So I made the recipe at big brew. And as some of you may know, notes at big brew can easily be forgotten. Here are the notes I took.
Gravity: 8.7 brix (1.035) – so I hit my gravity, huzzah.
pH: 3.75 – so I was wrong that the pH would be a little low, also huzzah since that’s less work.
Then the real work of brewing mead was upon me. That’s the stirring and addition of nutrients. I stir twice a day. This gives me a chance to take a gravity, as well as to smell for off-flavors developing. I test the gravity to know when to add the rest of the nutrients at the 1/3 sugar break.
During fermentation on day 3 with gravity around 1.017 I noticed a light stench of hydrogen sulfide (H2S). That’s pretty close to 50% sugar break (this will probably go to 0.998 gravity), so I had a decision to make. Do I add organic and inorganic nutrients (since I ran out of Fermaid O) or do I just add yeast hulls. This is on the very edge of where it is OK to add nutrients, especially inorganic nutrients.
I decided to do a little of both, add a touch of nutrients (30ppm) as well as some Reduless (Scott Laboratories, MoreWine) which is yeast hulls infused with copper. Copper being able to help rid your mead of H2S products and some byproducts. And I really dislike the flavor of even a little bit of mercaptan.
So day 3 I added 4g Reduless and 8g of Fermaid K. If you don’t have Reduless, the Fermaid K by itself would probably be fine, and if the H2S didn’t got away then a touch of yeast hulls would probably be enough. I just wanted the copper infusion to hopefully eliminate any mercaptan formation.
Just 10 minutes later after adding and stirring, the H2S aroma was pretty much gone. And a day later all is still smelling fine.
When I do this recipe again I’ll bump the nutrients up to 200 ppm YAN.
One of my favorite types of meads to make are session meads. I like them for their quick turn around and that I can put them on tap for a nice refreshing drink.
I’ve some Raspbery Blossom honey that I’ve been told has a relatively low pH, so this batch will be a little more work than a normal recipe. I believe I’m going to have to bump up the pH with Potassium Carbonate so that the yeast have a smaller chance of becoming stressed and producing Hydrogen Sulfide and thus getting Mercaptans.
The recipe goal is pretty straightforward. I’ll be making a 10 gallon batch. I’m shooting for around 5% alcohol. I plan on then sweeting it with 0.5lb to 1.0 lb of raspberry blossom honey per 5G and carbonating. For fun I’m going to clarify half the batch with sparkolloid and the other half with no clarifying agents.
So to get 5 alcohol in 10G I can either use prior knowledge to know that I need to shoot for around 1.035 original gravity, or I can use a calculator. Either way gives me about 10 lbs of honey to get 1.035. Note that since honey is a natural product it can have quite a bit of variance, meaning you might have to use a little less or a little more honey.
Next is to figure out how much nutrients are needed. Now this depends on the yeast. I’m going to use a yeast with ‘medium’ nutrient needs: D21. This is a fun yeast and I’m thinking it will complement the honey well. For a medium nutrient yeast I generally shoot for 175 ppm YAN. I’ve found with lower than that I tend to start getting sulfur compounds. Honey has basically 0 YAN, so it has to be added from other sources. I’m choosing to use a combination of Fermaid O and DAP. Fermaid O is 6.5% N and DAP is 21% N (For reference Fermaid K is 13% N). Here is a decent reference on adding YAN to your wine. I tend to go with a 3:2 ratio of YAN from organic to inorganic (DAP). If I add 1.55g/L of Fermaid O that’ll provide 101ppm YAN, so I’ll add .32g/L of DAP for about 67ppm YAN. You’ll notice that is only 168ppm YAN. We’ll also get some YAN from the GoFerm we’ll use for rehydration, about 9 ppm worth.
Rehydration of yeast with GoFerm is a must. Without rehydration you lose up to 50% of your yeast cells, severely hampering your fermentation.
So, here’s the final recipe.
10lb Raspberry blossom honey (primary)
1-2lbs of Raspberry blossom honey (backsweetening)
10G Filtered water
58.9g Fermaid O (47.1g @Lag, 11.8g @1/3 sugar)
12.2 DAP (6.1g @Lag, 6.1g @1/3 sugar)
10g D21 yeast
Aiming for 1.035 OG.
That doesn’t look to bad does it? I’ll be brewing it at big brew.