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Old 02-16-2012, 07:46 AM   #1
FuggleHops
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Default First brew, looking for some (a lot of) input

So after doing a fair amount of research, I'm finally getting ready to brew up my first batch of mead. I'm planning on doing a cherry cyser, and the recipe that I came up with will probably go like this:

4.33 gallons apple juice
8lbs raw, cold packed raspberry honey
7.25lbs canned tart raspberries in secondary (eight 14.5oz cans, including water)

Estimated OG: ~1.10 (just the juice and honey)

Temperatures in my house range from 60-69F, but I could probably narrow it down to about 65-69F with a little effort.

As for yeast, I'm have not decided yet. I have some K1-V116, D-47, and EC-1118 on hand. EC-1118 is supposed to ferment extremely fast; what are the pros and cons of this?

I plan on not using any heat or sulfites when preparing the must. I am thinking of throwing in some pectic enzyme because I hear that pectin haze is common when apples are involved, but I'm not sure if it's really needed. I would also prefer not to add any sulfites after fermentation, but I'm not really sure about the importance of that either.

And finally, I am also wondering how long I might have to age this before it's decently drinkable. And what would be the difference between bulk aging it for a few months versus just bottling it after about a month in secondary, and letting it age that way?



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Old 02-16-2012, 12:03 PM   #2
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Yes, use pectic enzyme.
I actually like 71B for melomels. I used it for my cyser last year, and for a straight cherry melomel. It ferments pretty quickly, and tends to produce meads that are drinkable pretty quickly. If you manage the fermentation well (proper nutrients, aeration, degassing, temp control) you can have a drinkable mead in 3-4 months (not to say it won't be better after a year or two!)
I'm not convinced there's much difference between bottle and bulk aging. For me it's a matter of convenience, once I'm completely sure it's done...do I need the carboy? Yes? Time to bottle, and I'll hit it with finings if I have to. Nothing else going on? Don't have enough bottles to do the whole batch? Let it ride...



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Old 02-16-2012, 05:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
I'm not convinced there's much difference between bottle and bulk aging.
Well convinced or not convinced, there is significant evidence that bottling straight away vs. bulk aging can produce different flavours in each bottle, over time (Specifically over the first year). Of course, this is not detrimental to the obvious positive effects of aging. However, if you would consider it very detrimental that each bottle has flavour differences, than I would still play it safe and bulk age.
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bugeaud View Post
Well convinced or not convinced, there is significant evidence that bottling straight away vs. bulk aging can produce different flavours in each bottle, over time (Specifically over the first year). Of course, this is not detrimental to the obvious positive effects of aging. However, if you would consider it very detrimental that each bottle has flavour differences, than I would still play it safe and bulk age.
Please share the data to which you refer...

Perhaps it's weakness of my own palate, but based the limited empirical data with my own meads I've never noted any bottle-to-bottle inconsistencies between meads I've bulk aged for extensive periods (my chocolate mead as one example) versus those I've bottled right from primary (as I tend to do with my annual cyser every year for the past three batches).

Overall, so far I've found that it's time rather than community that confers gracefulness to mead...
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Recent Meads: Mead Day '11 Ginger Metheglin, Mead Day '12 Traditional (orange blossom) Mead, Fresh Simple Cyser '12, Cherry Melomel, Belgeglin, Bochet
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Bulk Aging: Cocobochet
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:57 AM   #5
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Well, to each his own.

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Old 02-19-2012, 05:54 AM   #6
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Not trying to be pissy and/or hijack the thread any further -- I'm very open to debate and new info. If you truly have some convincing data regarding the superiority of bulk aging, I would love to know about it.

If it's just that your own experience has led you to believe that bulk aging has more benefit, that's fine...we can leave it as "to each his own." If that's the case though, you probably shouldn't pass off your own opinion as gospel, and at least identify it for what it is. Otherwise, share with us where this "convincing evidence" comes from, and what it is...hopefully it's more convincing than this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bugeaud View Post
PH should be at least 7.0 for any mead, or else it will seldom go anywhere.
which is just wrong wrong wrong. This is what I mean by showing the evidence.
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Recent Meads: Mead Day '11 Ginger Metheglin, Mead Day '12 Traditional (orange blossom) Mead, Fresh Simple Cyser '12, Cherry Melomel, Belgeglin, Bochet
Primary: Nada!
Secondary: Why do I keep this line here...?
Bulk Aging: Cocobochet
Planned: Hop Metheglin #3 (NZ hops), Trad. Gesho T'ej
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by biochemedic View Post
Please share the data to which you refer...

.
I'm pretty curious if there is "evidence" to support this assertion as well. I have a finished ginger cherry melomel and I need the carboy but i also am fairly new to meadmaking and don't want to risk a varietal taste in batch.
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:02 AM   #8
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Well I finally put it all together today. I ended up using the entire 12lb jar of honey with 4 gallons of apple juice and 71B yeast. OG was 1.134, a bit higher than I expected. I think this is gonna end up sweeter than I had planned...


Anyways, I'm in no rush to bottle it. I'll probably just let it sit in tertiary while I accumulate bottles. I'm still not sure what kind of bottles I want to use, but I'll have plenty of time to think about the details while the yeast do their work.



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