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Thread: First Taste....

  1. #1

    Default First Taste....

    I decided since this batch, my second ever, that I started Feb 3rd, looked like the primary ferment was getting really sluggish, see hardly any CO2 bubbles and only air lock bubble every 30 seconds, that I wanted to taste it, check pH and SG. It's a melomel some what similar to JAO but not exactly. Here's the recipe:

    4# Clover honey(walmart brand, heated up to 140 for ~20 minutes)
    Spring Water to one gallon
    5g fleischman's active dry yeast(rehydrated at ~100F)
    one seedless navel orange
    ~28 raisins
    one cinnamon stick
    pinch nutmeg
    pinch allspice
    2 whole cloves
    Must at room temp when yeast pitched(OG and pH not measured).

    First the taste: that's right, you guessed it, reeeeaaallly sweeet. And if it wasn't quite so sweet wouldn't be too bad.
    The SG was 1.06 and pH 3.5.

    A few questions:
    1. What suggestions would you have for making it a medium sweet mead?
    2. I have some oak chips/light toast, would you add those?
    3. Even though fermentation seems to be very sluggish at this point, would you let the primary ferment continue and if so for how long?
    4. I have some EC-1118. Should I pitch some of that in it maybe to pick up and keep the fermentation going?
    5. Does an SG 1.06 at this point in the process which =~15%ABV mean this yeast has reached/exceeded it's ABV tolerance? Is that possible?


    Would appreciate any ideas to dial back the sweetness a little.
    Thanks!
    Last edited by hepcat; 02-16-2012 at 11:37 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by hepcat View Post
    Would appreciate any ideas to dial back the sweetness a little.
    Thanks!
    Patience would be top of my list. It's only been two weeks, don't judge it just yet... it might get down another .020, which would make it not so terribly sweet. This looks to be along the same lines as a JAO but with too much honey, there's no good reason you can't let this go at least a month till it finishes. You might want to stir it up every day too. It's probably getting pretty close to its tolerance, it is only bread yeast and you did probably cause it osmotic shock with 4 lb honey per gallon

    Several thoughts, you could make another gallon the same way but with only 3 lb of the same honey and then blend them, then you'd get something approximating a JAO... The EC1118 might take it all the way dry on you. If you do pitch this one, make an acclimated starter by rehydrating it in its specified amount of water at its specified temperature for the specified time, then add a quantity of must equal to the rehydration water. Then once it gets going, double the volume again. I'd start this in a separate jug and just keep doubling the volume every hour or so until you've poured all of the batch into the new carboy... and it might not take it to completion either. It's difficult to say without knowing your original gravity, anything you come up with from the Mead Calculator is only going to be approximate.

    You could try to offset the sweetness by adding another orange, or at least the juice and zest of another orange if you don't want to wait for any pithiness to age out.

    I don't know how much oak would help at this level of sweetness.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014

  3. #3

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    Really appreciate that info Chevette Girl! Patience. Got it.

  4. #4
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    Patience is one of the most important ingredients and also one of the hardest to come by.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    You could try to offset the sweetness by adding another orange, or at least the juice and zest of another orange if you don't want to wait for any pithiness to age out.
    I like this idea, Chevette Girl, what do you think about the juice/zest from a lemon or a few kumquats?? Since they are more sour than sweet?

    Anybody's thoughts on that appreciated.

  6. #6
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    4 pounds of honey in the primary is on the high side, and with the fleischman's yeast you'll be lucky to see a 100 point drop. It's probably at it's alcohol tolerance.

    You could pitch the EC-1118, but that might be a rough start as you're somewhere in the 11% alcohol range already. It can't hurt to try. If the 1118 takes it all the way dry, you can stabilize and backsweeten.

    Good luck with the batch, hope you can get it to where you want it!

  7. #7

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    Thanks Bishop. Yes I agree, the yeast has probably reached it's tolerance. Am seeing hardly any CO2 bubbles or air lock activity. I would like to measure SG and pH again to see where it is and then might add zest and juice from a lemon or lime or a few kumquats and re-pitch with EC-1118. Cheers.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hepcat View Post
    Thanks Bishop. Yes I agree, the yeast has probably reached it's tolerance. Am seeing hardly any CO2 bubbles or air lock activity. I would like to measure SG and pH again to see where it is and then might add zest and juice from a lemon or lime or a few kumquats and re-pitch with EC-1118. Cheers.
    Gods, I haven't had a kumquat in decades! My grandmother had a tree that lived on her kitchen table and made a handful every year...

    I recommend that if you're going to add the citrus, you hold off until after you re-pitch and let the yeast do what it's going to do, extra acidity isn't going to make the EC-1118 any happier about its workplace conditions. And do use an acclimated starter or it likely won't go anywhere.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by hepcat View Post
    Thanks Bishop. Yes I agree, the yeast has probably reached it's tolerance. Am seeing hardly any CO2 bubbles or air lock activity. I would like to measure SG and pH again to see where it is and then might add zest and juice from a lemon or lime or a few kumquats and re-pitch with EC-1118. Cheers.
    Remember the alternative,

    make a JAO using bread yeast and use a lot less sugar aiming to make it go dry then mix the two batches when done.


    By my calculations, to get 1.060 to 1.030 with equal amounts of both you should aim for the second batch to finish at 1.000. My experience shows me that you would need to get an OG of 1.100 to 1.110 to achieve the desired FG and have the yeast finish fermenting.

    This way, you get the right FG and have more to drink!
    #! /bin/ksh
    export PATH
    CLI=`whoami`
    Signature()
    {for i in $CLI^Jdo^Jecho yes $i my .sig inhales^Jdone}

  10. #10

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    Thanks for that good advice Chevette Girl and another good idea Loadnabox.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loadnabox View Post
    By my calculations, to get 1.060 to 1.030 with equal amounts of both you should aim for the second batch to finish at 1.000. My experience shows me that you would need to get an OG of 1.100 to 1.110 to achieve the desired FG and have the yeast finish fermenting.
    Mine usually start around 1.125 and stop at 1.030 so yeah, starting around 1.100 should get you close to dry.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014

  12. #12

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    Update: Just racked this batch since it's been showing no more obvious fermentation acitvity the past week, no CO2 bubbles and no air lock activity at all.
    Checked pH and SG: pH went down to ~3.4 and SG went down to ~1.05. So I think it reached the yeast tolerance of 12%abv and it tasted noticeably better I thought, but still very sweet. So now I have a dessert mead. I'll age it for a long while and when I drink it, cut with some sparkling water and maybe some whiskey too. Cheers!

  13. #13
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    I had a show mead that looked like it had pooped out around 1.045 and when I checked it a year later it was down to 1.015 or so, yours might go a little further before it stops.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014

  14. #14

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    Medium sweet, I'd like that!

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