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Thread: Questions on the BOMM

  1. #1

    Default Questions on the BOMM

    Hey Folks,

    Looking at the instructions for the BOMM, I am left with a few questions.
    1. What is a "smack pack"? I mean I've smacked my lips over a good meal and I've been smacked up-side the head, I never truly deserved it though.
    2. What exactly is a sugar break?
    3. How often do I need to check for the specific gravities listed?
    4. Is ambient temperature critical? Now that that our daughter is in college I will be using her room upstairs, which gets a lot of sun light, as my Meadery. The thermostat is set at 65. We have had some bi-polar weather lately and will be that way till winter sets in; it’s currently 70 degrees downstairs at 8:35pm. I am more concerned about the winter.
    5. SNA’s?
    6. In the instructions it is mentioned that this Mead will finish dry. I am not particularly fond of dry wines preferring slightly sweet or fruity as opposed to tart. How could I sweeten the pot a bit? Add Honey or fruit near the end?

    I know this is quite a few questions and somewhat verbose but this and a batch of JAOM are going to be my first meads.

    Thanks a bunch for your input.

    Boycott shampoo, demand real poo!

  2. #2

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    You should probably hold off making any mead for a while until you have a better handle on things. Go listen to the latest series of podcast here on Gotmeadlive. In it you will learn all you could need to learn to make good mead with modern protocols.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  3. #3
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    Also, read the NewBee guide (link at top of page).

    Check out the BOMM video and Meadology series, by the Canadian Sasquatch, on youtube. I think week seven talks about SNA's. While it's not the latest, it will get you started down the road.

    dave

  4. #4
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    Hi Mead_Monster - and welcome. While I agree with the others who suggest that you need to read (or watch some videos) a little more before embarking on a mead project, as an educator, I think that providing some very basic answers to posed questions is also useful - so to answer one or two
    A smack pack - is the name for a particular kind of way that lab cultured yeasts are packaged. To activate the yeast you need to smack the plastic pack with your open hand and that splits open a bag inside the package that provides the yeast cells with the nutrients they need as they rise from their torpor. You still need to add nutrient when the yeast convert sugar into CO2 and alcohol. Honey has virtually none of the critical compounds and minerals the yeast need to transport the sugar in the honey through their cell walls

    Sugar break - that is a mead maker's borrowing from a brewer's term called a hot break or cold break. In brewing these refer to objective phenomena where the proteins in the wort collect at specific identifiable and known temperatures. When mead makers refer to a "sugar break" this phenomenon is not so identifiable - in fact it does not really exist but it refers to specific "amounts" of sugar converted by the yeast. One third, would mean that if your starting gravity was 1.090 then the yeast will have eaten their way through 30 points of sugar (the gravity reading would be 1.060. At half break, the gravity reading would be half of what the original reading was (1.045 if the original reading was 1.090. Of course, if your starting gravity was 1.050 or 1.120 then the 1/3 break would be at a different point... There is a practice used by many mead makers (but by no means everyone) to provide the yeast with additions of nutrient at different points in the fermentation process (at different "sugar breaks") . This process is referred to as SNA (staggered nutrient additions). I tend to make low alcohol meads and add all the nutrients at one time shortly after I pitch the yeast. So far, I have never had any problems. But I prefer simplicity rather than complexity.

    Yeast CAN eat their way through fermentable sugar quite quickly - seven - 10 days is not uncommon so if you want to catch those so-called sugar breaks you may need to be taking readings every day. Assuming you sanitize your hydrometer and samplng cylinder and whatever tool you use to draw up the sample there is no waste as you can always return the sample to the fermenter.
    Temperature is critical. Too high a temperature for the strain of yeast you have chosen and the yeast will be stressed and produce all kinds of unpleasant/undesirable flavors and aromas. Too cold a temperature and the yeast will become sluggish and that will slow down the fermentation and MAY result in undesirable aromas simply sitting on top of the mead unable to be expelled because the yeast is not producing enough CO2 fast enough. Best practice is usually to ferment at the lower end of the yeast's preferred working temperature (see yeast spec sheets).
    If you prefer a sweeter mead you have one or two options. One option is to allow the mead to finish bone dry, then you stabilize the mead by mixing two chemicals that then prevent any lingering yeast cells from reproducing and refermenting your mead and then you add some sweetener (could be fruit or honey or sugar or agave or ). A second option is that you add a sugar that is too complex for the yeast to ferment (lactose , for example). A third option involves you working to make a mead whose potential ABV (alcohol by gravity) exceeds the yeast's tolerance for fermentation. By that I mean if your yeast can convert all the honey in a batch to make a mead whose ABV is say, 16% ( a starting gravity of say, 1.125) then you make sure that your must (the solution you are fermenting) has enough honey in it to force the yeast to quit AND still have say 10- 15 points (or more if you prefer the batch to be sweeter) of unfermented honey. The challenge is that most strains of yeast have relatively high tolerance for alcohol so you will be forced to make a mead that is very alcohol rich and alcohol rich wines and meads have their own problems (They can taste unpleasantly "hot", for example, or they can be out of balance with the amount of acidity in the wine so they taste bland and so forth). Moreover, the higher the starting gravity the longer a mead (or wine) takes to be pleasurably drinkable. One other way you can think about producing a sweeter mead without jumping through many hoops is to think about making what is called a braggot - A braggot is beverage made with honey and grain (think ale or beer). Grains contain unfermentable sugars that are perceived as sweet (hence the usual practice today of adding hops to beer and in the past adding gruit herbs - these were to balance the sweetness (typically about 15 points of sugar in each gallon: That's about 6 ounces of sugar in every gallon) although later it was discovered that hops , for example act as a bactericide and allow the beer to have a longer shelf life, among other things).. Braggots CAN be high alcohol but they can be session drinks too ( an ABV of about 5% ) so you can happily quaff 'em by the pint and not sip them by the glass.
    All that said, see if you can get hold of Ken Schramm's seminal book on mead making (The Compleat Meadmaker) or Steve Piatz' (IMO) equally good book on the same (The Complete Guide to Mead Making).
    Good luck
    Last edited by bernardsmith; 10-19-2017 at 09:00 PM.

  5. #5

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    Thanks to one and all for the help you have offered. thanks especially to Bernardsmith for the detailed reply. I do have two books on mead making, the most recently purchased is Make Mead like a Viking, the other title I can not recal. Over the years I also watched a few You Tube videos on making mead but they did not offer a lot of educational detail. Thanks for pointing me to the series that wil be most helpful.

    I should be a seasoned veteran but four years ago my motorcycle and I had the pleasure of enjoying a close relationship with the front bumper of an SUV as I was headed to my office to treat a full day of acupatients. Since then my focus has been on recovering from multiple surgeries and trying to rebuild my practice. I now have the time to take up this delicious hobby and eager perhaps overly so to get started.

    Thanks again for all of your help and guidence.

    Boycott shampoo, demand real poo!

  6. #6
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    Well there's your problem! No one makes mead like a viking any more :-)

    The Meadology series is good, but make sure you check out his BOMM and Melomel videos:

    Meadology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oODP...yUw6jg2Zlrgko7

    BOMM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1gJmPsaSFE

    Melomel (six part): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC69...89xggzyh-Bp2bo

    And, before you make a BOMM, check out the originators website: https://denardbrewing.com/blog/category/mead/

    dave

  7. #7
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    Not to hijack this thread, but I guess I have a very different approach to mead making. Most videos and podcasts and the like are very much like recipe books. They provide (insofar as they accurately provide anything - and there are some great exceptions, but most are more or less crap) recipes for making mead (or wine) much like most trade recipe books provide recipes for making dishes. They tell you what you should do (Make mead like a Viking, and his ancillary videos is one good example, Michael Jordan's video series is another) . What they don't offer are the underlying principles. Being able to follow instructions does not mean that you really understand what you are doing. To give one or two examples: if you are caramelizing honey to make a bochet to what temperature do you want to heat the honey? Why at THAT temperature... and if you heat it 50 F more or less what is happening to the sugars? What is the difference between aerating and degassing? And can you really "aerate" your must by whipping it with a stirrer attached to an electric drill for 20 minutes? How much O2 does that in fact add?
    To really understand what to do to do anything - anything , you need to understand the underlying science - and I say that as a social scientist and not a chemist or a microbiologist. You may be able to cook a meal if you can follow a recipe but you are only a chef when you know what the ingredients and quantities and processes in fact do and why these instructions ask you to do X and not Y and to do Z in this way and not that way.

  8. #8

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    6 questions about a single recipe. I agree you need to read the newbee guide. You could have also typed your questions in google rather than ask them here. You're going to type them anyway, but at least in google it seems less daunting for people to answer you. I typed "yeast smack pack" and the very first link was a description of what it is. The information is also very comprehensive and if you had read that page rather than a response here you would have a far greater knowledge about the subject.
    It's not your fault though. Too many sites and people claim that making mead is very easy. It is, but only after you have read up for at least a few days (I read up for a month before my first attempt. I was reading up daily because I was a student and had reached a lull in my studies). You probably don't need to read as long as I did, but you still need to read or watch up. Personally I like reading because I find I retain information better that way but this might just be my learning style.
    Bernardsmith.. what you say is true but in the end there will still be a part whuch is a bit of a mystery. I still can't fully understand how Fermaid O and Tosna work even after reading all the info here and finding quite a bit of new info myself in another thread... My point is: Mead making is VERY science-y (if you want to), but don't worry it's also very fascinating and a bit of trial and error and guessing in the end so you should never get bored

    EDIT: I'm reading info about the smack pack just now from the original source for the first time myself. There are some tid-bits I didn't know myself. Cool stuff
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  9. #9

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    I totally understand why a new person gets on here and wants the recipe. I think we all had to start that way relying on somebody else's quote expertise. But what has always been my intention is to try to teach somebody how to make me. Much like what Bernard Smith has described. It does nobody any good to learn how to read the recipe and executed. Once you understand the whys and hows about making me drool no longer need to ask somebody for a recipe you'll be able to know what the ingredients are and how to manage them. So I would always encourage a new person to learn how to make mead first before just blindly following Along on somebody's recipe. Or at least do that at the same time. I concur that Michael Jordan's videos are absolutely terrible as are most of the YouTube videos you can find. And the book make me like a viking sucks. I would just toss it in the trash right now. Lastly I would have bit making a traditional will truly give you good feedback on how well you're learning and understanding the different parts and pieces of making good Mead. Nothing can hide in the traditional. Meaning if you make a traditional you'll get the exact and perfect response to your inputs. Once you can make a good traditional, that will raise the bar for every other style of means you'll ever make the rest of your life
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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    Totally agree with you, Squatchy BUT ... and my BUTTS are always big - (pun intended) even if a novice makes an incredible traditional mead that does not mean that s/he really understands why what they have done worked or even understand what in fact they did. I don't play golf but I am sure that it is much like the player who makes a hole in one - Most (all?) professional golfers have never hit a hole in one but they may play 6 or 10 below par while the fellow who gets the hole in one may have a handicap of 30. So the idea would be - yes - to work on traditionals (honey, yeast, water and nutrients) BUT to work with others (or the peer reviewed published literature - NOT the self published work ) to better grasp the whys and the wherefors... And Stasis, I would argue that while mead making is EQUALLY science and art (the final result must taste incredible) "trial and error" only works effectively if you control variables and you know what variables you are allowing to change and you have an hypothesis for changing this variable and not that one. (science). Simply tossing different batches in the air with the hope that something better or even something reasonable will result is closer to magical thinking than either science or art. Like the duff golfer, sure you MIGHT score a hole in one with this or that batch of mead but the next batch you make you might want to add to your compost heap..

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    Totally agree with you, Squatchy BUT ... and my BUTTS are always big - (pun intended) even if a novice makes an incredible traditional mead that does not mean that s/he really understands why what they have done worked or even understand what in fact they did. I don't play golf but I am sure that it is much like the player who makes a hole in one - Most (all?) professional golfers have never hit a hole in one but they may play 6 or 10 below par while the fellow who gets the hole in one may have a handicap of 30. So the idea would be - yes - to work on traditionals (honey, yeast, water and nutrients) BUT to work with others (or the peer reviewed published literature - NOT the self published work ) to better grasp the whys and the wherefors... And Stasis, I would argue that while mead making is EQUALLY science and art (the final result must taste incredible) "trial and error" only works effectively if you control variables and you know what variables you are allowing to change and you have an hypothesis for changing this variable and not that one. (science). Simply tossing different batches in the air with the hope that something better or even something reasonable will result is closer to magical thinking than either science or art. Like the duff golfer, sure you MIGHT score a hole in one with this or that batch of mead but the next batch you make you might want to add to your compost heap..
    I couldn't agree any more. Not sure what I may have posted to confuse the issue. BTW. I was once a sub par golfer and never had a HIO.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  12. Default

    Hey, there! I have been looking for a perfect gift for my father who is a hardcore traveler and a Beer Drinker. I can guess that you guys can help me. Any help will be much appreciated.

  13. #13
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    Hi Sigeorge - and welcome... This forum is really about making mead - wines from honey - and not about brewing ales or beers. While I am certain that you are very welcome here to read and post you may want to check out other forums that are more focused on brewing. The equipment is more or less identical but the processes are quite different: grains have complex sugars that need to be manipulated to allow yeasts rather than bacteria to ferment them whereas honey has simple sugars that will ferment quite easily when the honey is sufficiently diluted with water.

    All that said, you said that your father likes to drink beer. You did not say that he enjoys brewing beer. There is an enormous difference in enjoying cracking open a bottle of beer (whether from a conglomerate or a micro brewery) and spending time brewing your own beers. The huge breweries depend on that difference. Just sayin'. Oh.. and while most beers have about 4- 6% alcohol by volume (ABV), most meads (most but not all) are likely to have about 12- 15% ABV, so they are not necessarily enjoyed by beer drinkers and are not drunk like beers (though some of us do make "session" meads that can be drunk by the pint and not sipped by the glass.
    Last point. The etiquette in forums like these is to start your own thread if you are starting a new topic and not link your new topic to someone else's thread. That is viewed as bad manners. It's just like a conversation where people are talking about the problems they are having with their kids and someone takes their turn to talk but talks about the vacation they were on in London and how wonderful the Tate Gallery is. The price of beginning a new thread won't cost you a penny more.
    Last edited by bernardsmith; 10-21-2017 at 08:27 PM.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    Totally agree with you, Squatchy BUT ... and my BUTTS are always big - (pun intended) even if a novice makes an incredible traditional mead that does not mean that s/he really understands why what they have done worked or even understand what in fact they did. S.
    What if they kept notes and it was repeatable? They (me) will eventually learn enough to understand what was right. And grow that knowledge from there. This is not about tossing different batches. It's about a solid starting point. So, from my POV, I could have used some basic traditional baselines. Golf! Ha! Been playing for 30 years and still shoot 95+ !

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    Great point - NightWolf. Keeping detailed notes is really important... But the problem is knowing what action you took or did not take was the critical action. Many may have a different opinion but IMO you need to know what/why the points you record are key points if you are to use those notes to improve your mead making. So , for example, if you always assume that you need to use 3 lbs or more of honey in every gallon (a minimum of 14% ABV) and you always find that your mead is too "hot" (because of the high ABV) then there is no obvious reason to experiment with lower ABV meads to see if that might remove the "heat". Or if you always assume that you should add fruit in the primary it's unclear to me that by simply keeping even careful notes that your notes will alert you to the possibility of adding fruit to the secondary - and if you always add fruit, it is not clear that your notes will flag you about the possibility of using juice in place of the water to dilute the honey.

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