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gregma
02-10-2017, 02:20 PM
Greetings all,

I am completely new to the Mead Making hobby. I LOVE mead so much, I want to start making my own. One thing, I like Mead on the sweeter side! Between sweet and dessert sweet. I've read books, websites, watched the 9-week Youtube video's, bought the basic equipment and will be getting the last of the honey I need. I'm getting 6 pounds of honey (two 3 pound jars) of local Fireweed honey. I can't for the life of me figure out the calculator here, but have put everything into the Batchbuildr (http://www.meadmakr.com/batch-buildr/)calculator on MeadMaker. Here is the recipe I'm going to use (will it work?)

Wanted ABV = 14% or less
Batch amount = 1 gallon
Amount of honey = 4.37 lbs
Amount of yeast (Lalvin 71B) = 2g
Amount of GoFerm = 6.25g
Amount of Fermaid K = 1.9g
Amount of DAP = 3.6g

I have a 2-gallon plastic bucket primary fermenter, 1 gallon glass carboy secondary, 3-piece airlock for both, Hydrometer, Paint Stirrer for drill for aerating, scale, StarSan sanitizer. I was going to do the rehydration method for the yeast, and the TiONSA method.

-Greg

caduseus
02-10-2017, 02:40 PM
You can't follow TOSNA with the listed nutrients.
However you can follow TiOSNA protocol if you use fermaid-k exclusively.

In order of worst to best nutrients as far as what is most preferable for the yeast and therefore less likely to make fusels:
Inorganic only (yeast nutrient,DAP)<
Inorganic +organic (Fermaid-k, yeast energizer,etc.)<
Organic only (Fermaid-O, boiled yeast to be cannibalized,etc.)
The less inorganic that is used the better for the yeast.

Also use Staggered nutrient addition
BTW congrats. It appears you have done a lot research and far more than most before their first batch.
You are setting a good example for newbees

Dadux
02-10-2017, 02:48 PM
Hi Greg, welcome to the forums
Well it seems like you are well informed
A couple of things. Thats a lot of honey, dont add all of it up front. I guess by now you know what backsweetening is. You should try that. There are two ways of getting sweet mead, letting the yeast ferment all it can or stabilize. 71B has a tolerance of 14% but if you aereate degas and feed it will, it will pass that point to about 16-17%. So you should stabilize if you want a 14% ABV mead, and then backsweeten. I would start with 3 pounds (will give you around 14-15% ABV) then stabilize and then backsweeten. If you use all that honey you will get a dessert mead indeed. I suggest that if you backsweeten, you dont add much honey at the same time, add 1/3 and then see if you want it sweeter. If so, add some more honey and retaste and so on. If you dont want to stabilize you can start with 3 pounds anyway, then slowly add the rest (this is called step-feeding). The result will be, as i said, a higher ABV, but some people dont want to use sulphites or like to do it like this for other reasons.
The amount of goferm you are using is intended for 5g of yeast. you would only need 2.5g for 2g of yeast (1.25g of goferm for each gram of yeast).
Also if i were you i'd use 6g fermaid K and 1g DAP (basically 1g of DAP is like 2g of K in terms of nitrogen, but K has other nutrients) although this is my personal choice, your ammounts are not wrong.
Hope this helped.

gregma
02-10-2017, 03:14 PM
You can't follow TOSNA with the listed nutrients.
However you can follow TiOSNA protocol if you use fermaid-k exclusively.

No DAP at all with fermaid-k? The calculators I was looking at did recommend a little extra nitrogen thus the DAP addition.


In order of worst to best nutrients as far as what is most preferable for the yeast and therefore less likely to make fusels:
Inorganic only (yeast nutrient,DAP)<
Inorganic +organic (Fermaid-k, yeast energizer,etc.)<
Organic only (Fermaid-O, boiled yeast to be cannibalized,etc.)
The less inorganic that is used the better for the yeast.

I did order some Fermaid-O for later batches, the reason I chose fermaid-K and DAP is because the homebrewing shop I went to at the very beginning recommended those two. I'd like to use them up rather than throwing them away. After that batch is done, was planning on moving to -O.


Also use Staggered nutrient addition

Isn't TiOSNA "Staggered Nutrient Addition" method?


BTW congrats. It appears you have done a lot research and far more than most before their first batch.
You are setting a good example for newbees

Thank you so much for the kind complement! I always tend to over-research something before starting. Learn from others mistakes before making your own :)

-Greg

gregma
02-10-2017, 03:35 PM
Hi Greg, welcome to the forums
Well it seems like you are well informed

Thank you so much! I sure try to be, but always learning!


Thats a lot of honey, dont add all of it up front. I guess by now you know what backsweetening is. You should try that.

I have heard of BackSweetening, but haven't really researched that at all! Are you saying to add enough honey to get the 14%ABV, let it stabilize (I have a slight allergy to sulphites), then slowly add more honey to the secondary before bottling?


Also if i were you i'd use 6g fermaid K and 1g DAP (basically 1g of DAP is like 2g of K in terms of nitrogen, but K has other nutrients) although this is my personal choice, your ammounts are not wrong.
Hope this helped.

Thank you for the tip!

-Greg

Dadux
02-10-2017, 03:38 PM
No problem using DAP. Just TiOSNA calls for K only. As i said just replace 2g of K for 1g of DAP and it will be alright
TiOSNA includes SNA, but TiOSNA states how much and which type of nutrients to use and SNA is just spacing the nutrient additions, but it does not matter if the nutrient is dap, k, o...or how much you add. Just terminology

Edit: yes thats what i ment by backsweetening. If you cant use sulphites you can do other things.
1- take a beer yeast or other yeast with 12% tolerance. It will get to 14-15 if well fed.
2-Do as i said and step feed until yeast gives up, but you will have 16-17% ABV
3-add honey to get to 14%. Then rack, add the rest of the honey and put the recipient in the fridge (or close to 0C. This is called cold crashing) for a week. This should stop the yeast from fermenting the new honey. After the week rack again. This might be enough to stop the yeast but it might not...its risky
4- well not for now but you can try filtering maybe. Although its expensive, it will clean the mead from yeast and then you can backsweeten
5- i have heard from people backsweetening with stevia or other non fermentable sugars. That way you get a mead free of sulphites and sweet.

Sorry, sweet meads usually are a pain in the ass if you dont stabilize...

caduseus
02-10-2017, 04:02 PM
If you want to use what you have just to get rid of it and not waste it, that is fine.

Once you have done that I would use a mix of fermaid-k (2-3 feedings) and fermaid-O (final 1-2 feedings) OR
JUST Fermaid-O for all the feedings.

I would not buy anymore DAP/yeast nutrient ever again. It can cause the fermentation to speed up too fast AND speed up the lag phase. Both of these can potentially cause more fusels to be made and causing the "hot" taste to last longer.

You get what you pay for: DAP is cheaper than Fermaid-K which is cheaper than Fermaid-O.
This is the reverse order fo what is better for the yeast

gregma
02-10-2017, 04:33 PM
No problem using DAP. Just TiOSNA calls for K only. As i said just replace 2g of K for 1g of DAP and it will be alright
TiOSNA includes SNA, but TiOSNA states how much and which type of nutrients to use and SNA is just spacing the nutrient additions, but it does not matter if the nutrient is dap, k, o...or how much you add. Just terminology

Edit: yes thats what i ment by backsweetening. If you cant use sulphites you can do other things.
1- take a beer yeast or other yeast with 12% tolerance. It will get to 14-15 if well fed.
2-Do as i said and step feed until yeast gives up, but you will have 16-17% ABV
3-add honey to get to 14%. Then rack, add the rest of the honey and put the recipient in the fridge (or close to 0C. This is called cold crashing) for a week. This should stop the yeast from fermenting the new honey. After the week rack again. This might be enough to stop the yeast but it might not...its risky
4- well not for now but you can try filtering maybe. Although its expensive, it will clean the mead from yeast and then you can backsweeten
5- i have heard from people backsweetening with stevia or other non fermentable sugars. That way you get a mead free of sulphites and sweet.

Sorry, sweet meads usually are a pain in the ass if you dont stabilize...

Hmmmm, maybe I'll tone down the honey to just 3 pounds and see what I get for my very first batch. Then try to get it sweeter the next, and the next, etc. Until it's to my liking. If I start out with something too difficult, it might not wind up well and be discouraging!

-Greg

Dadux
02-10-2017, 04:57 PM
Yes, that would be the best i think. Add 2.5 pounds or so, then use a hydrometer to see what SG you have and add honey up until 1.110 for 14% ABV. Think that after its done fermenting you can decide what you want to do.
If you want a sweet mead maybe you want to search for a JAOM. its a pitch and forget mead (you put it all in a carboy, seal it, and wait a month then drink it), ends up sweet (as long as you use bakers yeast, which is what the recipe calls for), and has spices and orange in it. Its a common first and easy mead, and if you like sweet its right up your alley.
As for DAP, dont overuse it and you will be ok. My personal preference is to add it first (at 24h) and then use the fermaid K for the latest additions. Its been discussed that O is the best but people have been doing meads for a loooot of time without it. Heck, some of us cant even get actual fermaid K, let alone O. Your meads will turn out fine as long as you give them enough nitrogen and do a proper SNA.

bernardsmith
02-10-2017, 05:06 PM
Hi Greg and welcome. You might want to check out the last two podcasts published by Gotmead radio. They both in their own way talk about , low ABV meads and meads that don't require much aging. The higher the ABV (and so the more wine-like) the longer it takes for the mead to age. The lower the ABV (the more like a cider or beer) the quicker the mead is ready to be consumed. The down side of a lower ABV is that since most of the flavor and mouthfeel comes from the honey, and since using less honey lowers the ABV (the SG of a lb of honey dissolved in enough water to make a US gallon is 1.035, so 1.5 lbs will be about 1.050 and that is about the same as a cider or beer), it also CAN make both the taste and mouthfeel thinner. So the issue for mead makers working on low ABV meads (to be drunk by the pint rather than by the glass?) is how to keep the flavors intense and the mouthfeel rich.. some "solutions" might involve back sweetening as sweeteners add to the viscosity of the mead; carbonating the mead (the bubbles transform the flavors); experimenting with different yeasts (some yeasts promote greater viscosity, others less); the additions of adjuncts (fruits, herbs, spices) etc etc etc...
Bottom line: a mead does not need to go into the ring against vodka and whisky - or into the ring against even wines... It could go into the ring against beers and ciders.. Just sayin'.

Squatchy
02-10-2017, 09:16 PM
So everyone here has great points and no bad info in the above.

I would suggest using the entire 5 grams of yeast. After all you're only talkin a couple of dollars. Once you open it it won't last too long. And foremost, You will have a stronger and cleaner ferment. Your lag time will be shorter. If you do this. ( I would strongly advise it) You will want to add more Go-ferm as it's amount is in direct correlation to the amount of yeast.

http://www.scottlab.com/pdf/ScottlabsHandbook2016.pdf this is your mead bible. Look up how to rehydrate using the Go-ferm. Page 7 I think.

You can add all the honey you want after you stabilize. Low ABV's are very thin. You may like that or may not. There are other yeast than can add way more mouthfeel than 71-b. It's a very common yeast for meads if you like the malolactic thing it does to meads. I think for most styles it makes mead to boring due to the MLF. Just my personal thing. It's great for some things for sure.

I could argue against DAP but it will be fine to start with, in combination with K.

gregma
02-12-2017, 05:27 PM
Makes sense to add the entire yeast packet. Just so as long as there are no negative effects of more than double the recommended amount. If I put in the recommended amount of honey... 4 pounds. Even if it gets up to 16% ABV won't it still be sweeter? 1.050 would be acceptable I think for an FG.

Dadux
02-12-2017, 06:06 PM
With 4 pounds it will probably end at 16% ABV or so and 1.020-1.025, which is sweet. 1.050 is considered a dessert mead, i dont recomend you to go there right now. 4 pounds and 1.025 is sweet enough to start, and you can add more honey later.
If you want to do this, start with 3 pounds (around 1.11 or a bit more) and add half more pound at 1.08 and the other half at 1.04. this way it wont be so hard on your yeast. At least this would be my approach but I have never used 71B. If you are unsure, break the last pound into 3 or even 4 additions instead of 2. The less sudden changes in sugar the better for the yeast. If you give the yeast a very sudden osmotic change the fermentation can stall. Sorry if i make this sound difficult but you will get the hang of it soon, dont worry.
For this things use the calculator. It will solve most of your problems. Read the (brief) instructions and try it. its not as hard as it looks.

caduseus
02-12-2017, 07:42 PM
Always better to add more honey later than have too much ok hand later. If you make a dessert level of sweetness, you won't be able to tolerate more than a glass at sitting as it will be cloying sweet

Squatchy
02-12-2017, 07:51 PM
I could teach you how to have a 1050 sweet mead and it wouldn't seem as sickly sweet as the gravity would indicate by using some balancing techniques. As a matter of fact I could teach you how to have a FG of 1050 and make it seem almost dry. And still taste really good at the same time

Drewed
02-13-2017, 09:39 AM
He could teach you, but he wont. (MMMUUUUHAHAHAHAHAH!!!) lol

I was told by local HBS to use Potassium Sorbate to stabilize the mead because I too want to stay away from the sulfates.

I'd be tempted to use all 4 lbs of honey, but make it a gallon + batch. That way you will be able to loose some to SG testing and racking and still end up with most of a gallon by the time you hit the secondary.

Be careful of too much sweet up front. A lot of yeast doesn't like SG above 1.2

zpeckler
02-13-2017, 09:54 AM
He could teach you, but he wont. (MMMUUUUHAHAHAHAHAH!!!) lol

I was told by local HBS to use Potassium Sorbate to stabilize the mead because I too want to stay away from the sulfates.

I'd be tempted to use all 4 lbs of honey, but make it a gallon + batch. That way you will be able to loose some to SG testing and racking and still end up with most of a gallon by the time you hit the secondary.

Be careful of too much sweet up front. A lot of yeast doesn't like SG above 1.2
If you're going to use sorbate you stabilize it's mandatory that you use sulfites. If you add sorbate and the mead undergoes malolactic fermentation the sorbate breaks down into a compound that tastes like geraniums and doesn't age out. You need to add sulfites along with the state to prevent the malolactic fermentation.

caduseus
02-13-2017, 10:25 AM
I was told by local HBS to use Potassium Sorbate to stabilize the mead because I too want to stay away from the sulfates.

Be careful of too much sweet up front. A lot of yeast doesn't like SG above 1.2

Actually the beginnings of osmotic stress start st 1.1 and most can't handle even above 1.15.
You can always start at 1.1 and add more honey when the yeast have eaten half the honey sugar. This gets you what you want with less stress for the yeast. (Keep in mind this SG when down to 1.000 gets you 13%abv).
Also you can stabilize your mead and THEN back-sweeten to get your personal preferred level of sweetness.

The advantage of fermenting to dry AND THEN sweeten to preference is that you don't have to worry about continued fermentation if it has been stabilized from cold crash and sorbate combination.

Another approach is to ferment to dry.... add honey to preferred sweetness....ferment to dry, etc.
This allows you to ferment to dry, no sulfates needed and the yeast ferment until all are dead from either exhaustion or too high an ABV

gregma
02-13-2017, 11:11 AM
I could teach you how to have a 1050 sweet mead and it wouldn't seem as sickly sweet as the gravity would indicate by using some balancing techniques. As a matter of fact I could teach you how to have a FG of 1050 and make it seem almost dry. And still taste really good at the same time

Thank you Squatchy, perhaps I'll take you up on that on my next batch :)

-Greg

gregma
02-13-2017, 11:19 AM
With 4 pounds it will probably end at 16% ABV or so and 1.020-1.025, which is sweet. 1.050 is considered a dessert mead, i dont recomend you to go there right now. 4 pounds and 1.025 is sweet enough to start, and you can add more honey later.
If you want to do this, start with 3 pounds (around 1.11 or a bit more) and add half more pound at 1.08 and the other half at 1.04. this way it wont be so hard on your yeast. At least this would be my approach but I have never used 71B. If you are unsure, break the last pound into 3 or even 4 additions instead of 2. The less sudden changes in sugar the better for the yeast. If you give the yeast a very sudden osmotic change the fermentation can stall. Sorry if i make this sound difficult but you will get the hang of it soon, dont worry.
For this things use the calculator. It will solve most of your problems. Read the (brief) instructions and try it. its not as hard as it looks.

Sounds reasonable. How about this (from batchbuildr):

Amount: 1 Gallon
SG: 1.129 (29.9 Brix)
FG: 1.025
ABV: 14%?
Honey: 3.67lbs
Yeast: 1 packet (5g)
GoFerm: 6.25g
Fermaid K: 1.7g
DAP: 3.2g

Re-hydrating the yeast:
For 1 packet(s) yeast, dissolve 6.25g of Go-Ferm Protect in 125mL hot water (the hotter the better). The warmer the water, the easier it will be to dissolve the Go-Ferm.
When the water reaches 104 deg F (40 deg C), pour in your yeast. Give the slurry a quick swirl. After 15 minutes, begin tempering yeast by adding 63mL must to the yeast slurry every 5 minutes.When yeast slurry temperature is within 10 deg F of must temperature, pitch yeast into fermenter.

Staggered Nutrient Addition:
The total amount of Fermaid K and DAP that will be added to your must are 1.7g and 3.2g, respectively. The nutrients will be divided into 4 staggered nutrient additions. To avoid mead eruption accidents, degas must and dissolve yeast nutrient doses in 1 cup must prior to adding to the fermenter.
At 24, 48, and 72 hours after you pitch your yeast, add 0.4g Fermaid K and 0.8g DAP.
When the must reaches the 1/3 sugar break (1/3 of all available sugars are consumed, i.e. 1.120 starting gravity reaches 1.080 or 21 Brix reaches 14 Brix), but no later than 7 days after yeast pitch, add the last dose of 0.5g of Fermaid K and 0.8g of DAP.

-Greg

gregma
02-13-2017, 11:40 AM
Always better to add more honey later than have too much ok hand later. If you make a dessert level of sweetness, you won't be able to tolerate more than a glass at sitting as it will be cloying sweet

Just an FYI. My preferred wines are Ice Wine, Moscato, Moscatel, Late Harvest Riesling. :)

-Greg

gregma
02-13-2017, 11:42 AM
Actually the beginnings of osmotic stress start st 1.1 and most can't handle even above 1.15.
You can always start at 1.1 and add more honey when the yeast have eaten half the honey sugar. This gets you what you want with less stress for the yeast. (Keep in mind this SG when down to 1.000 gets you 13%abv).
Also you can stabilize your mead and THEN back-sweeten to get your personal preferred level of sweetness.

The advantage of fermenting to dry AND THEN sweeten to preference is that you don't have to worry about continued fermentation if it has been stabilized from cold crash and sorbate combination.

Another approach is to ferment to dry.... add honey to preferred sweetness....ferment to dry, etc.
This allows you to ferment to dry, no sulfates needed and the yeast ferment until all are dead from either exhaustion or too high an ABV

The Staggered feeding sounds really interesting. If I have a starting gravity of 1.129, do you think this will still apply? Trying to get to an FG of 1.025.

-Greg

Squatchy
02-13-2017, 11:48 AM
It will always apply, without exception.

gregma
02-13-2017, 12:33 PM
It will always apply, without exception.

So, never start with a gravity of 1.100 unless you want to stress the yeast. What happens when you stress the yeast, say starting with 1.129?

-Greg

caduseus
02-13-2017, 12:49 PM
So, never start with a gravity of 1.100 unless you want to stress the yeast. What happens when you stress the yeast, say starting with 1.129?

-Greg
The higher you go above 1.1 the more the yeast experience osmotic stress. This leads to yeast stress (one of many possible causes).
Anything that stresses yeast leads to more off flavors and what is called fusels. Fusels are other types of alcohol other than ethanol (traditionally what we think of as alcohol). These leave a "hot" or "off" taste. These will go away with time but the more fusels created, the longer the mead "has to age out" these off flavors.

Translation: less yeast stress= less fusels= the sooner your mead will be drinkable.

Some compensate by making their mead VERY sweet (SG >>1.025 even has high as 1.08 ).
Not what I would recommend. I think it is better to just baby the hell out of the yeast and then only make sweet enough for your personal preference than dessert sweet.

Dadux
02-13-2017, 01:26 PM
It depends on the yeast too. some yeast resist better than others osmotic stress, You can start at even 1.17 and some yeasts, if properly rehidrated will ferment it anyway. But 71B is probably a softer yeast (the opposite would probably be EC-1118 ) so osmotic stress will give you more off flavours. Start at 1.12 max. That is how it has been done for a long time and if properly rehidrated ithe yeast will do fine. You can start lower but 1.12 has been done with 71B and it seems to go OK

gregma
02-13-2017, 01:39 PM
Sounds good, thank you all! I think I'll start with 3 pounds of honey, which should give me an SG of 1.108. Then add more at the 50% mark? How do I know that I'm at 50% of consumed sugar?

caduseus
02-13-2017, 02:02 PM
Sounds good, thank you all! I think I'll start with 3 pounds of honey, which should give me an SG of 1.108. Then add more at the 50% mark? How do I know that I'm at 50% of consumed sugar?

With SG readings. In general it is good practice to do gravity readings at least every other day until fermentation is finished. Many experienced mead makers do daily readings.

If you want higher than 13%abv then add halfwAy.
But if you are happy with 13%:
You can just ferment to dry-> stabilize-> back sweeten to desired sweetness.

gregma
02-13-2017, 02:08 PM
Aha! So, the 50% mark would be 1.054 (half of the SG of 1.108).

-Greg

Drewed
02-13-2017, 08:02 PM
If you're going to use sorbate you stabilize it's mandatory that you use sulfites. If you add sorbate and the mead undergoes malolactic fermentation the sorbate breaks down into a compound that tastes like geraniums and doesn't age out. You need to add sulfites along with the state to prevent the malolactic fermentation.Well crap!