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  1. #1

    Default How much yeast for a one gallon batch, mold, fruit.

    A couple of days ago I started my first two gallons of mead based on Joe's recipe in the newbie guide. It's off to a rocky start.

    A mead maker gave me a packet of Lalvin D-47 a few months ago, and since then I've acquired a second packet. Based on the idea that one packet makes five gallons, for each gallon I dissolved 1/4 of the packet in warm/hot water, let it sit for 15 minutes and poured it into the jug. After two days, absolutely nothing is happening except for a little mold growing on the top of both, which is the third question, below.

    So first question is how much Lalvin D-47 does a gallon of mead need? How much more yeast should be added to what I have started? Is the right procedure to warm a small amount of the (must? honey+water), add the yeast and let it bubble for 15 minutes, pour enough out of the jugs to make room and dump the yeast mixture in?

    Re fruit instead of yeast nutrient. I don't have yeast nutrient. The forums indicate that orange fruit+peel and/or raisins serve a similar purpose. Is that accurate? Then does it make sense to add 1/2 orange fruit+peel and say 10 raisins cut in half to each jug?

    About the mold, no I didn't sterilze things as much as I should have although I cleaned everything well. Campden tablets or whatever will have to wait for the next batch because of time and location, so what to do for the two jugs I have going? Will it work sufficiently to sterilize a spoon and scoop out as much as I can and swab inside the neck with Everclear? Or, since the neck of the jugs are narrow, would I do better to siphon everything out into newly cleaned jugs? (Scooping will take out the herbs and spices, so do I re-add those?)

    I'm in a somewhat remote location and don't exactly have all of the right pieces yet, but wanted to get started. This batch is being done with two one gallon jugs, each with an airlock. I can probably borrow a hydrometer.

    Nothing like doing everything wrong on the first batch!

    1 gallon of filtered water, less to make room for the honey
    2.5 lbs of honey, approximately
    1/4 tsp Lalvin D-47 yeast

    Gallon A - 3 allspice berries, couple chunks of ginger, black pepper, pinch of nutmeg, a few drops of natural peppermint oil (probably a bad idea, but there it is)
    Gallon B - hyssop, chunks of ginger.
    I think that's all that I put in. I'll check my notebook later.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Corrales, NM


    Several things.

    1st welcome to the forum

    Now to you questions.

    Without proper re-hydration you will manage to kill of many of the yeast cells in you package, regardless of the strain of yeast. So I would have used a whole package to 1 gallon or at most split it into two.

    However you could have easily made a started and with a package and then split the starter between 4 1 gallon jugs.

    1st> It sounds as if you tried to rehydrate the yeast in the must, that probably killed of most of your yeast and damaged much of the rest.

    2nd> while fruit and such will add some nutrients, they are most certainly not going to add everything especially the nitrogen. If you can't get any nutrients, I would grab a package of Fleishmans bread yeast, put it in a small amount of water and zap it in the microwave to kill all of the yeast and then pitch that. If you look around on the forums you will find information on how to do that.

    The problem in a nutshell is that yeast need between 250-350 ppm (parts per million) of Nitrogen (you will find it abbreviated as YAN, or Yeast Available Nitrogen) depending upon your starting Gravity. As general rule beer has enough already from all of the barley and other grains, Wine has somewhere between approximately 110-140 ppm, depending upon the grape, On the other hand honey only has between around 10-25 ppm depending upon the type of honey. So you have to give your yeasties something otherwise the won't be very happy and dead yeast is one source of Nitrogen.

    So the question now is what to do. If you want to try to save the batches, here is what I'd do.

    1st I'd clean a couple of new carboys and make sure that they and anything that will touch the must are well sanitized. If you don't have access to anything else, you can wash them well, then sterilize them with a weak solution of bleach. However you MUST make sure you rinse out all of the bleach. When I started I used to boil a pot of water, leave the lid on so that it stayed semi sterile, let it cool back down and then used that to rinse everything a couple of times.

    Then I would use a tube (Also sterilized) and carefully siphon off as much as I could from under the mold trying to disturb the mold as little as possible and making sure I didn't get any of it into the new bottles.

    I'd properly rehydrate the other package of yeast and then split that between the two batches.

    If you don't have go-ferm, then I just personally rehydrate in about 1/2 cup warm water, I believe that Lalvin recommends 104 degrees F., but check the package. Sterilize a measuring cup and remember there will be some foaming, so a 4 cup Pyrex is good, pour boiling water in it, pour out the water, cover with tin foil and let it cool. Put the yeast in the bottom of the cup, add the 104 degree water and let sit for 15 minutes. Re hydrating at 95 as you did is to cool, 95 degrees is just on the border of to cold for a good re hydration.

    You can buy spring water at the store for this, or boiling will usually drive off any Chlorine or Chloramine in your water. Water straight from the tap usually has enough Chlorine or Chloramine to cause you problems.

    You now need to accomplish two things, 1st you have to let the yeast cool down to around the temperature of the must. Any difference of more than about 15 degrees will hurt the yeast. Also you should start adding sugar to the yeast to get it acclimated to the must.

    So what I do is add a couple of tablespoons of must to the yeast and let sit around 10-15 minutes and then add some more must say a 1/4 cup to the yeast and let sit another 10 minutes or so. If you don't see any foaming by then I'd be suspicious of the yeast, If it is foaming good, then pitch the yeast. Just remember that you should never quickly have more than about a 15 degree change in temperature, and you should slowly get the yeast acclimated to the sugar.

    Hope this helps

    Also Joe's Ancient Orange is a great recipe, if followed will give you the best chances of success, and everything you need can be bought at the local store. I'd start out with the tried and true, and then begin to deviate.


  3. #3


    Thanks for the welcome, Jay.

    I've copied your answer and will follow it to try to rescue this batch. It was a nice honey from a farmstand, so one must! (Accidental pun) I'll report on how it goes.


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