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frazier 12-27-2012 02:08 AM

Lessons from my first mead
 
I started this mead back in July of 2011. OG = 1.120, FG = 1.008. I just bottled it tonight. It tasted pretty good, but young if that's possible.

1. I used 3 pounds honey per gallon. I think this is a little rich, I'll probably cut that down to 2.5 next time. It ended up tasting like a honey liqueur, sweeter than I would expect 1.008 to taste. I used WLP720, sweet mead yeast.

2. I did the staggered nutrient additions and aeration during the first week. Did it work? Who knows?

3. Various how-to pages describe racking and re-racking until it stops throwing lees. I didn't do this. I racked once, then let it sit for a year. I think it took about 8 months to clear. There was about an inch of reddish-brown slurry-like lava lamp material on the bottom which I racked off of for bottling. I probably should have paid more attention to this part of the process.

4. SWMBO likes it, which is always a good sign.

Comments?

iluv2brew 12-27-2012 02:25 AM

I like my mead to have a slightly sweet edge, so your mead sounds pretty darn good to me.
I'm one of those who rack my meads a few times, but honestly I think I do it more because I just don't have the patience to just let the mead progress on it's own.

saramc 12-27-2012 11:40 PM

Sounds like you have a success all bottled up...liquid gold. For the SG to drop as low as it did I would say the staggered nutrient/aeration method was a huge key to success. WLP720 tends to max out around 15%, and per the numbers you provided your mead is right on the edge of 15%. This mead will do nothing but improve with age. If you racked just this one time and if it was prior to bottling do not be shocked if you have a fine layer of sediment form in your bottles.

Congratulations.

What type of honey did you use?

frazier 12-28-2012 12:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by saramc (Post 4720772)
What type of honey did you use?

It was clover honey. We have a honey store in town, they run hives on about 15 locations around Wisconsin, unfiltered, unpasteurized.

This past summer was hard on the bees, with drought conditions around the midwest. I don't think he has much clover honey, but he has cranberry honey. No drought in the bogs, I guess.

fatbloke 12-28-2012 08:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by frazier (Post 4718114)
I started this mead back in July of 2011. OG = 1.120, FG = 1.008. I just bottled it tonight. It tasted pretty good, but young if that's possible.

1. I used 3 pounds honey per gallon. I think this is a little rich, I'll probably cut that down to 2.5 next time. It ended up tasting like a honey liqueur, sweeter than I would expect 1.008 to taste. I used WLP720, sweet mead yeast.

2. I did the staggered nutrient additions and aeration during the first week. Did it work? Who knows?

3. Various how-to pages describe racking and re-racking until it stops throwing lees. I didn't do this. I racked once, then let it sit for a year. I think it took about 8 months to clear. There was about an inch of reddish-brown slurry-like lava lamp material on the bottom which I racked off of for bottling. I probably should have paid more attention to this part of the process.

4. SWMBO likes it, which is always a good sign.

Comments?

I've not tried the white labs sweet mead yeast, the white labs stuff isn't available here (and the wyeast sweet mead yeast is a PITA - do a search you'll see what I mean).

As far as I'm aware its tolerance is published as the 15% ABV mark, and your quoted numbers equate to 15.21% ABV so right in the ball park.

Don't be befuddled by the yeast titles. They have no way of knowing the exact strains that were originally used for meads. There's little enough info in the historic recipes as it is, there's nothing about the yeast strains as fermentation wasn't understood, just that adding X and Y and you got alcohol....

IMO the "mead yeast" liquid strains are more of a marketing exercise. Which is why most of us use dry yeasts, because they have known provenance and characteristics, they have a much larger cell count than liquid yeasts (think on why a lot of the beer makers make yeast starters), plus they're a lot cheaper as well and don't need all the chilling in transit stuff either.

Excellent that you've ended up with a good tasting batch. Well done, as you can see, your process(es) work. Even if the sediment/lees is rather loose and doesn't compact well, if you just move the fermenter to where you're gonna conduct a racking the day before and then just monitor where the racking cane is in the liquid, you should be able to rack it off leaving most, if not all of the sediment and not have to worry about clearing it again or filtration etc.....


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