Okay so I have 4 batches of mead in the works currently, all smelling a bit bitter at 2 month point so I have acquired a new source for my honey. I am starting two new ones; see below and comments welcome.
Batch # 1 (to compare to my current batches to see if bitter smell is normal):
20 lbs New Spring Mix
5 Gallon Water
Batch # 2:
20 lbs New Spring Mix
5 Gallon Water
3 Quarts Welch's Grape Juice
Approx 2 lbs Black Seedless Grapes (I think I will cut them all)
Variables - Comments very welcome:
Yeast Types on hand - Red Star Pasteur Champagne, Red Star Montrachet, Red Star Cote des Blancs & Lalvin EC-1118.
Boil or no boil?
Any opinions on types of yeast for each of the above batches? I only have one packet of each...
Also any recommendations on what perhaps I should add into these that is not too hard to come by are welcome...
I did want to use real concord grapes but they are not in season yet....
If you use EC-1118 with that much honey you're probably going to get a batch of dry (or nearly dry) rocket fuel that will take a looonnng time to be drinkable.
You may be close to a gravity level where the Montrachet pitches a fit and stalls.
If you use Cote des Blancs you will end up very sweet.
You might want to step back and decide what you want as a result. Do you want it sweet or dry? How much alcohol do you want? If you have an idea what you want to end up with, folks can help you to zero in on the best way to get there.
Lanne pase toujou pi bon
(Past years are always better)
I agree--the ingredient list should come after deciding what you want the mead to be. Once you know what kind of flavors, sweetness level, alcohol level, etc that you want it is fairly straightforward to put together a recipe.
To be honest I am trying to build a cellar of everything so that I get to a point where I can go down stairs eventually and grab anything I want. I like sweet, semi sweet, dry I don't really care there is an occasion for each. The ones that come out more palatable will be refined over the next 18 months. I am doing these in 3-4 batch cycles. The best 1 from the last four I did will graduate into the next series to be refined and so on.
I want to share these batches with others so that they can enjoy mead. It boggles my mind that this is such a wonderful drink and hardly anyone knows about it. I have a relative who owns a high end wine store and wasn't really familiar with Mead...this just won't do...I'm on a mission here.
I am just trying to avoid any obvious errors that will result in plain garbage or just doesn't work...like the Montrachet issues you mentiond.
Here's a question...If I am at a gravity level that causes the Montrachet to fail won't it just convert a certain amount of sugar to alchohol die out and then leave the remaining sugar unconverted making it sweet tasting?
Yes, but "the remaining amount" could be quite a lot. High gravity musts are hard on yeast and they might not start at all, thus the concern.
I might suggest producing a batch of dry mead and backsweetening to various degrees, if you want a range of mead available.
Your SG is around 1.120/1.125? Maybe consider using D-47....What temp are you brewing at?
I have 4 other batches going and all were done with D47. There is another thread I started where we were talking about this and trying to figure out why they had an odd smell. On all 4 I brought the water to a slow boil and slowly added honey a to keep it from all dropping to the bottom and burning. Once it was all in I kept a very slow boil for about 8-10 min.
On these upcoming two I am up in the air as to boil/no boil method.
I have to go get my propane tank filled so I can heat this stuff up on my rack so it may not actually get started today. I have my son begging me to take him to the town parade and pig roast haha jeeze I am from NH.
Well somehow I managed to get some time today after the parade to get the new mead batch going. I'm still up in the air here whether sweet or dry...there's not going to be an in between with the yeasts I have on hand...I'm leaning towards sweet on this batch. I think I'm gonna go with the Red Star Cote de Blancs...I didn't boil the batch so I want to try and take advantage of that flavor I might have saved by not boiling. The bucket needs to cool so the yeast won't go in for another few hours...
Here is what I ended up doing...
18.5 lbs Spring Mix Honey (didn't get 20lbs)
3Qt Welch's juice (not concentrated)
2 lb black seedless grapes (smashed and in cloth)
5 Gallons Water (used tap this time instead of spring water, my well water tastes pretty good)
5 Teaspoon Energizer
5 Teaspoon Nutrient
Gravity just barely shy 1.1
I really like the flavor and smell of this honey so I will do another batch next weekend just straight honey and water with the Lalvin EC-1118....I'll probably go 20-22lb there.