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  1. #1

    Question First ever mead (tried for low ABV)

    Heya, just wanted some input on what to do next and also rant a little

    Recipe:
    4,5 liter total volume (Added 0,5l water after first racking to top up container so current total is 5 liter)
    1.33kg mixed supermarket semi-solid honey
    Safale US-05 ale yeast ~5g (added in 2 parts, 24 hours between)
    Handfull of unwashed raisins (12-15 pcs)
    Starting gravity 1.080

    Everything was cleaned with PBW and rinsed/sanitized with StarSan prior to meadmaking.
    Must/Honey was not heated up.
    Yeast was activated in tapwater for about 1-4 minutes on the first try, which it apparently didn't like, so i tried pitching again after a day with must for a full 30min and then it started working same day.

    After 7 days it was at 1.050 gravity and i used the meadcalculator which told me it was around 4.2% alcohol now, and i considered that to be perfect for me so i racked it and topped off the new carboy and put it in the fridge.
    Now it's been in the fridge for 2 days and i'm pretty sure i'm going to have to either buy tablets or use a sous vide to pasteurize(heat it) to 50 celsius before trying to bottle it for ageing and i don't know which would be best?

    Is it actually viable to do it like i just did/am about to do, or do i absolutely have to let it ferment for weeks/month and have to live with high abv in the endproduct?

    Sidenote, the reason i got into making mead finally was citysteading on youtube (hey guys!)
    Watching various mead videos reminded me of a honey-drink i got once as a child in a renaissance/medieval faire (medieval week in Karlstad, Sweden), bottled in a old-timey looking stone/ceramic bottle and it tasted sweet of honey, was clear yellow and had slight carbonation.. but now i'm pretty sure it was not proper mead since it had 0% alcohol or even the taste/smell of yeast/fermentation.. i wonder what it could've been?

  2. #2

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    There are a good number of threads related to how inconsistent/impossible it is to stop an active fermentation... the yeasts just do not want to stop once they are pushing full steam ahead! Sterile filtering (filters all yeast, and some flavor, from solution) is about the only way to consistently stop an active fermentation. As a home meadmaker the drastic cost of these setups generally eliminates them from our list of tricks. Odds are, once you take your must from the fridge they are just going to restart.

    However, in the scott labs handbook you will find a handful of encapsulated yeasts. These are very new, likely expensive (though much cheaper than the filter setup), and doubtful you will find a bunch of help with them. However, if you're willing to experiment, you will be able to pull all of your yeast from your must at the exact gravity you want to do so. The yeasts are literately trapped in beads that you place into a bag, into the must. Likely would be best to take them from must right into another must, but I've never looked into them deeply as I'm fine with the higher ABV.

    You'll also want to look into what the beer brewers do to protect their drinks from wild yeast and bacteria as you still will have a very fermentable solution remaining without the protection of elevated alcohol levels. An alcohol level of 4.2% is skirting the line of killing the vegetative forms of Clostridium but for prudence keep your pH below 4.6 otherwise you'll eventually brew up a batch of paralysis from botulism.


    https://scottlab.com/content/files/D...ndbook2018.pdf

  3. #3

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    I justwanted to chime in here and say that the beads work well but it still doesn't stop fermenting as soon as you pull them
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    I justwanted to chime in here and say that the beads work well but it still doesn't stop fermenting as soon as you pull them
    I certainly have no experience with them, I'm just going off what they said in the Scottlabs hand book. Specifically, the prodesert encapsulated yeast is designed and advertised to work that way (pg 28 on the 2018 handbook)... maybe that quality is limited to that particular encapsulated product and not the others? I probably need to generalize less!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by EricHartman View Post
    I certainly have no experience with them, I'm just going off what they said in the Scottlabs hand book. Specifically, the prodesert encapsulated yeast is designed and advertised to work that way (pg 28 on the 2018 handbook)... maybe that quality is limited to that particular encapsulated product and not the others? I probably need to generalize less!
    No,,, you're fine brother. I bought them thinking the same thing. But the experience taught me it's not exactly as it seems. I think if they would say pulling the beads was similar to a cold/crash/rack it would be closer to my personal experience. I meant nothing towards you friend.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    No,,, you're fine brother. I bought them thinking the same thing. But the experience taught me it's not exactly as it seems. I think if they would say pulling the beads was similar to a cold/crash/rack it would be closer to my personal experience. I meant nothing towards you friend.
    Huh... well that's a little disappointing. Thought there was a solution for home fermenters who were seeking the lower ABV product. Should have known better than to think a "fence" could keep the yeast from escaping to the fields of golden honey on the other side!

    Thanks for the review/info on the product Squatchy!
    Cheers

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Ottawa, ON
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    8,394

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    Quote Originally Posted by LAP87 View Post

    Sidenote, the reason i got into making mead finally was citysteading on youtube (hey guys!)
    Watching various mead videos reminded me of a honey-drink i got once as a child in a renaissance/medieval faire (medieval week in Karlstad, Sweden), bottled in a old-timey looking stone/ceramic bottle and it tasted sweet of honey, was clear yellow and had slight carbonation.. but now i'm pretty sure it was not proper mead since it had 0% alcohol or even the taste/smell of yeast/fermentation.. i wonder what it could've been?
    It's quite possible that what you had was effectively honey soda, it may have been fermented only just enough for bottle-carbonation. Or maybe it was just force-carbonated honey water, for the same effect.
    "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

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