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In honor of a friend.....

htcx3

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 7, 2014
5
0
1
Just a little intro, I created an account here years ago and used the wealth of information to put up five or six one gallon batches a year for three or four years. Some were crap, some were drinkable, a few were excellent. I haven't made anything for at least three years. I still consider myself a beginner.

So, I had a beekeeper friend who passed recently. I found a four pound jug of his Japanese Knotweed honey sitting on my shelf the other day. Japanese Knotweed is tremendously invasive in our area, but the one good thing that can be said about it is that bees love it and it makes an exceptional, dark, intensely-flavoured honey.

When I found out about his passing, I decided to pull my brewing supplies out and give it another go. I'm making up two 1-gallon batches from this slightly-under-four-pound jug. I'm planning a very basic recipe, trying to maximize my success at making a batch that is drinkable in honor of him. Per gallon, slightly less than two pounds of honey, one campden tab, one teaspoon of nutrient, one teaspoon of tri-acid blend, and half a pack of Lalvin D47. The water is our well water, which has been successful for me before. Boiled and cooled. Everything sanitized with One Step.

I'm working on it today, so while I will probably have it locked up in the primaries before any responses come in, I am really hoping to hear from some of the members here with feedback on what I can expect from this. I'm just putting together different things that have worked for me in the past, and trying to keep it simple.

ANY feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Kristen Sorensen
Pittsburgh, PA
 

htcx3

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 7, 2014
5
0
1
KIMG1416.JPG
Set and active. I may have pitched the yeast too warm, but they are exibiting steady activity, so I'm going to wait and see.

EDIT (one hour after pitching): Interesting note, despite the fact that the batch was split and both are equivalent in every way, the batch on the left is bubbling at approximately three times the rate of the batch on the right. I have to assume that this is due to differences in pitching the yeast....the batch on the left maintained a small quantity of dry yeast on a raft for at least 15 minutes past the time where the batch on the right had rehydrated. Because the wort was warmer than it should have been, I am thinking that the remaining dry yeast in the bottle on the left had an opportunity to acclimate to the cooling wort, while the yeast in the batch on the right might have been inhibited by the heat. Any ideas?
 
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bernardsmith

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Sep 1, 2013
1,611
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Saratoga Springs , NY
When you say "bubbling" do you mean in the carboy or do you mean in the airlock. If , for example the volume of water in the airlocks are not identical then both would require different amounts of pressure to escape through the water. If one carboy had a less than perfect seal between glass and bung or between bung and airlock then you may find that the rate of gas escaping through that airlock would be different from the amount of gas escaping through the second airlock. Just looking at the photo both carboys appear to be experiencing very similar activity given the height of the froth and foam and the color of that foam.
 
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htcx3

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 7, 2014
5
0
1
When you say "bubbling" do you mean in the carboy or do you mean in the airlock. If , for example the volume of water in the airlocks are not identical then both would require different amounts of pressure to escape through the water. If one carboy had a less than perfect seal between glass and bung or between bung and airlock then you may find that the rate of gas escaping through that airlock would be different from the amount of gas escaping through the second airlock. Just looking at the photo both carboys appear to be experiencing very similar activity given the height of the froth and foam and the color of that foam.
Awesome information. Thank you. What I meant by "bubbling" is the rate of bubbles passing through the airlock. At the time I posted, the batch on the left was releasing three bubbles through the airlock for every one that was passing through the batch on the right. The rate has changed in the intervening hours, though, and right now they are almost equivalent, with the batch on the right only slightly slower than the one on the left. I find this incredibly interesting, and I really think it has a lot to do with my mismanagement of temperatures at pitching. The most fascinating part, though, is how both batches seem to have overcome this and are now perking along at almost equal rates....
 

htcx3

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 7, 2014
5
0
1
When you say "bubbling" do you mean in the carboy or do you mean in the airlock. If , for example the volume of water in the airlocks are not identical then both would require different amounts of pressure to escape through the water. If one carboy had a less than perfect seal between glass and bung or between bung and airlock then you may find that the rate of gas escaping through that airlock would be different from the amount of gas escaping through the second airlock. Just looking at the photo both carboys appear to be experiencing very similar activity given the height of the froth and foam and the color of that foam.
BTW, when I read your post, I did go back and check all of my seals. Thank you for the double check. Everything seems OK, but it was a great suggestion....
 

bernardsmith

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Sep 1, 2013
1,611
18
38
Saratoga Springs , NY
Okay... so no problem, but the only way to determine the rate of fermentation apart from a direct measure of the amount of alcohol produced by the yeast is to measure the specific gravity of each with an hydrometer and monitor the change in gravity (density) over time. Bubbles really tell you diddly squat. Oh, they are amusing to watch and listen to but 1 bubble a second or 1each minute really tells you nothing very useful. Not least because the bubbler can be bubbling long after the yeast has ceased to produce CO2. Your mead or wine might be saturated with the gas and a change in air pressure outside or a change in temperature of the room may force gas to be released and similarly changes in temperature or air pressure can keep the gas in the mead for longer today than was kept yesterday... Your hydrometer is the only reliable compass you have...
 
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htcx3

NewBee
Registered Member
Feb 7, 2014
5
0
1
Wow. Great information. Thank you. I have never done the hydrometer thing because I always make one gallon batches, and 1) filling the tube twice for each batch makes a significant dent in the final output, and 2) I never really cared about final ABV. Sounds like there's a lot more information to be gleaned from that measurement, though. It's a good argument for larger batches.