Washington State Mead Adventure!

Discussion in 'Meads' started by seth8530, Jan 21, 2018.

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  1. seth8530

    seth8530 The Atomic Wine Maker

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    I happen to love making mead and have for quite a while. However, a couple of years ago I moved from Tennessee to the state of Washington and gave up fermentation. I found out that one of my coworkers keeps bees and I could not stop the itch. I am getting back in the game.

    So lets talk about the honey. Currently, I have a glass of warm water that I dosed with a bit of the honey and stirred it well. I can tell that the honey was not over filtered due to the light collection of particulates in my glass. A light honey aroma emanates from within the glass. It starts off sweet, then comes back with an acidic fruitiness and a mint-like finish. In my opinion, it shall be an excellent platform for a series of meads.

    I plan on making four different meads from a single fermentation. I am thinking about around 20 gallons at around 6.5% ABV. I will ferment the batch cool with temperature control and an SNA schedule and a yet to be determined yeast strain. Once the fermentation is complete I will rack to carboys and from there I will make the meads unique in secondary. Once they have sufficiently aged I will force carbonate and serve from kegs.

    MEAD 1:
    Dry session mead.
    The goal of this mead is to show of the delicate natural character of the honey.

    Mead 2:
    Semi sweet session mead.
    The goal of this mead is to have an approachable representation of the honey.

    Mead 3:
    Nectar Creek Sting mead clone.
    The goal of this mead is... well, nectar creek sting is amazing. So why not.
    http://www.nectarcreek.com/mead/

    Mead 4:
    Cranberry session mead.
    The goal of this mead is to see if I can recreate the success of one of my early meads but at session strength.

    Thoughts and discussion?
     
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  2. BernardSmith

    BernardSmith Senior Member

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    Welcome back Seth. Check out Groennfell Meadery. They are located in Vt and they post their recipes and protocol on their web site. Their shtick is session mead and they have designed their process to go from honey to sales in 5 or 6 weeks. They use D47 , ferment at relatively high temperatures (they use the esters produced to compensate for reduced flavor coming from the small amount of honey /gallon), advocate 1 pack of yeast/gallon and they don't believe you can provide too much nutrient) . They also have a cranberry session mead.
     
  3. seth8530

    seth8530 The Atomic Wine Maker

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    Thanks,

    I will check those guys out and see what I can find on them. D47 is known to be a good mead yeast. I tend to prefer cool fermentations over warm ones. However, at the end of the day you got to plan your ferment around the yeast strain you decide to use. Brewers have been know to ramp up temperature during fermentations for the very reason you stated to create esters. The world of yeast has exploded since I have been away. So many to choose from.
     
  4. seth8530

    seth8530 The Atomic Wine Maker

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  5. seth8530

    seth8530 The Atomic Wine Maker

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    And this could be a good strain perhaps.

    E l i x 1 7 i r S. cerevisiae • hybrid Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Rosé Product of the yeast hybridization program of the Institute for Wine Biotechnology at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. Good implantation in clarified juices and requires good nutrition and proper temperature control. Elixir has moderate nitrogen requirements and should ferment between 14–25°C(57–77°F) for a slow and steady fermentation. It is a low SO2, H2S and VA producer with alcohol tolerance to 15% (v/v). Vitilevure Elixir™ expresses terpenes, norisoprenoids and thiols (e.g. in Sauvignon Blanc) adding complexity to aromatic varieties. Recommended for aromatic whites and rosés to enhance floral and fruity aromas with greater complexity.
     
  6. Stressbaby

    Stressbaby Just a Member Supporting Member

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    I was wondering where you went...I have nothing to offer on the meads, but welcome back!
     
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  7. Arne

    Arne Senior Member

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    Hi Seth. Long time no see. Arne
     
  8. seth8530

    seth8530 The Atomic Wine Maker

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    Thanks Yall, I look forward to keeping you guys in the loop with this project.
     
  9. sour_grapes

    sour_grapes Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

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    Good to see you, Seth. I think you've told us before, but where are you in WA again?
     
  10. seth8530

    seth8530 The Atomic Wine Maker

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    Good to see you too. I've been off for a while as I finished grad school and been busy with my job. I'm currently in Redmond, which is just 10 miles or so out from Seattle.
     
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  11. seth8530

    seth8530 The Atomic Wine Maker

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    Alright, after a bit of reading up I will use k1v116 at low temperature (62F) with a strong nutrient load to try and create a strong floral aroma. Initial target gravity is right around 1.050 ~12.5 initial brix at a volume of 23 gallons (87 liters). This will call for the addition of a total of 22 grams of fermaidK and 337 grams of fermaidO. With all the fermaidK added and 170 grams of the fermaidO up front. I will add the remaining 170 grams of fermaidO at the 1/3 sugar break, right around 1.033.
     
  12. seth8530

    seth8530 The Atomic Wine Maker

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    As for the ginger mead component of this project. I decided to experiment around. I went to the local Asian grocery store and bought around 4 lbs of ginger root. I was not quite sure of the best way to get ginger flavor into a mead, so I figured why not experiment around with ginger beer. I did quite a bit of reading online, but most of what I was found was kinda all over the place. However, the good ones seemed to all have one thing in common, boil the ginger. So I took 250 grams of ginger thinly sliced into a gallonA of water and boiled for 35-40 minutes. After a while I was greeted by a ginger aroma wafting through my apartment. I tasted a spoonful and was greeted by a pleasantly gingery taste followed by a nice warming in the mouth.

    I followed up by poring a glass into a coffee cup mixed with simple syrup. Definitely got some good flavor and ginger spice on it. I bet if this guy had some bubbles behind him, it would be perfect. So for better or for worse, looks like I will use 250 grams of ginger per gallon of ginger mead.
     
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  13. BernardSmith

    BernardSmith Senior Member

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    But what in fact is the science behind adding nutrient in this way? Why is it not as effective as adding the entire load up front? Is this supposed to feed daughter cells? But if so why is the feeding not determined by time rather than by how much sugar the yeast have gone through since yeast bud at predictable lengths of time, and if the starting gravity is say 1..090 what is the importance of the 1/3 sugar "break" compared to say a starting gravity of 1.030? This smacks more of ritual than science... but I am very open to being disabused of my ignorance.
     
  14. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    I’ll bite.
    I think it’s just to ensure nutrients are not added too late while step feeding daughter cells. Since adding to >10%abv would actually feed spoilage organisms-not the yeast.
    So 1.030 wouldn’t compare since not typical high abv of wine the instructions refer to.
    Those Instructions can be universal for wine ferments. Not sure that could be done using “time” and predicting rate of yeast budding in a way that can be used by all. But always interested to hear new methods.
     
  15. seth8530

    seth8530 The Atomic Wine Maker

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    Bernard. Good skepticism. I need to drag up the paper I was reading but the fermentation kinetics are strongly influenced by how much nutrient is available at the start of the fermentation. By not putting all the nutrient up front you can influence how nutrient hungry the yeast will be and to an extent the kind of flavors they will produce. Let me see if I can find that paper.
     
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  16. BernardSmith

    BernardSmith Senior Member

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    so this would be a really important paper, Seth. I generally dump a very large nutrient load up front and don't add any later.. and when I say "large" I mean about three or four times what the lab suggests. I do this because I don't have any way to effectively oxygenate the yeast (I don't think you can oxygenate to the level needed using home equipment) and absent O2 the yeast need the lipids to create the membranes they need. I don't know that I am looking for the yeast to reproduce effectively as I tend to pitch a pack per gallon so if the daughter cells are frail and die then I assume that the viable cells will cannibalize those cells for nutrients. But perhaps I am so wrong headed about this that it is laughable... :D
     
  17. seth8530

    seth8530 The Atomic Wine Maker

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    The most important thing when deal with mead is not front loading vs scheduled nutrient additions. What is really important is providing the yeast with sufficient YAN in general. In wine and beer making nutrients are less important because the fermentablez in those cases tend to provide a decent nutrient load on their own. But as we both know with mead, you can pretty much assume you do not start out with any YAN, this makes any instructions provided on the nutrient packets pretty much worthless. I would venture (depending on your nitrogen source). That you would need quite a bit more than 3 or 4 times what they recommend in order to reach the advised YAN levels for your yeast.

    I'm not a believer in over pitching dry yeast packets. Reason being, for every packet of yeast you add, you are only linearly increasing the yeast population. However, when yeast are reproducing they increase exponentially in population resulting in orders of magnitude more yeast.

    Let me get a hold of a couple of references.
     
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  18. ibglowin

    ibglowin Moderator Super Moderator

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    Hey Seth,

    Good to see you online again. You still in school or are you finally done?

    Welcome back!

     
  19. heatherd

    heatherd Supporting Members Supporting Member

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    Welcome back!
     
  20. seth8530

    seth8530 The Atomic Wine Maker

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    Nice to see you again too. I call my self done. Not really in the mood to get my phD will make due with my MS in nuclear engineering for now. Looking forward to seeing what we can do here.
     

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