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Thread: "Natural" yeast nutrient

  1. #1

    Default "Natural" yeast nutrient

    I've got my first batch of mead about 3 weeks along, and wow...

    It took me almost a year of research to get up the courage to start, but I'll never quit now.

    In my research it seemed to me that some sort of nutrient blend was going to be necessary, so I added a cup of raisins and about a half cup of molassis to give it a shot ot the trace elements missing in the honey.


    The fermentation activity was amazing, and in about two weeks, my alcohol content was about 12%.


    I haven't added any acid or anything else to my mead. We'll see how it finishes and let you all know.


    My best friend tasted the hydrometer sample the other day and is betting that I'll never be able to leave it alone to "age" for a year...

    ... he's probably right...

    David Baldwin
    Michigan Meadery LLC

    www.michiganmeadery.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Independence, KY and Greenacres, FL
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    Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    Hello David,
    Great news. Keep us posted. You didn't say what kind of honey or yeast you used? any other ingredients? Raisins are definitly a good source of nutrients and they give the mead a different mouthfeel. 12% in two weeks sounds like a very healthy fermentation. You couldn't ask for better. Looking forward to hearing your yeast type and any other data you might want to share.
    Joe

  3. #3

    Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    OK, to flush out some of the details:

    I used a "wildflower" honey from Fase Apiaries in Michigan, The honey was darker colored and may have been filtered. I bought it from a local Meijer store in quart jars.

    The yeast I used was Lalvin K1V-1116, or K1-V1116 - Lalvin's website and their package don't agree on the designation exactly.

    It is supposed to be a fast fermenter in a low nutrient high sugar must.

    I added the molassis and raisins to give the yeast some of the essentials to build strong cell walls.


    I am a fan of the Polish meads, so I am trying to develop something simmilar.

    I have to say that I really enjoy this web forum and the interaction among us.

    I'll keep you posted on my progress
    David Baldwin
    Michigan Meadery LLC

    www.michiganmeadery.com

  4. Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    A fellow west MI meadmaker! Hello!

    A tip - the Fase honey sold at Meijers is pasteurized. Get it from Harvest Health, or better yet directly from Fase (they're in Ada) to get it raw. Fase's pastuerized honey is some of the best I've had, and raw is spectacular.

  5. #5

    Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    ScottS,

    Do you have local contact info for Fase? I'd love to be able to get raw honey from them. Right now - about six weeks and one racking into my batch, and it is just starting to clear a bit. I think the color is going to be truly wonderful. I like my mead to look like honey. The super pale golden meads just don't catch my eye.

    Of course my first taste of mead was at the Kaltenberg medieval festival, and I'd give my left kidney for the formula to that stuff.

    David

    PS Where in West Michigan are you located? Maybe we should get together and compare notes some time.
    David Baldwin
    Michigan Meadery LLC

    www.michiganmeadery.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Brisbane Australia
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    654

    Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    You are brave to add Molassis

    Raisins are popular, because they add a vinous (wine-type) flavour to your mead.

    Molassis may take a year to mellow in flavour.

    Let us know how it goes.

  7. Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    Call Fase at 676-1520, tell them Scott Slezak sent you. I've never bought from them in anything less than 60 lbs containers. If you use less honey than that, you might want to just buy from Harvest Health. They've got it in anything from 8 oz jars to half gallons. I pay about $1.40/lb when I get 60 lbs at a time, but it is closer to $2/lb when I get it in half gallons from Harvest. I have found that you've got to use the 60 lbs up within about 3 months, or it starts to crystallize. That makes it very difficult to remove from the container, since they ask that you don't put water in the containers.

    I'm in Clarksville, 1/2 way to Lansing. Sure, I'd love to get together sometime, but I think it's going to have to be closer to winter. Too stinkin' busy right now. :-/

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baldwin
    (snip)
    I used a "wildflower" honey from Fase Apiaries in Michigan, The honey was darker colored and may have been filtered. I bought it from a local Meijer store in quart jars.
    The yeast I used was Lalvin K1V-1116, or K1-V1116 - Lalvin's website and their package don't agree on the designation exactly.
    It is supposed to be a fast fermenter in a low nutrient high sugar must.
    I added the molassis and raisins to give the yeast some of the essentials to build strong cell walls.
    I am a fan of the Polish meads, so I am trying to develop something simmilar.
    I have to say that I really enjoy this web forum and the interaction among us.
    I'll keep you posted on my progress
    Thanks for the details David. Sounds like a great mead. I think the molasses you added will give you a unique mead. Depending on your quantity used , as James said you might need some time for it to mello out. Are you going to sweeten it before bottling and how much honey did you use and what is the batch size? Thanks in advance,
    Joe

  9. #9

    Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    My batch was 3 gallons. I wanted to limit my liabilities if this went badly

    I started the batch with about 9 pounds of honey - starting SG was about 1.15 I added about a half cup of molassis. It was for the benefit of the yeast rather than to "flavor" the mead. After the batch reached about 12% alcohol, fermentation had started to slow down and I added another 3 pounds of honey and about 2 cups of water to top off the carboy.

    With a total-volume alcohol content reduced to about 9.3% I got a VERY vigorous surge of fermentation started again. I am expecting the yeast to reach alcohol tolerance around 14%.

    It's going to be sweet - I like my mead that way, just how sweet will have much to do with the health of my K1-V1116 yeast culture.

    I'll be replicating this batch (with raw honey) in a few weeks.

    I want to see if I can replicate the fermentation results.

    As to aging... stay tuned, I'll let you know how it turns out.

    David Baldwin
    Michigan Meadery LLC

    www.michiganmeadery.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baldwin
    (snip)I added about a half cup of molassis. It was for the benefit of the yeast rather than to "flavor" the mead.
    I was not aware of the benefit of molassas to the yeast. I had only read on the below post that it will change the flavor.

    http://www.gotmead.com/mead-research/mld/2001/835.html

    Any information you have on the benefits to the yeast would be appreciated by me. I like what it does to the taste of some beverages.
    Joe

  11. #11

    Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    Joe,

    I chose molassis because it is rich in trace minerals. I found that the molassis has many of the same compounds found in "chemical" yeast nutrients. (potassium, nitrogen, etc...) I was looking for a "natural" alternative.

    I understand that it may take a while to age out and mellow the flavor. However, I love spiced rum, so that's not much of a concern to me.

    I really should run a control batch without the molassis. I took notes daily through the first two weeks, and once per week afterward. I have hydrometer readings recorded, and could compare the control with my first batch.

    Right now the flavor isn't too bad. I did my weekly hydrometer readings and drank the sample. (I'd hate to contaminate the rest of the batch if my hydrometer wasn't perfectly clean... OK, my wife doesn't buy it either, but it's my mead and I'll drink it green if I want to... ) It's got just a hint of a harshness to it which I suspect may be partially to blame for the carbonation. CO2 is fairly bitter tasting, and the mead is VERY carbonated at this point.

    The taste at this point is surprising. It has a very pleasant apple flavor to it. It reminds me of a hard cider, but lighter in flavor. The "apple" really surprises me because I didn't intend to make a cyser - yet anyway. Of course there is no apple juice to it at all. Of course we have lots of apple orchards locally, so I wonder if the honey has picked up some of that character.

    Fermentation has slowed quite a bit. From my calculations, I'm pretty close to 12%. I expect the K1-V1116 to give it up soon, and the mead should start to clear.

    Well, I've waxed eloquent long enough on this post.

    Thank you for your questions, it helps me think through what I've done, and what I might do with my next batch.

    David
    David Baldwin
    Michigan Meadery LLC

    www.michiganmeadery.com

  12. Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    What about dried prunes?
    I notice the package has potassium sorbate in it, will that kill it?
    edited

    NEVERMIND. IT WILL.


  13. Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    I am expecting the yeast to reach alcohol tolerance around 14%.

    It's going to be sweet - I like my mead that way, just how sweet will have much to do with the health of my K1-V1116 yeast culture.
    According to Lavin's site, the K1V-1116 has an alcohol tolerance of 18%, not 14%.

    http://consumer.lallemand.com/dansta.../refchart.html

    Hopefully their site is right. If not, I have a batch in the works thats going to be WAY WAY too sweet!

    Lyle
    http://www.moremead.com

  14. #14

    Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    I've been to Lalvin's web page, and have seen that graph. Most "real world" experiences I've read about show it to die off by 16%.

    My mead is at 14% as of the last hydrometer reading, and fermentation has stopped. That's OK by me. It has enough alcohol bite to it and is quite sweet - just like I like it.

    I'm a very happy Meader. This weekend I'll rack it to another carboy and let it start the clearing process. Time to forget about it for a while. I'll need to start another batch to give me something to "fiddle" with while this batch clears.

    Dried prunes could be fun. I may have to find some naturally dried and give that a try.
    David Baldwin
    Michigan Meadery LLC

    www.michiganmeadery.com

  15. Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    Hi All, - this will be my first post. i started a batch of 'traditional' Sweet mead, 24 Lbs Local Wildflower honey, water up to 6 gal, and I made a yeast starter with 1.5 cups apple juice and 1 packet of Lavin K1V-1116 Yeast. I added a cup and a half of Rasins at first, and removed them durring the 1st rack to the carboy. my fermentation has not been real fast, and now after a couple months it seems to have slowed. i have added a couple cups of strong tea, whic sped it up for about a week each, but now it seems to have slowed again, (bubbling about every 20 secs.) i have lots of lees, (racked off of them yesterday,) and tested the gravity to the best of my ability.... think we are about at 9% alcohol at the moment. at least i hope. - forgot to take the gravity before i pitched the yeast.... anyway, is there any other natural yeast nutrient that rasins? that seems to be what everyone says to use here, and I really do not want to add any chemicals if I can Help it... wanna get the fermentation to really move. (may just be to impatient. )

    Thanks Randy.

  16. #16

    Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    Randy,

    Did you have a hydrometer, and did you take a reading when you racked?

    Some of our local Guru's can give you a real close estimate to the original gravity - OG. (Extrapolating from the weight of honey and volume of water) From that we can subtract your SG at time of racking, and get a pretty close guess at the current alcohol content.

    If I remember the formula correctly, a pound of honey should increase the SG by .008 in a 5 gallon batch. I'm not certain on this though. I have a hydrometer and will probably wear it out.
    (See "My Firstborn" in the BrewLog)

    Welcome and best of luck with your first batch.
    David Baldwin
    Michigan Meadery LLC

    www.michiganmeadery.com

  17. Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baldwin
    Randy,

    Did you have a hydrometer, and did you take a reading when you racked?

    --Sure did 1.055.

    Some of our local Guru's can give you a real close estimate to the original gravity - OG. (Extrapolating from the weight of honey and volume of water) From that we can subtract your SG at time of racking, and get a pretty close guess at the current alcohol content.

    --Gotta Love them Gurus

    If I remember the formula correctly, a pound of honey should increase the SG by .008 in a 5 gallon batch. I'm not certain on this though. I have a hydrometer and will probably wear it out.
    (See "My Firstborn" in the BrewLog)

    --I'll take a look. thanks.

    Welcome and best of luck with your first batch.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    Randy,
    I'd say you started out at about 1.160. 4 lbs per gallon is pretty high gravity. You are mighty brave if this is your first. Thats about 21% alcohol potential. You have reached 14% already so it will naturally be slowing down and finishing up at about 18% and SG 1.025 with adequate nutrients. The good news is K1V works well on low nutrients but drags on for some time when nutrients are low, so be patient. Don't put any more tea in? Just let it go til it stops completely and clears by itself. My hunch, since you took out the raisins and are a bit low in nutrients is it will stop a little higher than my calculations. More likely 1.030-1.035 and still high in alcohol (17%)

    Best of luck,

    Joe

  19. Default Re: "Natural" yeast nutrient

    Thank you very much Joe.

    Not sure if i am brave, or just crazy in anycase, fermentation has finally stopped, and it is clearing up nicely. SG finished at 1.028. very good estimate!


    Randy.

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