Wednesday, January 27, 2010

27.01.10 - Rejection & Acetone

The carboy's bung was blown off by the pressure and a lot of the must escaped.

It is almost as if I didn't add anything last night because the must is exactly at the 19L (5 Gallon) mark again. Check it out

On this picture you can also see my hydrometer (I'm pretty sure it is a a hydrometer) in a sample of the must. I tasted the must afterwards and it tasted terrible, kind of like cough syrup. The smell wasn't any good either. It smelled like ACETONE!... I guess it's normal though. I bet the acetone smell is mostly due to the oranges and that the cough syrup taste is normal for a work in progress. I wasn't expecting anything nice but hell was I surprised!

I decided on a course of action
I used the hydrometer to make a sample honeywater mix with the same reading as the must and scaled it up to find out how much honey I needed to make it a six gallon batch again. According to my calculations 1224 g Honey (2.7 lb) was the right amount so I bought some honey, dissolved it in water and added it to the must. I also added 15 raisins because that's how many raisins I found outside the carboy
Here it is after the procedure

I left the three inches this time for foaming (or something) but I am planning to add water after a few days if this works out as intended

Live and learn, eh? :)

... again, I hope this works as intended!

26.01.10 - A Six Gallon Batch

I decided to add to the must this evening, here's what I added:

1.6 kg Honey (3 1/2 lb)
1 Orange
25 Raisins

I decided there were already enough spices in the must already so I only added this plus water to the top making it a six gallon batch now.
So far there hasn't been any major foaming so I'm hoping it won't start now, that's why I added so much water right away.

I looked it up cinnamon on wikipedia and found out that I am using Cassia
Here you can see my Cassia sticks at the bottom along with other crap - probably yeast and spices

And here you can see the carboy after I filled it up - looks nice

We'll see how it goes

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

19.01.10 - Aww, crap?

I'm wondering if my mead is ruined. There's this white gooey thing in the must around the oranges and raisins and there is some brownish thing all over the raisins and oranges on top. Maybe the latter is krausen but I don't like the looks of that white-ish thing under it. I also checked the bottom of the carboy and there are four cinnamon sticks on the bottom along with something else that looks kinda like yeast and spices. Only one cinnamon stick floats... don't know if that is a problem. I'll post pictures after a couple of hours.

And I'm also going to sign up to homebrewtalk and ask for some help there too

Update With Pictures:

Here's that white cloudy stuff I was talking about. It's above the smiling raisin but below the white foam on this picture. Hard to take pictures in focus this close up.

And here's a picture of the carboy where you can see the brown stuff I think is krausen

And here's a close up of it and the raisin commune

flyweed at homebrewmead assures me that the white stuff is normal and that my temperature is high enough but thinks that I may have used too many oranges and spices

Medsen at gotmead suggested that increasing the temperature by 4 °C (Up to 75 °F) would help the fermentation process

Thank you and others for input

Saturday, January 16, 2010

14.01.10 - At last


Today I finally spotted some real activity in my must. I can see tiny bubbles rising to the surface and even though they aren't vigorously disturbing the surface and making the must foam like crazy, they make feel a lot happier about the must!

The must at maybe 20 glugs/min:

I bet I won't have that crazy foaming stage at all because my room temperature is like 20 °C (68 °F).

Anyway, when I originally made the must I filled the carboy (which has room for 6 gallons - 23L) up to the 5 gallon (19L) mark I had made earlier. I had intended to add more water after the foaming frenzy that has yet to happen but I believe I have made a mistake.

If I were to add water to the top now, the mead would turn out dry, right?

Here's the deal: I didn't follow the original recipe! I used a JAOM recipe that had been converted to the metric system, but that's not the only thing that was different. I now realize that there was a difference there because the original tells you to use a 1 gallon (~3,8L) carboy and fill it to 3 inches from the top and add water later, bringing it up to the 1 gallon mark. On the other hand, the recipe I used instructs you to use a 5L (>1 gallon) carboy and fill it up to the 3,8L mark and later on add water up to the 5L mark. The latter recipe obviously has more water!! (Resulting in a dry mead unless I'm not thinking this through)

Now, as I see it, I have three options at this point:

1) Do nothing
2) Add water to the 6 gallon mark and thus following the recipe I used
3) Add water, honey, cinnamon, orange and so on to make a 6 gallon batch

What should I do?

I'm looking at the third choice right now but I'm a little afraid of the rigorous foaming stage starting as soon as I add the ingredients for a 1 gallon JAOM to the already fermenting 5 gallon batch and foaming through the airlock. Should I add everything except for water and top it off later?

Anyway, here's the recipe I used:

I'm also making a topic on gotmead forums ;)

11.01.10 - Disappointed

When I woke up I checked my "must" and it looked as though nothing had happed. I was worried that my must had been too hot when I added the yeast and all the poor things had died and the 2 glugs/min didn't do much to ease my worries either. What I had been expecting was a carboy full of foam

I checked it again later that day and discovered this thing:

That thing just stayed there and looked like it was drying up. (After a couple a days I rocked the carboy around until it dispersed) Still no sign of the major foaming stage.

Friday, January 15, 2010

10.01.10 - It is born

On the 10th of January in the year 2010, I - after much speculation - mixed up a five gallon (~19L) batch of Joe's Ancient Orange Mead. These are the ingredients:

8kg Honey
5 Oranges
125-ish Raisins
5 Cinnamon Sticks
10 Cloves
5 Pinches Allspice
5 Pinches Nutmeg
2 Pinches Cinnamon
SAF Instant Yeast

So I started out by dissolving my honey in hot water and adding it to the carboy. It took a while since I've never done it before. In fact, I've never brewed anything before.

Here's my carboy and my makeshift funnel

Then I cleaned my raisins and oranges and sliced the latter into pieces of eight. My mom said my oranges were too big and ate a couple of slices. She might have been right... or hungry... preferably both. Anyway, I shoved my oranges through the opening of the carboy - not looking forward to removing them - and added all the other ingredients. I forgot to let it cool down and let my mum add the yeast right away... 5 tablespoons. From what I understand, it isn't necessary to multiply the amount of yeast but that's what was used.

Here is my carboy and funnel after I added all the ingredients and shook the thing. Notice the cinnamon sticks and raisins at the bottom!

And here it is sitting next to the Pepsi cooler

This is going to be a brewing log of sorts