Originally Posted by Knew2Brew
Ive brewed several batches of beer and would like to try a batch of mead as I find the concept interesting but I have a couple questions.
1) Can I simply boil some of the yeast sediment from a beer fermentation to use as yeast nutrients without any other additives and if so, how much?
2) I would like to make a batch of several gallons, and then split this several gallons into different gallon glass jugs for secondary fermentations and flavor each gallon differently. What is the best way to do this, or is this not a good idea in the first place? Ive read that the fruit shouldnt be boiled.
Thanks in advance
No 1 ? yes, but how much is anyones guess. People do routinely use boiled or microwaved bread yeast and that'd often work round the packaging of the yeast as here, bread yeast is often packed as sachets of about 7 to 8 grammes which is fine for boiling with 100mls of water or so (just bring it to the boil and then simmer for a couple of minutes before switching it off and allowing to cool to room temp), but whether anyone has actually done any study as to amounts I don't know. You are probably fine just nuking the sediment you want to use with a little water, then adding it once cooled, then monitoring the fermentation with a hydrometer. If it seems a bit too slow, add some more.
That way, if you then get the batch racked off the sediment as soon as you're happy that the ferment is done, there's little to no room for the sediment to leave any off flavour is there........
No 2 ? It's entirely up to you how you'd manage this. Baring in mind that once the ferment is complete, you have to be aware of avoiding possible oxidation. Now yes, it's correct that meads don't seem to oxidise as quickly as wines, but you'd likely have to work out how much fruit you want to try, then probably (presuming 1 gallon glass carboys/demi-johns) rack onto the fruit - which at most, might have been frozen, then thawed (or if frozen so that it can pour loose it can go straight into the carboy/DJ frozen) and added to the carboy/DJ any juice and all, then have the mead racked onto it. Just remember that if there's any space in the tolerance of the yeast used, you need to stabilise it otherwise it's entirely possible for fermentation to re-start. Likewise, it is probably wise to have sulphited the batch when the mead is racked onto the fruit as that should prevent any problems from the fruit and wild yeasts etc.
Boiling or heating the fruit can set the pectins, though I'd suggest that you used some pectic enzyme/pectolase anyway, as it helps with flavour and colour extraction as well as sorting out any pectins.
The issue of boiling/heating the fruit, is that some fruits do benefit from that i.e. blue/black fruit, like black currant or blueberries as it brings out the colour and flavour readily, on the other hand, if it's white/green fruit, like apples, pears, kiwi fruit etc, now those are a problem because heating the fruit changes the taste of the fruit completely, plus jam/jelly pectin additive for setting the jams and jellies is extracted often from apples/pears and if heated not only do you have to manage the changed (cooked) flavour, but also use a lot more pectic enzyme to make sure it doesn't cause hazing of the finished batch.
You can of course, use buckets of an appropriate size, after all, it's easier to get the fruit in and out, whether you use straining bags of some sort or just let the fruit float freely. Your problem then, is the air space above the liquid, and you have to work out about how to prevent or minimise this. Most of the common methods are completely impractical, though if you have access to a source of compressed CO2, you can carefully use that to "flood" the airspace with CO2 which being heavier than air, will displace any air/O2 present and provide a protective blanket for the batch.
You'd have to just keep an eye on the batch(es) to work out what level of flavour/colour extraction you wanted. Or of course, you can just put the fruit in and then swirl it, then just leave it until the fruit sinks, which it will do over time.