Shop Bee Folks for your Honey!Shop Bee Folks for your Honey!
Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 108
  1. #1

    Default General questions

    Ok, my first batch in about 15 years is coming up, and I've ordered the basics:
    * Better bottle (for secondary fermentation)
    * Fermentation bucket (sp?)
    * Air lock
    * That thingy to measure specific gravity
    * Siphon

    Still haven't decided on yeast yet, but going for something semi-dry. Honey just needs to be picked up.

    The plan was to use the recipe for plain, semi-dry mead from The Compleat Meadmaker, but as I understand there has been development since the last print...

    From what I understand:
    * Boil water, cool to around 60C add honey and let simmer for a while at the degree (not above 66C)
    * Cool to room temp, transfer to sanitized bucket, pitch yeast and nutrient (no need for a starter, right? Or do you recommend one?)
    * Stir like crazy as often as possible until fermentation really goes bananas
    * When there's more than 1 minute between air bubbles (2-3 weeks?), transfer to better bottle to get rid of the dead yeast and any other crap at the bottom. No need to be scared of airating (sp?) ?
    * Add honey until alcohol content is right. Should I stir it in? What about air?
    * Leave to clear
    * Add some oak for a little while. What about air?
    * After two to three months, transfer to bottles (is this too late to make part of the batch sparkling? I was thinking about bottling half, add sugar, bottle the other half)
    * Store
    * Drool, but still store
    * Dream about it, but still store
    * Taste

    Does that sound good for a plain mead?

    Also, how much concentrate or cider should I really add to make good melomel? The problem is with having to wait for at least a year before tasting to see how badly I failed I would like to try a batch with apple and one with wine grapes.

    Cheers!

  2. #2

    Default

    My advice would be:

    Dont bother boiling water just mix the honey and go.

    I use a starter with GoFerm

    Aerate 3 times a day until the 1/3 sugar break. I would use the hydrometer to get a starting gravity (SG) and also use it periodically thru fermentation to tell you when you hit the 1/3 sugar break. I dont hard cover my fermenter up until 1/3 sugar break, I use a sanitized cloth to make taking readings easier, others hard cover. Your choice.

    Not sure about "add honey until alcohol content is right". I think you are talking about step feeding, but I dont do that so have no input. I always just add all my honey up front for conversion to alcohol. Backsweetening later if needed, but that shouldnt change the alcohol level at that point.

    Dont trust the bubbles, trust the hydrometer. But the basic idea is there, after the bulk of fermentation is over, transfer the mead off the lees.

    Adding oak, sure. Always be careful about oxygen exposure after the 1/3 sugar break. For me (and others can feel free to correct this), I will carefully make additions or take measurements throughout the process. I just try to be quick and not splash around too much.

    Transfer to bottles when fermentation is over, but be sure. Use the hydrometer to make sure the readings are not changing over a period of a few weeks at least. Some people like to let mead sit and age in the secondary fermenter, years maybe. Your call.

    How much fruit to use? For fresh fruit, Id say at least 3 lbs per gallon, but I like more. I have no idea about concentrate. I think the norm for using cider (making cyser) is all cider and no water, the cider is the liquid for this style.

    Note: If you post your recipe, some more stuff might get shaken loose in the way of advice.
    The Key of Joy is disobedience

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for the feedback. My first batch this round will be something like 10kg (22lbs) honey + whatever water is needed to fill the carboy. I need to check the amount of honey, but just honey+water.

    I guess I'll take your tip regarding the simmering, but I'll give the water a quick boil just to sanitize it. Norwegian tap water is excellent quality (I like it better than bottled water, as it doesn't feel as "thin") so should be just fine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    The Fusel Shack, in the swamp west of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    Posts
    8,771

    Default

    Welcome Tiwas!

    If you want something semi-dry, you may want to scale back that honey amount. 22 pounds is probably not going to leave you semi-dry. It will likely be sweet or very sweet depending on your total volume.

    This is where using the hydrometer comes in handy. You can mix up the honey in the water using an amount to get the level of alcohol and sugar you are aiming for depending on the yeast used. We can probably give you some suggestions if you can tell us what ABV you'd like to end up with, and what yeast you have available.

    By the way, to get a specific level of sweetness, it is often easiest to start with a gravity to produce the amount of alcohol you want, then let it go dry. Then stabilize to prevent the yeast from fermenting any further and add more honey (backsweetening) to get the level of sweetness just right. This is approach many here use successfully.

    This would also be a good time to check out the NewBee guide (see link in the column to the left).
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  5. #5

    Default

    Ok, I just ordered what I needed, so now, at least, I know what kind of yeast I'm using: http://vinogbar.no/product_info.php?products_id=1715

    Anyone know this?

    When doing half the batch sparkling at the other half still, should I just use one of those small machines for carbonating soft drinks instead of adding sugar?

    Cheers!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Evergreen, CO (west of and above the Denver smog!)
    Posts
    5,794

    Default

    Hello, Tiwas. I am not able to successfully access the link that you provided. Can you just tell us the manufacturer name and the strain of the yeast?

    You certainly can use a carbonation machine to make your mead sparkling. In fact, if you would want one to be finished sweet or semi-sweet some day, you could stabilize your sweet mead (using metabisulphite and sorbate), and then force carbonate it using the machine. That way you can have naturally sweet mead that is carbonated, too.
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Tennessee Valley
    Posts
    1,128

    Default

    Wyeast xl 4632
    “Give a man a beer, waste an hour. Teach a man to brew, and waste a lifetime!”

    slàinte mhath

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Evergreen, CO (west of and above the Denver smog!)
    Posts
    5,794

    Default

    OK - That's the Dry Mead strain, and it should be good to go up to around 18% ABV. That said, Medsen is correct - starting out at a lower initial gravity would more likely guarantee that the mead will finish completely dry. I don't know what size your carboy for the primary fermenation is, but if it is 5 US gallons (the most common size over here), then using 22 lbs of honey you'd start with an initial gravity of 1.156, which is very high for any yeast, including your dry mead strain.
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

  9. #9

    Default

    I want to make it semi-dry, so the solution might be to sweeten it after fermentation. The carboy is a 6gallon (23 liter) better bottle.

    Is there some sort of calculator available to calculate gravity? If not, how much honey do you guys think I should start with?

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwas View Post
    I want to make it semi-dry, so the solution might be to sweeten it after fermentation. The carboy is a 6gallon (23 liter) better bottle.

    Is there some sort of calculator available to calculate gravity? If not, how much honey do you guys think I should start with?
    There sure is, the Mead Calculator.

    You can play around with it to find the amount of honey required to get your desired gravity for your volume. It wont be as accurate as the hydrometer, but will get you in the ballpark.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    The Fusel Shack, in the swamp west of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    Posts
    8,771

    Default

    Are you going to ferment in the Better Bottle, or are you going to ferment in another container and transfer it to the better bottle for aging/clearing?
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  12. #12

    Default

    Thanks for the link to the calculator

    I was planning on doing the primary fermentation in the bin, and then transfer to the bottle for clearing and stuff...and bottle in the fall. Sound like an ok idea?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    The Fusel Shack, in the swamp west of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    Posts
    8,771

    Default

    Well since you are going to do it that way, you could target your starting volume to be around 24.5 liters which will give you some room to leave some lees behind and have a bit left over for topping up. If you play with the mead calculator, you'll find that if you use 24.5 L total volume and 18 pounds of honey, you'll get a starting gravity of 1.100 which should be good for a mead of about 13.5% ABV.

    They Wyeast strain you are using will take that dry if you aerate and use adequate nutrients. When the gravity gets down below 1.000, you can rack it to the better bottle and let it clear. Once it gets clear, you can stabilize and use some of the honey that's let to sweeten it to the level you like best.

    There are many other ways to approach it, but using that yeast, you'll need to backsweeten, or you'll have to start at a gravity that will leave you sweet but will be really high ABV with rocket fuel character.
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  14. #14

    Default

    Ok, so I tried the calculator, checking off the volume and "additional sugars #1". With volume set to 24.5l (that was a really good idea ) and 9.5kg of honey, the target gravity box changed to 1.116 with a potential alcohol content of 15%

    Would it be correct to assume around SG110 to get to my target? 1/3 sugar break would then be SG75?

    How do you usually measure SG? Extract some liquid with a pipette, measure it and transfer back? I reckon putting it back wouldn't be so bad until 1/3 sugar break, but discard it when measuring later on...?...

    Also, the shop said I didn't have to use any more nutrient than was in the yeast pack. Do you guys agree? Is one pack enough?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Bundoora, Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    2,383

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwas View Post
    Ok, so I tried the calculator, checking off the volume and "additional sugars #1". With volume set to 24.5l (that was a really good idea ) and 9.5kg of honey, the target gravity box changed to 1.116 with a potential alcohol content of 15%

    Would it be correct to assume around SG110 to get to my target? 1/3 sugar break would then be SG75?

    How do you usually measure SG? Extract some liquid with a pipette, measure it and transfer back? I reckon putting it back wouldn't be so bad until 1/3 sugar break, but discard it when measuring later on...?...

    Also, the shop said I didn't have to use any more nutrient than was in the yeast pack. Do you guys agree? Is one pack enough?
    A lot of ppl (including myself), sanitise their hydrometers and replace mead no matter what point in the ferment it is.

    As for your SG measurments. If you're not going to use a decimal point, use 4 digits, it reduces confusion. for example: I THINK you mean 1.100, which is sometime (often by me) written as 1100.
    the 1/3 sugar break is equal to (OG - 1.0) * 2/3 + 1.0, or two thirds the stuff after the decimal. so that would be 1066 of you OG was 1100.
    I hope this helps, as I'm confused by your numbers.
    Mae'r teithiau golau ceffyl eto

  16. #16

    Default

    Thanks for SG measurements, thanks for the clarification. I was told you'd only use the number after the dot and skip leading zeroes. Must've misunderstood.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Bundoora, Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    2,383

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwas View Post
    Thanks for SG measurements, thanks for the clarification. I was told you'd only use the number after the dot and skip leading zeroes. Must've misunderstood.
    Perhaps, it may be, I'm no expert, but it's no notation I've ever seen, on gotmead or in chemistry...
    especially as you can have an alcohol ferment out to < 1.000 anywhere (on an exponential scale) down to 0.790 <-- actually that's pure ethanol, so you'd need to distill to get that, as no yeast would stay alive long enough, and you can't convert water to ethanol, but you get what I mean.
    the lowest is probably about 25% ethanol, so about 0.950.

    so by 110 you meant 1110... that means the 1/3 break will be 1073 ish. so yeah, you're right. As I thought, I'd misunderstood.

    I've had a few, so may be rambling. If so, sorry ;-)
    Mae'r teithiau golau ceffyl eto

  18. #18

    Default

    I'll go with the convention here, then. Really - this is the only forum I'm on and I don't really know any home brewers anyway, so even if your convention is incorrect it wouldn't matter as the people *here* will understand me

    The reasoning for dropping "1." was that it was implied that a high value was actually less than a small value or something like that. Starting with an OG of 1.998 wouldn't be feasible. But again - I'll drop that advice and sticking to what's used here and in chemistry. Thanks!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,519

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwas View Post
    I'll go with the convention here, then. Really - this is the only forum I'm on and I don't really know any home brewers anyway, so even if your convention is incorrect it wouldn't matter as the people *here* will understand me

    The reasoning for dropping "1." was that it was implied that a high value was actually less than a small value or something like that. Starting with an OG of 1.998 wouldn't be feasible. But again - I'll drop that advice and sticking to what's used here and in chemistry. Thanks!
    I don't want to add to the confusion, but it's perfectly acceptable to refer to gravity readings without the "1.". Just be sure to list the "reading" in gravity units. For example, a must with an OG of 1.075 has 75 GU's (gravity units). Make sense? The two numbers mean the same exact thing, but are expressed differently, depending on what's easiest to think about.

    I will say as a caveat to this, that you typically only use GU's when doing calculations that are otherwise a bit more complicated when using the "1." measurement. For instance, when calculating how much grain to use to get a certain OG for brewing.
    Find what you like, and hone it to perfection.

    And don't serve dodgy mead!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    The Fusel Shack, in the swamp west of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    Posts
    8,771

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwas View Post
    How do you usually measure SG? Extract some liquid with a pipette, measure it and transfer back? I reckon putting it back wouldn't be so bad until 1/3 sugar break, but discard it when measuring later on...?...
    I take some out with a wine thief (or more commonly, a turkey baster) and put it in the measuring tube then take the measurement. Since I tend to make batches that are larger, I don't mind tasting the samples and then throwing away any that's left. If I test a small batch, I just sanitize well and pour it back into the batch when I'm done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwas View Post
    Also, the shop said I didn't have to use any more nutrient than was in the yeast pack. Do you guys agree? Is one pack enough?
    They are incorrect. The Wyeast packet will not have enough nutrients to feed the yeast for a full size batch. Some would argue that one packet doesn't even have enough yeast, much less the nutrients. When dealing with a liquid yeast packet, and a 23+ liter batch, I'd suggest building up a nice little starter (about 1 liter size). This isn't absolutely essential if you aerate the must well, and feed it well, but using a starter will make sure the yeast get off to a faster start. You can use more than one packet, but that gets expensive.

    Whether you use a starter or not, or even if you use multiple packets, you will still need to provide nutrients to allow the yeast to grow to maximum mass. So you'll be needing some DAP and Fermaid K (or other energizer).
    Last edited by Medsen Fey; 02-18-2011 at 01:57 PM.
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Newbie general questions
    By chouettes in forum Mead NewBees - Post your Questions Here
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-07-2010, 11:27 AM
  2. Fruit in general =(
    By beninak in forum Troubleshooting your Mead
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 09-26-2007, 11:00 AM
  3. General queries
    By Tyred in forum Mead NewBees - Post your Questions Here
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 12-19-2005, 09:00 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •