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Thread: Way over my head, all my mistakes and now I'm a mess - Fall's Bounty Cyser

  1. #1

    Default Way over my head, all my mistakes and now I'm a mess - Fall's Bounty Cyser

    Hi! So my first introduction to you all is that as I read more and more I realize I'm quite a mead idiot (meadiot?)
    My very first batch that I made was Ken Shramm's Fall's Bounty Cyser on 10-7-17... sort of.
    8lbs wildflower honey
    3 gallons fresh pressed apple cider
    2 tsp yeast energizer
    1 tsp yeast nutrient
    1/2 lb dates
    1/2 lb raisins
    distilled water (because I didn't get 4 gallons of cider out of the pressed apples)
    10g Lalvin D47 ... rehydrated ... 104 degrees, sit for 15 minutes then pitched

    My first mistake is that I didn't sanitize the apple cider. We went out that morning and picked 1.5 bushels of apples, pressed them that afternoon {after washing each apple} and just left it at that. The juice was put into a sanitized bucket but the apple press wasn't sanitized, I didn't think of that ... I read after that I should have done so or at least used a camden tablet to to sanitize.
    My second mistake was that we made this outside that afternoon, temp in the 80's on a lovely yet very breezy afternoon ... my understanding is that I probably added more wild yeast to the ones I already introduced from the fresh apple juice.
    My third mistake was that I didn't take a hydrometer reading ... I read that Mr Shramm never did so I didn't think it necessary.
    My fourth mistake is the big one (up to that point) ... I didn't aerate or stir this at all for the first 8 (yes I said days. I can't even tell you what my thinking was as to why I didn't do it (mixed up the JOAM instructions with this one is the closest that I can come to guessing) No I didn't read that anywhere here on this forum, ... I just don't know where my mind was.
    Everytime that I looked at the carboy those raisins and dates were riding the rip tide of activity and in my little head I'm wondering that if since the mix was so active that perhaps that was enough to help forgive the non stirring/aeration...?
    My fifth mistake (?) was only really starting to punch down the fruit cap at day 8 because that is when I noted activity had slowed to where the fruit wasn't moving on it's own.
    My sixth and I think deadliest mistake ... I went and added 1/4 tsp ferm K and 1/2 tsp DAP today and then whipped the heck out of it because I read that I should have been releasing the CO2 up to this point yet hadn't, so I basically had nothing to lose.
    Before I added the nutrients (rehydrated in 1/2 c of the mead) some of the fruit was still suspended and small bubble activity was still visibly active and viewable through the carboy. After adding the nutrients and the vigorous mixing and releasing of the CO2 (there was lots to be released) ... just about all of the fruit has dropped to the bottom and there is no activity. Since then I have noticed that the temp is around 68, so I've moved it to a warmer spot but I'm not very hopeful.

    To be honest I'm overwhelmed with the amount of information that I've been trying to absorb to try to fix my mistakes and I'm no better off than when I started.
    This batch has no activity now so I don't know if my last mistake was a nail in the coffin type of mistake or if I can hold out on some hope that mayhap this isn't a lost cause?

    I will be stepping back from making any batches until I can read/study more and have a better grasp on the concepts ... until then, is there something I can/should do to throw this a lifeline? Should I just rack this to get it off the lees and fruit and just hope for the best?
    By the way, I did take a hydrometer reading the other day (day 15) and it came out to 1.006. I should have taken another today but figured that I best let the fruit and sediment settle down before I take another, so that is what I will do tomorrow.

    One last thing ... ruining 8 lbs of honey and 1.5 bushels of apples would really suck, but I did have one of the best times ever mixing this up. My brother & sister-in-law were visiting from out of state, we went and picked apples, hand pressed the juice out of them and then mixed up the batch with 7 neighbors hanging out watching the 'festivities' ... it was such a fun and interesting time!

    I will do better next time!
    -Ruthie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
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    Hi Ruthie.

    Hmmm......

    At 1.006, it's either done or close to being done. Don't rack it yet. Gently stir the batch once every day or two, to keep the yeast in suspension (called rousing the lees) and any fruit wet, so it doesn't turn moldy. Do this for 3 to 4 weeks. Then cold crash and/or let the yeast settle out and then bottle or do with it what you want.

    I am a little concerned about your the last nutrient addition. The DAP (Fermaid K has DAP in it also) may not have been used up so late in the process, which may leave an off taste in your mead. Hopefully there will be so much flavor that it won't be very noticeable.

    Please read the NewBee guide. Listen to the gotmead podcast series, starring Ryan Carlson (starting at 8/29/17), where he talks about Oaking and Modern Mead Making Techniques. You may also want to watch a youtube series, called Meadology by the Canadian Sasquatch.

    dave

  3. #3

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    Welcome! I don't think you've ruined it, but it will probably take a long time to age and become drinkable. So expect to have this next year!

    Yes, the late DAP addition might have added an off flavor. But it also sounds like you were fermenting this at warm temps, and without aerating/degassing, the yeast probably produced a lot of fusels (rough alcohol flavors) on their own. D47 likes to ferment between 59-68F and is very picky about that.

    If you decide to bulk age it rather than bottle after the 3-4 weeks of swirling, you can add oak to try to mellow the flavors a bit. You can do that at any time though, so no rush. Look at the "wood management" thread if you want to try that, but LOTS of info there.

  4. #4

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    Thank you darigoni & dingurth!
    When you both mention stirring the batch for 3-4 weeks, do you mean the first 3-4 weeks of making the batch, or 3-4 more weeks starting now?
    I checked on the carboy early this morning and overnight more raisins have risen to the top and I get about one bubble a minute, so I'm a little more hopeful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    386

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    3 to 4 weeks after fermentations is over. Read the first five posts on this thread.

    http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthr...fter-1-3-break

  6. #6

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    Thank you!

  7. #7

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    You just havent developed a standard operating procedure yet, dont worry it will come when you automatically know to stir it every day, to take SG readings because you want to not because you are following what someone else did in a recipe. Once you develop the knowledge of WHY you are doing something like adding nutrients you will know when to add them because you took an SG reading and know your yeast. It all comes with a little experience. I feel its promising you guys pressed your own apple cider, keep doing that, just keep everything clean (do not individually was every apple, but at least rinse off in a bucket to get off dirt leaves etc), grind, press, and add some metabisulfite and you will be ok next time. You havent said you have gotten any mold growing on the fruit on top so that is a good thing, this batch is going to be good, but a little bit more understanding of WHY you are doing each step and your next ones will be really good. There is a NewBee guide on here, check it out to help know more of the WHY.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by WVMJack View Post
    You just havent developed a standard operating procedure yet, dont worry it will come when you automatically know to stir it every day, to take SG readings because you want to not because you are following what someone else did in a recipe. Once you develop the knowledge of WHY you are doing something like adding nutrients you will know when to add them because you took an SG reading and know your yeast. It all comes with a little experience. I feel its promising you guys pressed your own apple cider, keep doing that, just keep everything clean (do not individually was every apple, but at least rinse off in a bucket to get off dirt leaves etc), grind, press, and add some metabisulfite and you will be ok next time. You havent said you have gotten any mold growing on the fruit on top so that is a good thing, this batch is going to be good, but a little bit more understanding of WHY you are doing each step and your next ones will be really good. There is a NewBee guide on here, check it out to help know more of the WHY.
    I've never seen any dried out fruit or mold on top, nor smelled any off smells coming from it so I'm hopeful! Thanks!

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