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WildPhil
09-14-2016, 01:55 AM
Ingredients

4.5 gallon water
16.5lbs honey
6tsp bee pollen
3tsp yeast energiser
5oz raisins
1 packet EC1118

Method
Day1

Heat up half gallon water, melt 5.5lbs honey. Let cool. Pour into 5 gallon primary. Add rest of water. Rehydrate yeast as per instructions on packet. Pitch yeast at suitable temp. Aerate with whisk and add yeast energiser, raisins and 2tsp bee pollen. Put on lid with airlock.

Day 3

Soften 5.5lbs honey by submerging jars in hot water, add to must with 2tsp bee pollen. Whisk like a madman. Replace kid.

Day 5

Repeat as above. Take gravity reading.

Let ferment until airlock shows no sign of action. Take gravity readings every other day for two weeks to be really sure. Rack into secondary and backsweeten. Bulk age for X amount of time. Bottle in flip top bottles.

Literally brand new at this sort of caper. Any and all advice welcome. If it helps, I'm using the bee pollen and raisins as yeast nutrient.
Ta

Squatchy
09-14-2016, 08:58 AM
Thats an unusual proces.

So a few things here,,,,, Make sure when you add the yeast slurry that it's temperature is within 10 degrees of the must temp. I don't have time to find out what the YAN value is of bee pollen or raisins right now but I would be concerned your not feeding you yeast enough food. You could use way more (1-2 lbs) of raisins/ or dates for that matter,, and still not get a raisin flavor in the finished mead. Make sure to break the skin some how so they can get past the skins. Maybe a meat hammer, or food processor. I wouldn't feed them anything until you see prof. In other words wait till lag phase is over. I also would not use the lid for the first week. Yeast need access to oxygen. Place a thin towel over top of bucket to keep dust and flies and ferrets out. The ferret piece is a joke. A while back a guys ferret went swimming in a bucket of must. :) You would also do we to put a few packets of bread yeast in a tiny bit of water, mix and then nuc in the microwave, let cool. Add 2 packs of that along with you food every other day.


I would strongly suggest using a different, more mellow/less ABV tolorance level for this. WHat made you choose this yeast. You will have a very hot, dry alcoholish drink with not a lot of flavor and it will take a very long time to age out smooth enough. Can you control temps? You don't need temp control on that particular yeast. But if you can control temps there are better (in my opinion) yeast to use for a trad.

Why did you pick this yeast and what are you looking to make? Why did you pick this method? I think you could do way better. Especially if you new at this. I would be concerned that you are looking at something you might regret making at the end of the day.

WildPhil
09-14-2016, 10:03 AM
Controlling temps is near impossible. When fall hits room temp will be around 70-70F.
I want to make something that I can age for about 4 years, in time for my 40th and the Father in laws 60th.
I chose the method after a night on bourbon! I thought adding the honey gradually would prevent a hyperactive ferment.
Thanks for your advice this far. Always open to more too!!

Squatchy
09-14-2016, 10:33 AM
So you can make anything and age it for 4 years. The better the start the better at 4 years. Tell me what your looking for and I'll help you get there.

WildPhil
09-14-2016, 11:14 AM
Something that isn't too sweet, ideally bone dry or as near as dammit, yet still shows the quality of the honey, not sure if these two ideals are mutually exclusive. A traditional show mead. High alcohol, say 16-18%. Good mouthfeel. And something that can sit at between 70-90F and age for 4years.

curgoth
09-14-2016, 02:30 PM
Some references on using bee pollen as nutrient:

http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/24078-Pollen-as-yeast-nutrient

http://www.academicwino.com/2011/10/enhancing-sweet-nectar-effect-of-pollen.html/

WildPhil
09-14-2016, 03:02 PM
Thanks curgoth. That second article was very informative. I reckon I'll up my pollen to 160g per gallon along with 2lbs of raisins.

bmwr75
09-14-2016, 04:22 PM
First, I would not use EC-1118 yeast. It is a very aggressive fermenter and many people say it blows aromatics out the airlock. 71B is the go to yeast for many home mead makers and commercial mead makers.

Second, I'd lower the honey to water ratio if you use another yeast and want it to ferment dry. 1 quart of honey per gallon of water will get you an OG around 1.090.

Third, I'd add all the honey up front, not heat it at all, but rather stir it vigorously to dissolve it in the water.

Fourth, I'd get some Fermaid O or Fermaid K and follow the TOSNA or TiOSNA staggered nutrient protocol.

WildPhil
09-14-2016, 05:58 PM
Understood, 71b it is.
I've read somewhere that the more honey I add the better the mouthfeel, especially with a yeast that fires through honey like ec1118. Am I understanding this correctly or am I off the mark.
The reason I was gonna go with bee pollen, this might sound ridiculous, is so I can use all aspects of a bees hard work (honey, pollen, comb and wax) in the finished product. Obviously I'm not gonna put beeswax in the mix, I'm planning on covering the top of the bottle with it.

Squatchy
09-14-2016, 08:09 PM
Yes that is true, in part, about mouthfeel. You can also choose different yeast that will add more polysacharides to the finished product . This will in turn give a fuller mouthfeel. You can do other things as well. You can boil and add bananas (include keeping the boiled banana water. You can add raisins dates, or figs. You can add adjuncts from the Scotts lab catalog. Oak can help if you know what you are doing.

71-b does a great job for many things. In my opinion there are better choices for a traditional/showmead.

WildPhil
09-14-2016, 11:03 PM
Thanks for those tips on mouthfeel Squatchy. As for oaking the mead, could I toast some oaks branches I have from the garden? Maybe between 3-5oz in secondary, taste every week or so? In your opinion which yeast am I better off using in a show mead?

Stasis
09-15-2016, 06:49 PM
Ec-1118 in this particular case is not that bad. There still are better yeasts though. Some aromatics will be blown out but as a mead ages those aromatics return. Also, having a higher abv mead means more aromatics per bottle. Ec-1118 is also a neutral ester mead, which means that the yeast will not contribute much flavors of its own. This means that when you drink this traditional you will be drinking something which is a result of the honey and just that, which is something I personally enjoy when drinking a traditional. Ec-1118 handles higher temps better than most yeasts so while it is not ideal for mead it might make up for it a bit with this positive. While Ec-1118 is a 'harsher' yeast, it is also a good champagne yeast which I *think* means it does well wth some sur lie aging (check on that, I'm not sure) and has proven tasty with wines (champagnes) which undergo longer than usual aging. Having said that, there probably are better options. I have tried Ec-1118 with prickly pear wines because well the temps are insane during summer and I tried many high temp tolerance yeasts. While Ec-1118 did not produce much fusels the flavor profile was rather lacking and I ended blending it with K1v which produced a wine which was actually too fruity.

Bee pollen was one of my favorite mead addition habits. I ran out and haven't used it in a while but recommend using it. However, I did read that there is a risk when adding too much pollen. I think 160g per gallon might be too much. I would quote from different threads to try to convince you, but honestly reading up on them yourself could be better(the first thread contains a link to another thread in one of medsen's posts). Keep in mind that some posts are referring to adding pollen as the only source of nutrient. You are adding extra nutrients from other sources so don't use those full amounts, but rather amounts which give the best aromatics and taste. I would also not try to convince you to add less because I personally have never used pollen in such quantities so while I think it's bad, I'm ultimately not sure

HeidrunsGift
09-15-2016, 08:07 PM
Some aromatics will be blown out but as a mead ages those aromatics return.

I was wondering about this, and as well about how a mead tends to taste more sweet as it ages. I think that perhaps the sweetness and aromatic qualities don't change, but rather when the higher alcohols break down into less potent compounds, their overpowering off-flavors cease to mask other qualities --such as sweetness, aromas, and other honey characteristics--thereby giving the mead a more apparent sweetness, aroma, etc.

I used to think that most fusels and higher alcohols were created at the end of a fermentation, when everything is going against the yeast and they are the most stressed. According to the Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation, most fusels are actually produced up front. I found this odd, because I don't start tasting paint-thinner fusel qualities till near the end of my ferementations. I realized that what was probably happening was a bit of the opposite of what I mentioned in the first paragraph: the fusels are there, but during the beginning of fermentation the overpowering sweetness masks them. Once the mead hits a certain dryness level, the sugar no longer masks the higher alcohol flavors.

Im not sure if my assumptions are correct, but thought it was an intersesting fusel topic in regard to fermentation and aging, which certainly could be applicable when using EC1118.

Squatchy
09-15-2016, 08:30 PM
I believe you are correct. In Chris Whites book he states that fussels are mostly made in the growth phase. I mean, I think if you were to totally disregard any attempts to do what we know as common sense in fermentation management we would find that they can be made throughout the entire time but I don't think that is the point here.

I don't have any way to prove this but it has been my observation. I have found, for me, if I run one batch dry and then stabilize and back sweeten. And then take the same must and add enough sugar that the yeast tap out at the same gravity. So one went dry and then was sweetened and one never went dry but ended up the same sweet. The one that never went dry has a better honey profile than the other. At least early on. I believe (mostly) at some point far enough down the road it becomes the same.

Buy ya. If you want to really know if your process is working run a 16-18% mead bone dry and age it. That will tell you in short order if your protocol has flaws in it or not. Jim and I and a few other judges will be testing 20 some meads we made like this. We made them all with the same must but each with a different yeast. We ran them all dry and aged them. Nothing can hide in that. Oskaarr taught us that. Make a traditional if you want to learn how to make mead. Nothing could ever be truer.

WildPhil
09-15-2016, 10:08 PM
And that's what I want! A traditional that is as true to the name as possible, where there is nowhere to hide, only the technique, honey and yeasts used can speak for themselves, no hiding with fruit or spices or herbs or whatever else. I'm a chef by trade and am more than aware that there is nothing more harder to master than simplicity. Thanks to everyone for their tips and words of infinite wisdom. Appreciate y'all!!!

Squatchy
09-15-2016, 10:51 PM
And that's what I want! A traditional that is as true to the name as possible, where there is nowhere to hide, only the technique, honey and yeasts used can speak for themselves, no hiding with fruit or spices or herbs or whatever else. I'm a chef by trade and am more than aware that there is nothing more harder to master than simplicity. Thanks to everyone for their tips and words of infinite wisdom. Appreciate y'all!!!

So do you have the ability to control temps? Do you want a semi-sweet/sweet or are you looking for a dry? Do you have much experience? What kind of honey do you want to use. A blend of darker honeys will give the yeast a little better chance as it has a small amount of nutrients. What size batch do you intend to create?

Would you rather make something easier and just make a nice clean traditional?

WildPhil
09-15-2016, 11:43 PM
The honeys I use are relatively dark, local one from New Orleans City and a Cajun one from Denham Springs, Louisiana. I'd want to do a 2gal batch to start off with. Only experience I have is in wild ferments, been 'playing' for about 3 months so far. Looking for something on the drier end of the scale, some slight residual sweetness is ok. As for temp control, I'm at the mercy of my apartment which is between 75-80F. I think I'd like to make a nice clean trad, as close to idiot proof as poss!!

Squatchy
09-16-2016, 07:24 AM
The honeys I use are relatively dark, local one from New Orleans City and a Cajun one from Denham Springs, Louisiana. I'd want to do a 2gal batch to start off with. Only experience I have is in wild ferments, been 'playing' for about 3 months so far. Looking for something on the drier end of the scale, some slight residual sweetness is ok. As for temp control, I'm at the mercy of my apartment which is between 75-80F. I think I'd like to make a nice clean trad, as close to idiot proof as poss!!

I think making a trad and feeding it is better to start out with. I'll help you get started later. Off to work for me. :) Can you buy some Fermaid-K

Lastly did you still want this one for the "age four years" or would this be a "drinker" for now. 4 years is so far away that I wouldn't feel the need to hurry up to get that going on. Would you want to make a few first to help you get a better feel for what you want to make for the long age batch?

WildPhil
09-16-2016, 08:22 AM
I'll speak to the LHBS, see if they can get some in for me. I think it would be more beneficial to my aged mead if I were to put a few batches under my belt first. What yeast should I get? I've been doing some research and am now thinking D47.

zpeckler
09-18-2016, 10:24 AM
As for oaking the mead, could I toast some oaks branches I have from the garden?

Don't do this.

There's no way the average person can toast oak at home to the same levels of consistency that a commercial producer can. There are just way, way, way too many ways this could go wrong and ruin your mead. Plus, the commercial oak products are so cheap it's just not worth the risk to save a few bucks.

I'd recommend getting a reputable brand of oak cubes. Cubes, not chips. The chips are all different sizes and the oak flavors extract extremely rapidly and aggressively. The cubes are a relatively uniform size and extract slower, more evenly, and with a much better flavor. Stavin, the most common brand of oak, recommends 2oz of cubes per 5 gallons for new barrel extraction rates. Taste the mead every week starting at about a month and remove the cubes once you get to the desired levels.

zpeckler
09-18-2016, 10:28 AM
What yeast should I get? I've been doing some research and am now thinking D47.

If you can't control temps I would avoid D47. It's a great yeast, but it's probably the most temperature-sensitive one out there. It throws a ton of fusels and off flavors if it gets above 68F. K1V is another great yeast that's really tolerant to higher temps. If you want to be adventurous, try a saison (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/25392-Saison-Session-Mead)yeast. ;)

WildPhil
09-18-2016, 10:35 AM
Thanks for that advice, chief.
I'll be able to control temps a bit better when Autumn/winter finally kicks in in New Orleans. I'll get to the brew store and buy some cubes. I'll check out the yeasts too. Maybe I should limit myself to making booze to Autumn/Winter and early spring in future. Summer is kicking the shit out of my various batches! On the plus side, I'll have a bunch of stuff to age once it's ready!!

Squatchy
09-19-2016, 10:39 AM
Thanks for that advice, chief.
I'll be able to control temps a bit better when Autumn/winter finally kicks in in New Orleans. I'll get to the brew store and buy some cubes. I'll check out the yeasts too. Maybe I should limit myself to making booze to Autumn/Winter and early spring in future. Summer is kicking the shit out of my various batches! On the plus side, I'll have a bunch of stuff to age once it's ready!!

So here's what I do in regards to temperature and making meads during the winter and during the summer. Obviously there are some yeast that can work at a much higher temperature. These are what I call summer yeast. These are what I use when I'm making mead in the summertime and don't feel like messing with temperature control. Then obviously the other yeast, that require a cooler temperature to not produce off flavors are your "winter yeast" So I make my mead with these types of yeast during the winter when I can keep the temperatures
controlled at a lower level.

HeidrunsGift
09-19-2016, 05:25 PM
Squatchy have you measured your temp swings before? Ie, found the min and max temps of your mead and time it takes for that swing to take place?

I mentioned it in a earlier post, but Scott Labratories believes greater than 10 degree swing in less than an hour (so 1 degree per 6 minutes) is a super cool/super heat--where temp swing becomes a problem.

I recently got a chest fridge and thermowell that creates temp swings of 6 degrees over the course of a couple hours. I just made a blueberry melomel with RC212 that fermented completely dry from 1.120 in about 10 days in such conditions (cold crashing now). So while I'm not really worried out that 6 degree swing, Im always looking to improve upon it, and was just curious about what yours were if you have measured them before.

Stasis
09-19-2016, 07:05 PM
I bought an STC 2000 off ebay a while ago. It's just $7.32 including shipping. It could have a range of temps as low as 0.1C which is INSANE so I'm actually trying to figure out what the maximum temp swing should be, rather than how to minimize swings. At that price and functionality I can't imagine how other temp controllers are worth it.
However, let's actually answer the question. I think that setting the probe outside the fermenter could be better regarding swings. While you're not reading the actual temp of the must, you're usually still pretty close, especially if you're using small fermenters. Even if you have larger fermenters, unless you're using a very finnicky yeast (*maybe* D47, but not even that I think) I don't think reading the EXACT temp is such an issue. For example, 71b has a fermentation range from 15C to 30C. If you were to set the termostat at 17C but instead the temp of the must is at 18C or even 19C (I think it won't) the ferment is still going to be clean as a whistle. If you want to be more precise check the temp inside the must and maybe reduce the termostat to be a bit lower to compensate for the positioning

Squatchy
09-19-2016, 11:07 PM
So as you guys know different size vessels and what they are made of makes a difference. Also, and here is where my thing works so well a large body of water will respond much slower to a temp change will than a smaller body.

I'm not as cool as you guys are so I'm still making my stuff in trash cans submerged in a bathtub in a spare bathtub in the basement. I have learned (pretty quickly actually) that the size of the trash can, combined with the temp of the room (air conditioning) and the water in the tub, and the depth of the water in the tub all combine to a very stable ferment once you get it dialed in. I have candy thermometers in my buckets. When I have such a large portion of the trash can submerged to the cold water the surface to volume ratio is very good for keeping the temps down. I stir 2 times a day so if I have a fruit cap it doesn't even get warm under the cap. I haven't ever had more than 2 degrees of drift from the time I start until the time I rack over to glass. I have 3 trash cans and generally make 3) 10 gallon batches at a time. I'm not sure how much larger of a trash can I can use and still have such a stable set up. I have a hunch that 15 gallons in a 20 gallon can will still work pretty well but I imagine any more than that and this ghetto system won't work.

I plan to open a meadery so I am not really wanting to purchase a small jacketed vessel because anything I can fit out in the garage will be too small when I get a commercial space. I could actually add one more trash can which will allow for 40 gallons at a time. That's a lot of mead for family and handouts. I just did a batch that big and will start up another go round after I get back from Yellowstone. By then the fall temps will drop down enough I will hardly even have to use the air con in the basement.

Pretty basic but it has worked exceptionally well with very little investment in gear.

WildPhil
09-20-2016, 06:17 AM
What're your trash cans made from Squatchy? Metal will always be the best for temp management, plastic is a bloody nightmare because it's a great insulator, glass is good if you're able to keep it away from the light.
Weve just bought a chest freezer for the kitchen, which means I'll be able to regulate the temps better, drop the thermostat as 'warm' as it will go and do some 1 and 3gal batches in there, for 5 gallons though, I'll have to look at better yeast management and usage. I think the majority of my current batches will have to spend a bit of time ageing. Although the the Cyser is bloody delicious and the JAOM likes a bit of warmth and is ticking along nicely.

Squatchy
09-20-2016, 08:51 AM
You are correct but plastic cans are the only thing I have.

zpeckler
09-22-2016, 09:23 AM
I use an STC temp controller to regulate my rig too. Very cheep and gives tight control. Also is dial circuit so you can do both heading and cooling simultaneously if needed. Well worth it if you're the DIY type and don't mind putting the controller together yourself.