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Old 03-01-2010, 01:05 AM   #1
jimmypop13
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Default Fermenting mead in 6 weeks or less, does this really work?

I'm a complete newbie to homebrewing, in fact my equipment kit hasn't even arrived yet, but I was reading The Complete Joy of Home Brewing by Papazian and I saw in the mead section in the back that he talks about the importance of adding nutrients for healthy yeast fermentation. He says "Without the addition of nutrients, mead still can be made, but the fermentation may take 3 months to a year before completion, rather than less than 6 weeks." He mentions an all natural source being yeast extract which is basically Marmite/Vegemite, and says to use 1/4 to 1/2 ounce per 5 gallons. So if you used that, could you really have mead ready to bottle in 6 weeks or am I missing something here? Could this negatively effect the taste? I'm just curious because I was always told making mead takes 6 months to a year.
Thanks
-Chris

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Old 03-01-2010, 11:36 AM   #2
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There have been a lot of advances since the time Joy of Home Brewing was written and a lot of studies made in an effort to develop more efficient products to aid fermentation. Why not read the information readily available on the yeast manufacturer's websites and pick up a copy of Ken Schramm's book?

Having said all this though, I believe the statement Mr. Papazian made was that fermentation would be complete in 6 weeks rather than three months without nutrients. There's a big difference between complete fermentation and a mead that's ready to drink.

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Old 03-01-2010, 02:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmypop13 View Post
He mentions an all natural source being yeast extract which is basically Marmite/Vegemite, and says to use 1/4 to 1/2 ounce per 5 gallons.
-Chris
I'm curious what page that is on.
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:01 PM   #4
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As summersolstice says - done fermenting and bottling/ready to drink are two very different animals.

My 2 tea meads pretty much stopped fermenting and have gone almost completely clear in a month, but it's certainly not drinkable.

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Old 03-01-2010, 04:43 PM   #5
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I'm curious what page that is on.
It's on page 334.

Thanks guys, I'll check out that book. I guess I'm not sure yet what the difference is between being done fermenting and being ready to drink.
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:56 PM   #6
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Done fermentation means the yeast have stopped eating the sugars and the gravity is no longer dropping.

That may be done in a few weeks to a few months. However, there's typically a alcohol 'burn' that gets created when the yeasties do their business and that takes time to age out and all the flavors to really come together.

If you're a beer brewer, you'll know the same thing - higher ABV beers typically need some of that aging time (large belgians, RIS, barleywines) to get everything to meld into a perfectly drinkable beverage.

As with beer - this is a high ABV drink. Typically less ABV, less time needed to age and drink. Other things (like being overtly sweet) may hide that burn.

If you're interested in something quicker, drop the ABV a bit under 10 and you can probably drink it much sooner. I think Homebrewer99's lemonade mead (found in the recipe section) is drinkable in a few weeks, and it's mighty tasty (I've had it right from Bill's private stash, and it's nice!!).

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Old 03-02-2010, 03:21 AM   #7
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Ah, he didn't call it marmite/vegemite! Those were your words!

Just this last month, the British cider makers started talking about marmite. I actually found some, but it is horrible horrible stuff with lots of salt.

No, I'm thinking marmite/vegemite is not yeast nutrient. Too much salt!

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Old 03-03-2010, 05:16 AM   #8
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Getting back to the original question, There is a world of difference between the completion of fermentation and being ready to drink.
Using SNA my primary fermentation is done in 10 days to 2 weeks,
Time for perfection drinking extends out to 1 to 2 years. It is just the nature of the drink. I do a lot of sampling as my brews condition and age, and if anyone has a way to decrease the time please give a yell out here.

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