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Looking For Advice

Squatchy

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Nov 3, 2014
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Well. So another thing you have a wrong assumption about is this. You cannot stop an active ferment.

To be honest. I think you would do much better just learning how to make a simple traditional. And learn to do that well, until you make them well consistently. And then branch out to other styles. In doing so you will be raising the bar for everything you make from then on out. If that's an interest go listen to the got mead podcast and start on 9/5/17. There I teach everything you need to know. And not only do I teach you what to do but why you do it as well.

About my language. I talk like that to my friends. So why wouldn't I talk like that to you also, friend! :)
 

EricHartman

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Mar 4, 2019
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Indiana
So yeah, I'm starting to get just a little bit frustrated here.
I think "frustration" should be the name of your mead once you finally cross the finish line! You are probably going to have to carve the path yourself as you are going way off the beaten path with such a difficult goal.

With experimentation you always want to start with known and then proceed into unknown. Follow the White Labs protocol exactly to the letter and see how it goes. If it stops earlier than you wanted try to determine why. insufficient initial yeast quantity? to little nutrients? not enough oxygen? temperature to high/low? osmotic pressure(excessive SG)? pH stress? other?

Then start adjusting a variable on successive attempts and chart your results. The first 3 just overcompensate by performing to excess. Lots of yeast, double nutrients, and bubble in pure oxygen (canisters available at home depot near their welding stuff). I think lower 1/3 of temperature range is generally recommended but the middle third might be better given how stressed you plan on making the yeast. I suspect the pH is also going to be a problem. You will likely also have to monitor the pH and buffer with some bicarbonate to keep it between 4.0-4.5 (appears to be their happiest region per google).

How slow, and how concentrated, you should add your step feedings you will have to figure out with experimentation. My best guess is that the must will tolerate fairly concentrated additions earlier and you'll need to reduce frequency and concentration as you push into the more alcohol stressed environment.

I also wouldn't let it get too dry. Yeast will "retool" for alternate carbon energy sources/pathways if sugars start to get limited. I have no idea what too dry is... maybe start with keeping the fermenting must SG between 1.06-1.1 with your additions? There is another variable to adjust.

instructions on spirit indication test here is how you can figure out the ABV of your final product.

With all that being said... not sure you'll ever end up with a yummy mead. Some really trustworthy folks have advised that the best this will ever be is high test, throat scorching, rocket fuel. However, experimentation is fun and limits should always be pressed! Please keep us posted on your quest.

Good luck my friend!
 
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Squatchy

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I'm not going to argue with that. I would attempt a mead like this.
it's not uncommon for newbee's to want to make high ABV meads. But after you do it a while you realize they don't taste very good usually. I make several port-style meads each year and those or a Polish style are the only time high ABV meads work in my opinion
 

Toxxyc

Worker Bee
Registered Member
Dec 21, 2017
377
10
18
Pretoria, South Africa
it's not uncommon for newbee's to want to make high ABV meads. But after you do it a while you realize they don't taste very good usually. I make several port-style meads each year and those or a Polish style are the only time high ABV meads work in my opinion
Yeah I've tried the high ABV thing. It's not rewarding. They end up hot and undrinkable, in my opinion. I'm sure it can be done, and I'm sure it can be done well, but I'm not there yet. I prefer my meads in the 10% ABV range. That's to me where the balance between flavour, ABV and aging starts to get "perfect". But again, that's probably just me.
 

Ambaryerno

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 9, 2016
41
0
0
St. Louis, MO
dewyatt.net
I've made a couple batches of mead before that turned out pretty good (a little sedimenty, especially from the first batch, and maybe not show quality, but otherwise it was good) and I was specifically wanting to try something more extreme.
 

Squatchy

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Yeah I've tried the high ABV thing. It's not rewarding. They end up hot and undrinkable, in my opinion. I'm sure it can be done, and I'm sure it can be done well, but I'm not there yet. I prefer my meads in the 10% ABV range. That's to me where the balance between flavour, ABV and aging starts to get "perfect". But again, that's probably just me.
For trads, I never go over 10%. Most of my other stuff between 12 and 14. I make my ports as high as I can push the yeast and the fortify with Brandy or Rum depending on my flavor profile I'm shooting at.
 

Toxxyc

Worker Bee
Registered Member
Dec 21, 2017
377
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18
Pretoria, South Africa
For trads, I never go over 10%. Most of my other stuff between 12 and 14. I make my ports as high as I can push the yeast and the fortify with Brandy or Rum depending on my flavor profile I'm shooting at.
What do you classify as a "Traditional"? Just water, honey and yeast, or are preservatives like ksorbate and kmeta allowed? Is it still a traditional when it's backsweetened to, say, 1.012 after stabilising?

PS: I would LOVE to make a port-style mead some day. I'll knock on your profile here when I do. I have no idea where to even start.
 

EricHartman

Lifetime GotMead Patron
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Mar 4, 2019
312
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Indiana
What do you classify as a "Traditional"? Just water, honey and yeast, or are preservatives like ksorbate and kmeta allowed? Is it still a traditional when it's backsweetened to, say, 1.012 after stabilising?
Everything you mentioned ok within the traditional category; you can even add oak without removing it from the traditional class in competition. Any spices, fruits, etc then the mead becomes something else.
 

Squatchy

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Technically. Because goferm and fermaid O are made of nothing more than yeast, you can use it as well.
 

Ambaryerno

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 9, 2016
41
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0
St. Louis, MO
dewyatt.net
All right, so it seems I'll be going with the process based on White Labs' SHG process on the next go round. I'll be modifying it slightly by incorporating the TOSNA protocol for nutrient additions.
 

Ambaryerno

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 9, 2016
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0
St. Louis, MO
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Gearing up for the next attempt — literally — and will probably be kicking this off on Wednesday if everything is here. I have a stir plate and Erlenmeyer flask coming to do my starter, as well as dedicated cleaning supplies (I've always used regular home stuff in the past, but have PBW and Star San on the way now). I've also decided to follow White Labs' starter procedure, including using DME as the nutrient (I'll still be following TOSNA protocol using Fermaid-O in the must). Would that technically make this a braggot, or would the extract be too small a portion of the final sugars to qualify?

The one thing the White Labs guide doesn't provide is an RPM setting for the stir plate. Any recommendations on what to use?
 

EricHartman

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Mar 4, 2019
312
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Put some pepper in water and see what speed keeps the pepper flakes from settling to the bottom. That will be pretty close to what you are looking for. Fast enough to keep all the floaties up in the liquid and not falling to the bottom.
 

Squatchy

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Nov 3, 2014
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This is yet another reason I use dry yeast. No need to build a starter. They are far less healthy than pitching a larger biomass from the start than counting on reproduction. The reproduction will take place. But it happens at the expense if cell viability. Mutations over time start to happen. And can lead to off-flavors and/or off-flavors that drift from what a younger biomass would create. And lastly it'a way cheaper
 

Ambaryerno

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 9, 2016
41
0
0
St. Louis, MO
dewyatt.net
Day 1 after pitching the yeast and all is well.

If the starting gravity calculations on my spreadsheet were correct, I dropped from 1.085 to 1.058 over the first 24 hours (unfortunately I wasn't able to actually get an accurate starting gravity; I lost 2 cups from my must volume to create the starter, so the only way I could get an actual measurement would have been to pitch first, THEN measure. Unfortunately aerating the must before pitching the starter created too much foam to pour off into the cylinder to measure... I'm also not sure how much the starter affects the total starting gravity). Today's feed (1lb, 2oz) bumped the gravity up to 1.106. So far the yeast appears to be pretty lively and energetic.
 

EricHartman

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Mar 4, 2019
312
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Indiana
Ambaryerno is attempting to drive the ABV to the max the yeast can tolerate (25%) with step feedings... this forum thread has been a little long and wondering.