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MiniMead

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Hello everyone!
This is my first post on the page as well as second attempt at making mead.
In my first, a cakey substance collected at the bottom of my jar, and when it came time to try the mead it has a very bitter taste.

I just made a second batch last night around 10, and instructions said to simply add the yeast to the jar and shake vigorously for 2 minutes before adding the air lock. I added about a fifth of the packet of yeast given that the whole thing could make 5 gallons.
Anyway, I looked this morning and there is this weird sludgy like substance at the bottom and no bubbles...what am I doing wrong?
 

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Maylar

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The cakey stuff or whatever falls to the bottom is expired yeast and quite normal. It's called lees. The color of yours is a bit odd for mead, is there any fruit in that?
 
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MiniMead

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The cakey stuff or whatever falls to the bottom is expired yeast and quite normal. It's called lees. The color of yours is a bit odd for mead, is there any fruit in that?
I added blackberries. I also noted that it isn’t bubbling either- I imagine that will start up eventually?

I appreciate you taking the time to answer.
Here’s a clearer photo.
 

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Maylar

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You have bubbles at the top and lees dropping, so fermentation is under way. No bubbles in the airlock probably means the bung is not tight... something is leaking.

The composition of lees this time includes stuff from the berries, so it'll be different than last time. We'll help you get the best from what you have when it's done fermenting.

A couple questions... Do you have a hydrometer, and are you using yeast nutrient?
 
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MiniMead

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What is a hysrometer? And I was going to grab some raisins and add them to the batch, granted it would be after the fact...
 

Maylar

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Typo - that's hydrometer, a tool for checking specific gravity which is the amount of sugar left at any given time. It tells you the state of your ferment and it is the one thing that every home brewer needs. Raisins are not adequate, pick up fome real yeast nutrient right now.

What recipe are you using?
 
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MiniMead

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3lbs of honey
1/2 gallon of water

++heated in pot but not boiling, mixed up thoroughly+++

Pour into jar

+++let cool to under 90+++

Add yeast

+++recipe calls for half the packet but the gentleman that sold me the packet said to use a fifth of it++++

shake vigorously for 2 minutes....

Put the airlock on and store in dark location for 2-5 weeks
 

Maylar

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That's a potent brew. 3 lbs of honey is about a quart and 1/2 gallon of water brings it up to 3 quarts. With typical honey you'll be at about 1.140 starting specific gravity (this is why you NEED a hydrometer), and alcohol potential of about 18.3%. That's going to be a tough job for the yeast and probably impossible without nutrients. Your ferment may stall from osmotic shock (too much sugar) long before it's done. A full packet would have been fine, even preferred.

What yeast are you using?
 
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MiniMead

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That's a potent brew. 3 lbs of honey is about a quart and 1/2 gallon of water brings it up to 3 quarts. With typical honey you'll be at about 1.140 starting specific gravity (this is why you NEED a hydrometer), and alcohol potential of about 18.3%. That's going to be a tough job for the yeast and probably impossible without nutrients. Your ferment may stall from osmotic shock (too much sugar) long before it's done. A full packet would have been fine, even preferred.

What yeast are you using?
It’s a yeast that is used for red wines, white wines...for sweet wines.
I believe it’s Lalvin 71B
 

Maylar

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It’s a yeast that is used for red wines, white wines...for sweet wines.
I believe it’s Lalvin 71B
71B is spec'ed to be good up to 14% ABV. With what you have for sugar if it finishes to 14% you'll be left with a very sweet mead.
If you don't have access to any wine yeast nutrient, then take a packet of regular bread yeast and mix it in 1/2 cup boiling water then add that when it cools. Dead bread yeast will provide nitrogen as nutrient to your living yeast.
 
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MiniMead

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71B is spec'ed to be good up to 14% ABV. With what you have for sugar if it finishes to 14% you'll be left with a very sweet mead.
If you don't have access to any wine yeast nutrient, then take a packet of regular bread yeast and mix it in 1/2 cup boiling water then add that when it cools. Dead bread yeast will provide nitrogen as nutrient to your living yeast.
Thank you very much!
 
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