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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Anderson,IN,USA
    Posts
    130

    Post

    Hello,
    I recently purchased my first mead kit from brushy mountain. I've got my first batch brewing and need to rack in a couple of days per/instructions. The kit has a drain on the bottom of the fermentation bucket. Is this where you rack off the sediment from? Is there much sediment to rack off in mead that totally uses honey (13lbs) and no fruit?
    Thank you

  2. #22
    I'm not familiar with the "mead kit" you bought so I'm not really sure about the bottom drain plug you've described. (Sounds like that's the intent of it, however). The main objective is to not leave the mead in long standing contact with the sediment (lees). The technique I use, is to use a small, flexible suction tube and suction (rack) the mead off the lees into a new container.
    The drain plug is just a hole in the bottom of the container, right? [i.e., it doesn't have any kind of tube that would tend to raise the "drain level" above the level of the sediment?] If it's just a hole in the bottom of the container, then it sounds like the idea is to drain off the lees and leave the mead in the original container. This container uses an 'airlock', right?
    A mead made from just straight honey may produce more sediment than you might expect - or, at least, than "I" expected! Of course this is a very subjective judgment, as to how much you expect. Obviously, adding some fruit, greatly increases the amount of sediment. But even without any fruit added, you'll get a fairly good coating of lees developed over time. As I mentioned earlier, mead fermentation is a very slow process (that is, after the initial, fast fermentation that occurs). In a glass container (like a carboy or demijohn), the lees appear almost like dust in the bottom of the fermenting vessel. Even the slightest movement of the fermenting vessel will cause the lees to be disturbed and a small "dusty" cloud will be stirred up (this will settle again, after several hours or a day). This is why old wine bottles have the 'punt' formed in the bottom of the bottles. Back before the days of high pressure micro-filtering, (note: most "modern" wine bottles no longer have a punt), the punt allowed the lees to settle at the bottom of the bottle and made it easier to pour off the wine without getting the lees in the glass.
    Good luck on your first mead!


  3. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Anderson,IN,USA
    Posts
    130

    Post

    Thanks for the info texbeeguy!
    The fermintation bucket with the kit has a small spigot about 2"up from the bottom bottom of the bucket and no tube inside the bucket.I'm assuming this 2" space at the bottom is where the lees will settle.The kit has a screw type lid with a gasket and a hole at the top where the air-lock (half filled with water) goes. I think a glass caraboy would be better at checking the sediment level than this plastic fermintation bucket.Per the instructions you drain off the mead into another bucket (leaving the lees behind) clean out the lees in the fermintation bucket and pour the mead back in, close with lid and re-instal the air lock. Seems simple enough.
    Thank you

    [This message has been edited by sugar bandit #2 (edited November 08, 2003).]

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Eagle Creek, Oregon
    Posts
    289

    Post

    Hi, first timer here. I don't yet Have bees so I have been lurking (and learning) for a few months.
    "The fermintation bucket with the kit has a small spigot about 2"up from the bottom bottom of the bucket and no tube inside the bucket." What you are describing sounds more like a bottling bucket than a fermenter. The mead/wine/beer is usually fermented in a 6.5 gallon bucket or carboy (glass water bottle) then racked (transfered) to the 5 gallon bottling bucket at bottling time. The lees/trub stays behind in the fermenter. A short hose is attached to the spigot and the beverage is dispensed into the individual bottles through the spigot. I've omitted a few things for the sake of brevity. I have not used a bottling bucket as a fermenter because mine seeps through the spigot. In the time that it takes to ferment the beverage a little seepage can make a mess and create a real opportunity for infection if you bottle through the spigot. I've spoken to other homebrewers who have not had that problem.
    A really good source of information is the rec.crafts.meadmaking newsgroup.
    George

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Anderson,IN,USA
    Posts
    130

    Smile

    Thanks for the infor George,
    The fermintation bucket that came with my kit doubles as a bottle filler. I could see how problems could ocur with this plastic spigot in the future. I will purchase some glass caraboys when I save up a little. I'm sure that whatever you pour the mead into while you clean out the lees will have to be sterile before the racked mead goes back in. This kit also uses additional campden tablets when its time to bottle. I'm facinated by the whole learning process. I've got much to learn and really appreciate the advice.
    Thank you

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Jamestown, IN,
    Posts
    34

    Post

    Yup, glad to hear the various inputs on mead. I've made 4 baches over the last 5 years or so......and I have a few general comments: Making mead w/o boiling the wort retains the floral goodness we'all appreciate; Mead only gets better w/ age (but they're hard to keep your hands off 'em); and finally, there's nothing more satisfying then enjoying your own mead, made from your own honey, at night after completing a long day of bee work!!!

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Danbury,Ct. USA
    Posts
    1,966

    Post

    I don't want to stimulate club envy but our club has a honey and mead tasting meeting each year. Did you know some honey can actually taste like molasass. (sp. I give up!) ANYWAY, we had 10 or so mead makers with their wares and it was an education. One beekeeper gave us some 12yr old mead. I left in good spirits.

    Dick Marron

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    > Making mead w/o boiling the wort retains the floral goodness we'all appreciate;

    I don't understand why anyone WOULD boil.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,419

    Post

    I've only had mead one time and I thought it was a bit strong in an unpleasant sort of way. Maybe too much carbonation. I love sherry so I don't mind some kinds of strong. Perhaps we could set up something where members could sell there mead one battle at a time so some of us could try different ones.

    - Barry

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Wink

    Might be a legal problem there with selling alcohol. Perhaps trading glass bottles (with some mucky substance inside), or bartering would be ok?

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Clarksville, MI
    Posts
    92

    Post

    Selling without a license is definitely illegal. Importation via shipping is even illegal in many states. Though it happens all the time - shiping "yeast samples" for example, with the mead being incidental to the yeast.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Sad

    > Importation via shipping is even illegal in many states.

    I know crossing state lines is a problem.

    My X and I were going to an SCA event in KC Mo when we got pulled over by a State Trooper. He saw the two cases of wine coolers that my wife would never leave home without through the back glass and asked where we were going. I didn't know where he was going with that question at the time, so I said KC. He pressed and asked which side, I answered Ks. That was the right answer as he said that he would have taken the alcohol if I had answered Mo.

  13. #33
    Brewcat Guest

    Post

    Sugar 2, you do have a bottling bucket. They'll work fine for a primary but I'd recommend going to LHBS and getting a length of transer tubing instead of just opening up and letting it run into the next vessel, preferable a carboy. Important to not splash and aerate during the transfer (or really anytime after primary fermentation begins to slow). I assume your instructions also stressed and discussed sanitation! Once my schedule slows I'll be glad to share some recipes I've enjoyed... I'll also look up my records of links. Be aware as you search online that many, perhaps most recipes have been posted by enthusiastic, well-meaning folks who may not have posted the follow-up that their mead may have tasted like solventy cough syrup. There are already a number of clearly experienced folks here off of whom we can bounce ideas and recipes to proof for glaring problems or to offer suggestions for ease, enjoyability, and experimentation.

    Aging on the lees (the sediment) has detractors and advocates... for some the nutty complexity of autolysis (yeast breakdown) is desirable. Some strains even can contribute flavors that are deliberately cultivated by autolysis (Lalvin D-47 Cotes-du-Rhone is noted for tropical fruit notes, for example). This comment may start an avid dialog, as folks tend to feel one way or the other. I tend to rack meads when I feel it's time during the extended conditioning, rather than on a strict schedule.

    ------------------
    Ben Brewcat brewing in Lyons, CO

  14. #34
    demerl51 Guest

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    I've found my first, very small bottle of mead. It was from the meadery in Boulder, Co and cost $34!!!. Looks like I will have to make it rather than buy it.

    Importing any form of alcohol into Wyoming is illegal. All alcohol must come through the government warehouse and is distributed to the retailers. Seems like alcohol fuels more than just cars in Wyoming :> )

    Regards
    Dennis

  15. #35

    Post

    Barry, you are welcome to come to my house and I will cahnge your mind on the meads!

    If anyone knows the laws better than I, perhaps a mead exchange could be arranged. Might have to plan it years in advance though... Selling of homebrew is against the law for sure though. FOr those that make mead or want to learn more about it, I would suggest getting involved with a local homebrew club (main focus might be beer). THrough my local club I have learned about competitions. For judging, an experienced judge is paired with someone new. Volunteer to judge the meads! AS a beekeeper or meadmaker you will be recognized as an assset for this task. Here in NC there are 7 comps a year with one of these being only meads. I think I also saw a nationwide mead comp like MEADFEST which after the real judging was done, the exhibit hall was opened up to allow folks to sample everything. My guess is that a homebrew comp you will get to sample more of the wild (prickly pear cactus, hot pepper) meads as opposed to good commercial examples.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Macon, GA USA
    Posts
    943

    Post

    I heard on the radio of a law they're trying to pass that will make it legal to purchase wine on the internet. Apparently the big alcohol distributors (and perhaps a few state governments) are fighting it tooth and nail. If it passes, perhaps that will ease some of the interstate restrictions and make more things like a mead exchange possible. Although since there is no actual purchase with an exchange, I'm not sure how that would be illegal anyway.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    >Although since there is no actual purchase with an exchange, I'm not sure how that would be illegal anyway.

    I BELIEVE that it has to do with interstate transportation, the REAL no no.

    I have to deal with B.A.T.F.& E. agents when they do audits at my store. They are fond of the fact that they deal with possession, not ownership. They tag the person who physically has the goods during the ACT, no matter who ownes the goods.

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    estevan, sask, canada
    Posts
    185

    Post

    Mead does run good in a still.Make sure yew throw the 1st half cup away or burn it cause thats the stuff that gives ya thne head acke,

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    New Braunfels, TX
    Posts
    463

    Big Grin

    I still live in Germany for two more months. Here, mead and honey wine are very popular. Mead is sold at almost all the fests along with the wine (grape and honey), especially during Christmas season. At Castle Ronneburg, near Hanau, a medieval Christmas market is held every year. There must be at least five vendors selling different types of homemade mead. It is like a wine-tasting event for me. Of course, I have yet to make it past the first three without assistance. The mead here is very strong, but flavorful. Often, it is flavored with heirloom-type herbs. I did not realize that it is so rare in the States. I also did not realize that it is so difficult and time-consuming to produce. It is not expensive here, but after reading the postings, it should be.

    ------------------
    Novice Hobbyist

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