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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Raspberry Mead- A Few Questions (reracking etc)
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Old 03-22-2009, 09:57 PM   #1
Slimslapper
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Default Raspberry Mead- A Few Questions (reracking etc)

Hey all, first post and first brew here so I was hoping for some advice from the experienced

So, with a prayer to the Norse gods for mercy I have decided to make a mead for my first brew ever!.

Here's what I have so far:
3/06/09- Started must with
Yeast: Lalvin 71b 1122 (14% etOH) potential, Go-ferm starter, Yeast Nurtrient (would have used fermaid-K but all my brew shop had was this)
Honey: 12lbs local clover honey 2.6 lbs orange blossom 14.6 lbs total
Initial fruit: 1 small box of raisins for just for kicks and aroma (read something about helping the yeast by providing more nutrients)
SG: 1.1 ish


Purified Spring water to make exactly five gallons
No boil on honey, vigorous aeration for 15 mins, pitched yeast after starting with go-ferm, more aeration etc.
Put all ingredients/pitched yeast in 6.5 gal plastic bucket carboy with lid and one-piece airlock

my intent is to rack onto raspberries in once primary is done into the secondary (dont want fermented raspberries, going for flavor)

So, heres the progress so far:

14 hours (3/7/09) 1 bubble (1 piece airlock every 13 seconds)
3/8/09 1 bubble every 3 seconds (fairly vigorous?)
3/11/09 removed lid, gentle stir, no residue present smells great
03/14/09 slowed to once every 7 seconds light aeration
3/17/09 checked the SG currently at 1.06
Today (3/22) one bubble every 6 or 7 seconds

So, with that established, my questions are as follows:

1. Since I am planning on racking onto the raspberries when/how should I use the pectic enzyme? Add it to the must before racking? Directly to the puree? Dilute puree with water? I have no clue :P. FYI I was thinking about using the Oregon raspberry puree anyone have any luck with it, how much should I add?

2. I have a 6 1/2 glass carboy. I heard I am not supposed to leave any headspace during secondary to prevent oxygen from entering the must. I have heard raspberries can cause a lot of foam though, and since I am doing this in my parent's basement (med school student and broke :P) so I dont think I can do a blow-off. When should I be worried about minimizing head space and oxygen, should I be worried?

3. The fermentation seems a little slow... 1.1 to 1.06 after 11 days... am I ok? When should I rack onto raspberries? I know that typically it is ideal to wait until SG stops dropping, but should I leave the yeast somewhat active and re-rack? Note: I am in Colorado so it does get a little cold hence why i picked a lalvin for wider temp tolerance, might be the fact that my basement is cooler (wrapped the carboy in a towel).

Thanks! I will be sure to post pictures and keep you all updated once I rack to glass...

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Old 03-22-2009, 10:37 PM   #2
Tusch
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Looks like you go going about this allllll wrong.

Just kidding, you clearly have done your research and are doing way better then a lot for your first brew.

.04 may be slightly slow of a fermentation although nothing to worry about, but that could be based on your nutrients and your additions. Did you stagger your nutrients at all or did you just add it at the beginning. If you haven't already, read the mead FAQs by Hightest, the man knows his mead and he is wiser than I.

You definitely should have aimed for a batch that better fits your secondary container, 1.5 gallons of headspace is a lot. You could increase your must to the full 6.5 gallons you have available, or you could explore other options. I would personally rack when you get down to 1.010 or so, that way you should have some co2 still being produced to help with the headspace in secondary.

I have never used purees, only dried and frozen fruits in my brews, so I can't really recommend an amount for you there. But just so you know, the raspberries will be fermented, but as they will be added in secondary a lot less of the flavor, color and aroma will be stripped away by the stronger more active primary fermentation.

All and all, congrats on your first and very well thought out brew. Now give us some pictures! Or at least when you get to secondary!

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Old 03-23-2009, 12:02 AM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback Tusch, you scared the heck out of me with the "all wrong" :P

I am hoping the fruit will take up some of the remaining space in the 6 1/2 carboy, I might just fill the head space with water after the yeast calms down from being racked onto the sugars from the fruit.

Any thoughts on the pectin enzyme? should I let the fruit sit with the pectin in the glass for a while, or just add to the must to start it and then rack onto the fruit?

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Old 03-23-2009, 12:38 AM   #4
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The fruit won't take up anywhere near the full 1.5 gallons of headspace, unless you are adding just an absolute ton of it. I wouldn't want to add just water to fill up that much headspace either. I am sticking to adding in more honey/water mixture (similar to your OG) to your current primary, fill it all the way up. That way when you lose some due to racking, testing and tasting when you go to secondary, you should have enough room for the fruit and have it completely full. For the enzyme, mix however much is recommended for your batch size with a bit of water throw it in the carboy with the raspberries and then rack your primary on top. There shouldn't be any need to let it chill with the fruit before you rack, just throw in berries and enzyme all at once, rack in the good juice.

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Meads: Hababero and Sarrano Capiscumel, Show Mead possibly getting split and flavored, and 12 gallons of Bochet Deliciousness
Ciders:3 Ciders with differing additives TBD, Strawberry/Apple Cider
Wine: Black Cherry Vanilla Port
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