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Thread: I have few questions about my first batch

  1. Default I have few questions about my first batch

    10lb acacia honey
    3.8gallon water
    fermivin 7013
    DAP 3.5gram
    starting brix 22

    I started my batch like this 4days ago. I have a few worries in my head and hopefully someone can give me clear answer.

    1. I don't have access to the mead for at least 5weeks. I'm not sure if I have put in enough DAP for it to properly start ferment. Would this mead have huge off-flavor due to lack of nutrients? I'm also worried not being able to racking it around 3weeks, leaving my mead with lees for at least 2 weeks.

    2. I'm planning on racking the must to mango and pineapple. I'm using fermivin 7013 which has 14.5% alcohol tolerance. What is the chace of re-starting the fermentation due to sugar from fruit and increased water volume?

    Thank you for taking your time!

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the forums, jeewon!

    An interesting choice you have made. Im going to try to answer you but you have made a few mistakes. This does not mean the mead will be bad, but certainly your process is far from perfect. I would recommend you read the newbee guide. If you dont understand any of the terms i use search for then in the forum/google (after reading the newbee guide)
    Its good you post what you used so thats good. What you did wrong is basically two things. First, the DAP. Dap is nitrogen and its good because yeast does need it. However, you cant add all from the start. You have not put enough dap to feed the yeast, but here we try to not use dap only, and instead use other better nutrients such as fermaid O or K, or other similar to those. They are better since too much DAP can be bad for the yeast. We also add the nutrients over the course of the fermentation in little amounts each times. This is called SNA or staghered nutrient additions. Usually we add nutrients 3 or 4 times during the ferment. Search for the term sna to learn more.
    The second thing you did wrong is not having access to the mead. It is good practices to degass the must and aereate it during the course of the fermentation. For both those reasons its highly recommended to be able to access your mead at least the first couple of weeks.

    To answer your questions more apropiately, you will probably have some off flavours because the lack of nutrients and aereation/degassing. That does not mean it will be undrinkable but you will need to age for longer time so those flavours mellow.
    A possibility here is adding some fruit to the ferment since fruit has nutrients the yeast can use. I would not recommend using more dap yet, but you can add another 2 gramsor so before you leave for those 5 weeks i guess. Its not the ideal nutrient but probably better than nothing.
    I am also asuming the ferment has started already. You should see it bubbling

    In mead you dont need to rack so soon, instead you stir the lees when they settle, like once a day. This also helps to reduce off flavours. You will be ok probably by leaving it 5 weeks. In fact you may return and see that the ferment is still slowly going. You may find it tastes or smells like sulphur. If this happens dont worry, its bad but fixable.
    From what you tell us, if you do rack into fruits it is likely that the ferment will restart. The abv tolerance is an aproximation you cant really trust. You can solve this by racking to an empty jug or vessel and stabilizing before adding the fruit. This is a process that kills the yeast. But i would worry about the fermentation first and then about that.

    I hope this does solve your doubts. Sorry if its a bit complicated, if you still have doubts ask again, no problem.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeewon0516 View Post
    10lb acacia honey
    3.8gallon water
    fermivin 7013
    DAP 3.5gram
    starting brix 22

    I started my batch like this 4days ago. I have a few worries in my head and hopefully someone can give me clear answer.

    1. I don't have access to the mead for at least 5weeks. I'm not sure if I have put in enough DAP for it to properly start ferment. Would this mead have huge off-flavor due to lack of nutrients? I'm also worried not being able to racking it around 3weeks, leaving my mead with lees for at least 2 weeks.

    2. I'm planning on racking the must to mango and pineapple. I'm using fermivin 7013 which has 14.5% alcohol tolerance. What is the chace of re-starting the fermentation due to sugar from fruit and increased water volume?

    Thank you for taking your time!
    There are 2 approaches to mead making
    1) "pitch and leave"
    2) the meticulous method

    The pitch and leave method is basically what you have done. "Does it work and make good mead?" Absolutely....at least a year later. Nothing wrong with this but I would never want to wait a year or more.

    Read the Newbee guide on here AND watch the meadology series by Canadian Sasquatch on YouTube.

    I would not worry about your additions for a long time.

    The meticulous method requires frequent attention the first 2 weeks- but longer is better. This requires STaggered nutrient addition, better nutrients such as fermaid K or O, daily degassing (if not more)

  4. Default

    Thank you guys!

    I have read newbee guide and SNA of course before I started attempting making mead. The problem is that my work requires me to travel most of the time and usually not being able to come back for months.

    I've been homebrewing beer for about 2 years and didn't really have problem with fermentation since wort contains enough nutrients for yeast I guess. Well, I didn't think it was so crucial to take care of the must in the beginning of the fermentation. I was thinking 'what could go so wrong?'

    Why would you not worry about additions for a long time? is that due to the slow fermentation?

    Thank you once again!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeewon0516 View Post
    Thank you guys!

    I have read newbee guide and SNA of course before I started attempting making mead. The problem is that my work requires me to travel most of the time and usually not being able to come back for months.

    I've been homebrewing beer for about 2 years and didn't really have problem with fermentation since wort contains enough nutrients for yeast I guess. Well, I didn't think it was so crucial to take care of the must in the beginning of the fermentation. I was thinking 'what could go so wrong?'

    Why would you not worry about additions for a long time? is that due to the slow fermentation?

    Thank you once again!
    Mead, cider, beer, and wine are similar but not the same.
    You cannot take your beer practices and expect it work fine if you dont change your methods.
    SNA is better for yeast health.

    If you are not able to be in town for 30 days (maybe 20) to take care of your must, then by default you have to go with the "pitch and leave" method which usually takes a year to age properly due to fusels that are made from lack of attention.

    The only way to reduce this long age time other than giving the must proper attention is to make a low ABV mead. These are called hydromels or short meads.
    Because the ABV is lower, there is less fusels created as well. Because there are less fusels the age time should be less. How much less I could not say.

    Another way to lessen the age time is to have the must in a basement/cellar where the temperature is always <70F (but preferably <65).

    I don't have experience with the "pitch and leave" method but I do have experience with short meads. In theory if you used a basement/cellar (from beginning of fermentation) AND did a mead with an ABV <8% you might have something drinkable in 4-5 months.

    Sorry man. I don't make the rules to mead fermentation. I just follow them.

  6. #6

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    If you can give it good attention with staggered nutrient additions and aerating/degassing for at least the first week, preferably 2, the yeast are pretty good to be left alone after that. Of course, longer is always better. It will depend on a lot of factors, but if you can at least give it the attention at the start next time, you'll be in a much better place (a wait of 3-6 months vs 6-12). That said, pitch and leave is perfectly fine if you're patient.

    Probably not enough nutrient, but better than nothing certainly. It's usually best to do small staggered nutrient additions. But if you can't do that, I think a little nutrient at the start is better than trying to do a lot and give it all at once. Someone may have to correct me, but overfeeding in the beginning can actually be harmful to your yeast and the fermentation.

    5 weeks is fine to leave on the lees. You'll find plenty of people on here who leave their mead on lees for months with no ill effect. I personally like to rack before it reaches 2 months though.

    It's quite possible that fermentation will restart with the fruit in secondary. But I doubt it will be anything huge. Likely just putter along a little. If you don't want that to happen, stabilize with potassium metabisulfite and potassium sorbate before you rack.

    There are 2 big differences between fermenting beer and mead. First, beer is lower in abv. Like caduseus says, aiming for a lower abv mead can help with the timeline by stressing the yeast less. Higher abv beers like imperial stouts will actually start to follow mead/wine practices like aerating during fermentation because of this. It's all about keeping the yeast happy.
    Which brings item 2: beer ingredients have more nutrients than honey. More nutrients makes for happy yeast. Not only will they ferment better, but they'll be better suited for high abv environments later on.
    Last edited by dingurth; 03-10-2017 at 01:00 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dingurth View Post
    5 weeks is fine to leave on the lees. You'll find plenty of people on here who leave their mead on lees for months with no ill effect. I personally like to rack before it reaches 2 months though.
    Please read 40-42 of this attachment: http://morewinemaking.com/public/pdf/wwhiw.pdf

    You can leave your mead on the lees for several months IF you stir the lees periodically as mentionned in the attachment.

    If you stir at least 3x/week (and less later) then leaving on the lees actually increases the body/flavor of the mead. Stirring prevents the lees (yeast) from dying. Yeast go from active-> inactive-> death-> autolysis.

    Stirring puts the yeast from inactive back to active. This in turn allows the yeast to consume some (but not all) the off-flavors.

    Eventually autolysis occurs. CY3079 autolyses the earliest of all the wine yeasts and even it wont do this with adequate stirring for 4 MONTHS! (after fermentation is complete)
    (I have no clue about ale/lager yeasts).

    I would recommend leaving your lees with the mead for even longer than 2 months if you use wine yeast.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeewon0516 View Post
    Thank you guys!

    I have read newbee guide and SNA of course before I started attempting making mead. The problem is that my work requires me to travel most of the time and usually not being able to come back for months.

    I've been homebrewing beer for about 2 years and didn't really have problem with fermentation since wort contains enough nutrients for yeast I guess. Well, I didn't think it was so crucial to take care of the must in the beginning of the fermentation. I was thinking 'what could go so wrong?'

    Why would you not worry about additions for a long time? is that due to the slow fermentation?

    Thank you once again!
    Hey dont fret it. If you cant be present well just go with the pitch and leave.
    Yes mead has little nutrients compared to other worts/musts. Thats what makes it so tricky for a lot of people. But most of us did screw up on our first mead too .
    Just go the pacient way and wait it out. Your mead will be good nonetheless.

    The hydromels are good. Its similar to beer. You can get away with adding some nutrients when you pitch the yeast, close the vessel and it will be good in 1-2 months. Another name for hydromels is saisson mead. In case you want to dig deeper.

    And what caduseus is talking about is caller sur lie aging. It was discussed in another thread if you want to know more. But aging on the lees also clears the mead and speeds up to a point of course, aging. So thats why its recommended to not rack so soon. And as he said too, you gotta stir.
    That said sur lie aging is not always recommended (when you do 4+ months that is. All is fine with 2 or even 3, you wont get much flavour), it depends on the type of mead you do and yeast you use. It can provide good flavour but it might not pair with what you brewed.
    Last edited by Dadux; 03-10-2017 at 03:34 AM.

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    I'm a "pitch-and-leave" brewer, but I do expect my ferments to be bubbling away after 24 hours of pitching the yeast. If your ferment hasn't started after 4 days, then after 5 weeks you're not going to have a fun drink, I'd expect. Have you taken another brix/sg measurement?
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  10. Default

    What a great community I just joined! Thank you guys for such detailed explanation.
    I'll study for my next mead and practice better methods. I just felt little unsure about adding so much chemicals to my drink.
    Even DAP looked suspicious to me at first sight. I'm actually looking forward to compare this first mead to later ones.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeewon0516 View Post
    What a great community I just joined! Thank you guys for such detailed explanation.
    I'll study for my next mead and practice better methods. I just felt little unsure about adding so much chemicals to my drink.
    Even DAP looked suspicious to me at first sight. I'm actually looking forward to compare this first mead to later ones.
    Most of us were once wary of that too. The thing is that most of then dont get drank anyway. If propperly used chemicals are your friends. Fining agents will precipitate and you wont taste them. DAP and other nutrients will be absolutely absorbed by the yeast and wont remain in the finished mead. Only sulphites and sorbate stay, and they are commonly used in wines and many many foods. More than what you would expect and in greater concentration. So...there's that.
    For the next mead you might want to share what you have in mind before starting it and how you plan to do it so we can help you BEFORE something goes wrong

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