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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Central IL
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    261

    Post

    I just started a batch of blackberry melomel (first batch of any kind of mead I have ever made) and my starting specific gravity was 1.085. I don't know much about these but I didn't think that sounded right judging by the chart that came with the hydrometer. Can anyone with more experience tell me what it should be?
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
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    3,035

    Post

    We'd need to know some more about it: batch volume, how much honey and juice you added, and the temperature of the must when you sampled. Note also the adequate mixing (and obviously having all the honey dissolved) is important too to avoid a falsely low reading from layering.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    261

    Post

    The batch volume is 5 gallons w/ 11lb honey, this recipie called for chopped blackberries instead of juice, so I blended 'em good with some of the water. I mixed it good the night before and let it stand for the campden tablets to sanitize everything (per the instructions) for 24 hours. I didn't mix again before taking the reading and I didn't have a container big enough to do it, so I just took it right out of the fermenter (this is one of those converted 5 gallon bucket-looking things called a poly-fermenter, I think. Got it in a kit.). Should I have mixed again only 24 hours later? I hope not, b/c I already added the yeast after taking the reading last night. Anyway, the temp when I sampled and from here on out is 70 degrees. My hydrometer is calibrated for 60, but I used the conversion. Thanks for the help!
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,035

    Post

    For the honey alone, the starting gravity would be about 1.079 (see the Into link at the top of the page). The sugar content of the blackberries (how much did you use?) is harder to calculate; I'm not at home but off the cuff I'd say straight juice is a gravity of around 1.035 so it depends on how much o' that you had in there.

    So your gravity is probably pretty close; don't worry about it now! Your mead will taste the same whether you know the gravity or not
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  5. #5

    Post

    Relax! Have a homebrew!

    Reading sounds good to me. Chances are you could go higher, but at your reading it will be similar ETOH to some wines, that will help others to like it.

    If this is your first batch, you really ought to make more!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    261

    Post

    Uh, four pounds on the blackberries... why do you say that for my first batch I should make more? [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,035

    Post

    I'll step in and volunteer that I had my entire first batch polished off months before it was even hitting it's stride; there's just never enough mead!
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  8. #8

    Post

    Make more becasue it ages so well. More varieties...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    261

    Post

    Well, unfortunately, the kit I got is only one 6 gallon poly fermenter. I had told myself that I ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT touch it until 4 months after bottling. I'm not sure how well I'll hold myself or my family to that, though [img]smile.gif[/img] . Does it always get better with age, or after a few years does it quit getting better?
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Clarksville, MI
    Posts
    92

    Post

    My experience with blackberry melomel is that the acidity from the blackberries makes it take a bit longer to age than most meads. You might taste it at 4 months and find that it is nasty. Give it time, it'll get tolerable at 9 months and great at 12-15.

    The aging depends on both the type of mead and the corking method. With a heavier mead with a lot of acid and tannins behind a good cork, it can continue to improve for 5-10 years. Just like red wine. Simpler meads age more like whites, improving for 2-3 years and then declining.
    <a href=\"http://www.slezakfarms.com\" target=\"_blank\">http://www.slezakfarms.com</a>

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    261

    Post

    Hey, just out of curiosity, in the "how-to" posted and in all of the posts I have read so far you guys all seal up and slap on the airlock as soon as you put the yeast in. The instructions that came with this kit say to let it stand covered w/ a towel for 7-10 days w/ yeast on it, then rack it and seal w/ the airlock. Just curious for your different methods/opinions.
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    kansas.. The Great Plains!
    Posts
    66

    Post

    &gt;&gt;The instructions that came with this kit say to let it stand covered w/ a towel for 7-10 days w/ yeast on it, then rack it and seal w/ the airlock.&lt;&lt;

    Thats how my gramps did it also. But most people tell me to cap right away

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Clarksville, MI
    Posts
    92

    Post

    I presume leaving it uncovered was so that the yeast had access to oxygen for fermentation. Now that good airlocks exist, I think it is better to aerate well and cover immediately. That way you greatly reduce the risk of contamination.
    <a href=\"http://www.slezakfarms.com\" target=\"_blank\">http://www.slezakfarms.com</a>

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
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    Post

    I'd agree on the airlock. Towels would need to be sanitized somehow, and unless tightly rubber-banded or somesuch could allow fruit flies (also known as the vinegar faeries) to enter . Serious disappointment.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    261

    Post

    Hmm, well, probably good advice, but I'm already to day 8 and waiting for the action do die down per the instructions before racking. Maybe I should just go ahead and rack it now.
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,035

    Post

    As long as you rack while there's still some fermentation activity it should be cool. Active fermentation can help absorb some of the O2 that invariably gets introduced by racking.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    261

    Post

    well, I racked last night and here I sit watching the airlock bubble happily. I'm sure that plenty of O2 was introduced, because my primary is also my secondary. I racked into sanitized water jugs so I could clean the container before putting it back in. Anyway, that airlock is putting out a large bubble about every 1 1/2 seconds, and there is about a gallon of air clearance at the top of the bucket, so I'd say it's displaced most of the air by now.
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    central, IL.
    Posts
    42

    Big Grin

    what I do is make 6 gallon batches, that way every time I rack to a new fermenter I can take a little taste to see whats going on and stiil end up with about 5 gallons when its time to bottle. When I tranfer from 1 fermenter to the other I put co2 in to purge out any oxygen. And ya everybody is right about saying keep making more batches, I have 5 - 6 gallon batches going now. I repitch my same yeast for 5 generations starting with still mead then I made a melomel for my 5th batch. everytime I repitch my yeast it seems to start fermenting quicker and also seems to be more vigorous. making and drinking mead is saaaweeeet cant make or get enough of this stuff. sure am glad im a beekeeper.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Clarksville, MI
    Posts
    92

    Post

    beesandy - Notice any difference between batches with fresh yeast and well-used yeast? I did a side-by-side test to see if 5 times used yeast was any different from fresh. The used yeast had FAR less honey flavor and aroma than the fresh. I don't do that anymore.
    <a href=\"http://www.slezakfarms.com\" target=\"_blank\">http://www.slezakfarms.com</a>

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    261

    Post

    How do you "reuse" yeast? Put the racked-off part into another batch? I've never heard of that.
    Central IL... where there are more hogs than people and more soybeans than hogs and people put together.

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