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 Ive got so far:
*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
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. Ive 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.
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 dont have time to re-read/edit.