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Old 09-10-2012, 10:50 PM   #1
dr_chamb
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Default First 1gal batch of mead is in primary

So, I just started branching out and dove into the mead world (in which I know absolutely nothing).. I used the "Master Terafan" recipe from www.greydragon.org/brewing/mead.html

I followed the recipe almost exactly, but used champagne yeast.

The recipe says to let it ferment for 18 days, then seal it off in a secondary for two weeks (i guess bottle), then refrigerate. Today is day 18, and I've held off on racking it because of the length of time it normally takes for a mead to actually mature, as well as avoiding exploding bottles.

I ended up using three growlers as my fermenting vessels (about 3/4 of the third growler filled due to the volume of the honey).

This is my first mead and don't expect amazing results but obviously would like to yield the best results possible. So, I guess my goal here is to just get a little bit of feedback from you veterans out there as far as what my next move should be, and if I follow that fermenting schedule exactly what kind of results do you think I can expect, as far as flavor, clarity, abv, exploding bottles, etc.?

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Old 09-11-2012, 01:13 AM   #2
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Well, that is a recipe for sparkling mead, so if you don't refrigerate it after the two weeks, you probably will have bottle bombs. So be careful.

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Old 09-11-2012, 01:16 AM   #3
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Oh, and with three pounds of honey and champagne yeast, it probably took it completely dry... which means it may not be sparkling after all. Only gravity readings could tell for sure.

I would expect lots of lees at the bottom of each bottle of you don't let it sit in secondary for a few months.

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Old 09-11-2012, 04:00 AM   #4
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Thanks for the heads up! So, if I just let it sit and carbonate itself out it obviously won't be sparkling. Are you saying this is a sparkling mead recipe just based on the amount of time it takes to ferment, and due to the fact that it's still fermenting when I cap it?

Also, if most mead is supposed to be flat, does the time it sits corked or sealed even matter? It's not like with beer where you prime it for carbonation, and let it sit capped for a while.

A buddy of mine helped me brew this (it was all his idea since he's gluten intolerant), and he leaves the state for good Oct 15th, so obviously he wants to have some.. So what I was thinking is to rack it tomorrow but continue to use and airlock, and let it bubble out. Then just cap it like a day or two before he takes off and put it in the refrigerator to drink before he takes off.

Does that sound like a better idea under my circumstances, or am I just going about this all wrong lol?

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Old 09-11-2012, 11:20 PM   #5
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Well today I just decided I was going to rack it to a secondary, to get the chunks of lemon, cloves and debris out. I took a gravity reading: OG =1.094, SG= 1.010, I thought that was quick.. Anyway it's extremely cloudy as far as mead is concerned. I figure I'll just let it ferment until my buddy is ready to leave, cap it and refrigerate. It already tastes great.

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Old 09-11-2012, 11:36 PM   #6
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It's a sparkling recipe because of the very short time in secondary, and then moving it into the fridge immediately. Most meads spend months if not years in the secondary to clear,degas, and age (which lets the alcohol heat break down and lets other flavors appear). After secondary, they are bottled, but not refrigerated.

With a gravity of 1.010, it could still carbonate and cause bottle bombs. You can stabilize with sorbate and bisulfate, or bottle in champagne bottles.

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Old 09-11-2012, 11:40 PM   #7
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The clarity of the mead is partially just preference (it's pretty when it's clear), but it can affect the flavor also since the yeast settles out when it's cleared. Really the only thing that matters is if are happy with it.

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Old 09-11-2012, 11:45 PM   #8
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Sorry for the multiple responses, it's hard on a phone.

If your buddy needs it done in a month, I would stabilize with chemicals, add some clarifiers, let it sit for a week, then stick it in a fridge for another week. Then rack it to another container, and then bottle it.

That should make it safe, almost crystal clear, and retain the current flavor.

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Old 09-12-2012, 01:10 AM   #9
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Awesome, thanks for the great advice. My next batch is going to be a mango habanero, and I'm definitely going to do that one proper!

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Old 09-12-2012, 05:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_chamb View Post
Awesome, thanks for the great advice. My next batch is going to be a mango habanero, and I'm definitely going to do that one proper!
Normal aging time is 8 months to a year. On this one, the habanero may take a little longer to age and smooth out. I recomend oaking this one. If you are going for a more smoky flavor then oak with heavy toasted oak, if a more fruity flavor then oak with lightly toasted oak. I recomend 1 oz of oak for a 1-5 gal batch. Put in at the end of the secondary as it is nearly clear. Leave in for about a month or two. Some do longer some less. I have found if you are using Oak Chips then 1 month is usually suficient. If you are using cubes then I would oak for 2 months. Oaking will smooth out the harshness of the mead.

For process, I recomend putting the Habenero and Mango in the secondary for more flavor. Run up your primary, using the Hydrometer to take OG and to test when it has almost stopped, basically a like reading for 3 weeks in a row is the time to rack to the secondary. Racking onto the fruit.

Hope it turns out great.

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