Friday, February 28, 2014

Ethanol 4: Mead

It's a rainy spring Friday and I have nothing to do. Actually, rainy doesn't quite describe it. It's pouring outside. Like inches/hour pouring.

So what to do? Make some alcohol!

Day One

24 oz of clover honey in 1 gal of water, Red Star Champagne yeast. Ed: that's about half the honey I have used in previous 1-gallon batches.

Again I got no head-foam forming during the yeast startup. I left 30 minutes, and everything went from clear to cloudy, and there was a little fine fizz, but no real foam. I really should find out what's up there. Maybe it needs to be aerated more at the very beginning. The water's certainly warm enough, and I left a substantial amount of honey in the starter. I'm guessing it's either aeration or maybe just the fact that I'm using a whole packet of yeast (enough for 5 gal) and there's some overcrowding going on. We shall have to see.

Anyway, combined the yeast starter with the rest of the honey water, put an airlock on it, and sent it on its way.

NB: The "right size" cork for the gallon  jugs I'm using is an 8. An 8½ works, but the extra size makes it a bit tougher to get into the neck, while an 8 fits perfectly.

Day 3

The honey is producing steady a stream of CO2 at this point, so I'm going to let it proceed, even though I suspect it's happening on a relatively low biomass of yeast. This may or may not mean it takes longer to finish fermenting. I'm in experiment mode, not outcome mode, so that's fine.

Day 8

A steady fizz from a cloudy mass. So the yeast didn't get killed or crippled. We shall see how long it takes to calm down.

Day 27 Update

Bottle has gone almost totally clear, with yeast sludge at the bottom. It's fizzing, but only about half as much as before.

Day  34 Update

After another week, the entire process seems to have stopped. I siphoned the contents into a few snap-cap bottles and set them aside.