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Old 12-23-2011, 04:26 AM   #1
oshea3333
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Default tart mead

?this is my first mead. 6 lbs honey, irish moss, 1 tbs acid, 1 tbsp yeast nutrient. I did a 3 gallon batch. it fernmented great. Now its not sweet. i transfered to secondary and added the oak chips. are meads normally sweet after primary ferment? do you always back sweeten?

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Old 12-23-2011, 04:45 AM   #2
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Sorry, I can't help but I feel the need to state that on my phone I read it as Fart Mead. LOL

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Old 12-23-2011, 05:16 AM   #3
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What yeast did you use??

Irish moss has NO place in mead. For one thing, you shouldn't be heating the mead. For another, as far as I know, there's no proteins that need help breaking. I also would NOT add ANY acid to mead unless it was determined you NEEDED it via a PH test.

Another thing 6# of honey in a 3 gallon batch is a low OG mead. Your OG should have been about 1.069 +/-. IF you had selected wine yeast, it would have finished dry.

Let me guess, you got the recipe from the Joy of Home Brewing book... Do yourself a favor (next time), don't use those recipes. At least not without bouncing the recipe through others that have made mead, either here or on the Got Mead? web site/forums. With as expensive GOOD quality honey can be, using those recipes could be a serious waste of funds.

How long did you let it go in primary? I typically go a least two, if not three months in primary for my meads. I then rack at least a few times, at least a few months apart, to help get it to really clear up. Right now, I have two batches, destined to be about 14% that have been going since 12/4. With the yeast I used, you actually want to rack them sooner than other yeast I've used. But, until fermentation is finished, I'm not touching them. I expect to rack no sooner than about a month from when they were started.

One of the batches I started last year, went a full year in bulk form. I aged it on oak cubes for about 5-6 weeks, before racking to a keg, to cold crash it. I then bottled from the keg (no CO2 pressure was used in the keg, just purged the atmosphere from the keg and then left a blanket of CO2 on the mead). It's the clearest batch I've bottled so far. So clear that I intend to use the same process for all future mead batches. I stabilized (with chemicals) two other batches, and I'm not nearly as happy with those as this batch.

IF you formulated the recipe to a reasonable level, you would get it to ferment fully, with the yeast selected (Lalvin wine yeast being my primary choice), then rack to get off the lee's before you even think about adding oak and such. Any mead under 12%, I would assume needs a solid 6 months to get good. 12-16%, figure 6-9 months (maybe longer). 17-18%, a full year. 18-21%, 15-18 months. Over 21% and count on 18-24 months before it's ready for drinking.

If you didn't ferment at least to the limit of the yeast you used, then you'll need to either stabilize the mead, or make sure you get all the yeast out of it BEFORE you attempt to back sweeten it. OR, you can slowly add some honey to it, letting it ferment as it can, until you get it close to a sweetness level you like. Just leave it at least a bit more dry than you think you want. As it ages, chances are it will get to where you actually want it to be. Otherwise, it will become too sweet for you.

Mead tends to get sweeter as you age it, post fermentation. This is why many people don't back sweeten their mead until it's almost ready for bottles. It's also why many of us choose to age in bulk form until the last possible moment, before bottling. While still in a single batch/bulk form, you can tinker with it. Once it's in bottles, you're pretty much done tweaking it.

I would highly recommend leaving it in bulk form for as long as possible. If you're not patient (at all) and really want to force things, you could stabilize the mead, then cold crash it, before back-sweetening. But if you don't let it age to a decent level first, you could be make it far too sweet later. If it's DRY, then time, will help to soften it. If it's tart due to the acid you added, then you could have more issues. But, time could resolve that. Just leave it in bulk form.

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Old 12-23-2011, 05:19 AM   #4
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Trial and error......

6lbs of honey in 3 gallons will make for a dry mead anyways........

SG is honey dependant, normally I use between 3 and 3.5lb per gallon for SG of 1.100 and 1.110 which most wine yeast will take dry.

I like my meads at about 1.010 to 1.020, so as I back sweeten with honey, I sweeten after ferment has been stabilised, before its cleared.

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Old 12-23-2011, 07:54 AM   #5
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I added a lime 8th to a half gallon and it really took things over. I removed the slice and when I tasted it last week, things calmed down, so maybe time will fix things.

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Old 12-23-2011, 04:15 PM   #6
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i used 9 lbs honey not 6. i guess i need to proof my posts better.
ok sorry here is the exact recipe.

9 lbs honey
1/4 oz irish moss
heated till thin and cooled
added 1/2 oz acid blend
1 oz yeast nutrient
1 package EC1118 champagne yeast
1 package 71B-1122 wine yeast.
Primary for 1 month then transfer to secondary
added 1oz american oak chips
1 oz yeast nutrient
This is where im at now. have been told to leave it for 2 months.

I hope i havent destroyed this, a friend gave me the 9 lbs from his personal hives.

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Old 12-23-2011, 04:26 PM   #7
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also thinking about this can i backsweeten now with lets say 2 lbs of honey and go for a sweeter mead? or should i wait until after the secondary?

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Old 12-23-2011, 05:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oshea3333 View Post
i used 9 lbs honey not 6. i guess i need to proof my posts better.
ok sorry here is the exact recipe.

9 lbs honey
1/4 oz irish moss
heated till thin and cooled
added 1/2 oz acid blend
1 oz yeast nutrient
1 package EC1118 champagne yeast
1 package 71B-1122 wine yeast.
Primary for 1 month then transfer to secondary
added 1oz american oak chips
1 oz yeast nutrient
This is where im at now. have been told to leave it for 2 months.

I hope i havent destroyed this, a friend gave me the 9 lbs from his personal hives.
Hum? 71B and EC-1118 ? I'd have thought that the 71B would have been stomped on by the EC-1118.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oshea3333 View Post
also thinking about this can i backsweeten now with lets say 2 lbs of honey and go for a sweeter mead? or should i wait until after the secondary?
EC-1118 has a tolerance of 18% ABV, which relates to a gravity drop of about 132 points (from start gravity to final gravity). So, it's usually better to let a batch ferment dry, rack and stabilise, clear etc, and then back sweeten. If you're intending to use honey for back sweetening, just remember it's usually easier to back sweeten before clearing, because honey can cause a haze in an already clear mead. You end up with the hassle of having to clear it again. Hence I know where I like my meads from a sweetness point of view and back sweeten them to that level and then get them clear (having already stabilised them at the first racking).
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Old 12-23-2011, 10:09 PM   #9
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Yeah, I would expect the 1118 to kill the 71B. There wouldn't really be any point in pitching both simultaneously. If your 71B got stuck, then you might want to pitch 1118, though.

If you're not happy with the sweetness, check the SG. Your mix should have had an OG around 1.108. If it's down to 1.000 or less (not sweet), you're probably around 14% ABV. If you're happy with that, stabilize and backsweeten. If you want a little more kick, and are willing to wait for it to age, you could add some more honey (up to 2.5 lb) and let it continue fermenting.

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Old 12-24-2011, 07:01 PM   #10
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can i get down below 1.00. i thought that was the SG of water? Its in bulk now in a secondary. should i add 1lb of honey to sweeten now or wait until before i bottle. sorry so many questions this is my first mead

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