View Full Version : My second batch

10-19-2004, 11:20 AM
My 2nd Batch of Mead
Christmas Cyser
October 10, 2004

General recipe...
15 pounds Poplar/Black Locust honey
5 1/2 gallons of raw cider
Small amounts of several crushed spices in seeping(sp?) bag
Little bit of citrus juice
NO chemicals, nutrients, additives
2 packets of EC-1118 yeast

Heated 3 gallons of cyder with spices to 170F. Removed heat , put lid on pot, and allowed to set for 1 hour. Removed spices.

Added honey slowly while stirring vigorously. Heated to 170F while adding honey then shut off heat. Siphoned into 6.5 gallon carboy and added chilled cider to 6 gallons.

Hydrated yeast in room temperature cider. Pitched yeast into carboy when temperature fell below 90F about 4 hours later.

SG = 1.130 ABV = 17.3 percent

10-19-2004, 05:21 PM
Hey Pewter,

This looks like a pretty interesting recipe. I think the word you're looking for is "steeping."

Have you considered a no heat method? I'm a semi-recent convertee and find that I don't need to add chemical nutrients when I don't pasteurize, and the end product is richer and retains more of the characteristic of the honey varietal, along with a bigger flavor.



10-19-2004, 07:42 PM

Joe has been working to convert me as well. Right now I am being mentored by two master brewers within the SCA. In hopes of achieving the level of quality/taste they have achieved, I am duplicating their methods exactly until I have a chance to question them on those methods. Notice the difference in the heating techniques from batch 1 to batch 2. These are a result of discussions I had with one of them. Once I achieve a certain quality for my mead, then I expect I will experiment a bit more.

Thanks for the suggestion,

10-19-2004, 11:06 PM
That sounds like some great knowledge you're going to get for those to guys!


10-19-2004, 11:11 PM
What does being a master brewer in the SCA entail? Is there some sort of formal process?

(Sorry to drag your thread further off topic...)

10-20-2004, 02:58 AM
Master brewer... I honestly do not know for certain...

I'll put that on the list of questions for sometime in the future, maybe in December when I travel to NYC for a Brewer's Collegium...

I believe that both Baron Sean and Baron Steffan have won in three of the four categories (mead, wine, beer, and something else) at the once a year contest that includes entries from all over the Kingdom... but they may have earned the title Baron for that... I'll ask...

10-20-2004, 03:19 AM
10/11/04 After work, trap is bubbling at a huge rate (at least a big bubble a second).

10/16/04 Trap is still bubbling at about once a second, maybe slightly less. Can't identify smell out of trap.

10/18/04 Trap is slowing slightly. Bubble every two seconds or so. Smell out of trap cannot be identified but is not pleasant but not hideous either.

10-30-2004, 02:29 AM
10/29/04 Bubbling has slowed significantly over the last two days. Down to about 1 bubble every ten to 15 seconds. I need to do SG measurements and see if I have fermented all of the sugar out or reached alcohol tolerance on the yeast.

My gut feel is that the sugar is gone and that I need to rack and put some additional honey in. But I don't have any more raw apple juice available to use to top things off until next weekend, when my friend makes some more. I don't want to use water in this batch since it has been all juice until now...

If I let the batch go another week, the fermentation will probably have stopped. Assuming I still have a ways to go to ferment to alcohol tolerance, will the batch resume fairly quickly after being racked and resweetened?

10-30-2004, 07:10 PM
I don't believe so. It has to be close to alcohol tolerance now or it would not have stopped unless something is wrong. taste it. Your calulations show it should be at 17.3 %. That is mighty close to alcohol tolerance.
I fail to understand why so many like to push the limit. Sweet Cyser at 14% with spices is so wonderfully balanced. My just cleared and I stole a glass with a thief. Simply wonderful at one week age. My wife even liked it. FG app 1.020 . I used K1V and of course I stopped it there to get those numbers.

10-30-2004, 09:04 PM

Real simple answer on why I am pushing the limit right now...

To avoid adding sulfites...

If I end up not liking what I get, I will eventually change over to them. For now, my next few batches will use a lower tolerance yeast and I will shoot for the right SG right off the bat for the final value. (I did read your tip about adding honey late in the game not getting the desired affect!)

10-31-2004, 01:51 AM
That's a reasonable answer. But have uou thought of pastuerization in the bottle to stabilize like in canning? My understanding is you heat must to 170 upfront anyway so why not heat it again on the tail end after you sweeten to kill the yeast with a lot lower temperature than that. (155F for 5 min ought to do the trick with no chemicals)
Just a thought,

10-31-2004, 02:31 AM

I think I would resort to sulfates before heating an aged mead. Anyway, I am in the process of shifting to a no/less heat must making method as I move forward.

Give me a few batches to see how a less tolerant yeast does with a better SG determination up front.

My next batch will likely be a straight mead with D-47 or 71B and an SG equivalent to 16 percent ABV. The yeast should give out about 12 to 14 percent and leave the rest as sweetness. Should result in a moderately sweet mead with no sulfates required...

11-04-2004, 08:20 PM
11/3/04 The gallon jug with the last of the racking is bubbling at about once every two seconds. The 5 gallon carboy with the clear stuff from the racking is struggling to bubble every 10 to 15 seconds. So I poured a little of the gallon back into the secondary to see if I could introduce a little more yeast back into the must.

11/4/04 Got my miniature hydrometers in the mail. Need to throw one into each batch to monitor progress. Thanks for the idea Joe.

11-05-2004, 02:18 AM
Miniature hydrometers? How big are they and where did you find them?

11-05-2004, 01:49 PM

5 inches tall and $1.95 each.

Go to http://www.listermann.com/

Do a search on hydrometer...

11-07-2004, 12:52 AM
Thanks, I ordered 8 of them. I think these'll be great additions to my constantly growing collection. ;D

11-14-2004, 11:08 PM
Well, the 6 gallons from racking is grinding to a halt with the SG still in the range of 1.030 to 1.035. That is somewhere close to where I wanted it to finish, maybe more like 1.020.

The only reason I am concerned is that the 1 gallon batch left from the first racking has bubbled vigorously and is down near 1.000. I wonder if I didn't screw something up when I racked?

I did taste a little of the larger batch to see if it was going foul. It has a bit of apple left in it and I can still taste the honey as well. The alcohol is still quite obvious although it creates a warmth while drinking, not a bite like my cordials have while they are green...

I am planning on racking the batch into a 5 gallon for aging sometime this week. Probably do it the same evening I start my yeast test batches...

11-15-2004, 08:14 PM
11/15/04 Racked the larger batch down into a 5 gallon carboy for aging and moved to the basement. The temperature down there is about 66 F which should be pretty good. I did notice that the batch was starting to clear as the fermentation slowed to a halt. Between the honey and the cider, it will have a rich golden color when it clears.

I did fail to taste it because I was working with my daughter to clear the spiders and webs out of my wine-cellar-to-be. We moved a table in there for aging carboys later on. Temperature there is probably another 10 F less than the main room.

Any comments on 56 F for aging? Remember, by the time my batches hit that room, I am trying to eliminate the yeast by non-chemical means...

11-23-2004, 10:45 PM
11/24/04 - The 5 gallon batch has quit bubbling but still shows an SG of 1.035. The 1 gallon batch left after last racking is slowly coming to a halt but with an SG of closer to 1.015.

Not sure what to do... Will probably taste it and decide whether to split, dillute with more honey and water, and repitch, or go ahead and age as is...

12-14-2004, 04:09 AM
12/11/04 Racked the batch to get a 375 mL. for Brew U in NYC this next weekend in NYC. Used streilized marbles to fill up the headspace in the 5 gallon carboy and moved it to the storage room (45F). It certainly has not cleared as quickly as the metheglin and still has the brownish apple cider color to it. I was warned that apples take longer to clear...

SG = 1.038, which is higher than I would like. This is interesting since the gallon I had extra from the last racking continued to ferment itself down much lower. I am guessing that I racked off most of the yeast and that there were not enough nutrients in the batch to regenerate the yeast to a point where they would restart fermentation. The batch is still very green but has a nice taste of apples to it and is not overly sweet.

LESSON LEARNED FROM BATCH #2: Start with the SG at the level where the yeast can ferment to completion with the right residual sugar so that additional honey does not need to be added after the first racking.

Side note: The 5 yeast test batches have an SG that should allow all 5 yeast to ferment to completion without going completely dry. This will give some measure of how practical it is to set OG based on desired FG and yeast selection.