Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 21

Thread: Nervous about first batch

  1. Default Nervous about first batch

    Hi Guys-

    Here's my recipe:

    1 Gallon water
    3 lbs honey
    12oz raspberries

    ...and here it comes...

    20 grams Red Star bread yeast.

    Forgot to take initial SG reading

    I left all this in primary for 21 days, and fermentation was almost complete (i.e., 1 bubble every 4 minutes).

    Final gravity reading was .oo96

    Problem: I have never tasted mead before, but this tasted very hot, like fingernail polish remover.

    Did I use wrong yeast? way too much yeast? Or, will this all mellow out and balance over time and become desirable?

    Note: When I racked, I back sweetened with another 1 lb of honey (i.e., My response to the harsh/hot taste).

    Is this how mead is supposed to be, or did I do something wrong?

    PS: The primary was extremely hazy; the secondary less so, but not clear like I see in vids (i.e., not sure I want to put in all those campden/potassium chemicals, etc).

    Copied from Gotmead.com - Read More at:http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthr...ch-Bread-Yeast

  2. Default

    Forgot to mention: I also added a 1/2 tsp of yeast nutrient

    PS: Sorry for posting this on two different threads; newbie starting today, and thought this sub-forum would be more appropriate for my question (i.e., if so, mods feel free to delete other post).

  3. #3

    Default

    So part of your problem is you made a need with bread yeast. Yes you can make a mead with bread yeast. Does it taste very good? Well you can be the judge of that. I know lots of people get started doing this. But I also say that lots of people only make one of this type of meat in there finish for life. Stick around and learn and read and you will learn much here on this site. And you will soon be able to make good meals with wine and Ale yeast. One of the things you can look up and learn is fusel alcohols
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  4. Default

    In my experience even though 21 days is about the right time for a possible racking, I wouldn't be too concerned if it tasted too hot to you. I've had a lot of my mead still taste hot that "early." Sometimes it still tastes hot even as late as a few months in. If that's the case I'd just age it longer to get the heat out of it. If you end up aging it awhile and it's still hot to you, you can try to back sweeten it or in the worst case... it may have gone to more of a vinegar then a mead but honestly I wouldn't worry yet.

    Generally speaking you can be as precise or as inaccurate as you want with your mead. It's all up to you and how you want to brew.

  5. Default

    AHG-

    Thanks for the hope!

    A 2nd gallon jug I just racked (identical recipe as the first, except strawberries instead of raspberries), I did not add more honey, but instead just added 2 cups plain water.

    Interestingly, for whatever reason, the strawberry batch is yellow colored now, while the batch we have been discussing (raspberry) is grapefruit pink.

    Wonder why the color difference?

    I did not even sample the latest strawberry + water batch.

    New question: If it was a mistake to use bread yeast (really, Red Star active dry yeast), and I have a 5 gallon batch going right now that will also probably turn out hot, should I dump in a 96 oz can of blackberry base?

    My original intention was to make plain old fashioned mead (i.e., no fruit), but now I am wondering if all these will turn out hot, and adding the blackberry base will mellow it?

    Any thoughts?

    Or should I stick to the plan, and make a 5 gallon batch of plain mead, and back-sweeten later if desired, rather than going all-in on the whole 5 gallons with the blackberry puree?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,065

    Default

    Strawberries tend to lose color when the must has insufficient acidity and when there is insufficient tannins in the must. It's a fairly well known phenomenon.

    Here's the thing Squatchy has a mantra and that is if you really want to learn to make mead well you need to focus on a traditional mead (your "plain old fashioned mead"). When you make a mead with honey, water, yeast and nutrient there is nothing to hide behind and every flaw stands out. When you can make a flawless traditional you can make any mead.
    OK... Despite what brewers (and others) may argue that it is just as easy to make 5 gallons as it is to make 1 gallon making single gallons of mead enables you to develop your skills and techniques at least five times faster (you can make a new batch every week or every day and the cost of making a poor batch is 1/5 of a five gallon batch that at best you might need to struggle to swallow it gulp by gulp.

  7. #7

    Default

    Why did you add water? Don't waste your money by throwing in the puree. Good ingredients in a crappy batch still taste crappy. Besides that's not even enough for a 3 gallon batch. I would just stop flailing around. Age the stuff you have as it is. And sit down and learn first. The latest podcast takes you through step by step. Read the newbee guide. Before you start run your next batch procedure by us to check and see if you have things figured out
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    Strawberries tend to lose color when the must has insufficient acidity and when there is insufficient tannins in the must. It's a fairly well known phenomenon.

    Here's the thing Squatchy has a mantra and that is if you really want to learn to make mead well you need to focus on a traditional mead (your "plain old fashioned mead"). When you make a mead with honey, water, yeast and nutrient there is nothing to hide behind and every flaw stands out. When you can make a flawless traditional you can make any mead.
    OK... Despite what brewers (and others) may argue that it is just as easy to make 5 gallons as it is to make 1 gallon making single gallons of mead enables you to develop your skills and techniques at least five times faster (you can make a new batch every week or every day and the cost of making a poor batch is 1/5 of a five gallon batch that at best you might need to struggle to swallow it gulp by gulp.
    Hello Squatchy-

    OK, I am going to follow your (plural) advice.

    I want to start a new batch tomorrow: Plain old-fashioned mead (1 gallon).

    In your opinion:

    1) What is the best yeast to use if I prefer dry (not SUPER dry) or semi-sweet (at most) mead? Or is yeast type irrelevant in this regard?

    2) How much of this yeast should I use per gallon? Just 1 5-gram packet?

    2) 3 lbs honey, right?

    3) 1/2 teaspoon yeast nutrient, right?

    4) Big question: I see conflicting information regarding staggering yeast (i.e., adding more after a week or two in primary). Do you agree with this approach?

    5) What about frequent stirring/shaking during primary (some say this is a mortal sin, and others say you can't make good mead without it)?

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    386

    Default

    You can hear just about everything Squatchy thinks about making mead here:

    http://gotmead.com/blog/gotmead-live-radio-show/

    Start with 9/5/2015. Continue with 9/12, 9/19 and 9/26. You'll eventually want to get back to 8/29/2015.

  10. Default

    Hello Darigoni-

    I am not averse to being pointed towards YouTube vids and radio shows, but with a family to run, I don't have the time to listen to 5 podcasts to get answers to 5 simple questions (which I was hoping one of the vets on the forum could answer).

    Was kind of hoping one of the benefits of forum membership would be the ability to get fast answers to simple questions, while diving into all the resources gradually over time as time permits.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,065

    Default

    Hi Mead Mangler - I tend to agree with you. If you can get answers to specific questions here, that is good but often best answers are actually tied to whole philosophies and approaches and getting answers out of that context will suggest answers that can be decontextualized when they perhaps cannot be. Podcasts can be good but IMO they often contain chit chat that in all honesty I don't have time for (it's like listening to folk tell you about a dream they had. They are not always professional storytellers or good broadcasters. Their knowledge of the craft of broadcasting (or narrowcasting) is not always wonderful) Youtube videos tend to be as reliable self published books - no fact checking, no peer review, no editorial assistance and no sense of cinematography.. Trade books may be 20th Century but at least they are likely to have fact checkers, peer reviewers, editors and the like. Check out Ken Schramm and/or Steve Piatz. (amazon or your local library or brick and mortar bookstore... OK
    1. Best yeast? Depends on what flavors you prefer in your meads, what flavors you really dis-prefer and what kinds of character you want to highlight in your mead. There is no wrong choice and my assumption is that most people select a yeast or two and stick with those (D47 , 71B for example) . That is certainly my approach BUT I also check out different yeasts that will highlight mouthfeel (DV10 D254) and /or highlight certain spiciness (saison yeast). Others (loveofrose, for example, tends to use Belgium ale yeast).
    2. How much yeast? I would use 1 pack per gallon. Yes, a pack generally says that it is good for up to 5 gallons but wines are generally made from fruit and wines (and beers ) tend to have smaller gravities than what 3 lbs of honey will create. Home wine/mead-makers cannot really over pitch (too much yeast) but they can and do frequently underpitch and underpitching causes problems (including a taste and smell of yeast. Ironic, I know. And because the amount of CO2 being produced with small colonies of yeast is at any moment quite small there insufficient pressure produced to blow off chemicals that are the result of stress so hydrogen sulfide smells linger.
    3. How much honey? That's like asking how long should a length of string be. It should be as long as you need /want. How much honey you use will depend on what kind of mead you are making. Do you want to sip this like a dessert wine? Then you want more honey. Is this to be quaffed like a beer or a cider? Then you want to use far less honey. Is this to accompany a meal like a table wine - then you want to use a quantity of honey that will give you an ABV of about 10-12%. Horses for courses. Also what other flavor components are you using? Do they add more fermentables? are they to be in balance with the yeast? are they to take center stage? Are they spear carriers?
    4. How much nutrient to add? Different strokes for different folks. The package will have one set of instructions. Different protocols suggest other quantities. I am not convinced that SNA or TOSNA is worth the effort - and I generally aim for session meads (about 5% ABV) so I add my nutrients up front and I am very free with the amount I provide. Often a teaspoon per gallon. I am not concerned that the nutrients will leave tastes that I don't want. Yeast will gorge on the nutrient until the must is at 9% ABV and if my mead won't go above 5% then I will let others worry about my feeding protocol.
    5. Degassing? Yes. CO2 adds stress to yeast (pressure) and while I generally make micro batches (often 1 gallon, sometimes 1 quart, occasionally 3 or 5 gallons) if, as I do, I ferment in a bucket then first thing in the morning and when I get home in the evening it is not any trouble to sanitize a spoon and whip the CO2 out of the bucket for a minute or two.. Once the gravity drops to about 1.005 I will rack the mead into a carboy sealed with a bung and airlock and then I don't touch it until either it is ready to bottle or I need to rack it again (because of the height of the lees (sediment)).
    Hope all this helps. But the secret is to make mead AND read AND ask questions.
    Last edited by bernardsmith; 11-08-2017 at 05:57 PM.

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    Hi Mead Mangler - I tend to agree with you. If you can get answers to specific questions here, that is good but often best answers are actually tied to whole philosophies and approaches and getting answers out of that context will suggest answers that can be decontextualized when they perhaps cannot be. Podcasts can be good but IMO they often contain chit chat that in all honesty I don't have time for (it's like listening to folk tell you about a dream they had. They are not always professional storytellers or good broadcasters. Their knowledge of the craft of broadcasting (or narrowcasting) is not always wonderful) Youtube videos tend to be as reliable self published books - no fact checking, no peer review, no editorial assistance and no sense of cinematography.. Trade books may be 20th Century but at least they are likely to have fact checkers, peer reviewers, editors and the like. Check out Ken Schramm and/or Steve Piatz. (amazon or your local library or brick and mortar bookstore... OK
    1. Best yeast? Depends on what flavors you prefer in your meads, what flavors you really dis-prefer and what kinds of character you want to highlight in your mead. There is no wrong choice and my assumption is that most people select a yeast or two and stick with those (D47 , 71B for example) . That is certainly my approach BUT I also check out different yeasts that will highlight mouthfeel (DV10 D254) and /or highlight certain spiciness (saison yeast). Others (loveofrose, for example, tends to use Belgium ale yeast).
    2. How much yeast? I would use 1 pack per gallon. Yes, a pack generally says that it is good for up to 5 gallons but wines are generally made from fruit and wines (and beers ) tend to have smaller gravities than what 3 lbs of honey will create. Home wine/mead-makers cannot really over pitch (too much yeast) but they can and do frequently underpitch and underpitching causes problems (including a taste and smell of yeast. Ironic, I know. And because the amount of CO2 being produced with small colonies of yeast is at any moment quite small there insufficient pressure produced to blow off chemicals that are the result of stress so hydrogen sulfide smells linger.
    3. How much honey? That's like asking how long should a length of string be. It should be as long as you need /want. How much honey you use will depend on what kind of mead you are making. Do you want to sip this like a dessert wine? Then you want more honey. Is this to be quaffed like a beer or a cider? Then you want to use far less honey. Is this to accompany a meal like a table wine - then you want to use a quantity of honey that will give you an ABV of about 10-12%. Horses for courses. Also what other flavor components are you using? Do they add more fermentables? are they to be in balance with the yeast? are they to take center stage? Are they spear carriers?
    4. How much nutrient to add? Different strokes for different folks. The package will have one set of instructions. Different protocols suggest other quantities. I am not convinced that SNA or TOSNA is worth the effort - and I generally aim for session meads (about 5% ABV) so I add my nutrients up front and I am very free with the amount I provide. Often a teaspoon per gallon. I am not concerned that the nutrients will leave tastes that I don't want. Yeast will gorge on the nutrient until the must is at 9% ABV and if my mead won't go above 5% then I will let others worry about my feeding protocol.
    5. Degassing? Yes. CO2 adds stress to yeast (pressure) and while I generally make micro batches (often 1 gallon, sometimes 1 quart, occasionally 3 or 5 gallons) if, as I do, I ferment in a bucket then first thing in the morning and when I get home in the evening it is not any trouble to sanitize a spoon and whip the CO2 out of the bucket for a minute or two.. Once the gravity drops to about 1.005 I will rack the mead into a carboy sealed with a bung and airlock and then I don't touch it until either it is ready to bottle or I need to rack it again (because of the height of the lees (sediment)).
    Hope all this helps. But the secret is to make mead AND read AND ask questions.
    I have tried very hard to stop as much "chatter" on the podcast as I can since I jumped in. I too am annoyed with a bunch of non essential chatter. You might find the change in the podcast refreshing.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  13. #13

    Default

    So I don't usually disagree with Bernard. Everyone has their own ideas and I'm fine with that. Here are mine

    I answered right after each question.

    OK, I am going to follow your (plural) advice.

    I want to start a new batch tomorrow: Plain old-fashioned mead (1 gallon).

    In your opinion:

    1) What is the best yeast to use if I prefer dry (not SUPER dry) or semi-sweet (at most) mead? Or is yeast type irrelevant in this regard?

    I have used over 40 different yeast and I have favorite ones for different reasons. They all do different things. D21 would probably be my recommendation without going into detail. What you do need to understand is this: Any yeast can be made to make a sweet or a dry mead and anywhere in between. It's not the yeast as they all will make at least 14% ABV. So you need to pick what ABV you want. Use only that much honey and let them eat until it's bone dry. Then stabilize with Sulfite/sorbate. Now you can add more honey (backsweeten) to make it as sweet or dry as you like. By stabilizing you make it so the yeast won't metabolize any of the newly added honey.

    2) How much of this yeast should I use per gallon? Just 1 5-gram packet? Yes. I 5 gram packet a gallon is fine. Latter you will learn certain times ask for more. But not with what you will be starting out with. Rehydrate it first. Best practice is with Goferm. If not that use tap water at 104 F.

    2) 3 lbs honey, right? That will give you an ABV of about 13.5 % ABV. More honey will make more ethanol. Less honey will make less ethanol.

    3) 1/2 teaspoon yeast nutrient, right? That just depends on what manufacture you use. Unlike Bernard. I wholeheartedly believe in TOSNA and it's protocol. I think if he made wine strenght stuff he might change his mind. Anyway. Look up TOSNA and follow that protocol if you want to make the best meads possible. I can't tell you because your nutrient doesn't quantify how many PPM of YAN you get per x of nutrient. Using the listed stuff with TOSNA works because the manufacturer list it's ingredient values.

    4) Big question: I see conflicting information regarding staggering yeast (i.e., adding more after a week or two in primary). Do you agree with this approach? No. Don't do this at all. Or at least until you understand how to make good mead the correct way. As you learn more you will understand why this way is not at all predictable.

    5) What about frequent stirring/shaking during primary (some say this is a mortal sin, and others say you can't make good mead without it)? Fermentation creates SO2. This builds up and becomes toxic to the yeast and must be removed from suspension. Other wise it lowers pH to dangerous levels for the yeast.

    Thanks![/QUOTE]
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,065

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    I have tried very hard to stop as much "chatter" on the podcast as I can since I jumped in. I too am annoyed with a bunch of non essential chatter. You might find the change in the podcast refreshing.
    I apologize if I gave the impression that I was referring to podcasts offered by Gotmead. I wasn't. Last night's discussion on Braggots was really very good but my point was that in general when a podcast extends to 90 minutes or 120 minutes and much of the material is unscripted conversation, unless the intended focus is simply for the listener (no video) to enjoy "overhearing" (not listening to - which is something a little different) witty , amusing talk by raconteurs, the listener is more likely to be looking for "news" , for ideas, for some things they (OK, I) can use to improve my mead making. Two hours is a lot of time to give up for little payoff if there are perhaps only a half dozen important points that are made but which could be captured in print in fewer than 2000 words and which might take two or three minutes to read and digest. Two hours - or two minutes? BUT perhaps even more worrisome is that there are podcasts (not Gotmead) where some of the information being presented is arrant nonsense. The internet is very democratic and sadly many of the self -appointed "experts" are as far from expert as I can imagine but you need to know something about mead making to understand the nonsense that is presented mixed in with sound information. And if you are a novice once you have learned something it is very hard, in my opinion, to unlearn what you are certain you know.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    I apologize if I gave the impression that I was referring to podcasts offered by Gotmead. I wasn't. Last night's discussion on Braggots was really very good but my point was that in general when a podcast extends to 90 minutes or 120 minutes and much of the material is unscripted conversation, unless the intended focus is simply for the listener (no video) to enjoy "overhearing" (not listening to - which is something a little different) witty , amusing talk by raconteurs, the listener is more likely to be looking for "news" , for ideas, for some things they (OK, I) can use to improve my mead making. Two hours is a lot of time to give up for little payoff if there are perhaps only a half dozen important points that are made but which could be captured in print in fewer than 2000 words and which might take two or three minutes to read and digest. Two hours - or two minutes? BUT perhaps even more worrisome is that there are podcasts (not Gotmead) where some of the information being presented is arrant nonsense. The internet is very democratic and sadly many of the self -appointed "experts" are as far from expert as I can imagine but you need to know something about mead making to understand the nonsense that is presented mixed in with sound information. And if you are a novice once you have learned something it is very hard, in my opinion, to unlearn what you are certain you know.
    Hey brother . No offense at all. As I mentioned I too believe there is miles of worthless info/chatter on the web. And yes, you do need to know enough to sort the wheat from the chaff. Not sure if you have listened to the podcast starting at where I jumped in. But I went from front to back in short order on how I employ today's science. I get weary from time to time on the public platforms and probably get short from time to time. I have always appreciated that you take the time to help everyone in long form. I don't always spend that much time. I guess I feel if I point them in the right direction then it's ok to expect them to do some homework.

    Thanks for all you do here on the forum Bernard.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  16. Default

    Bernard/Squatchy-

    Those were VERY helpful posts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you so much.

    I delayed getting this batch going until this weekend; once it is in process, I will let you guys know what I did, and how things are turning out compared to my other two batches.

  17. Default

    If I stir the mead daily in primary, do I need to be concerned about all the lees remixing into the must (i.e., When stirring, should I try to avoid disturbing the lees)?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,065

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mead Mangler View Post
    If I stir the mead daily in primary, do I need to be concerned about all the lees remixing into the must (i.e., When stirring, should I try to avoid disturbing the lees)?
    What might the problem be if you mix the lees with the must? I ask out of ignorance because I would think that the lees contain all kinds of compounds the yeast cells might usefully take up, and it contains both living and dead yeast cells (the dead cells themselves being nutrient rich), and you want to keep the living cells in suspension for as long as possible (they will have a a tendency to flocculate and drop out of suspension).

    The only times you want to avoid disturbing the lees is when you are racking from one vessel into another or if you are making, oh I dunno, 500 gallons of wine or mead, and the weight of the column of liquid is enough to crush the dead yeast cells and so squeezing out parts of their innards that may result in off flavors. Certainly, I am unconcerned about disturbing the lees during the first week or so of fermentation in the primary.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,065

    Default

    Side bar: I don't want to hijack this thread. Thanks Squatchy - I am an educator (academic) and I tend to think that there are some people you want to help by teaching what you know and there are other people who benefit far more from learning from the material you point them to (they teach themselves). I am sure I am often wrong in deciding who is who but I suspect that the kinds of questions those who join this forum ask and the sub-textual background information they provide (are they looking for a recipe or is it a protocol or explanation they seek? Have they been making meads/wines for some time and they come here to learn more or is this their first foray into this
    activity? etc) suggests to me whether they are looking for some direct help or direction...

  20. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    You can hear just about everything Squatchy thinks about making mead here:

    http://gotmead.com/blog/gotmead-live-radio-show/

    Start with 9/5/2015. Continue with 9/12, 9/19 and 9/26. You'll eventually want to get back to 8/29/2015.
    I would encourage you to do this. It will be a big investment of time, but it will really pay off. I wandered aimlessly for a while due to the overload of conflicting information but I'm finally moving in the right direction due to these podcasts and the articles at denardbrewing.com and meadmaderight.com.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. First racking, and a bit nervous
    By Jay212 in forum Mead NewBees - Post your Questions Here
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 12-05-2008, 12:50 AM
  2. 2nd batch mead attempted, 2nd bad batch???
    By upnyLou in forum Troubleshooting your Mead
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 12-28-2007, 07:44 PM
  3. Just nervous-moral support please
    By Holly in forum Mead NewBees - Post your Questions Here
    Replies: 53
    Last Post: 05-23-2006, 06:14 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •