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frob23
12-08-2003, 11:29 AM
Right now I have a batch of mead brewing with bread yeast. I tasted it when I racked it and it didn't taste very bad at all. Still a little raw but that is to be expected before aging. So, I want to hear from everyone about their experiences with this. It won't change my current batch and it probably won't stop future experimentation with bread and all other sorts of yeast. But let's talk about it.

How many of you have actually used bread yeast to make mead before, not just heard how bad it was from second hand reports?

Of those who have:
How many batches have you made with it?
Did the yeast leave a cloudy mead?
Any off tastes or smells?
If you have used wine yeasts, how were they better if they were better? Be specific... don't just say that it tasted better that could mean anything.
What size batches have you made?
Did it make a difference in results when the size of the batch changed?
Did you find bread yeast to be reliable or unreliable in results -- good or bad... was it consistent?
Would you use it in the future?
Did you like the results you got?
Did the yeast leave lots of sugar or a dry result?
If someone offered you a mead and told you it was made with bread yeast would you drink it?
If someone gave you a mead and didn't tell you what kind of yeast was used would you know with 100% certainty if they used bread yeast?


Okay, I can't think of more questions. Feel free to add questions in your responses.

Right, now I know some people here have used bread yeast before, out of sheer desperation or just to experiment. Fess up and talk about it. I promise I won't laugh at you. ;-)

frob23
12-08-2003, 09:01 PM
Okay, don't feel like you have to respond to all the questions at once -- or even at all if you don't have answers to some. And I am not really opposed to hearing comments from people who have never used bread yeast before -- but let us know that you are speaking from second hand knowledge.

There seems to be a lot of misinformation about bread yeast out there. I have read stuff ranging from it will produce CO2 but no alcohol (clearly false), only use it if you want [insert fruit]-liquid bread, it works but never settles, it works and settles quickly but loosely, it makes the best meads ever, and on the top of the list -- it sometimes can even be preferable to wine yeast.

Obviously reality falls somewhere in the grey areas here. I just want to know what you think and can justify... and why not throw some rumor in there -- just be sure you don't try and pass it off as truth.

-Eric

JoeM
12-09-2003, 02:45 AM
Ok dude heres the deal with yeast, think of brewing and bread yeast like dogs. All dogs are the same species, they are just selectively bred to look different and have different temperments. brewing and baking yeast are just like dogs in that they are all the same species, Saccharomyces cerevisiae[i][/i (with a few exceptions), however, the differnt types of yeast are selectively bred to have different characteristics. you theoretically could train a poodle to be a guard dog but thats not what its best at b/c its not what it was bred to do! same with yeast, theres no reason why you cant used baking yeast to brew your mead, its just that baking yeast is bred to have characteristics that are good for baking bread, just like ale yeast make good ale and lager yeast make good lager. you certainly could use ale yeast to make a lager but it wouldnt taste like a lager. the point of my rambling is that by all means if you like the way your mead tastes using baking yeast there is no reason why you cant use it...its just not what it was intended to be used for and there are yeasts that have flavor, flocculation, and attenuation characteristcs better suited to mead making.

frob23
12-10-2003, 04:50 AM
Not that I don't appreciate the post but you really didn't say anything on the topic. I have seen the dog breed reference before online and I understand that some yeasts are better for some things. You didn't say you had used it yourself, so I have to assume you haven't. You are repeating information that is common internet knowledge... which it doesn't hurt to review. But what I want is personal experience with it.

Have you ever gone to an event, SCA maybe, where you tried a mead made with bread (or maybe wild) yeast? Even if you hadn't made it your insight as to the taste and mouth-feel of it would be great. We all can go online and look at second hand stories about bread yeast and how bad it is. Most of which have been written by people who never used it. How many people haven't been scared off by these stories or propaganda from their homebrew stores? BTW: I am not just sitting here thinking of using bread yeast only... I went out today and picked up some "Red Star: Pasteur Champagne" and "Lalvin: EC-1118" for some future batches.

What I really want to see discussed is if people think all the negative statements about bread yeast might scare off first time homebrewers who are afraid to go into a store or can't get to one? Are we limiting the market by being elitist about the type of ingredients that people can add? And, I want an honest discussion here so people who might want to start out can have an honest report on what they can expect using stuff from a foodstore. This doesn't mean that they should never try other, possibly better, yeasts. But, rather, we can encourage them to get started and if they like it to build up.

Maybe we are scared to show any acceptance to this yeast because it might produce results that are not perfect and would scare off first time users. If that is the case, how could we encourage experimentation while letting them know to keep trying other products if it doesn't work out? And is that problem any worse than a person who tries a commercial yeast that is dead, or wrong for their mead, and gets frustrated and never tries again? The only difference would be the sheer volume of new people who would try bread yeast as opposed to the small volume that get over the fear of homebrewing and try commercial yeast.

All I can say is that we should never discourage any experimentation with homebrewing. As the bubbles rise in your first batch something magical happens; you fall in love with the magic of home alcohol production. I would have never tried homebrewing if I didn't find a recipe that said, "Just buy bread yeast and try it; if the results aren't what you want, buy better yeast and try again."

So let's share our experiences with this yeast. So a person who is thinking of using it will have an honest evaluation of it. Or maybe I am the only person on this board who has used bread yeast... maybe I am the only person who will admit to it.

JoeM
12-10-2003, 02:04 PM
I wouldnt exactly call myself an elitist. The first batch of mead i ever made was a one gallon batch done with bread yeast in a two gallon plastic jug that pretzyls came in with a zip lock bag and a rubber band for a blowoff valve. I bottled it in 16 oz plastic pepsi bottles. It came out extrodinarily sweet and murkey, a few of my bottles even exploded. i subsequently went online and looked up a recipe...it called for Lalvin EC-1118. i made exactly three 5 gallon batches using that yeast. every single one of them came out so bone dry (due to the extrodinary attenuative properties of champagne yeast), that nobody including myself wanted to drink them. i actually gave up on it for a few years then one day i started reading some more recipes and decided to give it another shot. i tried using ale yeast, champange yeast, and white wine yeast in sucession for my next three 5 gallon batches. so i DO in fact have experience with using many different types of yeast including bread yeast. and i dont just listen to my own taste buds, nobody comes into my house on a social visit and leaves without trying at least two of my meads. so in my experience, which to date includes a few hundred 5 gallon batches (including quite a handful of undrinkable ones which were lost due to experimentation with ingredients), white wine yeast (Montrachet in particular) makes a very nice mead. Certain ale yeasts make WONDERFUL braggots, and champagne yeast has a few LIMITED uses. champagne yeast in general will produce a product SO alcoholic and SO dry that it makes my mouth turn inside out (sometimes i wonder why so many damn recipes call for the stuff!). and of course like i said, bread yeast will make a fine mead....as long as you expect a fairly sweet product (this will also vary with the amount of sugar in your starting solution) This of course is just one mans opinion.

frob23
12-10-2003, 07:23 PM
Okay, I wasn't calling you an elitist... mainly I was calling all the people who try and scare people away from using bread yeast elitist. This mostly includes all the HOWTOs for first timer's out there. I think it would be better if they were honest and said that sometimes it doesn't clear, or that it can quit too soon and leave a very sweet drink. I am glad to see some personal experience with the yeast from your telling. My mead with bread yeast is coming out fairly dry -- do you think that might be because it is a cyser and includes other nutrients that help the bread yeast along? Sure the better yeasts might not need help but maybe with some coaxing the bread yeast will produce a dry drink that the other yeasts could do without the help.

And like I was thinking, even a commercial yeast that doesn't work like you want or produces something you can't drink will turn you off to trying again. Obviously you came back but how many people didn't bother. How many said, "Hell, I'll pay the $8 and go buy a bottle I know I can drink?"

So, you would say that all your experience with bread yeast has been fairly consistent: murky product with very sweet taste. And from the exploding bottles, incomplete fermentation that randomly restarts. Were you making a pure mead or a hybrid (melomel etc)? How long did you give it to age? I can definitely see what you are talking about as being possible. My bread yeast concoction appear to be finished and I am tempted to assume it is done. But every few minutes a couple of tiny bubbles will float to the surface. The yeast is still working but at a snail's pace. Also evidenced by sediment continuing to pile up at the bottom. It is still cloudy but not nearly as bad as the first few days. I am going to give it some more time and bottle it in two liter bottles so I can check for excess pressure every couple of days. That might be something else to be said about bread yeast... it leaps out of the starting gate but will crawl the way to the finish line. Kindof what I would expect a yeast that was bred to rise dough quickly but not indefinetly.

On a side note: I am glad to hear the Lalvin 1118 will give me a bone dry drink. That is what I was hoping for. ;-) It is working its magic in my closet right now.

ThistyViking
12-10-2003, 09:58 PM
[quote=Eric Fenderson
I would have never tried homebrewing if I didn't find a recipe that said, "Just buy bread yeast and try it; if the results aren't what you want, buy better yeast and try again."
quote]

I think that starting this way would increase the the odds of a poor result. Among the things that wine yeasts are bread for is competition with other yeasts. "killer Yeasts" decrease the chances of off flavors.

For a First Mead most of us would recommend folks go a different route.

JoeM
12-11-2003, 12:09 AM
i would have to agree..i feel like it would be MORE discouraging for a first timer to end up with a batch of rotting swill rathen than a beautiful mead than it would be for them to have to go through the extra step of finding proper ingredients.

frob23
12-11-2003, 04:12 AM
I don't know that it would be that discouraging. Most people accept failure as a part of the learning process. I think it is much harder to take the first step than dealing with a mistake. When we lower the step it becomes easier to take it but slightly more likely to slip. I obviously advocate mentioning recipes that are almost fail-safe for the first time homebrewer (includes ingredients to meet all the yeast nutrutional needs -- and not a pure mead) so that they have a larger chance of success. Also, few recipes that even mention bread yeast are for more than a gallon. Very few people I know would be scarred for life if they had to toss a gallon on a failed experiment.

Yes we increase the chance of a nice mead, when we say use this exact yeast, but we can't assure it. Even with the right yeast improper cleaning, bottling too soon, using ingredients with preservatives, or doing everything right but creating something too sweet or too dry can happen anyway. And this forum was never about encouraging the use of bread yeast -- it was about discussing it. Pros and Cons. What to expect and what can happen. That way if someone does make an informed choice to try it they can know what to expect. If it turns out lousy they can look at past experiences to see how it compares to their current one. They will be able to say for sure that it was the yeast and not something else.

Protecting people from bad mead isn't going to stop bad mead from being made.

frob23
12-11-2003, 08:04 AM
Also, to bring this back on topic. This isn't about the appropriateness of first time brewers using bread yeast. It is about personal experience with the yeast. We can argue back and forth for hours about how protected or willy-nilly first time brewers can get. Obviously, I am all about the free-love brewing; heck, if ancient people could handle it with what they had and produce something drinkable, we should be able to also. Some other people here are more into the science of brewing and that is okay also. But that is not really what this topic is about. It is about personal experiences.

ThistyViking
12-12-2003, 04:34 AM
Also, to bring this back on topic. This isn't about the appropriateness of first time brewers using bread yeast. It is about personal experience with the yeast.

I was under the impression you were the one who brought it up first.



Maybe we are scared to show any acceptance to this yeast because it might produce results that are not perfect and would scare off first time users. If that is the case, how could we encourage experimentation while letting them know to keep trying other products if it doesn't work out? And is that problem any worse than a person who tries a commercial yeast that is dead, or wrong for their mead, and gets frustrated and never tries again? The only difference would be the sheer volume of new people who would try bread yeast as opposed to the small volume that get over the fear of homebrewing and try commercial yeast.

All I can say is that we should never discourage any experimentation with homebrewing. As the bubbles rise in your first batch something magical happens; you fall in love with the magic of home alcohol production. I would have never tried homebrewing if I didn't find a recipe that said, "Just buy bread yeast and try it; if the results aren't what you want, buy better yeast and try again."


You sound atypical to me. Brewing yeast is not difficult to find. Certainly easily accessible on the internet, but even without mailorder there are many brew shops across this country and almost everyone gets within a few miles of one several times a year. The problems with clarity and sediment are major turn offs for some people. Given the much higher incidence of bread yeast yeilding such results I discourage it, just like I avoid it. I PARTICULARLY DISCOURAGE IT for a first time brew. When I recomend a first batch to people I recomend Cyser with 2 lbs/gallon of honey and lalvin 1118 or other champagne yeast... telling them that they will get a dry white wine type of result with subtle honey tones in 3-4 months (drinkable earlier than this as a semi sweet, but can't be bottled safely). Also for them to use Apple juice without preservatives in a 1 gallon glass jug (instant Carboy) Since they need to aquire a stopper with an airlock for the jug, they can get the yeast at the same time.

total price of 1st batch
$7 cider in glass jug
$8 honney (estimated high)
$6-7 Airlock, stopper, yeast, racking tube, Potassium Meta-bisulfite (for sanitation)

$5 HDPE Bucket (brewshop or homedepot)
$1 Plastic showercaps to cover primary

.......

For later Brews after they have had some success, sure try making some with bread yeast if you want. But I'd never send them to bread yeast for thier first homebrew experience.

frob23
12-12-2003, 05:09 AM
Admittedly, I did bring up the topic of first time users and bread yeast. But that was just me being distracted from the original topic which had nothing to do with first time users at all. And I would still say that clarity and sediment, especially when the person is warned prior to use about the probability of them, would not be a huge turnoff. It would be something that the person would want to improve on and would know how to by changing the yeast.

For a person making mead for the first time, who might be using an improvised airlock, the yeast might be the only special item they need to buy. If they aren't close to a homebrew store or don't have a credit card they might be discouraged by the distance and trouble it would take to get wine yeast. Regardless, everyone is free to recommend anything and everything that they feel comfortable recommending for a first time brewer. At the same time, that first time brewer should be entitled to access to as much honest information as is available.

I am atypical. I won't deny that. And if you want to preface any experience with a warning saying that first time brewers should NEVER use bread yeast, feel free.

JoeM
12-12-2003, 10:11 AM
In my experience...when you hand someone a glass of something that is muddy and has junk floating in it, their first reaction isnt "oh my what a wonderful mead!" its usually something more along the lines of "what the heck is floating in it?" or "oh, um...well, thanks but, uh, i dont drink" and no matter how much you explain to them that its natural and that it doesnt effect the taste it never seems to make a difference. people are visual and a mead that sparkles like crystal is attractive to the eye as well as the palate. i would have to aggree with thirsty viking that if someone really wants to make there first mead, theres really nothing inhibiting them from obtaining a proper yeast culture. why would you suggest to someone that they produce a product that they should EXPECT to have to improve on before they even begin?

"It would be something that the person would want to improve on and would know how to by changing the yeast."

JoeM
12-12-2003, 10:16 AM
ThirstyViking
Just curious as to why you prefer champagne yeast (as many people do) over anything else? In my own personal experience i find that it produces a harsher product that requires longer aging. It also ferments too dry for my taste, but of course thats just me.

frob23
12-12-2003, 11:27 AM
Now, we know that a cloudy product is possible but that doesn't mean it is always the result. Mine is still a little cloudy but there aren't chunks or blobs floating in it. I hope it does clear but it won't bother me if it doesn't. I hang out with a lot of people into re-enacting time periods -- I live near St. Augustine Florida and many people love to get as much in character as possible. If I ended up with a murky product that was still tasty they would not hesitate to guzzle it down. Different strokes for different folks.

And for a person who wants to try what mead tastes like and isn't planning on making it a big social event, the look would be minor compared to taste.

Let me say something about making your first batch and getting into homebrew. When I first wanted to try to brew my own (several years ago) I was not exactly of legal age. 19 actually. I had a bank account but no credit card so ordering online at the time was not possible. Even with a brewstore in town, I had no idea how to find it and doubt I would have been able to walk into it. I would have chickened out. For those people, and I don't encourage underage drinking, the presence of alcohol is more important than the look and often, sadly, the taste.

Now, at 23, I still feel odd walking into brewstores and liquor stores. Probably a product of my upbringing because my mother is so opposed to alcohol. So, for these people there might be no other option. Once they get into homebrewing they have their whole lives to learn the wonders of the varieties of yeast and chances are they will be starting a lifelong hobby.

But that is still not really the reason I started this topic. I started it so we would be able to figure out what is true about bread yeast and what isn't. We know that it does produce alcohol. We can assume that most of the other stuff online is probably true but why not talk about our experiences with it?

frob23
12-12-2003, 02:29 PM
Oh, and not being able to make good alcohol didn't stop underage drinking. Milwaukee's Best Ice anyone? A perfect example of sacrificing taste for pure alcoholic punch. It was so much easier to find someone willing to buy booze than it was to find someone willing to help get the supplies to make it.

frob23
12-12-2003, 09:58 PM
Arg, well right now:

Bread yeast : 1
Wine Yeast : 0

But that is my fault and not the wine yeast. I will read the label from now on. I swear that I did not do this to purposly prove my argument that even the best yeast can be screwed up by an idiot.

ThistyViking
12-14-2003, 02:41 PM
ThirstyViking
Just curious as to why you prefer champagne yeast (as many people do) over anything else? In my own personal experience i find that it produces a harsher product that requires longer aging. It also ferments too dry for my taste, but of course thats just me.

For a first time brewer, absolutely... the reason why is because I find it the most reliable yeast from a consistency standpoint. Personally I haven't had the problem with harshness, Indeed my Cysers have been real tasty... I prefer them sweeter than they finish on this method, but the finished result is good, and very consistent. (Taste Varies)
At this point we can talk about sorbate, sulfite, and sweetening before we bottle if BONE DRY isn't what is wanted. I Have also had very nice success with decanting this early for a party at about S.G. 1.020. While not crystal clear, it was acceptable, the other two gallons fermented out to 0.994 over the next three weeks, some of that in the bottle (Scary). It was my first batch and luckily I managed to get the people who had recieved Christmass gifts of it to put it in the refrigerator before it exploded on them.

Champagne yeasts are typically killer yeast thats reproduce fast in early stages and help prevent other yeasts from getting started, they rapidly drive to a high Alchohol content which in turn prevents other infections. I'm not saying they are the only killer yeasts, but they have been a reliable one for me.

This is of course talking about dry meads in the 12-15% ABV range. Yeasts stress if you push them to the limit and start producing different things, This and the use of additives (perhaps the overuse) is thought by several of us to be responsible for much of the harshness many say they encounter. When you don't stresss the yeasts, My experience is you don't have to age. Many people use EC-1118 just to maximize alchohol, slowly feeding more and more fermentables till the yeast just can't continue. Some people add acid up front to thier meads. Some people ferment at temps that stress the yeast because it is "Faster". My understand is that all of these can increase the harshness of the brew. My method is to use fruitjuices for nutrients (Getting some buckwheat honey to blend for nutirents this winter, Chuck says 2 lbounds for 5 gallons) and ferment at a temperature close to 67-68 degrees in my basement.



The First batch I made, won praise from my family including my brother in law who had a bad experience with Homebrew and I haven't been able to drag to a Homebrew Club meeting to expse him to the really good stuff (he loves microbreweries/restraunts though). I make and serve my meads like wine, while still relatively new, I take pride in a nice product, be it a dry Cyser, or a sack Blueberry Cyser.

Still Waiting to try my Chocolate-Rasberry Mead in March.

Currently I am using sweet mead yeasts and D-47 for my meads, if they don't work or get stuck then I nuke the probelm with ec-1118. Case in point being the Cyser I was making for Christmass this year, It got stuck and after several attempts to restart it, I hit it with 1118 ... Still having a 4 gallon stuck Cyser I added 3 Gallons of Rapidly fermenting Blueberry melomel to the mix.
----------------------

As for a Dorm room brew, yeah they would drink
table sugar
water
and bread yeast
if they could get it to ferment.

frob23
12-14-2003, 10:17 PM
As for a Dorm room brew, yeah they would drink
table sugar
water
and bread yeast
if they could get it to ferment.

This is probably the second thing that turned me off to homebrewing when in college. A person did just what you described. Except it was as much brown sugar as he could dissolve in hot water. It was something like 2 or 3 pounds per gallon. He then threw in some bread yeast and let it go -- covered with a bed sheet for a week and a half. The product that resulted was alcoholic but not drinkable... which didn't matter. With the help of a GSA [Graduate Student Assistent] he got some late night access to the chemistry labs. Using equipment that was reserved for food use (Yes they had a set of equipment that the organic chem. students used to make imitation food later in the year) he distilled that muck into a barely drinkable liquor.

This stuff was harsh, nasty, brutal... etc. Not something you would ever want to drink. But when mixed with a cheap punch it was something that led to much debauchery my freshman year.

And for all those who work for the revenue service -- drinking the stuff killed that part of my brain that I had been using to remember his name. ;-)

Jmattioli
12-15-2003, 12:43 AM
Well here goes. I have used bread yeast twice on 1 gallon batches. I had read that it is not advised and that leaving on the lees would impart a terrible taste so I racked often to avoid that rumor and I had no off flavors. On my second batch I didn't rack. I followed an ancient recipe I read on the web for an orange/clove/raisens,cinamon/allspice etc mead.
I did not juice the orange. I cut it in eights peeling and all and pressed into carboy. The recipe called for 1 t breadyeast. It has been working for 6 weeks now in my kitchen cabinet and the recipe calls for waiting for the oranges to fall to the bottom and it to clear. I have stolen a taste and it is doing fine. Don't know if all the rumors about the horrible taste from autolyse of lees is true or not but I plan on finding out if it is fact or fiction. Will let you know when it finishes as that will be the only racking off the bread yeast lees.

frob23
12-15-2003, 01:04 AM
Are you using the bread yeast just to stay in period with the recipe? Some of my re-enactment friends say that people do that. I always have work when some sort of re-enactment is going on so I have no personal experience nor been able to ask.

Most of the people who have used bread yeast here claim it leaves a cloudy product... did you find that to be true?

I am glad to hear that you had no off tastes from your first batch. I would be interested if leaving the yeast at the bottom would create off tastes in your second batch. You'll have to let us know.

Jmattioli
12-15-2003, 07:36 AM
MY FIRST BATCH IS DEFINETELY NOT AS CLEAR AS MY OTHER MEADS BUT NOT CONCLUSIVE AT THIS TIME THAT IT IS THE YEAST. ON THE LAST BATCH I WILL KNOW FOR SURE IN THIS NEXT MONTH. THE FIRST HAD NO YEASTIE TASTE YET BUT IS NOT CRYSTAL CLEAR AND STILL WORKING SLOWLY SO THAT MAY BE REASON IT IS NOT CLEAR. I PUT TOO MUCH ACID IN IT AND FERMENTATION IS SLOW SLOW SLOW. WILL KEEP YOU POSTED.

JoeM
12-15-2003, 09:54 AM
Thirsty Viking
I have used sorbat a few times for just that purpose...a mead made with champagne yeast finished too dry so i hit it with sorbate and sweetened it up. I have two problems with this though. First of all i like to use all natual ingriendents whenever possible (i use fruit juice both to add nutrients and adjust pH) and second, i just prefer my mead sparkling! if you have any advice on how to make a sparkling sack it would be greatly appreciated. Its simple to make a still mead sweet, and its simple to make a dry/semi-dry mead sparkling, but to get both a high residual suagar AND a proper amount of carbonation in the same bottle... that i find to be quite a challange.
And i'd just like to comment on your point about aging...i agree that i have had many meads that tasted great right out of primary, however, without exception, they are always better with age.

frob23
12-15-2003, 10:20 PM
You know, people joke about the waiting being the hardest part of making mead. But this is definitly true. How the heck do you guys do it? Does it get easier once you have a couple of bottles you can drink or if you have a lot to do? This is killing me. Probably one of the reasons I am the highest poster on this board... everytime I turn around I wonder how much longer till I can drink my first batch... which is looking pretty good, by the way. I still want to give it at least one more week (maybe two) before I really draw judgement on it.

ThistyViking
12-20-2003, 11:48 AM
Thirsty Viking
I have used sorbat a few times for just that purpose...a mead made with champagne yeast finished too dry so i hit it with sorbate and sweetened it up. I have two problems with this though. First of all i like to use all natual ingriendents whenever possible (i use fruit juice both to add nutrients and adjust pH) and second, i just prefer my mead sparkling! if you have any advice on how to make a sparkling sack it would be greatly appreciated. Its simple to make a still mead sweet, and its simple to make a dry/semi-dry mead sparkling, but to get both a high residual suagar AND a proper amount of carbonation in the same bottle... that i find to be quite a challange.

hehe there are two answers.
First answer is to gamble on Bottle bombes based on how far your S.G. has dropped. Use champagne bottles, wire the corks and pray.

Second answer is to force carbonate. Generally this involves a kegging system. If you want to bottle it, chil the keg so the mead loses less CO2 and fill bottle from the tap. Of course if you have a kegging system just leave your Sack mead in the keg and dispense as desired. for sparkling Sack mead on Tap.

Check the homebrew NG for all the information you could want on converting an old frezer and obsolete sodapop CO2 systems into a nifty Kegorator. I think these instructions are also on the Frugal Brewer website.


Thirsty Viking
"And i'd just like to comment on your point about aging...i agree that i have had many meads that tasted great right out of primary, however, without exception, they are always better with age.


This is hard with the first few batches, ramp up your hobby... as soon as you have enough batches in process, you will begin to accumulate age. (or you'll throw great parties :-)

My first Cyser I was Drinking from the primary bucket it was so tasty lol, had to get it under glass to let it finish fermenting. :o ;D ::) :P

For your first few batches there is little hope if they are any good.

Today I just bottled 54 bottle of peah melomel and Blueberry Sack Cyser( 40 375ml bottles and 14 750 ml bottles)

I have another 12 Gallons in carboys right now.
3 Gallon blueberry Sack Cyser ready to bottle. 6 m/o (months old)
3 Gallon Blueberry Melomel semi dry ready to bottle. 5 m/o

6 Gallon Chocolate Rasberry mead needs to age to eliminate the bitter oils from the cocoa powder, it has it's first birthday in bulk aging in February, then I bottle March 1. I was told not to even taste it before 1 year because of these oils. I rack it tomarrow add sorbate and top off with Rasberry Syrup.

Tomarrow I start a 7 gallon Mapplesyrup and Honey mead.
On newyears eve I start a 4 gallon Blackberry mead, and a blended honey sack mead later in January (Buckweat honney on order)

I also started the day with 15 bottles of orange melomel 10 m/o

Of course it is the christmass season, so several of these bottle end up as gifts, parted with 2-750's and 7-375's as christmass gifts tonight, and have 7-750's and 4-375's earmarked for immeadiate dispersal on Christmass day.

I know people who have 12 - 30+ carboys active at one time. depending on what thier need is for gifts entertaining and personal consumption.

Right now my Peach melomel I bottled today is Harsh, I needed the carboy to rack the Blueberry Sack cyser, or It would still be bulk ageing. I had a 6.6 gallon batch and i Bottled 3.6, At this point I ran out of pretty Blue Hock Gift Bottles.

frob23
12-20-2003, 12:43 PM
Wow, I can only imagine how it would be to have that much stuff around. I could see why it would be easier after the first several batches. If you want to try some you crack a bottle you started months ago and it would take your mind off the stuff not ready.

But still this seems very hard to me. I know I will have tons left over from this batch when it is done (since I am not a huge drinker) but until then it is killing me. Eventually I am going to have to bring a couple of gallons to some of my old college buddies and throw a party.

ThistyViking
12-20-2003, 10:12 PM
Eventually you are going to have to get a few more carboys. If your personal consumption is low, 2-3 in process total may do for you. You get 10-375ml bottle to the gallon, Roughly the size of a 12oz beer bottle. Figure the average batch will be 6 months before it is finished and ready to bottle. At least for my melomels I find this to be a good conservative average.

I live alone, so I bottle 2/3 of my mead in 375 ml bottles. At the strength I make my mead, All I need is one of these bottles, and I enjoy a mild buzz. I have the habbit of finishing what is in front of me.... so If i pop the cork on a 750, I'll drink it all. Just like I'll Clean my plate when I go out to eat, unless I ask for a to go box before I start so that i set aside a large portion of my meal up front.

Yes I have been known to rack a 750ml bottle to a 375, cork, and drink the remainder 8) but that is a pain :-X

frob23
12-20-2003, 11:19 PM
The beer bottling suggestion seems pretty good to me. A 12oz bottle sounds about right for a single sitting. I want to have a few 750ml but they seem completely the wrong size. They are much too big to drink alone and when I want to share it is with too many people for just one bottle. I have some half gallon glass apple juice jars that would be perfect but I doubt I could ever get a good enough seal (that I would trust over time).

Eventually, I know I will have to expand. But right now I think one primary and one carboy will be okay. When I get something that will be in the carboy for a while I might try a batch or two of beer in the primary. I don't know if this might leave an off taste in the primary but I hope not. If I really start fiending to start another mead I will just suck it up and buy a second carboy.

But like I said I rarely drink. If I had 2-12oz bottles a week, I would probably consider that more than average. The only exception would be times when I have a week off school or some other event to celebrate.

ThistyViking
12-20-2003, 11:31 PM
What size carboy did you get?

frob23
12-21-2003, 12:34 AM
Like I said in aim -- but repeat here in case anyone else is trying to follow -- I haven't bought it yet but I am planning on a 5 gallon carboy. When I went down to the brewshop I had a fairly long talk with the owner (about 30 minutes) about my budget and what I wanted to do. He convinced me that if I wanted to stay in budget (and be able to afford enough honey to start a batch now) I should build up my kit instead of buying it all at once. Since I won't need a carboy for at least a month why spend the cash now when I could be spending that on good quality honey? The guy was even honest enough to tell me that the honey he had in stock was good but $2-$3 more expensive than what I could find at the local beekeeper I knew about. I never made it to that beekeeper but that is another story.

So I bought a nice primary, with a drain spout which probably cost me an arm and a leg but oh well. The I got an airlock and two types of yeast. The guy threw in an extra pack of Lalvin EC1118 when I promised to pitch them both. A promise I wish I hadn't kept since I pitched both of them into a bucket of preservatives.

So, in a few weeks I will go down and buy a nice five gallon carboy, stopper, and airlock. Probably whatever else he thinks he might be able to get me to buy. I really think the guy is a good honest person who wants to see that I get started right and in my budget. But if he can throw in a carboy-cozie for $7 without me knowing, all the better.

[note: carboy-cozie is made up item -- didn't see one and he hasn't yet tried to sell me one. Imagine it would be something knitted in the shape of the carboy to keep it warm and dark. Which could be done with a plastic bag or just by leaving it in my closet where I plan on placing it.]

frob23
12-26-2003, 01:44 PM
Some time this upcoming week I will go down an buy the next batch of equipment I need. I really have too much to do right now. Somehow I got stuck working Christmas Eve-Day 11pm-7am and not I need to work two doubles this weekend. Lots of hours to earn enough money to buy the stuff I never have time to pick up.

I looked at the bread yeast batch today and it looks good. Still not crystal clear but it is also still less than a month old. We'll see about how it turns out in the future.

Jmattioli
01-07-2004, 01:31 AM
Mead made with bread yeast will definitely clear on its own. If not, the fault is not the yeast. Both of mine are now clearing up nicely. Also the ancient mead I made and left on the lees for over 2 months without racking has no off taste from autolysis. I put all ingredients in a glass primary and left it alone to ferment and clear naturally. It was ready in a little over 2 months. Therefore, I must conclude that though there are better choices than bread yeast to use to make mead, with proper sanitatiion, it can be used with good results. I also have a friend who uses bread yeast to make his wine. He has been using bread yeast for many years. His methods are crude but for the most part his wines are crystal clear naturally with no filtering or clarifying agents. He said he does it the way his Father always did. No chemicals either but then again he never allows them to age over 6 months or so since he likes to drink it over the winter months.

frob23
01-08-2004, 07:16 AM
Well my first batch hasn't completely cleared. The main reason this happened, I think, is not because of the yeast. Although there might be some still in suspension. I have read many recipes for cider and almost every one of them warns against heating the cider because it will cause a haze -- something about pectin and fruit. This stuff is still young since I started it slightly over one month ago. I broke open the remaining 2 liters tonight to see how it is coming along in response to your post.

It hasn't really changed much from the last time I posted. This is probably because not enough time has passed or because it matures really early. It is mostly apple juice which probably helps. Most ciders are drinkable pretty much right from the start. Again, there wasn't much honey in there -- 1lb per gallon. Also, the last time I opened the cap to release pressure was well over a week ago. There was very little then and no discernable pressure today. So most of the fermentation is complete but probably not all. I think I have pretty much come to my own conclusion about using bread yeast. It works. It might not be the best and it might not have some of the properties of the purer strains but it works.

In comparison to the Red Star Chapagne yeast being used for my hard cider the bread yeast does leave looser sediment and more of it. Well, the more of it statement might be subjective. The bread yeast also seems to start a lot faster. I make my yeast starters fifteen minutes before in a warm mixture similar to the must. When I pitched the bread yeast I had very vigorous activity within an hour or two. The Red Star took almost a day to really start. I was going to be able to discuss Lalvin EC1118 but like I mentioned I killed it.

Also, with all of these yeasts. They give pretty dry results. When it comes to bread yeast that might just be because I haven't used a high gravity must -- still no hydrometer -- but with the Champagne yeasts I can be pretty sure that is what they are meant to do. For this reason bread yeast would be a bad choice for someone who wanted a sweet drink. The stuff just doesn't know when to quit. Some people have reported ending with a very sweet drink which might mean that bread yeast varies or something killed it off. I would tend to think that the later is more likely when people use bread yeast because they are probably being slightly less careful about ingredients and methods. But I cannot rule out the former.

Anyway, this is where I am at right now. If anything changes you know I will post. ;-)

ThistyViking
01-15-2004, 02:24 PM
Also, with all of these yeasts. They give pretty dry results. When it comes to bread yeast that might just be because I haven't used a high gravity must -- still no hydrometer -- but with the Champagne yeasts I can be pretty sure that is what they are meant to do. For this reason bread yeast would be a bad choice for someone who wanted a sweet drink. The stuff just doesn't know when to quit. Some people have reported ending with a very sweet drink which might mean that bread yeast varies or something killed it off. I would tend to think that the later is more likely when people use bread yeast because they are probably being slightly less careful about ingredients and methods. But I cannot rule out the former.

Anyway, this is where I am at right now. If anything changes you know I will post. ;-)

1 pound honey per gallon of cider is a pretty low gravity must. I use two#/gallon and normal wine yeast can take that to dryness, ec-1118 yeast might handle 3#/gallon in Applejuice but i haven't mixed that, it will certainly take 2.5#/gallon to BONE DRY SG 0.994 in my batch. And it did that while being refrigerated trying to stop it.

frob23
01-15-2004, 06:07 PM
Yes I know that 1lb/gallon is pretty low starting gravity. I bring that up because I have heard that higher gravity musts are harder on some yeasts and that is why I made the assumption that when bread yeast leaves almost a "sack" result with no real alcohol content that might be the cause.

More later... boss coming in right now.

Anchorite
01-15-2004, 09:32 PM
ok..to get back to your original question...i am currently using breadyeast for my first 3 batches the largest of which is close to a gallon...me and my friends are testing out different stuff and from our collaborative research we have found out that- for bread yeast there is active dry and RapidRise (at least thats the selection i have)- RapidRise yeast can potentially make methanol instead of alcohol, but active dry will make alcohol. 2 of my batches are unfortunately half RapidRise since i found this out after i started them...as far as taste goes...i don't have a finished product yet, but what i have smells good and tastes ok...to answer the clarity of the mead question, they are cloudy, but the yeast or protein or whatever it is is settling and it is definately getting clearer...because my first batch was so small (a sobe bottle)...it finished primary fermentation in 24 hours and it is getting close to done (i'm not going to age it since its such a small batch and i'm itching to drink something)...i'll probably wait two more days before i give it the fridge/freezer treatment and drink it unless it obviously isn't done (I imagine i'll probably be tempted into drinking it anyway though)...i'll get back to you when it is "finished." ;)

Anchorite
01-15-2004, 09:44 PM
i realize i was a little unclear with how i said it tasted...during primary fermentation it tasted like cheap wine leaving that good dull burn in the back of the throat and laxt night when i racked it tasted a little sour (note i added in some lemon juice the night before).

frob23
01-15-2004, 10:18 PM
Okay, i don't know where you got your information on "Rapid Rise" yeast but it is misleading... very much so. No yeast will accidentally produce methanol instead of ethanol... they won't do this on purpose either. ALL yeast produce methanol as one of the by products of fermentation. The amount of methanol produced is much more a function of the ingredients than the strain of yeast. Yeast breaks down cellulose and fibers to form methanol mostly... you should never have to worry about how much you produce. In a simple beverage of 12-20% alc. by volume there isn't a high enough percentage to really harm you. The problem with how much methanol is present occures when you distill. This is because methanol has a lower boiling point than ethanol and will be the first thing out of the still. If you make 5 750ml bottles of booze from your still without dumping the first 100-150ml your first bottle might have dangerously high levels. Keep in mind... we are talking _almost_all_ the methanol from FIVE gallons of wine strength alcohol condensed into one 750ml bottle.

Not something you need to freak out about. If you don't want to use Rapid Rise because you plan on distilling (note: I could find no reference that stated this starin of yeast produced higher methanol percentages) then don't. But for wine it won't blind you. I just want to clear this up because it won't hurt you... don't worry about the batches that include it.

As a side note: when I make a starter with it, I have noticed no difference between the two once in the primary. The one thing I noticed was the rapid rise produced a large head in the started over twenty minutes -- enough to push a cloth and fork off the cup.

When it comes to the cheap wine taste... I noticed that early on also. I think it is just because whenever you drink a wine really early you know it is cheap. It hasn't smoothed or aged. Keep posting.

Anchorite
01-16-2004, 07:21 AM
thanks for the info..now i know my first batches aren't ruined :)

Anchorite
01-16-2004, 09:30 AM
i racked again and tasted...that is some potent sh*t...tastewise it wasn't all that sweet...I've rethought what i said earlier about drinking it because of how impatient i am...i'm going to wait for it to drop clear to see if it tastes any better when it is clear (i assume it would, and even better if i let it age...hopefully)...i'll give another update when it does drop clear...probably by next weekend since it is a very small batch