachment. Is it worth it to consider tanked O2 or is the difference negligible vs 30-60 second drill mix?

Were seeing airlock bubbling within a few hours.

We add different juices for different meads in secondary, some in primary.

Starsan and bleach for sanitation, just had carpets steam cleaned, water is filtered through a massive $1200 carbon filter out back. Any advice is appreciated to help us grow and produce excellent mead for people to enjoy.

I know I'm biting off more than I can chew, help me chew! Thank you!

1735

loveofrose
02-18-2016, 01:51 PM
That is a lot to undertake with your experience level. For more references, read the Newbees Guide on the Gotmead site and my article here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/current-mead-making-techniques.html

You are also welcome to use any recipes on my site as a primer:
www.denardbrewing.com
I might charge you a bottle of mead though (just kidding, sort of).

After you absorb all that, come back with any questions. I can help with mead making questions, but I'm no help on the business side.



Better brewing through science!

See my brewing site at www.denardbrewing.com

See my Current Mead Making Techniques article here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/current-mead-making-techniques.html

DrunkenMaster
02-18-2016, 04:46 PM
Thank you for very much for the info. I read through most of it. Indeed, its a lot to handle, but I do have some help.

In regards to the Wyeast 1388, how does this compare to EC-1118 overall?

Edit: Temps are usually a steady 70*F and PH is 3.6-4.3 generally (may add lemon juice after full attenuation to maintain higher ph during ferm) We are also using Fermax Yeast Nutrient from BSG at 1-2 tsp per 5 gal. Definitely want to increase this, for 200ppm YAN I'd need ~10tsp Fermax/5gal. Seems like too much to me, but what do you guys think?

I will probably pick up some DAP and Potassium Carbonate, seems like overkill since this meadery has been been producing "delicious" meads in 3-4 weeks pitch to keg with only 1 tsp of Fermax/5gal, and sales are growing. However, I think it will help after reading Loveofrose articles and 100 threads beating YAN, TOSNA, SNA, etc. to death. Any downside to 10tsp of Fermax in 5gal, or will this be optimal? Thank you all!

Squatchy
02-18-2016, 07:11 PM
If you going from pitch to keg in 3-4 weeks you can't be burning up very much honey. What's your ABV on this stuff?

So You should use more than 5 grams of yeast per 5 gallon. I would suggest 3 packets. Also depending on how you rehydrate you could be hurting your yeast very badly. I would buy some Go-ferm and use it's protocol. If not then just use tap water and rehydrate in it. Then once it's going then add to a starter. Your yeast slurry needs to be within 10 degrees of your must when you pitch or you will kill lots of your yeast and handicap the rest.

Are you filtering your mead through a crossflow before you bottle? Fining?

loveofrose
02-18-2016, 09:20 PM
I will try to answer questions in the order you asked.
1. Wyeast 1388 vs EC1118 - Both are very neutral, but in my hands, Wyeast 1388 allows the honey to come through better, faster. This is especially critical if you are using varietal honeys. This has a caveat with the short meads you are making though. See below.

2. Fermax gives very little information. If what you are doing works, don't "fix" it. That being said.... Many of your practices are contrary to what I would do. I would never add sugar to honey. I wouldn't add lemon juice until secondary. I would use Fermaid K/DAP or Fermaid O. Please don't get me wrong. There is no wrong way if the mead is tasty.

Here is what I suggest: Make two side-by-side batches. One your normal way and one with the new suggestions you've found here. Decide which you want to serve you customers. Maybe give it to customers side by side and ask what they are more likely to buy. In a nutshell, it doesn't matter how you make it. What matters is will your customers buy it!

You are making short meads. At your low percentage (9-10% ABV), most yeast will perform well with less nutrient and will not need a lot of age. In contrast, most of my mead are 16% ABV. This requires a lot more effort to make drinkable in a month. Don't add more nutrient if you are making delicious mead in 3-4 weeks! You don't need it.


Better brewing through science!

See my brewing site at www.denardbrewing.com

See my Current Mead Making Techniques article here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/current-mead-making-techniques.html

DrunkenMaster
02-18-2016, 09:22 PM
ABV is ~8-10% for all products right now.

Thank you for the advice, its refreshing! 3 packets per 5 gal, we're getting Ec-1118 for $.49 so its doable, but is it necessary? Ill do a test run to compare.

We are using basically hot water from the tap, rehydrating, then mixing in a little of the must (contains a 1/4 teaspoon Fermax). Temps are probably within 10*F as we leave the starter for an hour, and the "musts" are warm from the heated honey/sugar.


Not filtering, racking twice, old school style, but I want to move into filtering and/or use of a sparkaloid type product.

Ill look into the GoFerm, but I want to keep the process as simple as possible as its just becomes much work for our schedules, with all of the paperwork, cleaning, etc.. Minimize costs, maximize quality.

Cheers!

DrunkenMaster
02-19-2016, 05:29 PM
Added 1tsp Fermax and the 5 gal carboys went crazy overflowing. Pain in the butt, I can't imagine adding another 5-10tsp. Maybe this is why Fermaid O is preferable as its digested slowly by the yeast.

I read it has zero micro nutrients though, interested to see some go ferm and fermaid o ferments.

Pitched 2 packs ec-1118 with 10tsp Fermax in a 1070 must. Do you think it will overflow all over? I have no idea what's going to happen with that much yeast and ynutrient.

Thanks.

Squatchy
02-19-2016, 08:48 PM
If you mix your food with a little bit of water in a glass first it won't gush on you

loveofrose
02-19-2016, 10:02 PM
If you mix your food with a little bit of water in a glass first it won't gush on you

Well, at least it will gush less.


Better brewing through science!

See my brewing site at www.denardbrewing.com

See my Current Mead Making Techniques article here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/current-mead-making-techniques.html

pwizard
02-20-2016, 12:58 PM
Added 1tsp Fermax and the 5 gal carboys went crazy overflowing. Pain in the butt, I can't imagine adding another 5-10tsp. Maybe this is why Fermaid O is preferable as its digested slowly by the yeast.



Try degassing first. Your mead overflowed because all the dissolved C02 used the nutrient powder as nucleation points to create foam.

DrunkenMaster
02-20-2016, 01:28 PM
OK, thanks guys!

Ran an experiment at home w/ 10tsp nutrient added pre-pitch and 2 packs of yeast. Fermenting strong and quick. If I even touch the carboy it begins to foam like crazy, cant imagine what would happen if I tried to re-aerate with a drill mixer!

One question: does the chalky taste from calcium carbonate go away for the most part in say 30 days after addition? (would have rather used KCO but didnt have it at the time)