View Full Version : First Time Maker

Joshua Thomas
07-16-2004, 01:17 PM
Greetings everyone!

On July 4 I started my first ever batch of Mead. I am making a 5 gallon batch using about 9 pounds of strawberries. It's been going good for a couple of weeks now, but I noticed with slightly lower temperatures lately, the bubbling has really slacked off, to the point of maybe 10 bubbles per minute. It is still in the white food-grade plastic bucket, so I set it out in the sunlight all day. It brought the yeast back to life, but is it going to cause problems being in the sunlight if it is still in the plastic bucket?

Also, does anyone have a suggestion on how long the fruit should remain in the mix? I have read where it should only be there for a few days to a week, and some say it should stay in until racked into the secondary fermenter. All suggestions will be appreciated!


Joshua Thomas

07-16-2004, 04:19 PM
How much honey did you use?

Hmmm, about the yeast in the sunlight. :-[

Generally yeast beasties don't like sunlight, so you may have culled your yeast herd beyond repair.


Joshua Thomas
07-16-2004, 07:17 PM
I used about 12 pounds (1 gallon) of honey.

I checked it this evening, and it is still going strong. The only way the sunlight would have gotten through would be through the airlock.

07-16-2004, 07:20 PM
Yeah, yeast like it dark, but they are pretty resiliant. I doubt you did them any lasting damage. But do get them back into a nice dark spot. After two weeks, 10 bubbles per minute is lots. Certainly no need to try to speed them up. They will keep slowing down and that is too be expected. After all, they have less sugar to feed on and more alcohol to contend with. When it slows down even more you will want to rack to your secondary. Really, you could rack now. I don't airlock my primary, so I have to rack a lot earlier than someone with your setup and it always turns out nicely.

As far as the fruit is concerned, I'd leave it untill you rack to your secondary. Why rush?

Joshua Thomas
07-19-2004, 01:19 PM
Well, I went ahead and racked it into the secondary fermenter yesterday evening (2 weeks after starting).

:o Wow! Very heavy alcohol odor and taste to it! Also the porch smelled of strawberries all evening. I added another 1 1/2 lb of honey to re-feed the yeast, and it's already bubbling a bit more now. Hopefully in about 3-4 weeks I'll have some quality mead (anything drinkable will be good for a first batch)!

07-19-2004, 03:57 PM
I wouldn't count on the mead being ready in 3-4 weeks though, it may take significantly longer than that. But, like I always say:

"Take a chance . . . Custer did!"

Hope it works out well for you!


07-19-2004, 04:55 PM
just a suggestion...if you feel like your mead is too alcoholic, dont continue to feed it...this will only make it stronger. the other thing is i dont considder any of my meads drinkable till they are at least 10-14 months old...dont be surprised if at only 6 weeks of age your mead has a harsh , astrigent taste to it....this will however dissipate with time.

Joshua Thomas
07-21-2004, 12:32 PM
My apologies, I didn't put that correctly.

In 3-4 weeks I will be bottling what I hope, after a year or so, will be some quality mead.

Thanks for all of your suggestions! I will definitely post as I am making my other batches, and will also let everyone know how my first attempt turns out.

08-19-2004, 12:46 AM
A suggestion if someone hasn't already made this one.

You will probably want to consider a mead diary/log/journal of your recipes, ingredient suppliers, equipment used, temp, etc. and fill it in with each batch.

It's great to be able to go back and reference those old notes when you have a question as to process or ingredients. I did most of mine on a computer from the beginning. Unfortunately I did lose a lot of my information when one of my laptops was stolen, and the backup tapes would only yield corrupt copies of my logs. That was a sad day.


08-19-2004, 06:18 AM
Dude! I feel your pain!
Sorry to hear about the loss of a laptop... I gave mine to my sister so that she could use it in college and have regretted doing that ever since! It's like giving away your first born or something...

08-22-2004, 04:40 PM
9 lbs Strawberries + 12 lbs honey + 1.5 lbs honey

With 9lbs strawberries being about 8% sugar (0.72 lbs fructose, etc)
SG of honey using the 1+(45*lbs)/(1000*gals) formula -> 1.122

I cheated using wineCalc which gave a resultant SG=1.129, or %Alc=17.5%

Therefore it is not surprising that it might have a slightly alcoholic burn to it initially :o

I have a table (from somewhere) that lists 16 lbs strawberries for 5 gals, as follows

The following list is a guideline of the amount of fruit to use to produce a
five-gallon batch:

Apricots 18 lbs.
Blackberries 15 lbs.
Blueberries 13 lbs.
Currants 12 lbs.
Elderberries 10 lbs.
Gooseberries 11 lbs.
Peaches 15 lbs.
Pears 22 lbs.
Persimmons 15 lbs.
Pineapple 14 lbs.
Plums 16 lbs.
Raspberries 15 lbs.
Strawberries 16 lbs.
Watermelon (Centers) 18 lbs.

The table is based (I think) on the relative amounts of fructose (or whatever) in the fruits to give a resultant SG.

I'm not sure if this takes into account the relative strengths of the fruit falvours.