PDA

View Full Version : My second batch of mead, an Apple Pie Mead, I need suggestions



WayneG
12-29-2016, 09:58 AM
Hello everyone, this is my first post as I am about to create my second batch of mead.
I am a longtime fan of Mead but new to making it. I have a friend who is into Maple Mead and after a taste of his, I figured it is time to try to make my own.

I am 30+ days into my first 5 gallon batch of traditional mead. It consists of 15 pounds of honey and 4 gallons of spring water with 71B yeast. I am fermenting it at 62 Deg. and I was at 12.6% ABV two weeks in as I did my first rack. The bubbler is slowing down and I will do a final rack after it clears a bit more, maybe another 30 days?

I have just purchased a bucket of local honey and I plan to start my second 5 gallon batch of mead while the temps in my basement are still cool enough.
While researching what flavors to experiment with for my second batch, I came across a reference to Kurt’s Apple Pie Mead. It sounds simple enough, has great ratings and it was created very close to my relatives home in Derry, NH. (I need to stop in there soon!)
I see various attempts to mimic the Kurt Apple Pie recipe, and I am thrilled to see post from Michael of Moonlight Meadery here, that is why I registered for Got Mead discussion board.

Please step in with your suggestions and comments on any of my planned methods here:
My attempt will use the 25% Honey to 75% Apple juice by volume method. Due to the lack of unprocessed cider this time of year, I will use Motts 100% apple juice, except for some vitamin C it has no additives. I see unfiltered apple juice online, but it is expensive and hart to find in quantity locally.

For five gallons it calculates out to 3.9 gallons apple juice and 1.3 gallons of honey.
I will use the 71B yeast with nutrients and energizers in a staggered pitch. That is what I did for my first batch and that is proceeding nicely. (My Day 1 check list is at the end of this post.) I plan to let the must ferment down to about 1/3 sugar remaining before doing the first racking. That is when I plan to add the spices and that is where things get fuzzy and I may need a lot of advice.

Researching various web links and videos, it looks like Kurt’s uses Madagascar Vanilla Beans and Vietnamese Cinnamon. (I have them on order) I do not see any exact ratios mentioned but I am guessing that 1 bean is about right for 5 gallons and as for the cinnamon, I am guessing one stick will work if it is broken up but not ground?

Looking at other attempts at an Apple Pie Mead, I notice that besides cinnamon & vanilla beans, some use cloves, nutmeg and brown sugar or molasses.
Some folks use spices in the primary but most use them add them in the secondary. Some pull the spices out of the must long before bottling, other leave them in right up to bottling.

My main questions are;
What spices work best?
What spice quantity works for 5 gallons?
When to add and remove the spices?

If adding them in the secondary is best, then I may consider taking the 5 gallons of must after it is done in the pail and split it into 1 gallon jugs and spicing them in different ratios to find the best flavor.



Semi Dry Mead, First attempt, aiming for 14% to 16% alcohol content.

Day 1: 11/23/16
1) Clean & sanitize everything to be used for Day 1 list
a) PWB cleaner: ½ cup = 5 ounces for 5 gallons of warm water. 30 minute soak time.
b) BTF Iodophor ½ ounces (1 tablespoon) per 5 gallons cold water
c) Soak for 10 minutes, drip dry for 10 more.
2) Prep Energizer
a) Mix 1 teaspoon (about 4 grams) Fermaid-K and 2 teaspoon (about 8 grams) DAP
b) Divide into four ¾ teaspoon servings (about 3 grams each)
c) Mix one serving with ½ cup spring water or mead must
3) Prep Lalvin 71B 1122 Yeast (No more than 30 minutes before adding to must)
a) In a glass bowl add ¼ teaspoon (about 1 gram) Go-Ferm energizer to 1 cup spring water @ 110 degrees F
b) Wait for temperature to drop to 104 degrees F then add two 5 gram packs yeast.
c) Stir until mixed and let sit 20 minutes, no more than 30 minutes before adding to must.
4) Prep water & honey
a) Refrigerate 2 gallons of spring water to 35 degrees F.
b) Warm all 5 honey containers in pot with warm tap water to thin
c) Warm 2 spring water jugs in pots with warm tap water
5) Prep honey, water, energizer & yeast mix
a) Mix 1 1/2 gallons warm spring water (110 degrees F.) & 15 pounds of warm honey (95 degrees F.)
b) Use remaining warm spring water to get honey residue from containers into must
c) Add 1 serving Energizer as prepared in step 2
d) Add 2 gallons refrigerated water (35 degrees F.) to bring must down to about 75 degrees F.
e) Wait for temp to get to 70-75 degrees F.
f) Check & record must SG with hydrometer 1.11 and Brix sugar level 25.5 @ 80 Deg.
g) Warm ½ cup of must to match yeast mix and add to yeast mix (from step 3) to acclimate yeast
h) Slowly add cooled must so yeast temperature matches must temperature
i) Be sure must is within 10 degrees F of yeast then add yeast/must mix to must bucket
j) Slowly mix & aerate yeast & must with mixing rod on drill
6) Install lid & bubbler
7) Move to basement 60-65 degrees F
8) Check & record container temperature 11/24 0600 64 Deg.

pwizard
12-29-2016, 08:46 PM
Mott's apple juice is fine. IIRC there is no sorbate or other preservatives in it.

Since you already have Fermaid K, I strongly suggest using the TiOSNA protocol instead (you won't need the DAP). It involves a little bit of math but you will get much better results. Since you're using fruit juice, you can reduce the final amount from the formula by half. Divide that by four and that is the amount to add for each feeding. Get a good grams scale if you don't have one already so you can measure precisely (down to two decimal places).

Here's the info on TiOSNA:

http://www.meadmaderight.com/tiosna--inorganic-.html

Your target OG should be around 1.120, since that will put you at around 15.75% ABV.

Instead of using two yeast packets, I recommend using one packet to make a 1/2 gallon starter in a gallon jug + airlock with some extra honey and apple juice (or just apple juice) if at all possible. It doesn't need to be strong, 1.050 is fine. The idea is to get a large quantity of healthy yeast growing, way more than two packs would give you. Make it a few days in advance , wait for it to get going (don't forget to feed it), and then dump it in the main batch. Any nutrients you use on the starter don't count against the main batch. You will get a much more vigorous ferment if you do it that way. 1 gram of Go-ferm is not nearly enough. Multiply the grams of yeast you're using by 1.25 and use that much Go-Ferm.

You should wait until secondary to add the spices. Vietnamese cinnamon is strong, so I would not exceed one whole stick per gallon.


I plan to let the must ferment down to about 1/3 sugar remaining before doing the first racking. That is when I plan to add the spices and that is where things get fuzzy and I may need a lot of advice.

Why do you want to rack so soon? The yeast will not have dropped by that point, so you're going to have all that lees mess in your secondary. Wait until it gets to 1.000. Even with 71B there's no hurry to rack.

caduseus
12-29-2016, 09:52 PM
Mott's apple juice is fine. IIRC there is no sorbate or other preservatives in it.

Since you already have Fermaid K, I strongly suggest using the TiOSNA protocol instead (you won't need the DAP). It involves a little bit of math but you will get much better results. Since you're using fruit juice, you can reduce the final amount from the formula by half. Divide that by four and that is the amount to add for each feeding. Get a good grams scale if you don't have one already so you can measure precisely (down to two decimal places).

Here's the info on TiOSNA:

http://www.meadmaderight.com/tiosna--inorganic-.html

Your target OG should be around 1.120, since that will put you at around 15.75% ABV.

Instead of using two yeast packets, I recommend using one packet to make a 1/2 gallon starter in a gallon jug + airlock with some extra honey and apple juice (or just apple juice) if at all possible. It doesn't need to be strong, 1.050 is fine. The idea is to get a large quantity of healthy yeast growing, way more than two packs would give you. Make it a few days in advance , wait for it to get going (don't forget to feed it), and then dump it in the main batch. Any nutrients you use on the starter don't count against the main batch. You will get a much more vigorous ferment if you do it that way. 1 gram of Go-ferm is not nearly enough. Multiply the grams of yeast you're using by 1.25 and use that much Go-Ferm.

You should wait until secondary to add the spices. Vietnamese cinnamon is strong, so I would not exceed one whole stick per gallon.



Why do you want to rack so soon? The yeast will not have dropped by that point, so you're going to have all that lees mess in your secondary. Wait until it gets to 1.000. Even with 71B there's no hurry to rack.

I disagree. Based on Scott's handbook which was well covered in another link here are the calculations based on SIZE of must and SPECIFC GRAVITY:


Using the 5gal batch as an example the results should be:

Under 1.100: 5gal * 0.94g/gal = 4.7g yeast total for the batch
1.100-1.130: 5gal * 1.32g/gal = 6.6g yeast total
1.130-1.140: 5gal * 1.51g/gal = 7.5g yeast total
Over 1.140: 5gal * 1.89g/gal = 9.45g yeast total

I've been following the pitch rate recommendations from the Fermentation Handbook too. When I'm feeling lazy and don't want to weigh out super precise amounts of yeast I'll follow the TOSNA recs of 1g/gal below 1.090 and 2g/gal above. Knowing how much he used it when developing TOSNA, it's not surprising that Sergio's pitch rate recommendations pretty closely lines up with what Scott Labs says.

Like Stasis, I too am not making the connection to how YAN requirements affects pitch rate.

Copied from Gotmead.com - Read More at:http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/26310-I-made-a-pith-rate-model-based-on-Scott-s-Lab-Handbook-2016

Based on the above you will need more than 1x5gram packet.
If one really wants to be thrifty you could get by with 1.5 packets and keep the 2nd half of the other packet for later.

Based on above you can get by with 1 5gram packet for almost any batch <5 gallons and any 5 gallon batch with SG of< 1.10 but it appears your SG will be higher than that.

Never under pitch. Between under pitching and over-pitching: always over-pitch if you have to.

pwizard
12-29-2016, 09:59 PM
I disagree. Based on Scott's handbook which was well covered in another link here are the calculations based on SIZE of must and SPECIFC GRAVITY:


Using the 5gal batch as an example the results should be:

Under 1.100: 5gal * 0.94g/gal = 4.7g yeast total for the batch
1.100-1.130: 5gal * 1.32g/gal = 6.6g yeast total
1.130-1.140: 5gal * 1.51g/gal = 7.5g yeast total
Over 1.140: 5gal * 1.89g/gal = 9.45g yeast total

I've been following the pitch rate recommendations from the Fermentation Handbook too. When I'm feeling lazy and don't want to weigh out super precise amounts of yeast I'll follow the TOSNA recs of 1g/gal below 1.090 and 2g/gal above. Knowing how much he used it when developing TOSNA, it's not surprising that Sergio's pitch rate recommendations pretty closely lines up with what Scott Labs says.

Like Stasis, I too am not making the connection to how YAN requirements affects pitch rate.

Copied from Gotmead.com - Read More at:http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/26310-I-made-a-pith-rate-model-based-on-Scott-s-Lab-Handbook-2016

Based on the above you will need more than 1x5gram packet.
If one really wants to be thrifty you could get by with 1.5 packets and keep the 2nd half of the other packet for later.

Based on above you can get by with 1 5gram packet for almost any batch <5 gallons and any 5 gallon batch with SG of< 1.10 but it appears your SG will be higher than that.

Never under pitch. Between under pitching and over-pitching: always over-pitch if you have to.

He can use a 5g package to make a 1/2 gallon starter like i suggested. Once the starter is up and running there will be more than enough cells (trillions and trillions) in there to kick off a 5gal batch. Plus, they will already be fully active and used to an environment similar to the must when it's time to pitch.

Why do you suggest he use two packets of yeast over a starter made in advance?

WayneG
12-30-2016, 07:03 AM
Thank you both for help with the pitching. My first batch was a little slow to start, it was about 36 hours before I had significant action in the airlock. I will look into the TOSNA method.
As for racking at 1/3 sugar remaining, looking back I probably miscalculated the sugar remaining. I decided to rack when the airlock had stopped action for 2 days so, that was on day 23. I racked to a 5 gal. glass carboy with less head space than the plastic bucket.
At that time my SG was at 1.014, OG was 1.11. Looking at this g/l in this chart (made for wine, not mead)
http://www.brsquared.org/wine/CalcInfo/HydSugAl.htm
I went from 295 g/l to 44 g/l, that should be about 15% sugar remaining not 30%.

On doing the racking the airlock has returned to being active but slowing down at day 37. I am wondering if the plastic bucket I used had some leaks in the lid seal. It was left over from my beer brewing daZe.

Anyway, with the upcoming apple pie batch, After I have confidence in a recipe, I will start it in a new 6 gallon bucket & lid and keep an eye on it for timing to transfer to the secondary.
Again I will go to a 5 gal. glass carboy. I have an oddball Pyrex bottle they were throwing away at the university. It has a larger mouth than a standard bottle, about 2" diameter. That should make it easier if I need to add and remove spices via a spice bag on a string.

On the spices, I was planning on 1 vanilla bean for 5 gallons. I calculated that from a pod cast where Michael mentioned using 50 beans in 300 gallons.
I have not found a good source on the cinnamon amount or if it should be ground or in larger pieces.
I am also curious if adding a small amount of molasses to the secondary will help or screw up the final apple pie flavor.
Thanks again
Wayne

pwizard
12-30-2016, 08:46 AM
Airlock action isn't a very good way to tell what's going on. You need to rely on your hydrometer-- it never lies. You need to take gravity readings daily until the ferment is done. I still say wait until the yeast drops (won't happen until you're < 1.010) before you rack. The whole point of racking is leaving the gunk behind. During secondary you should focus on clearing your mead.

One vanilla bean per 5 gallons doesn't seem like very much. I generally use one per gallon on batches that call for it. Vanilla doesn't really add vanilla flavor. There's a tiny hint of it but what it does is boost other flavors in the mead. I always keep my spices whole (crushed when appropriate) but never ground. Ground spices tend to interfere with clearing.

I'm not sure what you're trying to gain from molasses in secondary. Unless you stabilize, the yeast will just eat it and make more sediment.

caduseus
12-30-2016, 10:41 AM
Thank you both for help with the pitching. My first batch was a little slow to start, it was about 36 hours before I had significant action in the airlock. I will look into the TOSNA method.
As for racking at 1/3 sugar remaining, looking back I probably miscalculated the sugar remaining. I decided to rack when the airlock had stopped action for 2 days so, that was on day 23. I racked to a 5 gal. glass carboy with less head space than the plastic bucket.
At that time my SG was at 1.014, OG was 1.11. Looking at this g/l in this chart (made for wine, not mead)
http://www.brsquared.org/wine/CalcInfo/HydSugAl.htm
I went from 295 g/l to 44 g/l, that should be about 15% sugar remaining not 30%.

On doing the racking the airlock has returned to being active but slowing down at day 37. I am wondering if the plastic bucket I used had some leaks in the lid seal. It was left over from my beer brewing daZe.

Anyway, with the upcoming apple pie batch, After I have confidence in a recipe, I will start it in a new 6 gallon bucket & lid and keep an eye on it for timing to transfer to the secondary.
Again I will go to a 5 gal. glass carboy. I have an oddball Pyrex bottle they were throwing away at the university. It has a larger mouth than a standard bottle, about 2" diameter. That should make it easier if I need to add and remove spices via a spice bag on a string.

On the spices, I was planning on 1 vanilla bean for 5 gallons. I calculated that from a pod cast where Michael mentioned using 50 beans in 300 gallons.
I have not found a good source on the cinnamon amount or if it should be ground or in larger pieces.
I am also curious if adding a small amount of molasses to the secondary will help or screw up the final apple pie flavor.
Thanks again
Wayne

Hydrometer! Hydrometer! Unless you are only doing JAOM then any other meads (or wines) require a hydrometer.
Staggered nutrient addition using containing at least SOME organic YAN- unless you do a JAOM again.

Lookup meadology series on YouTube- an 8 week course AND purchase a hydrometer and nutrients with organic YAN.

Until you do ALL of these things your meads will have issues unless you are ok having a mead that takes at least a year to age to be drinkable.

WayneG
12-30-2016, 11:52 AM
Thanks for the hints on the spices.
On the early racking, one of my concerns was that batch one (traditional mead) the bucket lid may not have sealed properly because after the previous opening the airlock was doing much less than before. I figured that if the seal was no good it could allow for contamination, that is one reason I racked when I did.

As for checking the SG daily, I am trying to be patient and not open the must to the room more than necessary. My next SG check on batch one will be on the final racking into a conventional 5 gallon glass carboy. Batch one is starting to clear, but still has a way to go.
http://theouterlimits.ws/images/BatchOneDay37.jpg (I tried to upload this here, but it wont let me, I used my server)
Besides the contamination possibility, each SG test costs me about 1/2 cup of mead for the test tube, and although I do enjoy tasting the batch after the SG test ;) I am trying to conserve as much as possible for bottling. Other than the fact that I will need that jug for the secondary on the Apple Pie Mead in a month or so, I am in no hurry.
Thanks
Wayne

caduseus
12-30-2016, 12:02 PM
Thanks for the hints on the spices.
On the early racking, one of my concerns was that batch one (traditional mead) the bucket lid may not have sealed properly because after the previous opening the airlock was doing much less than before. I figured that if the seal was no good it could allow for contamination, that is one reason I racked when I did.

As for checking the SG daily, I am trying to be patient and not open the must to the room more than necessary. My next SG check on batch one will be on the final racking into a conventional 5 gallon glass carboy. Batch one is starting to clear, but still has a way to go.
http://theouterlimits.ws/images/BatchOneDay37.jpg (I tried to upload this here, but it wont let me, I used my server)
Besides the contamination possibility, each SG test costs me about 1/2 cup of mead for the test tube, and although I do enjoy tasting the batch after the SG test ;) I am trying to conserve as much as possible for bottling. Other than the fact that I will need that jug for the secondary on the Apple Pie Mead in a month or so, I am in no hurry.
Thanks
Wayne

If you sanitize your hydrometer and any other equipment thoroughly you use during a SG reading, then you can put the must back in the carbuy.

bernardsmith
12-30-2016, 12:03 PM
But Wayne, if you sanitize your test cylinder and hydrometer there is no good reason not to pour the sample back into the carboy once you have your reading. Mead ain't beer and the risk of contamination is tiny. You are not dealing with wort that is ripe for lactic fermentation - moreover, your yeast is not going to allow any other cell or two of wild yeast or any bacteria to compete with its source of sugar (with wort, the bacteria can attack sugars that the yeast cannot tackle) and you are dealing with a lower pH and a higher alcohol content than most brewers' brews... In many years of wine and mead making I have never experienced any problem returning the contents of my test cylinder. Certainly, you can drink the sample out of an abundance of caution... but I am not sure that your concerns are truly well-founded.

WayneG
12-30-2016, 12:34 PM
Hydrometer! Hydrometer! Unless you are only doing JAOM then any other meads (or wines) require a hydrometer.
Staggered nutrient addition using containing at least SOME organic YAN- unless you do a JAOM again.

Lookup meadology series on YouTube- an 8 week course AND purchase a hydrometer and nutrients with organic YAN.

Until you do ALL of these things your meads will have issues unless you are ok having a mead that takes at least a year to age to be drinkable.
Sorry, I was editing as you made your reply.
I admit, I am a "New Bee" here and I had to look up JAOM, I guess I found it?

JOAM is Joes Old Ass Mead. Easily confused with JAOM.
Mine may be Waynes Old Ass Mead, I wont know until it is ready.
I do use a hydrometer but not daily. If I needed to do that I would invent a method to do the measurement electronically along with PH ant the temperature and log it on my computer. I am retired from Physics and I hate extra work.
So for now, I will use the KISS method, Keep It Simple Stupid
I do appreciate everyone's suggestions for the upcoming Apple Pie batch
Thanks
Wayne

pdh
12-30-2016, 01:29 PM
> I do use a hydrometer but not daily. If I needed to do that I would invent a method to do the measurement electronically along with PH ant the temperature and log it on my computer. I am retired from Physics and I hate extra work.

But as a physicist you know how important rate of change is, right? If you measure the S.G. every day or every other day, you can get a much better idea of the rate of fermentation, by noticing the rate of change in the S.G. That can be important, and it's really not such a big deal to measure the S.G. once you've done it a few times. And as others have said, you can pour the must back into the carboy after measuring S.G., so you don't have to lose any to taste-testing unless you want to.

Maylar
12-30-2016, 01:38 PM
Once a week works for me. If I miss a feeding by a few points it doesn't bother me. I prefer home brewing to not be rocket science.

YMMV as they say.

caduseus
12-30-2016, 02:09 PM
Once a week works for me. If I miss a feeding by a few points it doesn't bother me. I prefer home brewing to not be rocket science.

YMMV as they say.

You are not obligated to take anyone's advice on here.
However why ASK to begin with if you don't like what you hear?
It is a sure fire way of NOT getting advice in the future.

Maylar
12-30-2016, 02:22 PM
You are not obligated to take anyone's advice on here.
However why ASK to begin with if you don't like what you hear?
It is a sure fire way of NOT getting advice in the future.

I haven't asked anything in this thread, I'm only offering my own experiences.

Please don't misunderstand - nobody appreciates the advice from this community more than I do. That's why I hang out here. But if I can offer an alternative that works for me, should I not offer it? Or is that somehow a disservice to the forum?

WayneG
12-30-2016, 02:46 PM
You are not obligated to take anyone's advice on here.
However why ASK to begin with if you don't like what you hear?
It is a sure fire way of NOT getting advice in the future.

Yes, Thank You. I am taking in everyone's advice, that is why I posted.
Although my main concerns are for the next recipe, apple pie, I have been reading various web sites for a month before I started batch one.
I am interested in starting methods others members here use for all mead types to get the best recipe for my next.

Like Maylar posted above, I am also working for a home brew recipe that requires minimum investment of time and money to see what I can accomplish.

I just went downstairs and measured the SG and flavor of batch one. SG is now 1.008, clarity is improving, the taste is still a raw mead with a hint of carbonation.

If I can duplicate this for Apple Pie Mead, by adjusting the Honey ratio to 25% and swap apple juice for water, and maybe tweak the yeast/nutrient pitch, I will be happy.
The rest is still up in the air.

Here is a chart of the SG for batch one
http://theouterlimits.ws/images/Document2.jpg
Thanks

pdh
12-30-2016, 04:00 PM
Once a week works for me. If I miss a feeding by a few points it doesn't bother me. I prefer home brewing to not be rocket science.

YMMV as they say.

A valid point; it does depend on your individual circumstances. For me, I brew mead in 1-gallon batches, and I often have three or four batches in progress at any one time. So one or the other of them is usually due for a measurement every day or two -- to see if batch #1 needs to be fed, or is batch #2 ready to be racked to a secondary, or is batch #3 ready for bottling, etc. If I have to measure one or two of them, it's not much more trouble to measure them all.

Also I've brewed a lot of beer but I'm relatively new to meadmaking as compared to others on this forum. When I brew beer with one of my go-to recipes, I can almost always guess the S.G. pretty closely, just based on the airlock activity and the appearance of the wort and my past experience. The hydrometer almost never surprises me. But with my ciders and meads, I can't guess the S.G. nearly as accurately, so I feel the need to measure more often.

So once a week could be enough if you have more experience and depending on where the mead is in its lifecycle -- as you say, YMMV and if that works for you then I wouldn't try to talk you out of it :-) But for a beginner with a mead that's in the earlier stages of its life, or a mead that's not doing what you expected it to be doing, I still think it's appropriate to measure S.G. every two or three days.

WayneG
12-30-2016, 07:29 PM
Gotta say, it smells good in the house. The Saigon Cinnamon and Madagascar Vanilla beans just came in. I can smell the vanilla without opening the vacuum sealed package, the GF is already planning on making ice cream with leftover beans.
I still need to pick up the apple juice and with all the suggestions you have provided, I think I can start the must in a week or so.
I will still be looking for hints on spicing it, but there is time for that.
One more quick question; Do you all let your yeast die off naturally, or do you use chemicals?
I would like to avoid chemicals, I am not allergic to sulfates but I prefer to avoid them when I can.
I will be using Grolsch bottles so a little post bottling fermentation is not a worry, yet!
Thanks
Wayne

pdh
12-30-2016, 08:36 PM
> Do you all let your yeast die off naturally, or do you use chemicals?

You don't need chemicals -- it's OK if you have a bit of live yeast in the bottles. When homebrewing beer, we add a certain amount of sugar at bottling time and let the yeast continue to work in the bottles, in order to carbonate it -- a small amount of continued fermentation in the bottles isn't a problem.

That said, you do want to make sure it's no more than a *small* amount of continued fermentation. Make sure the S.G. is stable (two or three consecutive readings without any change) and low (usually that means 1.000 or lower), and rack it off the lees before bottling. Maybe cold-crash it as well, before racking.

The only time I add chemical stabilizers myself is when I'm backsweetening.

caduseus
12-30-2016, 08:47 PM
Gotta say, it smells good in the house. The Saigon Cinnamon and Madagascar Vanilla beans just came in. I can smell the vanilla without opening the vacuum sealed package, the GF is already planning on making ice cream with leftover beans.
I still need to pick up the apple juice and with all the suggestions you have provided, I think I can start the must in a week or so.
I will still be looking for hints on spicing it, but there is time for that.
One more quick question; Do you all let your yeast die off naturally, or do you use chemicals?
I would like to avoid chemicals, I am not allergic to sulfates but I prefer to avoid them when I can.
I will be using Grolsch bottles so a little post bottling fermentation is not a worry, yet!
Thanks
Wayne

If you want a dry mead then no. But if you want a sweet mead you either add chemicals or you use the step feeding process until the yeast can't make anymore alcohol.

WayneG
01-08-2017, 12:12 PM
I am still waiting to do a final racking on my Traditional batch before I start the Apple Pie Mead, I have had a lot of suggestions and now I need to sort through them to see what fits my capabilities.

As for my first batch, I think it is ready to rack to the final glass carboy. The SG is still going down slowly from 1.008 last weekend to 1.006 today. The ABV is at 13.6% It tastes great, but it still has a little bit of dissolved CO2 and it is in need of clearing time.

I think it is time to rack it to the final glass carboy. Here is a chart of the SG vs ABV trends, what do you think?
Also I did my first PH test and it is 4.
http://theouterlimits.ws/images/mead/MeadChart20170108.jpg

pwizard
01-08-2017, 03:10 PM
Why are you in such a hurry to rack? I'd let it sit on the lees for a week or two to give it some clean-up time. Give it a good stir every couple of days to keep the yeast suspended. After that, cold-crash if you can to facilitate clearing.

WayneG
01-08-2017, 04:40 PM
It will be 50 days this week and the SG change is negligible over the last week. I am happy with the alcohol content and sweetness.

I have heard (in other places) that it is best to get it off the lees as soon as you can to avoid off flavors developing?
I figure it can mellow in the new glass jug until it is ready to bottle.

My last excuse (for lack of patients) is that I need the wide mouth carboy for inserting the spice bag in next batch after its first racking. I found out those things cost over $350 each from Corning!

For Cold Crashing, I dont have anything other than the weather outside otherwise I would have to steal space in our chest freezer. Our fridge is too narrow.

pwizard
01-08-2017, 06:54 PM
Yeast takes months to break down. Another week or two isn't going to make much of a difference as far as off-flavors are concerned, even with 71B. Have you been stirring the lees all this time or have they settled on the bottom undisturbed for a while? If everything has settled, try stirring it every day for 3-4 days and see if that drops you all the way to 1.000. If not, go ahead and rack.

WayneG
01-13-2017, 06:40 PM
Pardon my impatience, the cool time in my basement is short lived so I need to get batch two started soon.
Yesterday I did the second rack on batch one and all went well.

When I racked, I also filled two 450 ml Grolsch bottles to the shoulder, for some experimentation.

I plan to make a proportional cinnamon, vanilla spicing by warming two small pans with the spices in apple juice, with one I will also add cloves.

After the spices are infused enough, I will top off the grolsch bottles, one with cloves and one without, to see the results.

MY questions for the experts:
Adding the apple juice with spices will add a very small amount of sugar and I am wondering if I should use bubblers in the bottles or just cap them and stand back?

Also, taking almost a liter from the main batch leaves more head space and I wonder if I should do anything about that?
Thanks
Wayne

caduseus
01-13-2017, 09:58 PM
Pardon my impatience, the cool time in my basement is short lived so I need to get batch two started soon.
Yesterday I did the second rack on batch one and all went well.

When I racked, I also filled two 450 ml Grolsch bottles to the shoulder, for some experimentation.

I plan to make a proportional cinnamon, vanilla spicing by warming two small pans with the spices in apple juice, with one I will also add cloves.

After the spices are infused enough, I will top off the grolsch bottles, one with cloves and one without, to see the results.

MY questions for the experts:
Adding the apple juice with spices will add a very small amount of sugar and I am wondering if I should use bubblers in the bottles or just cap them and stand back?

Also, taking almost a liter from the main batch leaves more head space and I wonder if I should do anything about that?
Thanks
Wayne
Flip top bottles?

WayneG
01-14-2017, 08:37 AM
Flip top bottles?
So far 450 ml Grolsch bottles is all I use.
I use to get them for 10 cents each at the beverage store but now there is too much brewing competition in this area.
Today Grolsch costs a bit over $2 each (full) at the beverage store. New flip top bottles with shipping cost more than that. Nothing like free beer with the bottles!
I hear that Grolsch bottles can handle pressure better than wine or beer bottles. I would also assume that the gasket will vent before the bottle explodes.
I just clean them good and buy new gaskets.
I dont plan on having a huge inventory of Mead so 40 bottles per 5 gallon batch, I have almost 80 now.

My first batch ferment is almost 100% done, and for this test I am wondering if the sugar of the apple juice (with spices to top the bottles) will cause a pressure problem with renewed fermentation? A Grolsch bottle holds 465 ml to the top of the neck (bottom of the Finish). There is 420 ml of mead in the bottle and I will add 45 ml of juice to top it off. (A little less than 10%)

The finished test bottles will not be the same as my next batch because this test is a traditional mead with only 10% spiced apple juice not 100%.
I will make two differently spiced one gallon batches of apple juice.
I will heat them for several hours, (below boiling temps), cooling and adding 45 ml to the two test bottles.
Reserving the leftover spiced juice in their original bottles.
Whichever test batch flavor is best, I will use it to spice the upcoming apple pie batch after it is done fermenting.
If they both suck, Apple juice and spices are cheap so I will try again.

caduseus
01-14-2017, 02:15 PM
So far 450 ml Grolsch bottles is all I use.
I use to get them for 10 cents each at the beverage store but now there is too much brewing competition in this area.
Today Grolsch costs a bit over $2 each (full) at the beverage store. New flip top bottles with shipping cost more than that. Nothing like free beer with the bottles!
I hear that Grolsch bottles can handle pressure better than wine or beer bottles. I would also assume that the gasket will vent before the bottle explodes.
I just clean them good and buy new gaskets.
I dont plan on having a huge inventory of Mead so 40 bottles per 5 gallon batch, I have almost 80 now.

My first batch ferment is almost 100% done, and for this test I am wondering if the sugar of the apple juice (with spices to top the bottles) will cause a pressure problem with renewed fermentation? A Grolsch bottle holds 465 ml to the top of the neck (bottom of the Finish). There is 420 ml of mead in the bottle and I will add 45 ml of juice to top it off. (A little less than 10%)

The finished test bottles will not be the same as my next batch because this test is a traditional mead with only 10% spiced apple juice not 100%.
I will make two differently spiced one gallon batches of apple juice.
I will heat them for several hours, (below boiling temps), cooling and adding 45 ml to the two test bottles.
Reserving the leftover spiced juice in their original bottles.
Whichever test batch flavor is best, I will use it to spice the upcoming apple pie batch after it is done fermenting.
If they both suck, Apple juice and spices are cheap so I will try again.

Grolsch bottles have flip tops so should work fine. However I read on here that SG above 1.003 could potentially be too strong because of cont fermentation. Of course non-fermentables (lactose and sugar substitutes) would not affect this.

Farmboyc
01-14-2017, 03:45 PM
Grolsch bottles will not vent through the gasket but they will hold fair bit or pressure.

Squatchy
01-16-2017, 09:56 PM
I would just close the top but not crank down the flip top part. You may start back up and might have problems. Also if you are adding "cloves" in plural you will be adding way to much for most people. 1 clove a gallon has always been a good ratio for me at least.

Squatchy
01-16-2017, 09:58 PM
So far 450 ml Grolsch bottles is all I use.
I use to get them for 10 cents each at the beverage store but now there is too much brewing competition in this area.
Today Grolsch costs a bit over $2 each (full) at the beverage store. New flip top bottles with shipping cost more than that. Nothing like free beer with the bottles!
I hear that Grolsch bottles can handle pressure better than wine or beer bottles. I would also assume that the gasket will vent before the bottle explodes.
I just clean them good and buy new gaskets.
I dont plan on having a huge inventory of Mead so 40 bottles per 5 gallon batch, I have almost 80 now.

My first batch ferment is almost 100% done, and for this test I am wondering if the sugar of the apple juice (with spices to top the bottles) will cause a pressure problem with renewed fermentation? A Grolsch bottle holds 465 ml to the top of the neck (bottom of the Finish). There is 420 ml of mead in the bottle and I will add 45 ml of juice to top it off. (A little less than 10%)

The finished test bottles will not be the same as my next batch because this test is a traditional mead with only 10% spiced apple juice not 100%.
I will make two differently spiced one gallon batches of apple juice.
I will heat them for several hours, (below boiling temps), cooling and adding 45 ml to the two test bottles.
Reserving the leftover spiced juice in their original bottles.
Whichever test batch flavor is best, I will use it to spice the upcoming apple pie batch after it is done fermenting.
If they both suck, Apple juice and spices are cheap so I will try again.

WHy the heat for hours? Just a few minutes will pasturize everything