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Thread: First batch

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Urbana, IA

    Default First batch

    OK you guys got my curiosity up what do I need to make my first batch of Mead.
    I have no brewing eqipment but I do have a place to set things and honey.
    I would like to start small and simple.
    Can anyone help me with a recipie or list of stuff I need or good places to go to get info?
    Thanks in advance, Phil

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Hays, Kansas, USA

    Default Here's a short list, caution it will grow on you

    If you have a brew/wine supply store nearby, all you need and a lot of what you will 'want' are available. Some of the items needed are specific to the trade, so if no local store, search the internet. Some items can have an original use that has nothing to do with wine making. EC Kraus is one good supplier with free shipping with $25+ orders. They also have recipies and a nice newsletter to help you out. There are other suppliers to seek out. Ebay even has wine making items regularly. Recipies are all over the internet. Some are not worth looking at, many are quite worthwhile. You can discount one that starts out: First, leave some opened jars of Dad's honey out in the shed for the summer...

    I assumed 5 gal. is your goal, but my friends will tell you even 5 gal. is not enough! I probably missed something, but this is a start and an expansion all in one listing.

    Absolutely gotta have these:

    The Compleat Mead Maker or other fine books on subject.
    Primary Fermenter - food grade 6+ gal. plastic bucket
    Gamma Seal lid - I like the easy access offered; a tight fitting lid will be OK, just harder to get into. Drill a 1-1/8" hole in the lid for your #6.5 stopper/air lock.
    Air lock - either 'S' shape or 3-piece are fine
    Rubber stopper - I use a pre-drilled #6.5 stopper
    Secondary Fermenter - preferably a glass carbouy water cooler-type jug, 5 gal. Newer style plastic ones are OK. #10 stopper - for the carbouy, pre-drilled
    Stock pot - 12 qt or larger (to mix honey/water, etc.)
    Measuring spoons
    Long spoon, stainless or food grade plastic
    Fine strainer (if you use heat pasteurization method)
    Container to hold sanitizer solution to place tools in during the mixing. I have a small plastic bucket for this
    Wine Bottles- you can recycle, better get started draining them
    Bottle Brush- clean, clean, clean
    Corks- do not recycle
    Corker- even a cheap hand corker is great to have
    Imagination - to adjust recipies & experiment
    Friends - to share with, don't even think of selling it without federal & state licenses.
    Notebook - keep records of each batch, it's a long time from mixing ingredients to emptying your creation bottles. You may want to repeat a creation or vow to never do that again, so maintain records.
    Beater or mixing paddle & cordless drill- use to oxygenate your must at yeast pitching time. Spoon splashing and whipping will also add air, but a drill-powered plastic paddle or mixer beater really does the trick.

    Really should have these:

    Hydrometer- to test specific gravity before, during, after
    Ph test litmus paper- you may need to adjust acid levels, too low a Ph can stop yeast dead in its tracks
    Baster- or better yet, wine thief
    Racking cane - 24" bent should work with most carbouys
    food grade tubing - to fill & rack, fits on Racking cane
    Bottle filler - inepensive and very helpful.
    Clamp(s) to hold cane or tubing in place

    Chemicals, additives:

    Sanitizer - I prefer One Step®. Bleach is OK, just rinse the daylights out of everything. YOU CANNOT BE TOO CLEAN WHEN MAKING MEAD OR WINE.
    Bentonite- some recipies call for this clarifier
    Yeast Nutrient - Mead musts don't usually have enough Notrogen and other goodies for proper yeast development
    Yeast- do not use bread yeast. Each available yeast has a job they do well, decide whether you want dry, sweet, semi-sweet mead and choose a yeast for that purpose.
    Yeast Energizer - gets the little bugs going
    Campben tablets or Potassium Metabisulfate - can be used to sanitize your equipment, kills off natural offending yeasts, etc. Can be used instead of heat pasteurization.
    Acid Blend- many recipies call for this to adjust acidity for taste, not Ph

    I could go on and on. You will have a 'want' list that never ends. Good news is that your family and friends will almost always know what to get you at Christmas or birthdays! (Maybe Phil wants an Italian Floor Corker for Christmas. If you don't, I sure do)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Oxford, Kansas

    Default just got started myself

    just got into it myself I bought a 6 gallon plastic mush bucket fermenter, 5 gallon glass carboy, Airlock, rubber stopper for top of carboy and airlock, racking cane and vinyl hose, large plastic spoon, sterilizer, yeast, and bottle washer. this is all I picked up at the brew store to get started.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Lyons, CO

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    CAROGA LAKE & L.I. , N.Y


    SWOBEE...., WOW .....Thats the short list???? :confused: can I buy some from you??
    Seems a whole lot easier!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Hays, Kansas, USA


    There are a number of things you will really need to have- air locks, fermenter, etc. Some of the stuff is or can be right out of the kitchen. BenBrewcat has an excellent introductory article on that I forgot to give him credit for, so he had to do it himself. Ben, sorry I forgot to mention your article. It covers a lot and I refer to it.

    I was thinking of doing a presentation on mead making to some civic clubs and others. Although I'm no expert by any means, I found the best way to learn about something is to try to teach about it! With that in mind, I took a bunch of digital photos of my equipment laid out and some during the process. That way I could put them into a Power Point or some type of presentation. I bought a lot of stuff, rigged some things of my own and found a wholesaler or two that I may be able to deal with and get some deals to put a specific mead package together.

    If you buy beekeeping equipment from Brushy Mountain, they have most of the equipment and supplies you could need at reasonable prices. I like doing business with them- good people. I just add an item or two as I go along from Walmart or other local stores. We have no local brew supply place.

    On advice for getting it done on a budget- buy empty water bottles from a water cooler retailer for your secondary carbouys. Our local Culligan® business sells plastic water carbouys for less than $10. Not as good as glass probably, but the price is sure right.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2001


    Not all plastic carboys are created equal

    I don't recommend this carboy but use this site to demonstrate PET

    You invest a lot of time in a mead.I would be a shame to have it go bad because you tried to save a few bucks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Wilkes County, North Carolina, USA


    A place dedicated to mead making and full of valuable information. Brushy mountain sells a good starter kit for mead making.


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