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-   -   first timer (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/first-timer-300326/)

dirtysock 02-02-2012 12:39 AM

first timer
 
I'm making a gallon of what I would like to call mead but honestly is far from traditional. I used 1.5 lbs of clover honey and 1.5 lbs of.....wait for it.....Agave! Yea I seen it in the bulk area isle of winco and just had to be different. I also used a few hops and some cinnamon and blackberry flavoring and some irish moss and acid blend and yeast nutrients and lemon and some dark corn syrup (about 2-5 oz). And 1 packet red star champagne yeast. OG was 1.092 and projected to be around 11% abv. Its been fermenting for about 4 days now steadily. The only thing is. I used camden tablets (2) b4 I pitched the yeast and I really don't know if I'm supposed to add more camden after ferm so it doesn't spoil afteri rack it. And how long do I age or rack it. Sparkling mead?

GinKings 02-02-2012 02:47 AM

You used honey, agave, hops, cinnamon, blackberry, lemon, acid blend, irish moss, and corn syrup? Not sure if you're crazy or a genius, but I'm pretty sure you don't subscribe to the "less is more" philosophy. More often than not, I've found "less is more" preferable, but who knows?

I made an agave mead in 2007 and it came out great. Basically, I used about 60% dark agave and 40% orange blossom honey. I just enjoyed a bottle last month and the flavors have held up well. It's definitely reminds you of tequila.

dirtysock 02-02-2012 05:22 AM

Yea I'm pretty excited about it. Does the mead really need to age for a year? And do you know when I should add the campden tablets? Or if I even need to? I was wondering if it was gonna taste of tequila....sounds good to me.

fatbloke 02-02-2012 01:36 PM

A nice sounding "ad hoc" recipe, but genius ? No

A genius would have a nice recipe and not add sulphites before pitching yeast.

Sulphites are fine in a must, if there's an ingredient that might need sanitising to kill off wild yeast, but then leave the must for 24-48 hours for the sulphites to dissipate.

Bugeaud 02-02-2012 07:47 PM

Woah crazy recipe much lol.

Quote:

Does the mead really need to age for a year? And do you know when I should add the campden tablets?
Most mead does need to age a year or more to reach full flavour potential, but most is drinkable within 6 months. Some meads such as hydromel or other specific recipes are meant to drink sooner, but still will certainly get better with aging. As stated campden is sulphites to kill any wild yeast that may be present in ingredients though is often highly unnecasry in mead. then you're supposed to wait at least 24 hours before pitching the yeast for the campden to dissipate. I doubt your yeast would of been totally killed by the campden tablets but could significantly slow down fermentation. P.S. irish moss is useless in mead and will just make it practically unclearable.

dirtysock 02-04-2012 01:23 AM

Thanks forthe help. Yea....I'm not a "less is better" type person. I like complex recipes, but coulda toned it down a little. How about the acid blend, is that just preferance or does it actually balance out the flavor?

fatbloke 02-04-2012 06:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dirtysock (Post 3741277)
Thanks forthe help. Yea....I'm not a "less is better" type person. I like complex recipes, but coulda toned it down a little. How about the acid blend, is that just preferance or does it actually balance out the flavor?

Honey is already acidic, just that the acidity taste/flavour is masked by the high levels of sugar/sweetness i.e. if you mixed up just honey and water and then measured pH, you'd find something well below the 7.0pH of neutral.

Plus, if you measured the ferment daily, you'd note some wild swings in pH, which is connected to the gluconic acid element in honey, and that the CO2 seems to be in the form of carbonic acid etc etc - inasfaras a ferment, and what the yeast is doing, is actually a very complex thing. So with the limited knowledge of the average home brewer (rather than the expert knowledge of a molecular chemist or similar), we try not to do anything that will hinder the yeast in it's quest to munch the sugars and convert it to one of their waste products i.e. alcohol, so as you may have already found, there's no point in adding further acids, which, if they bring the pH down below about 3.0, are likely to cause problems.

At the same time, when a ferment is finished, if it should show signs of too much acidity in the taste, if the yeast has been immobilised so it can't convert any more sugars i.e. stabilised, then any acidity can be balanced out by masking some of it with additional sugars - in more "home brew language"........ back sweetening.

It also works the other way round i.e. if you make a brew that finishes a bit on the sweet side, then that, in turn, can be balanced with a little acid.

Oh and there's much debate about which of the fruit acids too use ? I've tried a few different ones, combinations etc etc and so far, I've found that the best mix (to my taste) is the one recommended by Ashton and Duncan, in their now out of print book "Making Mead" - which is 2 parts malic to 1 part tartaric.

We all have a different idea of what we like, taste-wise, so YMMV


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