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svaros
10-11-2004, 09:19 PM
For those of you who don't get the Mead Lovers Digest, Daryl Fox has posted the results of his yeast testing at http://www.insanitech.com/mead/. He tested 12 different yeasts in the same must. Some interesting results. It seems that our beloved Lalvin D47 didn't fare too well. Though I won't be switching until he posts the results of the second tasting...


DE

Jmattioli
10-11-2004, 09:44 PM
I read it also. Unfortunately, the tasters notes didn't sound very organized and it appeared they were drunk by the 4th or 5th tasteing by their notes and behavior. Some of the yeasts require nutrients and there was some confusion on whether they put in it or not. Nobody remembered. Also, like you say, the jury is out until the next tasting.

K1V didn't fare well either but we all here know it is a great yeast. But maybe not for every application. Also they used the same amount of honey and the same temperature for each yeast, that is not a fair comparison.

EC-1118 will always taste light when you start with 1.090 and go to dry as they did. Look at the results for WLP099. It didn't even finish. It is a high gravity yeast capable of fermenting 25% alcohol:
Attenuation: 80; Flocculation: Low; Optimum Ferm. Temp: 69-74
What happened to it? 7.4% ABV and SG of 1.042 says it definitely did not finish.

You can't finish every yeast at the same time like they did. All they proved is that when you start a yeast at 1.090 with that honey, temperature and let it go for the time they did that most of them prefered RC 212 (batch 12). For their combination , obviously RC 212 was the favorite but looking at the mazer competion and other contests , I see many of the other yeasts far outperforming RC212.

Also look at their Red Star Cotes de blancs #9. I have used that many times before and it would never finish up at 1.022 when starting at 1.090 unless something is wrong.

On the Nottingham brewers yeast they exceeded the temperature range as it is a high attenuation and fast yeast and would also not have normally stopped at 1.042. It likes 62F better than 65-72. 70F is the high end. ref: http://consumer.lallemand.com/danstar-lalvin/nottingham.html

I'm trying to be objective but from reading the notes published about the experiment I have to say it proved very little because of the way it was set-up and conducted. Read it for yourself. It was a noble try but very poorly thought out and implanmented to be a fair comparison of yeasts
Joe
P.S. As pointed out in another post Ken used D47 in almost half of his recipies in his book and he is a very experienced mead tester who I'm sure would rate it higher than this test.

Jmattioli
10-12-2004, 11:26 PM
Anyone interested in what people think of a yeast can find info or contribute here:

http://sca_brew.homestead.com/files/meadyeast.html#TheYeastsIndex

I think you will find signifant difference in the results from this and the yeast test referenced by svaros above
Joe

Oskaar
10-13-2004, 12:37 AM
I'm with Joe and Svaros on this one. While I think the gentleman who put the experiment together was trying to get some empirical data on the yeasts, his approach was not empirical based on reading his commentary.

I think they could improve by doing the following in the next test.

1. Standardize the judging criterion and formalize the requisite scoring methods

2. Target the yeasts to their core competancy in the preparation of the must (i.e. check manufacturer's recommendations for SG, nutrients, temperatures, etc.) in order to ensure each yeast is given a proper environment to ensure optimal performance.

3. Group the yeasts together by dryness/SG range or another classification that matches yeasts which are expected to perform similarly to each other in a given group.

4. Record progress from pitching the yeast, through fermentation and aging process.

5. Record how long it takes each yeast to produce enough C02 to start bubbling, how fast it bubbles, how much kraussen it produces, etc.

6. Note any "off" smellls or visually remarkable characteristics produced by a particular yeast or group of yeasts. I would expect that certain yeasts in a particular group would behave similarly. If you look at the pictures provided there are some widely divergent colors of mead there in the bottles which gives me some doubt as to the type and amount of honey used in each batch.

7. Ensure that all yeasts used are within the control date provided by the manufacturer.

8. Follow manufacturer recommended re-hydration instructions, or in the case of liquid-pitchable yeasts, follow the re-acclimatization instructions provided.

9. Pitch one group of yeasts at a time and observe (i.e., start with dry yeasts, etc.) in order to record group and indivual statistics within the group.

10. Create a tabular matrix to record the data collected and categorize by the particular groups, and the individuals within each group. Compare each yeast in the group to the other yeasts within that group, and chart the differences, means, deviations, etc.

11. Note the SG, pH, TA, Ambient Temp, color, changes to color, amout of yeast pitched, etc.

Ok, I'm getting carried away but I think there should be some controls on any kind of testing for it to be credible. I think these guys are to be commended for getting together and putting their best foot forward. There can be improvements in their methods and I'm sure they're aware of that too.

The things that really jumped out at me are the questions they have with their own methods like, nutrient, energizer, amounts of yeast used, etc. so it makes it difficult for me to buy into any of the recorded results. Joe pointed out the comments about each mead, and inconsistancies therein.

While I love pizza, it's not a good taste test food to refresh one's palate, so I think some acid neutral types of snacks and fruits should probably be on the menu along with some good room temperature purified water to rinse.

Anyhow, I wish we all lived closer together so we could do this one ourselves!

Cheers,

Oskaar

ScottS
10-13-2004, 01:17 AM
I'm paying close attention here, since I'm doing a 5 way test exactly like this over the winter. Any suggestions are welcome. I'm focusing on the lalvin yeasts, as those are my favorites. D47, 71B-1122, EC-1118, K1V, and possibly RC212. The main questions I'm trying to answer are alcohol tolerances and flavor profiles when used for a show mead.

You know Oscaar, you got me thinking. Which is always dangerous. Why couldn't we do something like this, but mail a bottle of each one out to various tasters? I mean, I should get about 6 bottles of each, why don't I keep one of each for myself and mail the others out? We could take pictures, post progress reports, do blind tasting, etc. Anyone interested?

Jmattioli
10-13-2004, 01:38 AM
Golly Oskaar, :o
I'm truely impressed. Your in the wrong business. You should be in research and experimentation. Such a quick grasp of data and testing you have. It took me 2 careful reads of the other yeast test just to come up with my detection of non standardized and irrelavent test techniques.
Until further notice, you are the official GodMead testing analyst. ;D
Joe

WikdWaze
10-13-2004, 02:04 AM
And Oskaar accused me of paralysis by analysis??

;D


Looks like a good set of guidelines. I agree with Scott, this could be done without us all being next door neighbors.

Oskaar
10-13-2004, 02:59 AM
brain is paralyzed can't type ... help! ::)

Seriously though, I think we could pull something like this off. Scott has a good idea on testing the Lalvin yeasts, and I think we could approach test in a couple of ways.

Challenge One: Standardize the type of honey we're all going to use. From an empirical standpoint honey is the wildcard and the operative ingredient so therefore it must be consistant in each test lot, and from area to area. That's a tough one because honey quality and composition can vary from location to location. Ideally we would all be using the same honey from the same source. I don't see that happening unless we order from the same supplier, which may be an option. Or, each tester would be responsible for using an individual varietal honey for the test lots they would be producing; and recording the characteristics of the honey in the results

Challenge two: Methodology. We would all need to use the same methods the same ways. We would need to be fairly granular about this. That means sanitation methods, sanitation ingredients, container composition and size, type of water, airlocks, etc. Bottom line, the fermentation vessels need to be identical from test to test. Again, this can be done by individual tester, in individual areas. So if I'm doing one of these tests, I would use identical fermentation setups for each individual test lot.

Challenge Three: Recipes. We would need identical recipes for each batch we're going to do. That would be amount of honey, OG, etc., and the recipe would need to be targeted at the the type of yeast we would be testing. So if we were aiming at a dry mead we would want to assemble a dry mead recipe in order to promote a successful fermentation targeted at a successful end product.

Challenge Four: Evaluation of results. We would need to develop some standards and tasting, scoring and rating guidelines (maybe the mazer's cup judging standards would be helpful) and press these out to our testers. Also, in order to prevent the "ugly baby" syndrome, we may wish to consider using evaluation results from the judges that did not make the batches in order to factor out any "favoritism." Not that we would discount the makers evaluation results in any way shape or form. We would also need a bit of sight, smell, taste and overall judging standards so we all are evaluating in the same way. That is using the same terms to express our descriptions.

Last but not least, we should determine what yeasts we're going to test, and what style of show mead we're going to target with each of the yeasts.

OK, that's the first pass at a basic set of issues to address before we start something up. I'd love to hear back from you all about what I missed or what is overkill. Once we have some collaborative interaction, we should publish a document that addresses who is involved, what we doing and what is the purpose, when we will do it and for how long, where the individual tests will take place and how we will publish results and produce evaluations.

OK, gotta getaway from the computer for a while,

Oskaar

WikdWaze
10-13-2004, 03:51 AM
brain is paralyzed can't type ... help! ::)
You need an emergency infusion of fermented honey.

JoeM
10-13-2004, 04:33 AM
This is most certainly a major undertaking, if you guys pull this off i would be extrodinarily happy, but amazed. I dont know what else to say besides i wish i had the time to participate but...unfortunately i doubt my lifestyle will permit. :(

Caerwyn
10-13-2004, 07:22 AM
you know... tests like this are what research grants are made for! Anyone know who we would have to talk to, so the "Research" $$$'s can start rolling in?

Caerwyn

Oskaar
10-13-2004, 08:49 AM
http://www.govbenefits.gov/govbenefits/benefits/report.jhtml?dispatch=browse&bid=701

I'm thinking something like:

The effects of non-commercially produced alcohol on human physiology: Homebrewing and Alcoholism

The hook is to make it look like a condemnation of homebrewing and it's "harmful" effects. Of course, we miraculously find that there are actually beneftis.

It could work.

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-13-2004, 10:07 AM
I'll do the part on whether batches over 50 gallons in size have an affect... Probably need to do one of each type of melomel, metheglin, pymeth, cyser, and every combo... Have my commercial meadery at the end of the study and a lot of good mead!

ScottS
10-13-2004, 06:42 PM
I think standardization to the degree that Oscaar talks about is impossible at a distance. That's why I suggested one person making the mead and shipping it to tasters. WAY to many variables in the honey, unless we buy from a single supplier. And even then, yeasts may vary (age, other variations within a strain), fermentation temps may vary, nutrients used may vary, etc. Too much variation.

I was also thinking that if someone made the mead and shipped it to everyone else, we could set a time to meet on chat to have a live tasting. Even face to face, there is going to be a lot of subjectivity in the scoring and tasting. But with a live chat, we can minimize some of that.

svaros
10-13-2004, 06:52 PM
Scott,
I'd be willing to participate. You could even put in the cultured yeast from the cider that we were talking about on the homebrew board and ship it as "yeast samples" without feeling even a twinge of guilt!!
Seriously though, I'd be more than willing to help, and might be able to come up with some ideas for online meetings. If we don't want to use the chat function here, I can set up a multi-line conference call. We'll just have to deal with the time differences.


DE

Oskaar
10-13-2004, 08:14 PM
Hey Scott,

I think that the standards would be tough at distance as well.

I also think that we can actually design our testing so that the honey variations, yeast strains, etc are taken into account in a general way without too much real effort.

Things like water, honey, fermenters and such may not be consistant from brewer to brewer, but each brewer should be able to be consistent within his/her own evironment.

For example I have ten one gallon glass apple cider jugs from Trader Joe's that I can use that are all the same. I have ten identical airlocks, well . . . you get the picture.

What I'm getting at is as long as we brew to a standard within our own individual environment, and note what our standards are, it will really cut down on the variables.

Honey and such is going to be wildly divergent, as I mentioned in my post above, as will be water, temperature, etc. we can't really control those things because of our geographic differences. But again, each individual brewer can control what he uses in his brews and note them in a standardized data collection format like a spreadsheet that we all fill in.

Do you think that this is a reasonable approach?

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-13-2004, 08:37 PM
Oskaar,

I agree with the concept and with the idea of multiple brewers. After all, the idea would be to come up with recommendations for the best yeast for the average brewer, not one that ONLY fits best with the way Pewter or Oskaar brews.

I use certain water in every batch. I use certain honey in every batch. I use certain techniques (pasteurization, sterilization, etc.). Where I would have problems is that "Pewter's standard brewing method" utilizes the carboys setting on a table in a heated room in the house, not each one setting in a temperature that is optimal for the yeast. So mine would have a built in "at room temperature" assumption. Not sure how much that would bias or invalidate the results. I would like to believe that "the best yeast" is one that has temperature tolerance sufficient to be used in normal household environment, even in the middle of the summer or the winter...

I would also have problems with my non-chemical approach optimizing the starter/nutrients for each individual yeast type...

David Baldwin
10-13-2004, 08:38 PM
Scott,

I'd be willing to help with this project.

You and I live close enough that we could actually physically work together to produce the identical control batches, and we use the same supplier of honey.

ScottS
10-13-2004, 08:42 PM
Yes I do think this is possible, but at that point I question are we evaluating the yeasts, or are we evaluating each brewer's equipment, procedures, and ingredients?

I guess it depends on what your goal is. Mine was to make brews totally identical except for yeast, and then have many people independently taste and compare them so as to give multiple perspectives on the one difference between the batches.

Your goal seems to be to vary lots of different things, taste each brew, and then to try to pin specific differences in taste on specific differences in the brewing process. Your goal is much more ambitious, but I also think it will be much more difficult to draw valid conclusions. Not impossible, but difficult. ;) Would you have multiple tasters of each brewer's brew? Or would each brewer taste their own brew independently and post their impressions?

Both are valid procedures, it depends on which goal we prefer.

Edit: David, sounds good to me. Did you get this year's or last year's honey? In other words, is it lightish yellow or dark orangish? I haven't gotten any of the new crop yet, I've still got 6 gallons of the old stuff to use up.

Oskaar
10-13-2004, 09:25 PM
Hey Scott,

My goals are pretty simple really. ;)

1. Get a couple or a few people to make some mead with specific yeasts in mind so it will maximize that yeast's performance. We can all make the same kind of mead or make a simple show mead dry, medium-sweet or sweet.

2. Have us record how we did it in a standard manner that we all agree upon. A simple spreadsheet will work fine.

3. Exchange bottles with the others that are participating in the test.

4. Taste and record our impressions in a simple standardized format, another spreadsheet. Use some simple terminology that we can all relate to.

It sounds tough but it's really not, some simple agreement on what and how pretty much take most of the hassle out of it. Joe made a great point about these other guys not really thinking out what they were doing before they did it, and not targeting their yeasts correctly.

Just making the same mead with different yeasts and soliciting opinions by having people taste it isn't really testing to me in an empirical sense.

Anyhow, like I said there are a number of challenges, and I'm in no matter what we decide as a group because it's going to be a valuable experience for all of us.

Does that give you a better sense of what I was thinking?

Cheers,

Oskaar

ScottS
10-13-2004, 09:38 PM
Just making the same mead with different yeasts and soliciting opinions by having people taste it isn't really testing to me in an empirical sense.
As a (former) scientist, varying exactly one thing at a time is empirical testing to me. I mean, we should be able to find a temperature at which all yeasts perform well. The OG question is difficult though, comparing a dry mead to a sweet isn't really valid. Clearly there is more than one way to do it.

I'm in either way. I'll probably still do my 5 different yeasts on an identical batch experiement, I'll just have to participate in your study via a different carboy. ;D

Oskaar
10-13-2004, 09:40 PM
Works for me (former Microbiologist/Medical Technologist) I'm a control lot kind of guy so I like to see a set of control cultures from low to high with an expected growth pattern at a given level of usable nutrient!

Give me an innoculating loop and some mycological slants and I'm a happy guy! ;D

I think most of the yeasts will perform well in that mid-sixties to mid seventies range. This time of year will be good for me in California now that we're below 83 degrees F most of the time. I'll be able to keep the temperature consistant without having to run the A/C 24/7

Oskaar

ScottS
10-13-2004, 10:03 PM
Really? Both of my parents are med techs. I managed to stay out the the medical fields... :)

So how do we want to go about planning batches? Perhaps first we should come up with a list of yeasts and OG suggestions of each. Did you have in mind a dry, med, and sweet batch of each kind of yeast? Basically, did you want to exhaust the parameter space? Or just do as many different kinds as we can and call it good?

svaros
10-13-2004, 11:11 PM
It seems to me that if you try a dry, medium, and sweet mead with each type of yeast, you would need a lot of people to be involved. I think it would be better to start with a medium mead, with a specific OG. That way the tasting wouldn't be swayed if people favored a specific type (dry or sweet), and we would lock down another variable (OG) at the beginning of the experiment. Mandating a specific recipe would be difficult due to the varying levels of fermentables in different honeys. Going by OG would give a better starting point.



To quote ScottS "I'm in either way"!!



DE

ScottS
10-13-2004, 11:46 PM
Going by OG would give a better starting point.
That's what I'm going to do in my study, but Oscaar and Jmattoli correctly point out that comparing say 71B and say K1V starting at the same OG are going to be very different, as one will likely end bone dry and the other will not. I think they want to compare at the same FG. Right guys?

Oskaar
10-13-2004, 11:59 PM
Thanks Svaros and Scott,

So many great minds on a project should lend itself to some good results! I think it would be a good idea to start with a medium sweet show mead too.

I agree too that OG should be the determining factor since we're not going to be able to use the same honey. I do however think we should use the same ingredients past that.

Speaking of ingredients do we want to use powdered nutrient and energizer, or raisins and dates, or something else?

Which yeasts should we use, and should we all use the same yeasts? It could be a good test to use the same yeasts, with the same OG but each of us would use a different varietal honey to see how the yeasts influence the different honey? Just thinking out loud.

So our basic medium-sweet mead might look something like:

1 gallon or more of honey (pick a varietal)?
4 gallons water?
--------
2 tsp Nutrient?
2 tsp Energizer?
or Use .5 lb raisins and .5 lb dates in place of the energizer and nutrient (make sure we have the gravity right before we pitch in the chunky stuff)?
--------
10 g Yeast - rehydrated as per instructions of manufacturer?

Add honey until gravity is at say 1.125 or 1.130?

Split into 1 gallon glass fermenters and pitch yeasts as appropriate?

Do we want to use grape tannin up front to help promote clearing?

Do we want to monitor pH to keep it in optimal range for yeast performance?

Thoughts and ideas my fellow mead-mad-scientists?

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-14-2004, 02:07 AM
1. I agree too that OG should be the determining factor since we're not going to be able to use the same honey.

2. I do however think we should use the same ingredients past that.

3. Speaking of ingredients do we want to use powdered nutrient and energizer, or raisins and dates, or something else?

4. Which yeasts should we use?

5. Should we all use the same yeasts?

6. Each of us would use a different varietal honey to see how the yeasts influence the different honey?

7. 2 tsp Nutrient?

8. 2 tsp Energizer?

9. Use .5 lb raisins and .5 lb dates in place of the energizer and nutrient (make sure we have the gravity right before we pitch in the chunky stuff)?

10. Add honey until gravity is at say 1.125 or 1.130?

11. Split into 1 gallon glass fermenters and pitch yeasts as appropriate?

12. Do we want to use grape tannin up front to help promote clearing?

13. Do we want to monitor pH to keep it in optimal range for yeast performance?

I don't believe we would find out as much if everyone ran the same batches (OG, honey, chemicals, temperatures, and so on) as we would if everyone made batches of their particular recipe as "optimized" for each type of yeast in the test. Do we all want to determine that yeast ABC is the best yeast for a show mead with recipe XYZ? What about melomels, pymeths, etc.?

My thoughts... not arguing, just discussing...

1. No, it is not important that every brewer do the same OG or FG as every other brewer. But the FG needs to be the same in order to eliminate FG as the differing factor instead of the yeast. I would say you set the OG to be at, 1% ABV, 2%ABV above the tolerance of the yeast and let them ferment to completion. I am assuming that a yeast like D-47 will not do as well in a high OG must as something like EC-1118 would. Therefore, part of the "optimizing process would be to give each type of yeast about the same amount of available sugar past their own specific tolerance.

2. Each batch for each yeast should have the same ingredients but the ingredients need not be the same between brewers. And there is no reason each brewer cannot do their own favorite recipe with each type of yeast where the recipe (particularly OG) is optimized as discussed above.

3. Each brewer should use his own method of starter and nutrient with amounts optimized for the yeast type. The only requirement is that the type of starter and nutrient be the same in all batches. I personally would run my tests without chemicals.

4. The yeasts would be the ones listed previously in the discussion. Or at least from a list we decided on beforehand. Everyone would make a batch using each of the yeasts in the list.

5. Yes, otherwise Oskaar makes a to-die-for melomel using D-47 and we have no idea how it would have tasted with 71B because he didn't make a batch using that yeast. The idea is to compare all of the yeasts in the list for the results they achieve given the same "optimized" recipe and the methods Oskaar uses to brew.

6. What honey each brewer uses is not important to me as long as he uses the same honey/fruit/etc. for every batch. The only things changing should be the yeast and the things that are "optimizers" for that yeast.

7. and 8. I have a concern that we will end up biasing the test results for the taste and chemical affects on the mead itself rather than the affects of the nutrients on the yeast. Hope that makes sense. Maybe to say it differently, I don't want to find out that the negative taste impacts of 2 tsp of nutrients for a heavy feeding yeast cause a bad taste that is not present in a batch where the yeast didn't require any/as much nutrients added. I would be tempted to use raisins and in amounts related to the nutrient requirements of the yeast. My own personal batches would have no chemical nutrients or starters.

9. See 7 and 8.

10. No, see #1. FG is the important thing in the comparison. Otherwise we will just be judging whether we prefer sweet or dry. If the sweetness of each batch is constant, then it will eliminate that as a variable. I suppose you could argue that the alcohol content of the final product could become a factor in the judging of a low alcohol or high alcohol yeast. But isn't it final taste we are really concerned with?

11. Yes, although batch size should be up to the brewer. I may make all 5 gallon or 3 gallon batches.

12. Up to the brewer. Only if he does it during his normal brewing process. The amount added should be identical for each batch.

13. No for the reasons stated in 7 and 8.

Now to add my own questions...

14. Length of ferment? To completion by yeast type?

15. Length of aging?

16. Racking and bottling criteria? Lees level? Time? "Optimized" to get fast fermenters off lees more quickly?

Great food for thought...

svaros
10-14-2004, 02:10 AM
Maybe we should start with yeasts that have the same attenuation. There are a lot that are in a similar range. Lalvin usually posts the alcohol tolerance of their yeasts, and we can probably get the info for the other yeasts. From there we can expand into other yeasts with similar tolerances. It's going to take a while for all of these meads to finish fermenting, so we could start on the second round before the first is finished.

I'm starting to be of the same mind as Scott, in that it might be a good idea to have one person make a large batch and the rest of us taste and evaluate. The next round, someone else would make the mead and everyone else evaluate. That would make the variations in honey "terroir" less evident in a single round of tasting.

Sorry if this post is somewhat disjointed, I was interrupted by an impromptu meeting (damn work keeps getting in the way of my hobbies!).


David

svaros
10-14-2004, 02:17 AM
Sounds to me like we should all make a ~5 gallon batch using a "neutral" honey and pitch a few different yeasts that have similar attenuation characteristics. The recipes beyond the honey should be standardized.

The next round would be yeasts with a different attenuation characteristic.

By neutral honey, I mean nothing really light or really dark.

That way we could taste a variety of meads made with the same yeasts but different honeys, while at the same time taste a variety of meads made with different honeys with the same yeast. Similar to a vertical and a horizontal wine tasting.



DE

Oskaar
10-14-2004, 02:49 AM
That seems like a good approach to me too.

Thoughts everyone else?

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-14-2004, 03:14 AM
Hmmm...

Someone has to be a complainer... ;D

Won't we have an awful lot of mead, where because of the same yeast being used, and relatively the same honey, will taste about the same. I am picturing 4 or 6 or 8 or 10 bottles (number of brewers) all label D-47 that all taste pretty much the same. Same number of bottles all labelled 71B. And so on...

Would we have any different result if we had a single individual make 4 or 6 or 8 or 10 times as much of his own and distribute it to everyone? What do we gain in this approach from having multiple brewers? ???

Oskaar
10-14-2004, 03:15 AM
Pewter,

Thanks for the input. There are some good points in your post and I agree about each person brewing with their own honey choice which I described in a post above somewhere.

Anyhow, I think we should stay with something simple first to facilitate the process. I think we shoot for trying to get our batches done fairly closely together so we can taste them roughly together as well. I don't think that brewing a mel or something else in the first round will be helpful to that end.

I Agree with Svaros and Scott about a medium colored honey as well.

What other things are we missing?

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-14-2004, 03:17 AM
Oskaar,

I noticed you posted at the same time as me. Please read the post I made just before your last one and respond.

Thanks,
Pewter

Oskaar
10-14-2004, 03:35 AM
Hey,

I just read your last post. Discussion is not complaining unless you are complaining for complaining's sake. Then I would have to register a complaint :o LOL

Anyhow, from my perspective honey varietals differ just as wine grapes do from area to area. There may be subtle differences in the end products, but there may be noticable differences as well due to the methods, chemicals (or lack thereof) that each meadmaker chooses to employ in the meadmaking process. Subtle differences in each end product are part of the fun to me. So I think that we should keep it simple to start with in order to move it along.

Having more people brew is a good thing in my book. The more that participate, the more sets of eyes we have on something because patterns tend to develop over time, and seeing trends is easier with several bottles of the same thing, than with one or two.

If a particular yeast is consistantly out of it's advertised specifications across several batches we know it's the yeast and not us. We also involve more people and promote brewing mead and exchanging it with our fellow brewers.

To me the benefit of having several people brew is that we gain the benefit of insight from the participants, gain experience in brewing for an audience, and we get to know each other in the process.

Besides, whoever thought that having several bottles of mead that taste roughtly the same is a bad thing? 8)

Cheers,

Oskaar

ScottS
10-14-2004, 08:42 PM
Sounds to me like we should all make a ~5 gallon batch using a "neutral" honey and pitch a few different yeasts that have similar attenuation characteristics. The recipes beyond the honey should be standardized.

The next round would be yeasts with a different attenuation characteristic.

By neutral honey, I mean nothing really light or really dark.

That way we could taste a variety of meads made with the same yeasts but different honeys, while at the same time taste a variety of meads made with different honeys with the same yeast. Similar to a vertical and a horizontal wine tasting.

DE
I like this approach a lot. What we gain from having multiple brewers is being able to pick out yeast characteristics that are independent of the honey used. That I think is very important. It's going to be a heck of a lot of mead shipping around the country, but I think I can live with that.

Can we come to a concensus on this procedure? Pewter seems to be the dissenter, can you be convinced?

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-14-2004, 10:16 PM
Scott,

Can I be convinced? Of course... I am easy... And I'll drink mead without even this good of a reason...

But let me ask my question again from a slightly different angle.

Based on the proposed method, are we going to find out enough information to make the 9 month wait worthwhile?

Point being that we should let the mead age adequately, which to me is a MINIMUM of 8 months after fermentation is complete before we judge it. So in 9 months (plus some time for shipping, judging, compiling results), we have info about one set of yeasts with similar attenuation characteristics where the only real variant is some differences in the "medium" varietal honey chosen. Then the next year or so is dedicated to a different set of similar attenuation yeasts without necessarily even gaining a comparison between the two groups of yeasts.

Call me impatient (or practical ;D), but I think we can achieve a lot more in the same amount of time with the same number of batches.

Just my thoughts but I'll go along with whatever people decide...

Oskaar
10-14-2004, 11:27 PM
I'm with Scott and Svaros on this one pewter :)

No reason we can't start another batch on a different style right away. Like maybe a low alcohol batch that will be ready a lot sooner.

So I'm in league with Scott, Svaros and I hope you too Pewter.

Another quick question.

Should we send a bottle from our batches to Vicky as a neutral judge, kind of like a "thanks" for the place to work our fiendish mischief and all her hard work on this site?

Oskaar

ScottS
10-14-2004, 11:52 PM
Pewter - yep it is going to take awhile. But I suppose if people are willing to make the investment, we can always start up a second concurrent experiment.

I agree with sending bottles to Vicki, even without her active participation. ;D

Perhaps it's time to get a head count of participants, suggestions for yeasts, and discussion of ingredients/procedures.

svaros
10-15-2004, 12:07 AM
My initial thought was to start the batches 3 to 6 months apart. That way the delay would be nine months only for the first batch. After that, we would be tasting every 3 to 6 months.

Since we would have so much additional mead from the first batch, we could do a second testing of the first batch between tastings of the new batches, and be tasting every 3 months if we start our batches 6 months apart.


... or am I getting ahead of myself?


David

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-15-2004, 12:26 AM
Hey ladies and gents,

I am in regardless of the decision...

And for Pete's sake, this is a discussion, not an argument! There isn't only one right answer and everything else is wrong. :) I accept your right to not be quite as right as I am... ;D Seriously though, I don't have to be convinced... I'm in regardless! I am brainstorming this to help us make it the most efficient that we can, not arguing...

Now on to logistics...

Ok, simple calculation...

((Number of tasters plus 1[Vicki]) times (number of tastings) times (sample size, 375 mL?) ) plus excess for racking waste each rack = size of batch required by each brewer for a single yeast. Take that times the number of different yeasts in the test...

If we have a lot of help, which I am not against...
Or a lot of tastings (every three months for four times), which I am not against...
We are going to have 5+ gallon batches, not 1 gallon batches...
Any comments?

I'm in... who else?

svaros
10-15-2004, 12:50 AM
Pewter,
You might be right about needing more, but I think we'd be ok for a single round tasting if we had 8 people making mead. Any more than that and we would need larger batches. My calculations are 1 gallon = ~10 12oz (375 ml) bottles, 1 for the meadmaker, 1 for Vicki, the other 8 for tasters.


Thoughts?

DE



P.S. I'm amazed (pun intended) at the rate that these discussions have proceeded. Everyone has been great, and I can't believe how many good ideas have come from this. In addition, it has been the most civil brainstorming that I've seen in a good while. Kudos to everyone!!!

Oskaar
10-15-2004, 03:44 AM
Color me there. I'm in like a Louisiana tick baby!

So, who else, and which yeasts. I'm heading to the LHBS tomorrow for supplies.

Oskaar

WikdWaze
10-15-2004, 10:42 AM
Y'all have a good thing going here. With any luck, I'll join you on the next round or so. Can't quite make it this round.

Oskaar
10-17-2004, 01:18 AM
I went to my LHBS and picked up all the Lalvin yeasts so I'm ready to rock and roll when everyone else is.

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-17-2004, 05:00 AM
Oskaar,

Since you have the yeasts, take the lead...

Which yeasts are in this first grouping? I'd recommend D-47, 71B, and a couple other 12 to 14 percenters...

ScottS
10-17-2004, 06:48 PM
I have found that it is more realistic to get 6-7 bottles out of a 1 gallon jug after racking a few times. Though my racking technique has advanced since then, so perhaps I'll have less losses this time around. :)

Would anyone object to setting a date at some point in the near future to simultaneously start these batches? Or is the consensus that running them simultaneously is not that important? The reason being - I (and probably others...) need some time to get ready. My 1 gal jugs are full, and I don't have yeast on hand just yet. I can remedy both of these situations shortly, but I don't have a lot of time on my hands just yet. Is Sat Nov 6 too long of a wait? Am I going to have a mass revolt on my hands for merely suggesting such a thing? ;)

Another thing - I've got a 71B culture that I've cycled through 4 or 5 melomels now. Does anyone see any value in using that culture for a gallon to see how it differs from a 71B right out of the package?

svaros
10-17-2004, 07:19 PM
I agree. I need some time to get things in order and get supplies.

I would be interested in the cultured 71B to see how it has adapted.


DE

Oskaar
10-18-2004, 12:45 AM
I'm fine with starting simultaneously at a given data too.

I'd like to see how that 71B acts too. So here are the yeasts that I bought.

RC 212
ICV D-47
71B-1122
K1V-1116
EC-1118

That would give me five one gallon batches. I was proceeding along Scott's earlier idea of going down the line of Lalvin Yeasts.

Let me know what you think,

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-18-2004, 04:38 AM
Oskaar,

I am not sure about RC212, but in my mind you have two different families with D-47 and 71B in one and the K1V and EC-1118 in the other.

What I would like to see in this first round is five yeasts with ABV tolerance of 12 to 14 percent where I can put in enough honey for 16 percent ABV and have them ferment to completion. If we use K1V and EC-1118, I'd have to adjust honey amounts and add another variable to the equation...

Just my thoughts...
Pewter

Oskaar
10-18-2004, 01:56 PM
I'll wait for Svaros and Scott to weigh in on the question of attenuation.

I'm finding that tech specs on the different yeast manufacturers in the areas of attenuation and alcohol tolerance are wildly divergent. Most of the Whitelabs stuff listed in the wine, mead and cider category falls into either 75% or 80% attenuation range. I didn't see attenuation percentage listings on the Lalvin or Red Star websites.

White labs doesn't consistantly list their alcohol tolerance, and Wyeast seems to average most of their yeasts between 68 - 75 % attenuation. I've made meads with all of them but have never sat down and bothered with back-calculating the attenuation levels.

I'm open to yeast brand and type suggestions, feel free to kick in some names.

Oskaar

ScottS
10-18-2004, 06:40 PM
I am not sure about RC212, but in my mind you have two different families with D-47 and 71B in one and the K1V and EC-1118 in the other.

What I would like to see in this first round is five yeasts with ABV tolerance of 12 to 14 percent where I can put in enough honey for 16 percent ABV and have them ferment to completion.
Yeah, this makes sense to me. I think RC212 belongs in there, but that the champagne yeasts do not. I don't really have any suggestions on what to use to round out the 5, since I've never seriously used anything but Lalvin yeasts.

svaros
10-18-2004, 07:26 PM
Hey all,
I sent a message to Le Saffre (the company that makes Red Star yeast) today to see if they could provide us with more information on the alcohol tolerance of their yeasts. If they don't get back to me, my guess would be that their Montrachet and Pasteur Red would fit with our tests. The URLs below link to selection matricies for each companys lines. I chose the two of them because they are the most widely available. If anyone has others, please let me know. These two brands were the ones that I saw on the bulk of the home brewing/wine making sites that I visited.


http://www.lesaffreyeastcorp.com/wineyeast/selection.html

http://consumer.lallemand.com/danstar-lalvin/refchart.html

So as of now, the list of yeasts are:


Lalvin:
ICV D-47
RC212
71B

Red Star (Le Saffre):
Montrachet
Pasteur Red

Thoughts?

DE

Oskaar
10-19-2004, 01:27 AM
Svaros,

Thanks for sending that email off. I was going to call them today but it's been a hectic morning.

I've used the Pasteur Red and Montrachet before, and I think they would probably fit in well with the other yeasts. I've just never really taken the time to calculate the attenuation of the yeasts that I use, as long as the end product matched what I was after, and the gravity was in the right ball park.

So if that list looks good to everyone, I'm up for using those yeasts for the tests.

I did fire of an email to whitelabs (They're only about an hour away from me) asking for some additional information on their alcohol tolerances, etc.

Ya know . . . I didn't really think of this until last night, but if we get our acts together and have a good format and testing results we may be able to get some kind of sponsorship, or additional resources from the yeast makers themselves. Maybe our own strain of Saccharomyces sp. Now, wouldn't that be special!?

Oskaar

ScottS
10-19-2004, 01:59 AM
So if that list looks good to everyone, I'm up for using those yeasts for the tests.
Looks good to me.

Sponsorship sounds like a long shot. But it doesn't hurt to ask. ;D

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-19-2004, 03:42 AM
Hey all,

Everyone cool your heels for a day or two while we do some research. The batch sounds fine but I have a chart or three I want to look at for ABV tolerances before I give a nod to the five selected.

Thanks,
Pewter

Oskaar
10-19-2004, 09:53 AM
Pewter,

You mean before WE ALL give a nod, right?

Oskaar

Oskaar
10-19-2004, 10:04 AM
Here's a link that Joe Mattiolli posted earlier in this thread. It may have some useful information that we can use to determine which yeasts to use.

I'll speak to the different Yeast manufacturers to see about some kind of sponsorship or something related. You never know. A lot of these guys love things like this and may even give us some good ideas for testing standards they use.

Like Scott said, It never hurts to ask, and all they can say is no.

Here's the yeast link.

http://sca_brew.homestead.com/files/meadyeast.html#TheYeastsIndex

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-19-2004, 12:31 PM
Oskaar,

No... before I give my nod to the selections.

Everyone else gets to give their individual approval as well but my approval is not based upon their approvals.

All I was trying to say is that I am withholding my approval until I get a chance to dig a little bit... Ok?

Oskaar
10-19-2004, 05:07 PM
Hi Pewter,

That sounds OK to me. Initially it sounded like you were saying that we should wait for your approval of the yeasts to be involved before we proceed. I guess I misinterpreted what you said from the way your post was phrased.

I want to make sure that we have a collaborative effort and that everyone's input is considered before we make a group decision. I also don't want anyone to feel disenfranchised if one of their ideas or suggestions are not a part of the final product.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-19-2004, 07:37 PM
Oskaar,

I agree absolutely which is why your post came across so wrong. This is a team effort by definition so I was confused when you made it sound like I was usurping control. I just wanted to have time to review my yeast chart I got in a class last May and post the findings before anyone started a batch. Since we have 9 months of delay involved, I believe we could spend a few days or a week on yeast selection before people start batches. Sorry if I miscommunicated that...

Yeasts I have in my chart in the low ABV range...

Name Sensory Ferm.Spd. Temp Range Competitive ABV Tol. Nutrient Reqts.
71B Esters Mod 60 - 85 Sensitive 14% Low
AC- EVC* Mod 55 - 85 Yes 14% High
F10 EVC Slow 68 - 86 Yes 13% High
VL1 EVC Mod 55 - 68 Yes 14% High
VL3 EVC Mod 50 - 85 Sensitive 13% Low
WSK27 EVC Mod 39 - 86 Sensitive 14% Med

*EVC means enhances varietal character

of note is that RC212 is listed as 16% ABV, EC-1118 and K1-V1116 are listed as 18% ABV

there are 7 others listed as 15% ABV

David Baldwin
10-19-2004, 10:27 PM
I'm just a bit curious about the K1V attenuation.

I know that it's listed to go to 18%, but has anyone here actually gotten that?

In my muddling through the web, I seem to see typical ABV results in the 12%-16% range.

My own - admitedly very limited - experience has my mead just shy of 15%. I'll be the first to admit that it's nothing to gauge overall performance by.

I'm just curious as to whether it's been attained by anyone here in a mead.

Oskaar
10-19-2004, 11:56 PM
I have a cyser that's made with K1V that's sitting at about 18% now. I goosed it after primary with some more cider and it maxed it'self out. It's a bit young and some aging will do nicely.

Here's a link to Scott Laboratories with information on the Laffort Yeasts that Pewter referenced in his chart above for anyone not familiar with the Laffort yeasts (they're used pretty heavily in wine production, especially where I live in California):

http://www.scottlaboratories.com/products/fermentation/yeast.asp

The D-47 is listed on the Lallemand website as 12 - 14% ABV which I can verify from personal experience as I have a sweet show mead that is sitting at 14.4% as I type this. Here's the Lalvin reference chart:

http://consumer.lallemand.com/danstar-lalvin/refchart.html

Hey Pewter, that's an interesting chart you got in your class. Is that available somewhere on the web, or something that was passed out as a class addendum? Neat stuff.

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-20-2004, 02:52 AM
Oskaar,

I have a request in to the person that taught the class to dig up where he got it. All I have is a hardcopy that was cut and pasted into my mead journal. I will post a link when I get it...

Oskaar
10-21-2004, 08:59 AM
Woo hoo!

Just received three one gallon buckets of honey. One sage blossom, one clover blossom and one western buckwheat blossom. Life is good.

I think I'll use the orange blossome for the yeast test. Has everyone had time to check on the yeasts yet?

Who will be participating?

Oskaar

svaros
10-24-2004, 09:30 PM
I figure I'll let you guys put in your $.02 on the yeasts. I still have to go out and get some supplies first. We should probably discuss a start date once we decide on the yeasts.


DE

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-24-2004, 11:51 PM
I'm in!

I was kind of waiting for some other people to suggest other lower tolerance yeasts...

Oskaar
10-25-2004, 12:53 AM
As I indicated earlier I'm with Svaros on the yeast choices which were:

Lalvin (Lallemand):
ICV D-47
RC212
71B

Red Star (Le Saffre):
Montrachet
Pasteur Red

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-25-2004, 01:11 AM
What about the White Labs yeast that was recommended for the cider/cyser?

Oskaar
10-25-2004, 01:17 AM
Since we're going to do a five gallon batch, and we'll be doing a medium sweet mead I think we should leave it until the next round, which I hope will follow this one closely :D

Oskaar

ScottS
10-25-2004, 01:21 AM
I'm in, and I'm happy with those yeasts. Like I said earlier, I'll be starting no earlier than Nov 6.

Oskaar
10-25-2004, 01:26 AM
November 6 works for me too.

Oskaar - really excited about this test.

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-25-2004, 01:39 AM
I'm in...

Is there any single place that I can get all 5 yeasts online?

We need to start reviewing the procedures...

1. Each uses their own techniques to create 5 gallons of must. This includes energizer, pasteurization, etc. What about tannins?

2. Use enough honey based on the heartiest yeast being able to ferment to completion with a little sweetness to spare?

3. Only rack once at completion and a second time before bottling? Rack each mead the same number of times?

4. I do not believe we all have to be exactly synch'd since room temps and such will vary and so completion rates may vary. But the goal is to complete at about the same time.

5. All batches from each individual brewer are cleared by the same method (aging, chill, fining agent, etc.) though different brewers may use different methods?

6. Age in bulk or in bottles? I suggest bulk this first time. How long do we age? 6 months after completion? 8? 10?

Just thinkin' out loud....

Oskaar
10-25-2004, 01:42 AM
Here's a link to your one stop shopping place for yeast.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/wine-yeast.html

Oskaar

ScottS
10-25-2004, 01:54 AM
I'm a bit stubborn on some of these..... Not to say that we as a group have to do it my way, or that I couldn't be talked into doing something different, but...


1. Each uses their own techniques to create 5 gallons of must. This includes energizer, pasteurization, etc. What about tannins?
I don't use added tannins in anything. Ever. It'll be hard to talk me into this one.


2. Use enough honey based on the heartiest yeast being able to ferment to completion with a little sweetness to spare?
Sounds good. We should choose an OG and start there. I haven't sat down to calculate a suggestion yet.


3. Only rack once at completion and a second time before bottling? Rack each mead the same number of times?
I rack at least twice, depending on the amount of lees. I'm inclined to say that racking should be at the discretion of each meadmaker, though good records should be kept.


4. I do not believe we all have to be exactly synch'd since room temps and such will vary and so completion rates may vary. But the goal is to complete at about the same time.
Again, there will be some unavoidable differences. Each meadmaker should keep good records.


5. All batches from each individual brewer are cleared by the same method (aging, chill, fining agent, etc.) though different brewers may use different methods?
I only clear through aging, though I think it is reasonable to vary clearing methods by brewer.


6. Age in bulk or in bottles? I suggest bulk this first time. How long do we age? 6 months after completion? 8? 10?
I only bulk age, a minimum of 9 months. More if it isn't clear yet. This is one case where I think uniformity is important.

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-25-2004, 02:30 AM
Scott,

Tannins would be up to the brewer but if he uses them in one, he must use the same amount in all. Same with any other chemicals or additives of any kind. We want to be tasting the differences caused by the yeasts, not by differing amounts of some other substances, whatever it might be...

OG should be for about 16 percent ABV? So everything has some margin to ferment to completion?

On racking, I would say that the only restriction would be that "if you rack one, you rack all of them". We don't want to disqualify a yeast because we left the must on the lees longer than we did for another yeast.

The racking differences between brewers won't matter as long as they are the same differences for every batch.

The fining differences between brewers won't matter as long as they are the same differences for every batch.

The aging differences between brewers won't matter as long as they are the same differences for every batch.

Again, just thinking out loud... always open to discussion... no hard and fast rules...

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-25-2004, 02:41 AM
All of the different yeastie thingies have been ordered!!!!

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

I am doing mine with Goldenrod honey since someone already said they were doing Orange Blossom...

svaros
10-25-2004, 06:26 PM
Scott,
I agree with your methods (and start date), but would like to suggest that we add yeast nutrient to the batches, especially since we're testing D47 and it needs nutrient. I don't want to inconvienence those who have already placed orders or sourced their yeast, but it would probably be a good idea.


Thoughts?


DE

ScottS
10-25-2004, 06:49 PM
Yes on the nutrient. I usually use 2 tsp each of diammonium phosphate and yeast energizer per 5 gals.

svaros
10-25-2004, 08:04 PM
My thoughts exactly. That's what Ken Schram uses too...


David

Oskaar
10-26-2004, 01:26 AM
I have the nutrient and the energizer so I'm on board with that too. Generally I've used only 1 tsp of nutrient for 5 gallons but for this test I have no problem with 2 tsp.

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-26-2004, 03:45 AM
I will energize the organic way with citris, raisins, or whatever but will make sure my common must has enough nutrients for a heavy feeder...

Whatever I do will be common between all of the batches since it will be done before pitching the yeasts...

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-26-2004, 03:47 AM
Actually, it might be good if each person does the energizer the way they normally would (ie. 1 tsp vs. 2 tsp per 5 gallons vs. organic, etc.)....

svaros
10-26-2004, 06:55 AM
I think the point of the experiment is to compare as many samples of the same yeast/must so that we can get a representative sample. I don't want this to be a big issue, and I know that you (Pewter) prefer the natural method, so if we decide to add nutrients, we should all do it one way or the other. Personally, I add DAP and energizer, but I'm in no way adverse to adding rasins.

I agree with the racking too. If you rack one, you rack them all.

I was thinking about suggesting rasins but stayed away because you'd have to add the same amount to each 1 gallon batch. It would be easier to add the nutrient to the 5 gallon batch and then split it up from there.


as usual....
Thoughts?


David

P.S. If anyone has a good recipe for spring rolls in rice paper wrappers that they've tried, please drop me a PM!!!! Thanks

Oskaar
10-26-2004, 08:56 AM
Hey Dave,

I usually add raisins but for the purposes of testing I think that the energizer and nutrient would be better for representation given that there would be variences in different batches of raisins as far as sugar level, tannin level, etc.

I'm in favor of doing energizer and nutrient for testing this round, and then to raisins next round. I think it would be easier to add as you mention, and simpler to control in a single five gallon batch that was then split into five one gallon lots.

I'll go with the consensus whatever it is. My vote goes for Nutrient and Energizer this round.

Oskaar

Talon
10-26-2004, 06:11 PM
There should probably be a standardized yeast nutrient and energizer, etc, so that the main variables are the yeast and honey sources.

Just a thought...

svaros
10-26-2004, 06:47 PM
Talon,
I was thinking the same thing, but upon looking at it, most of the nutrients/energizers are pretty similar.


Scott, you have a background in science, what do you think?
We could also post this question to Hightest on the homebrew board, since he has looked into the nutrients for his Staggered Nutrient & DAP Addition.


DE

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-26-2004, 08:00 PM
Hey folks,

Just a question or attempt to determine the theory/philosophy/goal behind this testing. What is it?

Maybe better stated...

Is the goal behind the testing to find the best yeast for a straight mead?

or...

Is the goal behind the testing to find the best yeast for a straight mead made according to a certain recipe and set of steps?

Maybe it is too subtle but please reread the questions above and think about it. I would like us to encourage us to shape the testing so that at the end of this round of tests, we have determined "the best yeast for the average straight mead" (where average is defined by the differences in each of our styles/methods) not "the best yeast for a straight mead when certain chemicals and a particular method is used".

Please, I am NOT trying to be confrontational, but there is absolutely no benefit in me participating in the tests, nor will the test results provide any useful data to me if each of us do everything the same except for the type of honey since the methods/chemicals used are not ones that I personally use.

Let me recommend again, and everyone is welcome to veto the idea, that we each make a straight mead the way we would make a straight mead, using our methods, honey choice, and preferred chemicals, using an agreed upon SG where the only variant between batches of the same brewer is the yeast that is pitched.

Comments?

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-26-2004, 08:07 PM
David,

My preference would be that we each use our method of nutrient while shaping it so that it will support the heaviest feeder of the 5 yeasts we have chosen.

If we are going to count the differences between raisin types as significant, then we better count the differences between nutrient mixes as significant as well. Everyone should be buying the same nutrient mix from the same place if we really intend to clone batches. My own method actually uses neither one... :)

Maybe I am just not enough of a scientist to understand...

ScottS
10-26-2004, 09:14 PM
My opinion:

This is the first step of a long process. We want to minimize the number of variables, so as to get a good idea of how different yeasts behave under similar conditions. Yes, there are other variables to be played with, and I think that should be and will be the focus of future tests.

I think there is a fundamental difference between raisins and other nutrients, in that raisins add flavor where nutrients used properly do not. Even the differences in nutrient blends should be significantly less than the difference between raisins and nutrients. Bascially, comparing the two is like comparing a low-grade melomel to a show mead. Not a valid comparison, in my opinion. As for as I am concerned, the goal is to have the flavor of the final product be exclusively (within reason) determined by the honey and the yeast. A show mead does that.

That said, I don't think it is unreasonable for someone to choose to use raisins for nutrient. We've got several people already sticking to pretty much the same procedure and ingredients (except honey type). Having one person tweak one other variable certainly wouldn't destroy the validity of the results, and might even be very valuable. I would recommend though that if raisins are used, that a fairly neutral honey be used, so that the effects of the raisins on the flavor are hopefully easier to pick out.

**steps down from soapbox**

svaros
10-26-2004, 09:49 PM
Agreed. It'll probably be important to take good notes so we can pinpoint the differences in the process too.


DE

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-26-2004, 11:08 PM
That said, I don't think it is unreasonable for someone to choose to use raisins for nutrient. We've got several people already sticking to pretty much the same procedure and ingredients (except honey type). Having one person tweak one other variable certainly wouldn't destroy the validity of the results, and might even be very valuable.

I volunteer to fulfill that role ! ;D

I reread my stuff and it sounds a little selfish, but I do not believe it is unreasonable if I am going to invest 9 months of time and my resources and about $50 to $60 of my money to expect to realize some results, even if just in my own batches, that benefits future batches I make.

Part of me wonders if we won't end up this first round testing the effectiveness of certain yeasts to respond to energizers in producing a superior mead?

Just thinking out loud...

Oskaar
10-27-2004, 02:42 AM
Howdy all,

I don't disagree with anything in the last several posts. I think that if we're going to do this we should minimize variables as much as is reasonable. That being said, honey, temperature, water type, etc. are all variables so we're dealing with implicit variation from brewer to brewer, and location to location. I think we're past that and down to recipes and such.

I may run a control batch in parallel to the test batch for comparison and differentiation in the next round. For now, I'll use nutrient and energizer at the levels we agree upon so that the effects of the yeast on flavor, character, aroma, and such are purely a function of the yeast without being influenced by a different nutrient source.

I do use raisins in my batches, but my goal is to see what influence the yeast has on the must absent the other ingredients I use to influence the end product.

I don't think that having one person use raisins will really have much of an effect on the overall testing results either.

Oskaar

I am

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-27-2004, 02:53 AM
I still need to locate a half dozen 1 gallon jugs... ::)

Yeasts should be arriving in the mail in the next few days...

svaros
10-27-2004, 06:09 AM
I get mine at sunburst bottle. They're pretty cheap there. The URL is here (http://www.sunburstbottle.com/Merchant2/cat3.html)

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-28-2004, 11:28 PM
Yay! My 5 types of yeasties arrived yesterday!

Yay! I just ordered 10 of the mini-hydrometers to use in test batches...

Boo hiss... still gotta find a cheap local source of glass gallon jugs...

Talon
10-28-2004, 11:51 PM
Do you like apple juice? That's where I got mine... *grins* The White House apple juice containers are glass and you get a nifty top to boot for when you have aged it to completion and don't have a bottle to put it in.... *grins*

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-28-2004, 11:59 PM
Talon,

Not sure I can drink that much apple juice by November 6th!

Oskaar
10-29-2004, 03:09 AM
Apple juice party at Pewter's house, bring your own flagon!

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-29-2004, 04:45 AM
Grin...

I suppose i could host that...

Admission price...

One bottle of good mead...

1.5 L size...

Grin...

ScottS
11-03-2004, 11:17 PM
Got my yeast today, now I just need to empty those jugs!

Everyone ready?

Oskaar
11-04-2004, 01:19 AM
Yup,

Oskaar here holdin' down the west coast and ready to rock!

Pewter_of_Deodar
11-04-2004, 01:28 AM
Still short jugs but have some leads on some...

Talon
11-04-2004, 01:51 AM
Talon,

Not sure I can drink that much apple juice by November 6th!

Well, it was worth a shot... You don't happen to have a 5 gallon carboy, do you? And a gallon of extra honey? You could always make a cyser... *grins*

Pewter_of_Deodar
11-04-2004, 02:52 AM
Talon,

I wouldn't waste good honey on the supposed apple juice they put in those glass gallon jugs...

It has absolutely no comparison to the fresh stuff I get from my friend...

svaros
11-04-2004, 05:55 AM
I'm ready...


David

Pewter_of_Deodar
11-04-2004, 08:55 AM
Hydrometers arrived in the mail today. I still need glass and stoppers but I'll get that taken care of...

Someone pick the starting SG...

I would suggest something capable of 15 to 16 ABV so everything can go to completion and still be a little sweet....

svaros
11-04-2004, 06:06 PM
1.115


thoughts?

Pewter_of_Deodar
11-04-2004, 08:14 PM
First, I broke down and ordered my jugs and plugs from Leener's last night. I should be ready mid-next week. Maybe we shoot for next weekend as our start?

Second, I would suggest just a tad higher SG than 1.115 since a couple of the yeasts we have selected are supposedly good to 15 percent and I'd like to see us shoot for a minimum 1.010 FG for the most active yeast so the stuff isn't too dry...

Other thoughts?

Oskaar
11-10-2004, 03:08 PM
Check the brewlog for ongoing yeast test updates.

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
11-19-2004, 02:27 AM
I originally thought we had 4 or 5 yeast testers. We have two already started and I should be pitching my batches this weekend. So has everyone else dropped out?

svaros
11-19-2004, 06:35 AM
I'm pitching this weekend also. Just running a little late

Pewter_of_Deodar
12-05-2004, 07:59 PM
Better late than never, right? ::)

I pitched my yeast test batches Saturday night (12/3/04). Please check the Brewlog for details after I have a chance to post there...