PDA

View Full Version : Help Gonzo



Gonzo
01-20-2005, 01:47 PM
Hi,
I'm totaly new at this, and will be asking lots of questions.
First off, can you use Stoneware crocks in the process of making mead?

Talon
01-20-2005, 01:56 PM
It's not recommended as the stoneware is pourous and will harbor items that could potentially add off tastes to your mead.

Gonzo
01-20-2005, 02:03 PM
I've looked at this thread about equipment. http://members.cox.net/spursley/

But is all that realy necissary? What can I get by with or without? I'm not trying to be cheap, just want to get going on a batch.

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-20-2005, 02:31 PM
Gonzo,

You could brew one gallon batches of mead with the following:

1 glass gallon jug (left over from cider season)
1 stopper for jug (~$1)
1 bubble trap (~$1)
3 lb. jar of honey (~$6?)
1 packet of 71B-1122 yeast ($0.70)
A small package of raisins without preservatives (~$0.50)

Sterilize the jug, stopper, and trap by soaking in almost boiling water (removes need for bleach) for 30 minutes. Boil additional tap water to remove chlorine and impurities (removes need for bottled water). Pour the honey into the jug using the boiled water to loosen it up. Add raisins. Add hot water to the curve in the jug, seal with lid, set aside for 24 hours to allow to cool to room temperature. Add the yeast, close with lid and shake vigorously, remove lid, install trap, set in dark place for a month. Using this, you will make a straight mead that is roughly 13 percent alcohol.

When it stops fermenting, you can carefully pour it into another container while not disturbing the yeast and sediment but I would recommend getting a racking cane and tubing so you are not forced to leave as much behind.

The yeast, stopper, trap, racking cane, tubing, and even jug are available from Leeners or several other places online. But this is about as cheaply as you can do it and it will net you about four 750 mL bottles...

Good luck,
Pewter

Oskaar
01-20-2005, 04:10 PM
Hey Gonzo,

What kind of mead did you have in mind, and what is your goal? That is, you probably have an idea of how you want your mead to taste, and what to compare it to as a benchmark. Have you tasted commercial mead, or did someone you know, something you read, etc. give you the bug to start a batch?

Let us know. The recipe above will yield a nice, light and fruity mead in a very reasonable amount of time, depending on the type of honey you use.

Cheers,

Oskaar

David Baldwin
01-20-2005, 04:39 PM
Gonzo,

Greetings and welcome!

Here is a list of the type of equipment I use to make 3.5 gallon batches of mead and the approximate costs.

My Basic kit started out with:
1 graduated 5 gallon bucket with padded handle and lid $7.00 from Lowes
1 glass carboy 3.5 gallon $12.50 from www.makeyourownwine.com
1 cheap turkey baster - $1.00 local dollar store.
1 hydrometer and test jar $8.50
1 Airlock and 1 Drilled Stopper $1.70
1 Carboy Brush $5.00

I got a racking cane and bottling wand from a friend who gave up on brewing. I paid him in a bottle of Joe's Ancient Orange/Spice recipe ;D

I've turned my beer drinking friends on to beers with the flip tops. They get a better beer, and I get the bottles - they also get an occasional bottle of mead as an incentive.

My equipment list grows with each batch I make, but this is what I used to get started.

The measuring cups, thermometer etc that I needed to make my first batch were filched... er...ah...borrowed from my wife's kitchen ;D

Good luck and enjoy!

David

Gonzo
01-20-2005, 04:51 PM
Guys!
Thank you for your support and interest in helping me.

I'm aiming for a fruit mead, possibly blueberry.
We have a local commercail honey farm in town but I do not know the offical name that they've branded thier flavor. We also have one of the purest natural spring water creeks in the world, Big Spring Water or Blue Water Works.

I'm guessing that plastic carboy's are frowned apon.
What is the difference with different yeasts.

Where does the plastic bucked come into play in the sequence of brewing mead?

My wife works at a resturant/bar. What are the best wine bottles to get? Whish I could get the Groulsh beer bottles but they quit carring them.

What about corking? Any suggestions?

Cya

spawner

jab
01-20-2005, 05:03 PM
Welcome Gonzo!

Plastic carboys are fine in certain situations. I wouldn't say they are frowned on but there are definately things to consider.

First, plastic is porous. It lets oxygen into your brew which is good at first and bad later. That is where the plastic bucket comes in. Many (most?) people use the plastic bucket for a primary fermenter. This stage is usually fairly short (in mead years), about 3-6 weeks. They then move the must to glass. You could in this situation use a plastic carboy for the primary.

The second thing to consider is that plastic (even the buckets) tends to get scratched and pitted. These areas are very hard (read virtually impossible) to clean. When you can get it clean guess what moves in? All the nasty beasties that will turn your mead into honey vinegar or worse.

Do some people use plastic all the way through? Sure. Will anyone eat you alive for doing it? No. But in the long run I think the little extra spent on a glass carboy for the secondary will be money well spent.

As for wine bottles I don't have much experience there as I use swing-top bottles. The type of bottle depends on what you are making. If you are making a still mead then 'any old bottle will do', but if you are making a 'sparkling' mead then you will want to use the heavier champagne bottles that can withstand the pressure.

Another thing to note is that light damages mead (and wine and beer for that matter) so you will also want to use 'dark' bottles like amber or green.

Hope that helps.

CosmicCharlie
01-20-2005, 05:32 PM
What about corking? Any suggestions?

I am a lazy, lazy man. Corks are great, but I just cap them like beers. Capper and caps are readily available on-line and at your local brewing supply shop.

Oskaar
01-20-2005, 05:42 PM
I'm with Charlie on the capping. I've had meads for over ten yeast that I capped with no loss whatsoever. Also, without going into the whole "cork vs. screw-cap" subject, corking is something that is better left until you have run a few batches of mead, and have had some practice racking and bottling.

A note about water. Pure water is great for drinking, but the trace elements and minerals in well water and come city water actually make it better for meadmaking. It all falls under the heading of nutrients and minerals in the process.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Gonzo
01-20-2005, 06:06 PM
so you reuse beer bottles then?

Norskersword
01-20-2005, 07:07 PM
That's what I do. I also go to resteraunts that serve wine and ask for their old wine bottles. It's great if you don't mind scrubbing the labels off.

Try morebeer.com if you want a set. You can get any kind of bottle you want there.

jab
01-20-2005, 10:13 PM
so you reuse beer bottles then?


That's what I do. As I have stated elsewhere on this board I drink Grolsch. Not because I think it is that great of a beer, it isn't bad but there are much better, but because I can buy a case of Grolsch for the same price I can buy EZ-Cap swing tops at my local brew shop. It's like getting the beer for free.

Oskaar
01-20-2005, 11:29 PM
I use the 22 oz beer bottles, and American sparkling wine bottles and cap them.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Gonzo
01-21-2005, 09:12 AM
1 glass gallon jug (left over from cider season)
1 stopper for jug (~$1)
1 bubble trap (~$1)
3 lb. jar of honey (~$6?)
1 packet of 71B-1122 yeast ($0.70)
A small package of raisins without preservatives (~$0.50)


The recipe above will yield a nice, light and fruity mead in a very reasonable amount of time, depending on the type of honey you use.

Cheers,

Oskaar


So it's safe to say that after a month it's good to go? Is that just this specific recipe? I've read that there are 2 fermentation stages in some batches. And a better mead or wine comes with time. If you can handle waiting a year or 2 or even 5. :P

jab
01-21-2005, 10:29 AM
What do you mean by 'good to go'? Ready to drink? Probably not. Not that you couldn't drink it then but I would be willing to bet it wouldn't taste all that great.

There are recipes that get done, meaning ready to drink, fairly quickly. One that comes to mind is Joes Acient Orange which can be found at:

http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,600.msg3709.html#msg3709

I would take a look at the recipes forum or use the search tool. There are a few more recipes floating around that will take a relatively short amount of time.

Most meads do go through 2 'fermentation' stanges. You will have the primary fermentation when most of the alcohol is produced. Once that is done or slows down a great deal people usually rack off the lees for secondary fermentation/aging. At this stage the yeast will finish up (if they haven't already) and the aging process begins. How long should you age? That is a matter of personal opinion. Some people age a very short time and then bottle. Some people age for six months, some a year before bottling. Some people 'bulk' age in the carboy, then bottle and bottle age for another period of time.

You are correct in that most meads will benefit from aging and it is generally said the longer the better.

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-21-2005, 11:17 AM
I guess that I would recommend the Ancient Orange, Clove, and Cinnamon Mead as well if you are in a hurry to drink something.

I just bottled a little of my first batch of this type of mead. I would pass on a couple of observations. It produces good mead but I believe that other recipes using the more standard practices will make better mead. I will warn you that the recipe defies a lot of meadmaking "standards" such as leaving seeds, piths, and peels in the must for long periods of time.

However, the second point is that it is relatively smooth and drinkable after 2 months which is a big benefit since this is NOT the case with most other recipes. Most meads require a minimum of 6 to 8 months to age properly.

The biggest plus of the Ancient Orange mead is that it is idiot proof with simple methods and a simple recipe and is perfect for a beginner. I shoved 6 oranges, honey, and yeast into a 6 gallon carboy to make mine. I will likely try the same recipe again with a slight modification of squeezing the juice (but not using the remainder) of an additional 6 oranges into the must to slightly increase the orange flavor of the end product. I do believe you will be happy with the resulting mead, especially for your first effort.

Good luck,
Pewter

Gonzo
01-21-2005, 11:57 AM
You guys are awesome....
I have a lot of interests, post on quite a few forums.
Quick replys here, to the point and helpful.

Thanks,

joe/spawner

Talon
01-21-2005, 01:25 PM
It's because we're all dedicated as much to the site as we are to making mead. *grins*

Oskaar
01-21-2005, 03:33 PM
Gonzo, whichever mead you choose to make just be patient, and it will turn out well. Other things to be aware of are temperature, sanitation, and the types of additives you're going to use. Also using high quality ingredients really makes a difference (just like in pizza! LOL) in the final product.

Pewter, I think I asked this before in one of the threads where you mentioned that you're learning from master brewers in the sca (society for creative anacrhonism) ((hope I got that right)), can you tell us what constitutes a master brewer and how they earn their designation please. I know it differs from kingdom to kingdom, but it would be nice to know what the requisites are for your kingdom.

Talon, yup, that's fer shure!

Oskaar

Gonzo
01-21-2005, 04:34 PM
Will bottle caps work on some wine bottles?

JoeM
01-21-2005, 06:47 PM
Standard bottle caps work on crown top beer bottles (not twist off bottles) and american style champagne bottles (not european champagne bottles). Regular wine bottles will not take bottle caps nor are they meant to hold carbonation so they are a no no if a sparkling mead is desired.

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-21-2005, 09:35 PM
Oskaar,

Someone else posted an answer on the old boards and so I did not pursue it. Unfortunately I do not live in the same kingdom and do not know their rules. Check out the Mead in the SCA threads on the old board...

jab
01-22-2005, 03:55 AM
Doh! Does that mean that Oskaar should smite himself? Tsk, tsk.

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-22-2005, 02:03 PM
I have modified my previous comments in this thread and would ask all of you to go back and reread my comments on the Ancient Orange, Clove, and Cinnamon mead. Someone pointed out that I was very harsh with my original comments. I have been under tremendous stress at work and more than a bit stressed and hurried when I originally posted. Upon rereading the comments found them to be a bit harsh myself.

It was not my intention to slight JMat at all and so I apologize to him if I did. The recipe is probably the best one out there for a first timer.

Thanks,
Pewter

Oskaar
01-22-2005, 04:43 PM
I smite myself once, twice, three times! ;)

Cheers,

Oskaar

Gonzo
01-23-2005, 02:20 AM
In regards to this recipe, would any yeast work instead of Fleishmann's?
For example 71B-1122?

Joe's Ancient Orange recipe

3 1/2 lbs Clover or your choice honey or blend (will finish sweet)
1 Large orange (later cut in eights or smaller rind and all)
1 small handful of raisins (25 if you count but more or less ok)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole clove ( or 2 if you like - these are potent critters)
optional (a pinch of nutmeg and allspice )( very small )
1 teaspoon of Fleishmann’s bread yeast ( now don't get holy on me--- after all this is an ancient mead and that's all we had back then)
Balance water to one gallon

Thanks,
gonzo

Oskaar
01-23-2005, 05:44 AM
stick with the bread yeast for this recipe.

cheers,

Oskaar

David Baldwin
01-23-2005, 08:33 AM
Yes, stick with the recipe as Joe posted it. You can tripple it to make a 3 gallon batch which is what I've done.

My first batch of this is half gone and it only cleared just before New Years.

Very young it is a bit rough at the edges but very drinkable. It mellows very quickly, and I've noticed a marked improvement in the 4 weeks it's been bottled.

I hope that I have enough willpower to let one bottle age a full year.


This is probably one of if not the best first time beginner recipe.
Good luck and enjoy.

David

Gonzo
01-23-2005, 06:55 PM
Thank you thank you thankyou,

I'm now wondering and have investigated a little. Need to confirm this thou.
I can get a plastic food grade "clean" bucket from a resturant, (none at Ace Hardware) granted it didn't have vinegar products in it. With a lid I can cut a hole in the top for the airlock and plug and I'll have my primary fermentation container?

thanks,
gonzo

Oskaar
01-23-2005, 07:03 PM
If you can't order one from a home brew shop, or an online homebrew shop, then scald the bucket with boiling water. Scrub it good with a soft sponge and some dish soap, scald it again, and then let it sit overnight with some star san sanitzer in it before you use it to do your primary.

Still, I'd boost the coin and go on line to order a bucket designed for that purpose.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Gonzo
01-23-2005, 07:07 PM
What about this hydrometer thingy? I've spent some dough already, unfortunatly I didn't think I should order a bucket.

Oskaar
01-23-2005, 07:12 PM
Kick some coin for the hydrometer too, it's a worthwhile investment.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-23-2005, 07:46 PM
Gonzo,

While you can do it without a hydrometer, the Specific Gravity (SG) readings you take before you pitch the yeast are the single BIGGEST source of info in aiding the experts here to help you if should encounter problems along the way. So it will be well worth the investment in the long run...

Good luck,
Pewter

Gonzo
01-23-2005, 09:49 PM
On with the questions,

Can I use a plastic bucket for Joe's recipe?
Can I use liquor bottles that have a removeable cork (T cork) in the end? If I can what special instructions do I have to follow.

I'm going to either have to use regular beer bottles or drink a lot of this American sparkleing wine. The restraunt doesn't sell 22oz beer or that wine with the screw top.
I'm in a small town, everyone drinks the 12 oz domestics.
What about capping some liqour bottles, are they too big?

Norskersword
01-24-2005, 08:35 PM
Can I use liquor bottles that have a removeable cork (T cork) in the end? If I can what special instructions do I have to follow.


I've read that you should use wax with these to insure a good seal.

Bottles are your personal preference as long as you are not going carbonated. Any bottle you want will do.

Don't ask to buy bottles from the resteraunts, ask them if you can have the empty ones they have discarded. For free. ;)

JamesP
01-24-2005, 08:40 PM
The T corks are usually used for fortified wines, where the higher alcohol content makes it more immune to oxidization.

I would only trust my mead to a six month to a year lifespan in those bottles, and with very little head-space.

Gonzo
01-25-2005, 04:08 PM
How do I know if my bucket is food grade approved.

jab
01-25-2005, 04:25 PM
In short, if you don't know the complete history of the bucket, you can't tell. If you do know the history here are some pointers:


White/Natural in color. Most dyes make the bucket 'non-foodgrade'.
Not recycled. Recycled buckets, even recycled food-grade buckets are not longer food grade.
Never contained anything but food. If it's been used for chemicals...fuhgeddaboutit.


See this link for some more info:

http://waltonfeed.com/self/upack/buckets.html

David Baldwin
01-26-2005, 09:36 AM
If you buy a bucket "new" from the home improvement store of your choice, flip it over and look at the center of the bucket. If the manufacture is Letica Bucket Co. or Rochester Bucket Co. then you are good to go with a white bucket. The Letica bucket in green is also food grade, but may have been exclusively available to pickle packers for McDonalds etc.

The bucket I use is a translucent bucket by Letica, and while I'm not 100% certain, I am confident enough to be using it.

I'll do some further digging with the Letica Bucket Co. to see what I can learn about the various colors and food grade.

Oskaar
01-26-2005, 05:51 PM
Also ROPAK (Company was owned by a former girlfriend's father, but recently sold to LINPAC) are good food grade bucket. I have used them for fermentation and they work fine. I also have two of theirs that I use as bottling buckets.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Gonzo
01-27-2005, 02:32 PM
Well, I got 3 2gal buckets from Albertson's that had frosting in them, and 3 4gal buckets from a pizza joint that had mayo in them. All the lids have a rubber seal in the seam. They look good.

I also got my leeners order today....pa and I are planning on doing a small batch of the Joe's ancient orange.

gonz

Gonzo
01-27-2005, 11:10 PM
Couple questions:

Do we have to boil the water first? It's coming right out of the tap, well water.

Joe's Ancient Orange:
I'm using one of those 2gal buckets, do i need to cut a hole in the lid for the stopper with an airlock?

Tsuchi
01-28-2005, 08:32 AM
I would boil the water, and yes a hole drilled for your airlock would be a good thing. Check and see if you have any spade bits that match the dia midway up your stopper... All else failing go smaller and file neatly to fit. Have fun and enjoy the heavenly smell of the ancient orange.

Gonzo
01-28-2005, 09:15 AM
Because I am trying to solve the bookless problem I am missing some details as you can see.

I'm now wondering with the airlock, how do I set it up? Submerge the tip of it in the mixture and do I fill the airlock with water or something?


thanks people!

gonz

P.S. Any suggestions on methods to remove bottle lables?

jab
01-28-2005, 10:42 AM
The operation of the airlock is easily found on the net with a google search. In a nutshell you put water (some people use neutral spirits like vodka) in the air lock and put it in the hole. No it shouldn't be in the must.

I don't have the answer for the labels. Not to be a pain in the ass but there is a search function on this board. I searched for 'label' and one of the top few results was:

http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,43.0.html

Which is the discussion of how to remove labels.

Gonzo
01-30-2005, 03:56 PM
We'll it has been done.

We made 3 gallons of Joe's Orange yesterday.
She smells good already, I used the white bucket method. So I can't see any
cauldron brewing. I'm wondering if when I will begin to see my air lock a bubble.

gonzo

jab
01-30-2005, 04:00 PM
How big of a bucket? Are you making 3 gallons in a 5 gallon bucket? I do that currently and depending on the yeast, temp, etc. I have see bubbles in as little as 3 hours but more often not until 6-8 hours. I have had some go longer than that even. If you only have 3 gallons in a 5 gallon pail there is a lot of head space to fill up.

Gonzo
01-30-2005, 05:09 PM
3 gallons in a 4 gallon bucket. :-\

I made a call today up at my Dad's, that's where we did it. He's got all the tools and quite some knowledge of cookary.

He said there is pressure building, if you press on the lid of the pail a bubble will exit from under the hood in the airlock.

I guess I'm getting impatient already, like I told him, it's going to be a long 2 months.

What do you guys pay for vanilla bean? My small town sells them 2 in a bottle for 17.99!
Insane!

gonzo

P.S.- Thanks everyone for your particpation and encouragement. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tsuchi
01-30-2005, 06:43 PM
Well then you should be seeing bubbles sooner rather than later.. in the next few hours i'd think.... Joes recipie gets going quickly!

Oskaar
01-30-2005, 08:58 PM
As noted above Gonzo, spend some time using the search tool and explore the previous posts, you'll find a wealth of knowledge there.

Also, save up your dukkets for Ken's Book and make use of the links and knowledge base in the rest of the Gotmead.com website and the Mead Lover's Digest.

Cheers,

Oskaar

jab
01-30-2005, 09:13 PM
Right, there is mention on these forums of a wonderful supplier of vanilla beans. About $1 a bean for some of the best beans I have ever used. Search is your friend!

JoeM
01-31-2005, 12:46 AM
You can buy beans on ebay for about $1 a piece but you usually have to buy them in lots of 10-20.

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-31-2005, 11:36 AM
I just received a shipment of beans from the place everyone is talking about. It is called Vanilla Cafe. Rich Diaz, the owner is friendly and responded to my emails and even threw an extra sample of some bourbon vanilla beans into my shipment.

Contact info is -
Richard Diaz
2630 N. Francisco Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647

rsjdiaz@yahoo.com
ebay store: vanillacafe

He will accept personal checks so you can avoid Ebay, especially if you are like me and do not have Paypal. The price is generally $9.99 for 12 beans of one type. He has Tahitian, Madagascaran, and Ugandan(bourbon) vanilla. He charges $3.99 for shipping and handling.

The house smelled wonderfully like vanilla last night...

Mention that Greg Hopper sent you and he might make you a special deal as well...

Aggie4You
01-31-2005, 02:13 PM
What do you guys pay for vanilla bean? My small town sells them 2 in a bottle for 17.99!
Insane!


Nowhere near that much.

Check this out: http://stores.ebay.com/Vanilla-Cafe_W0QQsspagenameZl2QQtZkm. The beans have a very nice flavor (I got ugandan beans), but I haven't tried them in any of my recipes yet so I can't comment on their flavor. IIRC, I learned of him through someone else on this board and they said that the second time they ordered, the seller included some free beans.

Gonzo
02-03-2005, 04:41 PM
Hi,

New agenda, My folks found 3 qt's of frozen chopped strawberrys that were supposed to be used for jam. I've looked into some recipes and have learned that you can rack ontop the fruit in a secondary. What will this do for me? I have one recipe that calls for black English tea to take the place of tannin I'm guessing. Will the tea dominate the flavor in the batch?

We've spoke of using a bigger primary than the must batch. ie, 2gal batch in a 4gal bucket. Is that much head space a bad thing?

One of the simpler recipes i found was this:
5gal batch
2 gal strawberries
1gal honey
4 gal water
1pkg premier cuvee yeast

I'm going to cut it down to make a smaller batch of course, but Im wondering if I can replace the yeast with Lalvin 71b 1122. I did get the Schramm bible, he states 71b is a good yeast for melomels. I guess I'm just double checking...

gonz

Norskersword
02-03-2005, 06:18 PM
Hi,

New agenda, My folks found 3 qt's of frozen chopped strawberrys that were supposed to be used for jam. I've looked into some recipes and have learned that you can rack ontop the fruit in a secondary. What will this do for me? I have one recipe that calls for black English tea to take the place of tannin I'm guessing. Will the tea dominate the flavor in the batch?

We've spoke of using a bigger primary than the must batch. ie, 2gal batch in a 4gal bucket. Is that much head space a bad thing?

One of the simpler recipes i found was this:
5gal batch
2 gal strawberries
1gal honey
4 gal water
1pkg premier cuvee yeast

I'm going to cut it down to make a smaller batch of course, but Im wondering if I can replace the yeast with Lalvin 71b 1122. I did get the Schramm bible, he states 71b is a good yeast for melomels. I guess I'm just double checking...

gonz


Hey Gonzo,

Yep, secondary is the best time to add fruit. More of the fruit character will be noticable in the end product that way than if you added the fruit in primary. Shramm recommends this too.

Headspace is not an issue in primary, only after primary. The CO2 produced by the fermentation will blanket your mead and protect it from oxydization.

I havn't used that yeast, but alot of people use it frequently.

jab
02-03-2005, 06:23 PM
Also note that straberries are incredibly delicate. Though I have never used them myself is has been stated that the flavor is usually not very pronounced and often does not hold up to extended aging.

I'm not saying don't use them, I'm just saying be prepared to not be blown away by an abundance of strawberry flavor.

Oskaar
02-03-2005, 06:29 PM
I second what Jab said.

I've even done the unthinkable and simmered strawberries down a few times to concentrate the flavor before racking onto them. It worked pretty good, but the strawberry flavor just takes some time and a lot of futzing around with to bring to the fore of the flavor curve.

Cheers,

Oskaar

JamesP
02-03-2005, 07:10 PM
At the strawberry farm where I do a "pickyour own", there are different varieties, some better for jam and some better for eating.

The Jam varieties are probably better for mead, but YMMV.

Gonzo
02-12-2005, 01:36 AM
I've got an old book on wine and mead making. It states in a lot of it's recipes to use the yeast rehydration method and spread it on a piece of toast. Then float the toast with the yeast side down in the must solution before sealing.

What does this do?

Gonzo

Oskaar
02-12-2005, 01:45 AM
Makes a mess of your must. Just rehydrate the yeast per the manufacturer's instructions and pitch it into your must. No muss no fuss.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Gonzo
02-12-2005, 04:52 PM
Technical question regarding bottling with the crown caps. Will they work on the twist top beer bottles with the threads?

gonz

Oskaar
02-12-2005, 05:27 PM
Nope.

Tsuchi
02-12-2005, 08:22 PM
Ok, can you get the type top they put on the twist tops... ive never seen them so i assume that i'll see about as short an answer, but, though i'd ask.

Oskaar
02-12-2005, 10:42 PM
I'm sure you can, but, if you don't have the proper capper you won't get a consistant seal from what I've read. Charlie Papazian addresses the twist off issue in his second book somewhere if I remember right. Bottom line, I have a bench capper that is designed for standard crown top type beer bottles so I'll stick with the design target demographic.

I'm sure there are people who have capped a standard bottle cap on a twist off type bottle. If it were a good way, economic way, or more effective way to cap and seal, we'd see the LHBS selling twist top bottles and caps and there would be a lot of information available on doing it. I haven't seen that to be true.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Gonzo
02-16-2005, 04:00 PM
I'm afraid some of my make shift brewing buckets lids are not sealing. I'm useing mayonase buckets brutaly cleaned. The lids have a strip of rubber for a seal. Like a bead of glue. Not sure what to do. I'm trying to get my hands on some 3 gal plastic carboys but it isn't easy.

Gonzo
02-18-2005, 04:16 PM
Sorry for the redundant retarded questions, I see that you all are egar to anwser them.
I've found that the buckets are sealing. Bubbleing nicely, except for my 2 gal. batch. I've learned that there is no alternative to the 2nd fermentation vessel being glass. Due to the oxidation hazard.

Thanks for the vanilla connection, the stuff is really good.

gonzo

David Baldwin
02-18-2005, 06:06 PM
Gonzo,

It's not that the PET type carboys are impossible to use, and may in fact work fine with some of the "quick" meads such as Joe's Ancient Orange and Spice mead.

Check around, and you may be very surprised to dig up a home wine making or beer making supplier around you.

Carboys aren't really all that terribly expensive, but having one shipped will of course significantly increase the cost.

I found my local supplier when they were selling some overstock 3 gal carboys on Ebay. I found out they were local and it was the beginning of a really great relationship.

Good luck and don't be afraid to keep the questions rolling. There's a ton of info already here and the search function will help sift through it all.

jab
02-21-2005, 12:56 PM
Hey Gonzo, there are no retarded questions, though some of us manage to give some retarded answers. *looks in mirror* Keep the questions coming. There are many people who lurk on this board. They don't necessarily ask questions themselves but learn just as much by reading the threads.

Gonzo
03-03-2005, 03:58 PM
ok guysn'gals

I got a batch of beer here and a batch of mead that are apparently stinkin' up the house, from what the wife says. If I move it to my garage the temps at night are getting down to about the high 20's. Is this bad? Daytime highs are in the mid 50's but the garage is probably high 40's. Probably not a good idea huh?

My 3rd batch of mead was made on Valentines day. 3gal.batch with 8#honey with Blueberrys, Pineapple, oranges and 2 beans of vanilla. SG of 1.19 and Lavlin -71 b1122. Bubbled on the 3rd day, shook it for a week. Now she's at about 2 bubbles a minute. Not sure if I should let it set till the 28th. Or racker off the fruit.

Thanks!!!
Gonzo

Oskaar
03-03-2005, 04:24 PM
Gonzo,

Keep the fermentors in the house and find a closet or cupboard. The swing in temperature won't be complimentary to your mead or beer.

Sounds like the fruit was added to the primary in your third batch. I doubt that your SG reading is accurate because of all the chunks floating around. Just measuring the liquid is not accurate in this case, at least that has been my experience. Between the pineapple and the oranges your pH may trend toward the acidic side which could slow fermentation, stress the yeast, and produce off flavors/odors.

You need to post your exact recipe for us to help.

Also, you really need to get a good book for reference's sake (Ken's Book is great for this) and read it. He covers a ton of stuff including many of the questions you're asking here. Spend some time looking at the other posts here, along with using the search tool and a lot of your questions will be answered as well.

We're here to help out where we can as a supplement to your growing experience and knowledge of mead making. Mead making is a learning processes, and as with most other learning processes it is incumbent upon the student to do the learning in the lecture, lab and books. This forum is the lecture, the lab is your meadmaking space in your home. Now it's time to hit the books.

Keep asking questions, we'll be here.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Aggie4You
03-03-2005, 06:45 PM
If his SG is anywhere near correct, he's probably having the same problem I had (only using K1V-1116). I was informed that I'd have MUCH more luck if I kept the SG at 1.14 or less (1.12 or less is even better). You can up the sugar content as you go.

For instance, if you are making a show mead (nothing but good ole honey, water, and yeast), and you add enough honey to get you to 1.19, it'll take *forever* to do much of anything. If you add half that amount of honey to get to 1.10 (or thereabouts) and let it get going good, you can add the rest when it gets down around 1.02 (1.11 after addition) and let it finish.

If I had to guess, I'd say that 1.19 in conjunction with 71B will leave you with a cloyingly sweet drink. Perhaps I'm wrong on that.

Oskaar
03-03-2005, 08:12 PM
Yup, you're right Aggie.

I started out thinking about the SG, but then changed direction. I'll call it a senior moment! LOL

Cheers,

Oskaar

Gonzo
03-03-2005, 10:02 PM
Well hell,
Like I said
3gal.batch with
8#honey
2#Blueberrys
1#Pineapple
1 orange peeled and sliced
2 beans of vanilla.
SG of 1.19 and Lavlin -71 b1122.

What can be done to alter the batch?

Sometimes I don't have time to do a lot of searching, I have learned a lot by the poking around that I have done. No better way to learn that by making mistakes I guess. Gonna suck bad if this batch goes bunk.

Oskaar
03-03-2005, 10:27 PM
Rehydrate and pitch a package of K1V-1116 or EC-1118 yeast (I'd use the K1V just because I like the end product it generally yields) or you can add some water to bring down the SG. Either way this is a case where researching your yeasties ability to metabolyze high gravity must would have paid off.

You might also consider a teaspoon of nutrient and energizer mixed in before you re-pitch as it will help the beasties to take off. Also you might want to leave the airlock off for 48 - 72 hours and stir it up a couple of times a day for the first two days to add some oxygen to keep your yeasties in a feeding frenzy.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Gonzo
03-04-2005, 12:16 AM
Osk,

I have nutrient and 1118 on hand. Will this be ok?

Gonz

Oskaar
03-04-2005, 01:10 AM
Add a tsp of nutrient to your must. You may still want to consider diluting it down a bit to lower the SG. Rehydrate your yeast per manufacturer's instructions, and pitch it.

Also you should check the temperature of your must before you pitch. The cooler it is, the longer it will take for the yeast to get really active.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Gonzo
03-04-2005, 09:42 AM
Should I rack it first?

Aggie4You
03-04-2005, 10:55 AM
I don't see any reason to rack it unless you're also planning on diluting it considerably. If it were me, I'd probably rack it in half and fill the remaining space (double the volume) with water. I'd probably repitch the 71B in that instance. IF you decide it's necessary to up the alkie content later, you can add some more honey water & or fruit. Even if you cut the SG this way, you'll still end up with a fairly potent drink. If I followed this option, I'd rack/split/fill, ferment as usual, and rack onto blueberries when I went to secondary. Using 71B, I'd imagine that a good deal of your fruity character would manage to survive the dilution process, but adding a little extra, depending on taste at racking time, probably wouldn't hurt.

Gonzo
03-06-2005, 04:27 PM
Ok guys,
I added 3qt. of water (all that would fit), tsp of nutrient, 1 pk of 1118 and stirred the bejesus out of it by spoon and beaters. SG at 1.10 and bubbleing at 2 to 5 seconds.
How much can the gravity drop after fermentation?

gonzo

jab
03-06-2005, 05:35 PM
From where ever you started to 1.000 (actually I have had some drop below that but I think that was a temperature thing, back then I wasn't correcting for that). An FG if 1.000 means all of the available sugars are eaten/converted. You are bone dry.

JamesP
03-06-2005, 08:27 PM
You can go below an SG of 1.000. Dry red wine can be 0.992, but often 0.996

Your SG starts with water of 1.000, you add "sugars" (honey) so goes up to 1.xxx,

but the final result has alcohol, which has a lighter density then water, so can end up BELOW the SG of water if fermented dry, hence 0.99? And the more Alc to Water, then the lower the resulting SG if ALL the "sugars" are fermented.

Oskaar
03-07-2005, 12:57 AM
I have a "Mutiny on the Bounty" cyser that is 0.992 now. Gonna toss in some oak cubes and see what it does with those! ABV should be about 17-18%.

Gonzo
03-15-2005, 08:46 PM
New issue,
If I'm making 4 gal batches and I have 5 gal. carboys for secondarys, will filling that much room up to the neck with water(in secondary stage) be bad for my batch?

JoeM
03-15-2005, 09:51 PM
Adding a gallon of water to a 4 gallon batch sounds like a significant amount of dilution. Maybe if one of your batches is a straight mead you can use it to top off the other ones so you dont have to water down all your batches.

Gonzo
03-16-2005, 03:59 PM
any other suggestions, I could mix up a 2 or 4 gal batch of straight mead but would it be done in time? Any advice of a quick mead recipe?

Oskaar
03-16-2005, 04:19 PM
Gonzo,

Use the search tool and look for Joe's Three Week Straight Mead recipe in the Recipe section. That's about as quick as it gets.

cheers,

Oskaar

ancjr
03-16-2005, 09:32 PM
I thought i might as well post it since it took a few minutes to find it:
http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,380.0.html

Gonzo
03-17-2005, 12:25 AM
Man there has to be a easier way than this.

Ya can't just mix the basics for 2 gals?

honey
water
nutrient
energizer
yeast

????

poop!

Aggie4You
03-17-2005, 02:11 PM
Sure you can... it just might not (probably won't) be finished as soon.

Gonzo
03-20-2005, 09:04 PM
I need to get ready to clean my bottles. I have a dishwasher, will this be the best way. Do I need to remove any lables first?

Any suggestions would be great.

Norskersword
03-21-2005, 08:42 PM
You might want to clean your bottles by hand using a bottle brush. The dishwasher might leave resedue or something. Personally I wouldn't trust the dishwasher...

You can remove the label, you will be glad you did, but doing so wont effect the mead in any way.

The best advice any of us could give you would be to just keep starting new batches and learn from it. Experience is the best teacher. ;)

JamesP
03-21-2005, 11:20 PM
I remove labels from the bottles with a razor blade. Some recommend bleach or just soaking in warm water, then rubbing the labels off. Whatever works for you is fine.

I like to remove the labels so that no false impression is given. Making your own labels can also be rewarding - the icing on the cake.

If there is still a residual aroma in the bottle, leave a bit of stong meta-bisulfite solution in the bottles (with a lid on) for a few days, then wash and drain.

Oskaar
03-22-2005, 04:38 AM
I let the bottles soak overnight in PBW. They get good and loose and are easy to remove with a plastic putty knife. I sanitize them and then bottle, cork, label and shrink the capsule onto them.

Aggie4You
03-22-2005, 11:11 AM
I let the bottles soak overnight in PBW. They get good and loose and are easy to remove with a plastic putty knife. I sanitize them and then bottle, cork, label and shrink the capsule onto them.




PBW?

Oskaar
03-22-2005, 02:10 PM
Powdered Brewery Wash. It's great stuff, chews up the crud and crappola inside your carboys pretty well so that you can just rinse most of the time. It's good policy to hit them with a brush too. I use it mostly to get the residual red wine out of my carboys it works like a champ.

Here's a link:

http://www.morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=16015

Cheers,

Oskaar

GntlKnght
03-23-2005, 07:55 AM
By the way, Goo Gone works to get the gummy stuff off the after the label has been removed!

GntlKnght
03-23-2005, 07:59 AM
Powdered Brewery Wash. It's great stuff, chews up the crud and crappola inside your carboys pretty well so that you can just rinse most of the time. It's good policy to hit them with a brush too. I use it mostly to get the residual red wine out of my carboys it works like a champ.



Oskaar
Do you reuse this PBW? When you mix up a 2-5 gallon batch do you have to use and dispose of all of it right away?
2-5 gallons seems like a lot for those of us who do not do 40 gallon batches! :P

Oskaar
03-23-2005, 02:57 PM
It depends, I reuse it when I'm doing bottles and label removal. But when I'm blowing the crud out of my carboys I pitch it.

I usually mix up a 5 gallon bucket of the stuff with hot water (the sink in my brewhouse puts out 160 degrees F) and plunk the bottles into the stuff and let them sit for a bit. Then I scrape off the lables, gum and all.

For normal sanitizing I use Star San, Idophor or Bleach, depeding on my mood. LOL

Wonder Drug 40 (WD40) works wonders on gummy sticky label goo too!

Cheers,

Oskaar

Gonzo
03-25-2005, 12:47 AM
New issue,
If I'm making 4 gal batches and I have 5 gal. carboys for secondarys, will filling that much room up to the neck with water(in secondary stage) be bad for my batch?


What if I add more honey and water?

gonz

GntlKnght
03-25-2005, 11:12 AM
What if I add more honey and water?



Yes, especially if it is still fermenting nicely. Adding the same SG solution as your starting must is the best way to go, unless you are trying to boost your sugar content at this point.

Gonzo
04-16-2005, 12:25 PM
3gal.batch with
8#honey
2#Blueberrys
1#Pineapple
1 orange peeled and sliced
2 beans of vanilla.
SG of 1.19 and Lavlin -71 b1122.

What can be done to alter the batch?

Sometimes I don't have time to do a lot of searching, I have learned a lot by the poking around that I have done. No better way to learn that by making mistakes I guess. Gonna suck bad if this batch goes bunk.



Ok guys,
I added 3qt. of water (all that would fit), tsp of nutrient, 1 pk of 1118 and stirred the bejesus out of it by spoon and beaters. SG at 1.10 and bubbleing at 2 to 5 seconds.
How much can the gravity drop after fermentation?

gonzo


Ok so it's been like a month and a week since I added a gallon of water and pitched the Lavlin 1118. The mead has been inactive for close to two weeks. I have given it a swirl about a week ago to knock any "sleeping" yeast to hopefully get moving. No bubbles, so lastnight I transfered the batch to a 3 1/2 gal. glass carboy with little to no waste! I'm quite impressed with myself. Anyway, I took a reading and it was 1.05, the stuff is beautiful, the wife says it stinks but I dig it. The aroma is not so blueberry but more pineapple with a berry end. A begining alcohol soda fountain feeling with and ending in sweet. But over sweet. So my question now oh guru brewers, is that is this stuff gonna keep going, im guessing she's gonna stay at the 1.05. Should I repitch, can a guy keep repitching?