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Old 06-19-2006, 03:25 PM   #1
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Default Started my first mead - pom melomel

So I finally started my first mead (technically a melomel) and I think everything is going quite well. My recipe was:

15 lbs honey (strong flavored, dark, wildflower, from my own bees)
4 quarts pomegranate juice (Langer's brand, from concentrate, via Costco)
~1oz of Twinnings Earl Grey Tea (7 spoonfulls)
5 tsp yeast nutrient
2 packages Lalvin D-47 yeast

I brought 1.5 gallons of water up to around 140 degrees F, and disolved the honey. After letting it sit at that temperature for a couple minutes, I poured it into a 6 gallon carboy (through a filter to take out all of the bee parts in the raw honey), added 4 quarts of chilled pomegranate juice and enough spring water to bring the volume up to 5 gallons. I aerated the must by picking up and shaking the carboy (it's a better bottle, so it is lightweight). I let it cool as much as it would in my apartment, but I could not get the temperature down below 90. I pitched the yeast anyways, and fermentation started up within a few hours, and it was fast too. I took a hydrometer reading, and correcting for temperature, it gives me 1.105 as the OG, a little off from the mead calculator which told me to expect 1.115, but it should be fine.

I tasted the sample in the test jar and it actually tasted great. The honey flavor was very strong (I had been afraid of losing a lot of it due to the heat), and I could taste the pomegranate nicely, although I will add more juice to the secondary. It tasted a little less like pomegranate and more like cranberry (not that bad of a thing). I was really worried about the tartness of the pomegranate, but it doesn't come up much, we'll see how it tastes when it is a lot less sweet. I added the tea in an effort to baalance out the taste: sweet, tart, bitter, but I don't think I added nearly enough or let it hang around in the must for as long as I could.

Anyways, what I am really worried about is the fermentation temperature. It was really hot here over the weekend, and my apartment is on the top (4th) floor. We had already made a root beer and an extra special bitter on the same day, so the kitchen was like a sauna. I think that the coolest part of my apartment was 93F in a dark closet. The mead sat at this temperature for the first 15hours or so of fermentation (as I said above, it started very quickly), before I realized I could move it down to our storage closet in the basement, where it would hover around 70F (it is there now).

Will the high pitching temperature effect the flavor of the final product? I am really worried that the high temperatures may have done it bad. Also, I assume that the yeast nutrient gets eaten up by the yeast and looses that terrible smell?

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Old 06-19-2006, 05:40 PM   #2
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I do not think it is a problem - it just helped the fermentation start faster. So what if you get some esters - it is a mead not a light lager. :-)

Besides, it was only there for around 15 hours, it just barely started fermenting! Meads will take months (or longer) to ferment. So do not even give this a second thought.

Regarding the yeast nutrient - that flavor will attenuate over time as well.

Cheers!

BrewStef

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Old 06-19-2006, 06:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewStef
I do not think it is a problem - it just helped the fermentation start faster. So what if you get some esters - it is a mead not a light lager. :-)

Besides, it was only there for around 15 hours, it just barely started fermenting! Meads will take months (or longer) to ferment. So do not even give this a second thought.

Regarding the yeast nutrient - that flavor will attenuate over time as well.

Cheers!

BrewStef
Thank you so much. I've spent so much time planning, and now worrying over the mead that it is good to know it will all turn out okay in the end.

I guess I really need to relax.
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:36 AM   #4
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I'll be interested to hear how this turns out.
I made a pom melomel a while back. I took it, freshly bottled, to an event at the beginning of May. It was done cooking, but was very sweet-almost like a sherry. The pom was only slightly tart. Just present enough to let you know it was there. The honey didn't overpower, but overall, a very sweet, almost thick beverage. (I used less water than I did honey or pom juice)
It came out a beautiful ruby red, btw. Very popular.
Next time, I plan to use more water, so it's a bit dryer.

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Apple mead, moderate; .5 gal bottled (Dec 05)
Apple mead, moderate; 2.75 gals bottled Apr 06. 1 gal left.
Apple mead, strong; 3 gals racked, turned out great.
B Cherry mead, strong; 1.75 gals bottled Apr 06 .5 gal left
Pomengranate mead, moderate; 3 fifths bottled. (Mar 06) 1 fifth left
Spiced Apple melomel, 3/4 gal, Jul 07
Pom melomel, strong, 3 gals, Jul 07
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:20 PM   #5
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I'm hoping to end up with a semi-sweet mead. I think that I would prefer it dry and sparkling, but I want to try to make something that appeals to a lot of people. Speaking of which, I noticed that sparkling meads tend to be made from dry rather than sweet meads, is there a reason for this? Is it due to the bottle conditioning (a sweeter mead will carbonate more and possibly burst the bottle?) or simply due to taste?

The color right now is pretty dissapointing. Four quarts of juice wasn't enough to impart a deep enough red color (nor enough pom taste). It's kind of an unappealing red-orange right now, but it may look nicer once it has cleared (it is extremely cloudy, which adds to the unappatizing look). I read in one recipe that they added beet liquor (simply the coloring from beets) to give it a much redder color.

Either way, now that it is out of the heat and in the cool, it is nicely chugging along at a pace that seems fitting. It is currently bubbling through the air-lock about once every 5 seconds.

How long should I wait until I rack something like this to a secondary?

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Old 06-22-2006, 02:49 PM   #6
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Rack when you are down to one blip every 30 seconds or so.

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Old 06-26-2006, 02:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewStef
Rack when you are down to one blip every 30 seconds or so.
I may have a problem. It is already bubbling at less that once every 30 seconds. I checked on it Friday night and found that it was barely bubbling. I was really worried as I am pretty sure that it should not have fermented so fast. I took of a sample in a test jar to take a hydro reading. Once I go back upstairs though, I realized I did not have enough to float the hydrometer, so I drank it instead. It tasted like champagne, so it was fairly dry (I think). There was almost no pomegranate taste. It is also the color of pink lemonade (cloudy too), which is not terribly appetizing. I will be adding more juice and more honey when I transfer to secondary.

I know that without a specific gravity I really have no idea what is going on, but I will get it tonight and post it here. I added yeast energizer just in case fermentation was stuck, so it may have started up again. The temperature has been 72 down there for the past week, but I still worried about the temperature for the start of the fermentation.

If it is indeed a low SG, then can I just add more honey now? I was planning on adding more once I transfered it to the secondary. Is it worth it to try to transfer it now, or should I still wait a few weeks.

Like I said above, I'll try to get a hydro reading tonight.
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Old 06-26-2006, 03:34 PM   #8
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Don't sweat the cloudiness....that will clear in time. With the amount of honey you had it seems you would have a fair bit of residual sweetness, but perhaps it was the yeast you used? I have never used Lavlin D47, but that is a dry wine yeast that will tolerate up to 14% alcohol...so it probably just did it's job.

If it you like the taste, then it will just get better with age. If you don't like the taste, wait and it may get better. If you like, go ahead and add more honey - no biggie...just take SG readings before/after.

Only rack if you need to get it off the sediment.

Adding beet liquor for color sounds like a good idea.

Cheers!

BrewStef

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Old 06-27-2006, 02:25 PM   #9
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Okay, I took a hydro reading last night, did a few calculations and even gave it a better tasting.

The current SG is 1.010 (OG was 1.105 so a drop of .95, which according to Schramm is fine), so it isn't as dry as I thought it was. Upon retasting it, it really doesn't even taste so dry. The ABV is at 12.6% right now and it tastes a little "hot", but that will hopefully clear up as it ages.

As far as taste goes, I am pretty disappointed so far. It doesn't taste nearly honey enough or pomegranate enough, so I'm going to be adding more of both tonight. I'll probably just dissolve 2lbs of honey in 2qts pomegranate juice and add it to the fementer. According to the got mead calculator, this will put me up to around 1.025. with a little bit more fementing (the yeast can do up to 15% I think), I want the FG to be around 1.020. I should be able to use the no heat method now right? The yeast should have a good foothold and the high ABV should ward off any wee beasties that mey be in the honey right?

It's starting to clear up a little, but I am sure it will take months. I may add beet liquor eventually (no taste right?), but not for a long time still. Speaking of which, where the heck does one get beet liquor?

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Old 06-29-2006, 05:21 PM   #10
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Added 2 lbs of honey and 2 qts pomegranate juice. Brought the SG up to 1.035 (my calculations showed that it should have brought it up to 1.025, but oh well). I'll let it ferment completely out this time, and I should end up with something in the 1.020 range.

The color is looking better with more juice added, I'll have to see how it looks as it clears.

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