First batch of mead, need help

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Joined
Sep 23, 2018
Messages
7
Reaction score
1
So, like an idiot, I decided to just wing it with my first batch of mead. The recipe (if I can call it that) was as follows:
15 lbs honey
3 gallons apple cider
1/2 gallon water
5 tsp yeast nutrient
2.5 tsp yeast energizer
One pack Wyeast Dry Mead Liquid Yeast

Ended up with an original gravity of 1.136, which I didn't think was a big deal because I wanted to get the full 18% out of my yeast's alcohol tolerance, but someone recently told me that the starting gravity is too high for the yeast to start fermentation. Should I wait a couple days and see if there are signs of fermentation before I dilute it, or should I dilute it now?
 

GeneDaniels1963

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2016
Messages
775
Reaction score
268
Location
Arkansas
pull about a cup out, put in pint jar, 4-6 oz of distilled water. Add yeast, and set loose lid. Place in warm place for several days to get it fermenting well. Then add back to the must. It should take off fine.
 

RPh_Guy

Bringing Sour Back
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
9,218
Reaction score
7,576
Location
Cleveland
pull about a cup out, put in pint jar, 4-6 oz of distilled water. Add yeast, and set loose lid.
Sounds like he already pitched the yeast.

I've made extremely clean ice wine (cider) with OG 1.140 and no special starter procedure, just low fermentation temperature.
 

GeneDaniels1963

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2016
Messages
775
Reaction score
268
Location
Arkansas
I made one wine that had a OG of 1.139. It started and finished just fine with wild yeast. But I do know that some people have problems over 1.1, so that is why i recommended he do a starter with water. That would slightly lower the SG, but in an environment that acclimates the yeast to what they will face in the must.

He may not need that, but it would not hurt since his OG is so high
 
OP
M
Joined
Sep 23, 2018
Messages
7
Reaction score
1
Thanks guys! I'll try not to worry too much, my air lock isn't really bubbling yet but it's only been a day so I'll give it another couple days before I mess with it. I thought I had really messed up my first batch

Edit: I'll post an update in a couple days to let everyone know what comes of this
 
OP
M
Joined
Sep 23, 2018
Messages
7
Reaction score
1
Update: today I went to oxygenate my must and almost overflowed the fermenter with just a couple stirs. I’m far from an expert but I’d guess fermentation is well on its way. Looks like o was worried for nothing
 
OP
M
Joined
Sep 23, 2018
Messages
7
Reaction score
1
MEA : Mead Explosion Accident

:)
Hope it turns out well!
Quick question: as I have opened my fermenter to oxygenate/degas every day, there's clearly fermentation going on because I can see it bubbling, but the airlock on my fermenter isn't bubbling. I double checked to make sure it was inserted correctly and had the correct amount of water in it, but still no bubbles. What can be causing this?
 

RPh_Guy

Bringing Sour Back
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
9,218
Reaction score
7,576
Location
Cleveland
Quick question: as I have opened my fermenter to oxygenate/degas every day, there's clearly fermentation going on because I can see it bubbling, but the airlock on my fermenter isn't bubbling. I double checked to make sure it was inserted correctly and had the correct amount of water in it, but still no bubbles. What can be causing this?
There's a leak somewhere.

You should be monitoring specific gravity with a hydrometer. Bubbles are for entertainment purposes only ;)
 
OP
M
Joined
Sep 23, 2018
Messages
7
Reaction score
1
There's a leak somewhere.

You should be monitoring specific gravity with a hydrometer. Bubbles are for entertainment purposes only ;)
I was planning on taking my first hydrometer reading (aside from original) at the one week mark, should I be doing it more often? And I'm not too worried about the leak during primary fermentation, but I'm thinking maybe I should rack it to a carboy after 2 weeks so I know oxygen isn't getting in and harming my mead? Sorry for all the questions :(
 

RPh_Guy

Bringing Sour Back
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
9,218
Reaction score
7,576
Location
Cleveland
It's a little late but personally I would have treated this like a mead, and followed a regimen I know works well.

Fermentation temperature:
As low as the yeast can tolerate -- bottom end of the listed range or lower.

Nutrient schedule:
Honey is devoid of nutrients. Adding it all at once may not produce the best results. On the other hand, Staggered Nutrient Additions (SNA) provide a very smooth fermentation. Tailored Organic SNA is the use of organic nutrients which may further improve fermentation -- TOSNA
Fruit juice adds nutrients, so IIRC cut the nutrient additions in half.
TOSNA is for dry yeast. Bray (creator of BOMM) has a suggested regimen for liquid yeast on his website. I can dig it up if you want.

Degassing & Aeration:
The yeast need oxygen. Carbon dioxide is toxic. Aeration fixes both of these problems. Aeration at least twice a day until the 1/3 sugar depletion is generally recommended.

Specific gravity:
Daily monitoring is needed to determine when to add nutrient, when to stop aeration, and when to rack. Sanitize the equipment beforehand and return the sample afterwards.

Racking:
Most mead makers on here like to rack at the tail end of fermentation so there is some CO2 production to purge the new vessel. Minimize head space in the secondary vessel as much as possible to prevent oxidation. Sulfites can also prevent oxidation.
Past the 1/3 expected sugar depletion I would try to make sure your fermenter isn't leaking.
 
OP
M
Joined
Sep 23, 2018
Messages
7
Reaction score
1
Update: as of today, my Cyser is at 1.022 specific gravity, and tastes amazing, despite being very young.​
 

nitack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2012
Messages
201
Reaction score
41
Quick question: as I have opened my fermenter to oxygenate/degas every day, there's clearly fermentation going on because I can see it bubbling, but the airlock on my fermenter isn't bubbling. I double checked to make sure it was inserted correctly and had the correct amount of water in it, but still no bubbles. What can be causing this?
Are you using a bucket or carboy? I have a couple buckets that don’t form a perfect seal and the bubbler doesn’t flow unless there is a crap ton of off gassing. You don’t really need to worry about it if there is a small leak. The positive pressure will keep oxygen out and it is unlikely that the leak is large enough for little beasties to get in. If you are degassing and there are bubbles then it is fermenting.
 

MeadMiser

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2018
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Hey, sry to do this on your post but why can’t I create a new topic as I require assistance on my own batch of mead?
 
Top