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Thread: First batch of mead ever

  1. #1

    Default First batch of mead ever

    Hi all! I have a few questions I was hoping someone might help me with. I just made my first batch of mead and prior to this I have never brewed anything. I made 5 Gallons of straight honey mead:

    15 lbs of raw honey (Guesstimation on weight)
    No heat method (I did not have a thermostat though so the water temperature was just luke warm)
    Lalvin ICV D47
    Wyeast Nutrient
    Brewcraft Energizer
    Starting Original Gravity 1.130
    5 gal plastic fermenter

    Fermentation in the airlock seemed very slow after 4 days never getting more than a bubble every 20 sec or so and I had the fermenter in the basement and the stick on thermometer read 58 degrees. I moved it upstairs and now its at 65 degrees. I now understand that bubbles is not a good read of fermentation, however after 4 days I opened it up and put in another dose of Wyeast Nutrients. Gravity read at 1.08 but I made the mistake of taking the gravity after adding the nutrients and blending (in a blender) some of the must. I was going off of Ken Schrams the Complete Mead Maker book. Bubbling every 8 or 10 seconds now but like I said I get that I shouldn't go off of that.

    My questions are:
    Should I continue to add nutrients over time?
    Because my starting gravity was so high will my mead finish with a super high alcohol content?
    Should I just not touch it anymore for 2 or 3 weeks until I rack it?
    Im trying to steer away from anything super sweet like a dessert mead and I also don't want the alcohol content to be more than a good bottle of wine, say 12-14% or so.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    My questions are:
    Should I continue to add nutrients over time? Yes of course. You would ride a 100 miles on a bike without eating during the ride. Same for the yeast. Meadmaderight.com
    Because my starting gravity was so high will my mead finish with a super high alcohol content? That yeast will eat all of your sugar if it works like it should (it would in my hands)
    Should I just not touch it anymore for 2 or 3 weeks until I rack it? Don't rack it in a time frame you make. Let the ferment tall you that.
    I'm trying to steer away from anything super sweet like a dessert mead and I also don't want the alcohol content to be more than a good bottle of wine, say 12-14% or so. You would have to add the appropriate amount of honey that is associated to the ABV you seek. Prior to pitching your yeast.

    If you keep your yeast happy with the correct amount of food. And keep it below 66 degrees. It should run that dry. You will then need to stabilize it. (look it up) and then you can back sweeten to your desired sweetness level.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  3. #3

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    Squatchy hit the high points.
    But I would recommend reading the newbee guide. Then meadmaderight.com. Then if you have time the podcasts September through November.
    Kens book is great but over 15 years old. He uses SNA now so his book while helpful is not fully up to date. He would even tell you differently.
    Nutrients: use Fermaid-O but Fermaid -K will work for now if that is all you can get. Even using yeast hulls is ok and much better than DAP

  4. #4

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    Sweet, thanks guys!

  5. #5

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    Ok I've been researching non stop. This stuff is fascinating, I feel like I just started feeding an obsession! I do have more questions though that I haven't found yet, I'm sure that will continue for years haha...why keep the fermentation under 66 degrees? That yeast can tolerate from 50 to 80 or so I've read. It was originally in my basement but that was more like 58 degrees so I moved it to the pantry where it's more like 68 degrees. Is it a big deal or will fermenting at even that slightly quicker pace have a larger overall impact on fermenting the mead dry?

  6. #6

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    The hotter the ferment the more likely the ferment will get out of hand.
    This leads to more heat which leads the yeast to make fusels (other alcohols that are hot tasting and cause headaches).
    The exact temp depends on the yeast but for the first 48-72 hours of fermentation it should be in the low temp end rather upper temp end

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCarrara View Post
    Ok I've been researching non stop. This stuff is fascinating, I feel like I just started feeding an obsession!
    I know, right? I just started 4 months ago and I'm hooked.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCarrara View Post
    why keep the fermentation under 66 degrees? That yeast can tolerate from 50 to 80 or so I've read. It was originally in my basement but that was more like 58 degrees so I moved it to the pantry where it's more like 68 degrees. Is it a big deal or will fermenting at even that slightly quicker pace have a larger overall impact on fermenting the mead dry?
    Like caduseus said, the yeast make more fusels at higher temps. I'm no expert but from what I've read it creates more of that alcohol "heat" that takes more time to mellow out. So keeping the temps lower will have a slower fermentation but will be smoother. Some people have posted that they keep the temps low during the majority of the fermentation (when the majority of the flavor profile is getting produced) and then at the end when things are almost done they raise the temps so that the yeast finish up a little faster.

    I could be wrong, but I think someone said that not all fusels are bad. I think they said they make low alcohol meads (hydromels or short meads) and they ferment at higher temps to get those fusels to add some character to an otherwise "watery" mead.
    Raisins are NOT nutrients for yeast... but french fries ARE!

  8. #8

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    Ok well it sounds like I did it correctly (accidentally) as I didn't move it upstairs till around the 3rd day. However as I live in Montana and the temperatures are fluctuating wildly right now and getting down into the 20's or less at night, my basement can drop to high 40's (not sure exactly but it gets cold, maybe low 50's, it varies from week to week). Would it not be better to leave it be then just so the yeast doesn't stall?

  9. #9

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    62-68f is optimal range
    It won’t ferment below 59 or above 86.
    This is JUST for D47.
    http://www.eaton.de/EN/ecm/idcplg?Id...ame=PCT_868225
    Keeping in broader range (59-86) is absolutely necessary after 72 hours.
    For the first 48-72 hours stay within more narrow range as much as possible

  10. #10

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    Ok awesome. I will leave it where it sits then. Thank you

  11. #11

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    Are those podcasts on here Caduseus?

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCarrara View Post
    Are those podcasts on here Caduseus?
    http://gotmead.com/blog/gotmead-live-radio-show/

    You'll need to go to the bottom of the page, to get a link for "older entries". Start off with the one dated 9/5/2017 and work your way towards 2018.

  13. #13

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    Awesome! Thank you

  14. #14

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    Getting a sulfury smell from the fermenter. After mixing my wife says it smells like Kombucha.
    Ok, so of course I've made an incredible amount of first timer mistakes. My second gravity reading was WAY wrong because I had just blended it and all that. Here is my progress (or whatever you want to call it) thus far:

    On Day 1, 4, and 6. Based on my readings you are only supposed to add nutrient on days 24 hours after start, then 48, 72, and day 7 of preferably Fermaid O. I couldn't find any of that and so continued to use the only nutrient I have which is that Wyeast Nutrient. I stopped after day 6 having gotten to some of the information a bit late. I haven't touched the fermenter since then as I read that you shouldn't degassing in a plastic fermenter because of the space on top? Wish I could find the piece I read. Since then I've come to the conclusion that was incorrect and that I should keep degassing during primary fermentation. My gravity is now at 1.08 for real. I let it sit in the tube for a few minutes till it was totally still and settled and there were no bubbles and this was the first thing I did prior to any mixing of any kind. So that last reading on day 4 was bogus when I had blended it. Stupid I know but live and learn.

    So whats up with the slight sulfur smell and should I keep adding nutrients. I read that the yeast might be working too hard hence the need for more. Also should I just keep degassing till its fermented down below 1.000 then stabilize and rack it?

    Thanks for baring with me guys, the next batch I will be so much more prepared haha.
    Last edited by AndrewCarrara; 04-03-2018 at 11:52 PM.
    "But why male models?"

  15. #15

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    Mixing the mead gently with a spoon seems to have dissipated the smell and it now smells good again. I didn't add any nutrients as I read that over feeding can cause the smell as can this strain of yeast at higher temperatures around or above 68. It's still between 67 and 68 degrees so makes sense.

  16. #16

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    If you can you would do better to keep that me just 5 more points lower in temperature. You're at the threshold level right now which means you're probably making some fusils. In regards to DE gassing as your Mead slows down in the fermentation process it's making less gas. Though she need to DE gas less frequently. For the most part the off aromas come from stressed yeast. And for the most part if you're in the temperatures on you should be then it's almost always a lack of nutrients
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  17. #17

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    Thanks Squatchy. I literally just listened to you talk about fuesels and stressed yeast on the podcast not 2 min before I read your post.
    I added wyeast nutrient and gently stirred the fermenter this morning (again thats all ive got) and I also dropped it down a little lower and it seems to be resting around 64 degrees now. I read that D47 can get sulfury around 68 or more degrees. Also turned the thermostat down and am hoping my wife won't notice haha

  18. #18

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    Ok so 12 days in and my must is now at 1.068 SG. 2 Days ago it was at 1.08. I've about reached the half way point in 2 weeks which if I had done things correctly I'd be dry by now. Are there any downsides to a slow fermentation? I swirl the bucket twice a day and I always stir it when I take a gravity reading. I have no qualms about this taking as much time as it needs, I'd just like to know that I'm not heading for disaster if I don't repitch or something along those lines. It smells good, no sulfur hints or anything. Temperature is at 64 according to the temp sticker on the bucket. I wish I could tell you what the Ph is but I don't yet have a ph meter. Also I understand that once it has finally eaten all the sugar I should leave it on the lees for a month or 2 to let the yeast "clean up" and perhaps create a better mouth feel but according to that information you shouldn't do that if the yeast had produced any off flavors and as I had that sulfur smell for about 24 hours and obviously those yeast cells are still in there, is that a long enough time to say that once it has finished fermenting I should immediately begin stabilizing and racking it?
    "But why male models?"

  19. #19

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    An intentional slow ferment is not something I try to do. I have many times gone much further below the listed temp for a certain strain. But I don't really find it beneficial anymore, so I just stay at the bottom of the temp window. You are taking longer than usual. But I would just ride this one out. And do the next one correctly based on the new knowledge you gained from the podcast info.

    My suggestion would be to keep this batched stirred up for a week after it's finished. Stop rousing the yeast at that point. Cold crash it and rack once you have had a good deal of drop out
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  20. #20

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    Thanks Squatchy. And would you still stabilize at that point after cold crashing it prior to racking?

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