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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Stark Raven Mead (burnt honey mead attempt)
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:59 AM   #11
Kauai_Kahuna
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I did one on 2009-12-14, and it has been bulk ageing in a keg and I need to bottle it soon, just because I need the keg and I'm jonesing for a sample.
Really nice string of pictures, and great idea of using a drip comparison.
Thanks.

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Old 03-01-2010, 04:50 PM   #12
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I slowly cooked mine for around an hour and a half. It was just about the color of the drip marked 150. And smelled awesome. I can't wait to get a sample.

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Old 03-01-2010, 07:18 PM   #13
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nice photos! one question though, why the cream of tartar??

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Old 03-01-2010, 11:38 PM   #14
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Well... here's Machinelf's wife chiming in on what my thoughts were at the time.

I included Cream of Tartar in the recipe for two reasons. First, because it's what I use when I make invert syrup, which I use in my barleywine. In that, it helps with the conversion of sucrose; I'm not sure if it helps with the more prevalent sugars in honey or not. But secondly, I was given to understand that Roger Morse thought Cream of Tartar was useful in helping to increase the buffering capacity of mead due to the potassium. And we didn't happen to have any other potassium sources on hand. (Cream of Tartar goes in my snickerdoodles, so we can't be without it!)

I have no idea if it does help in that way; it doesn't intuitively make sense to me that an acidifier like Cream of Tartar would work in buffering the pH in fermenting mead... but even so, pH seems to be just fine in this batch, 4-ish or so (according to our pH strips).

Fermentation is really chugging along. It tasted fabulous at first, and now... just more or less yeasty. Which is to be expected. But I have to say the smell of the fermenting mead is really nice: vaguely sweet, and with a slight smell of vanilla... or rum... or damask rose. Some of our beer yeast (ahem, Cali V) throws sulfur when fermenting, not nearly so pleasant.

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Old 03-03-2010, 05:28 AM   #15
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I learn something new everyday, not that I understand it..

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Old 03-03-2010, 03:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llysse View Post
But secondly, I was given to understand that Roger Morse thought Cream of Tartar was useful in helping to increase the buffering capacity of mead due to the potassium.

I have no idea if it does help in that way; it doesn't intuitively make sense to me that an acidifier like Cream of Tartar would work in buffering the pH in fermenting mead.

Roger Morse recommended 4 grams per gallon of cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate). The potassium may help the yeast to deal with a more acidic medium, but it doesn't actually buffer the must (in fact, high levels of potassium actually cause the must pH to go lower). What acts as the buffer is the tartrate ion.

The tartrate lives in a equilibrium between 3 states tartaric acid (H2-T), potassium bitartrate (KH-T), and potassium tartrate (K2-T):

H2-T <-----> KH-T <-----> K2-T

When the pH is above 4.34, the molecules tend to give up all their hydrogen ions leaving it mostly in the K2-T state. If the pH drops below 2.98, the molecules bind up the hydrogen ions leaving everything in the H2-T state. In effect, it reaches an equilibrium around a pH of 3.6 (which happens to be ideal for yeast). So if there is cream of tartar added to the must, it will tend to keep the pH from dropping below 3.6 as the yeast secrete organic acids during fermentation. The resistance to change in pH when other acid is added is what "buffering capacity" is, so having the tartrate helps buffer the must.

Interestingly, it also adds some acidic flavor, and if you use it, you may need less acid added than some recipes call for.

It is not needed to invert sucrose. The yeast have enzymes to do that without our help.

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Old 03-03-2010, 05:10 PM   #17
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[QUOTE The tartrate lives in a equilibrium between 3 states tartaric acid (H2-T), potassium bitartrate (KH-T), and potassium tartrate (K2-T):

H2-T <-----> KH-T <-----> K2-T

When the pH is above 4.34, the molecules tend to give up all their hydrogen ions leaving it mostly in the K2-T state. If the pH drops below 2.98, the molecules bind up the hydrogen ions leaving everything in the H2-T state. In effect, it reaches an equilibrium around a pH of 3.6 (which happens to be ideal for yeast). So if there is cream of tartar added to the must, it will tend to keep the pH from dropping below 3.6 as the yeast secrete organic acids during fermentation. The resistance to change in pH when other acid is added is what "buffering capacity" is, so having the tartrate helps buffer the must.[/QUOTE]

i see...

:P

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Old 03-03-2010, 05:20 PM   #18
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Seems plain enough to me!

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Old 03-03-2010, 06:53 PM   #19
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Medsen, that's fabulous to know, thanks very much.

I have to admit (and as you can see) I had quite a vague understanding of why Cream of Tartar would act as a pH buffer. Let me ask, though, so I'm clear: it was my understanding that an acidifer could be used to help convert sucrose (when cooking) to glucose and fructose to make an invert syrup in the absence of glycoside hydrolase enzymes. I do know that yeasts will make their own conversions, but am I wrong in thinking that glucose and fructose are more easily fermentable by yeasts because they don't require those enzymes? My understanding (flawed as it is, hahaha) was that certain sugars--various disaccharides and often the trisaccharide maltotriose--were more difficult for yeasts to ferment, and some can't ferment those complex sugars at all. Or maybe it's not exactly that they're more difficult to ferment so much as it is that they're the last to be fermented, and so are more difficult simply given the stressed conditions toward the end of the fermentation of some high gravity beverages. So, especially for a barleywine, I thought a non-malt fortification of simple monosaccharide sugars may help the yeast more easily finish fermentation. Is that correct, or am I blowing hot air?

I wasn't sure Cream of Tartar would help very much with mead in simplifying the sugars, because of course the most prevalent sugars in honey are already very simple... but I didn't think it would hurt, and I wanted the help in buffering for sure. Thanks again for that explanation. I love details, and worry when adding things just because "it's what the recipe calls for" ... doesn't make me feel much better even if I'm the one contriving the recipe. A lot of old French recipes I ran across when trying to design this one seemed to use Cream of Tartar. This is our first mead, so we are really sort of feeling our way around. I wish it wouldn't take so long to be able to sample the finished product!

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Old 03-03-2010, 10:10 PM   #20
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Despite Roger Morse's recommendation, I typically don't use cream of tartar. If the pH needs adjustment, I simply use potassium bicarbonate to bring it to the desired level. Many times, no adjustment is required. Just one other thing about cream of tartar - as in wines, it may precipitate out when the wine is chilled so if adding it in significant amounts, you may want to cold stabilize the mead and rack off the crystals to make sure you don't get wine diamonds forming in your bottles if you put them in the fridge.

Most of the sugars in honey are fermentable (98% or so). Glucose is easier for the yeast to metabolize than fructose. Sucrose is easily converted by the yeast invertase enzyme located in the cell wall (some in cytoplasm also). This enzyme functions even if the cell is dead so the yeast can convert sucrose into its constituents without difficulty even late in a fermentation. Sucrose readily hydrolyzes in an acidic environment, and the yeast create an acidic environment for themselves so this occurs naturally. It just so happens that the invertase functions best in an acid environment (pH 4.5 is optimal for the enzyme). The point of all of this is you really don't need to worry about inverting sugar for the yeast - if you do it, it won't hurt anything, but it really doesn't make a difference.

My apologies for all this rambling diversion away from the topic of the Bochet.

Medsen

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