hist-brewing: My first mead.
JazzboBob at aol.com
JazzboBob at aol.com
Mon Nov 19 20:44:51 PST 2001
My first reaction before offering any advice is the need to better understand
how you brewed this mead. To begin with, what volume of mead did you make?
You did not offer a beginning and final gravity reading so I have no idea
what strength mead you have brewed. Honey averages around 35 points per
gallon but can vary quite a bit. Also, many recipes are unclear as to
putting the quantity of honey into 5 gallons of water (netting a greater
overall volume) or adding the honey & water to get a total volume of 5
gallons. This can have quite an impact on the strength.
Since you have used wine bottles that cannot stand up to pressure and you
have signs of continuing fermentation, I would drink this mead quickly before
you develop bombs. It would also help to keep the mead cold to slow down the
I am an advocate of bottling in Champagne bottles if there is any question as
to the possibility of a continuing residual fermentation after bottling. It
only takes a drop of 3 Specific Gravity points to create the normal
carbonation in beer so it doesn't take too much residual fermentation in a
bottle to become overcarbonated.
Campden tablets and sulfur will slow down yeast but not kill it off entirely
so don't depend on that to stop a fermentation from coming back to life.
More information about your brewing technique might explain what happened.
You exhibit signs of a slow, long, and drawn out fermentation. This is
usually caused by underpitching the quantity of yeast, not having enough
oxyengenation at the beggining of fermentation to allow the yeast to grow
properly in the respiration stage, unstable cold fermentation temputures
causing the yeast to slow down and go into shock, and a general lack of
nutrients in honey. All these problems are exasperated with a higher gravity
fermentation. IF YOU used 17 pounds of honey in a total volume of 5 gallons,
you may have started with a gravity of around 120. Not a problem under ideal
conditions, but a bit challenging for an underpitched sweet mead yeast. The
sweet taste and bubbles are possible hints of a hung fermentation even after
clearing. There probably was a minimal of fermentation activity even though
the mead appeared clear to your naked eye. When you started to rack the mead
for bottling, you released some suspended CO2 out of solution. Even flat
mead will hold some amount of CO2, especially if it is cold. But without
gravity readings, we are all working in the dark. Get a hydrometer for a few
bucks and keep better notes to learn for future brews.
Host a party and have some fun emptying those bottles.
I am new to mead brewing and have been lurking on the list for about a
year now. I have a couple questions if no one minds. I have just
bottled my first batch and want to make sure I did the right thing. I am
including my recipe.
17 lbs. Local buckwheat honey
3 t yeast nutrient
2 t acid blend
1/2 t tannin
St. Pats sweet mead yeast
The fermentation started off with a bang and I racked a little over a
month later. It then slowed way down. I racked once during the next
year. It took a year to clear. I didn't take readings as this being my
first try. It wasn't an active batch, in fact I thought it would never
clear and would have to dump it. It is a beautiful clear gold and I
decided to bottle it today. Therein lies my question. I noticed when I
was bottling that bubbles were forming on the siphon tube. There were
bubbles in the bottles after corking also. I tasted it (several times
;-)) and it is wonderful but I did not taste carbonation. It is sweet
with a pretty good kick. I was sure it would have to age another year
having read mead may take a year after bottling before it tastes good.
My question is, did I bottle to soon and will my corks fly out? I am
hoping after all my patience I didn't ruin it. Any help would be
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