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Old 06-04-2012, 02:13 PM   #1
SandorClegane
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Default Noobrew Questions - please critique my process and give me some pointers/tips

I'm new to brewing. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, but never got around to.

Finally, yesterday, I pulled the trigger and bought some stuff:

5 gallon Primary Fermentation Bucket
5 gallon Carboy
Bung and Airlock
Racking cane and Siphon Hose
Carboy Cleaning Brush
Restaurant Grade Sanitizing Solution
Yeast and Yeast Nutrition

I wanted to start with something easy. I've always loved honey Mead and had decided (through lots of googling) that Mead was a fairly easy brewing project to start with. So I started with it.

I thought I made a big mistake at one point, but I think it's working out okay anyway. I'll look to your input on that, though. Here is what I did.


1. Sanitized everything.

2. Pasteurized a 2 gallon mix of equal parts honey and water (1 gallon of honey with 1 gallon of water, brought to 170 degrees and kept there for 15 minutes).

2.1. Simultaneous with that^ I hydrated my yeast in room-temp/warm water.

3. Mixed the pasteurized honey/water mixture with 3 gallons of cold water in the primary fermentation bucket, then did my best to shake it/swirl it up for aeration.

4. (Here's where I messed up) I added the yeast nutrition and the hydrated yeast to the Must without first checking the temp to make sure it was not too hot.

5. I panicked, checked the temp, and discovered that the Must was around 120 degrees F.

6. Not knowing what to do, I put the lid on it and stuck in the airlock (with sanitized water in the airlock).

7. Moved the primary fermentation bucket to a dry room that stays at about 72-75 degrees F throughout the day.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AFTERMATH/NOTES/QUESTIONS

I was concerned that I killed the yeast by adding it to water that was about 120 degrees F, and so I was planning on picking up another packet of yeast to pitch. But, within a couple of hours the airlock was bubbling about once every 20 seconds. This morning the airlock is bubbling at a rate slightly more frequent than once a second.

I know, from what I've read here, that the airlock is NOT a tool to gauge fermentation. I also know that the lack of bubbles in the airlock is NOT an indication that fermentation is not occurring.

So, my question would be related to the converse. Is quick and frequent airlock bubble action (more than once per second) an indication that fermentation IS occurring? Should I go ahead and pitch another packet of yeast to be safe, or should I leave it as is?

I do not have a hydrometer, therefore I did not get a measurement prior to pitching the yeast.



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Old 06-04-2012, 02:51 PM   #2
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BUMP

Please help me.



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Old 06-04-2012, 03:24 PM   #3
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If it's bubbling then it's fermenting. I would recommend getting a hydrometer so you know when it has stopped fermenting.

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Old 06-04-2012, 03:29 PM   #4
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yeast doesn't die until around 140, you were right on the edge. but if you have bubbling you're fermenting

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Old 06-04-2012, 03:36 PM   #5
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Cool. Thanks.
I am going to get a hydrometer, at least for future batches. Regarding this batch, though, since I did not test it and get any sort of reading at the beginning, will a hydrometer tell me anything down the road, without a beginning reading to compare it to?

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Old 06-04-2012, 04:23 PM   #6
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It'll let you know when it's done fermenting.

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Old 06-04-2012, 06:41 PM   #7
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Critique the method/technique ?

Ok, why "pasteurise" something that is effectively, naturally sterile ? Or at least its natures most anti-fungal, anti-bacterial substance ?

After all, all of the sugars are fermentable, there's no conversion process like with beer making.

I didn't see if the honey was anything decent or not, at worst, you've removed a fair bit of the aromatics and probably some of the more subtle flavouring elements. You might as well just used a champagne yeast, it has a similar effect.

Making a basic and somewhat mediocre mead isn't hard, yet making a good, mega tasty mead isn't so easy.

If you have a look at the main page of the Gotmead forums, their "NewBee" guide is linked in the left side yellow dialogue box. It's full of invaluable advice and guidance.

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Old 06-04-2012, 07:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
Critique the method/technique ?

Ok, why "pasteurise" something that is effectively, naturally sterile ? Or at least its natures most anti-fungal, anti-bacterial substance ?

After all, all of the sugars are fermentable, there's no conversion process like with beer making.

I didn't see if the honey was anything decent or not, at worst, you've removed a fair bit of the aromatics and probably some of the more subtle flavouring elements. You might as well just used a champagne yeast, it has a similar effect.

Making a basic and somewhat mediocre mead isn't hard, yet making a good, mega tasty mead isn't so easy.

If you have a look at the main page of the Gotmead forums, their "NewBee" guide is linked in the left side yellow dialogue box. It's full of invaluable advice and guidance.
Thanks.

Why did I pasteurize it? Simple, honest answer is: the majority of the recipes I found online said to do so, as did the local expert at De Falco's. I'm new to this, so I didn't question.

I will definitely check out the Gotmead forums. Thanks.
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandorClegane View Post
Thanks.

Why did I pasteurize it? Simple, honest answer is: the majority of the recipes I found online said to do so, as did the local expert at De Falco's. I'm new to this, so I didn't question.

I will definitely check out the Gotmead forums. Thanks.
Da nada.

Suggestions of pasteurisation usually mean that it's an outdated recipe. If you look up some of the few truely ancient recipes that are about, they also boiled their musts.

But that's mainly because the water used wasn't sanitary - it's why beer became so popular from mediaevel times onward. Because part of the process of converting the starches to fermentable sugars meant the wort had to be boiled, thereby sanitising the water.

Here's the link to the Gotmead forums and this one is the Gotmead NewBee guide

The newbee guide is a fair amount of reading but it's stuff full of brilliant advice, tips and guidance.

Oh, and ignore people in home brew shops when making meads. Most of them know bog all about meads and their advice is usually sweeping generalisations about how they "think" a mead should be produced, they usually think wrong, suggesting bits from beer or wine making - meads are closer to wines than beers, but that's pretty much where the similarity ends.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
Da nada.

Suggestions of pasteurisation usually mean that it's an outdated recipe. If you look up some of the few truely ancient recipes that are about, they also boiled their musts.

But that's mainly because the water used wasn't sanitary - it's why beer became so popular from mediaevel times onward. Because part of the process of converting the starches to fermentable sugars meant the wort had to be boiled, thereby sanitising the water.

Here's the link to the Gotmead forums and this one is the Gotmead NewBee guide

The newbee guide is a fair amount of reading but it's stuff full of brilliant advice, tips and guidance.

Oh, and ignore people in home brew shops when making meads. Most of them know bog all about meads and their advice is usually sweeping generalisations about how they "think" a mead should be produced, they usually think wrong, suggesting bits from beer or wine making - meads are closer to wines than beers, but that's pretty much where the similarity ends.
Ah, thanks.

Yeah, I found gotmead, and registered there too. Read the whole newbee guide from start to finish, before you posted the link. But thanks anyway.

So, when you (personally) brew Mead, do you cook the must at all? Or you just pour the honey into the water and add the yeast?


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