We siphoned our mead with the 47b yeast into a new container and pulled some out for Christmas dinner. It is really good – a slightly sweet young tasting white wine. We’ve got a gallon left that we’re going to let age. I’m hoping the 71b batches are this good.
We are experimenting with different honey concentrations and different yeasts to make mead. We’ve got 71b to make a dry mead (with different concentrations of honey) and then 47b to make a slightly sweeter mead.
Researching the process, we decided on three nutrient additions – a blend of 50% Go Ferm and 50% Fermenaid K. Added 1/4 teaspoon of nutrients shortly after the yeast was pitched. Added another a couple of days later … and then couldn’t figure out when the almost-done state was and failed to add the third addition.
Now we’re just waiting for it to ferment.
We are about to make mead (we got near 30 pounds of local honey!). In researching mead-making, different yeasts have different alcohol tolerances … so you make a dry mead by using a yeast with an alcohol tolerance at or above the level your starting gravity would yield if it were fully fermented. A sweeter mead means you have a yeast whose tolerance is lower than that value … the greater the difference, the sweeter the mead. We are going to make a dry mead with Lalvin 71b-1122, a just slightly sweet mead by adding a little more honey but still using Lalvin 71b-1122, and a sweeter mead using Lalvin D-47.
71b-1122 has a very broad temperature range (59-86 F – and how cool is it that Google returns a yeast profile summary if you search for “71b-1122 temperature range”). D-47 is more particular — a published range of 59-68 F, but reading through homebrew sites has us wanting to stay around 63 degrees. Our sub-grade level is cool, but not that cool. Especially as fermentation warms up the fluid.
Scott is developing a home automation controlled fermentation “chamber”. The beer refrigerator is now plugged into a smart outlet. One of the Arduino kits we got has a temperature sensor. We can have a temperature probe monitoring the must and cycle the refrigerator’s power to keep it within a degree or two of our target.