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  1. Default First Attempt. Hows it going so far?

    Hello everyone.... In the process of my first attempt and I know I need to be patient, but looking for a little feedback on how it is working so far.

    Recipe in a 5 gallon carboy:
    15 lbs honey
    6 oz raisins
    2 packs (10g total) 71B-1122 yeast started with warm water and raisins
    3.75 gallons spring water

    To reduce the possibility of contamination, I warmed the honey and mixed it as best I could in the carboy by shaking vigorously. Was only able to get about 3.75 gallons of spring water in with the honey.
    Started the 71B yeast with warm water and some raisins. The yeast was clearly active and getting nice and foamy by the time I added it to the mix with raisins.
    Capped it off with an airlock and started it on 10/28 and getting a bubble through the airlock every 3 seconds.

    An hour later, it surely seemed alive as I was getting a good bubble through the airlock every second. A 2.5" layer of honey settled out.

    Later that night, a few raisins started to slowly work their way to the top and you could easily see gas bubbles forming on the outside of the raisins.

    Tipped the bottle about 20-30 degrees and rolled it to keep honey mixed as well as possible several times a day. Took 5 days for yeast to consume layer of honey that settled out and giving off nice yeast smell through airlock.

    Today 11/20, bubbling has slowed a little from a high of a bubble at every second to a bubble every 1.5 seconds though airlock. All raisins currently floating. Lees layer building up at bottom.

    I expect fermentation to go on for at least another week or two and then plan to rack it off into possibly 1 gallon carboys to get it off the lees. Then see if fermentation starts up again. If it has stopped, I hope to add some vanilla bean and cinnamon sticks to secondary for a couple weeks and rack it off again.

    Trying for something sweeter with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon.

    Am I on the right path?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Hi there friend. welcome to the forum.

    I hate to say it but you have started off from not such a great start. It would have been better to learn some mead making principles first before starting. You have missed quite a few pieces of science that would have made a great mead. Fortunately, mead is pretty resilient and you can probably still end up with something at least drinkable. This far into things , more likely that not you will have some long term flaws in your mead.

    Making good mead isn't any harder to make than bad mead. It just takes a better understanding of 4 or 5 different aspects. Nailing these will make a huge difference. You will need to invest a few hours or more of reading and listening to get a handle of the finer fractions of making good mead.

    Probably the biggest parts you have missed is feeding your yeast nutrients they require to do there job without making off flavors. Raisins are not and never have been a nutrient. So your yeast are malnourished and therefore making off flavors that will take a long while to age out. You also need to keep certain temps during your ferment based on your strain selection.

    You need to go to your LHBS and buy some sort of nutrient (fertilizer) to feed your yeast. They are starving and will be making bad flavors in your mead. I started a podcast about 6-8 weeks ago here on Gotmead live. It walks you thought the entire process step by step to teach you the whole process. You should listen to them and read the newbie's guide.

    Right now you need to go stir the lee's off the bottom back into suspension. Do this every other day. Stir vigorously to help remove the built up So2 in suspension in your must. This is becoming toxic to the yeast. Go buy some nutrient and feed the yeast. Keep your carboys in lower temps. Mid to lower 60's if you can.

    The rest can be found in the podcast.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  3. #3

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    A friend pointed out a mistake in my reply. I errantly typed SO2 when I meant Co2. It would be great to hear back from you Pardoner. I hope I didn't offend you. I cut the tips of some fingers off on one hand so it's very laborious for me to type. So sometime my brevity might seem harsh. I hope that wasn't the case here with you. We really do want to help here. And we want to help YOU as well.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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