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Tupelo vs Orange Blossom Honey

I am planning do another mead soon, but I have been debating between Tupelo and Orange Blossom. If anyone has experience with them, can you let me know on them so I can decide.

Thanks

Erik

They’ll both make wonderful mead, but given the choice, I’d go with the Tupelo, handsdown.
Over the years my very best meads (sweet or dry) were the ones made with Tupelo honey…by a wide margin.

Normally I’d say make small batches of each to compare, but that doesn’t work here: with mead, I can almost guarantee that assuming you did everything right …regardless of honey variety…making a small batch will in the end have you wishing you’d made 10 gallons of the stuff.

+1 to tupelo, it’s the king of all honey if you can get it.

Professor and Others,

I have been given 40 pounds of Tupelo honey. Can you please post instructions for making mead out of this. Per the threads below, I have also acquired Tokay yeast from Europe.

In particular, what specific gravity and/or ratio of water to honey would you recommend?

I am looking for that gentle, no-sappy, almost sublime taste of a good mead. ie; a taste that really brings out the best of the honey and the yeast.

I am willing to let it age it for several years to let it mature

Ken Schramm’s book mentions 3 lbs/gallon water for a semi-sweet orange blossom mead.

I really want to get this one right. Please advise.

  • James
    Mead novice.

Follow a Bray’s One Month Mead. You will definitely get it right as I use tupelo with that recipe all the time. Bonus is that you can drink it fast.

Better brewing through science!

Loveofrose,

I found your recipe and have questions about terminology, etc.

  1. 1:2 DAP:Fermaid K = this is just nutrient and energizer, right?
  2. What does this mean: “add this at 2/3 and 1/3 sugar break”
  3. I usually either pitch the yeast directly into the mead without letting it begin to activate, or I set it in warm distillted water for 10 minutes
  4. Use Wyeast 1388 instead of Tokay yeast? (I think that is your point about BOMM)
  5. How does potassium carbonate affect the taste?
  6. Would you apply the staggered nutrient addition approach? If so, how?
  7. “Degas for a week” means…? Should one stir it vigorously for 15 minutes for the first 7 days, and then stop after days?
  8. Please confirm that after day 7, you use an airlock.

Many thanks. Sorry for the detailed questions but I have found that missing an instruction can have

Here is your original recipe:
Bray’s One Month Mead aka “the BOMM” - 1 gallon
No heat method.
Added Orange Blossom honey to SG of 1.096 in 1 gallon jugs.
Added 3/4 tsp of 1:2 DAP:Fermaid K; also, add this at 2/3 and 1/3 sugar break.
Add 3/4 tsp potassium carbonate.
Shake like hell to aerate.
Pitched Wyeast 1388 - Belgian Strong Ale activated overnight.
Aerate daily by shaking.
Pitching temperature 68 F, but the temperature in my house fluctuates from 70-80 F with no off flavors.

The BOMM - 5 gallons
Smack Wyeast 1388 pack for overnight.
Pitch into 1.5 liter starter with 6 oz honey and pinch of Go Ferm.
Put on stir plate for 2-3 days before pitching.

Add 1 gallon OB honey to 3.5 gallons water.
Use a drill powered mixer to mix honey.
Dose the following at must creation, 2/3, & 1/3 sugar break.
1 tbsp DAP + 2 tbsp Fermaid K
Add 3/4 tbsp potassium carbonate.
Stir again to aerate and add starter.
Add additional water to SG 1.096-1.1.

Degas daily for at least a week.

No problem. I’ll take your questions one at a time.

  1. 1:2 DAP:Fermaid K = this is just nutrient and energizer, right?
    DAP is Diammonium Phosphate, a free nitrogen source. Fermaid K is a mixture of vitamins, trace minerals, and more DAP. I mix them at a 1:2 ratio and add them at the sugar breaks. You need both!

  2. What does this mean: “add this at 2/3 and 1/3 sugar break”
    If your SG was 1.099, then 2/3 sugar break would be 1.066 and 1/3 would be 1.033. It is when 2/3 and 1/3 of the total sugar is left.

  3. I usually either pitch the yeast directly into the mead without letting it begin to activate, or I set it in warm distillted water for 10 minutes
    Wyeast 1388 comes in a smack pack. You smack it to break the nutrient pack inside and let it swell for a few hours. This activates the yeast.

  4. Use Wyeast 1388 instead of Tokay yeast? (I think that is your point about BOMM)
    The key to the BOMM is the Wyeast 1388 yeast. I screened over 20 yeast to find the perfect strain for fast mead.

  5. How does potassium carbonate affect the taste?
    No effect on taste at this dose. K2CO3 is there to buffer the fermentation so that the pH doesn’t drop below 3 and cause your yeast to stall. Also, K+ is a limiting nutrient so 2 birds, 1 stone.

  6. Would you apply the staggered nutrient addition approach? If so, how?
    Yes, and that is explained by the sugar break question answer.

  7. “Degas for a week” means…? Should one stir it vigorously for 15 minutes for the first 7 days, and then stop after days?
    I just shake it. Slow at first so it doesn’t blow, then more vigorously after. Should take less than 5 minutes.

  8. Please confirm that after day 7, you use an airlock.
    I use an airlock the entire time. I just don’t put any water in it for the first week. The first part of the ferment needs oxygen, so it actually is detrimental to create an anaerobic environment in the early ferment.

One last thing. Careful with the nutrient additions. Add them slow or it will blow up! That’s why it’s nickname is BOMM!

Hope that helps!

Better brewing through science!

Loveofrose,

Bought the #1388 last weekend and plan to make 3 gallons using Tupelo honey. Have a few more questions:

  1. Can you please elaborate on the potassium carbonate. I have a pH meter so can measure it. ken Schramm’s book says the optimum pH is around 3.7 to 3.8. I am presuming you recommendation to add 3/4 tbsp/gallon is an approximation to insure the yeast stays above 3.6.

Please confirm.

All the potassimum carbonate is added at the beginning (and not 2/3 and 1/3 sugar breaks).

  1. Instead of DAP, Fermaid K, and/or Go Ferm, I have left over Energizer and Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
    a)Yeast Energizer is a blend of diammonium phosphate, magnesium sulphate, yeast hulls, vitamins and trace minerals,
    b) Wyeast Brewer’s Yeast Nutrient: balance vitamins, nitrogen, zinc and trace elements for yeast to achieve optimum growth during aerobic respiration and propagation.

I was going to follow the dosing instructions on those packages when applying 2/3 and 1/3 sugar break

Do you have any issues with this approach? Is anything essential missing?

Many thanks again.

  • James

I’ve updated the protocol in the Brays One Month Mead thread for clarity and secondary options, so check that out as well.

  1. K2CO3 is to buffer the ferment so that it doesn’t fall below 3. Initial pH is not as important as buffering capacity. So the answer is yes, sort of. One time addition upfront.

  2. Now you are playing with fire. Without proper nutrients, it won’t turn out. You can try it, but don’t bitch if it’s awful. I would wait until I had DAP and Fermaid K from Amazon with a wonderful tupelo honey. If you don’t have another option though, here is what I would dose:

1/2 tsp Yeast Energizer + 1/2 tsp Wyeast Nutrient per addition per gallon of must.

For >5 gallons with a yeast starter, add 50% to these amounts to compensate for a large amount of yeast in the starter.

Better brewing through science!

Loveofrose,

I am having trouble finding the exact supplies you recommend. I am keen to follow your recipe exactly because I am frustrated with “professionals” at supply stores who really don’t know what they are doing. In the end, they often to default to “just have fun and experiment” after giving mediocre advise. I have plenty of “experiments” that are mediocre and lots of good honey and many month have been wasted.

Any further guidance is appreciated.

I think #6 or #7 will satisfy your requirement for diammonium phosphate, #9 Fermaid K and I still looking for potassium carbonate. Any suggestions about a source?

Yesterday I went back to the local brewing supply store and they said to swap the ingredients for the following, which I think you do NOT recommend:

  1. LD Carlson Yeast Nutrient with food grade Urea and potassium phosphate.
  2. Yeast Energizer (Nutrient Booster) with diammonium phosphate, springcell, magnesium sulphate
  3. They also pointed me to this again: Wyeast yeast nutrient
    I checked Amazon, which had this when I searched on “Fermaid K” it came back with Fermaid O 8 gram
    5( When I searched “Fermaid K” on Amazon, a sponsored link on Amazon pointed me to Northern Brewer which had the following but, surprisingly,no Fermaid K:
  1. NB’s website had 4 oz bag of Diammonium Phosphate
    //home-brewing.northernbrewer.com/search?w=dap

  2. Amazon had Diammonium Phosphate
    //www.amazon.com/Midwest-Homebrewing-and-Winemaking-Supplies/dp/B006O1Z85Q/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1398894200&sr=8-2&keywords=diammonium+phosphate

  3. NB (and my local brewing supply store) had potassium bicarbonate, not potassium carbonate. I know you said this is acceptable, but I would like to follow your directions exactly. Any recommendations about where to acquire?

  4. Found Fermaid K at:
    Fermaid K Yeast Nutrient 8 and 500 g – Midwest Supplies

Again, many thanks again for your assistance. I will delay making this batch until I have all the right ingredients.

  • James

These days, morebeer.com is ironically the best source for supplies.
Fermaid K is the only link I can get to show up here. Once at the site, search DAP and potassium carbonate to find the other nutrients.
One stop shop so you only pay for shipping once!

Fermaid K

http://morebeer.com/products/fermaid.html?site_id=5

Better brewing through science!

Loveofrose,

Pitched 1 packet of Wyeast 1388 last night into 3 gallons of spring water and Tupelo honey. Specific gravity at 1.1. pH was at 3.9 before adding K2C03. After adding, pH went to 6.4. All nutrients, etc, were/will be scaled accordingly for 3 gallons. In room at 68 degrees.

Plan to stir vigorously twice a day for up.

BUT, not sure how long to continue stirring and not sure about adding nutrients at 1/3 (1.033) break.

Here is what confuses me:

  1. Your directions say “no airlock for 7 days or the gravity falls below 1.033.”

  2. They also say “ferments dry in about a week” (in which case the final nutrient addition may be too late if fermented dry already)?

  3. Curt Stock (from NB) writes: “Oxidation is not a huge concern until you get past 50 percent sugar depletion” which is higher than 1.033. So, by waiting for sugar to drop to 1.033, is there risk of oxidation?

  4. NB’s SNA method adds nutrients immediately, 24 hours/ 48 hours, after 30% sugar depleted.

Please advise on:

  1. When to stop vigorously stirring, and

  2. When to adding nutrients, etc.

I plan to follow your instructions closely.

Many thanks again. This is exciting.

  • James

over Meadowfoam?

[quote=“Jamesgs”]Loveofrose,

Pitched 1 packet of Wyeast 1388 last night into 3 gallons of spring water and Tupelo honey. Specific gravity at 1.1. pH was at 3.9 before adding K2C03. After adding, pH went to 6.4. All nutrients, etc, were/will be scaled accordingly for 3 gallons. In room at 68 degrees.

Plan to stir vigorously twice a day for up.

BUT, not sure how long to continue stirring and not sure about adding nutrients at 1/3 (1.033) break.

Here is what confuses me:

  1. Your directions say “no airlock for 7 days or the gravity falls below 1.033.”

  2. They also say “ferments dry in about a week” (in which case the final nutrient addition may be too late if fermented dry already)?

  3. Curt Stock (from NB) writes: “Oxidation is not a huge concern until you get past 50 percent sugar depletion” which is higher than 1.033. So, by waiting for sugar to drop to 1.033, is there risk of oxidation?

  4. NB’s SNA method adds nutrients immediately, 24 hours/ 48 hours, after 30% sugar depleted.

Please advise on:

  1. When to stop vigorously stirring, and

  2. When to adding nutrients, etc.

I plan to follow your instructions closely.

Many thanks again. This is exciting.

  • James[/quote]

Water in airlock and oxidation.

You would have to do something tremendously stupid to oxidize mead. I’ve had airlocks go dry for a month before noticing with absolutely no off flavors (Note: this is NOT true for melomels, only traditional mead.) I’m not saying you shouldn’t take the precaution. Only not to sweat the details on this one. Put water in the airlock at 7 days or 1.033 doesn’t really matter. Pick one.

Nutrient Addition

The best nutrient additions are based on gravity readings, not time. This is because each batch of mead ferments at a different rate. Also, if you ask 5 experienced mazers when to add nutrients, you will get 5 answers. My nutrient schedule is required for the BOMM to turn out, so stick with adding nutrients based on gravity readings as described in the recipe.

Stirring/Degassing

At first, you are stirring to get some oxygen in without water in the airlock. I just pick up the jug and swirl it. This is not optional. Swirl at least the first week.

After you add water to the airlock and fermentation is finished, you are swirling to remove CO2 so that the mead will clear. CO2 gas in solution continues to make yeast rise, thus hindering clearing. I always swirl during fermentation, but after, I swirl if I want it to clear fast. Or not at all if you don’t care about clearing rate. It’s up to you.

Lately, I’ve been using SuperKleer to clear the mead so the secondary swirling doesn’t matter as much.

Sounds like you will be drinking delicious mead very soon!

Better brewing through science!

By “vigorously stir”, I stir fast and hard for 10 minutes while it froths and foams. “Swirl” implies gently swishing the bucket with the top on for a 2-3 minutes.

Is that what you mean? Any risk to the vigorous approach?

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