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  1. #1

    Default First "successful" batch of mead!

    I put "successful" in quotes, because technically it is my second batch, and technically it isn't done yet. The true first batch was a disaster as I failed to sanitize any of my equipment, and used straight tap water to re-hydrate my yeast, which killed it. I let it rot on the counter for two weeks without a single bubble of fermentation before tossing it out. Shameful waste of honey...

    So the second batch has been a 180 degree difference. I used RODI water (my wife is a fish keeper and has the filter mounted conveniently on the wall) and on top of that I boiled it! Maybe that was overkill, but I didn't want to waste any more of my precious honey. In addition I used a Campden in the original must. After 24 hours I added the yeast (again, RODI water, then boiled, then chilled in the fridge down to just over room temp to re-hydrate). In two days it was bubbling happily. It's been two weeks now, and it continues to bubble nicely. I used Lalvin 71B 1122 yeast for sweeter wines. I just looked up the tolerances on it and here is the link: http://www.lalvinyeast.com/strains.asp#. I may be in for a surprise on my alcohol content!

    I can't help myself, as I find it so entertaining. I go in and swirl the carboy every now and then just to release CO2 faster and make it bubble faster for a few seconds. At that time, I can actually feel a breeze coming out of the bottle as CO2 rushes through the airlock, and across my nose. Oh, my nose you ask? That's because I can't get over the smell! It smells just like sour apple to me, which is amazing! I guess maybe that is coming from the malic acid. It smells nothing like the honey that I used, which has a very smooth but not bitter taste (I believe primarily Chinese Tallow honey). If the mead tastes anything like it smells I'm going to be drunk for about a week, and then subsequently be out of mead!

    I just thought I would share my story as it is (I hope) a good one. Just like everything else that I have experienced in beekeeping so far, it's another fascinating and enjoyable aspect. I am looking forward to adding it to my toolbox to further integrate my beekeeping hobby! I just went and stocked up on more equipment so I can get a few more batches brewing. If anyone has what they believe are really great recipes, I'd love if you would share. I'd like to try some with fruit additions, or the use of concentrates to add more flavor. I have a wicked sweet tooth!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,404

    Default Re: First "successful" batch of mead!

    Congrats! Hope it turns out great!

    One thing my buddy did to rejuvenate the yeast is tubed in oxygen for one minute on day two and three. You can buy the bottles at hardware stores in the section with hand held torches. He is a brew master and a clean freak so he sanitized EVERYTHING! He also uses filtered water. I'm sure I would have made vinegar if I didn't have him helping me with Vance G recipe!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  3. #3

    Default Re: First "successful" batch of mead!

    Congratulations on a good start! I hope you enjoy the result. I just brought home thirty gallons of bottled 'spring' water and will start several batches this week. Only I don't like meads...so these batches will ultimately become honey vinegar...which I do think tastes good!
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Genola, Ut
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: First "successful" batch of mead!

    Anyone take it a step further to turn it into vinegar? I have been toying around with the idea of making honey vinegar next fall.

  5. #5

    Default Re: First "successful" batch of mead!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tervort View Post
    Anyone take it a step further to turn it into vinegar?
    Ridiculous idea!
    (check my previous post)
    Last edited by beemandan; 12-31-2012 at 05:25 PM.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Genola, Ut
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: First "successful" batch of mead!

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Ridiculous idea!
    (check my previous post)
    Haha, I noticed a mead maker post a new thread and jumped at the opportunity to ask and missed your post somehow. So I guess its not really a complicated process and I understand the basics (I think). When you are making the vinegar, how do you tell what the acidity level will be in the end? Obviously completely new to this but would really be interested in getting a recipe/process that I can use my first time trying this. I don't want to kill myself by culturing some strange flesh eating bacteria, or something.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: First "successful" batch of mead!

    Tom, what was your recipe? Doing a traditional?

    Ed

  8. #8

    Default Re: First "successful" batch of mead!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tervort View Post
    would really be interested in getting a recipe/process that I can use my first time trying this
    Everything you might want to know about making honey vinegar…..well…almost everything.
    http://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/Ag.%2...e/PDF/e149.pdf

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tervort View Post
    When you are making the vinegar, how do you tell what the acidity level will be in the end?
    You hit the nail on the head with concern about the proper acidity. Too little and it will go bad…too high it’ll have a big bite (and nearly take the enamel off of your teeth). If you plan to sell it…you’d better know how much acid.
    I spent countless hours….dredged up forty year old college chemistry….and figured it out. The only way to accurately measure the percent acid (5% if you plan to sell it) is to use a process called titration. And the rest….I’ll leave up to you to discover.
    Good luck.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Genola, Ut
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: First "successful" batch of mead!

    Thanks beemandan, My wife thinks I am crazy with all of the side hobbies that come from keeping bees. She really thought I was crazy when I told her I was going to try making honey vinegar. I love vinegar and put it on everything so making it myself seemed like a great idea(I do not plan on selling anything at this point). Thanks for the link, I am trying to digest all of the material I can on the subject before I actually attempt this next fall... Any additional information that anyone would be willing to share would be greatly appreciated.

  10. #10

    Default Re: First "successful" batch of mead!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tervort View Post
    My wife thinks I am crazy
    And, of course, she's right. But then look around you....you're in good company.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tippecanoe Co., Indiana, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: First "successful" batch of mead!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tervort View Post
    Anyone take it a step further to turn it into vinegar? I have been toying around with the idea of making honey vinegar next fall.
    You may have already seen this one, but it also looked interesting.
    http://www.squidoo.com/honeyvinegar

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