View Full Version : New NewBee loads of questions!

04-22-2006, 02:53 AM
So we are going to start our first mead after doing loads of research which has left us more nervous than ever because of all the differences in opinion.

We are going to make a cheap Strawberry Mead (5 gallons)(hopefully on the sweeter side)
the ingredients we have are...

14 pounds clover honey 1 pound buckweet (its all the superstore had!)
8 pounds of strawberrys
1 gallon of mixed berry juice (no sugar added) not sure if we are going to add this!?
1 pack of yeast nutrient
2 packs of yeast Lavlin -1118? (its the kind the stores around here carry)
1 wine conditioner (potassium sorbate) just in case

My questions are....

1. would this likely turn out on the sweet side? should we include the juice and when?
2. we hope to have a mead ready for mid august would that be possible with this recipe?
3. when should we add the yeast nutrient, we are thinking of starting the must in a plastic pail for a week before switching to a carboy with the yeast
4. Ive seen a couple of references saying that adding two packs of yeast speeds the process!? Is this a good idea?

04-22-2006, 03:30 AM
My questions are....

1. would this likely turn out on the sweet side? should we include the juice and when? If you consider a mixture of chalk and tar to be "sweet" then yes, your recipe will be very sweet.

2. we hope to have a mead ready for mid august would that be possible with this recipe? Certainly! August of 2019 to be exact. Good luck.

3. when should we add the yeast nutrient, we are thinking of starting the must in a plastic pail for a week before switching to a carboy with the yeast You'll probably want to add your yeast right about the same time that you're ready to pitch. Things go well every time doing it this way.

4. Ive seen a couple of references saying that adding two packs of yeast speeds the process!? Is this a good idea? With a recipe that size, you'll want to use at least 10 packages of yeast.

;D ;D ;D

Hi Sarah. Welcome to Gotmead. I'm Fwee, and I'm a newbee myself. Whatever you do, DO NOT USE A SINGLE BIT OF ADVICE THAT I GAVE YOU UP THERE!!!

I was just playin' around. :D

I'm sure that the professionals will be around sometime soon.

Take care, and good luck with your first batch!
It's fun.

I've only been interested in this stuff for four weeks now, and I just put together my third batch last night.

04-22-2006, 03:35 AM
If you haven't made this must yet I think it might be a good idea to take a step back and re-examine your ingredients.

1. The yeast you're using will probably ferment this to complete dryness as your recipe has a potential alcohol level of about 16%+ and the yeast will go to 18%+. This means that it will ferment all available sugar in your must to alcohol and will be looking for more when it's done. EC-1118 is a great yeast, but not the best in my opinion for strawberry melomel. It is an aggressive champagne yeast with a characteristic astringency some refer to as bitterness, and is relentless in it's quest for more sugar to ferment.

2. I suggest you consider using Lalvin 71B-1122 which is a much less aggressive yeast and better in my opinion for this specific recipe. You can get Lalvin 71B-1122 here (http://morewinemaking.com/product.html?product_id=16452) or at an online store nearer to where you live. 71B is great for melomels, it starts and ferments quick and clean, and leaves the fruit character in tact very nicely. It is used in Beaujolais wines because is matures quickly and leaves the wine ready to drink in a relatively short time compared to other yeasts. This will be about five months out so your mead may be ready by the August deadline, but no promises. You might try looking up Joe's Ancient Orange recipe to be certain you'll have something ready by that time frame.

3. I also suggest that you rehydrate with Go-Ferm found here (http://morewinemaking.com/product.html?product_id=15479) and use Fermaid-K found here (http://morewinemaking.com/product.html?product_id=15484) rather than generic nutrient because both products are made by the same manufacturer who makes the yeast, and they are specifically designed with their yeasts in mind. You'll add 5 grams of Fermaid K to the must, 5 grams of Fermaid K at the end of the lag phase (when you see foaming in the bucket) and 5 grams on day three. It's a good idea to use the bucket; just cover it with a sanitized cloth for the first 3-5 days, and make sure you stir this thing every day. You want to keep that fruit down in the must as much as possible so it doesn't collect at the top and dry out. The fruit forming at the top of the must during fermentation is called a cap, and you'll need to press that sucker down a good 6-8 times daily, which is why it's a good idea to use a bucket. Then put on a lid and airlock it until the fermentation stops. Then rack to a glass or stainless steel vessel.

4. You will have a high enough initial gravity to warrant using two packages of yeast. That will be fine, you can even add one packet of yeast per gallon. I do that sometimes in recipes I've seen slow startups in before.

OK, big BIG thing to remember, the wine conditioner does not go into the must until just before you are ready to bottle and should be used in conjunction with K-metabisulphite in order to maximize it's effectiveness.

Hope that helps,


04-22-2006, 03:50 AM
Welcome to the boards! You are right, everyone will have an opinion, but there are some absolutes:

Potassium sorbate insures against renewed fermentation. Yo udon't want to add it until the end of the process. You also want to use it with meta-bisulphite to kill the yeasties. But you really don't need it unless you are trying to shoot for a precise gravity.

8 pounds of Strawberries is a little light for my tastes. You might want to go up to 12. You could add 8 at the beginning, then the other 4 at the start of the second ferment to give it more fruit flavor. Adding the fruit up front results in less of an intense fruit flavor.

Honey sounds ok, but a bit light for EC-1118, and it probably won't be ready by August. It has an Alcohol Tolerance of 18%, so it's going to consume all that honey if you let it (15 pounds of honey will give you about 14%ABV). It might be a good idea to let it, then add meta-bisulphite and Potassium sorbate to stabilize, then back-sweeten with a little more honey to get the sweetness you want, probably another 1 to 2 pounds of honey.

Lavlin 71B-1122 might be a better choice - it's only Alcohol Tolerance of 14%, and it produces a fruitier, faster drinkable mead.

One packet has more than enough yeast to process this, 2 just means a bit of a faster start. I usually go with 2 myself, just becasue I've had some really slow starters in the past and don't like it. wheh that happens.

The mixed berry juice - well, it wouldn't be adding much to the strawberry flavor, but if you are just looking to add more fruit flavor, I say whatever floats your boat. I'd add it at the beginning of the second ferment.

Yeast Nutrient - what type is it? You shouldn't let the must sit for a week before adding the yeast, if I'm understanding you correctly. No more than a day sitting around and only if you are adding meta-bisulphite up front to kill any possible infectous agents (for example, if you are using fresh strawberries). Plastic Bucket is ok, but add the yeast to it for the primary ferment, then after the primary ferment is done, move it to the Carboy.

Hope this was helpful!

04-22-2006, 04:22 AM

The only absolutes in meadmaking are that once you're hooked, you'll want to make more and more. Not sure what Lugh is referring to here, unless it's the sorbate issue I addressed in my post prior to his???


04-22-2006, 04:33 AM

Yup, the sorbate issue. What can I say, It's late and I'm a slow typist - There weren't any response posts when I started. ;D

04-22-2006, 04:39 AM

I know what you mean!



04-22-2006, 06:53 PM
Thanks a lot, im going to keep looking for the yeast type you mentioned but it seems that all the wine making stores in my area only carry the one type =(

04-22-2006, 07:43 PM

Morewine has the widest selection of yeasts I've found, a good place to start when planning your next batch, or basic to major equipment upgrade... Oskaar linked it for 71B but they have most everything you'll ever need to brew, and a lot of things you never new you needed, but will be pining for after every new catalog.

Morewine Yeast Link (http://morewinemaking.com/browse.html?category_id=1314&keyword=&x=1&y=1&PHPSESSID=e5f6460686faea325be71ed6293aa19d)

Hope that helps


04-23-2006, 09:30 AM
Hi Sarah;

I'm with Oskaar, et al, on the 71B-1122. Patience is a serious requirement in the mead making world, and if it means waiting a few days to get some from an on-line vendor, it will more than pay off three or four months from now. 71-B will give you a very good shot at a drinkable mead by August with that recipe, even if you lose a week to shipping, but 1118 will not. If you haven't made this yet, hold off until you can get the 71B. Yeast selection makes a huge difference in your mead. 71B, strawberries and 4 months is a pretty good match, come to think of it. There's a really good book out there these days with info on yeast strains and fruit...

Also, let this mead work for at least a month on the fruit before racking it to the carboy. Stir it at least twice a day for the first 4 or 5 days after you pitch the yeast. Oskaar has pointed it out ot others, but it's very true in your case, too - punching down the cap (getting the berries back into the must after they start floating, which they will very quickly) is an important step in making sure your mead gets all the strawberry flavor and aroma it can out of your fruit. It also helps keep the fermentation healthy, which is something I think is absolutely crucial. When it slows down a lot, which should be about 3-4 weeks, then it's time to move it. Let your initial yeast population do as much of the heavy lifting as possible.

Welcome to meadmaking. It's a great hobby, pursued only by individuals wth admirable integrity and extraordinary intelligence. And we're all cute, too.


04-23-2006, 11:36 PM
And we're all cute, too. I don't know about that... :-\

Rumor has it that the picture in Oskaar's avatar isn't Gollum. :o