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Traditional Mead Back Sweetened with Lavender Honey

Laura_Tallo

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Registered Member
Aug 24, 2020
22
3
3
Independence, Louisiana
I think I ruined my traditional mead. I have less that a gallon because I tasted it. I lost some in racking. It is absolutely disgusting, although it is clear. I managed to rack it beautifully see-through clear. I back sweetened it with 5 oz of lavender honey. I had purchased it in a kit. It doesn't taste like soap, but it doesn't taste like lavender either. I bottled it, and I figured that I would let it age. Maybe in a year it will be good. I took two Shasta tonic water bottles and filled them with some of the mead. I figured that I could play with flavors at home. I put a drop of vanilla in it. I have these essential oils that can be used for flavoring. I took a toothpick, dipped it in lemongrass, and I dropped the toothpick in the mead bottle. I did the same with bergamot. I will let y'all know in a week or so if the flavor shifts. Have any of you made a lavender mead, and made it really well? If so, do you have any advice?
 

edaskew

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Jun 19, 2018
278
7
18
North Carolina and Mississippi
Just let it age. I made a Tulip Poplar honey that had a vinegar like flavor for years, but I think after it aged something like 13 years it ended up being really awesome. You'll be surprised what age will do for mead. Trudy wants me to add lavender to one of mine but I haven't since you're not the first to have that happen. Where did you get the bergamot? That grows wild around our little mountain in NC. Bergamot, All Heal, all kinds of flowers like that.
 

Laura_Tallo

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Registered Member
Aug 24, 2020
22
3
3
Independence, Louisiana
I have Young Living Bergamot oil. Ed, I was wearing a mask at school, and all of a sudden, "that" flavor entered my mouth, and the smell came back to my nose. I became nauseated and dizzy. I had to take the mask off. I realized that I had accidentally washed the cheesecloth that I had used with dish towels that were near my sink. I contaminated it with lavender laundry soap and a dryer sheet. I had soaked it in Star San thinking that would take out any laundry additives, but evidently it didn't. I think I contaminated that mead with laundry soap/ dryer sheet chemical. I threw it out.

I have started another. This time, I am being more careful. When you step feed with a yeast nutrient, do you divide the total recommended dose by 4, and then dose every other day until you hit the recommended dose amount?
 

EricHartman

Lifetime GotMead Patron
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Mar 4, 2019
312
15
18
Indiana
Generally you'll have to go quite a bit quicker than that. You want your feedings completed prior to the 1/3 sugar break so frequently enough you are looking at every 12 hours. As the alcohol level increases the yeast nitrogen transport channels become less functional at their job. If you get your nutrient/nitrogen added prior to the 1/3 break the yeast will have plenty of time to collect it up and add it to their storage pool before the ABV limits their ability to transport the nitrogen from the must.
 

Laura_Tallo

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Registered Member
Aug 24, 2020
22
3
3
Independence, Louisiana
Thank you, EricHartman. I was attempting to follow a TONSA guideline. I saw that the guideline recommended every 48 hours. Do you take the total amount that is prescribed on the package and divide it by the number of "step-feeds," or do you administer that total amount 4 times (If a gallon of mead requires 1/2 teaspoon of yeast nutrient, do I divide 1/2 teaspoon into fourths, or administer 1/2 teaspoon on 4 occasions?) I am scared of administering too much and producing rocket fuel.
 

edaskew

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Jun 19, 2018
278
7
18
North Carolina and Mississippi
If you look at the Scott's Lab Handbook, the link for the free download will be at the bottom of this post, you'll see (at least in last year's handbook. I hadn't read this years) that now they recommend 2 nutrient additions that are of equal weight. The first is the morning after you pitch the yeast, presuming that you see evidence of fermentation. The second is at 1/3 sugar break, or, when your gravity is down a third from original gravity. Most of these guys do 4 additions, but, I'm really too busy to be fooling with mead anyway and so I try to cut down on what I have to do. I calculate the total dose of Fermaid O (if you read the handbook, you'll see they actually recommend an inorganic nutrient for any low YAN, or yeast available nitrogen, must. Mead is always low YAN since there's little protein in honey. However, I think most of us disregard this and use the organic nutrient Fermaid O, just because of our experience with it and getting good results), and I divide that into two. I put some spring water in two 4 oz jelly jars and boil it in the microwave. I then add the Fermaid O to that, put the tops on, shake it up good, and boil it some more making sure not to have it boil over. I put the tops back on and pop them in the fridge. So when I make my additions I just pop the tops off and prep the edge with alcohol and pour it in. You want to make sure you stir your must prior to the addition, otherwise, the must will come out of the fermenter. I saw where you sent me a chat, but dangit if I can figure out how to do that.
 

edaskew

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Jun 19, 2018
278
7
18
North Carolina and Mississippi
Also you'll see a lot of info about the various yeast strains. I am not familiar with that particular strain you used on the muscadine pyment, but it looks ok. If you read a few mead books you'll see a lot of recipes for meads with 71B. Personally, I don't care for 71B. I think K1 V116 is probably the best yeast to use for your first few batches, because it has a high temperature tolerance, and you can make some mistakes with K1V and it won't matter. Some of these yeasts are very picky about their living conditions. In my experience, the things that matter are pitching the correct amount of yeast (2g/ gallon) using GoFerm to rehydrate exactly as instructed in that handbook, oxygenating the heck of the must in the first 48 hours, getting the nutrients according to TOSNA, getting the fermentation temperature into the bottom of the range the yeast can tolerate, agitating the mead frequently during the early stages of fermentation, letting fermentation go to completion in the primary and then letting the mead sit agitating it daily by shaking for about a week after, racking into another fermenter at that point and then occasional agitation for 2-3 weeks, then cold crash, rack and stabilize, let it sit on some oak for a few months, finish, watch it so it doesn't go off again, add the clarifiers, wait a week and bottle. That's my game plan for all of my meads. We're coming down your way after this storm passes and I'll bring you some.
 
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Reactions: Laura_Tallo

Laura_Tallo

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Registered Member
Aug 24, 2020
22
3
3
Independence, Louisiana
If you look at the Scott's Lab Handbook, the link for the free download will be at the bottom of this post, you'll see (at least in last year's handbook. I hadn't read this years) that now they recommend 2 nutrient additions that are of equal weight. The first is the morning after you pitch the yeast, presuming that you see evidence of fermentation. The second is at 1/3 sugar break, or, when your gravity is down a third from original gravity. Most of these guys do 4 additions, but, I'm really too busy to be fooling with mead anyway and so I try to cut down on what I have to do. I calculate the total dose of Fermaid O (if you read the handbook, you'll see they actually recommend an inorganic nutrient for any low YAN, or yeast available nitrogen, must. Mead is always low YAN since there's little protein in honey. However, I think most of us disregard this and use the organic nutrient Fermaid O, just because of our experience with it and getting good results), and I divide that into two. I put some spring water in two 4 oz jelly jars and boil it in the microwave. I then add the Fermaid O to that, put the tops on, shake it up good, and boil it some more making sure not to have it boil over. I put the tops back on and pop them in the fridge. So when I make my additions I just pop the tops off and prep the edge with alcohol and pour it in. You want to make sure you stir your must prior to the addition, otherwise, the must will come out of the fermenter. I saw where you sent me a chat, but dangit if I can figure out how to do that.
That's ok. I am just learning how to use these forums. I am used to FB. Rebecca taught me how to use that, but she isn't here to teach me forums. I have a Japanese persimmon tree at my house in the country, and it is loaded. I got 11 yesterday, and I usually get between 7-9 per day. My freezer was full. I put them in the fridge to thaw, and I got more honey today. I am going to start it tomorrow.
 

Laura_Tallo

Got Mead? Patron
GotMead Patron
Registered Member
Aug 24, 2020
22
3
3
Independence, Louisiana
Also you'll see a lot of info about the various yeast strains. I am not familiar with that particular strain you used on the muscadine pyment, but it looks ok. If you read a few mead books you'll see a lot of recipes for meads with 71B. Personally, I don't care for 71B. I think K1 V116 is probably the best yeast to use for your first few batches, because it has a high temperature tolerance, and you can make some mistakes with K1V and it won't matter. Some of these yeasts are very picky about their living conditions. In my experience, the things that matter are pitching the correct amount of yeast (2g/ gallon) using GoFerm to rehydrate exactly as instructed in that handbook, oxygenating the heck of the must in the first 48 hours, getting the nutrients according to TOSNA, getting the fermentation temperature into the bottom of the range the yeast can tolerate, agitating the mead frequently during the early stages of fermentation, letting fermentation go to completion in the primary and then letting the mead sit agitating it daily by shaking for about a week after, racking into another fermenter at that point and then occasional agitation for 2-3 weeks, then cold crash, rack and stabilize, let it sit on some oak for a few months, finish, watch it so it doesn't go off again, add the clarifiers, wait a week and bottle. That's my game plan for all of my meads. We're coming down your way after this storm passes and I'll bring you some.
I will bottle a taste of my muscadine pyment and let you taste it. I promise the house that I make mead in is very, very clean ( no animals). I sweep and mop all the time, and I use the heck out of Star -San to sanitize everything.