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STLExpat 04-08-2012 06:42 PM

conducting an experiment between bread yeast vs sweet mead yeast in mead
 
I was looking to make a mead for Christmas, and after reading the feedback I got on anther thread I decided to conduct a little test. I'm making two one gallon batches of what I'm calling my Spiced Orange Christmas Mead, and using Flieschman's bread yeast in one and Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast in the other. Grain bill is the same for both.

1 whole orange
1 peeled orange
1 cinnamon stick
pinch nutmeg
3.5 pounds clover honey
Contents of one vanilla pod

fatbloke 04-08-2012 06:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by STLExpat (Post 3974402)
I was looking to make a mead for Christmas, and after reading the feedback I got on anther thread I decided to conduct a little test. I'm making two one gallon batches of what I'm calling my Spiced Orange Christmas Mead, and using Flieschman's bread yeast in one and Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast in the other. Grain bill is the same for both.

1 whole orange
1 peeled orange
1 cinnamon stick
pinch nutmeg
3.5 pounds clover honey
Contents of one vanilla pod

A reasonable experiment to try. One thing I would suggest is that you made a starter with the Wyeast sweet mead yeast. It probably is fine, but it's known to be a PITA and quite finicky to use. A little research would show you that it's known for stuck ferments, or even not starting at all.

Also, I suspect you'll get a better batch from the bread yeast. Proper JAO has been measured by some and they've managed to get 12 to 13 %ABV out of it. If you treated both batches to the same technique i.e. daily aeration etc, and even a little energiser, then I suspect it would out perform the sweet mead yeast which has a tolerance of 11%

One of the things that I believe causes the sweet mead yeast some issues is osmotic shock, so as you'd still get a result it might be better to reserve 1lb of honey on that batch and keep it a bit lower to start with and then put the other 1lb in later on.

STLExpat 04-08-2012 07:03 PM

Thanks for the tips, much appreciated. Just took a gravity reading on the bread yeast batch, it's sitting at 1.14. I've got some yeast energizer that should be here tomorrow or Tuesday, got a feeling I may be needing it.

TheBrewingMedic 04-09-2012 12:07 AM

Quote:

it might be better to reserve 1lb of honey on that batch and keep it a bit lower to start with and then put the other 1lb in later on.
But then he would not be performing a balanced experiment. Since his goal is to see what occurs using two different yeast strains on identical solutions, then everything from initial ingredients and how they are put together to final results must be identical to get valid results.

If he has further interest and ambition after this group he could try doing another test the way fatbloke described, but he would have to change the solution for both of the yeast strains to be able to show trending in yeast managment.

fatbloke 04-09-2012 07:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheBrewingMedic (Post 3974989)
But then he would not be performing a balanced experiment. Since his goal is to see what occurs using two different yeast strains on identical solutions, then everything from initial ingredients and how they are put together to final results must be identical to get valid results.

If he has further interest and ambition after this group he could try doing another test the way fatbloke described, but he would have to change the solution for both of the yeast strains to be able to show trending in yeast managment.

No, indeed not, but when dealing with a yeast as finnicky as Wyeast sweet mead, it might be the only way to go i.e. slight differences in the management technique being the only way of getting a result worthy of comparison, as long as the ingredients used for both batches were the same. How they're actually used might be different. Yet still giving a result to compare both batches once finished.

Hell, it might be that it's just necessary to make a starter for the sweet mead yeast. I'd still check the numbers for a batch that will finish at 11% ABV, that way other variables will be negated as they'd be the same for both batches. Hence a result for taste comparison....

BrewersKaramazov 04-09-2012 01:26 PM

I look forward to reading your results here. I did not realize the bread yeast could perform as well as the mead yeast.

STLExpat 04-09-2012 01:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fatbloke
A reasonable experiment to try. One thing I would suggest is that you made a starter with the Wyeast sweet mead yeast. It probably is fine, but it's known to be a PITA and quite finicky to use. A little research would show you that it's known for stuck ferments, or even not starting at all.

After reading this, another idea that entered my mind was making a third batch with White Labs sweet mead yeast. I'm also seriously considering adding a yeast energizer as well based off the initial gravity reading. From what I have learned in my first couple months of brewing a reading of 1.14 is pretty high and the yeast will need some help, however if I am wrong in this due to still being a newb please tell me.

I checked the fermentor this morning and saw that some of the vanilla was in the airlock's inner tube, more than likely I'm going to have a blowout on my hands when I swing by home for lunch. Looking back I'm pretty sure I didn't leave enough headspace. I'll post pictures later today.

STLExpat 04-09-2012 04:02 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Yep, we have a blow-out. Just checked on it and the airlock was full of junk and it had spilled out some. Switched over to a hose (really glad I thought ahead and sanitized one recently)

Attachment 56250

and sanitizer bowl. Lost some of the vanilla though, estimating about half of the pod I scraped out. I'll have to reduce how much I put in next batch so I can keep everything the same

fatbloke 04-09-2012 04:30 PM

Well the white labs yeast, has a higher alcohol tolerance, then the wyeast one (15% for WL, 11% for WY). Plus I haven't heard of anywhere near as many problems with the white labs one (it's not available here so haven't tried it - whereas the Wyeast one is and it was a complete PITA, so I'm not gonna use it again).

As for the blow out, JAO style recipes do seem to foam a lot in the first instance, but usually settle down after a day or two......

And while I make my own vanilla essence, I would have just split the pod and chucked the whole thing in, rather than splitting and scrapping it....

tom_gamer 04-09-2012 04:54 PM

I have used the whitelab sweet mead yeast with a similar mead and about six month of aging it was very enjoyable.


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