Mead - the homebrew thread

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So, fruit caps. My first mead using whole fruit is almost two weeks in. I was breaking it up twice a day for the first week, and I've been doing once a week for the second week. Past week two do I keep breaking it up periodically? Do I just leave it for a while longer and then rack off after I think fermentation's done?
 
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So, fruit caps. My first mead using whole fruit is almost two weeks in. I was breaking it up twice a day for the first week, and I've been doing once a week for the second week. Past week two do I keep breaking it up periodically? Do I just leave it for a while longer and then rack off after I think fermentation's done?
After CO2 is being produced, leave it alone (no more pigeage) because you risk oxygen entering the fermenter and causing mold issues on the fruit cap. As for how long to ferment on the fruit in primary, it all depends on the fruit itself and the desired level of extract (e.g. see skin contact rosé wine production). That's all to taste, but the longer it remains on the fruit the more extract of different compounds once the alcohol starts being produced — too much past 4 weeks and you'll start to extract harsh tannins from skins/seeds, etc. Hope that helps~!
 
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After CO2 is being produced, leave it alone (no more pigeage) because you risk oxygen entering the fermenter and causing mold issues on the fruit cap. As for how long to ferment on the fruit in primary, it all depends on the fruit itself and the desired level of extract (e.g. see skin contact rosé wine production). That's all to taste, but the longer it remains on the fruit the more extract of different compounds once the alcohol starts being produced — too much past 4 weeks and you'll start to extract harsh tannins from skins/seeds, etc. Hope that helps~!
Definitely, thanks. This one is on a mix of red and black currants, thinking I'll give it maybe a third week and then rack into secondary.
 
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After CO2 is being produced, leave it alone (no more pigeage) because you risk oxygen entering the fermenter and causing mold issues on the fruit cap. As for how long to ferment on the fruit in primary, it all depends on the fruit itself and the desired level of extract (e.g. see skin contact rosé wine production). That's all to taste, but the longer it remains on the fruit the more extract of different compounds once the alcohol starts being produced — too much past 4 weeks and you'll start to extract harsh tannins from skins/seeds, etc. Hope that helps~!
I was about to answer the above question, then read this post and thought "nice, this guy's correct and said just about everything I was going to say." Then I looked at the user handle and though "of course he's right, he knows a thing or 2!":p
 

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welp, my 1 gallon strawberry mead fermented in just a week. Used a whole packet of 71B so may just use a half packet next time. Also added nutrients 24 hrs in and didn't stagger so going to try that next time as well. I'm going to rack at 2 weeks.
Question: Do you guys add sorbate after racking or in your primary fermentation vessel?
The mead tastes extremely dry and a bit boozy given my bad estimate is about 9-10%abv. It has a tartness to it from the strawberries as well (1.5 lbs primary). I'm going to need to backsweeten at some point and will probably add some extra fruit in secondary vessel as well. Definitely learned a lot on this first batch. I'm also worried that because the seal on my 2gallon bucket isn't great and I have about 2-3 inches of airspace at the top that I'm at risk of oxidation, otherwise I'd wait another week or two to rack.
 

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welp, mead is racked and clearing, has a nice little pink hue from the strawberries. I had about 16 oz left over so I decided to put some in the fridge and test it from time to time. As of now it is a little dry and needs time. I may backsweeten this, or I may just add a little more strawberry on second racking (stop fermentation first), along with a tiny bit of honey to try and get a light tart session mead. This next batch I'm not doing any fruit in primary, using desert creek honey, and my goal is to start at a higher OG and stop fermentation before it becomes dry. I want a thick sweet mead on my next one, which would be the opposite of what I have now. Going to do three one gallon batches over the next few months and fruit them all differently in secondary. Do you guys recommend trying a different yeast than 71B or just hone this strain in until I can get good at it? Also, any tips for achieving a sweeter mead other than what I have suggested?
 

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I don't think you need to stop fermentation; just use more honey.
thank you. So quick update.
Recipe:
4lbs Desert Creek honey
15 cups water total, including yeast water
OG: 1.12
71B yeast
staggering nutrients 25% day 1, 25% day 3, 25% day 5 (today), 25% day 7.
Oxegenated/aerated and degassed daily for first three days, now just degassing once a day.
Already at a gravity of about 1.055
Do you think it is safe to say allowing it to ferment completely will still yield a sweet mead over time with no need for backsweetening? Say if it finishes at 1.02 on the dot?
If this batch does well I'm going to repeat with mango and a small amount of strawberry in secondary vessel. If I do this I will definitely sulfate/sorbate prior to adding fruit. But I want to keep this little 1 gallon batch clean so I can get to know it over time.
 

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Batch two was a little different. Used desert creek honey with a sg of 1.12, and it finished at 1.015 (14.5ish%. pretty solid for 71B). I racked it off into a glass carboy after adding a campden tablet and the recommended dose of K-sorb. I want the mead to be as sweet as possible. I then added two days later a can of the harvest tart cherry puree. So far this is what I've noticed:
Either the yeast or the puree is falling as a cloudy mixture and will probably settle to the bottom in a matter of 2 days. The top part of the carboy is already clearing nicely for as young as it is.

I have yet another question for anyone willing to answer:
I'm still getting about 1 bubble every 30-60 seconds in the glass carboy. Is this fermentation, is it the oxygen being released by the campden tablets, or is the only way to find out taking a gravity reading?
 
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Batch two was a little different. Used desert creek honey with a sg of 1.12, and it finished at 1.015 (14.5ish%. pretty solid for 71B). I racked it off into a glass carboy after adding a campden tablet and the recommended dose of K-sorb. I want the mead to be as sweet as possible. I then added two days later a can of the harvest tart cherry puree. So far this is what I've noticed:
Either the yeast or the puree is falling as a cloudy mixture and will probably settle to the bottom in a matter of 2 days. The top part of the carboy is already clearing nicely for as young as it is.

I have yet another question for anyone willing to answer:
I'm still getting about 1 bubble every 30-60 seconds in the glass carboy. Is this fermentation, is it the oxygen being released by the campden tablets, or is the only way to find out taking a gravity reading?
Gravity reading since you'll want to be sure. Might need to take a few of them over the next week to make sure it's stable.
 

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Cherry puree took it from 1.015 to 1.03, and its been sitting there for a few days. One thing I'm seeing is that the cherry puree takes up a massive amount of junk at the bottom. Moght try concentrated mont cherry juice next time instead. It smells fantastic for only being 2 weeks old. I had a little extra that I have in a 32oz crowler with a bung and airlock. I treated that with stabilizer and campden by colume (just a dash of stabilizer and 1/4 campden tab). I'm cold crashing it along with my main carboy to preserve as much sweetness as possible, then on my next racking I want to combine the two and add some cherry juice concentrate (this stuff).

Random question: I'm reading about session meads that ferment to completion but are only 5-8% abv. Does anyone have a recommended yeast strain with a low tolerance? I assume these mazers are using ale yeasts for this?

Edit: Found some stuff on this. Seems your options are:

Use normal wine/mead yeast, keep your SG low, stabilize, then back sweeten to taste
Or use an ale yeast.
 
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Racked my currant melomel into secondary last weekend, my first time using whole fruit in a mead, and that was a fucking miserable experience. How do you guys do that and not have it take forever and involve you constantly priming the autosiphon? Do you skim the fruit cap off first? I was about ready to put a big colander in the top of a second bucket and just pour the whole contents of primary through that.
 

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Racked my currant melomel into secondary last weekend, my first time using whole fruit in a mead, and that was a fucking miserable experience. How do you guys do that and not have it take forever and involve you constantly priming the autosiphon? Do you skim the fruit cap off first? I was about ready to put a big colander in the top of a second bucket and just pour the whole contents of primary through that.
I'm a newb on my third batch but with strawberry I did use a "colander spoon" to skim the fruit off, then let it sit for a day, then racked. I think this is why most people use the bag (I use a hop bag from my local hb store).
 

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Just wanted to say my modified JQGM has been a real step up for me in terms of process and success. I credit it mostly due to fermenting at 62 degrees instead of the 72-74 I was doing before. Went from 1.09 to 1.02 so far and it smells fantastic, zero rocket fuel. I also only used a half packet of yeast this time. I was worried as my lag phase was close to 3 days. I was thinking due to the fact my must was 71 degrees when pitched and THEN I put it in the cooler, possibly causing the yeast to kind of get cold shocked. Who knows. I'm confident this batch is going to be way beyond the first two. Many thanks for the help I've gotten here so far.

38.5oz Welch Concord juice
25.5 oz Cranberry Blueberry juice (60/40)
2 lbs ND clover
1 oz buckwheat
1.09OG
2.5g EC1118 - 3g goferm in starter
Aerated prior to pitching
Fermenting at 62 degrees
SNA, aeration, and degass until 1/3 break. Degas gently once a day after that.
Edit: Added water to 1.15 gal to get 1.09 og.
 
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Put together my first mead today...

1 gallon batch...

4 cups grapefruit juice
3 lbs honey
The rest with bottled water (our water is super hard here)

Lalvin EC-1118 yeast
Yeast starter
Pectin enzyme

1.11 OG

Wish me luck!
nice, would like to know how it turns out. What kind of honey?
 
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After my first mind-blowing mead experience a few weeks ago, I'd like to do some research, and I'm excited to try it... From now on, I'll be following this thread.
 

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