View Full Version : My firstborn

David Baldwin
10-20-2004, 07:53 AM

9 pounds honey (3 quarts)
1 Cup raisins
1/4 Cup Molassis

Starting SG 1.157

Warmed honey to about 120 degrees
Filtered and heated 2 gallons water to 140 degrees
Added honey to water - heated to 160 reduced and held at 150
for about 15 minutes.

Rehydrated KIV per instructions

Rinsed jars of honey with a bit of warmed filtered water.
Added raisins and molassis to the rinse water.
Poured "nutrient" mix into must.

Reserved and cooled 4 cups must added rehydrated yeast.

When must cooled enough - added yeast and starter.
Poured must into primary and thoroughly stirred to oxygenate.
Moved primary to dark warm corner.

SG 1.112
Racked to carboy and installed air lock.

SG 1.092

SG 1.082

SG 1.072

SG 1.062

SG 1.055

Vacation - had to leave my baby

SG 1.024

SG 1.023

SG 1.022
Racked off lees to another carboy
Added 3 pounds honey.
Topped off with filtered water
SG 1.052

SG 1.05

SG 1.044

SG 1.038

SG 1.032

SG 1.03
Tastes a bit harsh and green - "green apple" character
(note to self - lower fermentation temps next time)

SG 1.03
Racked off lees and topped new carboy with filtered water.
SG 1.025

Drew off 32 oz to sample replaced volume liquid with filtered water and added toasted oak sticks.
SG 1.02

Very oaky - maybe too much. Removed oak sticks
Beginning to clear.

Carboy is definately stratifying. Clear enough to read through on top still cloudy on bottom.

Nice dark amber color.

Topped off carboy with leftover honey/water from the batch of Ancient Orange.

Minor fermentation noticed - not really surprised. Of course it's no longer clearing.

Took a small sample to taste - this should age out to be VERY nice indeed.

10-20-2004, 12:54 PM
wow that is some dedication! I think you have taken more hydrometer readings on that one batch then i have in my 4 years of mead and beer making combined! :)
Aren't you worried about infection?

David Baldwin
10-20-2004, 04:59 PM
OK, so I went just a teeny bit nuts over tracking the progress of this one... ;D

As to infection, no I'm not terribly worried.
I'm a bit of a sterilization nut when taking hydrometer samples, and my hydrometer sample never makes it back to the carboy. I've had to add a fair amount of sterilized water back to keep the head space up there.

This being my first. I wanted to track the course of the yeast through the entire life cycle. I had an excellent chemistry teacher in high school who really influenced how I work with my mead - even 20 years later. I wish he was still alive to thank him.

10-21-2004, 06:56 PM
I think it is good to learn how yeast works when you are starting out. But IMHO it is a very bad idea to be opening your fermenter that much. Your hydrometer isn't the only way to contaminate your mead, dust and crap in the air can do it too. Not to mention that you can easily get too much oxidation that way.

My first mead tastes like sherry because of the amount of oxidation it got. Now I only open them when racking. But that comes with experience. ;D

10-21-2004, 11:23 PM
No doubt that too much handling can be ricky but...

A batch that is still fermenting is still producing CO2. CO2 is heavier than air and so oxidation is not a concern as long as the batch is not open to air long enough to deplete the CO2 layer it is producing. Not a sure thing... but a helpful thing that makes opening a fermenting batch less of a concern...

As long as your wine thief or hydrometer is sterilized right before use, you also reduce, but not eliminate, the chances of infection...

Finally, as long as the batch has some alcohol in it, it will tend to disinfect itself. The level for good self-disinfecting is around 16 percent but you do get some at lower levels. But the longer you wait to open a batch, the more alcohol and less chance of infection...

Moral of the story is to be smart, but do not be paralized by fear of infection either...

10-22-2004, 07:19 AM
I've been using a 50cc syringe and a long piece of 1/8 inch tubing to draw up samples of the fermenting must. Just remove the airlock and use the thin tubing and syringe to pull up the sample through the airlock hole. there is no need to open the top so there is less chance of contamination. Just keep the tubing clean so you won't introduce any unwanted critters. If you can get two plastic checkvalves and a tubing tee the you can use the syringe as a pump. Haven't done it yet but it looks simple enough on paper.

10-22-2004, 09:33 AM
I like to take a lot of readings when experimenting with a new yeast or different recipe also. When I am going to be taking a lot of readings I just leave a small hydrometer in the carboy and read through the glass with some difficulty. That way I can take readings everyday without opening.

David Baldwin
10-22-2004, 06:43 PM

I love that idea! I could check, recheck and record to my heart's content and still avoid meddling with it!

Yes! The mad scientist in me is one very happy happy boy... ;D ;D ;D

My wife is beginning to think I'm a bit round the bend too, but she likes mead enough to put up with me ;D

David Baldwin
11-15-2004, 08:01 PM
My appologies to any I doubted about the ability of 1116 to run to 18% :-[

On November 2nd I noted a minor restart in fermentation. It kidked off and has been slowly fermenting along since then. I doubt that it bubbles the airlock more than once every several minutes.

I can shine a mag light into the no-longer clearing carboy and see super fine bubbles slowly rising to the surface.

I have just a dusting of lees on the bottom of the carboy.

So where this finally comes to a stop will be very interesting to find out. :D