Monday, May 03, 2010
Mead update 3/5/10
I'd already pitched the yeasts if you recall, the Italian Chestnut Honey and Mexican Clear Honey batches with D21 and the Marlene Summer Blossom honey with K1V-1116.
The batch on the right is the Marlene Summer Blossom honey. Now you might be wondering what it is that I've done, and equally, why 2 different batches/yeasts etc are showing foam on the top and one not.
Well, to start with, I've taken a pint glass, a meat baster, measuring spoons and a milk aerator (for making the milk frothy before pouring it on the coffee), sanitised them. Then one batch at a time, I've withdrawn about half a pint of the must, put it in the pint glass, then added 1/2 a teaspoon of FermaidK yeast nutrient and with the milk aerator, it's been agitated. This is for 3 reasons, firstly it will remove any extra CO2 that is starting to build up, second, it will aerate the must with some additional oxygen from the air and thirdly it will also dissolve the yeast nutrient, which is just as important because when the must is gently poured back into the rest, you don't want to disturb it so much that it causes the must to foam out over the top of the fermenter.
That has been done for all 3 batches. The middle one shows that some batches of must won't always foam like hell, whereas you can probably make out the difference in the amounts of foam that have been produced by the other two, the Italian Chestnut batch having foamed the most.
It's for reasons like that, that some makers will initially make a batch in a bucket that is larger than the actual batch. Because when you're adding adjuncts like nutrient, or acid, or whatever, once a ferment has started it will foam like hell when the additions are put in or sometimes if you are aerating it in the early stages of fermentation.
You don't want to lose any of the mead do you! That was why I mixed the nutrient in with the frother, it enabled me to pour it back into the batches without agitating it too much. None of them foamed out over the top.
Now they'll probably get aerated gently once a day, until the gravity drops to about 1020 or so. One thing I haven't mentioned is that I might add a small amount more nutrient, at the 1/2 sugar break i.e. when the gravity has dropped to about 1055 or there abouts, I'll add something like 1/8th teaspoon of FermaidK and 1/8th teaspoon of DAP (Di-Ammonium Phosphate). Then at 1020 I'll top them up and then leave them to ferment dry, and too start clearing/dropping sediment naturally.
That might seem like a lot of faffing about, but it's about how you're caring for the yeast. If it's well nutured, then it's less likely to cause "off flavours" in the mead, at the same time it should normally allow the ferment to finish reasonably quickly. After all, if you're putting in the effort to try and produce a quality tasting mead you don't want to do anything that might damage or otherwise mess up the taste.
Well that's the idea behind it anyway.........
Oh, and before I forget, the reason that I've added the yeast nutrient now, rather than before pitching the yeast, is that it's the Lallemand/Lalvin recommendation that you use GoFerm when rehydrating the yeast as it contains all the goodies that the yeast needs when it's being woken up from the dried state, whereas the yeast nutrient contains different levels of different stuff, that the yeast needs when it's actually fermenting. I don't know the exact differences - there's probably more info about it if you search the web.