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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
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    8,398

    Default

    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
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    8,398

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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
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    8,398

    Default

    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
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Miami Beach, FL
    Posts
    4,141

    Default

    Whatever you do, get it off the lees! It should be ready to bottle and drink by now.

  8. #8

    Default

    Howdy everybody!!!!! Hmmm, well I can't really say I'm a regular here, but definitely have been a member for a while.

    Seems some lazy bum *still* has some Iron Bowl Mead sitting in a 3-gallon carboy with some vodka in the airlock.

    Sadly, the crash course I took regarding mead-making has slowly gassed off of my brain. This traditional mead will be seven years in November. It was racked from the primary 5-gallon bucket into a 3-gallon glass carboy and has been sitting in the carboy ever since. There is a layer of lees at the bottom. The mead has a dark golden color and appears very, very clear. I have no idea how this tastes. Should I stabilize it at this point or is it pretty much self-stabilized after this length of time?

    I think it was November 24th, 2012, when I pitched the yeast so I'd like to have it racked again or possibly bottled by the 24th of November this year. The Iron Bowl game (University of Alabama versus Auburn University rival football game) plays on November the 30th. The mead is named after this bowl game so I'd like to have a bottle to sip on while I watching the game.

    Anyhoo...to stabilize or not, that is the question.

    Thanks for the feedback!!!
    Ed

    (Naturally, if when I start to rack it and it's vinegar...well, we'll have to start eating lots more salads!!!!!!!!!!<GRIN>
    "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

    Quote Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post
    (Naturally, if when I start to rack it and it's vinegar...well, we'll have to start eating lots more salads!!!!!!!!!!<GRIN>
    That will handle the salad dressing shortage problem! It is still sitting on the lees?!?! Just parroting what I've read here a ton, but it seems like the best way to protect your thoroughly aged mead would be to stabilize. Helps keep baddies out and protects against oxygen. Let us know how it tastes!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    NW Florida
    Posts
    39

    Default

    Yes, stabilize it.

  11. Default

    In regards to stabilizing I would say if you plan on keeping it for longer than 6 months then stabilize otherwise meh.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Sent from my SM-A520W using Tapatalk

  12. #12

    Default

    Thanks for the feedback! I'm not sure how it will taste but will find out soon. So, k-meta and a couple of days later sorbate? I think I have some of each. Both have been stored at room temp for seven years. Would it still be good?

  13. Default

    I believe you should be adding the sorbate within 24 hours of the k-meta. I don't know how well either ages though if it's been sitting that long.

  14. #14

    Default

    Yeah, it's been around for quiet a while now. I was thinking about going ahead and ordering some fresh bags. Also wanted to order some fresh yeast but worried about shipping in this heat. Does dry yeast tolerate heat ok?

  15. #15

    Default

    I think you should stabilise everything as soon as it's finished fermenting. I would buy new as yours is too old.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  16. #16

    Default

    Are the Lalvin yeasts sold on Amazon ok? They really are low priced compared to elsewhere.
    "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

    Default

    I buy my stuff from Morewine.com
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  18. #18

    Default

    Thanks Squatchy for the feedback. I ended up getting some from Amazon...12/2020 and 06/2021 expiration dates.
    "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

    Well, after two months shy of seven years I bottled the swampwater today. Being as it kinda started here I figured I'd post the outcome. I managed to get it bottled by halftime of the Alabama/South Carolina game today....nice scrimage btw, SC. Anyhow, I got'er done and got'a buzz.<GRIN>

    Here's the data:
    This batch has been sitting on the lees since 2012. Yeast was pitched on Iron Bowl day..Google it.
    OG in 2012: 1.1080
    SG today: 1.0060 Hydrometer#1
    SG today: 1.0070 Hydrometer#2
    I calculate the ABV% as being right at 14%. At the above SGs I apparently did not ferment all the sugar out.

    pH taken with my little yellow, un-calibrated, POIT brand pH tester bought off of eBay read 4.05.
    pH strips (blah) read either 3 or 4, yes...worthless more or less.

    I ended up adding .5oz of tartaric acid. Racked the carboy onto k-meta and bottled.

    I really had a premonition that I'd be using it for week-killer, but (I think) it turned out pretty good! [image]https://www.winemakingtalk.com/images/smilies/drunk.gif[/image]

    Everything went rather smoothly, though slowly. That little Portuguese corker is nice item!!! I learned quick I needed to check the cork-setting depth gauge. I'm thinking of putting some teflon tape on it or maybe even a spot or two of some blue Loctite.

    During the bottling I tried a "touch" of the mead after adding the tartaric acid. Seemed like it had a bit more crispness or something to it. I'm no expert wine taster, but I do believe it tasted better. It's a done deal. Corked and capped and in the clean-up stage now. I'm hoping I left enough space between cork and wine.

    11 - 750ml bottles
    4 - 375 ml bottles
    2 - 12oz beer bottles
    1 - pint jar
    And a few small glasses that disappeared throughout the bottling (must of had a hole in it).
    I do believe the hydrometer isn't lying and that the ABV% *is* around 14%. <BIG SMILE><Man, I got a buzz!!!!!!!!>

    IMG_9654a (Custom) by Ed Welch, on Flickr

    IMG_9657a (Custom) by Ed Welch, on Flickr

    IMG_9661a (Custom) by Ed Welch, on Flickr
    "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

    Some more photos...
    IMG_9664a (Custom) by Ed Welch, on Flickr

    IMG_9666a (Custom) by Ed Welch, on Flickr
    "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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