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First batch newbee questions!

ChipSmith

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 25, 2021
19
1
3
Midland, Michigan
I know that you must have my exact recipe to help me, so here goes along with my timeline:
2 1/2 Lb. commercial honey
1 gal. Bottled drinking water
3 tsp.Malic acid
1 1/2 tsp. Tartaric acid
1/4 tsp Tannin
3/4 tsp. Di ammonium phosphate (Energizer)
1 Campden tablet, crushed
All these placed in two-gallon pail fermenter w/ airlock. Stirred and read SG (1.03) daily for six days. All equipment was sterilized prior to use.
On day 6, added 5grams of Red Star Premier Blanc Yeast, stirred and racked into sterilized one-gallon jug w/ three-piece airlock.
Must was stored in warm dark room for 28 days with fine bubbles each day.
on 28th day checked with hydrometer, reading 1.05SG and tastes like Vinegar!
I was going to rack it to a sterilized jar but want to get some expert guidance on next step!
Thanx ahead for the help!
 

Dan O

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Registered Member
Oct 12, 2020
68
30
18
New Hampshire, USA
Was this a recipe you came up with or was it one you saw somewhere? Just curious. Why would you add all those acids when you don't even have a clue what it will taste like without them? For me, I would've waited to see what it was going to be like before making acid additions, then dose it in a glass, to get a more accurate read on what it needs. Hope this helps.
Happy meading 😎
 
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ChipSmith

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 25, 2021
19
1
3
Midland, Michigan
This is the exact recipe I got with my mead kit from ‘HomeBrewOhio’. Followed it to the letter. Then I found GotMead; might have my cart before my horse!
 
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EricHartman

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Mar 4, 2019
378
62
28
Indiana
Excellent details/log! Your SG are confusing... Did you heat the water to encourage it to dissolve the honey on day 1? Honey can be difficult to dissolve and so commonly I'll heat up my water quite a bit and stir a lot! Your SG should go down not up. Check out the link in my signature as it has a good site for ensuring you are reading your hydrometer correctly.

keep it going... there's tons to learn from falling on your face and you've already paid for the honey! That seems like quite a bit of acid and you may find you need a fare amount of honey on the back end to try to blunt the bitterness (could be why it tastes so bitter currently). See what it takes to get your SG down to 1.000. Consider rehydrating some yeast and pitching again.... but be sure the honey is fully dissolved and your initial SG is accurate.

tips:
6 days of ignoring the must (honey water mix) is a dangerous play. that is a bacteria/yeast dream environment. Had anything got in there that organism would have taken over before your yeast had a chance to get going.

Also would have rehydrated your yeast rather than just dumping them in as a dry powder, and just left it all in the bucket rather than immediately racking to the carboy.
 

ChipSmith

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 25, 2021
19
1
3
Midland, Michigan
Thanks for the advice! I will do just as you say. I should add that the recipe is entitled ‘Dry Mead Recipe’. Also I left the must in the bucket for 6 days before racking to the jug. My batch is fairly clear, and I will check my SG tomorrow and procede from there! Again thanx!
 

ChipSmith

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 25, 2021
19
1
3
Midland, Michigan
Today is the 10th day of racking to a sterile jug and tossing the Lee’s. Today my SG is 1.05 and very little bubbling. Wonder if I should add some yeast and nutrient. Doesn’t seem to be done yet! APV is approx. 2.5% if my calculations are right. What do you suggest?
 

ChipSmith

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 25, 2021
19
1
3
Midland, Michigan
I’ve got an idea! I’ve lost approximately a pint of my original gallon and the ABV is only 2.5%. I would like to add more honey, nutrient, water and yeast to attempt to restart the fermentation. Any comments, suggestions, or reprimands?
 

Crispy

Grumpy Old Drone
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Apr 28, 2016
81
19
8
Burlingame, California
... Any comments, suggestions, or reprimands?

comment: Patience my friend, patients...
suggestion: Patience my friend, patients...
reprimand: You jump all over the place trying desperately to give so much information that it becomes garbled and incoherent.

... I’ve lost approximately a pint of my original gallon and the ABV is only 2.5%.

What do you mean you lost it, where did it go ? And how do you know it is approximately 2.5% ABV ?

This is the exact recipe I got with my mead kit from ‘HomeBrewOhio’. Followed it to the letter.

Could you post here that recipe as a picture or type it in word for word so we can see how you "followed it to the letter" ?

... Any ... reprimands?

My suspicion is that you treated the LIST of INGREDIENTS as your recipe. Common newb mistake, "it was on the list" sort of thing. I doubt that the DIRECTIONS in that recipe asked you to put all the acids or Campden tablet in your must at the beginning and wait for six days before you add yeast.
You seem to like racking a lot, why so often and at the very wrong times ? Did the recipe ask for that or is a lack of patience again.
Still no information about your initial SG.
 

ChipSmith

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 25, 2021
19
1
3
Midland, Michigan
Regard your observation about my mistaking the list of ingredients; I have highlighted the instruction in the recipe. (See photo) My losses are from taking samples for SG readings and not pouring them back into the batch to avoid contamination. My approximation of 2.5 ABV is from reading the scale on my hygrometer. I’m afraid I may have fumbled my OG reading, but believe it to have been 1.30. Thanx.
 

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Crispy

Grumpy Old Drone
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Apr 28, 2016
81
19
8
Burlingame, California
Thank you for posting the recipe/instructions @ChipSmith and additional information.
So, I was wrong suspecting you of making a mistake of adding acids up front, never the less it is still a mistake and recipe should not ask you to do that. Not your fault. Acids are usually used to modify the taste of your mead after fermentation is finished. Very seldom there is a need to modify acidity with acids before fermentation and only if you find out by measuring the pH of the must that the pH is high, more then 4.6 lets say. Adding acids blindly at the beginning should not be done.

Reading the hydrometer correctly is another issue here. If you have multi scale hydrometer you need to pay attention which scale you should be reading. The most common scales on hydrometers are Specific Gravity, Brix and Alcohol. The last one is only for reference in relation to SG or Brix and provides you with information on how much alcohol could be potentially produced for any reading on SG or Brix scale. You can also look on this from the other side. Let's say you want your mead to have 14% alcohol. Find the number 14 on alcohol scale and rotate the hydrometer to read how many Brix or SG you would need to produce that amount of alcohol. All of this is done before fermentation starts. Latter, during fermentation, you only read SG or Brix scale and disregard alcohol readings as they are no longer correct.

Adding yeast. Instruction/recipe asks to add yeast 24 hours after mixing water and honey. That delay is caused by using Campden tablet in your must. Campden tablets are either potassium or sodium sulfite compounds meant to prevent spontaneous fermentation caused by wild yeast and/or infections by other microorganisms. Waiting six days to add yeast was not necessary and recipe/instruction did not call for that. Another issue here is that the yeast was not properly rehydrated. Find the NewBee guide on this forum and familiarize yourself with proper procedures.

I am guessing that your OG was 1.130.
Again, pay attention to how you read your hydrometer or at least that you do not make mistakes when posting it here. So far you stated that it was 1.03 and in your last reply 1.30. Location of the "dot" and "zero" is critical and makes HUGE difference. Also, you should be using four digits and a dot when posting, example - 0.999; 1.000; 1.050; 1.120; et cetera. In your original post you stated 1.03 and in your last post 1.30 which should have a form of 1.030 and 1.300 respectively. Both of them are a ridiculous numbers for Original Gravity, first one very very low and the second impossibly high.

If your OG was indeed 1.130 and now you have 1.050, I would say it is miraculously wonderful result given the mistakes.
The only thing I am not sure is if all the sugars were converted to alcohol or vinegar. The sour taste may also be present due to large addition of Malic and Tartaric acids. Hard to say.
 
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Shelley

Worker Bee
Registered Member
Sep 13, 2013
342
9
18
Harford, NY
MeadMagic.com
As an aside, if you do end up with vinegar (which is a process of bacteria turning alcohol into acetic acid), you might keep it and let it mellow and see if it turns into a good vinegar for salad dressings and whatnot. I've had mead-based vinegar before, and it's quite different from the grocery story white, cider and wine vinegars.
 

ChipSmith

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 25, 2021
19
1
3
Midland, Michigan
Ok, I’m setting up my second batch. It will be a traditional or sweet mead!
I am striking out with a simple recipe I’ve gleaned together from the many articles and posts in this great GodMead forum. Basically:
2.5# Commercial honey
1gal. Purified drinking water
1/4tsp. DPA
1.5gm Red Star Premium Blanc yeast
i used the no-heat method and a plastic fermenter. I put 2/5 of the water in the fermenter then added all the honey and stirred vigorously for ten minutes. Previously I proofed my yeast in tepid water with a few grains of DPA. It was bubbling nicely after 10 minutes.
Next I added the remainder of the gallon and stirred it a little more for good luck. Next I added 1/4tsp of DPA to the fermenter and stirred it a little. At that time I took a SG reading of 1.83. I believe this is my OG, although it seems a little high. I carefully read it three times to assure accuracy!
After a deep breath, I added in my yeast, then sealed the lid and added my airlock.
Then the fermenter was placed in my furnace room in the basement (approx. 65F. and dark) This was all completed on April Fools day.
Today I agitated the bucket (to wake up the sleepy yeasts) and received a nice ‘burb’ in my airlock. I’ll continue to shake the bucket twice a day for the next two days unless one of you folks think it isn’t wise.
Will keep you upon progress.
 

Crispy

Grumpy Old Drone
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Apr 28, 2016
81
19
8
Burlingame, California
@ChipSmith
Everything seems to be OK except yeast amount used, yeast rehydration protocol and OG reading.
With the amount of honey and water you used it is impossible to get OG this high - 1.830. You probably made a mistake reporting it here and again in the wrong format, SG has a FOUR DIGIT and a DOT notation, example - 1.125.
From the numbers you used I think the correct reading you meant to report here is 1.183 ?
If that is correct, the OG is very high and with only 1.5 grams of yeast you will have lots of problems. Yeast is relatively chip and common practice with small batches is to use the whole 5 or 8 gram packet. Also, using a rehydration compound called Go-Ferm Protect helps keeping the yeast healthy and happy. I realize that you may have no access to Go-Ferm tough.
Verify the numbers on your Original Gravity and if indeed it is 1.183 and you have space in your fermenter available I would reduce that to 1.120 maybe by adding more water. It may be too late to add more yeast at this point.
 
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darigoni

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Jun 4, 2016
832
11
18
Brookline, NH
Hi Crisp!

Using the Gotmead calculator: If you add 2.5 lbs of honey, to enough water to make a total volume of 1 gallon, the starting gravity should be approx. 1.089.

dave
 
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ChipSmith

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 25, 2021
19
1
3
Midland, Michigan
Ok, you got me! Hydrometer (dang autocorrect has been changing it to hygrometer) OG reading is 1.083! And I fished the yeast package out of the trash; it was 176grams. Upon shaking the fermenter this morning, I got a satisfying amount of CO2 burp. I think this batch is alright. Am I wrong?
 

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