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deck99
10-26-2005, 10:19 PM
Hi,
First off, what a great forum!

I have made several batches of wine, with good success. The process of making Mead really intrigues me.

What do you use for your primary fermenter? When I make wine I use a fermentation bucket with a lid. The lid has a hole in top for an air lock. I normally just lay the lid on lightlyand cover the hole. I notice that on some mead recipes it calls for you to cover the primary and apply an air lock. Some recipes just say to cover the container. What type of container do you use for your primary fermentation?

I am interested in making a melomel mead. Most recipes say that after primary fermentation you need to strain off the fruit. How do you do strain off our fruit if your not using a straining bag?

Thanks,

deck

Oskaar
10-26-2005, 10:47 PM
Welcome to the Forum Deck!

You can still use your fermentation bucket just like in winemaking. Many of us here use glass carboys as primaries, I sometimes use corny kegs as well. Depends on what you have at hand.

As with winemaking sanitization, cleanliness and airtight seals are very important. I don't know if you open ferment with a sanitized cloth cover during the first couple of days to punch the cap down, if you do, then you're pretty familiar with making a melomel that has fruit in the primary. Thereafter, pop on an airlock and you're ready to rock.

In mead making your also can add your fruit to the secondary instead of the primary to retain the fruit character, rather than having a fermented character as it would when added to the primary.

Racking off the fruit is how we get it clear. You can put a Curley Kate over the end of the racking cane to keep the chunkies from going through the cane into your secondary or tertiary, or slide a grainbag over the racking cane to do the same thing.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

deck99
10-26-2005, 11:10 PM
Oskaar,
Thanks for the comments.

When I make wine I loosely cover the primary with the lid but I just lay in on top and do not snap it on. I keep it this way for the first 5 days (stirring daily) or until the SG drops to about 1.02. I then syphon it into a carboy and attach an airlock to let it finish fermenting. In the future I plan to attach the lid and cover the airlock hole in the lid with a clean cloth to let it breath.

I assume when making mead you need to stir daily. Is it like wine, when you reach a SG of 1.02 or lower you syphon to a carboy and apply an airlock? In other words, If I start out using a bucket, at what point do I transfer to a carboy with an airlock?

Thanks,

deck

Brewbear
10-27-2005, 12:47 AM
Welcome to the forums!!!
I ususally rack when the fermentation slows down to one blip every 5 seconds or so. I use open fermentation the first 3 days then seal and airlock for the remainder of the primary fermentation, which is done in a plastic bucket. It is much easier to leave the fruit behind that way. Many will tell you to put the fruit in mesh bags along with a few sanitized marbles, I have yet to try it.

Ted

Oskaar
10-27-2005, 01:08 AM
Generally with mead after I hit the 33% sugar break I hit it with nutrient and then apply an airlock to let it ferment to finish. With mead you'll find that based on your yeast, and the desired sweetness level you'll either ferment to complete dryness 0 brix or to different levels of sweetness, so racking at 1.02 is not a determining factor for transfer to secondary and airlocking.

In some cases you'll find that you'll want to stop your mead at 1.02 by cold slowing, and then racking onto sorbate and sulfites to ensure it doesn't ferment past that point.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

Dmntd
10-27-2005, 11:01 AM
Welcome Deck,

For a mead that has a good amount of fruit or other solids, I prefer a bucket for primary, same for yeast that really tend to foam. I've found this is an easier way to handle the pulp and skins. For recipes that have little or no solids, I'll use the same carboy for primary and secondary fermentation, simply affixing an airlock or breather bung once primary has concluded.

Primary, Aerobic fermentation, takes place in the first 3 - 10 days, during this initial period of excited fermentation (foaming) the yeast spend most of their energy reproducing. After a minimum of 3 days, and when any foaming has subsided is the time to begin Secondary, Anaerobic fermentation by fitting an airlock (fermentation trap).

The easiest way I've found for removing fruit and other solids from the must when going from primary to secondary (other then using a straining bag), is to pour the must through a large funnel which has a screen. It works as a final aeration prior to the mead being sealed.

One thing that helps prevent stuck fermentations and assist a fast secondary fermentaion, is to take the lees with the must when going from primary to secondary (if using two vessel's). Many live yeast may have settled to the bottom of the container. Racking as Oskaar suggest with a screen over the wet end of the cane or pouring through a funnel which has a screen in it will both get these lazy yeast from primary to secondary and back into suspension.

Happy mazing,

Anthony