Just had a couple other passing thoughts on making mead.
Most recipes that call for 'x' pounds of honey per gallon, measure it this way: the 'x' pounds of honey are place into the mixing container and then the boiling hot water is added to reach the level of one gallon. [Usually, it's NOT 'x' pounds of honey PLUS one full gallon of water]. This always struck me as a little counter-intuitive.
The other thought I had was about keeping things clean (very clean) when you're making mead. Since you want ONLY the yeast you're using to do the fermenting, it's very necessary to have your utensils more-or-less sterilized by either dipping your stirring spoon in boiling hot water or using a water/Clorox mixture to clean out the inside of a demijohn. Since wild yeast are floating in the air all around us, you don't want them to be the yeast that kicks off your fermentation. You want 'controlled conditions', using your own yeast.
I've always kinda thought that mead was perhaps THE oldest alcoholic beverage. Predating, certainly beer, and probably even wine. Since all it took was a bowl of honey left exposed to some rain water and poof! pretty soon, you had a wild airborne yeast yielding some fermented honey. And since we know that early man was collecting honey some 8,000+ years ago, it just makes sense to me that mead is perhaps the old of alcoholic drinks.
The basic recipe that came with my mead kit is the following:
-13 lbs honey
-water to total 5 gallons
-6 teaspoons yeast energizer
-6 tablespoons acid blend
-1 teaspoon natural grape tannin
-5 campden tablets
1 pkg lalvin ICV-D47 yeast
My question is, does the "water to total 5 gallons" mean the total of all ingredients including the 13 lbs of honey or in addition to the 13lbs of honey?
Finally, do the campden tablets sterilize the mixture prior to adding the D47 yeast.
"Water to total 5 gallons" means with the honey added (in other words, both the total amount of water and total amount of honey together). This is the kind of "inverse" thinking I mentioned in an earlier posting. But if you did add 5 gallons of water to the total amount of honey you used, I wouldn't worry about it too much (you'll be reasonably close anyway).
Your initial gravity will be a little lower (and thus, your final alcohol content may be a little less) but overall you should still end up with something that's very acceptable.
Campden tablets are used to stop fermentation. I have seen recipes that call for their use in the manner you've described but I have never used them in that fashion. My preferred method is to heat the must to a boil, thus killing any loose yeast spores that might be present. The only time I would use campden tablets is to kill the yeast prior to a naturally completed fermentation - in other words, if you wanted some residual sugar left in the finished product. Oh, I also use campden tablets in the hot water in which I soak my corks, just prior to bottling.