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Old 01-24-2013, 01:31 AM   #1
GreenMtnBrewer
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Hey there everyone.

Just some background... I have been brewing bee for quite some time and finally decided to try my first go at making some mead. I live in northern Vermont, so I sourced some local wildflower honey. Here is the jist of what I attempted:

11/3 Initial Must Making Date
1 full gallon (to what I am aware would be 12-12.5lbs) Wildflower Honey

Red Star Cotes de Blancs Yeast 1.5 packs (no yeast starter but hydrated as per directions.

Honey into brew pot (had to de-crystalize a bit) w/ approx 3.5 gallons Tap H2O

Dissolved Honey -> stopped at 120 degrees F

Stirred 3 teaspoons Fermax Yeast Nutrient into brew pot

O.G. Reading = 1.144

racked into 1 glass 1 gallon jug and rest (2-2.5 gallons) into 3 gallon Better Bottle

1 week into fermentation added 1 tablespoon Fermax Yeast Nutrientn into 3 gallon Better Bottle fermentor and approximately 1/2 tablespoon Fermax Yeast Nutrient into the 1 gallon glass jug.

on 11/28 I read gravity of the 3 gallon Better Bottle @ 1.030 (slightly sweet rocket fuel is what I would call it) and cloudy still. At this point, if calculations were correct, I was at around 14.96% ABV.
on 11/28 I read gravity on the 1 gallon jug fermentor @ 1.026 (not sure why that is?) was cloudy as 3 gallon Better Bottle and same characteristics as described above. Sharp, stingy to nose, yet a slight sweet back to it... and what I would call an odd aftertaste, well that is what I wrote down anyway.

On 1/8 I checked things out again:

Mead in both fermentors still a bit cloudy, but cleared some, more noticeable when pulling a sample.

Taste at that point was that there was a potent alcohol type burn in mouth if let sit in mouth. Still a bit "fuely." and definately not as sweet as noticed after the second gravity reading listed above. Gravity reading at that time = 1.014
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Pheewww - I think that was enough background to get into what some of my questions are for anyone who is willing to take some time here for me.

1) Critique of my process, length between readings, additions of fermex, initial honey/water ratios.

2) This seems to be a strong mead right? too strong? average? Thoughts of it actually mellowing out... or too strong with lower water to amount of honey ratios for recipe?

3) If it is too high of a ABV, would you suggest, or ever dilute with water?

4) After reading tooo much and getting crazy ideas of adding fruit, I went and got some wild Maine blueberries (frozen) 4 lbs.

Is it too late to add fruit? How much would be good enough to add to the 3 Gallon Better Bottle (with 2.5 ish gallons of Mead in it at this point)?

I guess I wanted to find out about the fruit thing and also open up a discussion so that I can learn more from what I did to what the experienced folks out there can offer in the form of guidance.

Thanks much for your time everyone and look forward to reading through the posts and following up by answering any other additional questions that are needed for help.

Cheers!

Bump? Can anyone help?



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Old 01-24-2013, 07:54 PM   #2
stpug
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Overall, I would say it's a pretty successful first attempt at mead making. Congratulations!

1) Process is good. There's lots of flexibility in any process and what I do, someone else doesn't. I like the idea of no-heat mead making - keep all that goodness in the brew - but at 120 you're touching on as hot as you'd want to get. Make no mistake, I've made fantastic meads that were fully pasteurized at 160, just lacking some volatile aromatics that went away during the process.

1) I think you're reading timings are fine. Mead can be slow - I prefer it that way. Mead is what just sits while all the beer is being made and drank. It make the end result a little more rewarding

1) Your nutrient additions could have been a little more frequent. IIRC, my additions all take place within the first 4 days or so. IIRC, about 50% after lag phase (8-24 hours), about 35% at 1/3 sugar depletion (about 24-48 hours), and about 15% at 1/2 sugar depletion (about 48-96 hours). After 1/2 sugar depletion, my understanding is that the yeast is no longer able to use/assimilate the nutrients therefore they provide no help in finishing up the fermentation.

1) Your initial ratios strike me as a sweet mead, which is fine. I like sweet meads and my wife loves them. I don't quite follow your fermenter volumes: 3.5 gallons H2O plus 1 gallon honey = 4.5 gallons of mead. But you only indicate you got 3.5 gallons total split between two fermenters.

2) It seems to be an alcoholic, sweet mead. Were your gravities taken with hydrometer or refractometer? I see nothing wrong with your proportions or the end result. Yes, it will mellow out over time. I have many year old meads (5+) and they are fantastic. I'd say in one year you will find this beverage to be significantly different than you find it today. Good work!!

3) No, don't dilute. If you want a lighter-weight mead, make a new one with less honey. Don't spoil a good thing

4) Fruit additions are usually best added in a secondary after racking off of the gross lees (i.e. after racking off the sediment). You'll maintain more of the real fruit taste and aromatics that way, but get less fermentables (which is fine in your case). Fruit that's added to the primary loses a lot of it's character during fermentation, on the other hand it adds to the fermentables. Quantities I'm uncertain about - do some searching, I'm sure you'll find some good rules of thumb. If it were me, I would keep your large quantity unfruited and only fruit your small 1 gallon (that's just me).

Again, everyone does things differently and you did just fine.
Cheers!

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Old 02-02-2013, 01:58 AM   #3
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pug,

Thanks much for putting my mind at ease!

Until the next question.

cheers.

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