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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Wash Co., Ohio
    Posts
    115

    Default New to mead (and dumb move) questions

    I have been reading (here and elsewhere) on mead, the fermentation process, etc
    These may seem simple or obvious questions but I'm stuck on them:

    Why do some recipes call for leaving must uncovered for day(s), and others say aeriate and cap right away? If the point of the aerobic process is to have the yeast multiple, why would one cover before they have 'taken over'?

    Why do recipes call for nutrients (raisins, etc) and others dont?

    Why are some of these recipes ready for consumption in a few weeks (these I found on some 'mead sites') and others take months?

    Lastly, last night I had mixed the honey and water, cooked at 'appropriate' temperatures, and had yeast in little cup of warm water, gently waking them up, when a series of unfortunate events caused me to leave - then and there - for a couple hours. When I returned, the cup of warm yeasts had been put in the refigerator by well-meaning family members, so I dumped it in anyway (I had heard they go dormant as opposed to killed, but you know internet information...) They are reacting a bit now but not as expected or told they would. (no bubbles, but there is definitely [I]some[I] kind of pressure building as most of the water in the lock is on one side.)

    So...should I wait and see, should I add more yeast, should I aeriate to allow greater build up, should I add one of those tablets that kills everything to prime the must for the yeast and then add more yeast, or should I forget it take up tennis instead?
    Thanks
    Last edited by Gibbus; 11-21-2011 at 12:54 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,505

    Default Re: New to mead (and dumb move) questions

    Lot of questions and all valid. First meadmakers are almost as opinionated and mouthy as beekeepers. The first phase of the fermentation is the yeast building a huge population of little yeastie beasties and this requires oxygen and nutrients that have to be in the fruit or juice or the added nutrient because they are not sufficiently in the honey. Now if a recipe calls for raisins, it could be for no other purpose than the nutrients contained. Everyone agrees that you need to do everything you can to saturate your must,(thats your ingredients) with oxygen when you start. The closing and airlocking it school are saying that is enough oxygen and if it is closed up, no wild yeasties or bacteria can float in to compete for resources and result in bad flavors. Some say, my house is clean and their just aren't enough wild beasties to significantly compete with the host of yeasties that I am encouraging by adding chemical nutrient and more Oxygen. Both types win at competitions so the truth must lie in the middle. As far as your yeast being put in the refrigerator, you obviously need to gain control of your household and administer some sound thrashings to preclude such misbehavior! This is a medevial drink after all and tradion is important! The yeast that was mistreated probably cost a bucki. Go to your local brew shop and get another packet or two and add it. You might put it in warm not hot water for a little while before adding it or titrate 15 ml per hour of must into a special flanged flask on Funk And Wagnals porch for 24 hours before adding it; or you can do my favorite which is just to dump it in as is, stir it vigorously and set the cover on. You can stir it vigorously each day for several days as my grampa recommended when he taught me winemaking, or seal it and airlock it to protect it from invaders. For goodness sake don't take up tennis again. a fate worse than knee surgery! go to gotmead.com and listen to people squabble about just the same questions exactly like they were talking about small cell, natural and good ole 5.4 mm! It is a hoot and I am contemplating what my third batch will be. Possibly a melomel brochet braggot cyser! Come to Great Falls and drink some of it for me!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Wash Co., Ohio
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: New to mead (and dumb move) questions

    Thank you!
    That answers a lot.
    I think I'm going to listen to grampa, add another pack, stir vigorously for a few days, and set the cover.
    (Thank god too - I hate tennis)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,290

    Default Re: New to mead (and dumb move) questions

    Vance,
    I must say that was an entertaining read.
    Bravo
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Harsens Island , Mi , USA
    Posts
    245

    Default Re: New to mead (and dumb move) questions

    Outstanding post Vance ..well done sir . I'll try to be helpful but...i'm batten after a gland slam . When starting any batch of any product the sugar vs yeast is a cause of what i'll call fermentation volatility . All batch's are covered ( sanitary} but the timing on your carboy is very important . If it goes into a carboy while still hot it will shoot the airlock and cover your walls . Its a real drag when you use red grapes for wine . Same thing as boys adding sugar to carbonate beer and have them blow up . There are a couple tools that you need ..A thermo and a Hydrometer . The latter to measure sugar content . Sugar content = the % of alcohol ..too a point . Please bear in mind that these are recipes . Raisins add sugar , tannins , body and flavor . Ive even tossed in bananas .Ya heard it before but yeast eats sugar and turns it into liquid gold . Yeast has a monster role on taste and how long it takes to ferment . The selections are endless . Some a week, some months .How long a batch takes depends on how long the sugar lasts and how many are eating . A lager is stored in a colder space so its activity is greatly slowed .One can get 5 gals on a packet .The white labs liq is good for 5 gal also . You can grow your yeast ( with the price of the white labs i payed for yeast food } . I was running some bigger batch's . Ive never gone light on my yeast content ,,if the batch came to 8gal i used 2 packets . Gib you didnt even need to ask when G pops was exactly correct,,he might want a taste . You never said what you were using for your wort .When making your own nector i might add a couple saftey tips . Any cooked product has to be extremly sterile . . Old school methods of making mead are fine but i wanna live to drink another infinity of kegs .

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,505

    Default Re: New to mead (and dumb move) questions

    Aw Shucks. I am just here to have fun. People take their hobbies and themselves so deathly serious!

  7. #7

    Default Re: New to mead (and dumb move) questions

    I've never heard of leaving any brewing recipe open to air.

    Nutrients add helpful nitrogen that might not be present otherwise.

    I do not know of any meads ready for consumption in a few weeks. I think the only thing ready so fast is an ale.

    Bubbling can take a while to occur.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,505

    Default Re: New to mead (and dumb move) questions

    On the gotmead.com forum, a number of experienced mead makers advocate daily areation and or open fermentation for the first week or so along with supplimental feeding. I report and just listen to it all and am keeping good records. So be polite when challenging someones veracity.

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