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Old 11-25-2012, 09:46 PM   #1
Cambion7
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Default Newbie Alert!

I just wanted to take the time to say hello to everyone in this community. I've always loved mead, and finally decided to look into making my own. After watching a few Youtube videos, and reading a few postings, I decided to go to town.

I did what most shouldn't I guess. I chose Tupelo honey, but I'm sure I won't regret it. I'm going a three gallon batch using DV-10 yeast and GoFerm. Added a bit of potassium carbonate to the must and woke up this morning to a air lock bubbling away, but foam was going up into the airlock, and I could see must in the airlock as well.

So I fed some Fermaid-K and DAP, stirred and went out to do laundry. Came back and searched the forums to find a blow-off tube recommendation. Gotta love the forums. So now I've got a blow-off tube running until the foam drops down. Good foam means good fermentation from what I'm gathering.

Anyway, in three days I'm going to feed the rest of my Fermaid-K and DAP and let it sit until the bubbling slows to 1 per minute. This brings a question though.

I've read where someone recommended stirring the lees at least once a day until the fermentation stops. Anyone care to share their thoughts on this?

I'm really looking forward to making my next batch already.

Regards,
Scott

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Old 11-26-2012, 01:47 AM   #2
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I give it a real good stir/shake to degas the must for bout the first week of fermentation. This lowers the amount of CO2 or Carbonic Acid in the must which helps the must from getting too low a PH. This is important because if the PH starts dipping too low when fermentation is in full force the yeast may give off some off flavors or worse shut down and stall the fermentation.

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Old 11-26-2012, 04:20 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tip! I'll take care to do just that.

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Old 12-10-2012, 08:30 PM   #4
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Last night I took a hydrometer reading and found I'm at 1.008sg (2 Brix). I'm not sure where I started because as a noob, I completely brain farted about taking my first reading prior to pitching. I also had a sip and it has the alcohol taste to it. I ground up one Campden tablet and dropped it into the carboy and gave it a good stir. Next weekend I'll rack it to a clean carboy. and let it sit. Check it weekly for lees, since I know you shouldn't let it sit on lees for too long.

I have a second batch going. This is a small one gallon I want to add raspberry puree to. OG is 1.106 using Wildflower Honey I heated to 160 with slightly more part of water for about 10 minutes and skimmed off the foam. First batch was no-heat, so I'm interested to see what this one will do. Pitched yeast at 7pm, woke up at 6 and no action yet. I waited until my must was about 95 before pitching, maybe I killed the yeast. DV-10 is what I used. If this is the case, I assume I can start another batch of yeast and pitch that.

Quite a fun hobby! So much to learn.

Scott

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Old 12-10-2012, 10:22 PM   #5
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Is the new batch just the heated honey and water? If so then it can take 24 - 48 hours before there is any real activity. Honey has very little nutrients so it makes it hard for yeast to start some times. Especially after scaling that foam off the heated honey. That foam is mostly protiens in the honey. If you have the raspberry puree then you can add a portion to it now for nutrients and freeze the rest to add to secondary after this one has cleared.

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Old 12-10-2012, 10:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cambion7 View Post
Last night I took a hydrometer reading and found I'm at 1.008sg (2 Brix). I'm not sure where I started because as a noob, I completely brain farted about taking my first reading prior to pitching. I also had a sip and it has the alcohol taste to it. I ground up one Campden tablet and dropped it into the carboy and gave it a good stir. Next weekend I'll rack it to a clean carboy. and let it sit. Check it weekly for lees, since I know you shouldn't let it sit on lees for too long.
Ah, another noob error. It doesn't matter that it had got to 1.008 it most likely still had some fermenting to do. Hitting it with sulphite like that just stuns the yeast. It would have been better to keep testing every 2 or 3 days, then once the gravity stops dropping (even at 1 point per measurement) you'd normally hit it with sulphite/campden and sorbate to stabilise.

As it is, you could actually get it cleared and there would still be some yeast cells present. If the batch got warmed up, once the sulphites dissipate (which they will/do) you'd have potential for a restart.

If you're happy with it as is, I'd say cold crash it for 4 or 5 days, then re-sulphite and sorbate to stabilise, then rack off the lees once it's dropped a layer.
Quote:
I have a second batch going. This is a small one gallon I want to add raspberry puree to. OG is 1.106 using Wildflower Honey I heated to 160 with slightly more part of water for about 10 minutes and skimmed off the foam. First batch was no-heat, so I'm interested to see what this one will do. Pitched yeast at 7pm, woke up at 6 and no action yet. I waited until my must was about 95 before pitching, maybe I killed the yeast. DV-10 is what I used. If this is the case, I assume I can start another batch of yeast and pitch that.

Quite a fun hobby! So much to learn.

Scott
Wait and see, it could very well just be in lag phase where the yeast is still multiplying. Give it a week at least.

As for raspberry puree ? It's often suggested not to add puree, unless it's to the primary, because it can be a complete bugger to rack off puree, though if it's in primary, the fruit pulp part will often have flocculated out with the yeast sediment - that's not to say that it's guaranteed to be easier.

With fruit additions, it's often best to just freeze the fruit for a week, then defrost and add it to the secondary - and with soft fruit (with small, hard to remove seeds) like rasps, if possible in a straining bag of some sort, though that's not always possible if you're fermenting in carboys
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arpolis View Post
Is the new batch just the heated honey and water? If so then it can take 24 - 48 hours before there is any real activity. Honey has very little nutrients so it makes it hard for yeast to start some times. Especially after scaling that foam off the heated honey. That foam is mostly protiens in the honey. If you have the raspberry puree then you can add a portion to it now for nutrients and freeze the rest to add to secondary after this one has cleared.
Yes the new batch was just the heated water and honey. It's all good. I got home last night to fermenation, so I fed the Fermaid-K and DAP and wts out of the jug. I didn't put a blow-off tube which I should have done because I woke up to a foaming air lock. I knew better because my 3 gallon batch foamed up. I took bleach and wiped down the jug and the mouth and then sprayed Star San through my tubing and the main piece to the three-piece air lock and the threaded air lock cap. So now it's the waiting game until the next feeding!
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:01 PM   #8
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Hello!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
Ah, another noob error. It doesn't matter that it had got to 1.008 it most likely still had some fermenting to do. Hitting it with sulphite like that just stuns the yeast. It would have been better to keep testing every 2 or 3 days, then once the gravity stops dropping (even at 1 point per measurement) you'd normally hit it with sulphite/campden and sorbate to stabilise.
Makes sense! I was following a recipe for my first batch and that's what they said. But I like your idea better, and I'm sure many others follow the same advice.

Quote:
If you're happy with it as is, I'd say cold crash it for 4 or 5 days, then re-sulphite and sorbate to stabilise, then rack off the lees once it's dropped a layer.
How would one cold crash a 3 gallon carboy without a large cooler?

Quote:
Wait and see, it could very well just be in lag phase where the yeast is still multiplying. Give it a week at least.

As for raspberry puree ? It's often suggested not to add puree, unless it's to the primary, because it can be a complete bugger to rack off puree, though if it's in primary, the fruit pulp part will often have flocculated out with the yeast sediment - that's not to say that it's guaranteed to be easier.
Excellent advice. Would you then suggest 100% juice instead of puree in the secondary? I guess making 5 gallon batches using a 6 gallon fermenter is best when making melomel and not having to worry about head space or lack thereof.

Always appreciate great advice! Glad I found a forum where there's helpful people around to assit us noobs! Cheers!

Scott
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