Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tommy's Biscuit Mead - Scaled Batch

So, now I think my methodology is coming together. I've experimented with a few different recipes and have had some successes, a failure, and a couple of speed bumps. From here on out, I think I will focus on making bigger batches (4-5 gallons) of Tommy's Biscuit Mead and then customizing my recipes after racking to the secondary (or tertiary). So everything will have TBM as a base, and then cinnamon, jalapeƱo, mint, etc... added later on. My intention on this batch was to make a 3 gallon batch, but a series of oversights (to be explained below) has made it closer to a four or five gallon batch.

Initial Recipe (later revised)

10 lbs of Rice's Lucky Clover Honey
3 Gallons of water (literally 3 gallons)
75 chopped raisins
3 large oranges
6-3/4 tsp of Red Star Bread Machine Yeast
1 tsp of Epsom Salts

4/14/2009 @ 8 PM

Made must, pitched yeast. Used a 5 gallon water bottle (the kind that goes on the dispenser).

4/15/2009 @ 6:30 AM

Fermentation started, but not audible -- probably because of the thickness of the bottle. However, the balloon was about ready to launch into orbit. Poked two more holes in it.

4/15/2009 @ 7:00 PM

I realize I made a mistake in my calculations. I based this recipe on of my initial 1 gallon batch of Tommy's Biscuit Mead, assuming that if I used 3 lbs of honey for a one gallon batch, I could use 9 lbs of honey for a three gallon batch. However, a 1 gallon batch does *not* have one gallon of water; it has less. But my three gallon batch had 3 gallons of water. This will make the 3 gallon batch more diluted, and dryer, than my 1 gallon batch. So, I need to make adjustments. I need to add 5 more lbs of honey and 3 more cups of water. At this point, this is looking like a 4+ gallon batch, maybe close to 5 gallons. My calculations are below:


1 Gallon = 231 cubic inches
1 Cup = 14.6 cubic inches

Water Density
128 ounces per 231 cubic inches
.55 ounces per cubic inch

Honey Density
11.3 lbs per gallon
181.3 ounces per 231 cubic inches
.78 ounces per cubic inch

1 lb. (16oz) of honey displaces 20.5 cubic inches.
3 lb. (48 oz) of honey displaces 61.5 cubic inches.
5 lbs (80 oz) of honey displaces 102.5 cubic inches.
10 lbs (160 oz) of honey displaces 205 cubic inches.

Must Content (for Tommy's Biscuit Mead -- original 1 gallon batch)
...Total: 231 cubic inches) Honey - 61.5 cubic inches (3 lbs) Other Ingredients - 20 cubic inches (about a cup and a half) Water - 149.5 cubic inches (i.e. the remaining space) NOTE: So, not including "Other" ingredients, there is a 2.4/1 volume ratio between water and honey

Must Content (for scaled-up Batch of Tommy's Biscuit Mead -- scaled up, 3 gallon batch)
Honey - 205 cubic inches (10 lbs)
Water - 693 cubic inches (3 literal gallons)
Other Ingredients - 60 cubic inches

NOTE: Not including "Other" incredients, there is a 3.4 / 1 volume ration between water and honey (Too dry!)

Water / Honey = 2.4 #Desired Ratio
693 / n = 2.4 #Water already added
693 = 2.4n
693/2.4 = n
n = 288.75 # cubic inches of honey needed with 3 gallons of water
288.75 - 205 (honey already added) = 83.74

If I add another 5lb bottle of honey (102.5 cubic inches), the water to honey ratio will become...
693 / (205 + 102.5) =
693/307 = 2.25 #2.25/1 ratio (a little high)

So, to get a 2.4 ratio...
n / 307 = 2.4
n = 2.4 x 307
n = 736 cubic inches of water
736 - 693 (water already added) = 43 cubic inches of water (about 3 cups)

Therefore, add 5 more pounds of honey and 3 more cups of water for a 2.4 / 1 water to honey ratio

So, here is my...

Revised Recipe

3 Gallons, 3 Cups of Water
15 lbs of honey
3 Large oranges
75 raisins
1 tsp of epsom salts (for magnesium)
6-3/4 tsp of yeast


04/16/2009 @ 8PM

Added five more pounds of honey and three cups of water. Fermentation still seeps fairly aggressive. This batch is about all I can get in a 5 gallon jug, although it was only meant to be a 3-gallon batch. Now, to keep my hands off of it and let it brew.

FVI (3 holes) 1:19

4/19/2009 @ 9:09 PM

The yeast has consumed about 1 inch of honey in two days. Amazing how quickly they do their work. The fermentation is very vigorous. I'm enjoying it immensely. I'm aiming at racking it on the 28th, but I need to come up with another 5 gallon water jug.

4/26/2009 @ 9:32 PM

FVI (3 holes) 2:47

Fermentation is starting to wind down. All the honey is gone. It still sounds fairly vigorous with my ear pressed to the jug, but the FVI is 2:47. I should be racking it tomorrow or Tuesday (by date), but I may not score another 5 gallon water jug before payday (Friday or Saturday). At any rate, I've been very happy with the progress of this one. Can't wait to get a taste!

Here's what I'm thinking of doing with the secondary:
  • 1-1/2 Gallon of Tommy's Biscuit Mead
  • 1/2 Gallon of Habenero
  • 1 Gallon of Cinnamon Mead
  • 1 Gallon of Viking Maiden
I'm not sure yet, though, if I want to let it clarify for a while in a clean 5 gallon jug or go straight to breaking it down into gallon and half-gallon jugs.

04/30/2009 @ 6:06 PM

FVI (3 holes) 3:22

05/08/2009 @ 10 PM

FVI (3 holes) 4:50

05/10/2009 @ 11 PM

Racked into secondary carboy. It is pretty sweet. Not too shabby.

5/16/2009 @ 7 PM

I could resist, so I poured a glass to... um... sample. Yeah, that's the ticket... a sample! Tasted pretty good (considering it is nowhere near being clarified). But this stuff is stout. Nice alcohol content.

6/02/2009 @ 10 PM

Noticed some small foamy spots floating on the service. Seemed like merely floating sediment. Mead smelled a little suspicious, but not bad. I stirred it a little, and the spots disappeared. Drank a dixie cup of it. It is really tasting pretty good, and very potent.

7/12/2009 @ 8PM

Had a glass and gave a glass to a relative (Joanne). Tasted great. It's pretty sweet, but pretty potent. Clarification is still a ways off, though. Maybe another month. I'll probably rack it again in a day or so.

7/18/2009 @ 12PM

Racked it to a new carboy today. It still needs to clarify a bit more before bottling. It certainly tastes good though, albeit a good bit sweeter than the original 1-gallon batch. I suppose it is a good desert mead.