started my first batch of mead.
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  1. #1
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    Default started my first batch of mead.

    I ordered a book but It is back ordered and won't be here until wednesday. I got a little impetuous and started a batch on January second. I went online and picked out a really easy recipe, then headed over to the brew shop in town and picked that dude's brain a bit. I got all the stuff and went home and started.

    I got 3 one gallon carboys with airlocks and lalvin ec-118 yeast.

    here is what I did. I heated 1 gallon of water to about 180 degrees. I added 6 lbs of honey and mixed it. I let it cool to a point that I felt was safe to pour into glass carboys(3 of them).

    i added 2 cut up apples to 1 and then I filled it half way with the honey and water. I filled another carboy halfway with honey and water (no apples). I had quite a bit of honey and water left (i guess the apples displaced more water than i'd thought) so I filled a 3rd carboy with the rest of the honey and water(about 1/3 or so filled)

    I then topped off the carboys the rest of the way with water. I hydrated the yeast with 2 oz of water warmed to about 104. i pitched the yeast when the must dropped to about 94 degrees and the yeast was about 75 (I have since learned that I should have waited til the 2 temps were much closer). i put the airlocks on and stored the 3 one gallon carboys in the bedroom closet. ( still trying to wrap my head around the fact that my wife was ok with this). The bedroom closet is the only place in the house where I have a stable temperature. I have a wood stove and the house itself can range from 65 to 72. I read that primary fermentation should take place between 60 and 70.

    here is some info on all 3 gallons. # 1 is the one with less honey(the more diluted one) #2 is the plain and # 3 is the one with apples.

    specific gravity( right after pitching yeast)

    1= 1.066
    2= 1.084
    3= 1.070

    now for the question(s)

    Of course, I have been watching the bubbles in the air locks as if it were a t.v. I noticed that they aren't bubbling very frequently at all(at least I don't think so) I got out the ol stop watch and here are the results.

    1= 1'10" apart
    2= 49" apart
    3= 25" apart

    Does anyone have any theories on why they are bubbling at such different rates? is that normal to be so infrequent? Is there anything I should do or was there anything I did that was so detrimental that this is not going to come out right at all? And last, when should I check the specific gravity again? I am planing on racking it once the gravity stabilizes.

    some more details I forgot to add. I used the entire pack of yeast that was enough for 5 gals. and the bedroom closet is at 59 degrees.

    feel free to chime in and give your thoughts and critique anything I did or didn't do.

    Thanks,
    Todd

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Penobscot County, ME, USA
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    Default Re: started my first batch of mead.

    Rate of bubbling depends on how many yeasties are active, might just have got different quantities in each.

    I think you mixed those a little light, especially for 1118, they will probably turn out very dry...which is OK if that's how you want them. 1118 is a champagne yeast with a high alcohol tolerance.

    I usually start ferments at a higher temp- about 72 for the first three days or so.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
    Zone 4a/b

  4. #3
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    Default Re: started my first batch of mead.

    "I think you mixed those a little light, especially for 1118, they will probably turn out very dry...which is OK if that's how you want them. 1118 is a champagne yeast with a high alcohol tolerance."

    Thanks!

    When you say I mixed a little light, you mean the honey to water ratio?

  5. #4
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    Jun 2014
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    Troy, MO, USA
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    Default Re: started my first batch of mead.

    Todd,
    Each bach is different and will ferment at different rates.

    I like to add yeast nutrients and adjust the PH to about .5, and pich the yeast when the temp is between 70-78. I would help if the bedroom closet was a little warmer, even 5 degrees.

    Also, yeast must have an adequte supply of oxygen during the initial 12-18 hour phase of fermentastion. I do this by vigorously shaking the unfermented honey and water. After this period, be careful not to introduce oxygen to the fermentation.

    I remove the fruit and rack into a secondary fermenter after about a week. You can check the gravity at that time.

    Your mead should come out fine

  6. #5
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    Default Re: started my first batch of mead.

    Thank you Marti. I actually changed the location to the tub that we don't use. It's warmer in there and still a relatively stable temperature at that. I shook them up before I pitched the yeast. Thank you for your advice.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: started my first batch of mead.

    Quote Originally Posted by trottet1 View Post
    When you say I mixed a little light, you mean the honey to water ratio?
    Yes. But, that's just my opinion, you'll have to see how you like the result. Then you can make adjustments to suit your own tastes.
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
    Zone 4a/b

  8. #7
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    Default Re: started my first batch of mead.

    Thanks BBK

  9. #8
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    Oct 2016
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    Canon City Colorado
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    Default Re: started my first batch of mead.

    For future reference heating your honey is unnecessary and can be detrimental if you are using varietal honey! The only reason you should be boiling or heating your honey is if you have impurities in the honey like comb, bee carcasses or the like. That is how it was done hundreds of years ago when honey collection was not as refined as today. As far as contamination ...... your EC 1118 when properly rehydrated will be like a roman legion and destroy any natural yeast that inhabits your must. That's not to say you shouldn't sanitize because the nasty bacteria's can still ruin your tasty mead!
    You should pay better attention to the temps because yeast is temperature sensitive and some produce nasty fusil alcohols that can ruin your mead if your temperatures are to far off!
    I would practice with one gallon batches for a while and refine your techniques and recipes before making larger batches.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: started my first batch of mead.

    Thank you ColoradoRaptor.

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