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jamessmcinnes
09-28-2016, 06:00 AM
Alright, here's the deal. I need to know how bad I fucked up, if my fuck up can possibly work out, or if I should scratch everything and start again. I'm from Australia btw.

Recipe/Shit I used

10L water from a bottle
4kgs Orange Blossom Honey
0.150z Mead Yeast

GoFerm and FermAid A




I'm incredibly new to the whole idea and practice of home brewing anything, I saw some people online making mead and it looked simple enough, I thought i would give it a red hot crack.

Watched countless videos, read recipes, read how to's and all sorts. I went online and ordered a mead making kit --> http://www.ibrew.com.au/collections/mead-making/products/5-litre-mead-making-kit
ontop of the kit, I ordered a second carboy and bung with an airlock. It all arrived, I next looked into nutrients. I read that it can make your mead ready in 2 months instead of 18. I ordered FermAid A (Can't get FermAid K in Aus) and GoFerm. I got 4 kilos of Orange Blossom Honey which is around 9 pounds.

I began. I mixed 2kgs of my honey in with some bottled water to dissolve it. On the side I activated my yeast --> http://www.ibrew.com.au/products/mangrove-jacks-mead-yeast-m05 .
The first problem I encountered was the yeast. It's instructions on the back are: Sprinkle contents (0.35oz) directly on up to 6 US gal (23L) of wort. I am bad at maths and generally fucking stupid. My thinking went as follows.

0.35oz divided by 23L = 0.015 0.015 x 10 (Because im using 10L of water/honey) = 0.15 I was like ehhh, it's about half.

I split the yeast in half, then half again, and used a quarter per carboy of liquid.


So I added yeast to the first 5L, mixed it through, realised I didnt take a hydrometer reading. Took a reading of 9% . put the airlock in, moved onto the next carboy.

same process, but I took the hydrometer reading before the yeast was added, and it read 17%. This is my second issue.

Put the airlock in, and realised I didnt add the nutrients. This is where I really know I fucked it, and probably ruined it, so feel free to lay into me for this one, But I dismissed the instructions and winged it.

I put a tablespoon of each straight in and mixed it.


So again, I pose the questions;

How bad have I fucked up?
Can my fuck up somehow work out and make mead?
Should I just dump it and start again? (hopefully not in the dumbest way possible)

caduseus
09-28-2016, 08:14 AM
Not sure where to begin. It would have been better to pitch the full 4gram package of yeast.
Watch these videos. Each are 12-30 minutes long and 9 total. It is a great start and will help you now, as it ferments, and future fermentations:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oODPBYXqfjk.

bernardsmith
09-28-2016, 08:58 AM
Hi jamessmcinnes - and welcome. How much is a packet of yeast? How much is 4 kg of honey? What is the probability that the half packet of yeast you carefully resealed and from which you removed all the air and stored in your refrigerator has not become contaminated with bacteria? So what is the probable risk to any next batch of mead you make? Best idea is always to use an entire package of yeast - You cannot over-pitch yeast when you make mead or wine or cider at home.
But that said, Your mead will probably be OK. Fermentation is a natural process and humans have been making mead and beer since we began to eat grains.

Swordnut
09-28-2016, 11:07 AM
You'll be 90% fine. The instructions given everywhere are mostly to give your yeast the very best start possible. You obviously didn't give them this very best start but they'll start. What you'll experience is increased lag time (when the yeast starts fermenting) and possibly a longer total ferment time or the production of fusel alcohols instead of just ethanol some more. But ferment it will.

When you took your hydrometer reading though you read the wrong number. You read the potential alcohol percentage based on a fermentation from where it is at right now, to fermenting through all the sugars. What you really want to read is the actual sugar contents aka the gravity or the density of the must.

Your hydrometer will have a number at the top somewhere stating 1.00. If you have trouble finding it, set it in a glass of water. Where it floats at the surface will be the 1.00 mark (since it's the same as the density of water). Those are the number you want to note down. Everything above this 1.00 line is 0.99 and down. Anything below is 1.01 and up. The higher the hydrometer floats on top of the water the higher this number will be.

https://contrastique.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/hydrometer.jpg

After fermentation is done you take a reading again and note that number as well. It will be lower (closer to 1.00) than before as the hydrometer floats lower into the must. This difference between its "Original Gravity" and its "Final Gravity" can then be used to calculate its approximate alcohol contents using an online formula.

Note that for more accuracy you should use 3 digits behind the point instead of 2. Not 1.00 and up but 1.000 and up. Different hydrometers will make it easier/harder discerning this but doing this will greatly increase the accuracy of your approximations.

You'll end up with a dry mead by the way. However it might not taste dry to you.

Also, one package is for one use. Ditch the rest. Never re-use a half-pitched package since it'll be contaminated.

jamessmcinnes
09-28-2016, 09:35 PM
Thanks guys, It's an incredible relief to hear I didn't throw my money down the drain.

I also now realise I made a mistake in the amount I used, It wasn't 10L of water. It was more like 6L. the carboys combined hold 10L but the displacement from the honey wouldn't allow 5L per carboy and 2kgs of honey. It would be more like 3.7L of water with 2kgs of honey per carboy. So the real measurements are just under a gallon of water with just under 4 and a half pounds of honey per carboy.

Few more questions now though.

1. I threw out the remainder of the yeast I halved, but I have a second packet. Would it be worth adding that whole packet into what I've made already? Would it be beneficial, detrimental or would it do nothing?

2. As you pointed out I read the wrong hydrometer reading. Is it worth my while to take another one now as it still hasn't started fermentation just yet, or is it not that important?

3. Am I able to use the readings I took to work out the gravity?

4. Still on the topic of the wrong readings. Why was there such a drastic difference in the potential alcohol percentage readings between the two? as I said the first one was 9% while the second was 17%. Could it just be because the 9% already had the yeast in it and the 17% didn't?

Thanks in advance :)

Cabeceira
09-29-2016, 02:27 AM
You'll be 90% fine. The instructions given everywhere are mostly to give your yeast the very best start possible. You obviously didn't give them this very best start but they'll start. What you'll experience is increased lag time (when the yeast starts fermenting) and possibly a longer total ferment time or the production of fusel alcohols instead of just ethanol some more. But ferment it will.

When you took your hydrometer reading though you read the wrong number. You read the potential alcohol percentage based on a fermentation from where it is at right now, to fermenting through all the sugars. What you really want to read is the actual sugar contents aka the gravity or the density of the must.

Your hydrometer will have a number at the top somewhere stating 1.00. If you have trouble finding it, set it in a glass of water. Where it floats at the surface will be the 1.00 mark (since it's the same as the density of water). Those are the number you want to note down. Everything above this 1.00 line is 0.99 and down. Anything below is 1.01 and up. The higher the hydrometer floats on top of the water the higher this number will be.

https://contrastique.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/hydrometer.jpg

After fermentation is done you take a reading again and note that number as well. It will be lower (closer to 1.00) than before as the hydrometer floats lower into the must. This difference between its "Original Gravity" and its "Final Gravity" can then be used to calculate its approximate alcohol contents using an online formula.

Note that for more accuracy you should use 3 digits behind the point instead of 2. Not 1.00 and up but 1.000 and up. Different hydrometers will make it easier/harder discerning this but doing this will greatly increase the accuracy of your approximations.

You'll end up with a dry mead by the way. However it might not taste dry to you.

Also, one package is for one use. Ditch the rest. Never re-use a half-pitched package since it'll be contaminated.
its good. you mean he is almost safe.

bernardsmith
09-29-2016, 09:12 AM
You are looking at the "wrong" scale. What you want is not the potential alcohol by volume scale but the specific gravity scale. That is the one that will start with a 1 followed by a decimal point and three (or two digits). That scale tells you how dense your liquid is compared to distilled water. The difference in density as far as wine makers or brewers are concerned is due to the amount of sugar in the solution. If the scale shows that the density (AKA specific gravity) is say, 1.040 then that tells you that there is about 1 lb (about 1/2kg) for every US gallon (about 4 liters) of liquid. If the scale reads 1.080 then that tells you that there is about 1 kg of sugar dissolved in the same volume of liquid. What you want to know is A) what the density is before the yeast begin to chomp down on the sugars and B) what the final density is after the yeast have eaten up all the available sugars and what you have is wine ready for bottling.
That said, if you know the starting gravity (density) then you can calculate the amount of alcohol that will (potentially - all other things being equal; all other things working properly) be in your wine. A reading of say, 1.090 before you add (pitch) the yeast tells you that there is enough sugar in the liquid to produce a wine that if completely fermented will be about 12% alcohol by volume (ABV). So, if your hydrometer reading showed you that the liquid had a potential ABV of 9% that tells us that the specific gravity (or density ) of the liquid was close to 1.070 (and that tells us that there was about 28 oz of sugar in every US gallon of liquid).
I am assuming that you reading was accurate.

darigoni
09-29-2016, 09:37 AM
You need to get comfortable with the gotmead batch builder: http://gotmead.com/blog/the-mead-calculator/

Check off "Target Volume" and "Additional Sugars #1", and then fill in the appropriate numbers (6 liters and 4 kg).

If those are correct numbers, you would be looking at a specific gravity of 1.2, with potential ABV of 24%.

I kind of think your yeast are not going to be to happy and you'll most likely not get fermentation.

You'd probably do well to pour off some of what you have, add water to get your SG down to around 1.120, and then add the other packet of yeast.

Not sure why you have such a discrepancy between the two hydrometer readings. Pitching yeast should not make that much of a difference in your readings. Maybe your honey wasn't mixed in well enough?

If you haven't had any fermentation yet, you should definitely get some new hydrometer readings. But spend a couple of minutes looking at your hydrometer, figuring out what scale you want to be using and how to read it.

dave

jamessmcinnes
09-29-2016, 04:39 PM
Hmm...

Well they both started fermenting less than 24 hours after I finished them. I finished them around 6pm and by 10am the next morning when I checked them they were releasing the co2.


"I kind of think your yeast are not going to be to happy and you'll most likely not get fermentation.

You'd probably do well to pour off some of what you have, add water to get your SG down to around 1.120, and then add the other packet of yeast."

So because they did start fermenting, is the yeast okay? Will it do its job or should I still empty some out and add more yeast?

What's the effect of watering it down more? Is it better for the mead for the SG to be lower?


Thanks again!
James

darigoni
09-29-2016, 04:45 PM
If it's fermenting, then you are probably all set. Yes, it's better/easier to start your mead off with a lower SG and then add some more honey after the Yeast has had a chance to eat through some of it. It's called step feeding and is a way to hit a particular sweetness level (Final SG). Good luck!

jamessmcinnes
10-30-2016, 07:16 AM
Right, I'm looking for some more expert help here

It seems to have fermented well, I've taken weekly readings, and it's as follows;

28/9/16 1.690
7/10/16 1.500
18/10/16 1.160
27/10/16 1.130

SO I take it even though I had a rocky start, it worked properly, and it is alcoholic, but I have 3 questions.

Is it normal for it so slow up so much towards the end of the fermentation?

Every time I've racked it, and left the sediment at the bottom, literally the next day it's had the same build up form at the bottom, is this normal? when will the shit at the bottom stop forming in such a large amount?

Third question is, everytime ive tasted it, it's just been super dry, what's a late game method of sweetening it up earlier so I don't have to wait quite so long aging it for a nice taste?

Squatchy
10-30-2016, 09:28 AM
So something isn't right here. If your finished gravity is truly 1130 thats so sweet you wouldn't even want to drink it. That's about where I start my batchs at. And your saying it's super dry. If it is super dry then your not ready your hydrometer correctly. All of your Sg reading are way off.

Maylar
10-30-2016, 10:39 AM
He's one of those 7 out of 4 people ...

Squatchy
10-30-2016, 11:00 AM
He's one of those 7 out of 4 people ...

LOL. We'll get him straightened out :)

bernardsmith
10-30-2016, 01:57 PM
Is it possible that you can take a photo of your hydrometer in the mead so that we can see the scale? The "readings" you are providing seem to be way off. If the tip of the hydrometer is about 2 or 3 cm above the surface of the liquid then it will be close to 1.000. The hydrometer would be about 12 or 15 above the surface for the reading to be about 1.130 and I don't know that my hydrometer would even have the bulb in the liquid if the initial reading was 1.6XX - That would require that you managed to dissolve about 8 Kg of honey in about 4 L of water. That would be beyond super-saturation, I think.

kudapucat
10-30-2016, 05:37 PM
James, can you narrow down "Australia"?
I know ppl in most cities, can try and sort out some local assistance.

jamessmcinnes
10-30-2016, 11:57 PM
Yes sorry, I'm very new and very stupid with it all. The 0 was in the wrong spot. I should have wrote

7/10/16 1.050
18/10/16 1.016
27/10/16 1.013

I did read it wrong, I cant remember the first reading mark anymore but those are the other ones.

The thing im more concerned about is the sediment, because it comes back exactly how it was overnight.