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Old 05-09-2011, 08:02 AM   #1
mkut
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Default New to mead, help and advice required.

Ingredients used:
3 lbs of Honey
1 pkt of yeast (dessert wine, upto 20% abv)
1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient
Water


To start to boiled 3/4 of a pint of water, once boiled removed from heat and stired in 3 tablespoons of honey and left to cool to about 80f/27c, then put yeast into mix. put airlock on and left for about two hrs. once it had started bubbling i made the rest.

again boiled water, added 3 lbs of honey and yeast nutrient and left to cool to 80f/27c.

then mixed the starter to the rest of honey water. Put in demijohn and left to do it stuff. After about two weeks i had about inch of sediment at the bottom so siphoned it off, and again about 1 week later.

measured the gravity and it is reading about 12.5.

My mead tastes very dry, almost bitter.

Q1 After reading and talking to other people, 2hrs is not long enough for the primary fermentation. Is this true? (although i did have a lot of bubbles coming off)

Q2 Have i used the wrong yeast, my yeast (dessert) is said to go to 20% and my reading is approx 12.5?

Q2 The bubbles have now stopped, so i assume no more sugar to break down, but the remaining yeast could be dorment, Should i add more honey?

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I'm totally new to this, and this is my first attempt.

Any advise or tips greatfully received.

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Old 05-09-2011, 08:11 AM   #2
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Hopefully you still have active fermentation. You need an acid and tannin source to keep your yeast happy. Brew a cup of tea(Liptons or a good black tea/oolong), this takes care of your tannins. Also add some acid blend/citric acid. This will give you a much better balanced mead.

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Old 05-09-2011, 08:25 AM   #3
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couple of things.
what yeast did you use? dessert wine yeast dosn't mean much. it may go to 20% but it also may make it taste like crap. for wines you just need to be above 10%. 12-14% is a good range.

gravity 12.5? are you using a spirits hydrometer? that typically reads alcohol content when all sugar has been converted to alcohol. wine uses a different scaled hydrometer. you really need is the starting gravity and the final gravity to work out alcohol content.

don't worry about tannin or acid. tea leaves won't hurt it but certainly adding acid to a mead is a no-no. honey is very acid to start with. adding acid makes it worse and can cause yeast stress or even stop it completely. leave the acid till after the fermentation has done, add to taste to offset the sweetness.

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Old 05-09-2011, 10:07 AM   #4
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Sorry, Tweake, honey has no acid or tannins, and yeast are happier with a good balance of both. Cider doesn't need acid if you have a good blend of apples, but mead needs these unless you are doing a traditional mead. If traditional you may need more than a year just for fermentation to complete.

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Old 05-09-2011, 11:00 AM   #5
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honey has glunonic acid (spelling?) rather than tartaric/malic etc. i suggest you try telling the folk over at gotmead that honey has no acid and put on your flame suit
its late here, i can't remember what makes TA inaccurate in mead.

i'll have to check my latest brew but the last batch the PH was ok (about 3.5) and didn't need anything to counteract the acid. the problem is honey has lowish PH, dissolved CO2 lowers it further and adding extra acid can be enough to get the PH down low enough to stall the yeast.

i'm not sure where the "add acid" concept comes from expect from winemaking.

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Old 05-09-2011, 11:18 AM   #6
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I wouldn't say it was unusual for the initial burst of fermentation to be over in the first 2 weeks, certainly my first 3 batches all did (its a bit warm in my house at the moment...).
I would expect that after that it would continue to ferment slowely for at least another month or two with just a bubble on the airlock every few minutes towards the end.

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Old 05-10-2011, 04:16 AM   #7
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Tweake, got the info from H. E. Bravery's "Homebrewing Without Fail" and Pamela Spence's "Mad About Mead." Both started out restarting stuck fermentation with acid blend and tannins. Following their advice I've made some tasty mead. Ms. Spence can be interesting to read; I think she's a dedicated Wiccan. Mr. Bravery is great for mead, cider, and wine. His directions for making beer will get you beer, but modern techniques will give much better quality.
Amino acids are technically acids, but are more of a protein precursor than anything else. I don't know anything about glucnonic acid. Prussic and fluoric acids are acids too, but you wouldn't want them anywhere near your mead. Highly Toxic!!!

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Old 05-10-2011, 09:46 AM   #8
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i don't know those people or books at all. however one thing i've found with mead is a lot of info, right or wrong, is borrowed from wine making. acid to restart stuck ferm....i would say it depends on WHY its stuck in the first place.

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Old 05-10-2011, 01:10 PM   #9
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Well, as I understand it, you're both correct. Though to complete a ferment you don't actually need acid of any sort. The pH of honey must do tend to be a little lower that others, and yes that is the presence of gluconic acid, its sensible to have something on hand to counteract a pH that's too low, as the production of carbonic acid during the ferment can cause the pH to swing quite wildly. Above 3.0 is usually fine.

Additional acid is often added for flavouring reasons i.e. fruit acids (citric, tartaric and malic). It's just as easy or easier to add them to taste after the ferment has finished.

As for the different books, as it would appear, they demonstrate different method to produce good mead. I prefer Ken Schramms, just a bit of a shame its aimed primarily at US mead makers. A little more general guidance would be brilliant.

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