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Thread: Newbee merit badge finally!

  1. Default Newbee merit badge finally!

    ..but only the first level badge, the Bubbling Airlock, not yet the Completed Mead Batch Campaign Ribbon.

    I've been poring over the forums, obsessing on Mead Making, posting here and there, with questions and whines but finally I have 2 batches in progress.

    #1 - Joe's 3 Week No Age Sweet Mead - 1 Gal
    which I have already whined about in the Recipes forum
    I was patting myself on the back for hitting the gravity PERFECTLY, but the rate of fermentation seems a bit low. Bubble every 8-10 sec. But at least it is going!

    #2 - What else? Joe's Ancient Orange - 1 Gal

    Ahh hubris... the Mead Gods scowled at my hydrometer worship and somehow I was way off on the gravity here. Much too high.. 1.153 corrected for temp. I guess I shouldn't have rinsed the emptied 5 lb honey jar to guestimate the additional amount needed after measuring out most of it. I was going to decant off about a quart and replace it with water, spin another gravity and redeem myself, but I decided that as a first batch I would obey the first commandment of JAO and FOLLOW THE RECIPE AND DON'T MESS WITH IT. If the deities deign to smile, maybeI will have a drinkable Sweet/Sack Mead at least.

    At least the little Fleischmann's were cooperative. Bubbles within 30 min of pitching (84 deg F) and >=1 bubble/sec this morning! The basement temp obligingly rose from the 68-69 deg F to a more JAO-friendly 72. The No Age Sweet is still bubbling slowly...but steadily.

    After making the JAO batch by heating water in a pot and dissolving the honey rather than rinsing/dissolving with hot (~140 deg F)tap water on the fly as I did with the 3 week No Age, I could definitely see a difference in clarity.

    Perhaps the slow fermentation on the No Age is due to incomplete honey solution. It is in a Brown Glass 4 L carboy, so I can't really tell by looking.

    The OG sample was cloudy, but seemed pretty homogeneous, but then I decanted it from the top after a vigorous shake...as my Wine Thief won't fit through the neck of the carboy. Should have used the 10 mL pipets I 'borrowed' from the lab instead, but I was too lazy to fill the hydrometer tube that way.

    I'd like to start a batch of Joe's quick Pyment or DeltOgre's Cinnful Cyser, but maybe I will wait and see how successful these batches turn out.

    Thanks for listening to yet another NewBee.

    Recluse

    P.S. Hubris again.. my proposed JAO Label (bottling date and ABV are just fillers...)




  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Aba'Mir, near Ba'Mir, Calendria
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    Quote Originally Posted by Recluse
    ...
    I've been poring over the forums, obsessing on Mead Making, posting here and there, with questions and whines...
    P.S. Hubris again.. my proposed JAO Label (bottling date and ABV are just fillers...)

    [img width=300 height=262]http://home.mindspring.com/~bobtull/JAOLabel.jpg[/img]

    Oh me too! The obsessing part, that is.

    Love your label!
    Grow fungi. It's fun.

  3. Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    Let us know how your batches turn out!

    I can't get over the thought that those oranges make a smiley face on the label.

  4. Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    Hmmm I never noticed the smiley face, but now that you mention it, I will retroactively take credit for the creativity

    JAO still bubbling merrily away...No age Sweet still a bit pokey. I used a 3 piece airlock on the No Age, and a Triple Ripple on the JAO, so maybe the 3 piece needs a bit more gas for a bubble to appear, or so I tell myself. I'll take a SG reading on the No Age after a week in process, and that should answer any questions about the health of the fermentation.

    I now really regret using amber glass (hey they were FREE) and even the green glass 1 gal carboys from Morebeer.com as it makes it difficult to see what is going on. I think I can see a slight lower layer of honey separation in the No Age, but it is really hard to tell if this is just an artifact of the brown glass.

    Will investigate come Gravity time!

    Some NewBee tips from one of the newest BEES:

    1)Use Clear Glass at least until you can quit obsessing about the progress of your Mead.

    2)Buy a slim turkey baster as classic Wine Thieves don't fit in many gallon carboys.

    3)Standard racking canes are a bit long, for use with a 1 gal carboy. I got a perfect racking cane from the LHBS for a 1 gal carboy (It was either $1.99 or 0.99)

    Recluse

  5. Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    Batch #3 started today! Another Joe M special: 5 Week Grape Mead (Pyment).

    All according to recipe... OG = 1.118

    9 hours after pitching, the 3 piece airlock is rockin' and rollin at ~2 bubbles/sec!

    Next to it, JAO Triple Rippling at about 1 bps...and now I am really worried about the 3 Week No Age Sweet Mead which is still hobbling along at about 1 bubble/9 sec. Did I get a bad package of K1V-116? Not enough Fermax? Beginners bad luck? Or will it all turn out OK?

    Set to take a gravity reading on Monday night (1 week mark) so that should tell the tale, but judging by the other two, there is much less activity going on. I guess with only Honey and a little Fermax, there isn't as much for the yeasties to chew on as there is with the JAO (assuming they like the oranges and raisins!) and Pyment, so maybe they are working slower. Hoping to have some drinkables by Thanksgiving!!!

    Recluse

  6. Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    Recluse,
    Love the the label, though there may be one glitch... brewing tends to produce sulphates...so although you didn't ADD any there may very well be sulphates present as a by product of the fermentation process.

    Hope this helps keep you out of trouble.

    Tsuchi

  7. Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    Yep, I read Oskaar's post to that effect. I will be altering the label to say "No Added Sulfites" or "Contains Naturally Occuring Sulfites" if I can fit that in

    Maybe just MAY CONTAIN SULFITES would be short and sweet.

    Recluse

  8. #8

    Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    Quote Originally Posted by Recluse
    Maybe just MAY CONTAIN SULFITES would be short and sweet.
    If it's brevity your after... Sulfites?

    Wrathwilde

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    The OC
    Posts
    7,874

    Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    You can just make it simple:

    Contains Sulfites

    That's what most wineries use. I just like to let people know on the label that sulfites are produced as a natural product of fermentation. It makes it a bit easier for people to grasp that if sulfites are added they are supplemental to the ones produced during fermentation. That's why it is so important to maintain proper nutrient level during fermentation. There are several yeasts that will produce up to 50 ppm as a product of fermentation if they are nutrient starved. Meadmakers in general don't get that and need to understand that they need to label their bottles, especially if they know people who are mead sensitive will be drinking their mead.

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  10. Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    OK! I will just strip out the "NO" from sulfite statement on the label for correctness.

    Recluse

  11. Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    Quote Originally Posted by Recluse

    Set to take a gravity reading on Monday night (1 week mark) so that should tell the tale,
    Talking to myself again....

    I took a gravity on this last night and it has progressed pretty well. Not quite down to the 1.043 recorded by Joe in the original recipe, but down to 1.058 (from 1.103) so it is progressing. I snuck a taste from the hydrometer tube and it was actually not too bad! I could clearly taste the possibilities!!

    Recluse

  12. Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    Gravity on the No Age Sweet Mead is 1.032, so it looks like it may well be done right on the money at 2 weeks (Monday).

    I did such a lousy job of racking the Grape Mead today (separate thread on that early finish) that I have to improve my technique for this one.

    I can siphon water and sanitizer just fine, but the must kept stopping and starting. Had to have a couple of Stolichnaya mouthwashes to restart it after starting it safely initially with a slug of water in the cane and hose. Between the vodka and the sulfite in the receiving carboy, I don't think I was TOO unsanitary.

    I think I need to cut my tubing a bit shorter so there aren't too many extra turns of the tube.

    I definitely DO NOT get the Siphon Merit badge!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Aba'Mir, near Ba'Mir, Calendria
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    Quote Originally Posted by Recluse
    Quote Originally Posted by Recluse

    Set to take a gravity reading on Monday night (1 week mark) so that should tell the tale,
    Talking to myself again....
    >..
    Recluse
    Frankly, I'm glad you are! I'm studying your thread, learning and learning and learning...
    Grow fungi. It's fun.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Aba'Mir, near Ba'Mir, Calendria
    Posts
    118

    Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    Quote Originally Posted by Recluse
    ...I did such a lousy job of racking the Grape Mead today (separate thread on that early finish) that I have to improve my technique for this one.

    I can siphon water and sanitizer just fine, but the must kept stopping and starting. Had to have a couple of Stolichnaya mouthwashes to restart it after starting it safely initially with a slug of water in the cane and hose. Between the vodka and the sulfite in the receiving carboy, I don't think I was TOO unsanitary.

    I think I need to cut my tubing a bit shorter so there aren't too many extra turns of the tube.

    I definitely DO NOT get the Siphon Merit badge!
    But I give you the NewBee Merit Badge of Posting Courage for Truth in Racking Technique!
    Grow fungi. It's fun.

  15. Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cargirl


    Frankly, I'm glad you are! I'm studying your thread, learning and learning and learning...
    Heh! I guess if you can learn from mistakes, then you CAN learn from my thread! Otherwise, I would advise learning from the more experienced posters here! You started your JAO before I started anything, so between the two of us, you are the Senior meadmaker!

    Hoping to muddle through somehow! Thanks for the encouragement.

  16. Default Re: Newbee merit badge finally!

    OK.. the No Age Sweet Mead SG was down to a little over 1.02 and since I won't be around tomorrow night, I figured I would rack it rather than let it go too much drier. Racking went a lot better this time around (I did cut the tubing shorter) but I still ended up leaving quite a bit. The short racking cane that is good for the gallon jugs was a bit TOO short for the 4L carboy used on this batch. Left about 12 oz along with the sediment, but I topped off the must with water along with about 4 oz of water to dissolve the K-Sorbate and K-Metabisulfite. Still seeing some bubbles in the carboy, so I don't know if the fermentation is completely stopped. Will give it the night and possibly add a bit more sulfite. No 1/8 tsp measure, so I am guesstimating half the 1/4 tsp measure. In future, I will probably just make up a solution with 1/4 tsp and measure half by volume for better control.

    Pyment clearing.. JAO still bubbling.. Already planning the next batch...

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