Author Topic: First Mead  (Read 1529 times)

Offline liquidbrewing

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First Mead
« on: November 16, 2011, 07:50:20 PM »
I'm gonna make my first mead soon, do I need to leave a lot of headspace or provide blowoff?  I'm not sure how vigorous the fermentation will be, just looking for some pointers.  Thanks!!
Justin
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Offline punatic

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2011, 08:46:10 PM »
The vigor of the ferment will depend on the fermentables and the yeast you use.  I leave some headspace for my primary fermentations in glass carboys.  Generally with that headspace, any "krausen" that rises to the top falls back without being blown off.  An airlock is good.  This also allows for the staged addition of yeast nutrients over the first few days of fermentation.  I do the primary fermentation in 6.5 gallon glass carboys, then rack to 5 gallon carboys, filling them up to the neck for the dropping clear period.

For my fruit meads (melomels) I use an "open fermenter" that consists of a 10 gallon Vollrath SS stockpot and the stockpot cover with no airlock.  This way I have plenty of room for the fruit and the vigorous fermentation that often occurs with a fruit mead.   Also the open fermentor allows for "punching down the cap," which is stirring the fruit that rises to the top back down  into the liquid.  This should be done at least once a day.  When the fermentaion has subsided (but is still active) I remove the fruit with a SS strainer and transfer the mead into a glass carboy.  At this point I try to fill the carboy all the way up to the neck to avoid oxidation over the time it takes for the mead to finish fermenting and drop clear.

It's easier than it sounds once you get the hang of it.   No worries.

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Offline liquidbrewing

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2011, 03:06:51 PM »
Is it necessary to secondary my mead?  I just put everything together today and am about to pitch my starter this evening, hopefully. 

Or can I leave it in the primary for a few months before bottling?  My one and only experience with secondary-ing an ale was that it really oxidized it.  I'd rather just leave it in the primary if it can sit on the yeast/"trub" for that period of time.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 03:08:25 PM by liquidbrewing »
Justin
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Offline punatic

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2011, 04:33:42 PM »
I rack from a 6.5 gal. primary to a 5 gal. fermentor when fermentation has slowed and most of the solids have settled out or floated.  The idea is to get the good stuff away from the sediment and "scum."  There is still fermentation going on, so the carbon dioxide fills the minimal headspace in the neck of the smaller carboy.

It's kind of a choice between possible off-flavors from sediment or possible off-flavors from oxidation.  If you are careful you should be able to avoid both.

I have made mead, pitched the yeast and came back a year later to find the mead to be fine; no sign of off-flavors from sitting on the sediment. You have to be very careful at bottling, or you will end up with an excess of sediment in your bottled mead  

I would not try that with melomels though.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 04:39:06 PM by punatic »
There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.


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