Author Topic: Mead has been started  (Read 1440 times)

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Offline Zweefer

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Mead has been started
« on: September 01, 2015, 08:26:14 am »
Started 5 gal of mead yesterday.
Looking to make a sweet mead that hopefully finished between 11 and 12.50 % ABV (12 is target).

I am trying a few new things with this one...
First is the must.
I used filtered water (reverse osmosis) to clean my wax cappings, and the resulting must came in close to where I wanted it to be.  I added about 4 lbs of honey to bring the SG up to 1.014. 

I think all my meads will be done this way from now on, as in the past mixing straight water and honey, it has required around 3 - 3.5 lbs per gal to get it near that range!

Also trying a new yeast this time, vintner's harvest SN9. Pitched it about 35 min ago, so now the long long wait begins... I'll add some photos in a bit.

Offline rcannon

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Re: Mead has been started
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2015, 09:27:35 pm »
Zweefer, I'm thinking about starting a batch. Would you mind sharing your recipe?

Offline efmesch

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Re: Mead has been started
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2015, 06:08:53 am »
Sounds to me like an SG of 1.014 is on the low side.  I started my mead with cappings honey diluted to an SG of about 1.060.  I confess, that's a bit high and puts a bit of a "strain" on the yeast, but it is bubbling away slowly.   Hopefully, the mead will reach a reasonable alcohol content and still have some sweetness in the final product.  Time will tell.

Offline Zweefer

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Mead has been started
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2015, 07:43:31 am »
Ef - at 1.060 that would be dessert wine!I was concerned with the yeast tolerance as well, thus the 1.014. I figure I can step sweeten towards the end if needs be.
I'll post the recipe when I get back home so I don't err...
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 07:54:18 am by Zweefer »

Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Mead has been started
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2015, 09:20:12 am »
Sounds good, looking forward to hearing how that yeast does.  Mead is a bit of a strain on yeast unless you add some yeast nutrient etc..
   Like Zweef, I also like to back sweeten rather than start out sweet..  Why?  I have no clue, just how I have always done it..  I guess it gives the option of sweetening as needed. I dont like dessert sweetness, but I dont like Dry either, so by back sweetening I can tailor it how I want it step by step..




   The things I have done different, I used Lalvin EC-1118 yeast in the first batch...   came out pretty alcohol tasting..   montrachet yeast has a lower alcohol tolerance, and worked excellent, (13%) leaving a bit more sweeteness behind, so I had to add about a pound to a pound and a half of honey to bring the sweetness back up..  Always make sure the fermentation is DONE before bottling, or you get a vast nasty mess!

   this recepe originally came from homebrew forums;

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Lalvin D47 
Yeast Starter: 30 Mins with water and must
Batch Size (Gallons): 5 Gallons
Original Gravity: 1.13
Final Gravity: ??
Boiling Time (Minutes): none
Color: Blue/Purple
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 14 days @ 72
Additional Fermentation: as needed
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 120 days

5 lbs Frozen Blueberries
16 lbs Honey
5 tsp Yeast Nutrients
2 tsp Yeast Energizer
3/4 tsp Pectic Enzyme
5 Campden tablets
3 packets of Lalvin D47 Yeast

Mix 13 lbs of honey with about 1 gallon of water. Shake until your arms are tired. I use about a half a gallon of hot water from the tap per half gallon of honey. Pour into fermentor and add one gallon of room temp water. Add nutrients, energizer, pectic enzyme and crushed campden tables. Allow blueberries to completely thaw and mash them with your hands to just crush or split the berries. Add the blueberries to the must and cover for 24 hours.

Make a yeast starter with a cup of water and a cup of the must, around 84 degrees. Add the yeast and make sure it is working. Pitch the yeast after 30 minutes and stir to suspend.

Be careful how much water you add at this point as the blueberries will rise to the top start to swell. Not over 3/4 full in the fermentor. Cover with a towel or something that can breath. You need the O2 now. Stir every day for 10-14 days. Rack off into secondary and top off to proper level. Put the Air-lock on the secondary and rack about every 30 days for 4 months. Add 1 lb of honey for the next 3 rackings for a sweeter mead. It should not be in the dry range but it is much better in the semi-sweet range, the yeast should take this to about 14.5% ABV before it is overwhelemed.

You should have it clear and fermentation finished by around 4 months. Age as needed and I recommend bulk aging this one.
Drinking RUM before noon makes you a PIRATE not an alcoholic!

Offline efmesch

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Re: Mead has been started
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 01:26:00 pm »
That sounds like a real good recipe---but I dare say, it involves a lot of work.  I think my way is more of the Lazybeekeeper's recipe (apropriate for your moniker). 
I won't detail my recipe, since it changes from year to year.  I will add a few comments, though. 
I add yeast nutrient--it's needed for mead making because  honey doesn't have enough natural nutrients to feed the yeast. 
I often add a bit of apple juice concentrate--it supplies some of the necessary acidity and adds a pleasant flavor.  For the rest of the acidity I use a bit of Citric acid (be carefull here, too much gives  an unpleasant acidity) and tartaric acid. 
I always add a cup or so (to  10-12 liters of must) of strong tea (this provides the needed tannin;flavor).
One thing I did not do this year, and which I should have done, was to start the fermentation in the presence of oxygen (as Lazybkpr mentioned).  This is necessary for the initial reproduction of the yeast cells.  Because I didn't let the yeast really reproduce before letting the fermentation go anaerobic, my fermentation is very slow.

Offline Zweefer

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Mead has been started
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2015, 10:43:14 pm »
Here is the stock one I use...
Will make 1 gal.

Approx 3-3.5 lbs honey.
Water to finish gal (approx 3 quarts)
3 tsp acid blend
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 crushed campden tablet (optional)
1 packet yeast (mead or champaign)

Boil water. Add honey and skim if necessary. Pour into primary fermenter. Cool, and add acid blend and nutrient. You can add the campden tablet here if you use it. Cover and fit with airlock. 24 hours later add yeast. Stir daily. Check the PA in a few days. When it gets down to 3 to 4% rack the mead into secondary glass fermenter. Bung and fit with an airlock. A few weeks later rack it again. When it ferments out dry and clear, stabilize and sweeten if you like then bottle.

Note: for sweeter meads start with 3 pounds of honey then add another half pound to 1 pound when your racket into the secondary container the first time. Be sure to keep track of your original PA and how much sugar you are adding. You will have to remove a little of the original must. This gives the yeast and chance to cope with all that sweetness. It will take longer to ferment out, and probably won't ferment all the way. When you think it is done, stabilize and bottle it.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 10:43:48 pm by Zweefer »

Offline gtrr4

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Re: Mead has been started
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2017, 11:29:29 am »
I have a question that I hope some of you may be able to answer.  I provided 5 gallons of honey to a friend to make mead.  The time,has come and he has bottled half of the batch.  This turned out to be a dry wine.  Some of my friends like it very much, myself no so much.  I would like to have it sweeter.  The other half, roughly 5 gallons I think is still racked waiting to be bottled.  How can we sweeten this second half?  Approximately how much Honey would be needed?  Looking for a desert wine sweetness.

Jason

Offline efmesch

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Re: Mead has been started
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2017, 05:26:55 pm »
Without knowing the specific gravity of the must and of the finished product, there's no simple way to figure out the percentage of alcohol produced and how much "sugar" is in the mead.  And if you don't know that, you can't know exactly how much more honey to add.  Then again, if the alcohol content is low and you add more honey to sweeten the mead, you just might end up starting the whole batch fermenting again.
Pobably, the simplest thing to do would be to take a small, measured amount of the mead you want to sweeten, add measured amounts of honey to it until you get the sweetness that suits your palate.  Once you've reached that point, calculate how much honey you would have to add to the remaining amount of dry mead to get it upto the sweetness you want. 
In order to prevent the possibility of reactivating the yeast and strating the fermentation process again, you should add two campden tablets (sodium metabisulphite) or some other yeast killer to the mixture to knock them out of comission.
If you're in a rush to bottle and drink the sweetened mead, bottoms up.  :t3816: But you might do best to let it settle again for several weeks, do another racking and then bottle the finished, adjusted product.

Offline gtrr4

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Re: Mead has been started
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2017, 05:57:37 pm »
I mentioned adding rhe tablets, however for some reason his opinion is they do not work.  He has measured the alcohol and I could get that.  I can also ask what the sugar content is.

Offline gtrr4

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Re: Mead has been started
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2017, 06:34:17 pm »
Can the measured mead that I add honey to, be some that is already bottled?

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Mead has been started
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2017, 07:24:26 pm »
I have been playing around with mead too.  I don't have any to bottle yet and what I sampled the other day was pretty harsh.   :laugh:
We have a brew shoppe locally that I have been purchasing some equipment from.  He has answered any questions that I have, but he is not very familiar with mead.  He suggested that if you taste it and it's too dry, you can add more sweetener.  In this case, I assume it would be honey.

Offline apisbees

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Re: Mead has been started
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2017, 07:53:16 pm »
If their is still active yeast and you add honey you may restart and get secondary fermentation.
There is a mead forum http://gotmead.com/forum/ with experienced knowledgeable people on it.
Honey Judge, Beekeeping Display Coordinator, Armstrong Fair and Rodeo.

Offline gtrr4

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Re: Mead has been started
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2017, 08:41:19 pm »
Yes, we are aware of that and he feels like bringing the mead down to near freezing will stop the fermentation.