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Thread: First batches and greetings

  1. #1

    Default First batches and greetings

    Greetings from a newbee italian mead maker.
    This morning I've done my first two batches of mead.

    #1 5L plain mead
    Honey - 2,0kg spring + 0,5kg summer raw artisan wildflower honey, heated in a waterbath (slightly cristallized)
    Water - store bought spring water
    Yeast - 5g Zymaflore Spark (Saccharomyces cerevisaie, AT 17% ABV, temperature range 10-32įC (50-90 F), low nitrogen requirements)
    Yeast nutrients: 1,6g boiled bread yeast, added four hours after pitching
    DAB: 2,10g before pitching

    #2 5L Joe's(ish) Ancient Orange mead
    Same quantity honey
    Same yeast
    No extra nutrients
    DAB: 2,150g before pitching

    I'm storing both batches in my basement at 17įC (63 F).

    For #1 I'm going to age it in a french oak barrel. Would it be beneficial to rack it first in another glass carboy at the end of primary fermentation? (No OG readings, didn't use refractometer or hydrometer but planning to get one)

    Three hours after pitching, #2 was already out the lag phase, while #1 was still quiet, so I decided to add some boiled yeast as nutrient. After two more hours pressure is rising in the airlock and foam is starting to build up a little.

    Fermaid isn't available here and I'm not planning on buying wine nutrients. Should I add more boiled yeast?

    All suggestions are welcome and I invite you to point out any mistake I've made.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Cincinnati
    Posts
    584

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    I wouod use fermaid-E which is available in Europe for nutrient in the future.

  3. #3

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    How big is the french oak barrel you plan to age #1 in? If its more than 5L, you'll have to worry about oxidation with all the extra headspace. It might be easier to age in a glass carboy with french oak cubes (although I know this won't be the same result as a barrel). Otherwise you might have to look into SO2 management and topping off the headspace with an inert gas.

  4. #4

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    If done correctly. Oak cubes and spirals will be just as good as a barrel. Even if it was a 5L barell. I still wouldn't use it. It will be too much surface to volume and it will get oaky way to fast and you won't get the same notes as if you have the proper soak time frame.

    It's pretty worthless to ask about flaws when you already say your not going to feed your yeast. I wouldn't make mead if I couldn't feed the yeast!!
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  5. #5

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    Iíve already got a 5L barrel. Here in Italy theyíre quite inexpensive and easy to get, so I decided to give it a try instead of suing chips/cubes. If I manage to get the fermentation done, it should be a quite strong mead so if there is a very small head space Iíll top it up with water. In case Iíll have a larger head Iím going to use sanitised marbles.
    I understand that using a proper nutrient would have been optimal, and Iíll keep that in mind if Iíll be dealing with a stuck fermentation (hopefully not, fingers crossed). In the meanwhile Iíve kept using boiled yeast for the staggered nutrients protocol.

    Iíve got some readings today:
    #1 1.071
    #2 1.070

    Using the calculator estimated OG of 1.145, Iíve got a drop of 75 points in nine days, with 50 points to go (but Iíll consider anything under 1.050 a success for my first try with a ďless than optimalĒ setup).

    No off flavours or smells and looks like the fermentation is still going with foam, bubbles and airlock activity. Iíll take more readings in the next days to be sure.

    Also both meads are still very cloudy, but the yeast is starting to flocculate. Would giving it a stir help the fermentation or should I let it be?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Cincinnati
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    584

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    If done correctly. Oak cubes and spirals will be just as good as a barrel. Even if it was a 5L barell. I still wouldn't use it. It will be too much surface to volume and it will get oaky way to fast and you won't get the same notes as if you have the proper soak time frame.

    It's pretty worthless to ask about flaws when you already say your not going to feed your yeast. I wouldn't make mead if I couldn't feed the yeast!!
    Please don't make mead if you dont feed your yeast.

    Try beer or wine if you are not interested in feeding your yeast.

    The world already has some stigma against mead. Please don't make it worse.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Spain, Europe
    Posts
    718

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    Hello mate. Squatchy and caduseus are right pointing out that you sort of need nutrients to make decent mead. I dont think we should blame people for making bad choices if they dont have the right information. However, understand we get many people here who know very little saying that "they wont use nutrients" and it sorts of pisses people around because that is a bit like saying you want to do wine but without grapes.
    So I'll try to explain it to you and give you the information. Honey is deficient in the nutrients needed for yeast to live, grow and ferment. Those are mainly nitrogen. the honey in a mead provides around 10 milligrams per liter of nitrogen. to give you some idea yeast need around 150. So you saying you dont want to buy nutrients is like saying that you want a plant but you dont want to water it. Nutrients are ESSENTIAL for a good fermentation.
    Nutrients (fermaid and all the other brands) are usually made from dead yeast. So there is no reason for you not to add them to your mead if you are willing to add boiled yeast. Nutrients also usually contain ammonia, a compound present in every other fermented beverage (beer cider and wine). You are not adding any sort of human made chemicals. Nutrients will also be eaten by the yeast, and none should remain in a finished mead.

    I wonder what is the DAB you say you add, Maybe you refer to DAP?

    Anyway, if you still refuse to use nutrients, suit yourself, but it IS stupid. I hope you now understand why.

    Edit: other thing that gets people sort of worked up around here is doing "JAOM" and altering the recipe. Using wine yeast is one of the mistake people do when doing JAOM. Same goes to adding boiled yeast. It is sort of a sacred recipe. Do not change it. If you do, its no longer JAOM. This is because JAOM is like a card castle. you take out a card and it usually falls down. Its a very common newbee mistake. Some more experienced people change the recipe slightly with good results though. There is a post about JAOM recipe variations,

    For the rest, all is good, The oak thing was pointed out. The temp is ok. The doubt about the DAB remains
    IF you are now interested, there are many other brands of nutrients that are used in europe, such as wyeast wine or beer nutrient, vitaferm (altough this is not what i'd recommend), fermaid E i think, and others. Also there is an online store called browland that you might want to check out, ships all around europe.
    Last edited by Dadux; 05-09-2017 at 11:47 AM.

  8. #8

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    DAB is DAP, my bad.

    I red the guide (actually more than one) and except for the OG readings that I couldn't take because I didn't have a refractometer or hydrometer, I followed all the steps: sanitisation. oxygenation of the must, yeast rehidratation, degas and stirring etc. etc.

    I also proceeded with the staggered nutrition protocol. Just to clarify this: I'm feeding my meads, I'm using boiled bread yeast and DAP instead of ready-to-go nutrients, because the only one I found locally was made 100% from inerted yeast, nothing added.

    Gravity anyway keeps going down: today (day 11) both meads are around 1.055, with the fermentation still active. No off smells or flavours.

    About the JAOM(ish) recipe, let's not call it that way then. Let's call it Orange and cinnamon mead. I've compensated the extra nutrients that my wine yeast should need adding DAP and boiled bread yeast. I'm also doing cap management, keeping the fruit on top moist. That was planned from the start.

    From the calculations I did, both fermentations should stop around 1.020: ~90 points gone, 35 to go. Even if they get stuck some points above, and I get sweet meads instead of medium, I'll still be happy because I understand this isn't a optimal setup.

    Also, I'm a new user and everything I post is moderated and takes a long time to be approved. I read you guys, but I can't answer straight away. It's quite confusing, since I can't view my posts waiting for approval and see what I already wrote.

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