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View Full Version : Quick questions before starting my first batch of mead.



Micahdo
12-17-2016, 08:57 PM
After a few weeks of lurking here and reading around some websites, I bought a mead making kit from a local homebrew supply. The employees recommended D-47 yeast and included a nutrient packet with the kit, they stressed that it was all I needed.
My first question: the D-47 yeast apparently needs to stay under 68 degrees, where I plan on storing the mead stays right at 66-70 degrees, and should be a little bit cooler now that winter is coming, but is staying that close to the top end of the temp range going to give my mead less a chance of being the best it could be?
The second question: the nutrient the included contains "Super Ferment," Bentonite, Tannin, and Pectin Enzyme. I did some reasearch and it seems the pectin enzyme and bentonite are used for clarification, but from what I have read on tannin is that is could impart a bad flavor on the mead.
Should I trudge forwards with what I have or make a drive back and resupply? I plan on the final product being a semi-sweet to sweet mead, I am making 5 gallons, with 16lbs or local raw honey. My wife is begging to add fruit in the secondary, so I may end up breaking the the batch up into a few smaller glass containers. I will also backsweeten as necessary.
Thank y'all very much for the help.

My recipe currently is:
16 lbs of honey
1pkg of D-47 yeast
Water

caduseus
12-17-2016, 09:17 PM
After a few weeks of lurking here and reading around some websites, I bought a mead making kit from a local homebrew supply. The employees recommended D-47 yeast and included a nutrient packet with the kit, they stressed that it was all I needed.
My first question: the D-47 yeast apparently needs to stay under 68 degrees, where I plan on storing the mead stays right at 66-70 degrees, and should be a little bit cooler now that winter is coming, but is staying that close to the top end of the temp range going to give my mead less a chance of being the best it could be?
The second question: the nutrient the included contains "Super Ferment," Bentonite, Tannin, and Pectin Enzyme. I did some reasearch and it seems the pectin enzyme and bentonite are used for clarification, but from what I have read on tannin is that is could impart a bad flavor on the mead.
Should I trudge forwards with what I have or make a drive back and resupply? I plan on the final product being a semi-sweet to sweet mead, I am making 5 gallons, with 16lbs or local raw honey. My wife is begging to add fruit in the secondary, so I may end up breaking the the batch up into a few smaller glass containers. I will also backsweeten as necessary.
Thank y'all very much for the help.

My recipe currently is:
16 lbs of honey
1pkg of D-47 yeast
Water

I will refrain from commenting until I have more information. (But I will say you need more than 1 packet of yeast if it has the typical 5grams. Don't buy more yet until the comments come in.
Have you ever done a Joes Ancient Orange Mead or Brays One Month Mead?
Generally I recommend you start with one of those.
JAOM is so simple that if you can't do that one you should stay away from meadmaking.

Micahdo
12-17-2016, 09:32 PM
I have 2-5gram packets of LALVIN D-47.
This will be my first brew altogether. I have looked into the JOAM and BOMM, but I for one reason or another they did not appeal to me. I have done "a lot" of research and feel like a basic traditional is within my grasp, although this post may imply the opposite.

bernardsmith
12-17-2016, 10:27 PM
Brewers - for some reason that I cannot understand - tend to use twice the amount of yeast that wine (and mead makers) typically use (at least ale yeasts are packaged in 11 g packs). One pack of a wine yeast typically will ferment 5 or 6 gallons. Says so on the pack and I am OK trusting the lab that cultivated the yeast. I have never in years of wine making ever had to use more than 1 pack to ferment 5 gallons (tho' I generally prefer to make 1 or 3 gallon batches). I suspect that pitching too much yeast can stress the yeast although I also suspect that home wine makers will have a hard job "over-pitching" - we are not talking about pitching gallons (literally) of active yeast with trillions of cells.

pwizard
12-17-2016, 11:23 PM
What other kinds of yeast do they have? To play it safe, I suggest a yeast with more forgiving temperature requirements like K1V-1116. Lots of people here don't recommend D47 unless you can keep the temperature under 65 degrees no matter what for the duration of the ferment. (otherwise the mead will probably have lots of harshness and other off flavors). K1V can exceed 18% ABV and is a very neutral yeast-- it does not usually impart any flavors of its own unless you ferment it cold.

If I do a batch 4 gallons or larger, I prefer to make a yeast starter. That's basically a mini-batch (half-gallon or so) that I start a few days in advance and then dump into the main batch when the time comes.


Does the shop sell Fermaid O or Fermaid K? Those work a lot better than the yeast nutrients LHBS typically sell and are worth ordering online if you can't get them anywhere else. I'd avoid any kind of nutrient that has urea in it.

Micahdo
12-17-2016, 11:37 PM
Thank you guys very much for your quick answers. I will probably place an order for some Fermaid, some additional cleaning supplies and a couple different yeasts for future batches to see what works best for me.

Squatchy
12-17-2016, 11:43 PM
Brewers - for some reason that I cannot understand - tend to use twice the amount of yeast that wine (and mead makers) typically use (at least ale yeasts are packaged in 11 g packs). One pack of a wine yeast typically will ferment 5 or 6 gallons. Says so on the pack and I am OK trusting the lab that cultivated the yeast. I have never in years of wine making ever had to use more than 1 pack to ferment 5 gallons (tho' I generally prefer to make 1 or 3 gallon batches). I suspect that pitching too much yeast can stress the yeast although I also suspect that home wine makers will have a hard job "over-pitching" - we are not talking about pitching gallons (literally) of active yeast with trillions of cells.

If you go read their web site a 5 gram packet is good to around 1070 or something like that. They give you how much yeast your supposed to use based on gravity, difficulty ECT. If you used that chart 5 grams in 5 gallons is way underpitching most standard meads

caduseus
12-17-2016, 11:56 PM
If you go read their web site a 5 gram packet is good to around 1070 or something like that. They give you how much yeast your supposed to use based on gravity, difficulty ECT. If you used that chart 5 grams in 5 gallons is way underpitching most standard meads

Amen. While I agree mead is not beer, it is also not wine either. I have only done meads and fruit wines. I can say even fruit wines are much easier than mead.

k1V116 can tolerate the temperatures better but there are other yeasts that can tolerate temperature better than D-47. While these other yeasts dont tolerate as well as K1V-1116 or EC-118, they can still tolerate better than D-47 without blowing off all the good aromas that 1116/1118 do.

I like QA 23 and CY3079 which are great yeasts- but QA23 has somewhat better temperature tolerance of the 2. Some people like RC212 but i have never used this one.
Honestly your best bet would be to make a BOMM type mead. You can make a traditonal with wyeast 1388 and it has great temperature tolerance.
Here is a link for making a one gallon and another for a 5 gallon:
1 gallon= https://denardbrewing.com/blog/post/brays-one-month-mead/
5 gallon= https://denardbrewing.com/blog/post/BOMM5gallons/

I am not sure why you are quick to shun both JAOM and BOMM since you are new to mead-making.
Also since it is your first you may want to consider your first as a 1 gallon rather your first as a 5 gallon.

bernardsmith
12-18-2016, 01:07 PM
JAOM is not an entry mead, is it? You have to unlearn everything when you then make a more conventional mead. JAOM works if you follow the recipe precisely... other meads work if you follow the protocol. JAOM is totally counter-intuitive except that it makes use of very nuanced understanding of what is going on. It even avoids the use of measurements - no hydrometer but it uses the ingredients themselves to tell you what is happening. Novice mead makers will not have Joe's understanding and so if they simply change the yeast, use another fruit - don't add fruit but add spices, they will not have a successful fermentation...

caduseus
12-18-2016, 01:47 PM
JAOM is not an entry mead, is it? You have to unlearn everything when you then make a more conventional mead. JAOM works if you follow the recipe precisely... other meads work if you follow the protocol. JAOM is totally counter-intuitive except that it makes use of very nuanced understanding of what is going on. It even avoids the use of measurements - no hydrometer but it uses the ingredients themselves to tell you what is happening. Novice mead makers will not have Joe's understanding and so if they simply change the yeast, use another fruit - don't add fruit but add spices, they will not have a successful fermentation...

If you read everything in the recipe, he is basically saying "follow directions!". It is a good entry level because the only way to fail that mead is NOT following directions. So if you fail that mead you have trouble following directions. If you can't follow directions with that simplistic mead, then you can't make mead. As he says.

bernardsmith
12-18-2016, 02:52 PM
Sorry, but I disagree. It's like saying that you can "cook" if you know how to read and follow a recipe. What you can do is follow a recipe but following a recipe is something that machines do. Cooking (or making wine or mead) is something else entirely. IMO, you cannot go from making a JAOM to thinking that you can make mead. You can go from making mead to making a JAOM. That novices have latched onto Joe's recipe says something about how simple his recipe is to follow. But it is a very unique standalone mead. Even if you spend the next 12 months making a new batch of JAOM every week you will not necessarily have developed the knowledge or the skill to make the simplest mead without a recipe - because you will have no idea of what protocols you need to follow and why. Joe's recipe takes care of the novice's lack of knowledge and lack of understanding. It's a self driving car but sitting in it won't make you a driver if you have never gotten behind the wheel before.

Squatchy
12-18-2016, 03:29 PM
I just started a different thread that segues s right into this.

So I get request on my pm and on facebook all the time from people wanting help.

I happy to help if someone is willing to learn. I get very short with people who ask for help and then mess stuff up by not listening to what I offer. Not that I know everything, but don't ask for help if your not willing to use the help.

I'm not complaining at all. This might have sounded this way. I wanted to post a small bit of a reply from a recent conversation this morning helping a new comer because I felt it was maybe good for lots of new comer's here. I wanted to encourage you all.


I won't mind helping you but please don't wear me out with things you can learn on your own. The best guys here are the one who study the old fashion way as if you were in college. This is how you "find your way". Learn by study and not just getting other peoples ideas. Most of what others will tell you is what has been repeated by many who have no real experience. And a good part of that is wrong or incomplete.

I will help you but I expect you will study first and then double check with me once you have come to your own conclusion. I know what I do because I have studied more than others. I'm here to help but I want you to study and learn as if I am not here. This is how it becomes your own.

I can teach you how to make mead in a couple weeks but all you will know is how to follow a recipe and that's almost worthless. If we study and understand "why" we do, and understand a process. Then no longer would you need to ask the "what". What, becomes understood and will reveal it's self once the "why is understood. If you work to learn the process and not the recipe you can figure the recipe on your own and then it's your mead. And your creating your own stuff, rather than only knowing how to follow a recipe. Someone once told me, "some people can learn to make good mead in a matter of weeks and some will never learn over the course of years"

I might seem less fun, but if you concentrate on learning to make a good traditional, this will up your game in everything you do. There is no place for faults to hide in a traditional. It will tell you right away if your process works or not. I here quite often. "I make pretty good (this or that's) but my traditionals never turn out very good."

I used to spend tons of money with extremely expensive teaching pros working towards getting my card for the PGA when I was younger. I once overheard a student say to one of my instructors. "I have a pretty good short game but my long game really falls apart".

The thing was with this guy was that the flaws in his short game didn't show up as much because of the short distances. When he took those same flaws to the tee box with his big dog his small "faults" were magnified many times over. He had them in both parts of his game but it manifested more in his long game. Once he learned to correct them in his short game practice, his long game fell right in place.

You may or not be a golfer, but I hope this analogy makes good sense and would inspire you to work on your short game on the practice range of traditionals. When you can putt and chip well it becomes very easy to "let the big dog eat".

bernardsmith
12-19-2016, 10:49 AM
If you go read their web site a 5 gram packet is good to around 1070 or something like that. They give you how much yeast your supposed to use based on gravity, difficulty ECT. If you used that chart 5 grams in 5 gallons is way underpitching most standard meads

But Squatchy, The package itself suggests that it's good for up to 5 gallons ( see for example https://www.amazon.com/Lalvin-ICV-D47-Wine-Yeast-5g/dp/B0080XSES4)
and the lab suggests that the tolerance for this yeast is about 14% (or a starting gravity of about 1.110) - So while you might pitch a brewer's lot there seems to be nothing that the lab offers that suggests that such practice is necessary.

HeidrunsGift
12-19-2016, 04:01 PM
I like QA 23 and CY3079 which are great yeasts- but QA23 has somewhat better temperature tolerance of the 2. Some people like RC212 but i have never used this one.

I'm a big fan of RC212. I've never used QA23 before, but from what I've heard and read, they both are similar in that they will retain aromas extremely well. RC212 is great for a warmer fermentation (low 70s) and is a fast fermenter. I've only used it in melomels though, in order to retain strong fruit aromas.

Squatchy
12-27-2016, 12:06 AM
But Squatchy, The package itself suggests that it's good for up to 5 gallons ( see for example https://www.amazon.com/Lalvin-ICV-D47-Wine-Yeast-5g/dp/B0080XSES4)
and the lab suggests that the tolerance for this yeast is about 14% (or a starting gravity of about 1.110) - So while you might pitch a brewer's lot there seems to be nothing that the lab offers that suggests that such practice is necessary.

Hi Bernardsmith

If you look at what the Scotts Lab handbook tells us about pitch rates, it clearly advises more than 5 grams for 5 gallons.

I took the time to do the math so people can see how the numbers play out. Rather than burring it here I took the liberty to start a new thread with what I came up with. Please go look at it and and let me know what you think :)

rdb8879
12-27-2016, 12:34 PM
Here's a website worth investing time into. It's precise, easy to understand, and most of all.....it works.

http://www.meadmaderight.com/home.html