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brgeren
11-11-2016, 10:06 PM
Help! I've made two different batches of mead, one peach mead with cold-pressed peach juice (local sourced peaches, juiced at home), another tart cherry riesling (recipe is mainly from Schramm's book if I remember correctly). I just tasted them and they are still very strong alcoholic flavor. I used TOSNA for nutrients, plastic bucket for primary (2 weeks), glass carboy secondary (6ish weeks), 5 gal ball lock keg for tertiary to cover it with CO2 while aging (about 3-4 months so far). Stored in fermentation chamber at 58 degrees although the power went out once and I live in Phoenix so the temp went up to 77 by the time power came back but that happened 2 weeks after fermentation was done. D47 yeast. Below is the recipe and notes for the Peach one it is older and tastes worse than the cherry so I'm assuming the cherry has the same problem. I'm trying to figure out what, if anything, I can do now, and also what I can do for future batches to avoid this. Please let me know what you think!

Brad

INGREDIENTS
2gal water
1.5625 (1gal+9cup) Honey (1gal+3cup Desert Blossom Mesquite & 2cup Orange Blossom)
2.7gal Peach Juice (70%, white, 25% yellow, 5% nectarine)
1.2pack Lavlin D47 Yeast (59-68F)
GoFerm (according to instructions - 1.5t with 4oz 110F water, wait til water is 104 add yeast, wait 10-15min, add 4oz must, wait 10min and pitch)
24g Fermaid O (spaced additions according to TOSNA)
3t pectinase
OG 1.10 (will add 5cup more honey to make OG equivalent to 1.117)
FG 1.012
Final nutrients add OG 1.073

DIRECTIONS
1. Mix water, honey, and peach juice til consistent
2. Rehydrate yeast using GoFerm following instructions on GoFerm packet)
3. Place airlock and store in a cool, dry place
4. At 24hr after yeast pitch, degas, add 6g Fermaid O to a small amount of must, then pitch, measure SG and sample
5. At 48hr after yeast pitch, degas, add 6g Fermaid O to a small amount of must, then pitch, measure SG and sample
6. At 72hr after yeast pitch, degas, add 6g Fermaid O to a small amount of must, then pitch, measure SG and sample, add ginger to taste
7. At 7days or SG@1.073 after yeast pitch, degas, add 6g Fermaid O to a small amount of must, then pitch, measure SG and sample
8. Add ginger to taste
9. Transfer to secondary and add pectinase

NOTES
Started 5/1/16 - SG of 2.7gal peach juice = 1.035, added 12lb honey now 5.7gal @ SG = 1.10
5/2 - SG 1.10, temp 68F, added 6g Fermaid O, degassed (decent amount of CO2), amazing taste!
5/3 - degassed in AM; SG 1.066, temp 71, added 6g Fermaid O, degassed (bubbling like crazy), added 3 cup Desert Blossom Mesquite Honey, SG now 1.082
5/4 - degassed in AM; SG 1.050, temp 61, added 6g Fermaid O, degassed, added 2 cup OB Honey, SG now 1.060
5/5 - SG 1.046, temp 59, added 6g Fermaid O, degassed with spatula not drill, no honey added, taste better than yesterday (no hot flavor)
5/7 - SG 1.030, temp 58, gently degassed, taste good and alcoholic
5/8 - SG 1.022, temp 59, gently degassed, added 2T juiced ginger, good but alcoholic flavor
5/10 - SG 1.015, temp 61, barely any CO2 left, strong alcohol flavor hopefully aging is the solution
5/12 - SG 1.012, temp 61, strong alcohol flavor, may need more honey to sweeten up a bit
5/15 - SG 1.004, cant believe its still going, leaving town in two days so delayed racking and added 3lb(4cup) more of OB honey, SG now 1.020, pH 4.0, hopefully will hold steady and can be racked tomorrow
5/15 PM - Added sulfite, sorbate, and pectinase into 5 gal secondary, racked into 5 gal secondary and 1 gal secondary
6/3 - Fermentation chamber power went out, probably out 2-3 days. Temp went from 58 to 77
7/4 - SG 1.014, transferred to tertiary, had 1.5 gallons of yeast and probably peach pulp at bottom. 1 gal secondary turned brown so left as is to see what happens. Now only have 3.9 gallons. Taste is still alcoholic with little peach flavor
8/12: SG 1.016, pH 4.2, strong alcohol flavor, needs a lot of aging, transferred to keg for bulk aging, yield about 3 gal
11/11: SG 1.015, still alcoholic flavor, maybe better than last tasting but still strong

Masbustelo
11-12-2016, 12:34 AM
I've often read that you need to plan on aging one month for every one percent of alcohol. Your somewhere around 12 % so you may have six months or more to go. I know that that there is talk about meads being ready in one month, etc. That hasn't been my experience, nor of many others. Many experienced wine makers don't even bottle until they have bulk aged for two years. During aging there are quite a few complex chemical changes occurring. I would say don't worry and micro-manage this batch. Get busy and make lots more batches, and different kinds. Fermenting is like photography. Some pictures turn out better than others. The secret to good photography is take lots of pictures.

jeffvenuti
11-12-2016, 01:08 AM
D47 is pretty finicky about temperature. Many in the forums agree it starts to throw fusels above 65F. Most of your initial fermentation is above this, and you've got pretty big swing the first few days. I think you're going to have to age this one to mellow some of those off flavors.

Jeff

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

caduseus
11-12-2016, 02:09 AM
I've often read that you need to plan on aging one month for every one percent of alcohol. Your somewhere around 12 % so you may have six months or more to go. I know that that there is talk about meads being ready in one month, etc. That hasn't been my experience, nor of many others.

1) with the additional honey bringing OG to 1.117 this is more like 13.7%abv which would take even longer to age.
2) I follow this rule of thumb and it has worked well: 1-2% per month for aging depending on how close you can get to IDEAL ( not tolerable) fermentation range. Thus if you can stay close to ideal you could age this in 7 months for your mead. But with this particular yeast you were outside that range so you will need even longer than 7 months.

For this reason outside the winter months I only use Wyeast 1388, EC- 1118, 1116- but any temperature tolerant yeast will work.

Or you can invest in expensive temperature control features and place in chest freezer.

brgeren
11-12-2016, 04:29 PM
Thanks for all the info. Just glad the answer is to wait a bit longer. I forgot the temp issues I had the first two days, but after that I got it stable in the fermentation chamber. The thing I don't understand is I've been going around to some small meaderies (in AZ, WA, and BC), and they all seem to claim they bottle and serve their mead at the 2 month mark. So I'm trying to figure out how to reduce my time until the mead is ready, this one year thing seems steep!

Masbustelo
11-12-2016, 06:27 PM
Remember, foisting beverages on an unsuspecting public is one thing. Producing very high quality beverages that cant be purchased at any price is another. I am enjoying a cranberry bochet that I started last Christmas. I've been waiting for it to come around. I opened a bottle at the world series and it still wasn't very enjoyable. Today it is delightful. Ciders, or pyments can usually be fermented and drunk quickly if you want something to occupy yourself. It's that time of year.

Squatchy
11-12-2016, 10:29 PM
So I would like to toss in my two cents. No doubt any mead will taste better the longer it ages. To a point that is. At some point it surely must start to go downhill. I have not been making mead long enough to know anything about this last statement.
I suppose "drinkable" is defined differently by everyone here on the forum. There are many parts to a good clean fermentation. Mistreating any one of them will set you back to some degree. Some pieces will incur a stiffer penalty than others if missed and by what degree is missed. I guess one easy way to determine your final product and wither it is "drinkable" or not, is is it enjoyable and easy to drink right now? Does it leave you wanting and drinking more? If so I would say it is drinkable. Will it get even better? Without a doubt!

In my experience , good clean ferments can produce drinkable meads as soon as you can get the yeast out. Anyone who has made a BOMM has seen that it ferments quickly and is also a quick clearing mead. Half of what makes it special is that the yeast drop out very quickly. If it didn't clean up so fast, it wouldn't become drinkable as fast either. Same holds true with wine yeast. Get it out through different means, and your mead will instantly taste better. Providing you didn't insult your mead during the fermentation process.

Now I'm not saying any mead will taste good as soon as you get your yeast out. But, a good clean mead will be drinkable in 2-3 months. A BOMM isn't really ready any sooner than that either in my opinion. I have friends and family dipping into my carboys and going back for more, even when there are lees settled in the bottom.

A high ABV will have some alcohol burn for sure. And yes, that takes a while to smooth out. Oaking will definitely help roll of the edge and smooth it out faster. Even if you don't like oak, you can take it out before it's in your face and it will still smooth out the burn. Most people who say they don't like oak, are really saying they don't like a highly charred French Oak. Learn about oak people. Learn about different species and toast levels. Each one imparts different profiles that add a lot of complexity and underlying nuances that won't even be able to be identified, save for the most discernible taster.

Here are the things, in order, that lead to good clean ferments.

Correct amount of yeast PPM based on gravity at pitch. I see people under-pitching on here all the time.
Proper rehydration techniques. Goferm is worth it's weight in gold. Use the protocol people. If you can't or won't use Goferm, plain tap water is second best.
This includes paying close attention to temperatures. And atemperation I see lots of wounded yeast due to temperature shock.
Adding pure O2 with a stone makes a huge difference. Yeast want 12-15 PPM at pitch and at 24 hours. You can't get to this saturation level without a stone and pure O2.
Controlled must temps throughout the entire process.
Proper YAN calculations and feeding regimen. Tosna and Fermaid-O si what I hang my hat on.
Daily degassings 2 x's, morning and evening
Keeping yeast suspended in must until a few weeks past fermentation's end. Too many rack way too soon.
Autolysis takes months people. Especially in colder must. Keeping them from getting buried prolongs degradation. Yeast will clean up there mess and by keeping them in your must longer will make the ageing process go faster later on.
Finning gets a bad rap. I think too many people pass on information as if it's true even when they have no personal experience. Used correctly finning agents (including bentonite) do not strip out flavors enough to not employ them.
Racking: I see people in way too much of a hurry to rack. I personally don't rack until fermentation is over, until I have sat on the lees for a few weeks(suspended), cold crashed, stabilized, and fined. All of them and in that order.
Bulk ageing. By the time I get the above line finished it's drinkable. I usually let it sit for 8-10 months. I might rack it one more time depending on if there is some dust on the bottom. In either case I filter and bottle.

I know some of this flies in the face of convention. I also know a lot of people take a very long time to land on a process. There is so much crap on the web. Bad information. Old information. Misinformation. How can anyone figure this out???

This is my way and I'm sharing it to anyone who hasn't firmly landed on their own process. Good practice is way more important than wanting recipes. Learn to make good traditionals, and everything else will improve concurrently.

It wasn't until I started to employ all of these did I feel the certainty I now feel about my process. The last 2 medals I just won were with 5 month old meads using this method.

HeidrunsGift
11-12-2016, 11:42 PM
Correct amount of yeast PPM based on gravity at pitch. I see people under-pitching on here all the time.
Proper rehydration techniques. Goferm is worth it's weight in gold. Use the protocol people. If you can't or won't use Goferm, plain tap water is second best.
This includes paying close attention to temperatures. And atemperation I see lots of wounded yeast due to temperature shock.
Adding pure O2 with a stone makes a huge difference. Yeast want 12-15 PPM at pitch and at 24 hours. You can't get to this saturation level without a stone and pure O2.
Controlled must temps throughout the entire process.
Proper YAN calculations and feeding regimen. Tosna and Fermaid-O si what I hang my hat on.
Daily degassings 2 x's, morning and evening
Keeping yeast suspended in must until a few weeks past fermentation's end. Too many rack way too soon.
Autolysis takes months people. Especially in colder must. Keeping them from getting buried prolongs degradation. Yeast will clean up there mess and by keeping them in your must longer will make the ageing process go faster later on.
Finning gets a bad rap. I think too many people pass on information as if it's true even when they have no personal experience. Used correctly finning agents (including bentonite) do not strip out flavors enough to not employ them.
Racking: I see people in way too much of a hurry to rack. I personally don't rack until fermentation is over, until I have sat on the lees for a few weeks(suspended), cold crashed, stabilized, and fined. All of them and in that order.
Bulk ageing. By the time I get the above line finished it's drinkable. I usually let it sit for 8-10 months. I might rack it one more time depending on if there is some dust on the bottom. In either case I filter and bottle.


Good summary for protocols Squatchy, thanks for the post! I would also add pH management as an important issue. Also, some additional info regarding stones with pure O2. I have read in some places that only a .5 micron stone will work with pure O2. Turns out this is not true. A 2 micron stone will work also, however, it is not as efficient. This may not be an issue if you have a tank and a ton of O2 at your disposal, but if you are using a red disposable one that only last a couple minutes, I would recommend sticking with a a .5 micron stone.

I'm still figuring out some of my sequences for rackings/cold crashing. I normally cold crash before my first rack to clear out as much yeast as possible as you mention. Not in all cases though: if I think I am going to be adding tartaric acid later on during aging, I would wait till after its added (to precipitate out the potassium-bitartrate crystals), or, if I'm doing sur lie aging, I'd still want a significant amount of lees and autolyzed yeast.

Thanks again for the post, good stuff! :)

pdh
11-13-2016, 10:50 AM
> Racking: I see people in way too much of a hurry to rack. I personally don't rack until fermentation is over, until I have sat on the lees for a few weeks(suspended), cold crashed, stabilized, and fined.

Agreed. I was guilty of this myself, until I started to think: why exactly do we rack at all? I was racking without even understanding why I was doing it. (Well, I had seen it written that you should rack after a week or two, so that's what I did.)

As I understand it now -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- the reasons we rack are:
- Getting the mead off the lees, to avoid off-flavors from autolysis -- maybe people worry too much about this;
- If you're using chunks of fruit in a methaglin, separating them out when they start to get funky -- I've never used fruit myself but this seems valid;
- Preparation for final clarification / backsweetening / bottling, when fermentation is truly complete, as in the quote above.

Are there any other valid reasons to rack mead? And is there any reason to rack more than once, other than to separate from fruit pulp? (Like the winemakers do -- I think they typically rack after 5 - 7 days for that reason, then rack a second time when fermentation is complete, prior to bulk aging.)

Squatchy
11-13-2016, 11:00 AM
Thank you for reminding me about the pH. That is also critical. I don't ever add K2CO3 unless I need it. Fermaid O does a wonderful job buffering. I have found so far that 3 and above is fine. I have never had a mead stall from pH problems and some have gone a little under 3 with no problems.

I do use a .5 stone.

I generally use a 1.8 micron pad for my filters. At this level it does a great job of cleaning the mead to a very nice polish without stripping any of the flavor.

I also failed to mention my process is just a bit different when I use fresh fruit. I generally only leave fruit in until a few weeks after primary is over. Or, for a few weeks in secondary. At 60 degrees I feel it's pretty safe for that many weeks because of the ABV, and that is always 14% on up.

Squatchy
11-13-2016, 11:11 AM
Wine making with fresh grapes is a little different than what we typical do.

I believe people are too worried about getting off the lees to soon. 71-b has an especially bad rap and I have read of people that sur lie with it. If you keep them suspended it literally takes many weeks, even months to start to break down. Once they die the dead bodies act like sponges and while they are still alive they will eat your mead cleaner as well. The only time I would suggest racking so early in the process is if a person wants to try to stop a fermentation before the yeast eat it dry. And then I would suggest cold crashing for a week or more ( the colder the less time is needed) and then rack to leave as much yeast as you can behind. I see people do this and then wonder why their mead stalls before it finishes all the time on Facebook. Oh, BTW, Facebook is a great place to go learn what doesn't work.

pdh
11-13-2016, 12:02 PM
Maybe one more reason to rack early: if you're doing open primary fermentation (in a bucket or a big stockpot or something), sometimes people rack after a week or two so they can get the mead into a carboy under a fermentation trap. That might be another valid reason to rack it relatively soon. (Or, maybe the need for this first racking is a valid reason not to do primary fermentation in an open vessel.)

Squatchy
11-13-2016, 06:50 PM
I use open buckets (trashcans actually) all the time. I have found things taste better by leaving them in the trash can until the ferment slows way down before lock them up.

pdh
11-13-2016, 07:09 PM
Squatchy, when you say you leave them in the can until the ferment slows way down -- how long do you actually wait? A week or two -- or a month or two -- or longer?

I start to get twitchy after about two weeks, so that's generally when I rack from the open fermenter into a carboy with a fermentation trap. But I've never felt really sure about the timing, so I'd be curious to get your opinion.

caduseus
11-13-2016, 07:27 PM
Squatchy, when you say you leave them in the can until the ferment slows way down -- how long do you actually wait? A week or two -- or a month or two -- or longer?

I start to get twitchy after about two weeks, so that's generally when I rack from the open fermenter into a carboy with a fermentation trap. But I've never felt really sure about the timing, so I'd be curious to get your opinion.

not sure what squatchy's response is but 2 weeks is bit too soon to rack unless you plan on drinking it really soon and dont plan on letting age long.
I would recommend letting sit for at least a month from pitch, but stir daily to prevent lees from settling.

brgeren
11-13-2016, 07:50 PM
My process (which I thought I learned from a variety of reliable sources), was to use a mead stirring drill attachment and stir the must like crazy, starting at pitching and going 1-2 times a day until the 1/3 (or 1/2) sugar break. After that point I don't touch a thing, until the gravity is constant for a minimum of 3 days, at which point I rack and then leave to bulk age. From the sounds of the previous posts, this process is probably why I need so much more time for aging. So what am I doing wrong in my process that I need to change to getting a better tasting mead earlier? Do I need an O2 stone? Should I keep stirring? Am I racking too soon? Anything else?

Masbustelo
11-13-2016, 10:49 PM
One thing I want to mention that I think hasn't been said is this: I almost always ferment in buckets. Usually when I Get to 1.010 or there abouts, I will press or remove the fruit etc. At this point I will stir the pot to be sure all the particulate matter is put in suspension. Then I rack all of this solution into a carboy and put it under the airlock. Then...I will wait until all fermentation and MLF is complete. During this phase it is a good idea to stir the lees into suspension with a certain frequency. When all is still, I rack it off the gross lees. Then I like to rack every three months or so, if there is a good accumulation. If it is just a little dust I'll rack once more a few days prior to bottling. Anymore I am not in much of a hurry and I like to bottle after a year.

pdh
11-13-2016, 11:04 PM
Thanks to everyone who's posting this kind of detail about their procedures.

I've read a lot here about which ingredients are used and when, but not always as much about the "handling" details. I suspect that some of these handling details may make a significant difference, a difference which is not captured when we simply list the ingredients in our recipes.

Squatchy
11-13-2016, 11:37 PM
Squatchy, when you say you leave them in the can until the ferment slows way down -- how long do you actually wait? A week or two -- or a month or two -- or longer?

I start to get twitchy after about two weeks, so that's generally when I rack from the open fermenter into a carboy with a fermentation trap. But I've never felt really sure about the timing, so I'd be curious to get your opinion.

So I usually get through 1120-1150 points in just over 2 weeks unless it's slow yeast like CY3079. I don't go by gravity as much as activity. But if I were to guess I would think it might be around 1010 or so. It seems as if there really isn't much gasses coming off the must. When I lock it up with an airlock on a carboy it then becomes obvious and it starts bubbling.

Squatchy
11-14-2016, 12:33 AM
My process (which I thought I learned from a variety of reliable sources), was to use a mead stirring drill attachment and stir the must like crazy, starting at pitching and going 1-2 times a day until the 1/3 (or 1/2) sugar break. After that point I don't touch a thing, until the gravity is constant for a minimum of 3 days, at which point I rack and then leave to bulk age. From the sounds of the previous posts, this process is probably why I need so much more time for aging. So what am I doing wrong in my process that I need to change to getting a better tasting mead earlier? Do I need an O2 stone? Should I keep stirring? Am I racking too soon? Anything else?

So unless we know everything you are doing it's hard to know for sure. A stonework help but if you're doing other things wrong the stone doesn't fix that. If your racking after 3 days I think you can do better if you gently stir every other day or two and wait 3-4 weeks if you want to rack off the rough Lee's. Maybe stir for 3 weeks, cold crash if you can for a week and then rack off the Lee's. That would also be a good time to stabilize. Rack off the Lee's onto sorbate/sulfites.

Squatchy
11-14-2016, 12:39 AM
Thanks to everyone who's posting this kind of detail about their procedures.

I've read a lot here about which ingredients are used and when, but not always as much about the "handling" details. I suspect that some of these handling details may make a significant difference, a difference which is not captured when we simply list the ingredients in our recipes.

You are correct. And I'm glad you learned some things. I didn't intend to hijack your thread.