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Old 08-07-2012, 03:50 PM   #11
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I heated the honey in some water and then added it to the carboy...mixed it to death. Then added my yeast nutrient topped off with water and squeezed a lemon in it. While I was making the must I was rehydrating the yeast which i added in last. The must originally foamed over and went nuts in the first couple days of fermenting. I had to remove a little liquid because it kept pushing the air lock out. Everyday for the first week I took the airlock out and shook the carboy. About 7 days ago I added in some nutrient and gave it a shake. Every day I shake the carboy a little to make sure the berries stay wet. There is minimal bubbles around the berries moving now and I dont think the airlock is bubbling anymore.

I think I'll aerate the crap out of it and add some more nutrients and see if I can ge the yeast going a bit more. I'm worried about adding more yeast as it's already possibly at 10% alcohol and I don't want this one to get crazy high in % and taste bad.


Question: at some point don't we start worring about Oxi-da-tion (speeling challanged)
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:08 PM   #12
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Question: at some point don't we start worring about Oxi-da-tion (speeling challanged)
Yeah, to some degree, but as long as there's some active fermentation going on, the yeast should take up the oxygen and use it
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:53 AM   #13
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Wow I'm not sure 12lbs will fit into a gallon container.

Please see the link below it actually has some good info on how much honey you should use depending on what type of mead you're making.

For a 5 gallon recipe:
9-12 pounds of honey = a dry Mead
13-14 pounds of honey = an off-dry Mead
15-16 pounds of honey = a semi-sweet Mead
17-22 pounds of honey = a sweet to very sweet Mead

http://traditionalmead.blogspot.com/p/way.html

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Old 08-11-2012, 03:54 AM   #14
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I calculate that you had a O.G. of about 1.215, I'm surprised that the yeast was able to survive in this syrup without succumbing to osmotic shock. This includes the 4.5lbs of honey and the 1.5lbs of red raspberries. Now if you're down to 1.072 then you've got an alcohol content of just over 18% which is the rated limit of EC-1118. It's probably done, or close to it at this point and still very sweet. Folks usually shoot for somewhere between 1.0 (dry) to 1.020 (quite sweet) and you're way over that.

I think I would get a second 1 gallon jug and split the current batch between the two to make something a little less sweet/ potent. Think it over for a couple days but I wouldn't take too long because you may risk oxidation given that it's been aerated lately. Honey has a lot of antioxidants but to be sure it'll start tasting like sweet wet cardboard before much longer.

Cheers, it'll probably turn out alright

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Old 08-11-2012, 02:58 PM   #15
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I used blueberries instead of rasperries...not sure if this makes a difference in the OG. I ended up repitching some 1118 after my second reading of 1.072 within a week or two period. I used a yeast starter in the must and topped off with some water. The yeast is def working...not super actively...but is still bubbling all around the berries. My plan is to see if I can get this down to 1.03-1.02 and then rack it off the fruit..maybe add a touch of water to make up the space the berries took. Then maybe see if it will mellow out with age. I quite liked the taste when I tried it at 1.072..but you wouldnt be able to drink a whole glass If I can't get the gravity down then I'll look into making a second batch that is drier and blend. I'd also, for experiment purposes, be curious to see how this tastes in a year or so if I leave it.

3 questions:
1) When you make a mead with a fruit cap when can you stop punching it down or at least shaking the container to wet the fruit?
2) Illuveatar..what are you using to make your calculations?
3) How long can mead be aged for (generally)

Thanks everyone for your feedback!

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Old 08-11-2012, 03:23 PM   #16
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I used blueberries instead of rasperries...not sure if this makes a difference in the OG. I ended up repitching some 1118 after my second reading of 1.072 within a week or two period. I used a yeast starter in the must and topped off with some water. The yeast is def working...not super actively...but is still bubbling all around the berries. My plan is to see if I can get this down to 1.03-1.02 and then rack it off the fruit..maybe add a touch of water to make up the space the berries took. Then maybe see if it will mellow out with age. I quite liked the taste when I tried it at 1.072..but you wouldnt be able to drink a whole glass If I can't get the gravity down then I'll look into making a second batch that is drier and blend. I'd also, for experiment purposes, be curious to see how this tastes in a year or so if I leave it.

3 questions:
1) When you make a mead with a fruit cap when can you stop punching it down or at least shaking the container to wet the fruit?
2) Illuveatar..what are you using to make your calculations?
3) How long can mead be aged for (generally)

Thanks everyone for your feedback!
3 answers:
1) I'd keep doing it periodically until you rack off of it...
2) Regardless of what was used to calculate, it's got to be off. Even with a freakish honey that had a sugar content *way* on the high end, it's just NOT possible to get an OG over 1.200 with 4.5 lbs of honey in a gallon. The type of fruit doesn't matter, you are getting very little gravity contribution from the fruit anyhow.
3) A long time...several years certainly, and probably longer. Charlie Papazian wrote a travel book where he talks about drinking 50+ year old mead from a stash in a Scottish castle...his descriptions make it sound amazing...

Question for you: What do you mean by "I used a yeast starter in the must and topped off with some water." Can you describe exactly what you did? If you used some of the current mead to rehydrate the yeast, then I think you may have added a little more yeast nutrient (dead yeast) and perhaps a few viable cells...
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Old 08-11-2012, 05:10 PM   #17
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So since I'm in the learning process...from all the info I've absorbed and randomly retained lol this is what I did for my starter:

I took about 1/2 cup of must and 1/2 cup of warm water, 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of nutrient/engergizer, squirt of lemon juice and added yeast. I let it sit for about an hour or more...until it started getting active and doubling..tripling. Then I dumped it into the 1 gallon must and gave it a little shake. I didn't know if the same rules applied to letting O2 in again to get the yeast going...so I put a paper towel with an elastic around the top of the 1 G over night. For the first 2 days for sure the airlock started bubbling maybe around 1 bubble per 15-20 secs. Not sure if it's still bubbling but I can see some activity in the must still.

What do you think? Is my starter okay?

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Old 08-11-2012, 06:26 PM   #18
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Well I was using the mead calculator over at GotMead.com but I must have missed a decimal place when entering the fruit content. 1.168 is probably closer to the actual OG, my bad.

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Old 08-11-2012, 06:35 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by ErinRae View Post
So since I'm in the learning process...from all the info I've absorbed and randomly retained lol this is what I did for my starter:

I took about 1/2 cup of must and 1/2 cup of warm water, 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of nutrient/engergizer, squirt of lemon juice and added yeast. I let it sit for about an hour or more...until it started getting active and doubling..tripling. Then I dumped it into the 1 gallon must and gave it a little shake. I didn't know if the same rules applied to letting O2 in again to get the yeast going...so I put a paper towel with an elastic around the top of the 1 G over night. For the first 2 days for sure the airlock started bubbling maybe around 1 bubble per 15-20 secs. Not sure if it's still bubbling but I can see some activity in the must still.

What do you think? Is my starter okay?
Actually, yes, it sounds like you're OK. Inadvertently, you made about a proper starter. A starter should have an OG of about 1.040, so by halving a quantity of your 1.07x must, you've made a weak starter, in terms of OG. As it turns out, the fact you were on the weaker side with gravity is probably a very good thing (see below). Now there is the issue of the alcohol content, but EC-1118 being what it is, and being known for restarting fermentations with a pre-existing alcohol content... At any rate, the fact you saw good activity is a solid indicator things worked.

That being said, in general, you don't need to make a starter with dry yeast. It's best to simply rehydrate the yeast; it's ready to go with just rehydration. There's some data to suggest you should *not* rehydrate in must. We've had pretty long discussions on other threads regarding the necessity of rehydration, how to best rehydrate; ie, should you add some fermentable, what kinds of nutrients, etc.

Here's my take on the summarized knowledge regarding hydration of dry yeast. This comes from reading a wide variety of sources:
1) rehydration is very important - adding dry yeast to normal or high gravity must will significantly reduce the cell count
2) rehydration is probably best done in a relatively hard water (read: don't use distilled/deionized water, generally your tap water is fine), with the addition of some yeast hulls/nutrient. A small amount of fermentable, or a very dilute wort/must, is probably OK.
3) with dry yeast, you really don't need to make a starter; ie, allow the yeast to metabolize and reproduce before pitching. Yeast from the packet has a lot of stored energy and is ready to go as soon as it is rehydrated. A dry yeast packet should be pitched within 30 min of rehydrating.
4) recommendations for the temperature of rehydration water vary by strain, so it's best to check the packet, or look it up online.

Regardless, it sounds like you're process was just fine, and in this case may have been even beneficial, as it may have allowed the yeast a chance to acclimate to your must in a lower gravity environment.

BTW, yes, a starter should have access to oxygen...best practices are to actually use a stir plate, which provides continuous aeration/oxygenation to the sample... Personally, I'd leave out the lemon juice...I just can't see any beneficial role it would play, and lowering the pH could be harmful to the yeast.
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:13 PM   #20
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Today is day 28 of primary. I checked the gravity and it's now 1.062....0.01 down from last week only 0.03 at least to go lol. I added some nutrient and gave the carboy a shake for a few minutes to degas. I was thinking late next week I might
move it to secondary...as I'm going to be away for a few weeks and might as well get the must off the fruit. Is there an ideal time to rack off of fruit?

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