WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads. - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    Stage feeding Honey is generally done when one desires a High alcohol volume. Often times too high of a Specific Gravity (SG) will cause the yeast to stall. If you stage or step in honey and know exactly how much honey of a given value you intend to use and the SG produced by said volume then, yes The alcohol content is predictable. However often the closer to the end of the cycle the smaller the amount of honey is added as at some point the yeast will quit due to exceeding it's alcohol tolerance. Even though yeast manufactures offer a tolerance range it is not always exact and can very considerably. So the trick is to add honey in a manner that maximum alcohol is produced, while still achieving dryness here is where the calculations come into play. When making Meads within acceptable levels for the yeast there is no real benefit to stepping in the honey.

    Slow ferments when making mead helps maintain the individual flavor profile of the honey. Fast violent ferments transition co2 and burn Oxygen as well as devour the nutrients the yeast requires. Although we often talk about oxidation of mead and how it can damage the meads flavor and color. During the onset of fermentation Oxygen is necessary for the yeast to develop. A slow development of the yeast places less demand on the nutrients required for it to ferment the sugars properly. Fast ferments can cause the yeast to become starved for nitrogen and produce Hydrogen sulfide which can give the a burnt rubber taste and smell.
    Last edited by Tenbears; 12-17-2015 at 08:32 PM.

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eikel View Post
    It looks good and tastes great, even more gratifying when you share and others also enjoy it. I've taken some into the local micro brewery and the owner/brewer offers to swap products.
    John. I have been making mead for 40+ years. Many of my meads, melomels, ect. are from recipes I have developed. In the beginning Some were drinkable but that was about it. Funny, it all started with a simple surplus honey and my Grandfathers recipe.

  4. #23
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    Thank you sir. The slow fermentation makes good sense. My current batch is in a cooler than normal room and off gassing slower than normal. I was curious on the effects of the slower fermentation and it now sounds like serendipity.

    Back to the stage feeding. I understand the concept of achieving the maximum alcohol content while minimizing the addition of any honey beyond that point, but how do you determine that break point? A hydrometer, or at least my hydrometer, would appear to be far too "blunt" of an instrument for such fine reading.

  5. #24
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    Stage feeding is most generally done when high alcohol content is desired. Lets use a 21% mead for example to achieve 21% alcohol one must start with a Specific Gravity id 1.136 to 1.137 Most yeast will be overwhelmed by such high sugar and stall. those that do not will multiply and ferment vigorously. Often consuming all the nutrients long before a proper fermentation is done starving them for nitrogen. The yeast for such a ferment would be Wyeath Eau de Vic although the manufacture boast low deviation I have seen this yeast quit at 19% and go well beyond the 21%.
    Knowing the amount of honey to bring a volume of water to a SG of 1.137 is necessary. Separate that amount of Honey and bottle it. Bring the must to A SG of 1.090 sterilize and add wine tannin, and 1/3 of the recommenced yeast nutrients. and begin the fermentation, when the SG drops to 1.050add 1/2 the remaining honey. and 1/3 the required yeast nutrient. do the same when the SG reaches 1.025. then every time the SG reaches 1.005 until the honey is gone or the yeast peters out. If you use all the honey and the mead goes to 0,995 then you have a dry mead. at 21% alcohol. If not a slightly sweeter version is born. The stepped honey and nutrients lends well to the slow fermentation and created a nice sacked mead. Personally I am not big on high volume alcohol and much prefer to enjoy the subtle nuances of a fine honey. but I have enjoyed a few sacked meads.
    Yes, a hydrometer is the tool. As basic as it seems it can measure the SG perfectly. Unlike a refractometer which cannot accurately measure SG in the presence of alcohol.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    Nor is my interest in a high alcohol beverage but I do like to try new techniques and challenges. Sometimes the answer to "why" is "to simply to see if I could." I'm going to need to go back and review the calculations pertaining to SG and volume/densities.

    One difficulty I have is with reading the hydrometer through the top of the carboy; over fifty eyes, thick sloped glass and any residual foam or "floaters" seem to distort the hydrometer markings. Any trick of the trade exist to clarify the reading?

  7. #26
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    I do not think High alcohol volume meads are a bad thing. Just not my preference, If I want a high alcohol beverage, I much prefer Jim Beam's Red Stag.

    Get a 10 or 12 inch cylinder and a Wine Thief. The wine thief easily extracts the mead must from a Carboy. The hydrometer can easily be read in the cylinder, Also this is in part why I use a primary until my SG gets below 1.015. easy to part the foam and read a hydrometer. As the yeast ferments it produces CO2 which shields the must from Oxygen in the later part of the ferment. In the early stages it does not matter as the yeast needs O2 to develop.
    And I know what you mean about the eyes, I have to nearly use a jewelers optic to graft anymore.

  8. #27
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    I have the cyl and thief, just hadn't thought about using thief. thanks

  9. #28
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    +1 on the thief.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  10. #29
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    When using cooler temp to slow fermentation, what do you use to maintain the lower temps; i.e. ambient room temp, old refrigerator/cooler?

  11. #30
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    Finding a good place in/under your home helps a lot. Early vigorous ferments can raise themselves up on their own metabolic energy, so keep an eye on it... those stick-on strips work well for this but make sure they are attached where the mead will be behind their place (not headspace). If a cool area (unheated closet, basement, guest room etc) can't be located, place the carboy in a (clean) cat litter box. Add water and then put a cotton t-shirt over the carboy: the wicking and subsequent evaporative cooling will help several degrees. Add a fan blowing on the carboy for even more assertive cooling action.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  12. #31
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    Perfect!

  13. #32
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    Would it be safe to say you do most of your slow fermentation during late fall through mid spring? I have an extra refrigerator in the shed but I'm not sure a refrigerator's thermostat can be set to the mid 60s, have you ever tried using a frig?

  14. #33
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    My winery is in the basement, it stays cool year round. When I need to bring the ambient down just a bit more I turn the AC on. For the yeast I use I have found that keeping the ambient between 62 and 64 provides a slow even ferment as the slow ferment does not heat the must too much, Just enough to keep it nice and active with little to no risk of stall. I like to have most of my meads done by February, so I can cold crash them to facilitate the dropping of Tartrate crystals, Although I have a freezer that I can do 3, 6 1/2 gallon carboys at a time. I prefer to set them all in the garage when the temps are below 20 tweaking the heat in the garage I can maintain a temperature around 26F and do my lawful 200 gallons all at the same time. in that way I can bulk age and bottle as I deem the brew ready.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    Ten bears I am not arguing with success! Your situation as presented is about ideal for making good product that becomes drinkable fairly fast. For those of us with a more variable temperature in our brew space, there are yeasts that do a good job at temperatures into the mid seventies. KIV 1116 will chew thru fairly rich must in the mid seventies temps in about three days. Then I add the fruit for ten days and about six months later I have a good melomel that keeps getting better. In my cooler country than your, that means I can make a mead way further into the season when fruits are more available. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

  16. #35
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    My basement stays around 68 degrees so I'm still a little high on temp, I need to think on how to gain the cooler temp. I'm assuming you're cold crashing to gain clarity of the product? Sure can't plan on anything in the garage so far this year.

  17. #36
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    Cold crashing or cold stabilizing is used to precipitate the formation of tartaric crystals. Tartic and maltic acid in the mead especially pyments and melomels can as temperatures lower form Crystals within the mead. Sometimes referred to as snow flakes, or wine diamonds. Like honey when kept at temperatures close to 56F will crystalize. Meads will create them when temperature lowers. Placing a bottle in the refrigerator can precipitate the formation. Storing long term in a cellar will do the same. By chilling the wine to around 27f for 10 to 20 days in the carboy after clearing will cause the tartarics to crystalize and drop any excess acid from the mead, this prevents them from forming in the bottles, When the carboys are brought in from the cold the mead should be racked before it warms for too long. This ensure the crystals do not have time to dissolve when temperatures rise.

  18. #37
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    From what I know about cold crashing it was for clarification but you mention crashing after clearing. Do you notice any taste difference by removing the excess acids or is the crashing more for improved appearances, I don't disagree with the importance of clarity just getting my mind around "cause and effect."

  19. #38
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    Oh, Meads. When I first read the Thread title I thought it was a typo and you meant "meds". Hohoho
    Mark Berninghausen

  20. #39
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    Meds, meads, practically synonymous.

    I started a 5 gal batch 10 days ago.
    Relative newbee to meads like beekeeping but learning all the time.
    Been brewing beer and cider regular for almost a couple years .
    One hive out of two from a split didn't do well this summer got robbed out and absconded i guess leaving
    behind enough honey for a 5 gal batch.
    Good fermenting temps on the main floor in a corner, 64 -68 range using 71B yeast .
    Plan on splitting it into 5 gallon batches of different melomels , metheglins after primary fermentation.

  21. #40
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    Default Re: WOW! just rolled out of bed! Some great meads.

    Tenbears,
    That's a lot of carboys on the shelf. Do you bulk age and what's protecting the mead from oxidation? When do you kill/suspend fermentation?

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