Wild mead in a hot country

Mead, wine, beer, and any other form of alcoholic beverages, as well as vinegar.

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Wild mead in a hot country

Postby Lilium_Blake on Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:29 pm

Hi guys :)

I'm in the middle of my first ever ferment. It's a wild mead with mulberries.

I'm really excited to see how this goes. I read over loads of recipes and eventually settled on:

3kg raw honey
1.5kg mulberries
9.3L water

The honey here in Australia isn't as sweet as in other countries. Something about our local flora. But I'm still thinking that the mead's going to turn out sweet.

I mixed everything up in 3 food grade buckets and covered them with cheesecloth. In less than 24 hours the ferment was powering along.

I read a lot of conflicting advice, but since it's quite hot and fruit flies are a big problem here, I decided to filter out the fruit and seeds and transfer it into a big 10L jug. I'm using a balloon to seal it off so it doesn't explode :lol:

It's still powering along. There's loads of bubbles and the balloon is blowing up.

I have a couple of questions (since I've read a lot of conflicting advice in the last week)

What's the ideal temperature for a wild ferment? And since the current ambient temp is between 25-30 degrees C what's the best way to cool everything down without cooling it too much?

If I'm not using an airlock (I'm using balloons) what's the best way I can assess where the ferment's at and where to stop it?

What will happen if I accidentally let the ferment go for too long? If it's sealed off from oxygen will that stop the production of ascetic acid?

If I accidentally bottle too early is there something I can do to kill any yeast that's left? I'll be keeping the bottled mead in the fridge but will eventually be taking it to an event where it will be left out for up to 12 hours. I don't want to cause any explosions :lol:

Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Especially if you can explain why (I'm really keen to learn and understanding why you do something will help me remember).

Thanks guys!
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:29 am

Re: Wild mead in a hot country

Postby khoomeizhi on Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:17 pm

For cooling, one common lower-tech option is a swamp cooler, which cools via evaporation. The simplest version is to put a wet or damp cloth on your carboy/jug and have a fan blowing on it. And re-wet the cloth as needed.

The best way to test how it's coming along is a hydrometer - you can basically watch the sugar disappear over time.

Minimizing the surface area the mead has will help minimize acetic acid production. That means having it well topped-up up in the neck of the jug.

There's not really a good way to arrest the progress of fermentation in mead/wine. The things I've heard of being tried include: cold-crashing to drop most of the yeast out of suspension and then racking the cleared mead onto potassium metabisulfite, or bulk pastuerizing (some potential for danger there). The best option is almost always to let the yeast go as far as they can, and only bottle when it's clear and still. The hydrometer makes another appearance here: the way to really know that your yeast is done is to get the same hydrometer reading several times over the course of a couple weeks.

If your event makes it so that you HAVE to bottle early, that's too bad, since it will likely improve greatly with some bottle aging - especially since you're fermenting very warm. The high temperature is likely to stress the yeast, which can cause them to produce harsh fusel alcohols (which can be aged out, but time is the only cure for).

If you HAD to bottle soon before your event and it seemed done (still for a while and clear), and tasted good, and you followed your fridge-then-12-hours-warm protocol, I doubt you'd get bottle bombs. It takes takes a while to build up pressure, especially coming from a standstill. If it's still actively fermenting, don't bottle, it's not done.

Hope this is helpful, I can clarify things if my jargon seems like gibberish.
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Location: wnc

Re: Wild mead in a hot country

Postby Lilium_Blake on Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:37 pm

Really helpful ^_^ thanks.

I'm using the swamp cooling technique and it works great.

Still agitating a couple of times a day. And the ferment is still going strong.

Jargon is fine ^_^ if there's something i don't understand I google it and learn something new.

Thanks for the advice :D
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:29 am

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