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-   -   Cherry Melomel (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/cherry-melomel-344225/)

irchowi 07-28-2012 07:09 AM

Cherry Melomel
 
Hey guys, new brewer here. My 1st two batches of mead were JOAMs, but 1 with bread yeast and 1 with wine yeast and I gotta say, the wine yeast isn't turning out so good. The color is off and it doesn't smell as good as the bread yeast. Plus it got stuck a few days after I pitched. I tried aerating it, and that didn't really do anything. Then today I threw in a teaspoon of bread yeast without thinking. I didn't even rehydrate and it was cold straight from the fridge. I think it's ruined. There goes 10 dollars worth of honey.

I've been reading up on a lot of other's brewing experience, and I'm seeing a wide variety of yeast that people use. It's kind of overwhelming for me as I can't tell which from which. It's cherry season right now so I made a gallon of cherry melomel. Very simple recipe with 3 pounds of clove honey and a little over 2 pounds of cherry. I used bread yeast since it seems to work well for JOAM. I did add a packet of yeast nutrients. How do you guys think it will turn out? OG is 1.11

Insomniac 07-28-2012 11:40 AM

Did you take a gravity reading for your wine yeast joam? I certainly wouldnt give up on it yet. If you post some more details, which yeast, og, current sg etc, in sure we can help.
For the cherry, with an og that high the bread yeast may struggle but if you keep aerating and add some more nutrients for the first third of the ferment you may get it down to a drinkable level, read up on staggered nutrient additions in the sticky. In general though I wouldnt take one possibly bad experience with wine yeast to heart, they really are better for fermenting things you just need to find one you like. I had a lot if luck with 1116 producing good batches.

irchowi 07-29-2012 02:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Insomniac (Post 4287024)
Did you take a gravity reading for your wine yeast joam? I certainly wouldnt give up on it yet. If you post some more details, which yeast, og, current sg etc, in sure we can help.
For the cherry, with an og that high the bread yeast may struggle but if you keep aerating and add some more nutrients for the first third of the ferment you may get it down to a drinkable level, read up on staggered nutrient additions in the sticky. In general though I wouldnt take one possibly bad experience with wine yeast to heart, they really are better for fermenting things you just need to find one you like. I had a lot if luck with 1116 producing good batches.


Well the messed up wine yeast joam is made with Lalvin d47 and I never took an og. I measured a week later and it came to 1.03. Also I think I didn't use enough water, because when I racked it from the pail to a 1 gallon carboy, it only filled like 3/4 of the way. Plus the bread yeast I put in didn't restart it.

Do the yeasts really make much of a difference? I mean other than their alcohol tolerance, they all pretty much just make alochol, right?

Also the cherries I used are sweet cherries from the grocery store and I think their flavors might be too subtle to be noticed. But I might be wrong.

EDIT: forgot to mention I am fermenting at room temp (roughly 77 degrees Fahrenheit). Is this too hot?

Insomniac 07-29-2012 10:44 AM

Well, at 1.03 FG it could easily be done rather than stuck depending on OG. But with d47 fermented warm it is goig to have a serious fusel alcohol kick. It should mellow with age but probably won't go completely.
Different yeasts actually do differ quite a lot. Temperature range is one important difference, d47 shouldn't be used above 20c, 1116 will go up to 35c. They also dont just produce alcohol but easters and other by products which change how a mead will taste. Bread yeast actually produces higher amounts of co2 as thats what it was designed for.

irchowi 07-30-2012 03:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Insomniac (Post 4289203)
Well, at 1.03 FG it could easily be done rather than stuck depending on OG. But with d47 fermented warm it is goig to have a serious fusel alcohol kick. It should mellow with age but probably won't go completely.
Different yeasts actually do differ quite a lot. Temperature range is one important difference, d47 shouldn't be used above 20c, 1116 will go up to 35c. They also dont just produce alcohol but easters and other by products which change how a mead will taste. Bread yeast actually produces higher amounts of co2 as thats what it was designed for.

That could be the case, but it was only fermenting for a few days or a week before it stopped and I'm not too sure but I had the impression that fermentation usually lasts much longer.

And 77 degrees does sound high, but its room temperature and feels pretty cool especially during the summer months. How do you guys have anywhere that's 50-60 degrees without some kind of fridge?

I see that people generally wine/mead yeast and that makes sense since it was designed to make mead. But JOAM seems to insist on using bread yeast and has pretty good results from it and I don't see why it would work well for JOAM and not any other mead as well.

Illuveatar 07-30-2012 05:20 AM

I haven't made a JAOM, It's next on my list. But I've made a dozen or so meads through the years. JAOM doesn't seem to conform to general mead rules as I understand it. It's designed to be a simple beginners mead which is flavorful and forgiving and even seems to demand inattention. This isn't the case with a normal mead, at least not at first.

D47 is a good mead yeast and I would suggest you stick to it for a while if the other yeast types seem confusing. I have used either D47 or Montrachet for all my meads and wines for the last 5 years with no complaints.

With a gravity of 1.03 the yeast may have petered out because the alcohol content is too high, this means the fermentation is done and you have nothing to worry about. Taking an initial gravity reading is very useful at times like this. But no worries, don't count it out yet. You could try giving the yeast a bit of nutrient and energizer and see if the gravity changes over a few days.

Or you could add another pound of cherries since you said you have some head space, I had a stuck fermentation just last week and when I added more fruit it kickstarted the yeast which had been dormant for two weeks.

I've read here that tart cherries are preferred for meads so an additional helping of sweet cherries might be useful in bringing out more cherry flavor anyway. And I've also read that D47 tends to add a citrus fruit flavor when it is allowed to sit at the bottom of a wine/mead for an extended period. This may also add some character to your mead if you leave it sit for a couple months on the lees.

Good luck, and keep us posted

Insomniac 07-30-2012 08:20 AM

D47 is a good yeast for meads but if you dont have any way of getting the temp down I would switch to something like 1116. I use both but I got myself a second fridge to put my active ferments in. I think some people manage to keep it cool in basements but it will depend on area, but finding a yeast that suits your set up is probably easiest.

Its not so much a case of bread yeast being ok for jaom, more that jaom was invented specifically to be made from ingredients you find at the store. Bread yeast isnt very alcohol tollerent so leaves a lot of sugar behind, this is ballanced by leaving the pith on the oranges to add bitterness. Thats why that particualar recipe insists on bread yeast, a normal wine yeast would eat too much sugar leaving too bitter instead. (fixable with back sweetening) and take much longer to age.

irchowi 07-30-2012 10:24 PM

I think I will experiment with bread yeast and wine/mead yeast and see what kind of differences there are. I've heard that some people got very high ABV with bread yeast, as much as 17%. Can it really fluctuate that much?

About the cherry mead, it's a 1 gallon batch but with 2 pounds of cherry in a 2 gallon pail. I assume that if I were to rack it to a 1 gallon carboy, I wouldn't have any room for additional cherries. So I was thinking of buying a 5 gallon carboy to rack my gallon of mead to. Now I'm wondering if too much headspace is a problem. Because if it isn't, then i think it might be silly to buy 2-3 gallon carboys (if they exist) because a 5 gallon carboy could pretty much make anything up to 5 gallons and I assume it shouldn't cost much more than say a 3 gallon carboy.

irchowi 08-03-2012 01:25 AM

Update:

Fermentation started on the 27th of July, so it's been roughly 6 days. I've opened the pail a few times since then, and it seems like most of the cherries have had their colors leeched off of the fruit and into the mead and dropped to the bottom. Airlock activity is slow, about once every 50-60 seconds.

My next stop is to rack to a 1 gallon carboy with a pound of fresh cherries, frozen and thawed (I didn't do that initially). Does now seem like a good time?

EndlessPurple 08-03-2012 02:54 AM

For temp control, I don't have a basement or places for extra fridges (in an apt). What works for me is set the AC down to about 72, plus I close of the bedroom and keep it dark with heavy blinds - so it does not heat up as fast as the rest of the apt. This drops the bedroom down to below 70 usually.

DeFalcos has 3 gal carboys. I usually mix up the primary to have an extra gallon in it to allow for the part that shouldn't be racked. Seems to work well so far, plus I usually get a little more out in a half gallon jug for topping off after later rackings. I have been getting quite a bit of sediment in the container after the fruit.


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