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Old 10-02-2010, 02:05 PM   #1
Loki1
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Default First mead - looking for input from the more experienced


Mead01- Brewlog

This is my first attempt at mead, although I have been brewing beer for about 15 years. My plan is to start with a 5 (or so) gallon batch and rack to several 1 and/or 3 gallon secondaries so I can treat my nectar to different kinds of love. This is what I’ve got so far:

Ingredients:

*14 (roughly) pounds tupelo honey ( I am fortunate to live in the Florida Panhandle, so I can access Tupelo inexpensively)
*5 gallons filtered and ozonated spring water
*1 tube (no volume/mass given) White Labs sweet mead/wine yeast WLP720
*5 teaspoons Fermax

Procedure:

Some of this differs a little from things I have seen posted here. I have drawn from my own experience and advice from my LHBS which supplies a community of what they estimate to be 30 mazers in the area. Here we go!

To a clean and sanitized 6.5 gallon glass carboy 2.5 gallons of ambient temp (78F) water are added. My honey was supplied in heat sealed plastic bags, so I immersed them in 115F (approx.) water for ten minutes (to aid in the pour). Added 13 lbs. honey to the carboy. With my handy power drill and a wine degasser attachment I spent about 6 minutes mixing and aerating, added another 2.5 gallons water and mixed/aerated another 5 mins or so. That wine degasser creates one kickin vortex!

Checked the SG and got 1.080. My target was 1.100 and this was lower than expected. I happened to have a jar of tupelo ( 1-1.5 lbs) in my cabinet, so in it went. Kids will be upset about dry eggos. Another 5 minutes with the vortex king. SG now 1.084. Reflection period. AGH HAH. I’ve whipped a lot of air into this must. This has to be messing with my SG readings. Since I now think this measurement is on the low side, and since I am adding fruit etc... to some of my secondaries, and since my intended consumer is not a big drinker, thats enough sugar for now. A sample of the must is preserved in the Hydrometer tube (refrigerated) to be checked again after a period of time to degas itself.

Added 5 teaspoons Fermax and mixed again. The must is homogenous and almost frothy. The WLP720 (which is also ambient temp) is pitched straight from the tube. Carboy is air locked and placed in 77F closet to ferment.


Observations:
t= 3 hours. I see First bubble.
t= 6 hours. 2 bubbles/minute
t= 18 hours 4 bubbles/minute
t= 36 hours 1 bubble / second. Nice fermentation smell. Looks like a large bubble formed and popped in the top of the carboy.
t= 36 hours Preserved sample of the must is allowed to come to ambient temp and sg now reads 1.093. I am satisfied with decision to stop adding sugar when I did.


So, These are my questions........

I think I will leave 1 gal. as a show mead, add vanilla and maybe a little oak to one, and some type of fruit to a third. The last two I am leaning toward a chocolate/vanilla combo and some kind of christmas spice for 2011 holiday season. Also, been thinking about some sort of harvest spice for fall 2011. Any ideas or suggestions?

I am designing a spreadsheet to use as a brewlog. Am I reinventing the wheel? I will create space for ingredients, SG, pH, procedure, narrative, and probably some space for photos. Any other ideas?

Thanks for taking the time read my post! Looking forward to seeing what some more experienced mazers think. Please excuse any typos/errors as I don’t have time to re-read/edit.

LOKI
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:04 PM   #2
MedsenFey
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The aeration is not causing you gravity reading to be off. 14 pounds of honey in a 6 gallon batch is going to give a gravity of about 1.080, so your number is probably accurate.

It sounds like you have a bit more than 6 gallons in your 6.5 gallon fermenter. If you use your wine degasser on it you'll likely get an MEA that will have you mopping the ceiling. Start very slowly and gently when you aerate. You might also want to use some antifoam drops.

Just for information, the term "show mead" refers to a mead made without nutrients or any additives except honey, water, and yeast. What you are making is referred to as a traditional mead.

All things being equal, cooler ferments usually produce smoother meads. If you can keep the temp at 70F, you may be happier with the result much sooner.

With your starting gravity you should get about 11% ABV, with a dry finish. If you were looking for a higher ABV than that (which would not necessarily be better - I like meads at 11%) you'll need more honey. If you want it sweet, you may want to stabilize and backsweeten when it is finished.

I hope it turns out great.

Medsen

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Old 10-04-2010, 03:46 AM   #3
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Thanks for your advice! I have been careful with the degasser, going slow to prevent any unwanted eruptions. Lowered the temp to 71F, that's about as cold as this Florida boy can stand! Currently it is t= 72 hours, bubbling @ 1/sec. and SG of 1.61. All things considered I feel pretty good about the way things are going for a first batch. I have a question about racking. Would you use a specific SG value to determine when you rack or would you judge it by slowing fermentation and use SG to confirm that the sugar is depleting? Thanks again!

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Old 10-04-2010, 01:28 PM   #4
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With a traditional mead, I let it finish in most cases, and then rack it.

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Old 10-08-2010, 12:00 AM   #5
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t= 168h sg now 1.030 bubbling at 1/1.5 sec- feeling pretty lucky for first batch to be going so well. Keeping fingers crossed.

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Old 10-08-2010, 04:54 AM   #6
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Send me a PM with your email and I can send you a brew log worksheet I got from a commercial meadery.

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Old 10-11-2010, 11:25 PM   #7
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As my primary fermentation is moving along I am now considering what to do when I rack. I have about 5.5 - 6.0 gallons bubbling and I intend to divide this into five x one (5 x 1) gallon batches and use the remainder to top off the secondaries as needed during aging. I am aware this will not give me very much of any one type, but as I have never even tasted mead before I am hoping it will help me develop a knowledge base for planning future recipes. Also, the intended drinker for this (I am mostly a beer guy) gets board with her drinks pretty fast, so maybe this will keep her entertained. This is the plan so far:

#01a. Traditional. Pretty simple. Just rack it and let it go to dry with additional racking as indicated.

#01b. Vanilla. I’m going to go with about 6 inches of vanilla bean, cut into two inch sections and split. Also, I am going to add some oak to this (I’m thinking a medium French or American, depending on what I find at the LHBS ) cubes, about 0.25 ounce. My research suggests I should leave it on the oak about two months.

#01c. Blackberry. I have some fresh frozen blackberry’s in the freezer. I’ll rack onto about 1.5 lbs. and if needed add as secondary proceeds- looking for medium fruit flavor. Might add three or four inches of vanilla bean to this one too.

#01d. Chocolate mint. I am unsure about quantities to add on this one - based on what I’ve been able to find I THINK it should be about .25 lb. cacao nibs and one ounce bruised mint (maybe half and half peppermint and spearmint), but I would appreciate guidance from anyone knowledgeable about these ingredients. I looked but didn’t find a whole lot on the site and nothing about cacao nibs in Schramm. If this works out ( not that I will know for at least a year and maybe more like two) I could see a large batch of OB honey chocolate metheglyn (not sure thats right, but I’m going to call cacao a spice) in my future......

#01e. Pear-Ginger-Nutmeg. Rack onto 2 lbs. pears (seeds and flower ends removed, cut up small enough to get in carboy), 1/2 ounce sliced fresh ginger, and 1/3 ounce nutmeg. I think I'll try a quater ounce of the oak cubes in this one as well.

#01f Remainder into separate carboy to to be used for toping off #01a-#01e.


And that's the plan ( I actually hate plans, but since I don’t have much experience yet I don’t want to just wing it). I am aware I will probably need to back sweeten these when they dry out...maybe some OB honey in the chocolate mint and Pear? Any and all input welcome. Thanks everybody for all your help!

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Old 10-12-2010, 12:04 AM   #8
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oops, forgot to include-this batch is now at 11 days ( within 30 minutes or so) and the sg is 1.011. bubbling about 1/3s

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