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Old 01-21-2013, 11:29 PM   #1
calimead
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Default Mead Question from a newbie

First mead: will this pan out? looking to make a semi sweat fruit forward mead

Mango Pineapple Mead
Primary fermented (bucket 1 month):
12lbs. clover honey
4 pineapples
Yeast + 6tsp nutrient

Secondary fermented (bucket 1 month):
2lbs. clover honey
8 mangoes
Top off water

Tertiary fermented (5 gallon glass carboy 4 months)

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Old 01-22-2013, 01:05 AM   #2
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Yeast has a big part in this. What yeast will you be using?

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Old 01-22-2013, 01:14 AM   #3
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I would think the citric acid from the 4 pineapples may affect initial yeast behavior, but it could work. Good luck. I'm just hoping you did it in a bucket so you can actually get all the fruit parts back out. Like it's been said elsewhere, fruit in the primary mostly serves as a sugar source and wont lend much flavor to the final product, though I would think the citric properties of the pineapple will definitely shine through.

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Old 01-22-2013, 02:28 AM   #4
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Thanks for the help guys,

Lalvin wine yeast that my local brew shop recomended for mead cant remember the strain. All I can remember is that it said denmark on it. If for some reason the acidity from the pineapple keeps the yeast from working as well as it should. can I solve this by pitching another starter into my secondary?

Also if their is to much acidic flavor for my taste what can I do to counter act this?

I will be using a bucket for my primary and my secondary then will switch over to glass for my tertiary.

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Old 01-22-2013, 04:06 PM   #5
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Well Lalvin make several types of yeast. LHBS often suggest ec-1118 (which I disagree with) and if the gave you that then with the 14 pounds of honey and the fruit additions you have enough sugar to push the mead to 15% ABV and ec-1118 can go all the way to 18%. So your recipe is solid but will go dry unless you stabilize.

Before adding the second round of honey and fruit add in potassium metabisulfate (Camden tablets) and potassium sorbate.

This will halt further yeast work and keep the sugars there. Your recipe would then make a sweet mead. Cut the honey to 1 pound for a more semi sweet mead.

A second yeast pitch will not help if the acidity causes the yeast to not perform "well". A second yeast pitch will only be needed if your yeast completely stalls and does not finish. I don't think that should be an issue. Lalvin yeasts are top notch and have always worked well for me.

There are ways to raise the ph of an acidic must but back sweetening should counteract any tart flavors. I say don't worie until after you let it sit in secondary for a while and give it a taste.

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Old 01-22-2013, 04:30 PM   #6
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Yea, I agree with this, but if you want a clear mead it should sit for about a year especially if your using 1118. That would not be my first choice. 1118 is for stuck ferments, but could be used as yeast and use pectic enzyme. Clear meads always look awesome.

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Old 01-23-2013, 12:49 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the help,

Noted. They told me that the yeast had a potential of reaching 16% so it most likely was the ec-1118. Adding the potassium metabisulfate and potassium sorbate to my must if it hasn't reached 15% yet will it be able to reach 15% or will I be stuck with a lower ABV?

Ill go with a pound of honey and back sweeten it if needed. As far as aging the mead for a year should I let it sit in the tertiary fermenter the entire time or should I rack it again?

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Old 01-23-2013, 01:01 AM   #8
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I calculated that 15% based off of 14 lb of honey and all your fruit. With just your pineapple and 12 lb of honey you should hit about 12.5% - 13% ABV if it ferments dry. So let it do that. Let it sit in primary a bit to clear. Rack to secondary with chemicals and you can add secondary honey and fruit. Wait to clear and once clear rack again and bulk age.

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Old 01-23-2013, 01:33 AM   #9
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How long wil it take to ferment dry? does letting it sit in the primary for over a month affect it in anyway?

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Old 01-23-2013, 02:03 AM   #10
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I'm doing something similar currently with a dry mead (13% goal, 6 gal) using ec-1118 at 64-ish degrees F. It's been fermenting for three weeks without signs of slowing down. I'm going to guess 6 weeks before I can even think about bringing it to secondary.

I've you're getting a slow start due to pH and fermenting low (60-65deg), it could take longer. If you're fermenting warm (68-74deg) it could go slightly quicker. Be wary of the acid content without any sweetness to counterbalance, as this could take quite sometime to come around.

And to clarify, potassium sorbate inhibits yeast reproduction, but does not stop the current culture (dry finish). Potassium metabisulfite will stabilize the product and probably stop the current culture (semi-dry, depending on when you add it).

Current opinion on leaving things in primary for a month is "no noticeable difference". Letting beer sit on lees (yeast hulls) for a long enough time allows autolysis and may produce a chemical undertone. Some say letting a chardonnay sit on lees creates a buttery flavor. However, this is due to malolactic fermentation which will probably not occur in a honey only mead. Your addition of pineapple may allow malolactic fermentation (don't add potassium salts!) during an extended rest in primary (but could happen in secondary as well).

**EDIT**

Sorry. I added all of that without providing much guidance. If you proceed with your current recipe, I'd say just let it go and figure out later what worked and what didn't. I personally have had many bad batches but don't mind keeping them around and revisiting as they age. (It's a learning opportunity)

If I were to make changes to your recipe, it would be this:

Do a honey only primary and then add the fruits at secondary to preserve the fruit flavor. I'd wait for the end of primary ferment and age a few months before moving to secondary. (transferring to secondary with fruit immediately will allow the yeast to attack the sugars in the fruit) Additionally I would add the fruit only at the peak of ripeness, as much of the flavor in pineapple and mango comes from sugar. Imagine the flavor of the fruit if you were to take out all of the sugar. That is similar to what would show in the mead. The pro-tip is to wait for the fruit to be ripe and then freeze it. Freezing it allows you to save it until you need it (of course) but also breaks down the flesh and thus more immediately macerate in the mead. Take note that you will end up with a lot of mush to strain out of the secondary if you freeze the fruit.

Good luck and have fun!

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