View Full Version : no idea what i'm doing!

10-25-2013, 04:25 PM
First time poster, first time mead maker.
I was introduced to mead recently, on a trip to hornby island in BC canada.
Middle Mountain Meadery does tastings there, and i fell in love. Since then, Ive attempted to make my own, and realizing i have no idea what I'm doing! Hours and hours of research have proven to be quite overwhelming, theres so many methods, recipes, and ways to do it. I wish i had found this site a little sooner.
my recipe was
15lbs clover honey
5 gallon water
lalvin d47 yeast
yeast enhancer about 3 tsp
this is all in a 6 gallon bucket with airlock, the original gravity .088
had some honey left over, did up the same recipe, enough to fit into 2
4L milk jugs, with ballon air locks.
After a day, the milk jugs were going off, fizzing away, but my big bucket had no activity. I thought i may have killed the yeast, because remembering back, it didnt foam up as nicely as the milk jug batch. So, i pitched another round of D47, added no enhancer this time because i read the dead yeast would act as food.
The next day it started bubbling, but only maybe 5 times a minute, and has gone down to make a bubble a minute in only 10 days time. I took a reading yesterday, the milk jugs have already dropped to .044, but the big bucket has only dropped to .074
Little bubbles, i know its fermenting, but compared to the milk jugs it seems a little too slow. Ive read PH could be an issue, i used bottled water and no fruit, so im not sure if it could be an issue with mine. Ive read i could have a little to much honey in it, so removing some must and adding clean water, pitching again could get it going.
I dont know what im really going for with a finished product, i just want it to be drinkable!
I apologize if i broke some rules, i did my best trying to answer these concerns on my own, but it sure would be nice getting some assurance from an experiences mead maker, because i dont know any!
Really stoked i found this site, cheers

10-26-2013, 05:02 PM
If the smaller batches are doing well and all were mixed the same way, it sounds like your yeast numbers aren't getting high enough to efficiently ferment the big one.

Are you aerating daily?

Yeast use oxygen to reproduce quickly at the start of fermentation.

You also could mix one of the active smaller batches into the big one and then draw off enough to refill the small one.

That should get enough numbers in there for the big one to start.

10-26-2013, 05:37 PM
Ive read i could have a little to much honey in it, so removing some must and adding clean water, pitching again could get it going.

An original specific gravity of 1.088 sounds just right for 15 lbs of honey mixed with 5 gallons of water. This is by no means a high specific gravity. A 5 gallon batch that includes 15 lbs of honey in the volume is a common ratio and starts around 1.11.

On a separate subject, make sure that you keep your fermentation temperatures low with the D-47; 58-68 deg F (15-20 deg C) recommended by Lavin. Otherwise your mead may ferment with "hot" alcohol taste from the fusels.

Also, spaces between your paragraphs would make your post a bit easier to read.

10-26-2013, 11:21 PM
Goat, Ph is generally not a huge issue with mead but you should buy some way of testing it anyway just in case. It's a much bigger issue with beer than mead. And Mike is correct, aerate it daily until the sugar break. I usually take a daily gravity reading for my meads as well to know when the (1st) sugar break happens. It's also good to add yeast nutrients to mead. You should have some on hand. If it looks like it's stopped after some readings for a few days then you can add more yeast or a different one to see if that helps.

One thing, you absolutely should not have to take any must out and add water. Your honey/water ratio should be perfect.

10-26-2013, 11:29 PM
Re-read your post.... make sure you aerate very very well before you pitch, the bigger the batch the more you want to aerate. Sounds like that may be the cause. Obviously oxygen got into the gallon jugs while putting the must into them but the oxygen ratio would probably be higher in them than in the bucket. I think aeration will do you well, and yeast nutrients... you can use raisons for that if you don't have any kind of actual "yeast nutrient"

10-27-2013, 11:17 AM
In my hands, smaller batches always go faster in fermentation and clearing. Usually, it is because you are pitching more yeast per gallon in a small batch versus a large. No worries. Looks like everything is on track. Just be sure to keep the temperature at or below 65 F or D47 will give some harsh fusels.

Concerning pH, it can and often is a problem. I generally buffer mine with potassium carbonate. Some yeast are more sensitive to this than others. I don't think D47 generally has issues there. Especially with a SG of 1.088.

You might want to stagger nutrients to speed up you ferment. You added at 1.088. Add again at ~1.06 and ~1.03. This will generally help speed the ferment to avoid off flavors.

A fast, clean ferment is always best!

Chevette Girl
11-06-2013, 12:27 AM
Yeast can just be weird, too... I've had batches that were in three parts (my big buckets were in use) and though all were mixed the same and had the same amount of yeast added, they all fermented at different rates. They eventually all stopped at the same SG though.

If you haven't yet, do have a read through the Newbee Guide over there at the left, it should give you some idea how things are supposed to go.

Are you in BC then, or just visiting? :) You got the other Canadian's attention!