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Thread: Recipe please

  1. #1
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    Question

    I am looking into making a honest to goodness honey water and yeast mead. I am looking for your favorite recipe. Especially yeast preference. I also tend to like a bit of residual sweetness. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    5 gallons boiling water + 1/2 tsp DAP
    Once water is boiling, turn off the stove and add the dried outer peel of a lemon and about 1.5 gallons of *fresh* orange blossom honey. Cool to 95 F and pitch two packs of D47 (lalvin) Rack into a 7 gal glass carboy and cover the top with saran wrap. After fermentation has begun, add an airlock, and store at 65F. Ferment for 6 months on the lees. Rerack to a five gallon carboy and age another 6 months. Bottle with priming sugar (1 cup) and age 3-12 months in bottles. You can't beat it.

  3. #3
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    Why the saran wrap?
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  4. #4
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    I don't like to put airlocks on until I know that CO2 is coming out. Tin foil, empty airlocks, cheesecloth etc will work beautifully. Saran wrap is what's on hand, and its virtually sterile.

  5. #5
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    I have good tasting water here, so what I usually do is just heat the water up enough to disolve the honey, I use 15 lbs, then fill with cool water. This lets you pitch the yeast right away. I also make a starter the day before so the yeast, also Lalvin 47, is going like gang busters when it's pitched. I put the air lock on right away and I'll it bubbling away in about 12 hours. I'll leave it till it clears, 6-12 months, then rack it. I'll usually rack it twice to get it real clear. Then bottle.

    I don't use priming sugar, so that it's not carbonated.

  6. #6
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    That's fine, but the boiling hot water pasteurizes the honey, DAP and lemon zest. It also gives a beautiful clarity that is hard to achieve otherwise. I forgot to mention that I use the softest spring water possible or distilled water. The mead is sweeter and the flavor finer using soft water with D47. No tannins, salts, sufites or other nutrients should be used is this recipe

  7. #7
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    No need to pasturize because there are no known pathogins that will grow in 5% alcohol, let alone 12-18%. The thing you want to avoid is off flavors caused by wild yeasts. Having the starter will over come any wild yeast.

    As for distilled water, I don't like the flavor of distilled. Go with the best tasting water and you will have a better tasting mead.

  8. #8
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    Well, true enough about the pathogens but it's really the off-flavor causing agents we worry about. An adequate cell count of vigorous, healthy yeast will supress most bad guys more than enough. Folks make great mead both ways. I'll also say that I don't used distilled water, for three reasons 1) expense 2) taste and 3) yeast do need some minerals for optimum health. With a nutrient-based starter (not just rehydration, or starting on honey or juice, see the old thread on starters) you can largely ignore the minerals; the yeast will bring enough "on board" into the mead to do an adequate job on the vast majority of meads. But on high-OG, high-alcohol, low-pH, underpitched or otherwise stressful-environment meads it may become a factor (stuck ferment or underattenuation). My water here is so soft, for example, that I add 10 ppm Mg (and the resultant sulfate) to those musts, and for brewing beer add that plus calcium chloride as a base water for pH management, then adjust to the regional water of the style I'm brewing if additional hardness is indicated. Without that trace of magnesium the yeast were underperforming consistently.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  9. #9
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    What is DAP ?
    Clint
    Clinton Bemrose<br />just South of Lansing Michigan<br />Beekeeping since 1964

  10. #10
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    Di Ammonium Phosphate, yeast energizer. It's a nitrogen source only.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  11. #11
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    The honey has enough zinc and Mg. I specifically want my yeast to "underperform" The result is a rather low attenuation and many complex saccarides characteristic of a nice sweet mead with a beautiful floral aroma. Distilled water has no nutrients, odor or flavor. D47 when given nutrients beyond what the honey supplies will create a drier, chardonnay like mead and does not age as well sur lee. The only thing that I would ever change about this recipe would be the zest (sometimes ginger is nicer) or to alter the volume of honey based on its specific gravity and your tastes.

    P.S. Orange blossom is a *must* here, and sulfites really make the aroma pretty wonky, esp if you intend to carbonate this mead.

  12. #12
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    ..that and how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb....

  13. #13
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    Purity Of Essence! Good mead segue. That's a really good point Aspera; somehow I hadn't really thought about the Mg from honey. Even a dark honey would at dilution provide maybe 10 ppm; probably good to get them started. I've never played with manipulating attenuation below potential in meads, though we certainly stress yeasts like that in beer brewing for estery British ales or Belgians.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  14. #14
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    How about a recipe for just water honey and yeast then? Especially the choice of yeast.

  15. #15
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    Oh, sure, fine. Keep a Beesource thread on-topic . OK, a little residual sweetness: what kind of alcohol content are you looking for? That will help us pick a yeast strain. As you can see Lalvin's D-47 is a popular go-to guy.

    Also read the Introduction to Meadmaking, which has a section on recipe formulation for exactly this. Basically once you know desired sweetness and alcohol levels, it's just math and yeast strain selection. Let us know where you'd like to land between refreshing lawnmower mead and rocket-fuel panty-loosener and we can dial you right in with some suggestions.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  16. #16
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    Chemistbert,

    You can use the recipe above, just omit the lemon zest and DAP. It really isn't necessary. Depending on your taste, you may want to change the lower the honey/water ratio a bit if you do this, b/c yeast without a nitrogen source attenuates very quickly, causing many "stuck" fermentations. DAP, egg white, yeast extract, malt, yeast hulls and pollen are all reasonable nitrogen sources. D47 is an excellent choice for a variety of meads b/c it does well in low nitrogen environments. I also like 1118 for drier/higher alcohol meads, and the two yeasts blend well together, especially if D47 is used first. 1116 ages quickly, finishes dry and does't taste too bad either. This strain rapidly eats other dead yeasts and seems to require little to no nutrients, but may produce some really bad hangovers if used in this manner.

    [size="1"][ January 16, 2007, 04:48 PM: Message edited by: Aspera ][/size]

  17. #17

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    Choose a yeast with known tolerance. Add honey above the tolerance for it. This creates a sweat mead. How hot with ETOH do you want it?

  18. #18
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    Mostly what I am after is 12-13% with a nice neutral yeast. I don't like some of the yeasts that leave flavors. Thanks!

  19. #19
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    If you want a "pure" mead, about 3-3.5 pounds honey per gallon and D47 or Narbonne yeast.

    Expect a lot of off flavors if you avoid nutrients, ideally add DAP and also ghostex or similar. Personally I say do NOT heat the honey, sulfite the must instead--same pasteurization, less blowoff of aromatics.

    If you want a less pure, but probably somewhat better-behaved mead, go for (for 5 gallons) the same yeast and nutrients, 1 gallon honey in 3-4 gallons apple juice--the apple juice is mild enough to lose all character in fermentation (the aromatics bubble out or get consumed, either way, it tastes like mead, not apple juice, when done), but it provides a bit less hostile environment than just honey.

    One last note, if you look on a site like "gotmead", very few people like to use champagne yeast for anything but a dry mead--no point in making a 18% alcohol, 3% sugar mead unless you just like rocket fuel--if you want a sweet mead that reminds you of a "wine", D47 and Narbonne both go to 12-14% alcohol, the difference between 14 and 18-20% is quite noticable.

  20. #20
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    Aspera, You mention pollen as a nitrogen source. How would I go about using that?

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