THE FIRST STEP TO EVERY GREAT MEAD
No matter how great your honey is, how you prepare your yeast pre-fermentation can make or break your mead.
The three most important steps before any yeast is added to your mead are:
figuring out exactly how much yeast and yeast energizer you need for that specific batch
properly rehydrating your yeast
and acclimating your yeast to similar temperature of your must
Unless you are using liquid yeast, proper yeast rehydration is the first step in making amazing mead. When using a yeast energizer such as Go-Ferm, the manufacturer's instructions on the yeast packet no longer apply.
What to do then? Well, every step depends on the last. We just need to work our way backwards. I'll explain:
The amount of yeast you need depends on your batch volume and starting sugar content
The amount of Go-Ferm you need depends on how much yeast required
And finally, the amount of water you need to dilute your Go-Ferm and rehydrate your yeast in depends on how much Go-Ferm you need
The higher your starting sugar content is, the more grams of yeast per gallon you will need. This would typically range anywhere from 1 to 4 grams of yeast per gallon.
The amount of yeast needed will determine how much Go-Ferm you should use. This would be 1.25x the amount of yeast you will be using in your batch.
The amount of water needed for rehydration will then be 20x by weight of the amount of Go-Ferm you use. The right ratio of water to Go-Ferm is important to ensure the proper concentration of rehydration nutrients and environment for the yeast as they rehydrate.
For the beginner mead maker, piecing this all together can be a daunting task, but understanding these fundamentals and following a consistent and effective rehydration protocol will positively reduce the amount of issues you might have later on once fermentation is in full swing.
We do offer an online calculator that will take care of all of this for you, and more. All you need to provide is your batch size, starting sugar content, and select the yeast strain you are using, and the calculator breaks it all down for you in a snap. This is called our TOSNA Calculator, and can be found under our main menu on this site.
Once you've got all of your numbers down, here is what you do:
Dilute Go-Ferm into the measured amount of hot water (110F is a good temp). The warmer the water, the easier it is to dilute the Go-Ferm into it. Too hot though and it will just take longer for you to be able to move onto the next step.
When the solution reaches 104F, sprinkle your measured amount of dry yeast over the top, give a gentle stir with a sanitized spoon, and allow it to sit for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, you will need to temper the yeast slurry down within at least 18F of your must temperature. If the yeast slurry is any warmer than that, you risk killing most of your yeast due to cold shock. Make sure to take this step seriously otherwise, your fermentation will suffer. Tempering your yeast slurry can easily be done by adding an equal amount of must to the yeast slurry every 5 minutes until you are within that 18F range.
Once your yeast slurry is within that 18F mark of your must temperature (preferably closer than that), you are ready to pitch all of your yeast into your mead, close it up with an airlock and get ready for the next step in making amazing mead, nutrient additions!