View Full Version : Newbie Question

02-06-2006, 02:10 PM
Hi everyone ;D

Im new to Mead making but ive made wines and beers for 11 years now from the age of 12 hehe ;)
I decided to try and attempt to make mead using the following recipe for 1 Gallon!

3lb Honey
1lb Raisins
1tbs Yeast
1tbs of Nutrient
1/8th Cup of Tea leaves.

I Decided to not boil the must since i read its better not to, just warmed the water to help disolve the honey. I added all the ingredients to the Demijohn (except Yeast) and topped off with the extra water needed and allowed to cool to room temp.
I Tested with Hydrometer reading was 1.100 I think thats ideal?
I activated the yeast and then added to the must and shaked well. Its now Been about 8 hours fermentation seems to have started since the Airlock is bubbling away nicely but im not sure on this issue, so could anyone help please?

I have froth on top of the must and my raisins have decided to float! Is this Ok? My raisins wasnt coated with any oils and nothing added to them!

Thanks for your help in Advance

02-06-2006, 02:25 PM

Welcome to the Forums! This is a great resource for all things mead, and you'll find a ton of info on everything from honey to fermentation details.

Regarding your recipe, what kind of yeast did you use? For most wine yeasts, and even bread yeasts, 3 pounds of honey will leave you with a dry mead -- not a bad thing at all, provided it's what you're after.

The raisins floating on top are perfectly normal (in time, they'll rehydrate completely and look just like grapes again), and action in the airlock sounds nice and healthy. For a simple first recipe, this seems quite nice!

Again, welcome aboard!


02-06-2006, 02:41 PM
Hi david,

That sounds good, i wasnt sure what to think when i noticed them floating along with froth :P

Im not positive on the type of yeast, but it was from a company called Youngs and its "Youngs Wine yeast" High alcohol if i remember right, (i can go find in the chiller to find out if need more info) which i have used in the past and got positive results.

Yes a dry mead is fine for starters but i would like to also make a nice sweet one aswell. Any recipes you would recommend?

02-06-2006, 02:57 PM

I'm not familiar with Young's -- where did you get it? If you have the package info, that'd be a help.

As for an easy sweet recipe, try Joe's Ancient Orange Cinnamon, and Clove Mead (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=600.0) -- it's mighty popular, and you'll have a ton of people with experience and expertise with it who can comment on your progress or lend a helping hand if you encounter problems.


02-06-2006, 03:13 PM
I got the yeast from an Online source, Im not sure if im allowed to post 3rd party websites on here but here it is http://www.the-home-brew-shop.co.uk/item1271.htm

Its from the same company and its local but i believe the yeast has been changed and is now called "super wine Yeast Compound" Ingredients Bentonite, Wine Yeast, Diammonium Phosphate, And trace Vitamins and minerals. Ive used this on other wines and got decent results, Most probably not ideal, but im willing to spend more on Ingredients next time round ;D


02-06-2006, 04:32 PM
Young's web site doesn't have any information on the alcohol tolerance of their yeasts. Looks like a generic/repackaged yeast with DAP, yeast starter (or nutrients maybe), and Bentonite for clearing. Some wine kits add Bentonite at the beginning to aid in clearing the wine, it's supposed to be eaiser on the beginner, but it removes more flavors and proteins than adding it at the end, and most people don't recommend it at the beginning.

However, I think the yeast you got is a perfectly fine tool for starting out. You may want to check the yeast board for more info on other products if you want to make mead a hobby. More control means a better mead.

I think everything is proceeding ok.
Let's assume this generic wine yeast has an alcohol tolerance of 12 to 14%.
You had a 1.10 S.G. in 1 gallon, so that gives you a potential alcohol level of about 14.8%.
The raisins are floating becasue the CO2 being produced is sticking to the raisin, and bouying them up. Eventually they should sink, then they might float again as gas builds up inside them.

02-07-2006, 07:17 AM
Thanks for the Information Everyone :)

A little problem this morning tho >:( I went to check on the brew and the airlock was full of foam (from the raisins i guess) and it had Erupted slightly (less than half a cup) All this happening in just a day! Ive managed to get another Sterilized airlock on top straight away, but its still foaming up and small amounts keep entering the 2nd airlock. I dont want to expose to brew for to long, What would the best thing to do?

02-07-2006, 08:38 AM

If you have any tubing that will fit the airlock hole run that from the carboy into a gallon bottle about 1/2 full of water (so that the tube sits partially submerged in the water). When done this way it serves the dual purpose of an airlock and blow off tube. I've needed them before when fermenting in Carboys.


02-07-2006, 09:22 AM

Thanks for the quick reply, Ive never seen so much activity over the many years of brewing, I guess its all the sugars and nutrients for those Yeasties ::) They are very happy bubbling way every second ;D

I managed to use some new siphoning tube (sterilised it.. can never to clean) But i had to cut a wedge into it so i could fit inside the airlock. Cellotapped it for extra Sealage :P Hopefully no more mess and it will calm down >:(

Note to self : This is the one and only time im to use a Small Demijohn! :-[

02-07-2006, 09:28 AM
Looks like my reply might have been a little confusing, I meant run the hose from the hole in the stopper that the airlock normally resides in, not from the airlock itself. but whatever works.


02-09-2006, 06:10 PM
* Update *

Well things calmed down after 2 days, all the foam has dissapeared, raisins are still floating and i managed to refit the original airlock back on. Still producing lots of bubbles in the airlock not a sign of slowing down one bit.

But this morning i noticed one thing, the terrible smell of eggs!
Could this just be the raisins breaking down? Or am i in some trouble? >:(

02-09-2006, 08:48 PM

That egg smell is sulphur being expelled by the yeast. Some yeasts are big producers of sulphur during fermentation. Does the Youngs website have SO2 details on this particular strain? All yeasts produce sulphur compounds to one extent or other, and will produce even more than is typical for them when stressed. It's impossible to know if this is unusual for this particular type of yeast, though, without more experience with it, or more details from the manufacturer.


02-09-2006, 11:19 PM
Here's an online UK shop that carries Lalvin yeast, use the search button up top and type lalvin and it will bring up the yeasts they carry. Probably best to go with a tailored yeast from Lalvin's line up in the future and stay away from the all purpose discount yeast.


If you want to make your brewing buddies jealous shop at morebeer.com, they have the widest selection of yeasts packaged for the homebrewer I've seen anywhere, and they will ship to the UK. Plus You can get all the wonderful nutrients like GoFerm for rehydrating your yeast, Fermaid K and DAP for nutrient additions plus thousands of things you didn't even know you wanted until you see what they offer.


02-10-2006, 01:01 AM

One additional comment on using a blow off tube/ bottle...You may want to fill the bottle halfway with a sterilizing solution (i.e. alcohol or iodine) instead of plain water or stopper the bottle with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol. If you have a tight brewing area and/ or brew a lot of different batches, this will minimize the chance of yeast strain cross-contamination. It may sound anal and the chances are pretty slim that this would happen, but it is cheap insurance.


02-10-2006, 06:11 AM
Thanks for the information everyone :)

I will be using that site from now on, they have some great stuff there!

I also got some information on the yeasties :

Super Wine Yeast Compound is a low sulphur producing Bayanus strain.
The actual sulphur levels produced will depend on the fermentation temperature. If you ferment at 27C you would produce four times the amount of sulphur than if the temperature was 20C.

Everywhere in my house is over 20C, so maybe im ok ???

Also my Gravity is 1.000 now (started at 1.100) the airlock is still showing activity should i rack into secondary, or leave it longer?

02-10-2006, 05:26 PM

This sounds good. You did the research, and it looks like you've found your cause. Also keep in mind that some yeast manufacturers will state that a particular strain they sell is a low sulphur producer, when what they really mean is that it's a low sulphur producer compared to their other yeasts. This leaves a lot of wiggle room for them, and may mean that their product will smoke you out no matter what temperature you use it at. However, it's pretty-much a fact that the further out of the optimum fermentation range you are with a yeast, the more stressed it will be. High temps especially will lend to the production of sulphur, strange off-flavors, and phenols, all of which may require a little more aging to clear up.

Good work!


02-10-2006, 08:26 PM
Also my Gravity is 1.000 now (started at 1.100) the airlock is still showing activity should i rack into secondary, or leave it longer?

Since it's only been 4-5 days, if you started this batch on your first post, it would be OK to give the whole batch a stir at this point, and let it rest another week before you rack.


02-11-2006, 03:27 AM
Just be careful when stirring! That will cause gushers, most of us have experienced that!
when bubbling goes down to 1 every 15 - 20 sec or so, rack and you will be fine!


02-11-2006, 09:28 AM
Good advice brewbear! ;)

I wonder who else has done this? ::) ::)