First mead. Some questions before I start.

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beerjunky828

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I am making two 1-gallon meads and was wondering whether or not I have things in check. My main concerns are when and if I should add yeast nutrients and about krausen and head space.

Basically I am going to add 2.75 lbs of honey and dissolve into 1 gallon of water. I am going to add an entire pack of Lavlin D-47.

I have Fermax Yeast nutrient and also a LHBS "high alcohol yeast nutrient". The homebrew shop said that the "high alcohol yeast nutrient" is the same as Fermaid K.

Questions:
How much krausen is expected from the Lavlin D-47??
Should I add yeast nutrients? If so, when do I add them and which ones??

I have read that in order for proper yeast growth and sugar consumption nutrients should be added. I was wondering if pitching an entire pack of dry yeast is sufficient enough without having to add nutrients. I have them at my disposal but I am just not sure about when to add them. Before I pitch the yeast? Two weeks into the fermentation process??

THanks
 

remilard

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For nutrients in mead check out the sticky in this forum, look up Kris England's (2008 I believe) NHC powerpoint, or check out the mead resources on the BJCP site.

To answer your questions.

I have not noticed a particularly large amount of krausen with D-47. Yes you should add nutrients, as for which ones and when, see the resources above.
 

fatbloke

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I am making two 1-gallon meads and was wondering whether or not I have things in check. My main concerns are when and if I should add yeast nutrients and about krausen and head space.

Basically I am going to add 2.75 lbs of honey and dissolve into 1 gallon of water. I am going to add an entire pack of Lavlin D-47.
Foaming can be an issue, but there's no real way of predicting it. Some honeys foam up more than others, some don't foam much initially, but when (and if) you add extra nutrient, they foam like hell, even if you mix them in a little must first and then add just a little at a time.

Your best way might be just to mix the honey and water, then whatever the recommended doseage is for 1 gallon, add half, then once you've pitched the yeast, check the gravity daily but only after you've given it a good stir, which will help with initial ferment by adding some oxygen and also degas the ferment. When you get to the 1/3 point after the final check and degas, add the rest of the nutrient then (in a little must). That way, there shouldn't be much in the way of CO2 to come out of solution and cause an eruption. Then just airlock it and leave it to finish.
I have Fermax Yeast nutrient and also a LHBS "high alcohol yeast nutrient". The homebrew shop said that the "high alcohol yeast nutrient" is the same as Fermaid K.

Questions:
How much krausen is expected from the Lavlin D-47??
Should I add yeast nutrients? If so, when do I add them and which ones??

I have read that in order for proper yeast growth and sugar consumption nutrients should be added. I was wondering if pitching an entire pack of dry yeast is sufficient enough without having to add nutrients. I have them at my disposal but I am just not sure about when to add them. Before I pitch the yeast? Two weeks into the fermentation process??

THanks
As above for the foaming thing...

Nutrients are pretty much essential, as honey is very low in them, unlike beer worts and wine musts. The Fermax one will be fine, I've mentioned above about the "when" as for the how much, it should say on the pack, something like 1 tsp per gallon.

The amount of yeast is pretty irrelevant to whether you need nutrient. Yes, it's feasible to ferment without them, but those kind of ferments are very long and slow. They can take months and months to finish. Besides, if the must doesn't have nutrient in it, it doesn't matter how much yeast you add, it's not likely to grow very well, if at all, is it.....

If you had access to lalvins FermaidK, their recommendation is to also use GoFerm. You'd mix GoFerm with water and then rehydrate the yeast according to the instructions. Then pitch the yeast. Then once there's some sign of fermentation going on, you'd add the FermaidK.

I'd suggest that you just use the Fermax. Add half of whatever the recommended dosage per gallon is, then the rest of it at the 1/3rd sugar break. That way, it's reasonably straight forward for your first attempt(s). Don't worry about acid additions and tannin. Those can be added to taste later on, once the ferment has finished.

As for 2 and 3/4 lb of honey per gallon, I'd suggest that you put the honey in a bucket and make the water up to a gallon. Then check the gravity to see what it's like. I suggest that you start with a gravity of about 1.100 that way, if you take 1.000 as dry/finished, the 100 point drop is equivalent to about 13.5% ABV and that gravity shouldn't stress the yeast.

regards

fatbloke
 
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beerjunky828

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UPDATE:

Sourwood Honey O.G. 1.094
Orange Blossom Honey O.G. 1.102

Added the 1/2 tsp of Fermax and pitched the D-47 at 75. Its been sitting in a water bath at 62F for 24 hours. I have no activity yet. But I did not rehydrate my yeast. I will give it another 24 hours until I start to get a little worried.

I have a water bath at 62F and the house room temp varies from 64 - 68. I hope that it starts some time
 

MedsenFey

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If you don't rehydrate the yeast and/or create a starter, in really cool temps it could take a couple of days to get past lag phase. Aerate it well, and give it time..
 
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beerjunky828

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Yeah that is what I thought. I like fermenting all of my ales at 65F or lower. It makes for a clean ale. Should the mead be racked as soon as the FG stabilizes over a period of a week?
 
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beerjunky828

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UPDATE: The mead has been bubbling away, slowly though. But it has been fermenting for a 9 days and the temp was at first 62 and then got down into the mid 50's F but its been between 64.5 to 68.1 F for the last 5 days. It should stay between these temps for the remainder of fermentation. Not ideal, but it was just an unfortunate situation and only a hiccup.

I am thinking about checking the gravity tomorrow and adding some montrachet if the gravity is a little higher than where I want it to be. It should stay between these temps for the remainder of fermentation. Not ideal, but it was just an unfortunate situation and only a hiccup. However, I dont really know that value. After 10 days of fermentation how far along is fermentation for most of your meads at OG 1.100?? I would think that if it is above 1.040 then I would want to add the yeast to try to get the gravity down. But will the alcohol level affect the yeast's ability to ferment the rest of the sugars?

Thanks
 
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beerjunky828

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Ok so here is an update:

Yesterday I checked the gravities of the 2 meads. the sourwood is sitting at 1.010 and the orange blossom is sitting at 1.040. I am going to remove the mead and put them each into another vessel and then add montrachet yeast plus nutrient to each of them so they can finish real dry. Anyone see a problem with this??
 

mccann51

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It's not a problem to rack to another container and add more yeast, but it's probably unnecessary.

Has the SG been stuck at 1.040, or are you just expecting it to be lower.

Ten days to drop 0.060 is not bad for a mead, especially if the temp has been on the cool side.
 
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beerjunky828

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Well its been 1 month since I have started this. It is pretty much a wash because the ferm temp. went from 60 to 65-68 and it has been jumping between 65-68 for about 18 days. Anyway, yesterday was the first time I have checked it and it has been 1 month since. The orange blossom is stuck at 1.040. So I am going to add some montrachet and a 1/2 tsp of yeast nutrient and hope it ferments out. I am really just concerned about racking. I have read that most people rack after a month. I guess I should and cool it for about 6 months.

Question, would crash cooling clear the liquid out over a course of 1 month? Also, is 1.010 low enough? I was hoping to be somewhere around 1.004-1.006. I figure I could get there if I pitch another pack of yeast and add some nutrient. I thought it got pretty low though considering I did not really take care of these batches as I should I have. Lack of planning. But it is only 2 gallons, so I cannot complain. Chalk it up to learning. I love to mess up.

Thanks folks.
 

MedsenFey

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I'm not sure why you seem to think adding Montrachet yeast to a stuck fermentation will help, but generally speaking, it is one of the least useful choices for restarting a stuck fermentation. It has a low ABV tolerance and isn't capable of surviving in a harsh environment. If you need to pitch a new yeast, using a Champagne strain like EC-1118, DV10 or Uvaferm 43 will be more likely to work and even then, they work better if acclimated to the must.

More importantly, can you check the pH? That is more likely to be the problem.

Also, how much nutrient did you use?
 
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beerjunky828

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Yeah I could probably check the pH. I am out of town until Monday so it will just have to do. I used a little less than a tsp per gallon when I first added the yeast. I have not touched it since. I did not know that using Montrachet would not get the desired result. I think the mead is stuck at 1.040. I would like to get it down to a lower gravity
 

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