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Old 12-06-2011, 11:13 PM   #1
zentr
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Default Rookie mistakes. Any suggestions?

I made my first batch of mead tonight. For a 1 gallon batch I used a quart of Orange Blossom Honey, Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast, juice from 2 oranges, 1 cup of strong Darjeeling tea, and 1 teaspoon of DAP.

I made a several mistakes:
1. I heated more than 1 gallon of water. I figured I might lose some in initial boil. I didn't actually bring it to a boil though (maybe 150 degrees). Coupled with the 1 cup of tea I added, there was more than could be put in my gallon jug. The honey is dissolved in more water and is therefore not as concentrated, and not all in my fermenter.
2. I poured the must up close to the top, so when I poured in my yeast starter, it wouldn't all fit. I had to move my funnel over a sanitized bowl to catch what was in the funnel. I then had to empty some of the must and yeast into the sink to make room. Ah! Then I put the captured yeast into the jug. This means that I don't have as high a yeast count as I would have.
3. I don't know where my head was, but I put the must and yeast in the jug with the must at around 120 degrees. As I was aerating I was thinking that the jug was hot. That may have killed my yeast(?).
4. Oh yeah, I also put a teaspoon of DAP in to. But I emptied into the damp funnel so it stuck to the funnel and I poured a tad bit of left over must in to wash it down.

Screwing up like that, with all the preparation I did, is a real bummer. Going to have a homebrew after I click the Submit button (not that one has to deal with problems by drinking, but I would have had a beer if all went well too--it's a win win!).

Any thoughts or suggestions? Should I be prepared to go buy another packet of yeast? Thank you in advance.

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Old 12-06-2011, 11:52 PM   #2
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for a 1 gallon batch, I have read that a packet of yeast is easily good enough for a 5 gallon batch

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Old 12-07-2011, 01:01 AM   #3
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one packet is more than enough for one gallon, so you should still be good as long as you got in half of it. The 120 degree must may have set the yeast back a few days. Youll need to wait for advice form someone more experienced.
What I do that I found helpful is use a gallon of bottled water. I warm half to about 115 and then remove from heat and stir in all the honey, then I add half of the remaining water, and pour all that into the jug. then I add my nutrients and once it gets to the right temp I add the re-hydrated yeast, then top off with bottled water. This way I dont have to guess with the amount of must

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Old 12-07-2011, 04:42 AM   #4
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1. What I do is heat up about a half gallon with the honey, then bring to a boil. Once boiled I put it into a sink with cold water to cool it faster.

2. You always need to make sure there is some head space. During the early stages of fermentation, the yeast multiply and require oxygen to do so. You also need to leave some room so the often vigorous fermentation (may or maybe not for this particular yeast) doesn't blow the top off, but this is more of an inconvenient mess than it is a problem for successful fermentation. Leaving head space also allows for easy aeration (shaking) which I like to do periodically during fermentation to a) mix oxygen into the solution, b) remove carbon dioxide (which apparently can hurt the yeast) and c) keep the yeast in suspension so they're better able to continue fermenting. Open the cap after each shake to relieve pressure and allow gas to escape. Be careful your cap may explode off and kill your spouse.

3. Your yeast are probably dead. See this site http://www.lalvinyeast.com/strains.asp. These yeast work best between 15-30*C (max 86*F). This isn't a problem. Just repitch a new pack of yeast. Your dead yeast will likely give the new yeast some nutrient for their growth (they will eat the dead). There's a chance your yeast are still alive (since they should be rehydrated at 110*F), but I'd go ahead and repitch another pack because it really doesn't matter. Your yeast will grow up to a population that is of maximum size and won't grow anymore at that point. If you have 50 trillion living yeast right now and add another 50 trillion it will just take less time for them to reach their goal of 100000 trillion or whatever they're going for.

I know the feeling of screwing up. My first bacth of kit wine I added too much water. I decided to dump off the must and bring the SG up with welch's grape juice. We called that batch merlotch's. Damn good wine !!!! :P Learn from your mistakes and keep making wine. But make a lot because you're never going to want to spend money on booze again and it sucks when you have to.

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Old 12-07-2011, 12:33 PM   #5
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i also brewed first mead past sat., and pitched the yeast at over 120 degree F. after one day, it was foaming up nicely and now after 4 days, the airlock is popping up nicely.

i only used orange blosson honey (about quart in volume), water, and yeast.

i'm waiting to see what happens.

pete

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Old 12-08-2011, 02:20 PM   #6
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Default Thank you!

Thanks all! I appreciate your knowledge and the time you took to provide your input.

It's been over 36 hours now and there does not appear to be any activity. I think that if when I get home I still don't see anything, I'll add a packet of the Red Star Montrachet yeast I have and a teaspoon of the DAP.

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Old 12-08-2011, 07:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zentr View Post
Thanks all! I appreciate your knowledge and the time you took to provide your input.

It's been over 36 hours now and there does not appear to be any activity. I think that if when I get home I still don't see anything, I'll add a packet of the Red Star Montrachet yeast I have and a teaspoon of the DAP.
as you already added some DAP, don't add more yet. Also don't blindly add a yeast because you have it to hand....... that's just impatience and can lead to problems.

One of the better reasons for using Lalvin products is because they publish more data than any other producer.

They suggest rehydrating yeast with GoFerm, which is a rehydration specific nutrient, that has minimal (if any) DAP, so you rehydrate with that, a little fermentable sugars and water. Pitch the yeast into water honey mix (usually a mixed by weight of honey, not volume) and that's normally checked with a hydrometer to whatever the required gravity.

You're mixing a must, not making a sort. So heat isn't required. Honey is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Once the lag is finished, then you think about adding nutrient and energiser or combined nutrient.

Aeration is normally at least once a day, up to the 1/3rd sugar break, some like to aerate to the half break, some just use cloth covered bucket until ready to transfer to a carbon for secondary.
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