Noob, first mead
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  1. #1
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    Default Noob, first mead

    Hello all!
    First mead, a cyser actually. Recently returned to world of fermentation. Completed a 3gallon batch of hard cider(3 separate 1 Gallon carboys), and have done a good bit of reading about mead. Decided to go for a cyser.

    1/2gallon honeycrisp apple cider
    3lb mesquite honey
    6oz orange juice
    1/2tsp acid blend
    1tsp yeast nutrient
    handful organic white raisins
    water to top of 1gallon carboy
    pitched with cote de blanc yeast

    1st rack completed after one week.

    Please share any comments or advice you may have........
    Last edited by ducatidom; 01-15-2017 at 02:55 PM. Reason: clarify abbreviation used

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Canon City Colorado
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Good choice of mead! I love Cyser and have made many! You didn't say where you got your apple cider? I use local fresh cider without preservatives. It is important you use a cider without any preservatives! Your choice of honey is interesting, never used mesquite. I like wildflower or clover for my cysers. Acid blend is best used after fermentation to taste, not before as honey can get very acidic during fermentation without it. I always use K2CO3 to control the acidity during fermentation. Raisins are generally used as nutrient and the most common is the dark raisin. Your yeast should be fine though I have no experience with it. I exclusively used Lalvin yeast though now I only use Wyeast 1388. Cheers!!

  4. #3
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    Pepperell, MA.
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Sounds great and I may try it. I just started making mead and I now have 12 gallons of all kinds in one of my cellars. They're in varying stages of the process since I just started a month or so ago. It's quite an interesting learning experience.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #4
    Join Date
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    Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Welcome. I'm interested in the progress.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoRaptor View Post
    Good choice of mead! I love Cyser and have made many! You didn't say where you got your apple cider? I use local fresh cider without preservatives. It is important you use a cider without any preservatives! Your choice of honey is interesting, never used mesquite. I like wildflower or clover for my cysers. Acid blend is best used after fermentation to taste, not before as honey can get very acidic during fermentation without it. I always use K2CO3 to control the acidity during fermentation. Raisins are generally used as nutrient and the most common is the dark raisin. Your yeast should be fine though I have no experience with it. I exclusively used Lalvin yeast though now I only use Wyeast 1388. Cheers!!
    Both the apple cider and the honey came from Trader Joes. Cider is all natural with no preservatives.Honey choice was made because it was the only variety they had in a 3lb container that day(maybe any day?). SG was 1.144 though, so I may cut back on the honey next time. The Cote de Blanc is tolerant to 14%, so it will finish sweet, in the future I think I want to aim for being able to sweeten to taste. Also good advice on the acid blend, and the raisins were what I had on hand.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Yes, This will finish with considerable sweetness. Although Red star list Cote de Blanc as having low fluctuation in alcohol tolerance The also list it as between 12 to 14% which seems like an oxymoron. Anyway, I find it tends to finish closer to the 12% than the 14. As for back sweetening, This is a good practice and offers better control. Again nothing is without it's drawbacks. When back sweetening with honey the residual pollen in raw honey can leave a slight cloudiness or haze in the mead. For this reason, I do not back sweeten immediately before bottling. but sweeten before bulk aging, allowing it to settle and be racked off. If using store bought commercially processed honey the problem is significantly less.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Well, like all here I'm sure I will live thru some mistakes. Hopefully I hit nearer to 14% at the finish. Next batch will include some adjustments based on the final outcome of this one.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Quote Originally Posted by ducatidom View Post
    Well, like all here I'm sure I will live thru some mistakes. Hopefully I hit nearer to 14% at the finish. Next batch will include some adjustments based on the final outcome of this one.
    That is the great thing about mead making. You get to drink your mistakes.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    That is the great thing about mead making. You get to drink your mistakes.
    Agreed, I have swallowed quite a few .......

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Airlock activity has become pretty subdued, will take a gravity reading tomorrow morning. I will most likely rack again as well.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Your relatively low alcohol mead should finish fairly fast, but do not judge the flavor too harshly for at least four months. Mead tends to improve radically with age. I had one batch I was thinking of dumping at 16 months as undrinkable and six months later it was absolutely wonderful and now four years later is devine.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Vance,
    I thought 14% was pretty average for mead, and the Cote has the ability to reach that. I think the main problem was that I did not adjust my honey lower to account for the sugars in the cider and oj. So I will more than likely end up a tad sweeter than I was aiming for.
    Also according to the BOMM theory the small batch may "mature" more quickly. Not that I need it to, I entered the mead arena with the expectation of 1 yr from start to finish(aging/mature)

  14. #13
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    Jan 2014
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    Louisville, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Couldn't you add some water to the mead to get it to ferment a little drier?

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Quote Originally Posted by Arnie View Post
    Couldn't you add some water to the mead to get it to ferment a little drier?
    Water will just dilute, thinning the mix??? You can't ferment in water without a source of sugar??

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    I was thinking the water would dilute the alcohol content and get the yeast going again since it is likely not quite finished yet.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Quote Originally Posted by Arnie View Post
    I was thinking the water would dilute the alcohol content and get the yeast going again since it is likely not quite finished yet.
    Ah... I see Unless the yeast died of alcohol poisoning they will wake up once more sugar/honey is introduced. And you don't have to stir it in either, just pour it in and the yeast will get to work with it on the bottom of the carboy!

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Quote Originally Posted by ducatidom View Post
    Both the apple cider and the honey came from Trader Joes. Cider is all natural with no preservatives.Honey choice was made because it was the only variety they had in a 3lb container that day(maybe any day?). SG was 1.144 though, so I may cut back on the honey next time. The Cote de Blanc is tolerant to 14%, so it will finish sweet, in the future I think I want to aim for being able to sweeten to taste. Also good advice on the acid blend, and the raisins were what I had on hand.
    I have used their cider, it works well and has good flavor! I am lucky enough to have several orchards that make fresh right here where I live. Your final gravity should be around 1.040 if your yeast ferments out to tolerance. That is actually around the way I like my mead sweet and strong I also like to add cinnamon, clove and nutmeg to mine during secondary. I have one right now that is amazing and I am going through it a bit fast according to my wife

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Quote Originally Posted by Arnie View Post
    Couldn't you add some water to the mead to get it to ferment a little drier?
    You can But it has to be done before the yeast quits once it goes dormant it is hard to start again (stuck fermentation) And remember, you cannot count on air lock activity as an indicator that a ferment is still going. Airlocks will bubble from off gassing long after fermentation ceases.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Took a gravity reading on Friday and it was at 1.030. Based on the my SG of 1.144 it looks like I am now @ 14.96% ABV, with about 3% sugars left over. I racked again and made a small nutrient addition(1/4 tsp), but I doubt it will move from where it is at.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Noob, first mead

    Quote Originally Posted by ducatidom View Post
    Took a gravity reading on Friday and it was at 1.030. Based on the my SG of 1.144 it looks like I am now @ 14.96% ABV, with about 3% sugars left over. I racked again and made a small nutrient addition(1/4 tsp), but I doubt it will move from where it is at.
    That's good that your yeast exceeded it's tolerance! It sounds like you will have a nice cyser though I would not have added any nutrient! Nutrient additions late in the ferment can leave off flavors especially DAP!

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