I am a total newbie, but in my readings on this post, talks with local wine equipment supplier and gotmead.com I am ready to start my first batch. Here is what I am doing. I would be happy for some feedback.
First I have a wine kit designed for your own fresh fruit. It includes 7.9 gal primary fermenter, 5gall 2nd fermenter, brush/spoons/hydrometer, racking tube /hoses, sanitizer and the stoppers and such. I also have corks/bottles (1/2 size bottles) and corker.
For my first batch going to make a variation of Joe’s Ancient Orange/Spice mead
15 lbs of my girls output (spring basswood/wildflower mix)
4 gal water
5 Large oranges (cut in 1/8ths, rind and all)
½ cup raisins
5 sticks of cinnamon
3 whole cloves
3 pinches of nutmeg and allspice (optional )
3 packs of Lalvin wine yeast 1116
5 Campden Tablets
Here are my steps:
1) Clean all equipment with the wine kit sanitizer.
2) Mix honey with warm water put in 1st stage fermenter
3) Clean/Sanitize outside of oranges, add in oranges, raisins and spices
4) Add in 5 crushed campden tablets stir
5) Mix yeast with a cup of warm water add to fermenter, mix VERY thoroughly to aerate put on fermenter lid
6) After 24h, stir a bit, put on airlock, keep in 65-75 deg dark location
7) In 2-3 weeks or so fermentation will slow and it will be time to rack to the 2nd stage. This will happen when hydrometer is at ~1.020
8) Rack into carboy. Leaving sediment behind and trying not to splash keeping air contact down.
9) Sanitizer airlock and install on carboy.
10) Finish Fermenting for 1-3 month (will decide later how long)
11) Sanitize bottles
13) Wait 6mths to 12mth
Now my local wine guy told me to use 3 packs of the Lalvin 1116, that seems a bit much, but he tells me that often mead does not start yeast very well and best to go large. However, not sure, thinking of only using 2 packs. Also he recommended using the campden, but I’m not so sure I will.
Any suggestions to my process? This will take me the better part of a year, so I would like to get this as something I will enjoy and don’t want to mess up.