View Full Version : seeking thoughts and/or opinions?

11-17-2016, 09:12 PM
hello, I am now 30, I've brewed beer from when I was 21 till about just before I was 23. Wanted to begin brewing again and thought that since I'm not much of a drinker that mead is the way to go, as aging and waiting are no issue by me. I live in a diverse high desert area, Siskiyou county, at the base of mount Shasta. the apiaries here capture the essence of our counties diversity and inspire me to ferment it! So I purchased some local honey, then went online to get a simple 1 gallon set up. I've no hydrometer and this is my recipe I threw together:

2lb wild flower honey
1lb deep forest honey
teaspoon of yeast energizer
teaspoon of fermax yeast nutrient
red star premier blanc yeast

I rehydrated the yeast in spring water with a pinch of organic sugar. while yeast was proofing I whisked the honeys into the water, I used a no heat method water was about room temperature, pitched the yeast whilst whisking once the honey and water were one, then put must into a glass carboy. exactly a week later (today) I racked into a secondary glass carboy. I whisked together a lil over a 1/4lb of sweet desert honey into a lil over a cup of water to top off the carboy.

so far so good, I'm planning on leaving it in this secondary for a few weeks then going to bottle into 16oz swing tops. been slowly gathering more supplies and will be actively making more meads. I know one of the first tips is "get a hydrometer!!!" its cool I'm on it, should be delivered soon. please any thoughts, opinions, and tips are completely helpful and constructive criticism is extremely welcome!

11-17-2016, 09:53 PM
DO you have The Compleat Meadmaker from Ken Schramm or any other mead making book?

11-17-2016, 10:10 PM
nope, but I will add it to the list of "needs".

11-18-2016, 01:40 AM
Racking is generally not necessary until fermentation is over. And don't use time to determine when to bottle, use your hydrometer when you get it.

Last thing, didn't notice if you mentioned what total volume you're fermenting. That's important, particularly if you can't provide specific gravity readings.

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11-18-2016, 02:55 AM
I'm making a gallon. I wanted to take it off the gross lees, I've read that its best to do at a week. it seems to have takin a liking to that addition of honey water, a lot less lees at the bottom now.

11-18-2016, 09:54 AM
Hi cataclysmicvariable - and welcome. Strongly agree with jeffvenuti - fermentation is a living process not an engineering one. It develops at its own pace determined by an enormous number of factors and variables, so the best thing to do is not set your clock or calendar but to monitor how the fermentation is proceeding. One batch may be ready for racking after 7 days and another may take 40 days. Rack too soon and you run the risk of removing too many yeast cells for the fermentation to continue without problems; rack too late and you may encourage off flavors to become evident. You should know, (at least in my opinion) allowing the mead to sit on lees for a while - and even stirring those lees into the body of the mead can add additional notes to the flavor that are very desirable rather than something to be avoided.

11-18-2016, 10:58 AM
cool, this is very good to know. best way to tell when time is right is hydrometer, and from reading these forums I see its actually best not to "top off" but rather to displace volume with marbles. I appreciate this forum. not many like this.

just some observational notes, a very thin lees has appeared, there is more bubbly activity in the carboy as well as the air lock. I understand that bubbles aren't everything and that I need my hydrometer to come in SOOOON but these visual ques are giving me faith that not all is lost.


11-19-2016, 12:55 AM
Don't be afraid if the lees. Its a natural part of fermentation. The primary concern with sitting on lees for too long after fermentation is yeast autolysis (self enzymatic digestion), but for many of the yeasts we use for mead the affects of autolysis aren't apparent until at least a month after fermentation. It's probably more noticeable in beers as off flavors, less so with wibes. Champagnes in fact are deliberately aged on the lees specifically for the flavor nuances it imparts.

So, finish ferment, then rack. You have nothing to worry about (except maybe temperature, but that's a lesson for another time).


11-19-2016, 10:07 AM
cool, thanks jeff, that is interesting. I feel like temperature is deff something I need to control. I live at the base of mount Shasta California, it is actually snowing as I type. trying to keep warm but not to warm, got a towel wrapped around the carboy. today appears to be just as good as yesterday if I consider the bubbling in the carboy as well as the bubbles in the air lock. gonna let it do its thing should have a triple scale hydrometer in on Monday.

11-19-2016, 11:16 AM
Hi Jeff

I was wondering what strains of yeast have you found to start decomposing within a couple months? What yeast did you do this with and at what time frame did you see the breakdown begin?

11-20-2016, 09:42 AM
Hi Squatchy,

I haven't done any sur lie aging, at least not deliberately. I think that's what you were asking. I've always racked off the lees as part of my good practice to avoid unintended off flavors, but I've done this after a month in primary with D47, K1-v1116, EC-1118, 71B-1122 (the usual suspects), without ever noticing any off flavors (no bad ones anyway). So I know that at least with those yeasts one month in primary before racking is fine.

I've got a bunch of 6 and 7 year old bottles of mead that I never did a good job of fining before bottling, and they've developed some fairly substantial sediment over time, along with sort of a sour taste. I've attributed this to autolysis, accidental sur lie aging. Unfortunately I wasn't as diligent with my notes back then to even know which yeast I used. I know, shame on me. I'm MUCH better these days. Even if I did remember the yeast I probably wouldn't' post it because I wouldn't want to give it a bad rap. It could very well be some other bad practice I had 6 years ago causing the sour taste.