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  1. #1

    Default Another new guy with an interesting situation

    I watch you tube brewers and think I know what I am doing and now I am here.

    Batch #1 - 1 gallon Deer Park water 3 lbs of pasteurized cheap clover honey and one pack of Red Star Premier Curvee Yeast. I sanitized everything with 100 proof bourbon, and pitched it after very little research. It is bubbling away at 1 bubble every 10 secs and seems to be doing its thing fine. But after reading more, I understand that my yeast is strong and I am likely to have carbonated gasoline that should need some level of back sweetening and I will cross that bridge when I get there.

    So I got excited, bought more stuff. I have a hydrometer that I don't have a tube to test in....does anyone drop it in the carboy and how do you get it out?

    Batch #2 - 3 gallons spring water and 9.5 lbs of unfiltered raw wildflower honey and half a bag of Wyeast 4184 wet yeast. Sanitized everything with Star San and I have a very slow start. First 24 hours it was a little too cool at about 60 degrees F. Day 2 moved to 66 degrees and I got progress with one bubble about every two hours. Day 3 moved to 71 degrees and get a bubble about every 30 min.

    Am I stalled? Is this good and normal for this type of yeast? Should I pitch a half pack of D-47 or Red Star Cote des Blanc? Should I just wait it out?

    I do not have and gravity readings yet.

    Thanks for any advice ahead of time.

  2. #2

    Default

    I have dropped the hydrometer straight into the bucket before to take a reading (SANITIZE IT FIRST!!!). To get it back out, you just grab it- it will float!

    I find using The Thief is better, because I can take a sample out with the thief, use the thief itself as the hydrometer tube, and also taste my sample. Can't do any of that by just dropping the hydrometer into the bucket. The Thief is pretty inexpensive and works like a charm (SANITIZE!).

    Also I found it tougher to read the hydrometer in the bucket.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    James Sforza
    Advanced Cicerone, Manager, Vintage Estate Wine & Beer

  3. #3

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    I do have a thief, I will give a reading on batch #2 in the morning, I am not touching batch 1 until 30 days is up

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
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    Default

    Hiya ddavis1979 - and welcome.
    Mead ain't beer and honey ain't grain...and mead making is not brewing. Many mead makers use a bucket to ferment their honey must - loosely covered with a towel. You are not going to "infect" the mead with bacteria - bacteria don't like the pH of mead and honey will not have a large colony of lactic bacteria in the same way that grains do... watching brewing videos is not laways the best way to learn about mead making - and IMO most self published videos are pretty close to arrant garbage... You should be measuring/monitoring the change in gravity with an hydrometer and not counting bubbles in an airlock... Waiting for 30 days is not perhaps the best way to start making mead...

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the insight Bernard. My current specific gravity is 1.121. Seems a little high?

    What would you do right now for best results given my two descriptions below?

  6. #6

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    My real question, given the type of Yeast, Wyeast 4184, and the 9.5lbs honey to 2 gals of water, at 71 degrees, with a gravity of 1.121. Is the mead going to work out in time with very VERY few bubbles coming through the air lock? Should I take action or let sit?

    By taking action, I mean, aeration, adding yeast nutrient, re-pitching, adding water? Anything like that or am I good as is?

  7. #7

    Default

    You need to feed your yeast nitrogen. If not your not going to make anything drinkable in less than a year or more. And even then it will still be full of faults
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  8. #8

    Default

    There was a nutrition pack in the bag of yeast that I bought and used. DOes it need more? What is the best method to "feed it nitrogen"?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    717

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ddavis1979 View Post
    There was a nutrition pack in the bag of yeast that I bought and used. DOes it need more? What is the best method to "feed it nitrogen"?
    Chapter 10 of the NewBee guide? Even it's getting dated, so add Fermaid O to the list.

    http://gotmead.com/blog/making-mead/...o-making-mead/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Saratoga Springs , NY
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    I tend to be a bit of a contrarian and I would argue that novice mead makers should not try to make meads that have more than 4 lbs of honey in every gallon. You really need to know what you are doing to handle that amount of sugar - It's like a high school kid taking driver's ed (here in the USA)and driving a Ferrari...in the Bronx... A mead with a starting gravity of 1.100 (or thereabouts) might be a better way to get a handle on mead making... (about 3 lbs of mead per gallon of must).
    Bubbles through the airlock don't really tell you anything... nor does a lack of airlock activity tell me anything - after all, there could be a poor seal between the bubbler and the bung or the bung and the carboy.

  11. #11

    Default

    I used 9.5 lbs of honey in a 3 gallon carboy. so closer to 3.15 lbs honey for 3 gallons of must. That is what you are recommending correct?

    Or did I mess that us since its only really 2 gallons of water so I should have used 6 lbs honey?

  12. #12

    Default

    I wouldn't be using half packets of yeast unless I'm using the other half straight away. Overpitching yeast by half a pack will do no harm, actually you will probably benefit. Meanwhile using an old half pack of yeast can give unreliable results because the yeast might not be viable since they were not stored in their pack.
    Nutrients and feeding schedule and aeration.. you got to learn about those. What best to use, how much, how often and when. I use tosna and that pretty much sums up all those points. You can read about that at the mead made right site. If you can't use those ingredients and method there are other ways, some of which are not as good.

    So first you need to know what sort of mead you want. do you like lighter 10% abv meads, the more usual 12-13%? stronger 14-15%? you can go up to 18 and 20 but I wouldn't recommend that for now. Then you have to add honey and calculate with your hydrometer so that the end mead will have that abv. Going by lbs/gallon is a bit imprecise because honeys have different levels of sweetness and I've found that beekeepers don't weigh their honey so precisely when selling in bulk. Then you have to add only enough honey so as not to give your yeast osmotic shock. once the yeast have worked through some of those sugars and are in full swing you can add the rest of your honey.

    This reply is already quite long and I went into very little detail. In order to explain everything I'd be going through the newbee guide and rewriting it. So read the newbee guide and where you need more clarification do some searches on these forums. if there is something you can't understand ask. Just don't expect to learn everything in a day from a few searches or questions. It took me weeks for me to fully understand how best to make a mead and it took me months in order to perfect my method and ingredients to where I'm comfortable.

    Don't be deterred though, it seems more daunting than it actually is. If you like the hobby you won't mind the research as much
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  13. #13

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    I originally pitched the mead on 27 DEC and it is now JAN 1. I have not given it any nutrient besides a hand full of raisins.

    Assuming I could get some Femaid in 2 days.....is it too late?

  14. #14

    Default

    Thanks stasis, I have been reading through the guide and looking to find the right balance for myself between the intricate technical details and perfectionist, in contrast with casual success and the level which I am willing to take this.

    I think that pitching the Wyeast 4184 was not the best choice, I would have been better off using the D47 or Cote des Blanc. But I have to learn sometime. I am making a dryer batch with the Premier Cuvee Yeast and it seems to be doing fine, I wanted this one to be sweeter with higher RS and I was impulsive in my pitching of the yeast. I did pop the nutrient pack and let it sit at 70 degrees for 3 hours, but nothing more than that, and I should have pitched the whole pack and fed it better. I am curious now if I still have time to feed what I have pitched, or should I repitch with a different yeast and add nutrient?

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Saratoga Springs , NY
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    Default

    What is the current gravity reading? My understanding is - and I have to admit that I don't know the microbiology well enough to know how valid this is - that yeast cannot take up nutrients when the ABV is about 9% - so any addition of nutrients at that point will feed bacteria , not the yeast. Most of my own meads are session meads so this "endpoint" is not anything I tend to even think about as 1) I feed all nutrients shortly before pitching the yeast and 2) I don't aim for a higher ABV than about 6 or 7%. I am not competing with malt whisky or wine. I am making a drink that competes with beer or cider.

  16. #16

    Default

    the current gravity is 1.121 which is about the same as the predicted original gravity given the amount of honey to water that I used. I have some Wyest Nutrient Blend that should be here tomorrow. I will pitch that in there in hopes that I am not too late. If that doesn't work in 24 hours to speed things up some, then I will re-pitch a different yeast (red Star Cote des Blanc) and then see if I have any better results.

    I am assuming this could be some strange tasting mead when I am done, but that's part of the learning experience. I am open to other actions if others have better ideas

  17. #17

    Default

    UPDATE!!!

    OK now things are getting weird. As previously stated...

    - Pitched the yeast on 27 DEC and unfortunately let it get too cold (58F) in the first 24 hours.
    - Moved it to a new location that was warmer (65 F), gave it some aeration and waited and watched
    - within 48 hours, I got my first bubbles in the air lock, but they were 30-45 minutes apart
    - Moved it to another warmer location after two more days (71 F) and aerated again.
    - After 3 days in the new location, nothing had changed, I assumed my yeast was stalled and that I needed to pitch some yeast nutrient, or maybe pitch new yeast.
    - While waiting for my shipment to come in I noticed a kernel of all spice was floating at the top and had some mold on it (discouraging)
    - Day 10, all of a sudden the bubbles have picked up and are bubbling up every 20-30 seconds.

    Does that mean the yeast has awoken and is working? Do I leave it alone now. I don't want to waste this opportunity if its a sign of things turning around.

    Thoughts?

    Ohh and where as the top of the mead was clean and clear, all of a sudden it looks like a frothy wasteland of bubbles and (hopefully krausen?)
    Last edited by ddavis1979; 01-06-2018 at 05:49 PM.

  18. #18
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    Jun 2016
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    Brookline, NH
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    Default

    Sounds like you are rocking and rolling. Keep an eye on the SG and keep degassing/aerating/stirring once a day.

  19. #19

    Default

    I know, I know, I know what the experts say about counting bubbles . . . but I see it as a good, quick easy way to tell if the right activities are going on with you mead. I only say this to defend my next statement that I am super excited and relieved that this morning DAY 11 that I have a steady bubble stream of 1 bubble every 5-6 seconds. Who knew that it would have taken 10 days before any real activity started.

  20. #20
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    Jun 2016
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    I'm going to revise the nutrient protocol that I suggested in the other thread.

    Do you have a good grams scale? It looks like Wyeast recommends 0.335 grams per gallon (which doesn't seem like very much). Your initial post says you used 3 gallons of water, with 9.5 lbs of honey, but then you said it was in a 3 gallon carboy, so I'm guessing you used enough water to make a total batch size of 3 gallons?

    Because it's commonly assumed that yeast will not use the nitrogen after it reaches 9% alcohol! you should add all your nutrients before the 1/2 way point.

    So, add 0.335 grams of nutrients now, 0.335 grams at 1.090 and 0.335 grams at 1.060.
    Last edited by darigoni; 01-07-2018 at 08:39 AM.

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