First mead adventure! Need your advice

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Mhorr

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Hello, I've started my mess experience with 3 batches.
Ailanthus
1,5 kg Ailanthus honey
Black Tea
Orange zest
Raisins
Yeast: Mangrove Jack's Mead M05 - g 10
___________
Lime tree
1,5 kg lime tree honey
Black Tea
Orange zest
Raisins
Yeast: Wyeast sweet mead ( 20ml for now)
____________
Wildflower
1 kg wildflower honey
0,5 kg maple syrup
Black Tea
Orange zest
Raisins
Yeast: Mangrove Jack's Mead M05 - g 10

For all the 3 1 gallon jars made the same, started sanitizing everything with SaniClean then added the fruit, poured the warmed honey, shaked to oxygenate then tried to take a reading with the hygrometer but it would not sink so my reading is blank, it doesn't even reached the first line. Is that normal?
then added the yeast.
closed the carboy with airlock filled with SaniClean ( and that was my first mistake because removing it to add more yeast to the lime tree one, accidentally some SaniClean dropped inside... Batch gone, i will need to dump it, am i right?
After few hours however the Ailanthus one is going greatly and bubbling strongly the wildflower made some foam but i see no bubbles into the airlock.. Could be due to the presence of maple syrup or low quantity of honey? Shall/can i add more honey right now?

Another problem i have it's with the Wyeast sweet mead yeast.
I Mixed but forgot too let it rest at least 3 hours and put 20ish ml (125/6 gallon) into my 1 gallon of lime tree, is that right or is too few? How much should I add?

Also if I'm staid i will have to dump the whole lime tree batch due to SaniClean, i will need to get more lime tree quality honey, meanwhile the yeast, already mixed will expire?
How much time I've got and how i have to keep it? Inside the fridge?


Thank you to whoever will take the time to read this long post and he'll with his experience.

Regards






 

Kyzaboy89

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Welcome to the club and congratulations on taking a jump into mead making, hope you have fun and enjoy the community.

Couple of questions for me, first is Sani Clean a sanitizer or cleaner because most sanitizer is food safe in it's diluted form so In my opinion an airlocks amount in a gallon wouldn't be harmful but I also wouldn't like the idea of drinking sanitizer. Don't dump it yet, wait and see if the saniclean kills the yeast off to the point it won't come back and ferment or try adding some yeast after 24 hours, oxygenate vigorously before adding more yeast so the have plenty of air to help get going.

As for the hydrometer not sinking... Was your honey fully mixed into suspension, were solids in the way, did you use a graduated cylinder or drop the hydrometer in the jug? How much water did you mix in, how many raisins, 1.5kg I believe the conversion is 3.3lbs so depending on water quantity the gravity shouldn't be so high you can't read it.

Any extra notes or pictures can help, anything specific I can't help with I know there will be others that will be able to.
 

TheBluePhantom

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I usually build a starter for sweet mead yeast, and I am using 2.5 lbs/gal. You have a pretty high sg, I would add more. check a yeast calculator
 
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Mhorr

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Hi, thank you for the quick replies.
Yes 3.3 lbs of honey ( except the wildflower one that have 2,2 lbs+1,1lbs maple syrup) and then filled with water without measuring, but doing the mats should be approximately 6,834 lbs.
Yes I've used a cylinder.
I've attached pictures of SaniClean package, anyhow the quantity that slipped in should be least than 0.07 us fl oz of SaniClean already mixed with water in a ratio of 0,676ish fl oz in 1,981 gallons of water)
Il attach some pictures of the 3 batches.
2carboy bubbling and one dead ( could be because i used less yeast than required - 0,676 fl oz of Wyeast sweet mead).
Thank you so much for the help
 

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dvi

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These are pretty high SGs. Are you using go-ferm and nutrients? If not, the yeast is going to struggle.
 
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Mhorr

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Sgs? What's that for?
Nope just tea and raisins for tannins.
 
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Mhorr

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Starting gravity?
Nope just black tea and chopped raising for tannins.
 

dvi

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SG is specific gravity. It is measured at the start to determine the overall alcohol level potential and then during fermentation to determine how well it's going and when it has finished. Without it, a brewer is basically flying blind.

Honey is a nutrient-deficient medium and yeast will struggle to thrive in it without added nutrients. This is doubly true at high gravities, where there's so much in the mix that the yeast might fail to even establish themselves. That could explain why your one batch might be dead.

I'd strongly recommend picking up some DAP and Fermaid O and adding a couple grams each to your batches. They'll help keep the yeast healthy and avoid any off-flavors or stalls.
 
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Mhorr

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Thanks a lot. Should I add it even to the other two that now are happily bubbling?
My Sg was out if the scale....

Also I've realized I could have made a mistake to substitute honey with maple i should have added it on top of it, it's ok to add more honey now that is fermenting?
 

bernardsmith

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You want an hydrometer for wine making and not a proof and tralle hydrometer (for distillation) . Wine making hydrometers often have 3 scales: one called Brix which is the percentage of sugar in solution - a Brix of 25 means that 1/4 of the solution is sugar (and wine grapes often have a Brix close to 25) ; one called specific gravity which is a measure of the density of a liquid compared to pure water where water is conventionally designated as 1.000 and a third scale which you can use with either the Brix or SG which provides you with an estimation of the potential amount of alcohol by volume AT THE VERY END if you know either the Brix of SG at the start (if SG is the amount of sugar in solution, then when all that sugar is fermented there will be a known amount of alcohol produced - so for example, if the starting gravity was about 1.090 then the potential ABV (alcohol by volume) will be about 12% . This is a potential amount because the yeast you select may not be able to fully ferment all the sugar or you may want to filter out the yeast before it ferments out all the sugar etc). I used 1.090 as my example because most country wines and meads tend to be nicely "balanced" when their alcohol level does not grossly exceed 12-13% ABV
 

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bwible

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Honey is roughly 35 points per pound per gallon. So 3.3 x 35 = 115 gravity points. You have about 15% potential. Thats above the tolerance of many yeasts.

I tried these kinds of meads at first but found I had better results when I scaled way back to the neighborhood of 2 lbs per gallon. 1.070 roughly. Meads are like wine in that you ferment to zero, where beer stops higher. So even at 2 lbs per gallon you still have a little over 9%. 15% is not really necessary? Imho. The meads I made at 2 lbs per gallon really mess me up and I can’t drink more than 1 or 2 usually.
 
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bernardsmith

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I would argue that 2.5 lbs of honey can make for a good mead. Ninety points of sugar (1.090) has a potential ABV of about 12% and 12% ABV can result in a nicely balanced mead or wine. You might use the other half pound to back sweeten this mead before bottling but if you like, and you have used wildflower or clover as your base honey you can sweeten the mead with a varietal with a distinctive flavor such as Tupelo or Meadowfoam. Clover and wildflower (in my opinion) tend to be sword carriers rather than honeys that can hold center stage so a small amount of the varietal when used for sweetening can create an incredible mead. Of course, if you are making a melomel (adding fruit) or a metheglin (adding spices or herbs) then you may want to back sweeten with either more of the fruit syrup or more of the honey you used to carry the fruit or spices.
 
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Mhorr

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I added maple syrup to the wildflower one, but now i understand i should have not added it in the primary fermentation maybe..
 

bernardsmith

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Depends why you were adding the additional sugar. If this was to increase the potential ABV then adding sugar (in this case maple syrup) to the primary is OK. If your goal was to back sweeten , then adding more sugar to the yeast is going to allow the sugar to ferment and it will not sweeten your mead. If your goal was to add the maple syrup as much for the additional flavor as the sweetness then adding more flavors to the secondary often means that the alcohol helps extract the flavors. Adding flavors in the primary (early in the process) means that it is the water that is being used to help extract much of the flavor.
 
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Mhorr

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Love this community! Thank you so much for all the replies
 

Dan O

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Today will arrive the correct hydrometer, thanks to Dan O, il take a reading and use it as og
One more thing. Notes are a huge part of the process. There's no worse feeling than making a kick ass mead, & not being able to repeat it because you didn't take notes. I have a couple of different sheets that I use. This is one of them.
 

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Mhorr

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Awesome, thank you!
Unfortunately the hydrometer arrived broken, il have to wait few more days for the reading.
 
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Mhorr

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Update: yesterday i swirled both and Ailanthus one stopped bubbling after 9 days, what could it be?
Unfortunately I'm blind without reading... First reading will be done tomorrow, hopefully.
Both have one package of Mangrove jack 05.
Temperature of both is 68,72F

What could it be?
 
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Mhorr

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SG is specific gravity. It is measured at the start to determine the overall alcohol level potential and then during fermentation to determine how well it's going and when it has finished. Without it, a brewer is basically flying blind.

Honey is a nutrient-deficient medium and yeast will struggle to thrive in it without added nutrients. This is doubly true at high gravities, where there's so much in the mix that the yeast might fail to even establish themselves. That could explain why your one batch might be dead.

I'd strongly recommend picking up some DAP and Fermaid O and adding a couple grams each to your batches. They'll help keep the yeast healthy and avoid any off-flavors or stalls.
Seems i can't find fermaid-o this is the only nutrient available at the moment.
Could it work?
 

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karamonde

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Update: yesterday i swirled both and Ailanthus one stopped bubbling after 9 days, what could it be?
Unfortunately I'm blind without reading... First reading will be done tomorrow, hopefully.
Both have one package of Mangrove jack 05.
Temperature of both is 68,72F

What could it be?
What you'll read below is not good advice if you want to make mead properly:

I got my first hydrometer...a couple of weeks ago, and have been brewing mead by eye/taste for 10+ years with exactly two bad results so far. If you want to be in control of what you're making you need it, but you don't necessarily need it if you want to make a good drink.

The following is better advice than the above:

I'd suggest you relax and stop tinkering with it. Let it do its thing. The one not bubbling may be bubbling very slowly in fact, but there's no need to sit in front of the carboy for an hour to count bubbles - I know, I did it myself years ago! It will do what it wants to do at this stage, most likely will be wonderful with a bit of aging.

Once everything has had 1 month in primary fermentation rack it off in clean jugs under airlock and leave it for another month untouched. Then you can bottle or do a third racking and then bottle. I used to use cheap plastic water bottles from the supermarket as they're already sterile when you open them and pour the water in a jug to drink, and can't become bottle bombs.

My main point is, don't worry too much about it as that'd make a relaxing creative hobby into a stressful situation, again speaking from experience, I've been there! If one fermentation is dead, so be it, let it sit for 2 months and then decide what you do with it, it may well work. Or it may not, if not pour it down the sink and start again! Make mental, physical or electronic notes about what worked and what didn't, and what can be improved, and it will improve dramatically very fast. Then you may find yourself that you're happy and consistent with what you produce and not bother with additional gear (like I did, for 10 years), or decide you want control and make detailed plans of action.
 
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Mhorr

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What you'll read below is not good advice if you want to make mead properly:

I got my first hydrometer...a couple of weeks ago, and have been brewing mead by eye/taste for 10+ years with exactly two bad results so far. If you want to be in control of what you're making you need it, but you don't necessarily need it if you want to make a good drink.

The following is better advice than the above:

I'd suggest you relax and stop tinkering with it. Let it do its thing. The one not bubbling may be bubbling very slowly in fact, but there's no need to sit in front of the carboy for an hour to count bubbles - I know, I did it myself years ago! It will do what it wants to do at this stage, most likely will be wonderful with a bit of aging.

Once everything has had 1 month in primary fermentation rack it off in clean jugs under airlock and leave it for another month untouched. Then you can bottle or do a third racking and then bottle. I used to use cheap plastic water bottles from the supermarket as they're already sterile when you open them and pour the water in a jug to drink, and can't become bottle bombs.

My main point is, don't worry too much about it as that'd make a relaxing creative hobby into a stressful situation, again speaking from experience, I've been there! If one fermentation is dead, so be it, let it sit for 2 months and then decide what you do with it, it may well work. Or it may not, if not pour it down the sink and start again! Make mental, physical or electronic notes about what worked and what didn't, and what can be improved, and it will improve dramatically very fast. Then you may find yourself that you're happy and consistent with what you produce and not bother with additional gear (like I did, for 10 years), or decide you want control and make detailed plans of action.
Thank you Karamonde, yours sound like a very good advice, I've relaxed a bit and nearly forgot about it, since today that finally my hydrometer arrived.
I choosed to take a reading, just to begin to understand the whole thing better.
After 11 days from the start...
Ailanthus is at 1008
Wildflower+ maple syrup is at 1026
These information i guess are useless without an og, il take another in 10 days? Or live it be until it reaches 30 days and take a reading before to rack?
 

karamonde

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I couldn't tell you something as good as other members since I haven't been very organised myself until now, or fussed about final ABV!
 
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