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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Pretoria, South Africa
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    Thanks for this, Sir. It's a good, comprehensive summary of what I've been reading up on SO2 as well. After your previous post, and before I read this post of yours, I actually did add a small dose of sulfite again. I hate flying blind like this, but I can't and won't spend money on equipment now, so I'm just erring on the safe side here. I added another small dose just to boost the levels a bit, and I'll probably add some more after clarifying/fining, as I believe the gelatin will strip a ton of the free SO2 from the mead. I'll keep the container sealed and cool after fining to avoid O2 exposure as much as possible.

    On the mead itself, still just copying my notes:

    2019/08/09: Gravity check. 0.997. Fermentation is complete. Taste test reveals a very clean, fruity mead with a strong white wine character. Alcohol is there, but not hot at all. No off flavours or bad qualities. Dry, obviously, but clean and refreshing on the tongue. Nose is hard to detect for now, but I’m getting a pretty clean, fresh, fruity scent. Not tropical fruit like mango or guava, but more like white grapes with a slightly soury-yeasty scent in the background. Not negative, as expected. Good stuff. Will be drinkable sooner than previous batch for sure.

    2019/08/10: Cold crashed. Set fermentation chamber to 2C.

    2019/08/13: Racked off lees. Unfined the mead in the fermenter is already very, very clear. Very happy with how clear it turned just from cold crashing. Racked 23l into a sanitized container and added 2.4g Potassium Metabisulfite. Degassed and moved back to fridge at 2C.

    2019/08/14: Added 4.9g Potassium Sorbate. Used the higher end of the spectrum to cater for not knowing the pH of the mead.

    2019/08/15: Upon realizing that degassing will take significantly longer if the mead is cold, I removed it from the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature. Shook the bottle and burped off the gas every time I went past it. Eventually the burped gas got less and less, so I’m hoping I’m close to still now.

    2019/08/17: Gave a second dose (0.8g) of Potassium Metabisulfite. I was worried about free SO2 levels so I fed another small dose.

    2019/08/18: Added 1.05kg of honey to backsweeten. According to calculations this should hit in the 1.009~1.011 mark up from 0.997. I did a quick taste test and it seems I might be on the money here. The sweetness is not detectable, but it just breaks the coarse dryness from the brut mead beforehand. I am fairly sure my SO2 levels are OK, since I can’t detect any SO2 in the quick sample I had, and I was looking for it. As a final note - this mead is great. It’s not entirely drinkable just yet, I still want to fine/clarify it, but there are absolutely no off flavours and it’s really, really clean. Clarity is already improving a lot, but since the addition of the backsweetening honey it’s clouded up a little bit again, as was expected. I love this, it’s fantastic.

    Tasting notes so far are: Light golden colour. Still cloudy and not clear. On the nose is white wine notes, slightly sour-ish from the CO2, not in a bad way. This is the same light sour note that hits on taste. Because of the added honey, the taste is significantly more pleasant. Harsh dryness is gone and the mead is now smoothed out a lot. Getting fresh honey, floral and slightly fruity notes as well. Finishes as a crisp, fresh, lightly fruity taste. It’s good.

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
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    338

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    Fined the mead last night. Followed the protocol as discussed and broken down in a Brulosophy test done a few years ago. It's the same method I follow when fining beer, and it works like a charm. Mead was at 6.5C time of pitch. I took 150ml RO water, added 3/4 teaspoon gelatin to the water and stirred. It doesn't dissolve, so the method involves heating the solution in the microwave in 5-sec bursts until you hit around 65C, stirring between each burst with a thermometer to get to the temp. This is then added to the mead (or beer or cider or whatever), and stirred in. I pitched, capped the container and shook it. Stuck it back into the ferm chamber and turned the temp down to 2C. There it will stay to settle out for the rest of the week. I'll probably be able to rack it off the rest of the sediment by the end of the week, and it should be pretty clear by then. If not, I'll leave it another week or so.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
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    338

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    Alright. Last night I pulled a little sample of the mead (I use sanitised syringes, works like a charm). Anyway, two things:

    1. The mead is fantastic. I hit the sweetness spot on, and I would actually say this stuff is ready to drink when it comes to aroma and taste. Seriously, seriously good.
    2. It's not clear. Not at all. I checked in the bottle and it seems like the gelatin isn't working like it should. I'm wondering why that might be. Does anyone have any ideas? It seems to have made a very thin little "layer" on top of the mead, similar to what I've seen in beer bottles in the neck. I agitated the bottle to break it up and checked clarity with a torch through the side, and it really isn't very clear. I'm stumped?

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
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    795

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    https://winemakermag.com/technique/7...nts-techniques

    "For this reason, it is usually not recommended for fining white wines, as it will reduce the small amount of tannins and, in fact, it may not fine adequately if the tannin content is too low."

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
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    Yeah I know it's not the best, but it's what I had. I didn't know about the tannins. Will give it a week or two more and see what happens. Thanks for that link man. Next time I'll get some proper finings like SuperKleer or something like that.

  6. #46

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    Hi, I would like to know what should a traditional mead smell like. I haven't drunk any mead so far and I am making my first orange blossom traditional. It is closer to the finish with around 1.015 SG, it smells acidic with an almost mint-like scent. The smell is totally different from the original orange blossom, is it normal? TOSNA 3.0 and temperature control are manipulated. Thank you for your answer.

  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by doublebase View Post
    Hi, I would like to know what should a traditional mead smell like. I haven't drunk any mead so far and I am making my first orange blossom traditional. It is closer to the finish with around 1.015 SG, it smells acidic with an almost mint-like scent. The smell is totally different from the original orange blossom, is it normal? TOSNA 3.0 and temperature control are manipulated. Thank you for your answer.
    You can use the same honey in 20 different traditional, and only change the yeast strain and each one will taste different
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  8. #48

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    Yes, I have read your thread about the great yeast experiment. The results will vary from strain to strain. As a newbie, I am concerned whether my batch is infected since the smell and taste changed drastically from day 21. I read that on BJCP mead flaw, acidic may result from the honey itself or infection. I also heard that orange blossom honey is an acidic honey. So how could we tell our batch is infected or not? No vinegar, rotten eggs, sewage scents are detected. Thank you Sir.

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
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    In my opinion, mead fresh from the fermenter smells a little acidic, with a hint of whatever the yeast did. You might pick up floral notes and the kind of flower the honey came from. If you used orange blossom, you should be able to pick up orange notes. The smells get less pronounced as the ABV increases (in my experience) as the alcohol takes over.

  10. #50
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    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
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    OK so this mead is not clearing. At all. It's just as hazy as it was when I racked off the lees 2 weeks ago. Could it simply be a question of waiting (I'm impatient) or could it be something else?

  11. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toxxyc View Post
    OK so this mead is not clearing. At all. It's just as hazy as it was when I racked off the lees 2 weeks ago. Could it simply be a question of waiting (I'm impatient) or could it be something else?
    https://www.bjcp.org/mead/Mead_Study.pdf on page 49 starts discussing fining agents and approximate doses. Squatchy has previously told me he takes a known amount of must and then overdoses to ensure that product can clear his mead at all. Then he does bench trials (gradually increasing the fining agent dose, over a number different of samples of the same volume). The bench trial allows you to achieve the clarity you want without lingering fining agent remaining in the final product.

  12. #52
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    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
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    Yeah thanks for that link. I've done research on the matter and it seems I found the same info. I don't know what to do. Will just give it "more time".

  13. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toxxyc View Post
    Yeah thanks for that link. I've done research on the matter and it seems I found the same info. I don't know what to do. Will just give it "more time".
    that was my solution until I just drank the mesquite trad prior to it ever arriving at clear. I've lost patience with the orange blossom trad I've got aging so I'll be pushing on it shortly with some bentonite.

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
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    I'm starting to wonder if the constant cold isn't keeping a haze in the mead. I'll be racking it again sometime soon, probably on Friday, to get it off the gelatin and (hopefully plentiful) sediment. I'll then airlock it and set it in the house at room temp until I can get around to bottling it.

  15. #55

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    It's not the cold. You're not using the correct fining agent.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
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    338

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    It's not the cold. You're not using the correct fining agent.
    Guessed as much. I'll see if I can source something better in the interim. I take it the mead, properly stabilised, won't go off when in a fermenter under airlock, correct?

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
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    2019/09/01: Racked off the little bit of lees that was in the bottle. Gelatin failed miserably, as it’s not the correct fining agent. Next time I’ll have to try a different fining agent. After rack the mead was still very cloudy, nowhere near clear.

    2019/09/05: Bottled. Had no other choice. Batch has to be handed over and it’s not clearing, but the mead itself tastes fantastic. Not overly sweet, and quite honey-ish. Very, very good. Pretty floral with a strong nose of honey, but obviously “green”. Pity about the clarity not being up to scratch, but that’s part of the fun.

    On the side, I handed over 27 bottles of this batch to the buddy I made it for. I told him I'm keeping 2 bottles (and the racking losses and so on I'm slowly filtering and clearing) to age at home. When I handed it over he had a taste test - and concurs. This mead is really, REALLY good. My sweetness is spot on, so I'll have to do the same for the next batches. I'm suddenly back in love with mead making. This batch taught me so incredibly much it's not even funny. For the next batch I'll do exactly the same, apart from the fining agent. I'll have to get something more suitable to the task. Often "winging it" will work, but it doesn't seem to be 100% effective with everything.

    Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread of mine. You have all helped and you were all part of this batch. This mead is great, and if this kicks off (and it's accepted by the target market), I think we might just actually make this commercial thing work. Here's to hoping!

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
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    OK so his feedback on this mead, and I quote translated: "Bro, it is bloody good". I have to concur. It's not clear (yet), but as the saying in beer goes - clarity isn't everything. Obviously I'd want to get it perfect, so that's what I'll focus on in my next batch - getting clarity spot on. I'll invest in some proper flocculants.

  19. #59

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    nice dude!

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
    Posts
    338

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    Thanks man. I'm VERY happy about this. I'm actually getting my next batch of honey this week still so I can kick off the next batch. The previous batch is being distributed to "key people" to get an interest in the mead, since mead or "honey wine" is pretty unfamiliar in South Africa.

    Good times!

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