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Thread: First Cyser

  1. #1

    Default First Cyser

    Hello lovely people of GotMead! It has been awhile since I did any home brewing (and I am fairly sure I did some things wrong the last time) so I figured I would post my recipe and method here for all to see. Hopefully someone with a bit more knowledge than me will come along and send some advice and/or constructive criticism my way. It has been about 3 years since I did any brewing and none of my meads lasted longer than a week into aging before they were either drank or became too repulsive to consider drinking and were tossed. That being said, I will be making a one gallon batch in case I screw up royally again.

    My plan for this attempt is as follows:

    1. Sanitize everything with Starsan (Starsan was recommended to me by a coworker, is this a good choice or is there a better option?)
    2. Fill a glass one gallon jug halfway with cider (I have a filtered and pasteurized cider with no preservatives)
    3. Add honey and shake to mix (I figure a medium colored honey will not get lost behind the apple and will also not outshine the apple flavor. Is this a good assumption?)
    4. I will continue to add honey and cider until I have almost filled the jug and have reached my starting gravity
    5. I am using Lalvin D-47 yeast and aiming for an OG of between 1.12 and 1.13 so that it will finish between sweet and desert FG levels (as I have never had a cyser before, I don't know how sweet it should come out. Does this seem reasonable? I have a bit of a sweet tooth but I know not everyone does and I plan to share it)
    6. Once I get the must to the right OG I will follow manufacturer's instructions to pitch the yeast. I plan to also toss in some DAP and Fermaid (also per the manufacturer's instructions)
    7. From the NewBee guide I see that I need to aerate for the first three days, a couple times a day. Is it possible to over-aerate? My wife works from home so it could be shaken once an hour if it will help and not hurt it. I will degass before shaking to avoid an ol' faithful re-enactment in my living room...
    8. Once I hit the 1/3 sugar break I will add another helping of the Fermaid-K and then let it sit in the darkness of my closet for a few days until the bubbling slows to 1 bubble every 30 seconds
    9. At this point I will measure the SG and make a determination if I need to cold crash or let it continue. If it appears to be about 14% ABV then I will move it to the fridge and leave it there for one week before taking it out and racking into the secondary.
    10. At this point I plan to try and forget about it until next year...

    So that is my plan! Now for a few questions before I get started:

    a. I would like to add some flavor to it (an orange, a couple cinnamon sticks, a clove or two, and a bit of allspice). Would these spices be better in the primary or secondary?

    b. Is the secondary when it is aged? or does it move to a third jug for aging? Is this question dependent on whether or not more fermentation or any settling occur?

    c. When I read that it should be stored in the dark I took that to mean away from sunlight and that artificial light is fine. Is this correct or I should I plan to avoid artificial light as best as I can too?

    d. I don't have a way to measure acidity. How crucial is this really? Is this mostly going to be for troubleshooting a stuck fermentation or is correcting the acidity going to make the mead taste different to my untrained tongue?

    e. And last but not least, what have I forgotten?

    I realize that this is quite a long post and if you are reading this last line then you likely have read the whole thing, so thank you! I don't plan to start this mead until this weekend so I have plenty of time to adjust my plan or run to the home brew store. I look forward to hearing all of your feedback and advice. Happy Brewing!!!
    "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - JRR Tolkien

  2. #2

    Default

    Hello everybody!

    I assumed that since my post had quite a few views and no comments that my plan must be at least decent. So I went ahead and made it this morning!

    The only major difference between my plan and reality is the type of yeast I used. My LHBS had just sold out of D-47 and didn't know when the next shipment would be so I am using Red Star Cote des Blancs instead. I have not ever used this one but I saw a few posts on this forum that said it is good for Cysers.

    I also thought it worth noting for other newbees that not heating the must involved A LOT of shaking. And it was heavy too so it was tiring. I recommend mixing a little at a time in a second jug and then pouring it into the primary fermenter so that you don't have to shake the full gallon as much.

    I used between 2.5 and 2.75 lbs of food lion brand "pure honey" which was about the same color as the clover honey next to it so I figured it would be good enough at half the price. This is an experimental batch anyways to help me practice the method.

    The OG ended up being 1.123 so I am hoping my yesties end up strong enough to take it all the way to 14% ABV so that it isn't too sweet.

    I thought it looked really pretty so I attached a picture...

    It smells amazing...

    Are there any observations I forgot to make or tests I forgot to perform? I'd like to start out on the right foot so it doesn't end up tasting like diesel fuel.

    Thank you!

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
    "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - JRR Tolkien

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    I generally mix my liquids and honey using a blender. I do this in batches and that ensures that a fair amount of air is incorporated into the must. No weight lifting is involved...
    Regarding degassing... I think that if it is worth doing then it is worth doing yourself. I am guessing that your wife's contract does not include that sort of work... When you get up in the morning you can spend a few minutes stirring the mead and when you get home in the evening you repeat the process. It's less about aeration and more about removing CO2 that a) increases the acidity (pH) of the liquid and b) puts additional physical stress on the yeast cells.
    I see that you have hammered home a bung and airlock. That's OK but that creates a wee barrier when you want to degas. Personally, I use a bucket as my primary - loosely covered with a towel. Easy to remove and much easier to use a sanitized plastic spoon to stir the mead to degas... But what you use for a primary is your call although that airlock helps to keep much of the CO2 in solution...

  4. #4

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    That blender idea sounds marvelous... I'll definitely be doing that for the next batch.

    So I take it degassing is more important than aeration? I thought it was the other way around. What would happen if I did not aerate sufficiently in the first few days? I plan to de-gas at least once per day for the whole ferment so I'm not worried about the I'll effects of that. I just don't know how well I'll be able to aerate with so little headspace in the jug...

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
    "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - JRR Tolkien

  5. #5

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    You could fill the kitchen sink with hot water and soak your honey container in it for a couple rounds. Then if you put it in your bucket and add just a cup or two of hot water it will break right up with very little fuss.

    You will do better to learn about more modern SNA's. http://www.meadmaderight.com/ use Go- ferm and fermaid O. Toss the DAP.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    You will do better to learn about more modern SNA's. http://www.meadmaderight.com/ use Go- ferm and fermaid O. Toss the DAP.
    Thank you for the link! Nutrient has been confusing me but this helps. Though I don't recall seeing either of those at my LHBS... I suppose I'll have to buy them online and hope the mixture of nutrient stuff I bought works till the 1/3 sugar break...

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
    "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - JRR Tolkien

  7. #7

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    On that website it says I'd only need half the amount when using fruit/fruit juice. As I have a different nutrient mixture already, do you think just using a full dose of the stuff I have and relying on the nutrient in the apple will be sufficient for this brew? I could add some raisins too if it needs it. I could get raisins much quicker than the goferm and fermaid-o...

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
    "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - JRR Tolkien

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aragorn View Post
    On that website it says I'd only need half the amount when using fruit/fruit juice. As I have a different nutrient mixture already, do you think just using a full dose of the stuff I have and relying on the nutrient in the apple will be sufficient for this brew? I could add some raisins too if it needs it. I could get raisins much quicker than the goferm and fermaid-o...

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
    Raisins are not and never have been a source of nutrients. It was a bad suggestion form someone who meant well and people grabed ahold of it and ran. And like way too often other people with no real experience started parroting it because they heard it. We all know the internet is only full of truth. Apples are somewhat needy I would feed full doses as long as you get them in in time. You have DAP in your food and yeast can't assimilate it after they reach 9% ABV. YOu can always boil a little water and dump in a couple packets of bread yeast from the grociery store in the boiling water. Let it cool and add it.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    ...boil a little water and dump in a couple packets of bread yeast from the grociery store in the boiling water. Let it cool and add it.
    Well I certainly won't go around telling people to add raisins haha thanks for the correction.

    I assume the boiling kills the yeast and then my yeast eat the dead bread yeast? Will this leave any "off" flavors? Do I need to do this at each interval that I would normally add nutrient? I don't have much headspace to just keep adding water...

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
    "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - JRR Tolkien

  10. #10

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    UPDATE -

    Degassing and adding the nutrient resulted in a bit of my mead erupting out of the top of my jug. This evening I will stir a bit less enthusiastically. It is bubbling at a happy rate of 1 bubble every 6 seconds and still smells great. It has not yet developed the frothy bit on top (the krausen? I think that's what it's called...).

    How often do I need to take hydrometer readings? My thief doesn't fit into the jug so taking readings is a bit complicated... I also don't want to be putting things in the mead too often and risk contamination.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
    "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - JRR Tolkien

  11. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Aragorn View Post
    Well I certainly won't go around telling people to add raisins haha thanks for the correction.

    I assume the boiling kills the yeast and then my yeast eat the dead bread yeast? Will this leave any "off" flavors? Do I need to do this at each interval that I would normally add nutrient? I don't have much headspace to just keep adding water...

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
    He means to say that first the water is billed, then filed to heart pitching temperature, 104F, you don't want to kill the heat with boiling water! But if your fermentation is chugging along just fine, there is absolutely no need to add additional yeast. Above processes failed to mention the cleaning of the equipment with something like PBW before what you have listed as step 1; your sanitization with StarSan should be step 2. You do need to take occasional gravity readings with a cleaned & sanitized hydrometer (& sample jar if the hydrometer can't go directly in the growler due to low level of must making the thing difficult or impossible to retrieve).

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk

  12. #12

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    Get a turkey baster instead of your thief. Yes. kill the yeast for food. No off flavors. Just a tiny bit of water will do. Degass before you feed your yeast. Always mix what ever food you are using in some water before you feed and this will calm the eruption.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  13. #13

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    Ah so it had less to do with the vigor of my stirring and more to do with the dry nutrient... Duly noted...

    I will add murdered yeast to it tonight and tomorrow night and then I'll wait for the 1/3 sugar break to add some more. Thanks again for the tip.

    I'm up to 1 bubble every 3 seconds now so I guess my yeasties are happy enough for the moment haha

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
    "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - JRR Tolkien

  14. #14

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    Wouldn't know. I have never seen the significance of bubbles. A ferment long time finished wil still make bubbles as it degasses. Bubbles don't mean squat to me. And won't for you after you start using your hydrometer.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  15. #15

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    Haha fair enough. So should I be using the hydrometer once per day? Every other day? Once a week?

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
    "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - JRR Tolkien

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aragorn View Post
    Haha fair enough. So should I be using the hydrometer once per day? Every other day? Once a week?

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
    for sure at the begining. KNow when the 1/3 is for your last feed. And then when you suspect it might be finishwed. Don't wory about oxidation . Sanitize your gear and you can toss the must back in the vessel. BTW. I always ferment in a bucket. Or now trashcans and this allows for more space for volcanoes (but if you do what I said thats hardly a concern). And once things slow down significantly I move to a carboy and airlock.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  17. #17

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    UPDATE:

    Yesterday was the 1/3 break I believe. I was quite busy so I didn't have time to measure the SG. I did however have time to murder some bread yeast and throw them in per the previous discussion. That being said, I measured the SG today and it appears to be well beyond the 1/3 break.

    Now if I understand correctly, now that I am past the 1/3 break, I no longer need to add nutrient (i.e. dead bread yeast). Is this correct?


    Log:

    Saturday, Dec. 2: OG=1.123

    Monday, Dec. 4: SG=1.100

    Wednesday, Dec. 5: SG=1.048

    I added a mixture (marketed as "yeast energizer") of DAP, Springcell, and Magnesium Sulfate when I pitched the yeast and with each addition of "nutrient". I added some boiled bread yeast in place of nutrient on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. I have degassed twice per day, every day. I did not aerate at all other than the shaking I did to mix the must.


    Future plans:

    Now that I have passed the 1/3 break, my plan is to continue degassing every day, twice per day and to continue checking the SG. I plan to check the SG at least every other day until it does not change for three readings. At that point I will place the jug in the fridge and leave it there for at least 1 week, then set it on the counter for one day before racking to the secondary. When I rack into the secondary I will top it off with the same cider I started with to reduce the headspace. I will then put an airlock on it and take a SG reading every Monday to ensure it does not change for 6 weeks. If it does not change and nothing further settles out of it, I will trade the airlock for the twist on cap and put it in the closet to forget about until next Christmas.

    Am I forgetting anything? Does it seem that my ferment is going well? Is my plan for the future sound?

    Thank you for all of your input and suggestions!

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
    "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - JRR Tolkien

  18. #18

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    Dude . I don't mean to be be mean at all. But you are so messed up in your understanding it's not even funny. And it's not all your fault. So much info on the web is total carp. And I can tell you haven't spent much time around here because we have spent the past few years teaching truth rather than parroting what other uninformed people have to say.

    When you add your cider it will go right back to work. Even if you keep it in the fridge for a year. 3 readings with no change don't mean anything. You need to stabilize. Look it up. Before you can add any fermentable sugars, without it fermenting it. I have heard of stuff sitting dormant for over 2 years and start right back up for no reason when it wasn't stabilized. Put screw on cap on anything that was not stabilized and all you are doing is making bottle bombs. If you use the science we teach you can drink your stuff right out of the carboy and don't have to wait a year.

    So please. Stabilize it first before you add any more juice/honey/sugar/fruit. Then you can add anything you want and be safe. You can buy most of what we use from morewine. Toss the junk you were sold at the shop. Those guys atre not mead makers. Or at least not very serious ones. Other wise they would not have lead you down a path that is ten years old.

    Hang around here and learn. Listen to the podcast started on 9/25 and read the newbie guide. Even it is outdated. And run by the next batch you want to make before you get started so we can make sure you are on your way down the best path. We really do want to help you.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  19. #19

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    Ah yes, stabilizing. I knew I needed to do that but forgot to type it in. I was gonna add the stabilizer to it before sticking it in the fridge. Even without the extra cider it should finish pretty sweet. I just also planned to take SG readings to be sure nothing was happening before capping it.

    With regards to what I bought at the shop, they tailor to beer makers mostly so you are right, they haven't got the knowledge base to recommend proper stuff to me. I just figured it would be good enough for this experiment. They also didn't have Go-Ferm or Fermaid so I plan to buy that online before I try a new batch.

    In regards to the info I found on the newbee guide, I'm sure most of it is sound but I'd like to point out that the nutrient chapter is where I got the raisin idea. There may be other misinformation that I don't know enough about to point out...

    When I started this batch I planned it as an experiment, which is why I only used 1 gallon. I also used cheap and readily available ingredients cause I expected it may not come out anywhere near perfectly. This mead is mostly a trial run to learn from because I know I learn more from doing things wrong than from reading.

    Much like I did on this mead, I will post a plan a few days before I get started. That will give me time to adjust per people's recommendations. On this mead however, I didn't get any responses till I started doing things wrong even though bits of my initial plan were flawed...


    It really can be tough to know what's true and what's not so I really appreciate your help with my learning process.

    So other than accidentally omitting stabilizing, is my plan gonna get me to the finish line? What other things can I do better in the future?

    Thank you so much!

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk
    "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - JRR Tolkien

  20. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by queenbeebrews View Post
    He means to say that first the water is boiled, then cooled to yeast pitching temperature, 104F, you don't want to kill the yeast with boiling water! But if your fermentation is chugging along just fine, there is absolutely no need to add additional yeast. Above processes failed to mention the cleaning of the equipment with something like PBW before what you have listed as step 1; your sanitization with StarSan should be step 2. You do need to take occasional gravity readings with a cleaned & sanitized hydrometer (& sample jar if the hydrometer can't go directly in the growler due to low level of must making the thing difficult or impossible to retrieve).

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk
    Above content edited cuz of stupid smartphone auto corrections...

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk

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