Spontaneous first mead: How'd I do and what would you suggest?

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jack13

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So went home for Thanksgiving. My mom had the idea of me doing a beer at her place. That would be way too much with everything else going on, so I suggested a mead instead.

Didn't want to give it TOO much thought, so to speak. I'm wondering how I did, what people think of my plan, and any suggestions.

Details: 1 gallon batch. 3 pounds of clover honey. Used spring water. CBC-01 yeast I had bought to add to some bottles of beer that are not carbonating. I pitched half the packet, rehydrated. It's been fermenting at 64F.

After a day or so of fermenting, I added one tsp of yeast nutrient (diammonium phosphate). I didn't know that made it foam up all over the place, by the way. 2 days later did 1/2 tsp.

My plan is to rack into secondary in about a month, assuming it looks right. I was also going to add something to stop fermentation, then add tart cherry juice (enough to top it off...so the amount will just be what I lose in volume from the transfer). I have potassium sorbate and also campden on hand to stop fermentation.

So, any thoughts about what I've done so far, or about my plan, or something you'd do that I haven't mentioned?

Finally, I forgot to take an OG reading. 1 gallon carboy with 3 lbs of clover honey (the rest water, of course)...what would that be? 1.100?

Thanks!
 

bernardsmith

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Your experience may be different but for me clover honey is more a vehicle for other star performers (fruit or spices of flowers) rather than the main act. Clover is OK but it's not a one man show.

Your starting gravity is likely to be around 1.100 - each pound of honey adds 35 points to a 1 gallon carboy.

Yeast is pretty inexpensive compared to the price of honey so if this were me I would have pitched the whole pack of yeast. You can never over-pitch unless you buy your yeast by the pound, but you can under-pitch and with a starting gravity of 1.100 a single pack of yeast may be stressed with so much sugar.

DAP provides the necessary nitrogen but it does not provide the yeast with other minerals that the yeast needs and honey does not have. Fermaid O or K are far better for mead making than DAP - and White Labs make beer and wine nutrient that I think is fine. But once fermentation has begun and the yeast belch out CO2 by the bucketful very quickly your mead will be saturated with this gas and if you add any powders or anything with microscopically sharp edges you nucleate the gas and you can find yourself with a volcano of liquid to mop up. The secret is to always dissolve anything you add in water before you add it to the carboy: that narrow neck helps rifle the gas driven column of liquid - so what you might consider doing in the future is use a 2 gallon food grade bucket (loosely covered with a clean towel or cloth - no need for bung and airlock) as your primary. Carboys are great as secondaries but buckets beat carboys as primaries: easy to stir the CO2 out, easy to stir and keep the yeast suspended, and easy to punch down fruit and other fermentables that are forced to the surface by CO2 production and form caps that can then spoil (read: rot) if you forget about them.
 
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jack13

jack13

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Your experience may be different but for me clover honey is more a vehicle for other star performers (fruit or spices of flowers) rather than the main act. Clover is OK but it's not a one man show.

Your starting gravity is likely to be around 1.100 - each pound of honey adds 35 points to a 1 gallon carboy.

Yeast is pretty inexpensive compared to the price of honey so if this were me I would have pitched the whole pack of yeast. You can never over-pitch unless you buy your yeast by the pound, but you can under-pitch and with a starting gravity of 1.100 a single pack of yeast may be stressed with so much sugar.

DAP provides the necessary nitrogen but it does not provide the yeast with other minerals that the yeast needs and honey does not have. Fermaid O or K are far better for mead making than DAP - and White Labs make beer and wine nutrient that I think is fine. But once fermentation has begun and the yeast belch out CO2 by the bucketful very quickly your mead will be saturated with this gas and if you add any powders or anything with microscopically sharp edges you nucleate the gas and you can find yourself with a volcano of liquid to mop up. The secret is to always dissolve anything you add in water before you add it to the carboy: that narrow neck helps rifle the gas driven column of liquid - so what you might consider doing in the future is use a 2 gallon food grade bucket (loosely covered with a clean towel or cloth - no need for bung and airlock) as your primary. Carboys are great as secondaries but buckets beat carboys as primaries: easy to stir the CO2 out, easy to stir and keep the yeast suspended, and easy to punch down fruit and other fermentables that are forced to the surface by CO2 production and form caps that can then spoil (read: rot) if you forget about them.
Great, thanks a lot. So I made some mistakes, but think I'll let it ride. Will start with those basic changes should I try another mead!
 
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