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  1. #1

    Default Traditional Swampwater Mead

    Ok, I've got my JAOM going, it's a little over two weeks old now and I want to start a traditional. I don't know if I can make a traditional demi sec from the "gitgo"or if I'll simply need to let it go Death Valley dry (which reminds me that Alabama's playing LSU Saturday night! ) and then back sweeten.

    I've been trying to figure a recipe for 3.2 gallons of traditional mead. I want to make a little over 3 gallons so that after losses for racking and testing there will still be enough to pretty much fill my 3-gallon carboy. Anyhow, what I'd like is semi dec and medium alcohol.

    If I'm using the mead calculator correctly the recipe gives a SG of 1.108 and a %ABV of 14.13. After a lot of cyphering and figuring (had to take my tennis shoes off twice to add things up) here is my proposed plan/recipe...

    9.6 pounds of honey
    Water to finish out to 3.2 gallons or to bring the SG of the must up to 1.108
    nutrients - to be determined by instructions that came with them
    energizer - to be determined by instructions that came with them
    1 packet of 71b-1122 yeast

    My anticipated fermenting temperatures will be 66F-73F. I considered D47 but my temps I'm sure will get over 70F at times and I'm concerned about creating fusels.

    Does this sound like the beginnings of a workable recipe? How do I figure what the FG should be when fermentation is finished? Would this finish out at 1.008?...slightly sweet?

    Do I have a clue what I'm doing?

    Thanks,
    Ed

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post
    Do I have a clue what I'm doing?
    Yep, you now know enough to be dangerous


    Everything looks OK at an initial glance (I'm not rechecking your math, too cold to take off socks today), just be aware that even if your yeast SAYS it's good to 14%, you're very rarely going to get exactly 14.0% alcolol from any given batch. It also tends to slow down as it nears its tolerance, so if you want to get something done and aging, it's best to aim low and then backsweeten.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  3. #3

    Default

    So, it might be better to go with less honey and shoot for a drier mead? According to the calculator reducing the amount of honey down to 9 pounds of honey will change the OG to 1.101 and the %ABV to 13.3 (calculated for my 3.2 gallon batch). Should that work better with the 71b?

    Ed

  4. #4
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    I regularly start with an initial gravity around 1.110-1.100 (13- 14% potential) and see what happens. I think the last time I did that with 71B it was my red currant batch which finished just over 1.000.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  5. #5

    Default Yeast is pitched!!!!!

    I kept floundering around trying to find the "perfect" recipe for...traditional mead. I finally figured what the hay and pitched some yeast this evening around 7pm CST. I guess the first investment of more than a quart of honey made me hesitate a bit. Anyhow, here's what I did...

    I marked my bucket at the 3.25 gallon mark. My idea was to use 9.75# of honey in the 3.25 gallons of must. Well, I never did weigh the honey, but rather added three quarts and mixed it very good and took a hydrometer reading. When I measure distilled water with my hydrometer I get a reading of 1.002 so apparently my hydrometer is off by .002. Anyhow, my first measurement was showing 1.098 which would've adjusted out to 1.096...it needed more honey so after a couple of honey additions I ended up with an adjusted reading of 1.108 OG. Ended up with 3-1/2 quarts of honey that made up a tad over 3.25 gallons of must.

    I picked up a little aquarium pump and a 4" "airstone" at Wallworld. I let this bubble while I worked on the yeast.

    I used K1V and Go-Ferm Protect. I added the Go-Ferm to 110F degree water. When the Go-Ferm had cooled down to 104F (actually it was around 101F) I pitched the K1V. I let it sit for the 15 minutes or so and then added a little must to the yeast slurry. I did this a few times until the temperature got down to within 10 degrees of the must. I then added the yeast slurry into the must in the primary. I set my timer and let the airstone bubble for one hour. The must is resting now with the lid laying on top of the bucket. Tomorrow I will replace that with a sanitized towel.

    I have not added any nutrient or energizer. I am under the impression that I should wait until after lag time has ended and fermentation is detectable before adding any nutrients. I have a nutrient that is food grade urea and dap, and an energizer that has several things included in it...these are vendor created nutrients. I'll go by the instructions. Is it correct that I should wait until fermentation has started before adding nutrients?

    Everything I worked with was santized with Star San, including the airstone and tubing. Will it be ok to leave the airstone in the must continuously, or should it be removed after each aeration? I figure if it was safe for it to be in an aquarium it shouldn't pose any problems....should it? I'm planning on running the pump twice a day but I'm not sure how many days I should run it. I'll also gently stir the must before running the pump...I guess this would count as "degassing"?

    Go-Ferm Protect definitely has a smell about it.

    Must is sitting in a 66-67F degree room which might cool down a couple of more degrees over the next few days (cold spell coming).

    Here's the rundown:

    Indeschwomp Traditional Mead
    Target Volume: 3.25 gallons (ended up a little over this)

    *9.75 lb. Local Medium Colored Wildflower Honey (not sure of final weight...added honey
    to make OG be 1.10
    *Added enough water to make 3.25 gallons must (probably 2.5 gallons)
    *KIV-1116 w/Go-Ferm Protect

    Calculator Results:
    1.108 SG
    14.13 %ABV

    Tips, recommendations, suggestions, etc., are welcomed!!!!
    Ed
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  6. #6
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    You can probably add the non-DAP stuff right after pitch but the general idea these days is to wait till after lag (visible activity) to add anything with DAP.

    I don't see a problem with leaving the airstone in the must, probably more sanitary than removing it.

    And yes, degassing is probably the correct term, and also a sensible idea if you don't want a mead explosion accident
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks for the feedback, CG. It looks like lag phase completed overnight. I opened the bucket up to a nice fine foam over the surface, nothing thick but more than I started with. Looks like I need to re-read the instructions on the nutrients and get some in there.

    I was thinking that leaving the airstone inside the bucket would be more sanitary, too. I'm wondering about sealing the top of the bucket, though. Right now I have the air tubing coming out of the airlock hole in the lid and the gasketed lid simple sitting down on top of the bucket. I want to think that running the airstone for an hour twice a day would bring enough oxygen into the bucket but I'm wondering about keeping fruit-flies out. We have them from time to time and I certainly don't want them being an issue. I'm still thinking of sanitizing a towel or t-shirt and fastening it over the bucket...I'd have to figure some way to secure the air tubing through/past it.

    With a traditional like I'm making, will there be a chance of a substantial cap? As long as I keep it stirred once or twice a day I should be ok?...maybe? I don't want a MEA!!

    Looking back at these pictures I see I was off on my time...probably an hour. Or maybe it was switching back and forth between different college ballgames that threw me off. I'm thinking of re-naming this mead as "Iron Bowl 2012"...Alabama and Auburn's BIG rivalry game each year...it was yesterday. It might be ready to drink during next year's Iron Bowl and I can start another one then, too. Kind of a "tradition".

    Anyhow, here's some pics of the must (airstone is not running in either pic)...

    Picture taken at 6:29pm CST on Nov 24, 2012


    Picture taken at 8:03am CST on Nov 25, 2012


    Ed
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  8. #8

    Default

    With all the power and authority invested in myself by myself, I do hereby change the name of of this incredible mead from Indeschwomp Traditional Mead to...

    Iron Bowl Traditional

    Hence forth and so on...and a batch of this mead with the appropriate season year and score to be noted on the label to be made each subsequent year on the day the combatants gather on the field of battle that is known across the nation as "The Iron Bowl".

    With all due notaries, judges, congressmen, lawyers, and a couple of old friends I used to run with involved, this is a legal and binding change.

    With much sincerity (and probably a misspelling or three),

    Ed
    Keeper of the Iron Bowl Mead
    Last edited by Intheswamp; 11-25-2012 at 11:04 AM.
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  9. #9

    Default

    Ok, I probably just od'd my must but I've always enjoyed Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin's music (maybe more so when I was younger, but I still get a grin when I hear Purple Haze...better yet, when I see the old video! ).

    Anyhow, I dipped a little must out in a sanitized plastic cup and added 3 teaspoons of "nutrient" that contained a DAP/urea blend. I also added 1-3/4 tsp of Crosgy & Baker Ltd. Yeast Energizer...this contains DAP, yeast hulls, magnesium sulphate, and vitamin B complex. I stirred this up until dissolved in the cup of must and dribbled it into the primary fermenter while stirring the must.

    I started the airstone pumping and though the airstone itself is putting out tiny bubbles there is a small patch of large bubbles forming on the surface of the must...the bubbles were smaller last night. The largee bubbles dissipate fairly quickly, though, with mostly the fine foam on the surface. I'm letting the airstone run for an hour, twice a day. After adding the nutrients I find myself checking the must a little bit more often while the stone's running...I don't want to have a Chernobyl incident. ...I sure do need to get a drip pan/tray under this bucket!!!!

    Ed

    The must is already taking on a fermenting alcohol aroma. Seems this is giving off more aroma than my JAOM did when it started up...of course it's also over three times as big.
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  10. #10
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    Well, you've already taken the first step to avoid a MEA by mixing your powders into a small amount of liquid before dumping into the must. Giving it a good stir before you start the pump might also help. But yeah, traditionals aren't usually quite as susceptible to MEA's as anything with fruit particles. That said, my first MEA was a traditional (bottled too early without stabilizing).

    Regarding the airstone and the fruit flies, probably tying a sanitized towel or cloth over it will do the trick, if you're concerned about the little buggers getting in beside the hose, wrap it with a strip of fabric or put a piece of easily-compressed foam on the hose right where you're going to tie the cloth down over it, should act like chinking in a log house, keep the fruit flies from licking your stuff

    Your amounts of nutrients and energizer look like they're within tolerances. Lately I've been using 1/2 tsp each per gallon but a little more probably won't hurt anything, especially for a traditional.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  11. #11

    Default

    Avoiding an MEA is high on my goal so I've noted most of the tips regarding them. I stirred the must before I turned the airstone on, when I stirred I tried to "fold" the foam into the must. Of course I wasn't able to fold the foam into the must but I feel that this help stir some and also some of the yeast that might have been riding high on the foam got to re-enter the liquid must. Adding the nutrients to a bit of must was also something that I'd read about...I certainly can't claim any ingeniuity here, just thankful for other folks sharing their experiences!

    For now I've got a piece of cotton stuck down into the grommet with the air tubing. I santitized the cotton in Star San beforesticking it in there.

    I'm still debating covering the bucket with a cloth. Does the must need the ventilation of the porous cloth or will the lid in conjunction with the airstone bringing oxygen in twice a day for an hour each time be good?

    One thing on my nutrients is that I put what was called for per gallon into the must. I didn't put only half or a third in so I guess I won't be doing a staggered nutrient addition...? I had intended to hold some back, but...

    Thanks,
    Ed
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  12. #12
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    The lid of the bucket doesn't need to be off, especially since you're using the airstone a couple times a day. However, since it's at a stage where it doesn't need to be protected from oxygen, it doesn't need to be ON either, so whatever is most convenient and sanitary for you is best.

    With regards to the nutrients, I used to chuck it all in at pitch, so you're already one better than that. For staggered nutrients, what I suggest is on your next batch, you figure out how much nutrients and energizer you're going to use for the whole batch, then mix it all together, give half or a third of it at lag, then every aeration, give it some more, try to time it to finish with your last aeration at the 1/3 sugar break, that's my patented (not really) lazy-ass staggered nutrient approach.

    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  13. #13

    Default

    Ok, that settles it...the lid stays on. I'll keep an eye out for the mischievious fruit flies, if they give me a problem I'll go to plan 'B'.

    Your way of splitting up the nutrients sounds good to me. The LA-SNA way...should work well here in L.A. (lower Alabama).

    Cool front passed through last night. Current must temperature is 65.5F using K1V...FWIW. ?

    Ed
    Last edited by Intheswamp; 11-25-2012 at 04:29 PM.
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  14. #14

    Default

    In message #5 I made an error in reporting that I added honey until the must reached an OG of 1.10.

    Some how or another I managed to leave an "8" out at the end of the gravity (I managed to get the cool face in there, though! ) ...that should've read 1.108 as an OG. The calculator results that I listed are correct, though.

    Ed
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  15. #15
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    if there's a bracket behind the 8, you get sunglasses-face, so if you need to put a specific gravity in brackets and it ends in an 8, leave a space or you get
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  16. #16

    Default

    Should I stop aerating with the air-stone after tomorrow morning?...that will basically be 72 hours since pitching the yeast and aerating with the airstone 2x per day for an hour each time.

    If I'm to stop aerating I still should gently stir for de-gassing purposes, correct?

    Ed
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  17. #17
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    Yes, stirring to degas once you're done aerating is a good idea.

    When do you stop aerating? When your yeast have eaten 1/3 to 1/2 of the available sugars.

    Because your yeast may be sluggish or they may be going like hell, time isn't a great indicator. So if you started out at 1.110 for example, you'd want to stop somewhere between 1.066 and 1.050 if you assumed your yeast would finish the job.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  18. #18

    Default

    Thanks, CG, for the continued help. I'll continue aerating until the 1/3 sugar break which I'm figuring will be around the 1.072 mark, but your figures are lower.

    I just got home a few minutes ago and checked the fermentation. It seems to be..."different". I stirred and aerated this morning and things seemed "ok". What I see now is not the fine thick foam completely covering the surface of this morning but rather bigger, thinner(?), bubbles with few around the edges. Does it mean anything? Here's a pic...



    Ed
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  19. #19

    Default

    Now I'm more worried...

    I just peeked back in to see what was going on and the foam island has gotten much smaller in not quiet two hours.

    I'm headed now to check pH and gravity... Ed

    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  20. #20

    Default

    Ok, here's what I read from my tests...

    ph was between 3.6 and 4.0 (using test strips)
    gravity was 1.092 (down from an OG of 1.108 in 48 hours...does that sound right?)

    I dipped the must out with a sanitized cup and poured into the test tube. I was in a hurry (get it done quick, right!? ) and poured it fast. A nice head of foam about 1-1/2 tall rose up in the tube. I slowly poured the must back into the cup trying not to cause it to foam, dumped the foam from the tube and re-poured it. I was surprised to see that much foam rise up.

    After checking these two things I figured I'd go ahead and aerate it some. I started stirring pretty hard and a foam quickly rose up (I could hear it and I can't hear thunder!!). I then turned the air-stone on and I'm letting it run now.

    Has the fermentation gone long enough to settle down to a "light" foamy stage? K1V is supposed to be a robust yeast from what I've read but the lack of foam without it being freshly aerated kinda bugs me...probably natural, though....I dunno. I don't think I need to add any more DAP to it nor any of the "energizer" (it has DAP in it, too). I do have some yeast hulls but I won't use them until I hear someone say to.

    Here is the must immediately after stirring it up hard...


    Here it is a few moments after stirring and with the air-stone pumping air...


    I finally switched back to the old version of Photobucket, I couldn't find a way to make clickable thumbnails in the new version. Sorry for the big images earlier.

    Ed
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

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