View Full Version : Got the Mead Bug

Suited Deuce
06-21-2017, 04:39 PM
Ok! Here we go! Got the Mead bug after trying a few different bottles and settling on a 10.5% favorite for now.


4.25 cups local citrus honey, one peeled orange in cheese cloth, lalvin d-47 yeast, 1 tsp yeast nutrient, eight raisins roughly cut, 7/8 gallon of purified water.
Original gravity- 1.096/12.4 abv

I was worried because I didn't see much airlock activity, and didn't want to pop open my "one time use" lid.... (what baloney). Either way, I opened it, aerated vigorously with a whisk, the took a reading....

Test gravity- 1.038
Added 1/8 nutrients, aerated.

So yea.... looks like I got a leaky seal. No big deal. She's working. Two days later I opened it again to make sure.

Test gravity- 1.019

I'm gonna leave it alone for a bit from here, but did have a few small questions...

When my hydrometer hits 1.000 or below, does that mean I have no sugars left to ferment?? I'm ok with this because I can always stop fermentation and then backsweeten. (I've bee reading... SUPER helpful website!!)

Lastly, if I'm at or around the sweetness I want (aiming for 1.010 on this Mead) can I rack whenever I want, or would it be better to kill fermentation and let the Mead sit for a month or so??

First mead, but I tried to do my research beforehand!

06-21-2017, 05:16 PM
Yes you are without sugar then. I would stabilize and back sweeten. I would keep your yeast roused and in suspension for a month. Then stop stirring so it can settle. Rack in a week or so. During the week of rest if you can, put it in the fridge that will help a lot.

The yeast you used doesn't do well over 68f or so. Warmer than that causes fussels that cause off flavors and heat. If you have any of that you will need to age it a while. I would only use that yeast one you can control your temps. There are lots of yeast that work fine in warmer temps.
D21 is very good for trsditionals.

Suited Deuce
06-21-2017, 05:31 PM
I actually did have an issue with temps. It got up to 80 the first day, and I put it in a Rubbermaid tub with water. Now I add ice regularly to keep temps around 74, but due to living in the south, can't get it lower than that without spending a chunk....

Does refrigerator temp matter during that week?

-the Deuce

06-21-2017, 05:47 PM
Good job on the first mead. Always nice to see someone who's done a little research before hand.

I think you want to get it as close to 32F as possible. The refrigerator I have in the basement is kept at 40 degrees, so that's what I use. But just use what you have.

Temperature control is not as expensive as you think. I bought a used chest freezer (Craigslist) for $25, an InkBird temperature controller for less than $40 (Amazon) and two heating pads for $30 (Wal-Mart). So I have a fermentation chamber for less than $100. :-). Not saying that's what you want to do, but it gives you and idea what can be done.

Actually, if you don't have temperature control, a JAOM is a great summer mead to make. Similar to the mead you made, but with bread yeast and no nutrients. Everyone needs to do at least one JAOM in their mead making endeavor! :-)

Suited Deuce
06-21-2017, 05:48 PM
Ya know this was an adaptation of that... I found JAOM while contemplating if I needed to buy all this equipment from the internets. I decided to be somewhere in between. Half JAOM half the equipment lol!

-the Deuce

06-21-2017, 07:13 PM
When you say peeled orange you mean you added the pulp or the peel?
Same than with other newbees, a few comments:

-Next time post recipe beforehand to get tips
-What is "purified water"? hope its not distilled.
-Did you rehydrate your yeast? If the answer is no, go read on how to do it for next time!
-You'd do well upgrading your nutrients to Fermaid O, or Fermaid K, and read about SNA (staggered nutrient aditions)
-You need to kill the yeast by stabilizing with sulphites and sorbate before backsweetening, This is done after racking, when there are not a lot of yeast cells.
-Racking does not remove all yeast, never. Racking alone its not enough, and if backsweetening you always need to stabilize (or push the yeast to the limit)
-Next time you take a reading you can taste it and smell it. If there are problems you'll get off smells/flavours such as eggy or sulfur, or vinegar. Spotting them early is key to fix it!

Suited Deuce
06-21-2017, 07:29 PM
Purified water as in going into the store and buying jug purified water, as opposed to jug distilled water. They were right next to each. I actually googled the difference standing there.

It was only the pulp of the orange. Wasn't brace enough to toss in the peel because I didn't want another thing to have to age out.

I did rehydrate my yeast. It was as per package directions.

Next time I will upgrade to fermaid O. Found those posts after I pitched.

-the Deuce

06-21-2017, 09:01 PM
Use a good mountain spring water next time if you can. You should notice a difference. Purified water has all the minerals stripped out. It is usually reverse osmosis, steam distilled, etc... Yeast (and people) love the minerals, they will help with fermentation and its what give water its taste.

06-21-2017, 09:38 PM
So I would like to comment on Dadux's comment on when to stabilize. Rarely any more do I stabilize and feel the need to rack first. Leaving the lee's inside the vessel saves racking losses. Stabilizing still gets the job done and yet you don't lose so much mead from your racking loses. In fact. Often times I would stabilize and fine at the same time. Stabile first, and the 2 days later add a fining agent, and then cold crash. Now after it drops out you can rack and you have saved not tossing away mead 2 times.

For a year or so I have been adding dry bentonite prior to pitch and now it usually starts to clear as soon as I stop rousing the yeast. I still stabilize and then let things drop out before I make my first rack. Then I will only have one more rack and it's then pretty clear. Clear enough to then later down the road run it through a filter prior to bottling. If you don't have a filter and do it my way it's clear enough to bottle most of the time.

Either way will work so feel free to choose. :)

06-22-2017, 06:45 AM
Interesting! I have a couple of questions and i'll PM them to you as to not hijack.
Goes to show you never stop learning new stuff.

Suited Deuce
06-22-2017, 07:57 AM
No please, I'm all about learning!

-the Deuce

Suited Deuce
07-01-2017, 06:51 PM
Racked today! It was super clear and out of sugar, so why not. Next time I'll work on less head space...


-the Deuce

07-01-2017, 09:10 PM
Racked today! It was super clear and out of sugar, so why not. Next time I'll work on less head space...

-the Deuce

Nice! It's always good to get as little head space as possible, but I'm frequently at the shoulders... so by comparison, you're doing great. :D

07-02-2017, 05:36 AM
That headspace is actually quite ok. If you backsweeten and add oak it should be pretty much topped off ;)

07-02-2017, 07:07 AM
Racked today! It was super clear and out of sugar, so why not. Next time I'll work on less head space...

Hey Deuce, next time follow Squatchy's advice and rouse the lees for about a month at least! (if your timetable allows it, but its worth it).

I would keep your yeast roused and in suspension for a month. Then stop stirring so it can settle. Rack in a week or so. During the week of rest if you can, put it in the fridge that will help a lot.