First Batch, made mistakes

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HoneyIMadeSomeMead

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Hey All,

First time making Mead and I went ahead and failed to do ample research (as I am now learning). I followed a basic recipe with too little details making substitutions and omissions as I went (Honey+Water+Yeast works right?). I am since learning better and am looking for some assistance. My target was to get a slightly sweet Mead of around 15% ABV

The Batch:
  • Local Honey (Yellowbox) - 1.5 Kg (53 Oz)
  • Spring Water - 3.8 L (0.83 gallon)
  • EC-1118 - 2.5g
  • No additives or other ingredients
Method:
  1. Honey mixed with some water in a pot over stove, poured into Demijohn
  2. Allowed to cool to 37C (99F) with some assistance from external Ice packs and added the activated yeast.
  3. Shook for approx 3min.
  4. Filled 5L Demijohn leaving some room at top, sealed with 3pc airlock.
I did this on the August 7th and then left in a cupboard until today, monitoring as it went, brining it out a couple times to look at in the last 2 weeks
There seems to be light bubbling at the edges indicating that it's still fermenting(?) The airlock lets a bubble out approx every 43sec.
My original guide stated approx 6 weeks to complete and clear for bottling, it's clearly going to take longer

Learning:
I understand the yeast is good for ~18% yet the amount of Honey I added (according to a calculator) is only enough for ~11% and my reading says it will give a Dry Mead.
Since I hadn't measured the original gravity, I replicated my recipe to a 1/20th ratio and used that to get an approx original gravity of 1.128, the batch is currently at 1.072.

Does this mean my batch is at ~7.69% ABV?

Assistance:
This brings me to my current situation, where to from here?
  • Am I able to add Honey at this stage in the process to keep it going and get it to the original goal of a Sweet tasting 18%?
    • If so, how much should I be adding? I'll need to siphon some of the original batch, do I bottle it?
    • Alternatively, Should I just allow it to run its course?
  • Am I starving the yeast of nutrients? I have read that this is possible
  • If I cannot add more sugars to the batch, at what gravity should I try stopping the fermentation by siphoning out to get a slightly sweet Mead?


Thank you for any and all assistance, I look forward to sharing my future Batches!
 

jdauria

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I am only two meads in myself, so can't really answer most of your questions...but you added no yeast nutrients at all? Have a 2.5 gallon batch mead fermenting now and using BeerSmith, it called for adding 1/2 tsp of yeast energizer right at the start. And then because my yeast, 71B-1122 is, like your 1118. a low nitrogen yeast strain, using Fermaid-O as my nutrient, I had to add 2.3 grams of Fermaid-O at 24 hrs, 48 hrs, 72 hrs and then on day 7 of 1/3rd sugar break. Obviously you have a much smaller batch compared to my 7 lbs of orange blossom honey and 2 gallons of water, which gave me an OG of 1.103, but you definitely need nutrients with any batch of mead. Usually it's also recommended to hydrate your yeast in water along with some Go-Ferm.
 

videojunkie1208

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Hi!

So your well on your way. This is so far, a show mead. EC-1118 is a voracious yeast and although rated for 18% can get well above that with some proper care and feeding.

You're a bit late in the game, but your yeast may benefit from some nutrients, but I'd be light handed with them (but add them quickly). Something like one of the 2.3g addition referenced above. The problem is that un absorbed nutrients can add a metallic off flavor to the finished mead.

3 lbs of honey per gallon is a good place to be. Since you know your exact starting point, you can use a calculator to get a very good estimate of your SG.

You can always add more honey. However, as I have experienced, EC-1118 will go well above 18%, so your alternatives are to keep adding honey till you overcome the yeast (expect 22-25% ABV), or sulfate it and kill the yeast, then add a little honey to get your desired flavor profile and ABV.
 
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CKuhns

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Some good advice above. EC1118 should restart.

Couple additional things to try:
Assuming it has not restarted for you already.
- Additional nutrients may help. Yeast can take up nutrients until about 9% ABV and I think as of your post you were about 7.4%.
- Move it to a warmer place in the house. 2 to 3 Deg C.(~5 deg F)
- Gently shake or stir it to suspend your lees.
- Check the pH if < 3.0 adjust with potasium bicarbonate to near 3.5.
- if none of that works after a few days start sone more yeast and repitch.
 
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HoneyIMadeSomeMead

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Hi All,

Thanks for the replies and helpful advice. I've now got some Go-Ferm & Fermaid-O on order however unsure as to how long those will take to arrive.

I decided to go with adding more honey to raise the target ABV and kill the yeast off that way. It is currently stored in an area that sits between 10-14 Deg C most times of the day/night (not the warmest weather here).
Assuming the nutrients arrive in the next short while, I'll try adding a little bit of that as well.

I'll be sure to post updates if anything changes
 
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