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  1. Default First and hopefully not last mead

    Okay, so after an excessive amount of reading and watching mead how-to's online my brain got dizzy with all the conflicting information that virtually gave me whiplash! However, I really wanted to try my hand at making this drink that I've enjoyed for so long. My problem is that I'm very VERY poor so I limited my budget to what I determined to be the absolute necessities. These items included: Honey (10 lbs. split even-ish-ly into 3 3 liter carboys), spring water, frozen black cherries - crushed (about 1 cup for 1 of the 3 carboys), frozen blue berries - crushed (about 1 cup for carboy #2), yeast (I got Lalvin ec-1118 I'll explain why in a minute), StarSan, campden tablets, a funnel, and a auto-siphon. I already had several 3 liter glass wine bottles so I decided to use these since I can't afford those expensive 1 gallon carboys. So I have 3 of these fermenting ( since 6-28-2018 ) and I have 3 empty ones ready to rack into as secondaries. I unfortunately couldn't afford to get a hydrometer either, i really wanted one but I simply ran out of money from my savings

    So first off, I just want to make the statement that I'm not looking for comments like "You shouldn't use ec-1118", I went with this yeast for two reasons, first: a few expert mead makers online said that they used it, and second: I have no way to really regulate a specific temperature in my house and I read that this yeast tolerated a wide range of temperatures unlike a few of the other yeasts I first considered. I'm trying to keep my fermentors as cool as possible but the temperature has slowly gone between about 83F and 78F. The outdoor temperatures have been up in the 90's lately and don't show any signs of changing any time soon.

    Before I go on I have to say, for a drink that I was told is easy to make (just put water, honey and yeast in a bottle and wait) people sure make it REALLY complicated REALLY fast. I keep wondering to myself what thermometers the ancient vikings used and where they bought their StarSan from or their fancy plastic airlocks.

    Anyway, now on to my questions. I'm mainly looking for helpful instruction from people that have successfully made mead with this yeast but anyone is of course welcome to chime in.

    So first, I'm thinking about stopping my fermentation after 20 days from initial setup even if it's still going. Do you think that the yeast will have done enough of it's job by this time? I'd be happy with an ABV anywhere between 14% and 18% but I do want this to be a sweet or at least semi-sweet mead so I'll back sweeten it if I need to.

    Secondly, I initially intended to stop the fermentation using the Campden tablets and refrigerating for about a week or so before racking into secondary (final stage in my case) but I have since read that ec-1118 can metabolize sulfite so without having to buy yet another product off line plus shipping is there something simple I could use to stop fermentation? Maybe something I can find at my local grocery store?

    Thirdly, how long "really" until the mead is drinkable? I know it gets better with age but what I'm asking is when will it taste like mead and not like hot paint thinner? Also, since I'm wanting to stop the fermentation after 20 days can I just leave the secondary in the fridge? I've never read anything explaining why this would need to be not refrigerated, the yeast are out of the story at this point right? Is there something else going on that I haven't found an explanation for?

    Thanks for any help you can give, if i can think of any other questions I'll be sure to ask you guys

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rozmere View Post
    Before I go on I have to say, for a drink that I was told is easy to make (just put water, honey and yeast in a bottle and wait) people sure make it REALLY complicated REALLY fast. I keep wondering to myself what thermometers the ancient vikings used and where they bought their StarSan from or their fancy plastic airlocks.
    Actually, the mead the Vikings made probably tasted like crap, but it did make them feel Funny (intoxicated).

    You should have spent some of your meager funds on some nutrients.

    How much yeast did you use per bottle?

    It's actually kind of hard to give you advice on what you've made as, because of the format you put it in, you really make people work to figure it out and give you advice. Ignoring the fruit additions, if you divided up your honey so that you had 3.3 lbs in each of the 3L bottles, you would have ended up with an starting gravity of around 1.151, with a potential alcohol of 19%. EC-1118 has a alcohol tolerance of 18%, but you're not treating it very well, so it could crap out early or it could eat all of the honey.

    How will you know when it's time to stop your fermentation? You don't have a hydrometer and don't even have bubbles to count (which is not recommended anyway).

    Why 20 days?

    I guess I would wait a full month. Cold crash for a couple of days, which should stop your fermentation. Then rack onto your Campden tablets. Wait a couple of days, then taste and add honey to sweeten to your liking. You should really have some Potassium Sorbate, as it along with the Campden tablet are normally used to stabilize (stop) a fermentation.

    It can be "drinkable" right away. Of course what you consider drinkable may not be what other people think as such :-)
    Last edited by darigoni; 07-05-2018 at 10:06 AM.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    You should have spent some of your meager funds on some nutrients.
    Hi! Thanks for the reply! Well I did add a handful of raisins to each batch, so many people suggested this instead of the more expensive options.

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    How much yeast did you use per bottle?
    I used an entire packet per carboy.

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    How will you know when it's time to stop your fermentation? You don't have a hydrometer and don't even have bubbles to count (which is not recommended anyway).
    I do have bubbles in my airlocks, is that what you mean? I'm getting 1 bubble every nine and a half seconds.

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    Why 20 days?
    A million people saying a million different things, some say around 2-weeks some say 2-months, I honestly got really frustrated trying to figure out what was right so I made a guess based on what repeated information from different sources. I could very well be wrong but hey that's why I'm here.

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    I guess I would wait a full month. Cold crash for a couple of days, which should stop your fermentation. Then rack onto your Campden tablets. Wait a couple of days, then taste and add honey to sweeten to your liking. You should really have some Potassium Sorbate, as it along with the Campden tablet are normally used to stabilize (stop) a fermentation.
    Cool, okay, since I'll be waiting a little longer than I originally estimated I may be able to afford to order some Potassium Sorbate in the meantime. Is there a less expensive source for it than Amazon?

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    It can be "drinkable" right away. Of course what you consider drinkable may not be what other people think as such :-)
    Well I don't want to rush it, I was just curious about time for information sake really, it's hard to sort through all the information that is out there because it all says something different.

    Thank you for the help.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    You should have spent some of your meager funds on some nutrients.
    Hi! Thanks for the reply! Well I did add a handful of raisins to each batch, so many people suggested this instead of the more expensive options.

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    How much yeast did you use per bottle?
    I used an entire packet per carboy.

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    How will you know when it's time to stop your fermentation? You don't have a hydrometer and don't even have bubbles to count (which is not recommended anyway).
    I do have bubbles in my airlocks, is that what you mean? I'm getting 1 bubble every nine and a half seconds.

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    Why 20 days?
    A million people saying a million different things, some say around 2-weeks some say 2-months, I honestly got really frustrated trying to figure out what was right so I made a guess based on what repeated information from different sources. I could very well be wrong but hey that's why I'm here.

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    I guess I would wait a full month. Cold crash for a couple of days, which should stop your fermentation. Then rack onto your Campden tablets. Wait a couple of days, then taste and add honey to sweeten to your liking. You should really have some Potassium Sorbate, as it along with the Campden tablet are normally used to stabilize (stop) a fermentation.
    Cool, okay, since I'll be waiting a little longer than I originally estimated I may be able to afford to order some Potassium Sorbate in the meantime. Is there a less expensive source for it than Amazon?

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    It can be "drinkable" right away. Of course what you consider drinkable may not be what other people think as such :-)
    Well I don't want to rush it, I was just curious about time for information sake really, it's hard to sort through all the information that is out there because it all says something different.

    Thank you for the help.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    You should have spent some of your meager funds on some nutrients.
    Hi! Thanks for the reply! Well I did add a handful of raisins to each batch, so many people suggested this instead of the more expensive options.

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    How much yeast did you use per bottle?
    I used an entire packet per carboy.

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    How will you know when it's time to stop your fermentation? You don't have a hydrometer and don't even have bubbles to count (which is not recommended anyway).
    I do have bubbles in my airlocks, is that what you mean? I'm getting 1 bubble every nine and a half seconds.

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    Why 20 days?
    A million people saying a million different things, some say around 2-weeks some say 2-months, I honestly got really frustrated trying to figure out what was right so I made a guess based on what repeated information from different sources. I could very well be wrong but hey that's why I'm here.

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    I guess I would wait a full month. Cold crash for a couple of days, which should stop your fermentation. Then rack onto your Campden tablets. Wait a couple of days, then taste and add honey to sweeten to your liking. You should really have some Potassium Sorbate, as it along with the Campden tablet are normally used to stabilize (stop) a fermentation.
    Cool, okay, since I'll be waiting a little longer than I originally estimated I may be able to afford to order some Potassium Sorbate in the meantime. Is there a less expensive source for it than Amazon?

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    It can be "drinkable" right away. Of course what you consider drinkable may not be what other people think as such :-)
    Well I don't want to rush it, I was just curious about time for information sake really, it's hard to sort through all the information that is out there because it all says something different.

    Thank you for the help.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Brookline, NH
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rozmere View Post
    Hi! Thanks for the reply! Well I did add a handful of raisins to each batch, so many people suggested this instead of the more expensive options.

    I used an entire packet per carboy.

    I do have bubbles in my airlocks, is that what you mean? I'm getting 1 bubble every nine and a half seconds.

    A million people saying a million different things, some say around 2-weeks some say 2-months, I honestly got really frustrated trying to figure out what was right so I made a guess based on what repeated information from different sources. I could very well be wrong but hey that's why I'm here.

    Cool, okay, since I'll be waiting a little longer than I originally estimated I may be able to afford to order some Potassium Sorbate in the meantime. Is there a less expensive source for it than Amazon?

    Well I don't want to rush it, I was just curious about time for information sake really, it's hard to sort through all the information that is out there because it all says something different.

    Thank you for the help.
    Yes, a lot of info out there. The definitive info can be found on the Gotmead podcasts, starting on 9-5-2017. Work your way forward from there (the entire month of Sept.).

    http://gotmead.com/blog/gotmead-live-radio-show/page/3/

    I also like the YouTube series, called "Mead Methodologies", by the Canadian Sasquatch. He lays down a good foundation for stuff that you'll learn later on. His BOMM and Blood Orange Melomel videos are excellent also.

    You'll learn that raisins are a VERY poor substitute for nutrients. It's been determined that you would have to literally use pounds of them to supply enough nutrients. It's bad info that keeps getting passed down.

    I should have said that after 30 days your fermentation will most likely be finished. Cold crashing will "help" to clear it and "help" to drop the yeast out. You'll need to stabilize or risk restarting the fermentation when/if you add more honey for sweetening.

    Not sure about an alternate source for Potassium Sorbate. Do you have a local home brew equipment store? How about a local beer brewing or wine making club? Perhaps someone would give you some or sell you enough for your present needs. There are a lot of places that sell it online, but then you have to pay for shipping.......

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    Yes, a lot of info out there. The definitive info can be found on the Gotmead podcasts, starting on 9-5-2017. Work your way forward from there (the entire month of Sept.).

    http://gotmead.com/blog/gotmead-live-radio-show/page/3/

    I also like the YouTube series, called "Mead Methodologies", by the Canadian Sasquatch. He lays down a good foundation for stuff that you'll learn later on. His BOMM and Blood Orange Melomel videos are excellent also.
    Cool, I will certainly check both out. The more practical information the better!

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    You'll learn that raisins are a VERY poor substitute for nutrients. It's been determined that you would have to literally use pounds of them to supply enough nutrients. It's bad info that keeps getting passed down.
    This is somewhat upsetting considering how many so called professional's suggest them. Well, now I know better for next time. Hopefully this first time won't turn out as horrible as everyone seems to say that it will. I guess I will learn from my mistakes though.

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    I should have said that after 30 days your fermentation will most likely be finished. Cold crashing will "help" to clear it and "help" to drop the yeast out. You'll need to stabilize or risk restarting the fermentation when/if you add more honey for sweetening.
    I guess the best thing to do is taste it when I'm getting ready to cold crash it and see if it needs more honey, or should I wait a certain amount of time before doing that?

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    Not sure about an alternate source for Potassium Sorbate. Do you have a local home brew equipment store? How about a local beer brewing or wine making club? Perhaps someone would give you some or sell you enough for your present needs. There are a lot of places that sell it online, but then you have to pay for shipping.......
    I don't unfortunately, I live in a very small town in a dry county (don't worry I checked my state laws and it's fine to brew in my home for personal consumption). We use to have a brewing supply place years ago but businesses have been slowly leaving so it's hard to find anything I need here. The closest place to get anything but standard essentials is around 2 hours away. There may be a brewing club of some sort but I have severe social anxiety (this is also the contributing factor to my poor financial state) so I really only leave the house when I absolutely have to. :/

    I will take all of your helpful advice and I'll enjoy the podcasts and Youtube videos as well!

  8. #8
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    Well, theoretically, you could keep adding honey until you've exceeded the alcohol tolerance of your yeast (18% for EC-111, at which point the yeast go dormant, and then you would add even more honey to your desired sweetness level. This is called step feeding, but you really need a hydrometer to do it.

    I would wait the 30 days, cold crash, rack, add your Campden tablet(s) and potassium sorbate (if you locate some). Then I would taste it. It will probably be dry so, unless you like a dry white wine, you probably won't enjoy it. It's at this point you'll want to add honey to sweeten it.

    Good luck and let us know how it all turns out.

  9. #9

    Default

    not sure how you missed the low cost options:

    * 5l or 1 gallon (depending on where you live - your use of mostly freedom units suggests USA) plastic water jugs instead of carboys; in the US they seem to have HDPE jugs, in Europe only PET is available; there are veterans here who ferment in large plastic trash cans
    * airlocks and rubber grommets are pretty cheap, but if you don't have them available either use a rubber balloon you poked with a needle, or just leave the lid half unscrewed; your goal is to prevent insects from entering, the generated CO2 is heavier than air and will produce an anaerobic environment while fermentation is underway
    * boiled bread yeast for nutrients; I've been using it for 3 meads already and it works fine, I use roughly the quantities suggested by the TOSNA calculator (I got a 500g packet of the kind that looks like butter, dissolved it in water, boiled until it was about half the volume, left to cool, poured in ice cube bags and put in the freezer; in my case, one such cube contains about 3g of dry mass)
    * as you already used, EC-1118 or a similarly robust yeast so it can ferment at room temperature
    * I'd add bentonite to the list; it's cheap, and helps with clearing
    * as others will undoubtedly rush to tell you, it's pretty hard to stop fermentation for good; cold crashing, racking, adding bentonite, racking again (so you get rid of as much of the yeast as possible), then stabilizing with sorbate and metabisulfite should get you close (and you could use flip-top or PET bottles so pressure build-up is less of an issue); storing in a cool place is also a good idea, if you can
    * sanitize with diluted bleach followed by a good rinse (never used, but see note below about the youtube guy), or concentrated metabisulfite solution with a bit of citric acid added (used without issues before getting my hands on starsan)
    * you kinda need a hydrometer if you want to get at least somewhat repeatable results

    There's a British guy on youtube (making homebrew wild and cheap) who ferments just about anything and uses the, well, cheapest methods available (that's where I've seen the bleach sanitization thing in action), you may want to give him a look. Also, aliexpress is your friend

    I've never used EC-1118 (not available here), but it should be similar with what I used for most of my meads so far (16-18%, clean profile, low nutrient requirements), and most of them were tasty before they even stopped bubbling and awesome one month later (never got the paint thinner thing, it may be a feature of them fancy yeasts, but then again I'm at batch 10, so pretty much a babby)

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    not sure how you missed the low cost options:

    * 5l or 1 gallon (depending on where you live - your use of mostly freedom units suggests USA) plastic water jugs instead of carboys; in the US they seem to have HDPE jugs, in Europe only PET is available; there are veterans here who ferment in large plastic trash cans
    LOL, first off thanks for replying! Yeah I'm in the U.S. and I used the 3 liter glass bottles because I already had them from years back (always planning to some day make mead). I also didn't want to use the plastic water bottles because for one: I'm not positive what the plastic is and two: all of them seemed to have ridges that curled inward that seemed like they would just tear into the rubber bungs of my airlocks and not actually provide enough of a surface-to-surface connection to do what they were meant to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    * airlocks and rubber grommets are pretty cheap, but if you don't have them available either use a rubber balloon you poked with a needle, or just leave the lid half unscrewed; your goal is to prevent insects from entering, the generated CO2 is heavier than air and will produce an anaerobic environment while fermentation is underway
    I'm using actual plastic airlocks with rubber bungs, they're the kind with the floating chamber not the swirly kind.

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    * boiled bread yeast for nutrients; I've been using it for 3 meads already and it works fine, I use roughly the quantities suggested by the TOSNA calculator (I got a 500g packet of the kind that looks like butter, dissolved it in water, boiled until it was about half the volume, left to cool, poured in ice cube bags and put in the freezer; in my case, one such cube contains about 3g of dry mass)
    Okay, I'll keep that in mind. For nutrients I just added a small handful of raisins to each bottle.

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    * as you already used, EC-1118 or a similarly robust yeast so it can ferment at room temperature
    * I'd add bentonite to the list; it's cheap, and helps with clearing
    Okay, I may be able to afford that before the primary is done, I'll price it and see,

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    * as others will undoubtedly rush to tell you, it's pretty hard to stop fermentation for good; cold crashing, racking, adding bentonite, racking again (so you get rid of as much of the yeast as possible), then stabilizing with sorbate and metabisulfite should get you close (and you could use flip-top or PET bottles so pressure build-up is less of an issue); storing in a cool place is also a good idea, if you can
    Yeah I would like to get some PET bottles but I was thinking about just leaving it in the secondary. Can I just leave the secondary in the fridge after I cold crash it or does it have to be out for some reason?

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    * sanitize with diluted bleach followed by a good rinse (never used, but see note below about the youtube guy), or concentrated metabisulfite solution with a bit of citric acid added (used without issues before getting my hands on starsan)
    I already had StarSan so I made sure to use that on everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    * you kinda need a hydrometer if you want to get at least somewhat repeatable results
    Yeah I really want one, I have to watch my money very carefully but if I have success with this hobby then I do plan to get one at some point.

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    There's a British guy on youtube (making homebrew wild and cheap) who ferments just about anything and uses the, well, cheapest methods available (that's where I've seen the bleach sanitization thing in action), you may want to give him a look. Also, aliexpress is your friend
    Thank you, I'll look him up. I've used AliExpress before, my only issue with them is that it takes so long to get your stuff, but hey, in the case of mead I guess waiting isn't a big issue

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    I've never used EC-1118 (not available here), but it should be similar with what I used for most of my meads so far (16-18%, clean profile, low nutrient requirements), and most of them were tasty before they even stopped bubbling and awesome one month later (never got the paint thinner thing, it may be a feature of them fancy yeasts, but then again I'm at batch 10, so pretty much a babby)
    Well I don't know that it will ever have a paint thinner taste X) I haven't tested mine at all, I'm leaving those airlocks firmly in place until it's done.

    Thank you so much for all the useful advice!

  11. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    not sure how you missed the low cost options:

    * 5l or 1 gallon (depending on where you live - your use of mostly freedom units suggests USA) plastic water jugs instead of carboys; in the US they seem to have HDPE jugs, in Europe only PET is available; there are veterans here who ferment in large plastic trash cans
    LOL, first off thanks for replying! Yeah I'm in the U.S. and I used the 3 liter glass bottles because I already had them from years back (always planning to some day make mead). I also didn't want to use the plastic water bottles because for one: I'm not positive what the plastic is and two: all of them seemed to have ridges that curled inward that seemed like they would just tear into the rubber bungs of my airlocks and not actually provide enough of a surface-to-surface connection to do what they were meant to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    * airlocks and rubber grommets are pretty cheap, but if you don't have them available either use a rubber balloon you poked with a needle, or just leave the lid half unscrewed; your goal is to prevent insects from entering, the generated CO2 is heavier than air and will produce an anaerobic environment while fermentation is underway
    I'm using actual plastic airlocks with rubber bungs, they're the kind with the floating chamber not the swirly kind.

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    * boiled bread yeast for nutrients; I've been using it for 3 meads already and it works fine, I use roughly the quantities suggested by the TOSNA calculator (I got a 500g packet of the kind that looks like butter, dissolved it in water, boiled until it was about half the volume, left to cool, poured in ice cube bags and put in the freezer; in my case, one such cube contains about 3g of dry mass)
    Okay, I'll keep that in mind. For nutrients I just added a small handful of raisins to each bottle.

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    * as you already used, EC-1118 or a similarly robust yeast so it can ferment at room temperature
    * I'd add bentonite to the list; it's cheap, and helps with clearing
    Okay, I may be able to afford that before the primary is done, I'll price it and see,

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    * as others will undoubtedly rush to tell you, it's pretty hard to stop fermentation for good; cold crashing, racking, adding bentonite, racking again (so you get rid of as much of the yeast as possible), then stabilizing with sorbate and metabisulfite should get you close (and you could use flip-top or PET bottles so pressure build-up is less of an issue); storing in a cool place is also a good idea, if you can
    Yeah I would like to get some PET bottles but I was thinking about just leaving it in the secondary. Can I just leave the secondary in the fridge after I cold crash it or does it have to be out for some reason?

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    * sanitize with diluted bleach followed by a good rinse (never used, but see note below about the youtube guy), or concentrated metabisulfite solution with a bit of citric acid added (used without issues before getting my hands on starsan)
    I already had StarSan so I made sure to use that on everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    * you kinda need a hydrometer if you want to get at least somewhat repeatable results
    Yeah I really want one, I have to watch my money very carefully but if I have success with this hobby then I do plan to get one at some point.

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    There's a British guy on youtube (making homebrew wild and cheap) who ferments just about anything and uses the, well, cheapest methods available (that's where I've seen the bleach sanitization thing in action), you may want to give him a look. Also, aliexpress is your friend
    Thank you, I'll look him up. I've used AliExpress before, my only issue with them is that it takes so long to get your stuff, but hey, in the case of mead I guess waiting isn't a big issue

    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    I've never used EC-1118 (not available here), but it should be similar with what I used for most of my meads so far (16-18%, clean profile, low nutrient requirements), and most of them were tasty before they even stopped bubbling and awesome one month later (never got the paint thinner thing, it may be a feature of them fancy yeasts, but then again I'm at batch 10, so pretty much a babby)
    Well I don't know that it will ever have a paint thinner taste X) I haven't tested mine at all, I'm leaving those airlocks firmly in place until it's done.

    Thank you so much for all the useful advice!
    Last edited by Rozmere; 07-06-2018 at 01:24 PM. Reason: My longer posts never show up for some reason so I'm taking a members suggestion on how to post better.

  12. #12
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    Secondly, I initially intended to stop the fermentation using the Campden tablets and refrigerating for about a week or so before racking into secondary (final stage in my case) but I have since read that ec-1118 can metabolize sulfite so without having to buy yet another product off line plus shipping is there something simple I could use to stop fermentation? Maybe something I can find at my local grocery store?
    No. Campden will not stop an active fermentation and there's nothing within your budget that can (filtering etc are out of your reach). And that hydrometer that you don't have is the number one tool that every home brewer or winemaker needs. There's no other way to judge the progress of a ferment.
    Dave from New Haven County

  13. Default

    If you're going high ABV from the get go, you need to have your nutrients sorted. A boiled pack of bread-yeast will go a long way, as would a couple of grams of potash (cheapo version of potassium carbonate, used for baking cookies in some places, as fertilizer for crops in others).

    Then again, honey differs widely in nutrient-contents, though it's fair to expect a low amount of nutrient in any no-name honeyblend. You're also mixing in fruit from the start, which will probably aid the nutrient situation.

    I'm on my third mead currently, and have yet to reach the 18% mark (even though I was gunning for it), but I'm slowly making progress towards it, tweaking it, adding to it. Bottom line: It's not easy getting 18% despite what it says on the yeast-packet.

  14. #14

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    If you ever get a bad batch because you can't afford something you immediately paid sorely for it. It's not worth not-buying some things, especially when you consider that most things you only pay for once and you can keep using them for YEARS (I have equipment over 20 years old). But then you went overboard with the honey, which is obviously the most expensive ingredient/cost in this hobby... so i don't know what to think about that.
    Do you know how easy it is to make grape wine? Just stomp grapes with your feet and put into a barrel and it will ferment on its own with wild yeast. People actually make wine like that. But you're going to be drinking crap more often than not. Point is: easy to make won't mean easy to drink
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stasis View Post
    If you ever get a bad batch because you can't afford something you immediately paid sorely for it. It's not worth not-buying some things, especially when you consider that most things you only pay for once and you can keep using them for YEARS (I have equipment over 20 years old). But then you went overboard with the honey, which is obviously the most expensive ingredient/cost in this hobby... so i don't know what to think about that.
    Do you know how easy it is to make grape wine? Just stomp grapes with your feet and put into a barrel and it will ferment on its own with wild yeast. People actually make wine like that. But you're going to be drinking crap more often than not. Point is: easy to make won't mean easy to drink
    Thank you for the advice, it sure seems to make logical sense. As far as the honey goes, I actually got really lucky because an old friend could get it for a very low price from a company that he did some work for, so i jumped on the oportunity. The honey came in 5 lb. jugs and since I wanted a sweet or semi-sweet mead I decided to use the entire 2 bottles that I got. BTW, I love your avatar pic, I use to have that card back when I played. X)
    Last edited by Rozmere; 07-06-2018 at 02:01 PM. Reason: mistyped something

  16. #16

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    hey, we use roller crushers and screw presses now, no more ladies stomping on grapes :P (I grew up picking grapes, carrying bags, manning the crusher and the press, scraping barrels... now my parents got rid of the barrels and bought a stainless steel thing with a floating lid, much easier to clean and surprisingly affordable; still wild yeast, but the wine is quite good)

    back on topic, in a getting-started-while-very-poor scenario I would definitely drop the auto siphon; not sure how much they cost in burger land, but here they're about the equivalent of 15 USD, which can buy about 3kg of honey, or a hydrometer + airlock + 1kg of bentonite (you use, like, 2g / liter) + enough pvc hose to do the racking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r View Post
    back on topic, in a getting-started-while-very-poor scenario I would definitely drop the auto siphon; not sure how much they cost in burger land, but here they're about the equivalent of 15 USD, which can buy about 3kg of honey, or a hydrometer + airlock + 1kg of bentonite (you use, like, 2g / liter) + enough pvc hose to do the racking.
    The siphon cost me about $10, since I already have it I guess I'll use it. The cheapest hydrometer I've found is about $13 and now that several people have told me I have to have one I will save some money aside and get one before my next batch.

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    I responded to a couple of these replies this morning but they aren't showing up, do the mods sometimes take a while to approve posts or did my posts get lost in some internet black hole?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    664

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    New members need approval, to help weed out spammers. Try creating your response in another app, then write a brief posting (like your last one). Once the post show's up, edit it by copy/pasting from the other app. I think you have 20 minutes to edit posts......

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    I do have proper airlocks, I thought I mentioned that but I must have forgotten that in my list.

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