First Mead Batch
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Pleasant Valley, NY
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    Default First Mead Batch

    Started a first batch of mead ever and just racked after 2 weeks. The starting gravity was 1.104 and after 2 weeks right at 1.000.
    Is this where it should be at this stage?

    Using:
    15lbs. wildflower honey from my hives
    4 gallons H2O
    2 packets 71b-1122 Lalvin teast
    2 tsp yeast nutrient
    1 tsp yeast energizer

    heated the honey with 1 gallon H2O to about 150F for 15 minutes. Then mixed in 5 gallon
    plastic bucket with other 3 gallons H2O with paint stirrer mounted in cordless drill.
    put in glass carboy with airlock to ferment in area about 70-75 degrees.

    Is the 1.000 hydrometer reading where I need to be or should I be concerned?

    Any input would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    Jim

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Knox, Pa. USA
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    How long has it been at 1.000? With that starting SG, I would expect it to finish somewhere around 0.995. However, 1.105 has a alcohol potential of 15.60% 71B has an alcohol tolerance of 14% with medium fluctuation so weather it ferments to dryness is a gamble as you did not sac the mead. As the ferment progresses and sugar is used up the SG drop slows. Bubbling of the air lock does not indicate a continued ferment as off gassing of CO2 can result in air lock bubbling. Take SG readings for 3 consecutive days read it carefully. If the SG does not drop then your ferment is done regardless of where the SG is. Dryness (complete fermentation of all sugar) is generally considered at 1.000 or below.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Pleasant Valley, NY
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    Thanks for the input Tenbears. Will check the SG over the next 3 days, bubbles from airlock seemed to have pretty much stopped. Not familiar with
    meadmaking terminologies, what does sac the mead mean? When is a good time to backsweeten if I want a sweetr tasting mead?

    Thanks,
    Jim

  5. #4
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    A sac, Or sacing a mead is a technique used to induce the yeast to continue working beyond the alcohol tolerances of the yeast. The process id done by stepping in additional sugars (honey) and or nutrients at specific times during the ferment.

    You are a long way from back sweetening. It is generally done just prior to bottling. after racking every thirty day for the first 3 months then 1 every 90 days until the mead falls perfectly clear. I never bottle before 6 months as the mead benefits from bulk aging. One also wants to minimize oxidation. So never try to manually degas mead, do not let the mead fall during racking, always place the racking tube so it lays on the bottom of the carboy when racking. Top the mead up to the thin part of the shoulder to reduce surface area. When it comes time to back sweeten use honey. add 1/2 tsp Potassium sorbate per gallon to prevent re-fermentation. Allow to fall perfectly clear before bottling In most cases that is just a few days. Enjoy!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Pleasant Valley, NY
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    Thanks for the explanation for sacing the mead.

    After 2 weeks of fermenting, when I racked I lost volume in the 5 gallon carboy from the spent yeast , I sanitized glass marbles to bring the volume up
    into the neck of the carboy. Is there something else that would be better to use to top the mead into the thin part of the schoulder
    of the carboy?

    Jim

  7. #6
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    Marbles are fine! I simply use distilled water. But I calculate alcohol and body depletion by doing so, before fermentation and make the necessary adjustments.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    7,093

    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    Wow, I never have 71b go that high ABV. What is your preference, a sweet or dry wine? Ten bear is good to listen to, I would only add the caution to rack off the lees fairly soon. 71b gives off some off flavors if left too long.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    Vance, I racked off the lees post 2 weeks after the start of fermentation. The preference is a semi-sweet to sweet not dry.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Manassas, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    With Tweeter's inspiration, we've started our first batch as well. Since we're cowards, this first little test batch is only a gallon. This is a basic still mead, made with 3 pounds of honey, Lalvin D47 (the whole pack, so yeasts will rule) and a teaspoon of nutrient mix. We sanitized the equipment with SanStar, used our mountain well water, aerated and aged to remove any rust, pre-boiled the water, pasteurized the honey and water to 145 F.

    By the following morning the fermentation was well underway. Last night the wife was thinking she really prefers wine and we probably won't make much mead, but this morning she was dreaming up recipes she would like to try, starting with some raspberries we grew this summer and froze.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    Good Luck Phoebee on your first batch. Its great to have the information provided in this forum from
    seasoned meadmakers as well as beekeepers. Many thanks to Tenbears for the wealth of knowledge
    provided to this forum as well as the beekeeping forum.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    Without knowing the starting SG one cannot determine where the mead will end up. 3 pounds of honey seems like just a little bit much for D-47 yeast which has a alcohol tolerance of 14% with medium flocculation. Meaning it could peter out lower, Or go on for higher as much as +-2% D-47 in my experience tends to lean toward the former, which will result in residual sugar being left in the mead. Again without a starting Specific Gravity reading one will not be able to calculate ABV or residual sugar should the batch hit a home run.

    Raspberry wine or melomel can be very nice. The color is almost always fantastic. Using frozen raspberries is a good choice. The things to avoid in making raspberry Melomel or Wine is never heat the fruit above 150 degrees and be extremely careful not to crush the seeds. Both can result in severe off flavors. I place the fruit in a fruit bag and remove after 7 days gently squeezing and aerating the must daily for 3 to 5 depending on progression of the ferment. Then gently squeeze the juice when I remove. IMHO raspberry melomels or wines lend best to the flavor of the fruit when the starting SG is in the 1.075 to 1.085 range with 1.090 (13.25 ABV) being the max. as the true raspberry flavor quickly becomes berried within the alcohol. But to each his own.
    Here is one of my favorite Raspberry recipes

    Raspberry Wine/Mead
    Ingredient per Gallon

    3 3/4 Qt water

    2 lbs Sugar or honey (as required bring to selected Specific gravity)

    3 to 4 Lb fresh or frozen raspberries

    1/4 Tsp Acid blend

    1/8 Tsp Acid blend

    1/16 Tsp Potassium Metabisulphite (K-Met) or campden tablet

    1/2 Tsp Pectic enzyme

    1 sacket lalvin K1-V1116 yeast

    Wash fresh fruit. Place in fruit bag, then place in a primary fermenter. add 2 pounds of sugar to half the water and warm until dissolved cool to 150 degrees and poor over fruit. Pour remainder of water in to cool add K-met Check specific gravity and add more sugar if desired, Add acid blend, yeast nutrient and tannin. Mix well crushing berries gently so as not to fracture any seeds. let stand 24 hours. add pectic enzyme and allow to stand 12 hours. Pitch yeast. stir daily gently crushing berries. When SG reaches 1.020 remove fruit bag, gently squeeze out juice and discard pulp and seeds. Place in carboy and affix airlock. When fermentation ceases rack into clean carboy leaving all sediment behind. Top up and affix air lock. After 30 days rack again. Then every 90 days adding 1/16 tsp K-met or 1 crushed campden tablet. 1/4 TSP or 5 tablets for a full 5 gallons. until no sediment falls and wine clears. Sweeten to taste adding 1/2 tsp Potassium sorbate per cup of sweetener. allow to stand for 3 days rack and bottle.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Manassas, Virginia, USA
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    Without knowing the starting SG one cannot determine where the mead will end up. 3 pounds of honey seems like just a little bit much for D-47 yeast which has a alcohol tolerance of 14% with medium flocculation. Meaning it could peter out lower, Or go on for higher as much as +-2% D-47 in my experience tends to lean toward the former, which will result in residual sugar being left in the mead. Again without a starting Specific Gravity reading one will not be able to calculate ABV or residual sugar should the batch hit a home run.
    That particular recipe was one I picked up as a simple one for beginners. D-47 was what they recommended. The brewing supplier here has a wide variety, and I expect to try some of the other ones popular for mead.

    I was going to measure the specific gravity initially, but the hydrometer I had up at the cabin turned out to be my 1.000 - 1.070, not the 1.000-1.220 I thought I had up there. So I can just guess at my actual starting SG. What the heck, we're only doing a gallon.

    Mead has been around for at least 8000 years. For most of that time, they didn't have hydrometers. They judged alcohol content by how long people remained standing. My wife and I are after a tasty beverage we made ourselves, rather than alcohol. I'm more concerned about learning to hit a desired dryness (we usually drink dry red wines, and are not big fans of sugary drinks).

    Thanks for the recipe. Our present raspberry stash is too meager, but we can try it next summer if the berry patch produces as well as it did this year. This is the second raspberry recipe I've seen that recommends pepsin.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    Any fruit wine where whole fruit is used will Benefit from Pectic Enzyme. It helps break down the fruit. and digests the pectin to aid in clearing.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    And I learned that pectin enzyme is best used early. Not after you (ME) scratched head wondering about the haze!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  16. #15
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    I racked the first batch to a second bottle a few days ago. I took the opportunity to sample a little. As Tenbears suggested, it was still kinda sweet. SG is down to 1.018. This morning, I put about 1/4 tsp of K1-V1116 into it and it perked up immediately, although it has quieted down a bit. Hopefully the new yeast will use up more of the sugar.

    Batch two was mixed yesterday. The mast tastes fantastic. This is 2.6 pounds of locust/tulip poplar honey and 12 ounces of fresh raspberries, to make a gallon. This is a lot less than what Tenbears has in his recipe, but I did find a recipe that calls for it. Hopefully we'll get a hint of fruit without masking the mead. The raspberries were mashed with pectin enzyme and allowed to sit for a while, then I stuck a new pantyhose anklet down into the bottle with the honey and funneled the mash in, tying it off to make a sack I can fish out later. I also put in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for a bit of tartness. After some hours for the enzyme to work, I added water and nutrient and heated gently to 150 F. This morning I added most of a packet of K1-V1116. The starting SG of 1.100 was above the target range I wanted (1.075-1.090 was recommended), so this may wind up sweet. I should have held back some of the honey. This particular honey was very thick ... won a blue ribbon at the county fair, which included a refractometer reading they seemed to like.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: First Mead Batch

    The 1.100 Sg will give you a potential ABV of 14.86. Well within the alcohol tolerance of the K1 V1116. I would expect this must to finish to dryness. I don't know what Jug you are using but retrieving your fruit bag may be a challenge! Lemon juice does not really add a tartness. It does add a nice distinction to a mead, That I think you will find lively on the tongue. But will rapidly fade to allow the fruit to present. All in all I think you chose a combination that will blend well throughout it's flavor profile. complimenting the mead's honey. This will finish dry so if a sweet mead is your desire you may find the need to sample and stop when the SG gets down to about 1.020 or back sweeten with a honey that is close in flavor if you have no more of your original honey.

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