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Old 06-18-2011, 01:38 AM   #1
Daedolon
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Default Large batch -> Small batches (ie: bad idea)

So I'm sitting here and thinking about my 60# of orange blossom honey ... a 5 gallon buckets worth of it ... and thinking about what a pain it is going to be to get certain amounts of it out for certain meads.

My question is this - would it be reasonable to start fermentation in a large bucket (think 32 gallon food grade brute trash can) and then rack to individual secondary containers? Assuming that I wanted the same relative sweetness. Maybe hold some in reserve for secondary sweetening, etc. From there, how to differentiate the ... lets assume 20 gallons of mead? Do I create some of them with fruit in the secondary, some of them with herbs, some of them sack, some of them with chocolate, etc?

What does everybody think about this? I'm 99% sure it is a bad idea, and I just need to bite the bullet for individual primaries ... but letting it sit for a month or two in the trash (err, primary) ... is so dang tempting!

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Old 06-18-2011, 05:07 AM   #2
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thats fine. quite a few do a big batch then split it into smaller batches for the secondary and each small batch has something different added.
a few even ferment a big batch, age it in a big secondary until fruit etc is in season.

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Old 06-18-2011, 05:16 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by tweake View Post
thats fine. quite a few do a big batch then split it into smaller batches for the secondary and each small batch has something different added.
a few even ferment a big batch, age it in a big secondary until fruit etc is in season.
+1 go for it!
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Old 06-18-2011, 05:50 AM   #4
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A brute primary at Home Depot is ~$20 ... so I'm hoping somebody has a reason that this is a horrific idea. I'd love to get this much mead going at once, without having to deal with the multiple primaries.

I have a sack mead that ended up super super super sweet - so I bottled it and have been letting it age. I figure if I want to back sweeten or top off, I can use it. It is cloyingly sweet, but stable. I figure that with some sorbate, nothing will come alive (paging Dr. Frankenstein)

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Old 06-18-2011, 06:33 AM   #5
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A brute primary at Home Depot is ~$20 ... so I'm hoping somebody has a reason that this is a horrific idea. I'd love to get this much mead going at once, without having to deal with the multiple primaries.

I have a sack mead that ended up super super super sweet - so I bottled it and have been letting it age. I figure if I want to back sweeten or top off, I can use it. It is cloyingly sweet, but stable. I figure that with some sorbate, nothing will come alive (paging Dr. Frankenstein)
Just make sure you use enough Acid Blend,Yeast Nutrient,yeast energizer, and yeast for that big of a batch and you should be just fine!
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:25 AM   #6
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Skip the Acid blend, but do scale things up for 20 gallons.

The only problems with doing a 20 gallon batch are that it is tough to move it around because it will be heavy. Also, temperature control will be more challenging if it happens to be warm in your brewing area.

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Old 06-21-2011, 01:41 AM   #7
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I've never really used acid blend in a wine - so I was just going to stick with SNA, etc.

Medsen - that is the first solid reason not to do it. It is difficult to control the temperature even with a 5 gallon batch in Phoenix - never mind a 20 gallon batch. The Brute trash can that I found had wheels on it - so it could reasonably be moved - but not really put in to the fridge or even in to the bathtub. I will have to debate the wisdom of doing this during the summer. The best I can offer is probably 80 degrees external temperature - never mind the internal temperature. And soaking a towel every 2 hours in this arid environment would not be reasonable - not for a month at a time.

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Old 06-21-2011, 05:34 AM   #8
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small batches heat/cool quicker than large batches. that doesn't always mean its harder to do bigger batches. because of the larger mass, the temps tend to be more stable than a small batch so its easier to keep them at a set temp. however once they get to hot/cold they are much harder to get back to required temp.

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