Trying mead before brewing

Discussion in 'Coffee, Kombucha & Mead Forum' started by SteBeardface, Nov 15, 2018.

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  1. Nov 15, 2018 #1

    SteBeardface

    SteBeardface

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    I've been doing a lot of research into all thing fermentable and meads are interesting me more and more, especially since finding out about bochets! However, after trying Lanchester mead, which is quite a sweet mead, i wouldn't mind trying a dry mead to compare to. Before I go diving in head-first to brew some, can anyone recommend a dry mead I could buy to try?
     
  2. Nov 15, 2018 #2

    Dutto

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    Here's a link to find the perfect mead for you:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/food-drink/best-meads-recipe-a7377651.html

    The first choice at £22.99 for a 750ml bottle makes me say "Go on! Dive in!" as all meads will become "dry" if they ferment out completely. (i.e. the amount of honey used in the wine is below that amount whereby the yeast being used kills itself off by producing so much alcohol that it dies.)

    For a first time brew mead is superb; and by waiting about a year for it to mature properly, you can brew and drink a few beers in the meantime!

    Here's a link with other links that you may enjoy:

    https://www.mnn.com/food/beverages/stories/how-make-your-own-honey-mead
     
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  3. Nov 16, 2018 #3

    SteBeardface

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  4. Nov 16, 2018 #4

    phillc

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    The more I've experimented with different homebrew drinks, them more I'm coming to the conclusion that one doesn't have to slavishly follow recipes to the letter.

    I'm currently making my first mead. I dissolved 3kg of rape seed honey in 6 litres of water. This resulted in about 8 litres in total. The SG was 1150. I added two teaspoons of Young's Yeast Nutrient right at the start of fermentation. This bubbled through the airlock nicely for about three days then stopped. I opened it up on day 4, took a gravity reading of 1036, and added one additional teaspoon of Young's Yeast Nutrient. Things started bubbling away again almost immediately. On reflection, I think this could have been a combination of more nutrient and de-gassing from opening the top of the demijohn.

    By day 10, all bubbling had stopped again. On day 12 I added 400g of sultanas in a small hop bag. This was done as much to add some body/flavour, but I also wondered if this would kick the yeast off again. I must admit I didn't take a gravity reading at this point. Anyway, no more bubbling after this.

    Today is day 20 and I intend to leave the mead in the fermenter one more week and then bottle. I'm using Lallemand CBC-1 yeast, which should tolerate 11-13% alcohol, so I'm aiming for a final gravity of around 1000-1010 and a dry mead.

    Now, of course this might turn out terrible and I'll regret not following some recipe to the letter, but so far things seem to be going fine and I would hope by Christmas I might have something drinkable (although I intend to leave a few bottles for longer maturation).
     
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  5. Nov 16, 2018 #5

    Dutto

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    I use Wilco's Yeast Nutrient in everything. Enjoy.
     
  6. Nov 19, 2018 #6

    SteBeardface

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    Cheers guys! So this is what I decided to do...

    - 3 jars of tesco honey, so about 3lb
    - Topped up to 4.5L in a sanitised PET bottle with springwater
    - Added 1tsp of Youngs Yeast Nutrient (I had this for TC's, so why not)
    - Pitched half a packet of Munton's GV1 yeast

    After 12 hours at ~19 °C, I worried about it not fermenting, so I rehydrated the other half pack in warmed springwater for 15 min before pitching it.

    36 hour mark - still nothing.

    Will check when I get home tonight. If it hasn't started though... what do I do besides start again?
     
  7. Nov 19, 2018 #7

    phillc

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    Aeration and lots of it. If you can put your big sanitised stirrer in there and make lots of bubble through agitation, great. If not, shake the heck out of the fermenter to make lots of bubbles. Adding oxygen at this point won't harm and will only help to stimulate the yeast.

    Also, how do you know it's not fermenting? My mead had pretty much no krausen on top. I did have slow airbubbles through the airlock, but this was pretty much the only indication apart from after a few days clear bubbles, which burst after sometime, appeared on top of the must.

    Try the aeration, leave it for a few more days, then take a gravity reading and see if it's dropped from SG.
     
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  8. Nov 19, 2018 #8

    SteBeardface

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    I did wonder if aeration was my issue, the must was sat for a while before I pitched any yeast. I shall shake the hell out of it if it hasn't started.

    The airlock usually tells me, I've had no issues with bubbling with my TC's. Of course, this may have changed... will update later on :) cheers, phillc
     
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  9. Nov 19, 2018 #9

    ScottE75

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    My latest mead was a dry one, I only used 3lb of ASDAs honey (£3.94), 1 1/2 tsp youngs nutrient and young's dessert/ high alcohol yeast (my favourite). Took 10 days to ferment from SG 1.092 (lower than my target) and fermented to SG 0.995 giving an ABV 13%. I prefer sweet mead, but it wasn't bad dry. I find mead clears itself 90% of the time, but I made a sweet mead with Rowse honey, and it wouldn't clear until I bottled it aheadbutt sod's law!
     
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  10. Nov 19, 2018 #10

    GerritT

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    It will start slower, but it will ferment. I did a few meads: JOAM, some show meads, and they took their time. Frankly, they're still in a closet since Summer 2017. Hm. Time to try one of them.
     
  11. Nov 20, 2018 #11

    Zephyr259

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    I've got the yeast for a BOMM but not put it together yet as been fermenting other things first.

    Here's two links for an ebay seller who stocks Fermaid O and Go-Ferm, seems to be the only option in the UK without bulk ordering several kilos of the stuff. For Fermaid K, I use Tronozymol which is DAP plus a bunch of micronutrients, started using it when my first batch of mead stalled out using standard nutrient (in hindsight it was probably because the old recipe had the must too acidic).

    My recent batch of rapeseed honey mead with Lalvin 71B started at 1.128 and fermented down to 1.060 before sticking, after a couple of weeks of rousing it, warming it, adding more nutrient, adding another yeast (CBC-1) and stepping it back up I then left it for 2 weeks while offshore and came back to it finished at 1.022 which was around my original aim. CBC-1 can apparently go over 20% if you feed it slowly but seems to have stopped a bit over 14% for me which is what I wanted. Tastes ok, but will need a couple of months to mellow out after all the mishandling, rumour has it that mead is very resistant to oxidation, this batch will stress test that idea.

    Will try a BOMM soon which will keep us in mead for a while, hope they taste better than my previous attempts or I'm just gonna give up on mead. :-(
     
  12. Nov 20, 2018 #12

    SteBeardface

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    Now is as good a time as any! :p the good news is I came home to the sight of foaming and, with a little shake, some bubbles in the airlock, so all is well!

    Thanks for those links, they'll be a great addition to the chemical cupboard! I actually found some Tronozymol for a reasonable price at Homebrewwest.ie so I can use that if I encounter issues with the DAP alone.

    I hope that batch of yours comes out ok in the end, especially after all that nursing.
     
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  13. Nov 29, 2018 #13

    SteBeardface

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    Quick update - fermentation is still strong, I've been adding 1/2tsp of young's nutrient at SG's of 1055 and 1030 and fermenting at 20°C. OG was 1094, so either the honey was a bit thin or I put a bit too much water in the FV (it's a 5L PET thing with no measurements), but screw it, it'll come out dry anyway, all being well. Hoping it will be done by the weekend.

    I'm just wondering what I should do about clearing it - do I rack into another vessel and wait before bottling or could I use finings? I've been doing Solomon Grundy's Bilberry wine kit and it came with Keiselsol and Chitosan. It's clearing up great, so I wondered if I could do the same with the mead?
     
  14. Nov 29, 2018 #14

    Zephyr259

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    I tend to rack from primary to get it off the big yeast cake then let it settle in secondary. I have previously racked a third time if it has dropped a lot of sediment to make bottling easier, or just racked to a bottling bucket from secondary. Not used finings before so can't really advise there, sorry.
     
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  15. Nov 29, 2018 #15

    SteBeardface

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    Ok, so I shouldn't need to do it more than once, all being well? Can oxidation be an an issue here? I worry about leaving it for a few weeks without some form of inert gas :p I'd be half tempted to break open a CO2 cartridge into secondary before I rack into it...
     
  16. Nov 29, 2018 #16

    Zephyr259

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    I've stored a bunch of wines and meads for months, as long as you fill the demijohn up to the neck it should be fine. Standard practice tends to be racking onto 1 campden tablet per gallon which I think is partly to protect against oxidation.

    I've heard experienced mead makers say that mead's very resistant to oxidation, presumably because it's a simpler mixture and doesn't have as many susceptible compounds. My batch will be a greta test for this as primary was done in a 10L bucket for a 5L batch, it got stuck so there was lots of opening and stirring and pouring into a 5L bucket to restart a small volume then introduce to the main batch. Doesn't seem to have oxidised as it's still very pale and tastes ok (just young) but we'll see down the line.
     
  17. Nov 29, 2018 #17

    SteBeardface

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    I doubt it will reach the neck as the secondary will be the same size as the primary... maybe I should get a proper glass demijohn :p or just see how I get on with what I have for now
     
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