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-   -   Knoopster's first mead (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f80/knoopsters-first-mead-29640/)

knipknup 05-14-2007 03:02 AM

Knoopster's first mead
 
12# Honey (Silverbow Clover)
32oz Maple Syrup (pure)
2C Cranberry Juice Cocktail (Ocean Spray)
64oz Apple Cider (Albertson's)
Filtered Water to 5 gallon mark
5 Campden tabs (crushed)
3t yeast energizer
3t tannin
3t acid blend

I put the honey bottles in a pot of warm water to warm it up for easy pouring. Added all ingredients to a 5 gallon glass carboy, liquids first, then powders. Then I capped the carboy (with my sanitized hand), set it on it's side and rocked it vigorously to mix. Then I added 70F filtered water up to the 5 gallon mark, letting it splash a bunch for aeration. Then I put it back on it's side for another dose of vigorous rocking. I had re-hydrated the yeast in room temp filtered water and pitched after 20 minutes. My fermometer reported a temp of 68F. Fermentation is not vigorous but has been active since "brew" day - 5/7/07.

I plan to let it do its thing for 60 days and add yeast nutrient at the 21 day mark if fermentation looks to be slowing. I'll check gravity at 45 days. Once I reach an FG of something around 1.015, I'll bottle with priming sugar and age for at least six months and crack one.

This is my first ever mead batch. I read up a little on mead in a few books I have but didn't find much, so am shoot'n from the hip.

If you have any suggestions, please share. I will post back with updates and changes as they occur.:tank:

mgayer 05-14-2007 04:59 PM

How is it Progressing??
 
How is it going so far? I would check the gravity and give it a taste before adding anything. You may want to just add a pound of honey and see if it starts working a bit better.

I have 5 gallons going and it was starting to get a bit dry with a slow down on the bubbles. I racked it again on 5/11/07 and added 1 pound of honey. On 5/13 I was getting about 3 nice bubbles every 5 minutes in the airlock.

:mug:

knipknup 05-14-2007 09:40 PM

I pitched the yeast on 5/7.
Today (5/14), I am getting 1 inch bubbles from my blowoff tube every 7 seconds. I think it is going well, but this isn't as vigorous as some of my beers have started off - krausen foaming through the blowoff tube and into the bucket. This has about a quarter inch of krausen on the surface or less. Fermenting though.

I'm curious, when adding something (honey or nutrient, etc), do I need to rack? Can I add the nutrient to a bit of water, maybe a quarter cup, boil it, let it cool and add it to the already fermenting carboy?
Is it bad to whip it like wine to mix?

I figure if I add more honey, I'll just pour it in, but not sure if mixing is vital or necessary.

Thanks for any help or suggestions.

mgayer 05-15-2007 01:14 PM

Bubbling
 
You are getting good bubbles!! Remember your sugar content! Your yeast is just at the point of being overwhelmed by the sugars in the honey so the initial reaction is not as vigorous. It sounds like it is going fine. My traditional Mead is only about a month and a half or so ahead of you. I never really had more than a quarter inch or so of krausen on mine, your yeast type also has a lot to do the the amount of foam produced.

I don't usually make any additions until I am racking, with the exception of a stuck fermentation. I don't usually add water to the nutrient if I add it as I am adding yeast at the same time and I say this because I do the normal checks with temp and Ph and acid. But keep in mind I am talking about a stuck fermentation. Mead is a wonderful thing and it does take its time. When another batch stuck I tossed the nutrients in the bottom of the carboy and then racked the batch on top of it to mix it and not a splash mixing, then tossed the yeast on top.

As long as you are in the primary fermentation you can whip it. I usualy don't as I use a smaller jug to put smaller amounts of honey and about 80 degree water and just shake the snot out of it. Good mixing and get the O2 infused. I lke to keep the primary fermenter in a open container covered with a terry cloth or the like so it can get the O2 and then in a week or two rack into the carboy with the airlock.

My racking Friday evening I topped the carboy with 1lb of honey, no mixing, as it was getting a bit dry but the alch was in there also when I tasted. It is looking like a good champange with bubbles last night. Color is turning to more of a gold and clearing real nice. Just watch your air contact and try to keep it at a minimum. There are some that say rack about once a month and others two to three months. I like to get it off the lees about every 30 days and haven't had problems with clarity yet and it insures not stange flavors musting in the background.

Let me know how it's going along. I am really interested in the coloring. It should have a nice red hue mixed with gold! COOL!!

:mug:

knipknup 06-03-2007 01:41 PM

This thing continues to bubble like crazy. I have not added anything and haven't touched it. Just gonna leave it and forget about it. Maybe by Christmas I can break out some for dinner - just for a taste...

knipknup 06-28-2007 07:19 PM

Well, I took a gravity reading today and it is at 1.016 at 72F. I will bottle this in a couple days. I figure to carbonate half the bottles, I'll keg that portion and force carb it, then bottle a few days later.

Any thoughts on this method?

I plan to bottle half uncarbonated. It may naturally carb some, but probably not much.

By the way, it tastes great. Pretty hot on the alcohol side, dry with a hit of tanin. A few months of aging should do it some good.

I'm chalking the first attempt up as a non-failure! Cheers!
Look for an update around Christmas.

knipknup 06-28-2007 07:36 PM

By the way, beersmith calculates 1.148 to 1.016 at over 17% ABV. Could this be true?

mgayer 06-29-2007 11:53 AM

Congrats on your first mead(Cyser)! I would say your looking at about 16.5% ABV. Most Champagne east will handle close to 18%, give or take a bit, so you will get some bite. Did the maple come through in the nose or the flavor? Make sure you put some stabilizer in the still half. You still have enough residual sugar for fermentation to kick off again if it gets warm.

So how is the color? Did it retain the reddish hue?
:mug:

knipknup 06-29-2007 01:45 PM

Hmm, it wasn't ever red - pretty yellow color and not clear at all. I figure it won't be clear for a while.

I will have to sample again to answer the maple taste question - real bummer for me!

I'm curious, if I bottle without adding any corn sugar or anything, will it carbonate naturally anyway? There are very tiny bubbles rising up the side of the carboy with about 1 bubble in the airlock every 3 minutes.

What is used as a stablizer?

Thanks for your help.

mgayer 06-29-2007 03:53 PM

If you still have airlock activity I would keep checking the gravity for at least a week. I do not bottle until bubble activity has completely stopped and it is completely clear. It may just be some suspended CO2 but I would not trust it, dropping a couple points in the bottle can create a mess on the floor or worse a glass grenade.

Potassium Metabisulfite or Sodium Metabisulfite are used to stabilize. The only real difference is Sodium. I don't want the extra sodium so I always use Potassium Metabisulfite. By the way this stuff will not stop the fermentation, only prevent a restart.

Sorry I had the idea that with the cranberry juice it would do some red tints. It's a shame you might have to taste test a few more times when you check the gravity but hey, someones got to do it! :D


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