Ss Brewing Technologies Giveaway!

Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > First-timer - two questions about yeast
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-03-2012, 08:42 PM   #1
Hagroth
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 11
Likes Given: 7

Default First-timer - two questions about yeast

Please see my latest post, #6.


------------------------------------ Earlier post

Does anyone have any experience of the Wyeast mead yeast? Apparently, you have to sort of crack open the inner bag, shake it and let it swell. Then you pour it directly into the must.

Please check so I've gotten it all right:

Recipe, 9,5 litres total:
7,5 litres of tap water
4 kg of locally produced honey, unknown/mixed plant origin
Wyeast Nutrient Blend: The amount listed on the package - for 9,5 litres that'd be about 1 gram (according to the instructions, 2,2 grams is enough for 19 litres).
Wyeast Sweet Mead Yeast: The amount listed on the package - for 9,5 litres that'd be about one half package (according to the package, one complete package is enough for six gallons = 22,8 litres).

Step 1, sanitizing using Star San: I'll just clean a large bucket or a bathtub or something with PBW and then fill it with water with the admixture of Star San listed on the packaging. Then I'll submerge the equipment I'm going to use in this bath and let it stay there for 1-2 minutes according to instructions. The fermenting buckets might be a bit harder to clean so I'll just take some of the water + Star San solution, fill the fermenting buckets with it, wait for 1-2 minutes and then simply pour it out without rinsing.

Step 2: I'll just pour 7.5 litres of lukewarm (room temperature) tap water (the tap water in Sweden is good) into the fermenting bucket.

Step 3: I'll heat the honey up by putting its bucket in a sink with hot water (the honey is still in its bucket) until the honey is perfectly liquid.

Step 4: I'll just pour all the honey into the water in the fermenting bucket, using some lukewarm honey to get the last scraps of it out of the honey buckets.

Step 5: I'll now prepare the nutrient: "Dissolve Wyeast Nutrient in warm water. Add solution to kettle 10-15 minutes prior to end of boil." This would only be 1 gram of nutrient.

Step 6: I'll now pour the nutrient solution right into the must in the fermenting bucket.

Step 7: I'll now prepare the yeast according to instructions - basically just crack open the inner bag, shake it and let it swell. Then after a few hours, as listed on the package, I'll just pour it right into the must in the fermenting bucket.

Step 8: Now I'll just stir the must for more than five minutes.

Step 9: Finally, I'll put the lid on, put the airlock on there, and put it all away in my basement (dark and a little cooler than room temperature) and wait for a couple of weeks.

Step 10: If it stops processing, I'll check the alcohol in there by extracting some of it through the tap of the fermenting bucket and check the readings. If it's not at the tolerated level yet, I might pour in some more honey or nutrient? If I'm happy with how it tastes, I'll just rack it over to my glass carboy and put it away for maturing.

Is that how you do it? Very grateful for feedback!



---------------------Original message:
Hey!

I'm going to try brewing mead for the first time, but I have two questions before I begin:

I have ordered two different kinds of yeast. Both are from Wyeast: one is called "dry mead" (18% alcohol tolerance), the other "sweet mead" (11%). I wonder if it makes any difference if I make a sweet mead out of the "dry mead" yeast or if I can pour in a little more honey in it and still make a sweet mead with 18% alcohol (from the dry yeast), or vice versa?

I also wonder whether it's worth the effort and money to get energizer and nutrient? Is it just about speeding up the process? If the yeast for some reason stops working before having reached the alcohol tolerance for the yeast, can't you just pour in more honey?

Thanks in advance, especially replies before Friday are appreciated!

__________________
Hagroth is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-03-2012, 10:25 PM   #2
Arpolis
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Posts: 2,032
Liked 188 Times on 174 Posts
Likes Given: 34

Default

First off, welcome to Mead brewing. I love it and I am sure you can dig it too. I will try and answer each of your questions as best I can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hagroth View Post
I have ordered two different kinds of yeast. Both are from Wyeast: one is called "dry mead" (18% alcohol tolerance), the other "sweet mead" (11%). I wonder if it makes any difference if I make a dry mead out of the "dry mead" yeast or if I can pour in a little more honey in it and still make a sweet mead with 18% alcohol, or vice versa?
Mead takes a long time to age out and be drinkable. The biggest problem for first time mead brewers is that you try a batch of simple mead after 1 month of fermenting and think it tastes like bad vodka and never go back. Great mead takes time and can be extremely good and rewarding. With that being said, the higher the ABV the more you need to age it. Take that into account. I and most on this sight seem to not be a fan of the Wyeast mead yeast. They are sometimes hard to use and may not ferment out fully. This does not mean you need to go out and get different yeast. You just need some precautions taken. Personally I would suggest you go with the Sweet mead yeast and shoot for a lower ABV drink so you can enjoy it sooner and really fuel you to make more.

Since Wyeast Sweet mead yeast is a pita at times I would suggest this. Make a starter. If you are doing anything more than 1 gallon but also 5 gallon or less then follow this:

2 cups warm water
½ cup clover honey
“Nutrients” (See below)
Mix all that together and add your yeast. Cover with a paper towel and let sit for 6 – 12 hours. There should be some vigorous activity by then and you pitch that into your must.
For the nutrients I don’t like using my commercial nutrients like DAP or Fermaid K. I save that for the must. Instead I use 2 100mg B6 tablets and 10 fine chopped raisins. That will provide what the yeast needs to build strong cell walls. If you don’t have that then you can use ½ tsp of commercial yeast nutrients.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hagroth View Post
I also wonder whether it's worth the effort and money to get energizer and nutrient? Is it just about speeding up the process?
No it is not about speeding up the process. Honey has very little nutrients to it. Wines and beers come naturally with nitrates and other essential vitamins for your yeast to grow. You can make mead with only honey, water and yeast. But with added nutrients you get a better tasting product, one that needs less aging & is well worth the 2 – 4 dollars you spend on any nutrients. However I will say I usually do not get energizer for my meads. But then I use recipes that have added ingredients that keep my yeast happy. Strait honey and water may need the energizer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hagroth View Post
If the yeast for some reason stops working before having reached the alcohol tolerance for the yeast, can't you just pour in more honey?
Sure you can. You have a 1 gallon batch with your sweet mead yeast but only add in 1# of honey at first. It will only be at like 5% ABV. You add more honey and the fermenting kicks back up. A lot of recipes ask to rack or transfer your fermented honey water onto fruits or more honey and the fermentation often kicks back up for a bit.


How do you like your wines? Do you already have a recipe in mind? Keep asking questions, we are all here to help.
__________________

A painting says a thousand words. But a painting while on good mead just looks funny!

Arpolis is online now
Hagroth Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-03-2012, 10:38 PM   #3
Golddiggie
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
 
Golddiggie's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Between here and there, and everywhere
Posts: 12,058
Liked 477 Times on 420 Posts
Likes Given: 266

Default

Issue with making the yeast made with the 18% tolerant yeast is making sure it's actually DONE fermenting and not just eating through the additional honey you're giving it. You can make a high ABV mead sweet, but you need to be careful (and smart) about it. Depending on your batch size, this could be either easy or a PITA. Also realize that as a mead ages it evolves/changes. What could be dry young (a year old is super-young for an 18% mead) becomes softer and appears sweeter as time goes on. So after a few more years it could be where you wanted it earlier. IF you back-sweetened it too much earlier, it will be overly sweet later.

I have mead that I made in the fall of 2010 (November, day before Thanksgiving). Some I bottled early (I stabilized it, never doing that again), some I bottled after about a year. Both are great, but I tend to favor the part that went longer before being bottled. Because of this, I won't bottle ANY mead (all of mine are at least 14% ABV) before a year has passed from pitching of yeast. Before I start it along the process of being bottled, I'll sample the batch. IF it's otherwise ready, it will be bottled. If it's not ready, then it will be set aside for more time.

Time, patience, and your brains, are your best tools with mead.

BTW, go read some of the threads on the Got Mead site for newbees... Don't worry about the newbee's guide on the main site where it mentioned pasteurizing the must, that is dated info. The vast majority of mazers simply warm the honey so that it flows, and mixes, well and go from there.

__________________
Hopping Tango Brewery

跟猴子比丟屎 ・ Gun HOE-tze bee DIO-se

On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale
Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
Golddiggie is offline
Hagroth Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-03-2012, 11:14 PM   #4
Hagroth
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 11
Likes Given: 7

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arpolis View Post
...
Thank you very much for the elaborate and quick reply

I messed up the third "paragraph" (my fault, corrected now) (the one starting with "I have ordered...") so if you could read that again it'd be much appreciated!

Willl try that nutrient recipe, but with the commercial one from Wyeast since I've already bought it. What do you think of the method this guy uses by the way:

Does it have to be clover honey? Is there a notable difference between clover honey and honey of unknown/mixed plant origins, whether used in the nutrient mix or as the honey ingredient in the must? I've heard people recommending clover honey before when it comes to mead.

Ah yes, racking. Why do you rack it over to do that? Can't you just throw in some more honey or whatever? Or is it to avoid oxygen leaking in?

I'm only 19 so I don't have that much experience in drinking, especially not wines, I'm as far from a gastronome as you could get and I've never brewed anything before. So I basically just want to make an all right mead, preferably strong and sweet!
__________________
Hagroth is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-03-2012, 11:34 PM   #5
Onihige
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Sweden
Posts: 257
Liked 30 Times on 23 Posts
Likes Given: 29

Default

Good, you found your way to this forum. I was going to suggest it at Runristare's forum - but it slipped my mind, as many things does.

Lycka till!

__________________
Onihige is offline
Hagroth Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-16-2012, 01:02 PM   #6
Hagroth
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 11
Likes Given: 7

Default

So it's been fermenting for nine days and these are the readings I got, using a hydrometer in a glass cylinder:

My hydrometer's scale looks like this: http://www.allafrance.com/products/i...-100-1_FRG.jpg (It's called "Wine hydrometer" from the brand "Alla France".)

First of all, water was at about 0 when I measured it, which would mean 0 translates to 1... Then what would "120" mean for example? 1.120? And "40" would mean 1.040? 0 through -10 (the black area) is highlighted with "WEIN FLASHENABFULLUNG", which means that's when it's ready to bottle, according to the instructions that's below 6 Oechsle.

If I was correct in the above paragraph, these are my results:

Batch 1 (more honey):
OG = reading 115 = 1.115; SG = reading 110 = 1.110
% Alcohol = ((1.05 x (OG – TG)) / TG) / 0.79 = ((1.05 * (1.115 - 1.110)) / 1.110 ) / 0.79 = 0,6%

Batch 2 (less honey):
OG = reading 102 = 1.102; SG = reading 93 = 1.093
((1.05 * (1.102 - 1.093)) / 1.093 ) / 0.79 = 0.2458 = 1,1%

In that case, my mead is far from done as my yeast's tolerance is 11%. Should I apply more nutrient?

What do you think of the current speed? The sweeter batch went from 1.115 to 1.110 while the drier one went from 1.102 to 1.093 in 9 days. I have no evidence that the fermentation has actually slowed down since this is my only reading. The dry batch went down 0.009, about 0.010 in gravity in 9 days, so I'd need like 90 days all in all to finish this off, wouldn't I? That's pretty slow, isn't it?

__________________
Hagroth is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-16-2012, 05:55 PM   #7
Onihige
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Sweden
Posts: 257
Liked 30 Times on 23 Posts
Likes Given: 29

Default

I'd check the pH and adjust that if needed, add more nutrients and degass. I've never had a slow fermentation myself, so I can't give the best advice here.

__________________
Onihige is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-16-2012, 06:19 PM   #8
Hagroth
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 11
Likes Given: 7

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Onihige View Post
I'd check the pH and adjust that if needed, add more nutrients and degass. I've never had a slow fermentation myself, so I can't give the best advice here.
I read the optimal pH level is between "3.7 and 4.6" (http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/c...-your-mead.htm). Is thart what you usually have? And how much nutrients would you recommend?

I've now added one teaspoon of "Wyeast Beer Nutrient Blend" to each batch, stirred them good for a couple of minutes each and sealed them up again. The nutrients dissolved with a hissing sound and white foam was produced to a smaller extent, maybe 3 cm above the surface before stirring. Would adding one teaspoon to each batch tomorrow as well and then letting them be for like 9 days be all right? The reason being I'm going travelling again unfortunately (but I can make sure someone shakes them up a bit daily if that'd be a good idea). In fact, maybe I should add even more? I mean, this guy says: "Fermaid K is instructed to use 1 tsp per 5 gallons but in a high gravity must you may use up to 4 times as much nutrients." (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/prob...c-mead-339201/) The instructions for my nutrient says I should use 0,5 teaspoon per 5 gallons, but that's apparently for beer since it's aimed at beer, judging by its title. My mead batches obviously have pretty high gravities right now (1.110 and 1.093). So I reckon 2 teaspoons per 3 gallons over the course of 2 days shouldn't be unreasonably much, what do you think?

Take a look at this by the way: "If you only used 1tsp of nutrient to the must you need to add more. Normal dosage is 1tablespoon per gallon of must. Higher OG batches can need even more nutrients." (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/prob...c-mead-339201/) That'd be 9 teaspoons in total for each batch!
__________________
Hagroth is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-16-2012, 07:27 PM   #9
Onihige
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Sweden
Posts: 257
Liked 30 Times on 23 Posts
Likes Given: 29

Default

Wyeast Beer Nutrient is a misleading name. It's the same thing as Wyeast Wine Nutrient, and both are just yeast nutrients.

Never had issues with a slow fermentation, so I've never checked my pH levels. Generally for me, 1 tsp at the yeast addition is good enough for my nutrient addition.

__________________
Onihige is offline
Hagroth Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
First timer goodoldnord Mead Forum 7 06-29-2012 06:55 PM
first timer dirtysock Mead Forum 6 02-04-2012 06:43 AM
First-timer has a few questions Rasputyne Mead Forum 5 09-05-2011 11:58 PM
Mead questions (first timer) dougdecinces Mead Forum 11 06-18-2011 03:08 AM
First Timer Question WriterWriter Mead Forum 3 09-29-2008 11:04 AM