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Old 08-18-2009, 07:29 PM   #1
specter623
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Default Mead Plan Proposal - What do you think?

Proposal
Hey, I’m about to start my first batch of mead, and it is going to be pretty experimental. I plan on making a 5 gallon batch in a primary, and then dividing it up into 5 – 1 gallon batches, each with a different fruit/spice. I was just going to toss up my idea here and see what anyone here though. Thanks in advance for any ideas.
Primary – 5 gallon batch Ingredients

-17 pounds of Low-temp (aka flash-pasteurization for any other microbiologists out there) treated fresh “citrus honey” as my apiarist friend calls it, I looked it up, it is also called orange blossom honey.
-Lavin EC-1118 yeast, or White Labs Sweet mead yeast (still can’t decide… any ideas?)
-Fermaid-K and DAP

Procedure..
1. Bring to a 150degrees F 5 gallons of water, and slowly add the 17 lbs of honey off the flame. Allow to pasteurize for about 5 minutes (is this per gallon? Anyone?)
2. Add to Fermentation bucket, and allow to sit overnight (hopeful OG 1.11, is this about right?)
3. Use drill powered lees stirrer for about 5 minutes to oxygenate, and add the yeast, along with a semi-heaping tsp (or 4.5g) of Fermaid-K and a heaping tsp(4.5g) of DAP
4. At active fermentation (8-24 hours), add 2.8g of fermaid-K and 2.8g of DAP. (slowly, and still up with drill powered lees stirrer)
5. At fermentation Mid-point (OG + FG target / 2), add 1.8g of superfood and 1.8g of DAP
6. Allow to hit FG (I’m hoping for around 1.000, which would give me a ABV of about 14%)
7. Rack to 5 – 1gallon carboys

Carboy Plan -
Carboy 1 – Oak Chips – I’m thinking lightly toasted American oak – 5 grams
Carboy 2- Cinnamon/Vanilla – 1 whole Vanilla bean sliced into thirds, and a 4” cinnamon stick
Carboy 3 – Apples/Cloves – 2 prepared apples (5 minute soak in vodka, frozen, cubed, and defrosted)
Carboy 4- Oranges – 2 prepared oranges (same procedure, no skin)
Carboy 5 – Plain

I was planning on letting it sit in the secondaries for 1 full year, racking every 3 months, tasting, and possibly replacing the fruit/additives. Then bottle, and allow sitting for another year (if I can wait…)

So this is my basic idea… I’m just hoping for some feedback.. Some questions though…

A. Is carboy 3 and 4 going to give me problems?
B. Has anyone ever had a lightly carbonated Muscato D’asti? I was hoping to make these kind of like that. What would the procedure be to make those? Just bottle with a very small amount of honey?
C. Still working on which yeast to get….
D. Also, any ideas on Irish moss? I heard that clear gelatin was better, no residual taste, and works just as well…
E. When should I worry about adding acid? Would lemon juice work ok? Or do I need to get a powder?

cheers!

-5 batches of beer/cider brewing under my belt, first time mead brewer

P.S. my Nutrient Additive Schedule is from this site, I found it very useful.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/sticky-mead-making-faqs-83030/



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Old 08-18-2009, 08:09 PM   #2
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I'm busy at work and don't have time to answer all these. I'm sure some others will step up to assit, but the Sweet mead yeast and the gravity you are starting with sounds like it's going to end up as super sweet syrup.

Sweet Mead seems to cap around 11% based on multiple posts here on the forum.

I only heat my honey just enough for it to be easily mixed with water. Keeping on heat is likely not necessary, and many here will tell you to avoid it all together.



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Old 08-18-2009, 08:33 PM   #3
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Ok, so go with the Lavin? I just don't want my mead to come out tasting as dry as a brut champaign. I've never had a dry mead before, so I'll have to taste some.

WLP715 Champagne Yeast - was one I was looking at instead of the sweet mead yeast, which is the WLP720 Sweet Mead/Wine Yeast.

Any other suggestions of Yeast? or maybe just reduce the honey down to 3lbs/gallon? (which would make it 15 lbs total)

I want something balanced for my first time, nothing too dry, nothing too syrupy, and maybe some kick (13.5-14.5% ABV). Oh wait.. did I just discribe the holy grail of meads?

As for the heating, I am literally getting my honey from the farm, so my friend told me I'd want to filter it because in the bulk form it still has dead bees, and some other junk. Maybe I'll just throw it in the 150 degree water off the flame, and then rapid cool it after 5 minutes?


thanks for the quick reply!

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Old 08-18-2009, 09:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by specter623 View Post
-17 pounds of Low-temp (aka flash-pasteurization for any other microbiologists out there) treated fresh “citrus honey” as my apiarist friend calls it, I looked it up, it is also called orange blossom honey.

I use 20 lbs of honey myself but then I like desert mead myself.

-Lavin EC-1118 yeast, or White Labs Sweet mead yeast (still can’t decide… any ideas?)

I use Lavin d-47- 2 packets

-Fermaid-K and DAP

I have found that for your amounts 2 teaspons of generic yeast energizer and 2 teaspoons of generic yeast nutrients at time of tossing the yeast is enough.

Procedure..
1. Bring to a 150degrees F 5 gallons of water, and slowly add the 17 lbs of honey off the flame. Allow to pasteurize for about 5 minutes (is this per gallon? Anyone?)

I just use 5 min total after reaching temp, scraping off the foam while it is going is all I need. But then I used only 2 gallons and then cool it down with 2 more gallons of chilled water and some ice. This cools it down quicker

2. Add to Fermentation bucket, and allow to sit overnight (hopeful OG 1.11, is this about right?)

If you let it sit overnight then cover it. You don't want anything getting into it. Generally the quicker you can toss the better. A wort ciller, copper tubing is what I use.

3. Use drill powered lees stirrer for about 5 minutes to oxygenate, and add the yeast, along with a semi-heaping tsp (or 4.5g) of Fermaid-K and a heaping tsp(4.5g) of DAP

Personally I have found that stirring in the yeast and then giving a few heafty stirs is all that's neccessary. Why go to great lenghts if you dont have to.

4. At active fermentation (8-24 hours), add 2.8g of fermaid-K and 2.8g of DAP. (slowly, and still up with drill powered lees stirrer)
5. At fermentation Mid-point (OG + FG target / 2), add 1.8g of superfood and 1.8g of DAP

Again, My active fermentation lasts for about 1 week. Then trickles off. That is when I rack to secondary. I generally don't touch it in that time. Ofcourse the honey diffrence is that I use unfiltered honey. That may have some nutrients in it.

6. Allow to hit FG (I’m hoping for around 1.000, which would give me a ABV of about 14%)
7. Rack to 5 – 1gallon carboys

I would rack off into your clean boiling pan and then rack into your seperate containters. Reason is to give you an even mix and so you are sure you are off the lees completely and for uniformity.


Carboy Plan -
Carboy 1 – Oak Chips – I’m thinking lightly toasted American oak – 5 grams

I would use dark toast for a more robust flavor, light toast imparts a light fruity overtone from what I heard. I personally like the more carmelly smoky flavors. Oh, and use a hop bag to make it easy to take out. 3 weeks is about all you will need to have the chips in there for. Keep the chips for your barbaque. Makes for some tasty steaks if you smoke them with it.

Carboy 2- Cinnamon/Vanilla – 1 whole Vanilla bean sliced into thirds, and a 4” cinnamon stick

I would use 2 beans. Split down the middle and just open, then drop in. You may want to put in a hops bag but not truely neccessary.

Carboy 3 – Apples/Cloves – 2 prepared apples (5 minute soak in vodka, frozen, cubed, and defrosted)

Very important, only use 1 whole clove or 1/2 of one for that small of a batch. I would only use 2-3 cloves for the whole batch of 5 gal. Expect it to be very clovey. Also I would up the amount of apples to 4. If it wont fit then puree and run through a strainer and use the juice, much cleaner.

Carboy 4- Oranges – 2 prepared oranges (same procedure, no skin)

Some people zest it with the outer skin. zesting is using a fine grater and scraping the outer peal into it. Just a dusting would be fine. Souldn't matter. I would just juice the oranges. better that way. Oh, and through a 1/4 teaspon of pectin enzyme to clear the haze.

Carboy 5 – Plain

I was planning on letting it sit in the secondaries for 1 full year, racking every 3 months, tasting, and possibly replacing the fruit/additives. Then bottle, and allow sitting for another year (if I can wait…)

Rack off of the fruit after 1 month max and top off with fresh water, non-tap. Spring water or distilled. Then Age a year.

A. Is carboy 3 and 4 going to give me problems?

It shouldn't


C. Still working on which yeast to get….

Lavin d-47 is my favorite.

D. Also, any ideas on Irish moss? I heard that clear gelatin was better, no residual taste, and works just as well…

You shouldn't need any clearing agents, except the initial pectin acid in the fruit batches. I personally only do 5 gal batches and I rack it about every 1-2 months before aging. Aging for me comes when it has cleared. You rack off of the lees when they acumulate a bit. This does lower the end volume but I feel it is worth it to keep from using clearing agents and that I am lazy. It will clear on it's own if you let it. If not some hot mix sparkloid and a racking would work. Sparkloid is the brand and the product.

E. When should I worry about adding acid? Would lemon juice work ok? Or do I need to get a powder?

I personally wouldn't add acid, some do for taste conserns. Mead is fairly simply you just let it do it's thing. Keeping things very sanitary is the only big thing.

]
I put my two cents in red on the quote. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:53 PM   #5
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Thanks you everyone for your imputs!

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Old 08-19-2009, 06:46 AM   #6
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Proposal v1.2

Ok, so I've taken some advice, and rearranged my plan! What do you think?

Hey, I’m about to start my first batch of mead, and it is going to be pretty experimental. I plan on making a 5 gallon batch in a primary, and then dividing it up into 5 – 1 gallon batches, each with a different fruit/spice. I was just going to toss up my idea here and see what anyone here though. Thanks in advance for any ideas.

Primary – 5 gallon batch Ingredients

-15 pounds orange blossom honey.
-D-47 Yeast
-Fermaid-K and DAP

Procedure..
1. Bring 2 gallons of water to 150F, and slowly add the 15 lbs of honey when the pot is off the flame. Add back to flame for just under 5 minutes, add 3 gallons of cooled, bottled h20
2. Add to Fermentation bucket, and allow to sit overnight while covered (or a couple hours, depending on how inpatient I am)
3. Use drill powered lees stirrer (really just a thin metal rod with a couple of zip-ties at the end) for about 5 minutes to oxygenate, and add the yeast, along with a semi-heaping tsp (or 4.5g) of Fermaid-K and a heaping tsp(4.5g) of DAP
4. At active fermentation (8-24 hours), add 2.8g of fermaid-K and 2.8g of DAP. (slowly, and still up with drill powered lees stirrer)
5. At fermentation Mid-point (OG + FG target / 2), add 1.8g of superfood and 1.8g of DAP
6. Allow to hit FG
7. Rack to bottling bucket, and then into 5 separate 1 gallon carboys

Carboy Plan -
Carboy 1 – Oak Chips – I’m thinking lightly-medium toasted American oak – 5 grams
Carboy 2- Cinnamon/Vanilla – 2 whole Vanilla bean sliced into thirds, and a 4” cinnamon stick
Carboy 3 – Apples/Cloves – 4 prepared apples (skinned, cubed, 5 minute vodka/rum bath, frozen, defrosted, blended into puree), and 1 small clove, +1/4 tsp pectin enzyme
Carboy 4- Oranges – 2 prepared oranges (same procedure), +1/4 tsp pectin enzyme
Carboy 5 – Plain

I was planning on letting it sit in the secondaries for 1 full year, racking after the 1st month, tasting, and possibly replacing the fruit/additives. Then racking every 3rd month when additives are removed. Then bottle, and allow sitting for another year (if I can wait…)

So this is my basic idea… I’m just hoping for some feedback.. Some questions though…

A. Has anyone ever had a lightly carbonated Muscato D’asti? I was hoping to make these kind of like that. What would the procedure be to make those? Just bottle with a very small amount of honey/yeast?
B. I heard about adding a small amount of lemon/lime juice to water that is going to be mixed with honey, can anyone else vouch for this?
C. Anyone know if the type of Apple matters? (Gala, granny smith, etc, etc)

cheers!

-5 batches of beer/cider brewing under my belt, first time mead brewer

P.S. my Nutrient Additive Schedule is from this site, I found it very useful.
Sticky: Mead Making FAQs

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Old 08-19-2009, 04:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by specter623 View Post
Proposal v1.2... 1. Bring 2 gallons of water to 150F, and slowly add the 15 lbs of honey when the pot is off the flame. Add back to flame for just under 5 minutes, add 3 gallons of cooled, bottled h20
Wrong proportions to achieve an OG ~1.110 [should be 15 lbs honey & 4 gallons of water - the mead calculator spreadsheet would have revealed this... ] Also, it is unecesaary to heat to 150°F. Heat the water to ~115°F and no neeed to reheat - see the Basic Mead FAQ.
Quote:
3. Use drill powered lees stirrer
Pay close attention to the foaming caution in the Nutrient addition FAQ...
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Old 08-19-2009, 05:07 PM   #8
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Thanks Highest - I'm glad I was able to get a reply from someone experienced!

So I used the calcuator, and it said 14.75 lbs of honey should bring me to 1.108. Thats lower, and the calculator says it will hit 14.58% ABV, is it likely to hit 1.000 with the yeast? If the yeast dies out at ~14% (thats what the website says), will that leave me with residual sweetness? Should I aim for something that gives 13.8%?

I had a Chaucers mead last night and it was pretty good, but I noticed it was a bit syrupy. I would like to make it a bit drier, and give it some more kick (higher abv). Do you think the yeast I plan on using is the correct yeast (D-47)

Also, I really can't find any info about apple type, do you have any ideas about those?

Haha, and yes, I'll be careful when stiring up the lees.

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Old 08-20-2009, 02:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by specter623 View Post
...Should I aim for something that gives 13.8%?
Regardless of one's experience, I never suggest that mead makers try to halt a fermentation at any target SG. Instead, I recommend they adjust the recipe's proportions to the yeast's alcohol tolerance to get near that target gravity. Then, if it overshoots, they can backsweeten to their own taste.
Quote:
Do you think the yeast I plan on using is the correct yeast (D-47)
That yeast is fine, but is not tolerant of low nitrogen levels and the resulting mead takes somewhat longer to age - but don't let that discourage you from using it.

As I new mead maker, I personally feel that you're trying to do too much, too soon. My consistent recommendation is for a new mead maker to start with a simple traditional mead, and when they feel they have that process down go on to the more involved meads...


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