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 Post subject: Mead making
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:26 pm 
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Just wondering if any of you bee people has tried making mead yet?? We have our first batch underway, but haven't experienced the 'active fermentation' that is talked about in the books!! Two weeks on though, and the specific gravity has dropped so something must be happening!

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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:14 pm 
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No idea peasants, happy to take one for the team and taste test for you though! Maybe the cool weather gives a slow fermentation?

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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:27 pm 
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Haha....mead taste test..... :thumb: long time to wait though....it takes months to mature in the bottle apparently!

Yes Gazza, I have read that the cooler temperatures can slow fermentation, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Apparently it results in a drier mead, which we are hoping for anyway. It's just the books talk about the bubbling from the airlock......in two weeks I have heard a couple of gurgles and that is all!! Today we aerated it more after checking the specific gravity, so will check again next weekend and see if there has been further dropping....in which case fermentation is happening, we just don't see it!! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:38 am 
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hmmm could be there is not a perfect seal in the airlock grommet or lid, I've had that trouble with beer before. Does it look like there are frothy bubbles on the surface?

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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:54 am 
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Yes there are some, not a lot.....is that good or bad?????

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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:58 am 
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In beer making it is a good sign that the yeast is active. I've got a book somewhere in which the chap gets rid of the fermenter lid altogether and just gladwraps the top, uses the big rubber seal like a lacky to hold the plastic in place and puts a pinprick hole in the middle to allow the gas to escape.

The motivation is that he can now clearly see what is going on, and waits for the reaction to slow right down before bottling. Apparently the pressure of the gas (which is heavier than the air around it) provides a barrier to any bacteria getting in, and by watching for the the yeast to run its course he can see the perfect time to bottle.

Not sure how well all this transfers to mead, but I thought it was an interesting theory. :cheers:

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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:21 pm 
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interesting! Will keep an eye on it and test the SG on the weekend and see what is happening....hopefully something!

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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:00 am 
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Ive been a mad keen brewer for a while now. I havnt tried a mead yet but its on the cards. Gaz is right about the fermentation, its posible you dont have a good seal on your fermentor and/or the temps are quite low. Im assuming you have used a dry yeast?

We are at the stage where we are reculturing yeast and using yeast starters. Man you should see the wort go off its head! Slap packs have a 100 billion yeast cells and when you reculture you double that amount each time so effectively you are hitting the wort with a huge yeast count.

I know freebz over at the BYAP site has done a number of meads.. might be worth dropping him a line.


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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:59 pm 
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It certainly has been cool, probably not the best time to start making mead, but.......

from what I have read this isn't necessarily a problem but just slows it all down....the SG has dropped again, so fermentation is obviously happening, just slowly. The seal seems fine.
Checked the SG again and it has dropped again and is now under 1.000

Will check out freebz!

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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:40 pm 
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Did you add anything to act as a nutrient for the yeast? honey doesn't have the available nutrient that sugars have for the yeast to feed on, i normally add some sultanas as a natural nutrient (about 30g per 25L) as the proper stuff you buy can leave a sour flavour.

as long as you have a good seal on your fermenter you should be getting some fermentation just ultra slow. My normal brew time can be upto 2 months for the initial brew and around 6 months to mature at 12%

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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:58 pm 
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Thanks D&N,
We did add the nutrient we purchased from the shop along with the yeast and equipment. The guy at the shop thought it was ok to rack into the carboy, which we have done this morning.....maybe it would have been better to add some sultanas for another couple of weeks first... :sad2:

The SG is just a smidge under 1.000, starting at 1.050 (we are aiming for a dry mead).

Now we have racked it.....do we just leave it....or add sultanas to the carboy (or is it too late now as we have cleaned the primary fermenter!!!).

Very grateful for your suggestions!!!

D&M

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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:44 pm 
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once racked leave it for a month or so then re rack to remove sediment do this twice or three times to get good clarity and because the sediment if left in too long can make it go bitter, then bottle and taste if you like it drink it then, but the flavour should smooth out over the next few months after bottling

when you drink it have some warm and have some cold the flavour and texture is very different

what recipe did you use and which yeast?

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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:50 pm 
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Thanks for the advice! With the cool Perth weather (though nice today!), should it be in a warm spot or is it ok in our darkened, cool produce room??

We used the recipe for dry show mead from The Complete Meadmaker

2.27 kg honey
15.14 litres water
2 tsp yeast energiser
2 tsp yeast nutrient
2 sachets of Lalvin EC-1118

Attachment:
IMG_0015.JPG
IMG_0015.JPG [ 135.94 KiB | Viewed 6624 times ]

Hope it all works!!!

D&M

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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:01 pm 
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A consistantly cool spot is good from here on.

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 Post subject: Re: Mead making
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:21 am 
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We certainly have that here! Thanks so much, you have clarified it all for us-it is so valuable to get advice srom someone who has done it rather than just reading a book :thumb:

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