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View Full Version : Hi all! Just a very basic first question about this new hobby.



jpollman
02-19-2017, 09:23 PM
Howdy all!

I'm glad to have found this forum. I am VERY new in the hobby of brewing and mead making. Here's a very quick overview of my situation.

My name is John Pollman and I'm almost 53 years old. My son loved chemistry and such and was very interested in brewing. He talked about it for a while, and a little less than a year ago, we got the equipment together and brewed our first batch of beer. It was great fun and we did several batches that came out very well. He mentioned doing a batch of mead. A few months ago, I picked up a mead kit. It sat around for a while and we never did anything with it. Back in early December, I decided to take the bull by the horns and get started.

I followed the recipe for the basic mead kit that I bought, but the recipe said that you might want to enhance it a bit by adding some additional ingredients. I decided to do that. I did the basic recipe, but added some spices, raisins, and some orange slices. The recipe was followed and it said to let it ferment for two to three weeks, then rack it. (I'm assuming that "racking" is just transferring it to another sterilized container for the balance of the aging process) I can research that later. Here is what is going on.

I made the recipe on December 04, 2016. We put it up to ferment for the 2-3 weeks. One week later on December 11, our 20 year old son died completely unexpectedly. As you can imagine, I had completely forgotten about the mead batch sitting there fermenting. I didn't even think about it until just a few days ago. It has now been almost three months. Here is the question...

Is this batch ruined because it sat so long without being racked? If so, that's fine. I'll probably get back into it again some time soon and make a fresh batch. If not, I'll rack it and proceed from here. I understand that it takes at least six months to a year for a decent batch.

I really relied on my son's knowledge and just followed his lead. But he is gone now and I am heart broken and lost. I think that this spring I will start doing more research and learning about brewing and mead. I want to make a good batch of beer AND mead in his honor. I know that he would like that!

Thank you all for any input you may have. It would have been easier to have him help me, but I WILL learn this on my own and brew some good stuff and have a drink in his memory.

Looking forward to anything you have to say.

Squatchy
02-19-2017, 10:03 PM
Gosh Mr Pollman

I'm so sorry to hear of your son's passing. I just can't even fathom that when I think of my son dying. I can only imagine the pain you must be going through. For whatever it's worth to you, I will be praying for you and your family. If you need an ear you have mine and can PM me if you would like.

It seems very superficial switching gears now to something so tempral as making mead.

The state of your batch is not going to be determinable by any of us. While you may have ruined the batch, there is some chance that is ok. Your tongue will be the deciding judge of that. How does it smell, and taste?

You could have done better if you had racked it from the lee's at some point. But that doesn't demand that it is ruined necessarily mean it's ruined. If it smells and taste ok, then you will want to siphon off the clear stuff and leave the sludge in the bottom of the old container. Like you said you will want to rack it into a sterilized container.

WHy don't you get back to us with a sensory report as to whether you think this is ruined or if it smells and taste palatable, or even better than that.

If you happen to have the instructions , or any notes you may have kept. That will be very advantageous for us to help you move forward with this one.

Welcome to the forum.

caduseus
02-19-2017, 10:08 PM
Howdy all!

I'm glad to have found this forum. I am VERY new in the hobby of brewing and mead making. Here's a very quick overview of my situation.

My name is John Pollman and I'm almost 53 years old. My son loved chemistry and such and was very interested in brewing. He talked about it for a while, and a little less than a year ago, we got the equipment together and brewed our first batch of beer. It was great fun and we did several batches that came out very well. He mentioned doing a batch of mead. A few months ago, I picked up a mead kit. It sat around for a while and we never did anything with it. Back in early December, I decided to take the bull by the horns and get started.

I followed the recipe for the basic mead kit that I bought, but the recipe said that you might want to enhance it a bit by adding some additional ingredients. I decided to do that. I did the basic recipe, but added some spices, raisins, and some orange slices. The recipe was followed and it said to let it ferment for two to three weeks, then rack it. (I'm assuming that "racking" is just transferring it to another sterilized container for the balance of the aging process) I can research that later. Here is what is going on.

I made the recipe on December 04, 2016. We put it up to ferment for the 2-3 weeks. One week later on December 11, our 20 year old son died completely unexpectedly. As you can imagine, I had completely forgotten about the mead batch sitting there fermenting. I didn't even think about it until just a few days ago. It has now been almost three months. Here is the question...

Is this batch ruined because it sat so long without being racked? If so, that's fine. I'll probably get back into it again some time soon and make a fresh batch. If not, I'll rack it and proceed from here. I understand that it takes at least six months to a year for a decent batch.

I really relied on my son's knowledge and just followed his lead. But he is gone now and I am heart broken and lost. I think that this spring I will start doing more research and learning about brewing and mead. I want to make a good batch of beer AND mead in his honor. I know that he would like that!

Thank you all for any input you may have. It would have been easier to have him help me, but I WILL learn this on my own and brew some good stuff and have a drink in his memory.

Looking forward to anything you have to say.

My condolences on your loss. It would be a good idea to make some in his honor. But more importantly drink what you make to his honor as well.

Now to the business at hand about mead:
It is hard to say without more information about your mead recipe, amount of ingredients (both recipe and additional), Specific gravity readings throughout the process, temp of the room at the time of fermentation, and prior to Dec 11 was there daily stirrings (and how many times per day)?

Until you can provide more information I would recommend the doing following immediately:
1) what kind of smell is in the bucket?
2) Is there any unusual foam or anything else floating from the top?
3) Please sanitize a hydrometer and take a specific gravity reading and let us know where it is at.
4) Rack to another bucket but preferably a carboy. Try to have a tight seal with little to no headspace. (You can reduce headspace by sanitizing marbles and place them in a carboy and/or you can add CO2 to the top of the bottle).

jpollman
02-19-2017, 10:17 PM
Thank you for the input.

I'll try to gather the information and post it. This was my first attempt at mead. If it's ruined, I'll be disappointed, but that's fine. I will make a new batch in his honor. When either batch is ready, my wife and I will raise a glass in his honor.

Squatchy
02-19-2017, 10:47 PM
Thank you for the input.

I'll try to gather the information and post it. This was my first attempt at mead. If it's ruined, I'll be disappointed, but that's fine. I will make a new batch in his honor. When either batch is ready, my wife and I will raise a glass in his honor.

And we will be honoured to participate in your journey any way we can

X-tian
02-19-2017, 11:25 PM
I really relied on my son's knowledge and just followed his lead. But he is gone now and I am heart broken and lost. I think that this spring I will start doing more research and learning about brewing and mead. I want to make a good batch of beer AND mead in his honor. I know that he would like that!

As a father myself, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. I admire you for coming here to find ways to honor your son by making and improving something he was interested in. I suggest to you that you read up on the NewBee Guide here on GotMead and read the book by Ken Schramm, The Compleat Meadmaker. I am a Newbee myself, but through new found obsession and determination to learn, my learning curve has been greatly shortened by the many amazing posts of dedicated Mead lovers like Squatchy, Dadux, caduceus, Stasis and others. Their advice will further refine your Mead-making efforts to greatly enhance your craft. Follow their lead and you will be toasting to your son's honor with exceptional Mead made by your own hands. I'd bet he (is) will be proud of you!

Dadux
02-20-2017, 06:28 AM
Hello there Mr. Pollman
Im so sorry your son died. It must be terrible you have my most sincere condolences. I think its corageous of you to do this for him and im sure he would appreciate it.

About your mead, i have to say its very likely its not ruined. Most of the time you can get away eith far from perfect practices.
The other members here pointed you to the right direction. Im gonna add that you can also check your mead visually to see if its ruined. First of all open the bucket and look at the top of the mead. There should be nothing floating on it, or maybe just some white powder (some wax from the honey, nothing to worry about). If you see other things like fungus you may not want to taste it right away. Also if you look to the bottom you should see a thick layer of sediment. That sediment should be white-y/beige/slightly yellow. If some of it is brown, your mead might be ruined. However if that is the case you can taste it safely, it will only taste bad.
You should also rack as soon as posible. That is, transfering the mead to another container to separate ir from the bottom sediment.
As X-tian said, you might want to give a read to the newbee guide of the gotmead page. It also contains a chapter about racking.

I hope we can help you achive some good tasting mead so you can honour your son the way he deserves. Any doubt you have, dont hesitate to post it or ask us.