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1 Gallon Batch, am I doing this right?

csuiss

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 29, 2019
4
0
0
Hey y'all I just got into mead making and have been working on my first batch! I'm a little concerned about it.
The recipe was simple, 3 pounds of honey for 1 gallon of water in a carboy with D47 and yeast nutrients. So far it's been a few days (started 10/26/19) and I still do not see bubbles from my airlock. Its a cheap one from an amazon kit so that might be the issue. Now i already see lees forming on the bottom of the carboy so I know there's something going on. Should I be concerned? or should I let it sit for the next 2-3 weeks and finish fermenting regardless as to what my airlock is doing. The smell of it is very yeasty(or bread-like) and big hints of honey. I do not have a hydrometer (yet) to really make sure. Any thoughts?
 

Toxxyc

Worker Bee
Registered Member
Dec 21, 2017
377
10
18
Pretoria, South Africa
My thoughts - buy an hydrometer. It's really the only way you'll know. You can also remove the airlock, stick your sanitized hand over the hole, shake the carboy a bit and see if pressure escapes. If it does (makes a PSSSST noise when you remove your hand) then you know your bung/airlock is leaking somewhere. If there is lees forming, you probably do have fermentation.

Also, did you feed your yeast?
 

csuiss

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 29, 2019
4
0
0
I did feed my yeast with what came with the kit, I've seen that some people do raisins as well. I'll get the hydrometer but i've done a bit of research and it seems that there is fermentation, might just have to let it sit longer lol
 

rb2112br

Worker Bee
Registered Member
Mar 27, 2018
116
1
18
The fermentation may indeed be active, but a hydrometer is one of the must important pieces of equipment you can have for brewing (beer, wine, or mead).
 

Toxxyc

Worker Bee
Registered Member
Dec 21, 2017
377
10
18
Pretoria, South Africa
Raisins aren't really nutrients. Read up on the TOSNA 2.0 protocol, and something called YAN (Yeast Assimilable Nitrogen). Also oxygen and the aerobic and anaerobic stages of yeast development.

And I have to add it again - get a hydrometer. If you ask me, a hydrometer is more important than an airlock.
 

GronkGat

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 28, 2019
8
0
0
Why even worry I have created many wines in the beginning with out a Hydrometer. If you followed the kit recipe it should get you in the ball park and use their ABV as a reference.

If you like the hobby then trust me a Hydrometer is not where it stops.

Now I'm not to sure if I should post this part as it is very back yard science......... But why not do a CO2 test with a flame (Take a sample cover with plastic wrap give it a hour or so and test) but to be honest too must work and less time drinking ;-)
 

GronkGat

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 28, 2019
8
0
0
I doubt people are brewing mead from kits. Hydrometers tell you what you have, where you are and what you can expect. It's crucial.
https://www.northernbrewer.com/coll..._shop_by_category=cider_mead:Mead Recipe Kits

and OP said so

I did feed my yeast with what came with the kit, I've seen that some people do raisins as well. I'll get the hydrometer but i've done a bit of research and it seems that there is fermentation, might just have to let it sit longer lol
 

GronkGat

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 28, 2019
8
0
0
I'm with you on a hydrometer. Just saying that if you are new to this and want to test the waters then following a kit is not a bad thing to do.
 

csuiss

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 29, 2019
4
0
0
Thank you all for the feedback! I've concluded that the batch is fine and doing its thing. I did get a hydrometer and decided to replace the airlock with a sanitized balloon (not fancy but it works!). I can tell that there is CO2 production after doing a few tests and the honey at the bottom is slowly being eaten up! I have a tube for racking and marbles to make up the extra volume (that were not in the kit) so i understand that i'm going to invest more into the hobby than what I have so far lol. Love that this forum is so helpful!

Thanks again!
 

rb2112br

Worker Bee
Registered Member
Mar 27, 2018
116
1
18
Yes, you'll find that this forum is full of some very knowledgeable people who are more than happy to help answer any questions that you might have. I should add that I am not one of those knowledgeable people myself. I am still very much a newbie by my standards, but I seem to learn something new almost every day.

As far as equipment/supplies goes, there is almost no limit to how much you could spend depending on how serious you are about this hobby. You take someone like Ryan (squatchy) for instance, he probably spends more in honey annually than I've spent for everything combined up to this point. Bottom line, if you're serious about it, there will always be something more that you could get to add to what you have, improve what you have, or increase the quantity of what you make. Even with a minimal seriousness using minimal equipment, this can be an extremely fun hobby to partake in.
 

EricHartman

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Mar 4, 2019
311
15
18
Indiana
the honey at the bottom is slowly being eaten up!
I just want to check that you did dissolve the honey into the water correct? There really should have been no boundary or separation between the water and honey prior to pitching your yeast. If not you'll want to sanitize a spoon/mixer and stir the crap out of your must until the honey is all dissolved into the water. This is much easier on the front end with warmer water but either way you'll want the honey fully dissolved or you are rather likely to end up with some pretty funky mead.

---------------------------------------------------

Since you're new to all this I'm going to share my link blast with you... it's definitely my most popular post! I poured over gotmead and a few other sites when I first got into this about a year ago and kept notes on where I found things.

Here is a wealth of good information:

The GotMead Modern Mead Making Podcast series on the procedure of making mead right:

9-5-17 Ryan Carlson - Modern Mead Making - Yeast in Mead: 9-5-17-ryan-carlson-modern-mead-making-yeast
9-12-17 Ryan Carlson - Modern Meadmaking - Making Happy Yeast: 9-12-17-ryan-carlson-making-modern-mead-yeast-keep-happy
9-19-17 Making Modern Mead - SNA, Racking, Stabilizing and Aging: 9-19-17-ryan-making-modern-mead-snas-racking-stabilizing-aging
9-26-17 Making Modern Mead - Sulfites and Sorbates: 9-26-17-ryan-tom-repas-moder-mead-making-sulfiting-sorbating
11-14-17 Ryan Carlson - Modern Mead Making - fine tuning mead: 11-14-17-ryan-carlson-science-fine-tuning-mead/


The only significant, procedural question, you be left with by the end: How exactly do I cold crash?
Either Vicky or AJ on the podcast 9/25/18 define it as: Cold crash - place your mead (still in primary but gravity no longer changing thus no longer fermenting) in a fridge around 4C for 1+ weeks (generally 1-2 weeks). Helps with flocculation - or clearing the mead by getting yeasts/proteins to stick together.

*some dated information in those podcasts is the concept of degassing. They advise degassing routinely (2-3 times daily) but it is now generally accepted that degassing is only needed to avoid mead eruptions when adding nutrient additions rather than helping the yeasts avoid a toxic environment. So generally it is not done on a schedule but just prior to nutrient additions.

That's probably 10-12h of podcast. Quite a bit of it is banter/filler... but there is gold in there, even in the banter. I've listened to each of them at least twice; taking detailed notes!

The modern mead making series continues from there but they dive into specific meads like pyments, cysers, Sessions, Braggots and I've not dived deeply there yet.

The primary - the period when the yeast are fermenting the honey
9-25-18 Ryan Carlson - Pairing Yeast to Meads: 9-25-18-ryan-carlson-pairing-yeast-to-meads
10-2-18 Ryan Carlson – Pairing Yeasts to Meads – Part 2:10-2-18-ryan-carlson-pairing-yeasts-to-meads-part-2

The secondary - the period when the mead has been racked off of the "gross lees" (sediment from primary) and the mead flavor is adjusted/augmented
6-5-18 Ryan’s Rants – Balancing Your Mead Podcast on factors that balance a meads flavor
Forum post on adjusting acids: Squatchy on acid adjustment/additions for balance

Oaking
8-29-17 Ryan Carlson - Oaking Your Mead: 8-29-17-ryan-carlson-oaking-mead
that oaking podcast is well supported by this supplement: https://morewinemaking.com/web_files/intranet.morebeer.com/files/oakinfopaper09.pdf
Loveofrose detailed oaking experiment: http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/27970-The-Barrel-Mimic-Experiment


Extra goodies I've found helpful:
A very help glossary: https://morewinemaking.com/articles/wine_terminology - fermenters talk weird sometimes!

https://morewinemaking.com/articles/SO2_management additional information on how to sulfite stabilize your mead

https://www.bjcp.org/mead/Mead_Study.pdf - basically a book on this stuff. Some seems out of date but you'll be able to spot it after understanding the podcasts. very helpful section on "balance" & mead faults.

YouTube video on Spirit indication test for determining the final ABV when additional sugars/liquids have been added or the original SG is unknown

TOSNA - Tailored Organic Staggered Nitrogen Additions calculator honey is nitrogen poor so mead needs nitrogen additions to support the yeast

https://morewinemaking.com/articles/Fining_finished_white_wine Information on agents used to help clear your mead. The BJCP "book" has information on this as well.

https://morewinemaking.com/articles/wine_bench_trials - how to perform a bench trial

------------------------------------------
Since I update this often enough, and post it frequently, here is a link to my user notes where the most updated version will be: https://www.gotmead.com/forum/usernote.php?u=38558
 

csuiss

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 29, 2019
4
0
0
Yeah the original mix was all dissolved and eventually the honey settled a bit. I read on another forum that having some at the bottom allows for the yeast to have another source of food, regardless there's nearly nothing left of it (just a small film with some lees that I could mixed back into it). This is my first batch and will be a learning experience since I'm documenting it all. I'm just hoping it tastes good lol

Than you for all the links too! will for sure check them out!
 

Toxxyc

Worker Bee
Registered Member
Dec 21, 2017
377
10
18
Pretoria, South Africa
It won't make a settlement at the bottom if it's dissolved completely. The honey at the bottom means a few things:

1. At the bottom, where the yeast lies down, you have a super-high concentration of sugars. This is not good for the yeast, as they're lying in a solution that's much higher in sugar than what they're happy to try and eat through.
2. Your gravity readings (with the hydrometer) would be all wrong. If all the sugar isn't properly dissolved, the hydrometer won't work, and your mead won't be as expected.

Shake up the fermenter and get all the honey dissolved immediately, if you ask me.