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  1. #1
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    Default One packet versus two of Yeast

    I made my first batch of mead today and only put in one packet of yeast, should I go back and add the second? It is a five gallon batch.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    It's been a long time since I've made mead, but generally those packets are good for 5-6 gallon batches. Personally, I like to make a yeast starter; I've found that when it comes to yeast, more is better.

    If you just pitched the yeast, I'd say aerate it well and pitch the second packet so they both go through the lag phase together and kick off the anaerobic phase together.

    Again, my 2 as I've not made mead in about 6 years.....however, I've got honey set aside TOO make mead this year.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    Yeast starters are the way to go. I made a magntic stirrer out of a pc fan. I use to brew alot of all-grain beer. Meade and wine is a totally different animal.

    Im not a big fan of dry yeast, if you don't pick a good yeast for meade the final product can taste like rocket fuel very harsh. One packet should be fine. I like to use wyeast smack packs. The cost a little more but are worth the price imo. The sweat meade produces a wonderful result.

    Also make sure you add yeast nutrient, you may want to add a 2nd dose 1-2 weeks after fermentation starts. Meades turn acidic very quickly killing the yeast population so I also buffered the ph up twice during primary fermentation. Not sure if it matters too much but fermentation did increase after bringing the ph up.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    In general, no... dry yeast has very high cell numbers. If the mead is very high gravity maybe, but I'd let it roll a few days and see how it goes.

    If you do pitch more, be sure to hydrate properly: in 100-degree water, not juice or must, and give at least 10 minutes: just follow the directions.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  5. #5
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    Thanks for the Info, we hydrated and added the second package of yeast.

  6. #6

    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    Quote Originally Posted by Deck III View Post
    Thanks for the Info, we hydrated and added the second package of yeast.
    I've never needed to add a second packet. But...it obviously won't hurt. I think the most important thing was suggested already....add some yeast nutrient.
    Just my opinion...worth every penny you paid for it.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  7. #7
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    Only on the rare occasion, have I had to pitch a 2nd packet & it's usually when the 1st packet was a dud.

    The larger batches (anything over 5-6 gallons; usually 10-12 gallons in my case), I pitch two.

    If you stagger your nutrient additions, you'll need to have more on the front-end and less later on, as the multiple packets leads to a robust initial colony build-up & can deplete that first addition rather quickly; the fermentation/yeast will find a sort of equilibrium after a generation or 4, and adjust somewhat to the nutrient load.. But that first colony build-up can be a doozie..

  8. #8
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    What kind of yeast did you use? WVMJ
    Meadmaking with WVMJ at Meads and Elderberry Winemaking

  9. #9
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    It was a Lavkin 1122b or something like that.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    Based on the tech sheets it looks like you picked a good yeast for meade.

  11. #11
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    mt. airy, surry county, nc
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    one thing you can remember about yeast is, it multiples. it really doesn't matter how much yeast you put in, it will grow. you could put a teaspoon or a pound. the only difference is the time it takes to make alcohol or to get the process going.

    of course the quicker it starts up the quicker it will finish
    "Any fool can learn, the trick is to understand - Einstein"

  12. #12
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    71B-1122 is a nice yeast

    Makes really nice, floral-type wine/mead when you ferment at a lower temp (59-65) for a longer period.
    It will also metabolize a portion (25-40%) of any malic acid present (not a big deal with mead, but could be with melomels)

    Low/average nutrient needs, low/average SO2 production, no H2S worry if fed properly

    Doesnt sound like many here have had issues adding a second packet of yeast, but I'm guessing you guys also front-load your yeast nutrient additions, all at once, in the beginning... It can lead to issues though - both, adding 2 packets, and front loading all your yeast nutrient... I practice staggered nutrient additions, personally, as this gives one more control over the speed of the fermentation (and by relation, the heat generated from fermentation kinetics).

    This can get really complex, but to keep it simple - I add the first 1/2 of my nutrient @ starting, & the second-half 1/3 through fermentation (If SG starts @ 1.090, 2nd addition is @ 1.060). You never want to add DAP-based yeast nutrient passed the 1/2-way mark ( Starting @ 1.090 SG, no DAP passed 1.045) - long story short, the yeast wont utilize it and it becomes food/fuel for spoilage microbes. If you have a batch of mead, and it gets really low, but stalls & you want to add something - Fermaid-O would be best. It's an organic-nitrogen based yeast nutrient made from specific parts of particular yeast strains. If you want to learn more about this than you thought possible, PM me - it gets reeallly in-depth.

    Long story short - if you add 2 packets of yeast to a mead that you've only dosed 1/2 of your nutrient into, then the yeast will build up & stress out before the SG is ready for the next nutrient addition. This will throw you off for the whole process, as you just threw the staggered nutrient schedule out the window lol


    burns375 - How old was the mead you mentioned tasted like rocket fuel? Sounds young... Any mature wine/mead, should only have a throat-warming sensation, no matter what yeast was used. Mead takes much longer than wine, to become 'mature'.

    Any idea what temp the mead fermented at, and what yeast you used? The 'very harsh' part could be fusels, made from the yeast being stressed (usually from the temp raising; fermentation kinetics on some yeasts can put them in the 90F+ area even if the room is only 65-70F).. These fusels dont tame down with age, giving the wine/mead, that "vodka-taste" with the mouth burn and all that - one of many reasons I stagger my nutrient additions.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    Things seem to have worked out, checked the mead with the hydrometer and it is right at one. Will probably wait a week and rack it over and add the blackberry juice. We are following a book on the process, not sure of the name right now but he prefers to add flavor when he racks into his secondary container.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    Yeah, some old school mazers like that trick because the fruit bypasses the fermentation, where the fruit flavors can be mangled some by the fermentation temp.. If the temp gets too high, you can end up with a "cooked" sort of flavor instead of a "fresh" flavor... I usually add my fruit up front, in more of a traditional winamaking style, because when you can manage the fermentation temp, the fruit flavors will maintain their identity to your palette, but they become more complex.. (I leave my fermentor on the basement concrete floor, to help with the temp thing as well as stagger nutrient additions I mentioned previously)

    And blackberry is loaded with malic acid, the 1122 yeast would have reduced that for you some, helping to keep your acidity in check.... Adding fruit to the secondary, if it pushes your acidity too high, you're stuck with using potassium carbonate which is only meant for slight tweaks to the pH/acidity, not major movements like correcting for blackberry acidity could need.

    Hopefully the berries you're using are very ripe, with a profound flavor and a relaxed acidity.. It's gonna be a balancing act between blackberry flavor and blackberry acidity

    That secondary trick works really well with things like peaches, cherries, plums, and the like

    Glad to hear its working out for you though

  15. #15
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    Quote Originally Posted by Deezil View Post
    burns375 - How old was the mead you mentioned tasted like rocket fuel? Sounds young... Any mature wine/mead, should only have a throat-warming sensation, no matter what yeast was used. Mead takes much longer than wine, to become 'mature'.
    Quoted above my comment reads....Im not a big fan of dry yeast, if you don't pick a good yeast for meade the final product can taste like rocket fuel very harsh

    Pretty much self-explanatory. Yeast selection is important when it comes to a good quality product. Attenuation rate, flavor profile, nutrient requirements etc. Other club members pick standard wine or champagne yests and the result is often less than stelar even after aging for a year. Deck picked a good yeast for meade, should turn out great.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    Quote Originally Posted by papa bear View Post
    one thing you can remember about yeast is, it multiples. it really doesn't matter how much yeast you put in, it will grow. you could put a teaspoon or a pound. the only difference is the time it takes to make alcohol or to get the process going.

    of course the quicker it starts up the quicker it will finish
    Not really true. Best practice is to start with a strong populations of yeast, ideally in a starter. If you don't care about flavor or outcome and just interested in alcohol wild yeasts will ferment sugars just fine. No yeast packets needed as honey has plenty dormant spores. If the target yeast population is too low wild yeasts will become the majority and may produce undesirable results.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    Quoted above my comment reads....Im not a big fan of dry yeast, if you don't pick a good yeast for meade the final product can taste like rocket fuel very harsh

    Pretty much self-explanatory. Yeast selection is important when it comes to a good quality product. Attenuation rate, flavor profile, nutrient requirements etc. Other club members pick standard wine or champagne yests and the result is often less than stelar even after aging for a year. Deck picked a good yeast for meade, should turn out great.
    I read that you're not a big fan of dry yeasts, just like I know I'm not a big fan of smack packs. To each his own. And it's kinda beside the point.
    Once you've inoculated, yeast is yeast.

    Any yeast - smack pack or not - can taste very harsh, if you dont watch your fermentation parameters. If your pH is off, sugar is too high, TA is outta whack, temp is too high/low... It's either gonna 'stick' or finish and be harsh..

    Did you read my second comment about fusels potentially being the source of the harshness? (if its not just 'young'/'green' tasting)
    Commercially sold dry wine yeasts (and the companies that sell them) arent successful because everything acts like Turbo Yeast (ferments to 21-22% ABV, fast & harsh no matter what you do)

    It's not the sugar source that the yeast care about either - whether its white sugar, honey, molasses, malt, whatever - it's everything else.. Nitrogen, amino acids, acidity, temperature, etc, etc..

    Mead.. Wine... You can interchange the yeasts... "Mead" specific yeasts are just a marketing ploy.

    "even after aging for a year" ?
    My regular ol Peach Wine, isnt even drinkable until 18 months - and thats using white sugar.
    I would expect it to taste like trash at 1 year.. But try it again 2 or 3 years later, and you'd change your mind.
    But I dont make low-acidity, low-alcohol, light-flavored, quick-drinking wines either (which is about the only way for something to taste good when under 12 months old)..

    Honey just takes longer...

  18. #18
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    Rocket fuel is more a result of technique than the yeast choosen. The yeast has to be matched to the style of mead you are making. If you use a powerhouse yeast like EC1118 and not balance it correctly you are going to get rocket fuel. If you use a low alcohol tolerant yeast and give it to much honey you will get either a stuck fermentation or an overly sweet mead which some people like.

    We do our melomels more like Deezil, fruit in the primary. I am aiming to make blackberry mead, not mead flavored with blackberries, but I also am coming from a winemaking background and like to ferment everything together. But with melomels I never use carbonate, I think its better to let the fruit juice buffer the fermentation and balance the acid in the fruit by adding more honey if needed at bottling time.

    WVMJ
    Meadmaking with WVMJ at Meads and Elderberry Winemaking

  19. #19
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    Default Re: One packet versus two of Yeast

    Awesome thanks for your input.

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