Thoughts on this batch
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  1. #1
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    Default Thoughts on this batch

    I cleaned out the freezer of all the mixed, frozen fruit and put together a batch like this on 12/6:

    - 3 lbs honey
    - 48 oz mixed frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries, peaches, melon)
    - 48 oz concord grape juice
    - Lalvin D47 yeast - 1 pkg re-hydrated


    I squashed all the fruit as best I could, mixed the honey and juice in, aerated vigorously at room temperature, re-hydrated the yeast and pitched it at room temperature (adding a little energizer and nutrient) before sealing it in a 2 gallon fermenting pail. After a day, no bubbles in the airlock. I popped it open and found a real thick cap which I carefully stirred back in noticing a little foam underneath added more energizer and nutrient. 48 hours after I started still no bubbles in the airlock so I stirred again. Lots of foam under the cap. 72 hours after I started, no bubbles so I thought maybe the pail wasn't sealing tight but it looked OK. I stirred again. Lots and lots of foam under the cap. Finally, on 12/9, I added a little more nutrient and energizer but I stirred a LOT of air into the must. Probably stirred for 8-10 minutes before I buttoned it all back up. The airlock slowly bubbled for a day before getting quiet again.


    Oh yeah...starting SG was 1.152

    Over the last couple of weeks, here's the SG readings. I transferred to a glass carboy on Christmas Day after scooping out the floating fruit pieces since the cap had dissipated quite a bit. There's still a lot of fruit bits suspended but they came through the tubing I used without any trouble. I added about 2/3 cup water to top off the carboy.

    12/6 - 1.152
    12/9 - 1.085
    12/11 - 1.062
    12/17 - 1.030
    12/25 - 1.015

    It tastes fruity but dry. My wife turned her nose and said it tasted like alcohol.

    I know it's a busy time of the year for everyone but I was wondering if anyone had thoughts on this batch and if I'm sort of on the right track. I have a couple of jugs of good old JOAM that seem to be doing OK but this one took a little more work. My goal is to get this one sweeter at some point but I'm not sure what the next steps are except to wait!
    Last edited by Ravenseye; 12-27-2016 at 08:14 AM.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    As I see it something is wrong here. to address the first issue the cap and resulting foam comes from fermentation Your fermenter must have been off gassing through another means beside the air lock. In the initial stages of fermentation the yeast needs oxygen. Yeast reproduces aerobically, while it produces alcohol anaerobically. So covering the primary only need be done to keep foreign material out. Daily stirring for the first 5 days or so provides O2 for the yeast to develop and begin a healthy ferment.

    A specific gravity of 1.152 will yield and Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of 23.41% However D-47 yeast Only has a alcohol tolerance of 14% with only moderate fluctuation. Meaning the yeast should die from alcohol poisoning when the ABV reaches 14% or there about.
    By continually adding nutrient epically if it continued Diammoniun phosphate (DAP) and urea at close intervals you may have forced a malolactic fermentation. this does not always happen but can when forcing feeding DAP. Which accounts for the little residual sugar, and the alcohol taste. the brew has a ABV of around 21%

    Next time try starting with a SG of around 1.085 ferment to dryness SG 0.995 then when clear and ages ass as much honey as your taste buds tell you. This is a sure fire way to produce consistently good melomels. IMHO

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    Thanks. I thought the SG was quite low and I didn't worry too much about the off gassing since I just figured the lid on the bucket might not have provided a good seal. I followed the nutrient feeding based loosely on the instructions taped to the nutrient. I guess waiting is the next step. Should I try and clear the rest of the pulp or just wait it out?
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    It should be in a secondary by now with airlock attached. Allow the batch to settle and rack it off the lees, then rack every 30 days until no sediment falls. Then bulk age as you normally would.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    OK. Yes it's in a secondary with an airlock. Thanks again!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    >It tastes fruity but dry. My wife turned her nose and said it tasted like alcohol.

    Made a triple berry about a month old it tasted alcoholish with a bite at only 11%. I left it a while and gave it 8+ months, it's smooth and drinkable now. Time is the key.

    Suspect your SG readings were off somewhere along the way, drink a glass if it's 23% you will know it when you're done.

    I would sweeten it to your taste and leave it for a year (continue to rack) and see how much better it is then.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    drink a glass if it's 23% you will know it when you're done
    Is this in the same vein as only sampling during racking/tasting day until your tongue goes numb?
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    Quote Originally Posted by FlowerPlanter View Post
    >It tastes fruity but dry. My wife turned her nose and said it tasted like alcohol.

    Made a triple berry about a month old it tasted alcoholish with a bite at only 11%. I left it a while and gave it 8+ months, it's smooth and drinkable now. Time is the key.

    Suspect your SG readings were off somewhere along the way, drink a glass if it's 23% you will know it when you're done.

    I would sweeten it to your taste and leave it for a year (continue to rack) and see how much better it is then.
    I was wondering about the SG readings. It was difficult when I first mixed it but it's easier now. Not crazy about the nearly opaque tube that the hydrometer sits in either. Of course, my eyes are 60 years young so that may be an issue as well.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    I use a test jar similar to this, not the storage tube the hydrometer came in. My eyes are only a few months younger than yours, and have always been bad to boot.
    https://www.midwestsupplies.com/ferm...meter-test-jar

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    Thanks - I'll have to give it a try. I'm still thinking that the fruit and bubbles on the very first SG measurement caused a higher reading than was actually the case.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    Taking a reading when the must is fermenting can result in a higher SG reading. Spinning the hydrometer can remove tiny bubbles that attach to it and cause it to float higher than it should. Always mix you H20 and honey setting the SG close to where you want it. then add fruit. the fruit rarely increases the SG by any significant amount. so a quick check after letting sit over night will usually give you an accurate Starting reading. I also use fruit bags on all Ferments that contain any fruit. It makes it easier to remove undigested pulp and seeds. It is easy to push the fruit bag to one side and take a reading. Mid ferment readings need not be precise as you are only looking for continued ferment and the SG to get down to a number where you can rack to your secondary. I have every gadget imaginable for mead and wine making. Believe me there are plenty that sit on the shelf after the first or second use. Although I use my Graduated cylinder to check SG from time to time. I do not use it as much as one would think. In the primary (8 gallon bucket) it is fairly easy to take an SG reading. In a properly topped off carboy it is Child's play. Accurate SG readings are Important at the start and finish. No so much during the ferment.

    Also I do not recommend sweetening long before bottling. Sorbate should be used when sweetening. Racking subdues its ability to inhibit continued fermentation. Bulk age until smoothness is achieved then sweeten to taste and bottle within 3 days but not less than 24 hours to allow any impurities to settle. Even meads left with residual sugar after fermentation, can begin to ferment while bulk aging because of wild yeasts with undetermined alcohol tolerances.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    This whole thing is interesting. So tonight, I decided to take a look at how the fruit / lees was settling in the one gallon glass carboy that the batch is sitting in. I took it off the shelf and walked over to where the light was better and instantly saw a bunch of tiny bubbles rise from the bottom. Things are still happening in there. There's even a little more fruit that rose to the top. I guess I'll be racking fairly soon again. Interesting hobby.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    It's probably still releasing CO2. I have a batch of mead I made with some grapes a neighbor gave me as payment for OAVing her hives.
    Started it on 10/17. It is now finished fermenting, has cleared beautifully but it is still releasing bubbles of CO2.
    It takes a little time.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    I often have wines, meads that age for months Chrystal clear. I rack in a vacuum to reduce oxidation. Then is when I see just how much Co2 is in the wine. The lowered pressure surrounding the wine forces greater volumes of Co2 to come out of solution. In some Instances I use my vacuum pump to degas wines that are otherwise ready. (Early Drinkers)

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    Bulk age until smoothness is achieved then sweeten to taste and bottle within 3 days but not less than 24 hours to allow any impurities to settle.
    What method do ya'll use to get the sweetener into solution while avoiding oxidizing the mead?
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Thoughts on this batch

    Honey which is my sweetener will go into solution without agitation in a few days. Do this at the end of your bulk aging after or in conjunction with sulfiting and sulfating. You have to preclude further fermentation or possibly have bottle bombs.

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