New Brewer -- Aging Question

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rothschild

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Hello all.

I'm new to all forms of brewing. Making a mead using a slightly adjusted version of the fast, cheap mead recipe at Storm the Castle:

1 Gallon of Spring Water (room temperature, do not get refrigerated)
3 pounds of honey – pure unprocessed
1 bag of balloons big enough to stretch over the mouth of the spring water jug
1 package of Fleishmann’s Yeast
1 box of raisins
1 Orange

http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/fast-cheap-mead-making.htm

Mainly I don't have the money to put down for supplies all at once and so am easing in gradually. I have purchased an auto-siphon, valve, 1 gallon glass jug and 3 gallon carboy. To the recipe above I added one clove and I subbed Lalvin EC-1118 yeast for Fleishmann's. I was figuring I'd rack into the jug at the two week mark, this coming Friday. Will eventually bottle. Wondering with the change in yeast how long I should leave it before bottling and how much more time I ought to give it to age. Orig recipe says it's probably drinkable after 3 months and I'm assuming the champagne yeast would require quite a bit more time. I did add a single clove for flavor and the honey I used was a cheap supermarket-bought, probably clover variety.

Thanks!
 

MedsenFey

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Using EC-1118 generally screws up the recipe by leaving it too dry, but that is a matter of personal taste. Also, using EC-1118 makes it a lot more likely to have renewed fermentation after bottling if there is residual sugar - popped corks and bottle bombs can happen. Your best bet it to use a hydrometer and see where the gravity is. If the gravity is less than 1.000 it is done, and you won't have to worry about bottle bombs, but it will be bone dry and take more than a year to become tasty.

If the gravity is above 1.000, you have a stuck fermentation and the chances of it starting again after bottling are high. To prevent this, you should add the combination of potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulphite to keep the yeast from starting again, or you can pasteurize the bottles.

Medsen
 
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rothschild

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Hey Medsen, thanks. Is there anything I could add during racking that would make the final product a little sweeter?
 

MedsenFey

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Yes, more honey, but you'll have to stabilize it first to prevent the added honey from being fermented. Has it finished bubbling? and can you check the gravity?
 
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rothschild

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It's still bubbling after 10 days. No longer terribly vigorous. I've just ordered a hydrometer but not certain when it'll arrive. I got one of the sturdier ones instead of the type that comes with a kit to save myself the headache if it were to break. I'll have three more gallon jugs coming my way this weekend from someone at freecycle.org so I'll have the option to do a secondary rack or further if necessary. How much honey would you suggest adding and at what stage? Thanks again!
 

MedsenFey

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For the moment, I wouldn't add any more. Let this finish fermenting and see where the gravity sits. Then you can make a plan.
 
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rothschild

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So I've racked it to a gallon jug. That was some time ago. The grav was definitely less than 1 and when I took a little taste it seemed like the ABV was substantial. My plan now is to age it all together in the jug until March or April, then bottle. At that point would I still run the risk of exploding bottles?
 

MedsenFey

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If the gravity is less than 1.000 and is remaining stable, you'll be safe to bottle it.
 
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