View Full Version : My first batch

10-19-2004, 10:27 AM
My 1st Batch of Mead
October 1, 2004

General recipe...
15 pounds Orange Blossom honey
Small amounts of several crushed spices in seeping(sp?) bag
Little bit of citrus juice
NO chemicals, nutrients, additives
2 packets of EC-1118 yeast

Heated everything but honey and yeast for 40 minutes at 170F. Removed spices.

Added honey slowly while stirring vigorously. Maintained heat at 170F (although it sunk to as low as 140 during honey addition) for one hour while continuing to stir vigorously. Skimmed small amount of surface scum during the hour. Siphoned into 6 gallon carboy and added chilled water to 5.5 gallons.

Hydrated yeast before beginning to add honey to pot. Pitched yeast into carboy when temperature fell below 90F.

SG = 1.110 ABV = 14.5 percent

10-20-2004, 03:03 AM
Hmmmm... was reading something in a link here about adjusting SG per temperature of the must. Since my must was at about 90F when I took the reading, it means I need to add 0.004 to the reading. So my OG was actually more like 1.114...

10-20-2004, 03:11 AM
10/2/04 Had local SCA event to go to. Must had a little scum on it but no visible signs of bubbling. However, when I trapped it, it bubbled immediately.

10/3/04 Bubbles rapidly all day. You can smell it in the kitchen. Not a good smell. Not a terrible smell.

10/11/04 Trap has slowed to a bubble every 5 seconds. Small amount (1/8th inch) of lees is visible in bottom of carboy.

10/16/04 Still bubbling at about once every 5 seconds. Smells like mead. Very pleasant. Lees buildup is approaching 1/4th inch.

Yeh, I wear a path in the carpet to it... there is a great feeling of accomplishment, especially if it is drinkable at the end.

10-23-2004, 11:20 PM
Ok, bubbling is slowing...

Time is approaching for first rack because I want to put more honey in so that the yeast ferments to completion and so that the batch still has some residual sweetness. I started with OG = 1.110 which is 14.5% ABV. My EC-1118 is tolerant to 18.

I want to have a moderately sweet mead when I am through. Would one of you please take the times and pains to walk me through the calculations of how much more honey I need to add to get there? Assume a 5 1/2 gallons after rack with 1/2 gallon of honey/water being added to eliminate headspace. As an engineer, I will understand the equations after I've seen them used once.

Then I can do the calculations on my cyser and post them in the second batch log before I do it just to make sure I don't screw up....

Thanks, in advance,

10-24-2004, 04:33 AM
SG 1.114 in 5.5 US gal -> 15.4% Alc

Using Joe's (?) difficult formulae of 1 lb per 1% ABV
3 lbs to get to 18.4%

Medium sweetness: FG range of 1.010 to 1.025
(using your hydrometer to do the SG->ABV conversion)
1.010 -> 1.2% -> 1.2 lb honey
1.025 -> 3.1% -> 3.1 lb honey
1.030 -> 3.7% -> 3.7 lb honey (sweeten to taste by this stage)

So you want 3 lb + (approx range of 1 to 3.5) = range of 4 to 6.5 lb honey

Using approx 12 lb honey per gallon, then 1 lb = 0.0833 gal honey

So you want a range of 1/3 gal to 1/2 gal of honey

Hey, you are already adding 1/2 gal, so forget honey water addition, just add pure honey to top up if you want *really* sweet.

Wiser approach is add 1/3 gal, mix and taste ::), then sweeten to desired sweetness level, then top what is left with water (allowing for the dilution effect).

Remember, EC-1118 may feel frisky and ferment to 20% if it so desires, so check the SG at the end to see where it finished at.

10-24-2004, 06:41 AM

Thanks, it leaves me with an interesting dilemna...

I suppose the safe way is to test SG, rack and add honey/water, allow to ferment and continue until it stops fermenting while there is some residual sugar. Then add just a little more to get to the desired sweetness level....

10-24-2004, 09:31 PM
Worked 9 1/2 hours on Sunday so I went home and decided to rack to relax.

OG = 1.110 , SG = 1.035

Not a lot of lees as it turned out. Looked more like spices that had settled than yeast although I've never seen yeast lees before. But I wanted to rack while ferment was still going in order to add honey so the batch could ferment to completion.

Tasted what was in the wine thief. Very green but otherwise good. Left warmth in mouth and throat. No unpleasant aftertaste...

By calculations, I needed to add about 3 lbs. of honey minimum. I heated water to a boil, removed heat and let it cool for a few minutes while I sterilized everything. Added honey while my daughter stirred. Thought I had added about a quart though SG measurement says it was more like 2/3rd's of a quart.

New SG = 1.050

Bubbling took a hit but was back to a faster rate than before racking by this morning.

10-27-2004, 02:30 AM
Metheglin is bubbling at a rate of almost a bubble a second this morning, which is faster than it bubbled at any time prior to the first racking...

The smell at the trap is starting to get the same green apple smell as the cyser, which leads me to believe that the alcohol content during the fermentation, which is now in excess of 10 percent, and likely is the same in the cyser, drives the EC-1118 to create this smell...

11-04-2004, 08:37 AM
11/4/04 The metheglin still continues to bubble at an amazing rate even though it has slowed slightly from it's peak rate.

I am still waiting on the little hydrometers I ordered so that I can throw one into it to monitor the SG. Will be interesting to see if there is enough honey in it for it to stop fermenting before it goes dry. May have to rack in a bit more...

11-14-2004, 11:11 PM
11/14/04 The batch is still bubbling away although at a rate of maybe once every 5 seconds now. I tasted it and the cyser. My son liked this one and I liked the cyser, so it appears that both batches have possibilities.

I plan to allow the batch to continue to ferment until it stops. SG is still around 1.020 which means it has a ways to go before going dry... There is a pretty good layer of lees so I may need to rack before it is totally finished...

11-23-2004, 10:15 PM
11/24/04 - Batch still continues to bubble slowly, maybe 4 bubbles a minute. The SG is approaching 1.000 according to the miniature hydrometer in it.

Will likely rack it this weekend onto a little more honey (another pound or three)...

12-14-2004, 03:59 AM
12/11/04 Racked into a 5 gallon carboy and moved to storage room (45F). Trapped with vodka since it will age now for 6 months without being disturbed. Also racked off a 375 mL. bottle to take to Brew U in NYC with me.

The color in the carboy was a deep, rich, clear brown, almost like I imagine coffee would be without the grounds in it. The color in the small bottle is a beautiful golden amber.

I had just a tiny sip. Tasted very green but should age well. FG = 1.022. Stopped right where I wanted without any chemicals.

LESSON LEARNED WITH BATCH 1: Be very careful as you get to the bottom during racking. Trying to squeeze out the last drop can cause you to syphon off a lot of sludge and undo the benefit of racking. I was doing a last 1.5 L bottle with what was left after the small bottle and carboy and went a bit too far. It will take that bottle a long time to clear the sludge I put in it from the good stuff, even while chilled...

David Baldwin
12-15-2004, 09:30 PM
You may be surprised at how quickly that last bottle will clear.

I couldn't bear to NOT get the last out of the carboy, so when I bottled, I planned on one "sludge" bottle. Tossed in the fridge it cleared up nicely, and I pour gently off the top.