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Second Mead, first was a disaster

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Toy4Rick

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Don't ask about my first Mead. Too many things went wrong to even start

This Mead is a Hybiscus Raspberry Mead
3lb local honey
4-5oz raspberry purée
1oz Orange juice
1oz lemon juice
.5 oz dried Hybiscus boiled for 5 mins
WLP001 yeast
1tsp Yeast nutrient on hand
Starting Gravity is 1.070
1gal batch

After 3weeks i racked it to secondary. It's very nice but still sweet. My concern is will the yeast hold out?

I use this yeast all the time with my beer and 1.070 is well within the tolerance, usually gets me 1.010-1.015 no problem

So why this yeast? Well I tried the same recipe at the LHBS and it was fantastic and it's what they used

Thoughts?
Thanks in advance
Rick
 

HawleyFarms

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My thoughts are that sometimes mead stalls for awhile before finishing without adding extra nutrients. I've been following something similar to Loveofrose's BOMM nutrient additions of adding nutrients in the initial must and then again at 1/3 and 2/3 sugar breaks. I think the addition of needed nutrients at 2/3 sugar break especially helps push it through to finishing. Others use the staggered nutrient additions which is similar but I've tried both and had better success in a mead finishing more quickly adding at 2/3.

Since I've been using a fortified water on smaller abv meads/cysers with ale and saison yeast I haven't had to worry about nutrients but most have had apple juice added which isn't as much of a nutrient desert as honey water.

Just my two cents but I also only have between 20-25 batches under my belt so more experienced mazers could probably give you more info.
 

HawleyFarms

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Ha, I realize now that I didn't entirely answer the question the poster asked, that's what I get for sneaking in some HBT at work.
 

bernardsmith

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Thoughts? Here are two from me:
Your starting gravity cannot be 1.070. Three pounds of mead in one gallon would give you a gravity of about 1.120. Add the fruit puree and it will top that. How well beer yeasts handle that kind of starting gravity is not anything I know. I tend to use 71B or D47 when I make my meads.

Adding acid (your lemon and orange juice) to the must before you pitch the yeast is asking for trouble. Honey has no buffers to prevent the yeast taking down the pH to 3 .0 or lower and yeast is not be happy with such a high acidic environment. The addition of acid is a little like adding oil to a fire. Some folk add K-carbonate to help neutralize the acidity. Best to add acidity before you bottle or at the very soonest when the mead is aging.. But be that as it may, you might want to check the acidity of your mead and if it is lower than 3.2 that might help explain why it still contains unfermented sugars
 

HawleyFarms

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I don't think you will have to worry about the yeast holding. They should be able to get down to 1.01 where I think you are saying you'd like to see it. Knowing your current gravity would certainly help.

I think the yeast might just be at a stall so some nutrient additions might help it get closer to your expectations.
 
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Toy4Rick

Toy4Rick

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Hey everyone

My current Gravity is 1.070. So much for that being my OG which is what Beer Smith gave me so that is also why I went with WLP001.

The pH is 3.2

I added 1tsp of nutrients today and will see what it's like in a few days. Might go ahead and pitch some WLP720 Sweet Mead Yeast if things don't turn around

Thanks
Rick
 

HawleyFarms

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How much was your actual OG if you are down to 1.07?

Bernardsmith caught something that I did not. I should probably stop browsing the forum while at work lol.
 
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Toy4Rick

Toy4Rick

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Since its a no mash/boil Mead unlike beer... I didn't take it. I trusted Beer Smith at 1.070 and in fact just reviewed the recipe again and I still don't see the discrepancy. Another poster indicated it should have been 1.120

Rick
 

HawleyFarms

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I try to always take a gravity reading before I start fermenting, if for no other reason than to know the abv when i'm done.

Just because you used 3lbs of honey does not automatically mean it makes your OG at 1.120

The white clover honey I use exclusively, only raises the gravity .03 per pound per gallon. Generally speaking, depending on the varietal of honey, you will see a .03-.04 increase per pound per gallon.

When did you start this?
 

HawleyFarms

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Even if your honey was on the high end, say 1.120, adding the small amount of raspberry puree and oj I can't imagine would raise it more than another .01-.015.

At the extreme end of things you might have started around 1.130 and if you are around 1.070 now you could be at the end of your yeasts tolerance level. I haven't used that particular yeast but as an ale yeast they are probably pretty drunk.
 
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Toy4Rick

Toy4Rick

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Great info everyone

It started on Jan 10 so just over 3 weeks in.

I kicked off another yeast starter today using WLP720 (Sweet Mead), once it's done and i cold crash/decant, i will pitch that and see how it goes

Thanks, Rick
 

bernardsmith

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My rule of thumb is that 1 lb of honey used to make 1 gallon (US) will raise the gravity by 40 points. My hydrometer routinely confirms this. I am sure that different varietals and different beekeepers will produce honey at different values... but given the standard water : sugar content of honey 40 points /pound is something I can more or less count on. Your clover may be ... um.. watered down...
 

HawleyFarms

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Actually my clover honey is NOT watered down. It is certified pure Manitoban white clover honey. Happens to be the exact same honey used in Honey Brown lager direct from the distributor. But thanks for your concern.

As for hydrometer readings, my hydrometer routinely gives me the same readings from a single varietal. Yet each varietal may be different. The sugar content of a honey varietal depends largely on what the honeybees fed on primarily as well as the time of year collected. Because honeybees need the sugar in honey to make it through the winter, the combs made closer to the end of the season have more sugars than the combs started at the beginning of the season. In places like the far north, because of the severe cold weather, beekeepers will leave more combs built closer to the end of the season for them to feed off. Therefore most of the honey harvested are lighter in sugar content.
 

HawleyFarms

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Great info everyone

It started on Jan 10 so just over 3 weeks in.

I kicked off another yeast starter today using WLP720 (Sweet Mead), once it's done and i cold crash/decant, i will pitch that and see how it goes

Thanks, Rick
As a side note, did you sample this when you racked? I am going to throw a version of this together today after I bottle my dry hopped cider. Going to use US-05 though as I will be using the yeast cake from the cider. I originally planned to give the Good Morning Magpie from the mead recipe section a shot but I have most everything I need for this recipe too.

I'm going to cut down on the honey to 2lbs and use black raspberry puree as I am out of red raspberries. Also going to skip on the lemon juice because of the acidity, though I will still add some fresh pressed orange or tangerine juice since I have a ton going to waste. We bring our Hibiscus tree indoor in the winter to keep it from freezing so it actually blooms all winter next to the wood stove and have been freezing the blooms as they start to die off. So will have to use a bunch to make up for the strength of the black raspberries.
 
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Toy4Rick

Toy4Rick

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Hello,

I did and it was tasty as well as now at the 1.070 range, it's fantastic, just needs to finish out

My yeast starter with WLP720 will be ready tonight then i will cold crash/decant and pitch it tomorrow

Rick
 

HawleyFarms

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Decided against trying this with black raspberries. I just think they will completely overpower the hibiscus so I ended up making a hopped black raspberry acerglyn.

Sounds like you are all set. Keep us updated on the progress, I think using the mead yeast will get it pretty close to what you are looking, although I also think it will need some time to age with it being as hot as it is.
 

noblesquirrel

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3# of honey + 1g of water is not the same as 3# of honey for 1g of mead. The latter is 25% (roughly) less water than the former. Also, adding raspberry puree and juice will DROP the overall gravity, not raise it. Unless it is replacing part of the water.
 

bernardsmith

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3# of honey + 1g of water is not the same as 3# of honey for 1g of mead. The latter is 25% (roughly) less water than the former. Also, adding raspberry puree and juice will DROP the overall gravity, not raise it. Unless it is replacing part of the water.
Totally agree with you but I assumed that the OP was using a gallon carboy and so the reference to the gallon of mead was based on the total volume rather than volumes added to the gallon of water...
 

bernardsmith

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Hello,

I did and it was tasty as well as now at the 1.070 range, it's fantastic, just needs to finish out

My yeast starter with WLP720 will be ready tonight then i will cold crash/decant and pitch it tomorrow

Rick
Something does not compute here. If the gravity is 1.070 and you say that it is tasty and not teeth scratchingly cloyingly sweet ... That is the equivalent to almost 2 lbs of sugar in one gallon of liquid... Are you sure that your hydrometer is properly calibrated? Could it be 1.007? That is still sweet but not sweet enough to make your skin crawl...
 
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Toy4Rick

Toy4Rick

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Hydro is spot on, use it all the time with beer

Yes it's very sweet. I wasn't trying to say it's done in fact i know it's not, it's coming along nicely, just need new yeast to finish the job

Rick
 

noblesquirrel

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Hydro is spot on, use it all the time with beer

Yes it's very sweet. I wasn't trying to say it's done in fact i know it's not, it's coming along nicely, just need new yeast to finish the job

Rick
Yeah, you really shouldn't need more yeast, though...
 

HawleyFarms

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Considering that even if it was 1.10 and he was aiming for 1.01-1.015, I don't remember exactly what wlp001's tolerance is but i'm fairly sure that it wouldn't have finished the job, so in this case a different yeast would have been needed to achieve the results he was looking for.
 

HawleyFarms

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Not trying to say you are wrong because I don't see why it would have stalled at only 4% without an underlying problem
 
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Toy4Rick

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Well my problem continues

I made a yeast starter with WLP720 (sweet mead yeast), 1tsp of urea nutrients.... Cold crashed, decanted, let it warm up to room temp then pitched, swirled it and apparently they got drunk before going to work. Guess I need a different batch that aren't union members :D

Kinda bummed right now

Rick
 

RegarRenill

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Try making an acclimated starter and use a yeast with a higher alcohol tolerance like EC-1118 or K1-V116. Make your starter as usual, but before you pitch it add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup of your mead. Make sure that starts fermenting (give it a few hours) then add another cup of your mead. Repeat a few time. I took mine to 2 L, then pitched it into my must (mine was a 5 gal batch, tho); I'd say do atleast 2 cups, though.
 

milsman2

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I would recommend against urea nutrients if that helps at all. I have heard from a lot of forum posts that this kind of nutrient tends to give off a weird kind of flavor. Also, do not boil the hibiscus. It tends to extract harsh and way too sharp notes. I would try holding water with the flowers at about 150-160 F to extract a more rounded smooth sort of tea first and work with that.
 
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Toy4Rick

Toy4Rick

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Well I have been out of pocket for almost 2 weeks with pneumonia. Checked it today and it's at 1.000. Holy crap, never saw any krausen from the second racking/yeast addition but it did finish out

Now I need to wait for a couple months and see how it turns out

Thanks
Rick
 
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