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Thread: First batch questions

  1. Question First batch questions

    First off... I know there are much better ingredients out there, and even know of a semi-local shop for getting them... I just wanted to try this out first... That said, here are the ingredients and amounts I used.

    128 oz distilled water
    48 oz raw clover honey
    1.5 cups fresh blackberries (approximately)
    2 packages bread yeast

    Now to the questions... I started the mead about March 5, 2013 (maybe the 6th, was stupid and didn't write it down...) I have heard that using bread yeast may shorten the overall fermenting process (and possibly leave some unusual taste), as will adding berries to the must... I guess first I want to know if anyone can confirm or deny this as definite, and second, (if so) anyone know by how much?

    I ask because I am already noticing a lot of sediment at the bottom of the container, while I am sure this is perfectly normal, I am not sure it should be occurring this soon... I noticed a very faint smell of yeast from the container, so I assume it is still fermenting, but honestly know nothing of this sort of thing... Any answers/advice are welcome.

  2. #2

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    some of the best meads I have made were with bread yeast. the sediment at the bottom is just the yeast, it's normal. I'm sure it will turn out just fine in that respect.

  3. #3
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    Like to offer something other than "let it run" but my residual knowledge of imperial and US measurements is limited. The gallon difference of 3.78 Vs 4.55 litres etc, fine and I can remember the 16oz pound and the 20floz pint but the rest of the measurements used by the OP would need looking up....

    The sediment is normal as trying to understand the honey to water ratio is a nuisance on a smartphone I have no way of knowing whether the blackberry quantity is likely to provide enough by way of nutrient or whether you may need more........

    A hydrometer and test jar would be good purchases then you will know what's happening and where the batch has got too......
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
    Like to offer something other than "let it run" but my residual knowledge of imperial and US measurements is limited.
    I am not entirely clear exactly what units the measurements you need are supposed to be in, so I will convert it to the best of my ability.

    BY VOLUME

    3.78 Liters Water
    1.4175 Liters Honey
    0.23625 Liters Blackberry
    14 grams bread yeast (no idea on volume of this)

    BY MASS

    3.78 Liters Water (no real reason to convert this to kilograms I don't think)
    1.36078 Kilograms of Honey
    0.113398 Kilograms of Blackberry
    14 grams bread yeast

    I am afraid I used WAY too much yeast... I was hoping for a medium to sweet mead, afraid I am going to get a very dry mead...

  5. #5

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    the bread yeast doesn't have a very high alcohol tolerance so it shouldn't dry it out too much as long as you have enough sugars to leave it sweet.
    o=[} Hail Tyr {]=o

  6. Default

    I hadn't thought about the alcohol tolerance... Thanks for bringing it up! Looks like there isn't a definitive answer about bread yeasts tolerance though... Anywhere from 10% to 14% ABV... I was shooting for about 12%... Oh well, too late to worry about it now...

    Any visual cues to watch for to know when it is ready?

    As I mentioned before, large amount of sediment at the bottom, dark and cloudy for the most part, but there is a very thin layer at the top that is much lighter and clearer...

  7. #7

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    As to visual cues, not really...its all just guess work...
    UNLESS...you get yourself a hydrometer and trial jar. This is the single most useful piece of kit for any brewer/meadmaker/winemaker around.
    You need to be taking the occassional sample and measuring its specific gravity. When it 'stabilises' and gives you consitent readings over the course of a number of days (a good benchmark is test every few days over the course of at least a week) then you know it is done.
    Then just rack to a clean carboy/demijohn and allow it to finish clearing.

  8. #8
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    If its 1.36kg of honey with water added to make up to 1US gallon thats about average for a sweetish level (you can put that into the mead calculator and get an average starting gravity). Whereas 1.36kg a.k.a. 3lb plus 1 US gallon would reduce the gravity a bit - again the mead calculator migh help - but generally the fruit based recipes use considerably more fruit in the 2 to 3 lb per gallon sort of area.

    The bread yeast amount doesnt matter so much, it should get it to the 10 to 12 percent area but I shouldn't think youd get much blackberry flavour as its only about 100 grammes or the 4oz sort of area.

    You could easily get more and freeze it, then when theres been no more fermentation activity for a couple of weeks, get sorbate and sulphite and add that when racking it onto the fruit. Oh and you will likely need some pectic enzyme too......
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  9. #9
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    That doesn't sound all that different from my blackberry JAO, I use 12 ounces of blackberries and let it sit till it's clear and all the fruit has sunk, it usually starts clearing around week 4 or 5 (and it does start with a thin clear layer at the top like you're seeing) but it takes a few more weeks for the blackberries to sink.

    I think your batch is a little lighter on the honey and uses about half as much blackberry so it won't be as strongly flavoured or as sweet. The good news is that when it's done, if it's not sweet enough, you can just add more honey and do like Fatbloke suggests if you want more blackberry flavour! Or just add more blackberries now and let it finish its fermentation... Or just enjoy it the way it is.

    As for the amount of yeast you added, don't forget, the yeast will breed until it's reached its population limit, so for the most part, if you put in too much it'll just get there faster. And, as already mentioned, it's the amount of sugar and the yeast's tolerance that will determine how dry your finished product is.

    Have you tried a taste yet? Without a hydrometer, it's about the only way you can guess at your remaining sugar content.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "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
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  10. Default First Taste

    Hey Chevette Girl, BTW, love the name! Just siphoned off about 8 oz to taste test... Definitely a fairly high alcohol content... A good whiff told me that... Guessing around 10-11%... Not really sure what I should be tasting for. Any hints?

    Also, as I didn't realize it would be safe to just add the berries to the fermentation process, so I juiced them and added the juice... Thus not expecting much blackberry flavor after all...

    It taste pretty good though. No hints of yeast I can detect, lightly sweet, actually a little dryer than a lot of meads I have had, but not bad at all... Not sure how clear it should be when finished... What I have is moderately clear... Comparing it to a setting from imaging software (sorry, can't really draw any other comparisons) it would be about 35% opacity (or 65% translucency; however you want to look at that) Now I am really excited... I just hope it doesn't get any dryer...

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