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Old 06-18-2012, 05:32 AM   #1
thesledge
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Default A few questions about my mead

Hey, guys. I'm new to making mead and I have a few questions for you. I'm just curious if you guys can give me some sort of idea of how my first 2 batches of mead will taste. Sadly, I jumped into this whole process a little faster than I should have, so I didn't take any measurements with a hydrometer before getting started. I can give a rundown of the recipes that I used. They are basically the same except for the type and amount of honey used. Oh, and these are one gallon batches.

Batch #1
One orange, sliced
25 raisins
One pack Lalvin EC-1118
4 lbs local raw clover honey

Batch #2
Same as above, except a different brand of local raw clover honey. And I fudged the math and accidentally used 5 lbs of honey.

My goal was to create a sweet, high ABV mead. I have no clue how it will come out (particularly Batch #2 with its high amount of honey) so throw out some predictions for me! I know I didn't give you guys much to go off of, so any predictions are welcomed. Even if you just tell me I'm crazy and screwed up on a colossal level.

Edit: And just to be clear, I'm not trying to create high ABV mead just to get loaded, but rather because the commercially available meads that I have tried and enjoyed are in the 18-20% range and I was trying to emulate them.

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Old 06-18-2012, 09:42 AM   #2
fatbloke
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Well you should be able to start the first one, though you may want to think of some nutrient (fermaidk, fermax or similar), as you will be pushing it to get anywhere near dry (higher alcohol level) with just orange and raisins.

The second batch might have problems starting, possibly osmotic shock from the colossal sugar load, but it it does start, the nutrient comment above applies, as would "aeration and staggered nutrient addition" as per the gotmead newbee guide.

Fermentation management like the JAO recipe is only appropriate for a sweet batch. It's not a good dry recipe, so you'd have to look at how you're gonna manage it, and presume stabilising and back sweetening as well.

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Old 06-18-2012, 11:43 AM   #3
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According to Gotmead calculator:

Recipe 1 SG=1.144 Potential abv 18.25%

Recipe 2 SG=1.18 Potential abv 22.12%

Not exact because honey can vary in sugar content but it will be close.

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Old 06-18-2012, 03:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thesledge View Post
] Even if you just tell me I'm crazy and screwed up on a colossal level.
There is no screwing up on a colossal level, there is just learning experiences that may need dramatic adjustments.

With the monster OG of the second batch it may need to be cut some to bring the gravity down a few points if it's a little too sweet for the yeast to get a good start. But using 1118 you probably have the best chance of it taking off and burning through the sugar and everything else in it's path as is it's nature.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:09 AM   #5
thesledge
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Thanks for all the responses, guys. I should have mentioned that these batches have been going strong for one month as of today. I racked them for the first time after 3 weeks, as quite a bit of sediment was forming at the bottom. I goofed a bit and sucked up some of the sediment during racking, but it was my first time so I'll know next time I rack to leave a little more at the bottom.

I'm guessing that at this point I am at the secondary fermentation stage. I'm also guessing the 5 lb batch will need some serious time to mellow out.

I'm still learning a lot about the whole process, and truthfully I should have learned more before starting up these batches. While I'm thinking about it, I wanted to ask if oranges serve as yeast nutrient? The recipe I used called for oranges and raisins and explained their inclusion as a substitute for yeast nutrient/energizer. But I've noticed that on these forums I mainly see people recommend raisins as nutrients and not so much oranges. And do you think the oranges and raisins will affect the flavor very much?

Again, thanks for your responses. I'll be hanging around here absorbing as much knowledge from you guys as I can.

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Old 06-19-2012, 12:31 AM   #6
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The oranges and raisins will have a great affect on the taste. If you did not peel the oranges then get ready for some bitter taste. The pith "white part" of the orange is quite bitter and that is normally fixed with an overly sweet mead. Your first should go dry using Lalvin 1118 but the second should have some sweet to it.

Most any fruit, veggie or spice can be nutrient for yeast. Some of the largest things you look for in a nutrient substitute is amino acid levels. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are also different kinds of amino acids so even some ingredients may have less but have the right kind. Raisins seem to do well in this category.

Think about getting a couple ounces of medium toasted French oak cubes and letting these sit on that for 2 - 3 weeks. That will help to take some edge off and reduce the ageing period befor these are well drinkable.

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