Newbie brewing up

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

someoneelse

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
4
Location
uk
I started fermenting yesterday, just used a process I had before that worked out ok, but since reading up here it seems like making mead has gone scientific, in a few weeks I am going to start a second batch using what I picked up reading here, but would def value some input on the current batch (24 hours now)

Its pretty basic recipe, i used
2.25kg (5lb?) honey, whole lemon chopped, 4L water (should have used 3, so lost some sugar), ale yeast (wilko special - ie, who even knows?), no brand nutrient mix (not staggered, but may need adjusting later?) (about 4g/tsp)

right now bubbles are doing 1 a second at least

unfortunately heatwave incoming, so next few days I will be messing around to keep it below 20C (70f?) - my options are limited for cooling (water bucket & dripping tap) but i have time to waste next dew days

i used a favourite honey which annoyingly only sold with honeycomb, but its very tasty stuff - because of this I boiled the honey up first to get the wax out, maybe I didn't need too? would straining work well enough? I know I loose some flavour with the heat, but was concerned about what else might be living on the wax

right now its around 24 hours, seems to be a going ok, not in a rush really, but is there anything I could consider changing at this point? might add something for tannins a bit later, although i only do these things because i've read about, can't say i spotted a difference yet



OG 1.14

(aiming for higher ABV & sweet, previous batches (only 5 over 2 decades) i didn't measure this, just tasted as it went along - this uses allot more honey than prev ones i made, so my main concern i think is nutrients?
 

Broken Crow

Ale's what cures 'ya
Joined
Oct 12, 2020
Messages
626
Reaction score
653
Hi!. :) First: Welcome!
Second: Happy UK Beer Day!
Third: Sounds like you're getting a bit anxious after experimenting on your own for a bit ..Relax. I'm primarily here for the beer and while I can't answer mead questions authoritively, having not made any since 1992, there are plenty on here who can. Just continue with this already made batch you have been, but fully explore this site and make your own notes for the next batch.
Of course this post will bump this back to the top of the new posts and maybe someone will weigh in. At this point I don't see anything you can change ..and I feel you over the uncontrollable weather, but hey; our ancestors made this stuff with wooden barrels and clay crocks out in the sun. ...I refuse to be the first person on this site to try and sway you into investing big bucks on temperature control - but still, I won't finish that sentence, I'll just leave it hanging but reassure you that you're not alone in that. My own 'temperature control' is an area in the center of my basement that stays at 68°F year round and that's about it for now.
Have Fun! :) :cask:
 
OP
OP
S

someoneelse

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
4
Location
uk
thanks 😁 & happy beer day 🍻

i'm not too worried about it really, although it would be nice to know how far the alcohol can go before the yeast starts misbehaving, time will tell

contemplating some oak cubes to finish this off in secondary, also quite tempted to add ginger and/or coconut too, will see whats left over with the flavour when this stage is up
 
OP
OP
S

someoneelse

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
4
Location
uk
things seem to be moving along nicely, bubble every 7 seconds at 1 week

down to .096

bit over a 3rd i guess (seems about right? usually do ~4 weeks before racking, but this was about 1/3 more honey than previous)
 

videojunkie1208

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Messages
478
Reaction score
243
Location
Nebraska
So I've never worked with honey in the comb, but I can see wanting to get the wax out of the mead, which was probably a good idea. hopefully you just raised the temperature enough to melt the wax and not truly boil the honey, but what's done is done.

When you have the opportunity and assuming you can do it sanitarily, you will want to pull the lemon pieces out soonishly. The rinds will turn bitter on you.

The biggest problem with high temperatures is that the yeast will create esters (flavors) due to temperature stress. sometimes this is done deliberately. (See Groennfell & Havoc Mead Store )

Not sure why your measured starting gravity is so low, based on your recipe your starting gravity should be nearly 1.17, and you are really going to be at the top end of even something like a D47 or EC-1118 to get your FG near 0.000 I wouldn't be surprised to see this stall somewhere around 1.040 or so. (possibly higher). If you have room, adding a bit (<.5L) of water will help.

Good luck! you've used a lot of good technique for a novice, and missed a lot of pitfalls.
 
OP
OP
S

someoneelse

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
4
Location
uk
thanks, thats helpful - i'll switch it to a new demijon this eve to get rid of the lemon & add some water

i'll check the hydrometer accuracy too

honey/water was on a slow simmer for a few mins, i'll do the next one room temp for sure
 
OP
OP
S

someoneelse

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
4
Location
uk
racked into a new demijon, 250ml liquid left over & 500ml water add (i expect there is a calc to adjust final ABV, but now time for zzZ)

gravity now around ~70

hydrometer seems to be spot on in terms of plain water reading at 20C
 

videojunkie1208

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Messages
478
Reaction score
243
Location
Nebraska
Having slept on it for a day or so. I suspect your discrepancy in gravity is the weight of the honeycomb wax.

Either way, with an unknown ale yeast, a slightly lower gravity is probably desirable.

Did you sample the mead when you racked it?
 
OP
OP
S

someoneelse

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
4
Location
uk
I did taste, was hard on my impulse control because its already tasting lovely, better than previous batches by a mile, obviously its nowhere near balanced out yet, but i'm hopeful - I might not add anything else to it for flavour

original plan was to stabilise it once the sweetness/alcohol was roughly were I wanted it - i've never run through all the sugar before tbh; but there is allot more complexity to the flavour, so i'll let it go as far as it can
 
OP
OP
S

someoneelse

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
4
Location
uk
1 month update, gravity at 40 now

PH is 2.4, I am wondering if I should push this up a bit?

Taste is still really good, lots of notes; just a little more acidic than I planned, but no bitterness

more concerned with the fermentation finishing off properly at 2.4, than acidity flavours though, i quite like it, esp with the carbonation thats still going on
 

videojunkie1208

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Messages
478
Reaction score
243
Location
Nebraska
PH usually crashes a bit during fermentation, but that's probably lower than you want. I try not to go too much below 4.

a bit of potassium bicarbonate will help. What you will want to do, is take a measured sample (say 50ml) and using a precision scale, add half and quarter grams of the carbonate (usually sold as a fine powder) until you get your PH corrected in the sample (you will want to taste the sample to make sure you are happy with the results) You can then extrapolate from the sample size to your batch size, and add the carbonate to the mead, stirring gently so as not to agitate it any more than necessary. (remember to sanitize everything of course)

 
OP
OP
S

someoneelse

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
4
Location
uk
thanks @videojunkie1208 I went with potassium bicarb, just added a little at a time over a few days after reading various things (yeast and ph swings, flavour etc)

gravity still at 40, PH still low at 2.7, so i've racked again, added a little more potassium bicarbonate, will check again in a couple of days - still lots of CO2 to come out

the taste is great so far, just acidity needs rounding off, 100x better than previous attempts (going try and culture the yeast from it for another batch and do the nute stages,+ more careful with sugar levels); if nothing changes much with fermentation then i'll stabilise etc after maybe a little time on some spices

my guess is about (edit: maybe more like 6-7?) ABV, but haven't looked up how to calculate that properly against the water adjustment yet
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
S

someoneelse

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
4
Location
uk
seems to yeast is "danstar Nottingham", that wilko has repackaged as its own brand ale yeast - according to "winemakermag.com" its a good one for mead, so i suspect it should be pushing much higher than 7% - will figure out later
 
OP
OP
S

someoneelse

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2022
Messages
15
Reaction score
4
Location
uk
gravity down to 32 now, the potassium bicarbonate seems to have helped;

acidity still a touch low i think, 3.3, but as the yeast is getting on with the job I won't mess with it further - thought maybe a little more water if anything if it stops again?
 
Top