Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    5,365

    Default I'm in but need advice

    Hi everyone,

    A friend of mine made his own mead and it came out great but he didn't like the taste. I'm now the recipient of some of his equipment so I'm going to give mead making a try. Although I've made wine in the distant past I've never made mead so I have questions. I want to make a small first batch since I was given a 3 gallon glass carboy. Here goes:

    1) I have a 5+ gallon fermenting pail that I used for winemaking along with new airlocks since my old ones were toast. I assume that will be fine even with a small batch or should I buy a smaller fermenting pail?

    2) I was given Lalvin D-47 yeast. It was the type he used in his mead which I liked (it was a sweet mead which is what I'm shooting for). I'd rather use what he gave me but am open to other suggestions.

    3) I have new nutrient, "energizer", campden tablets and cleaning solution...all of which he gave me with the carboy and yeast. I already have a couple hydrometers and tubing to rack with along with a bottle brush, corker, etc.

    4) For now, is there any other urgent item(s) needed?

    5) I have a bunch of crystallized honey from a deadout this past spring and I'd like to use that. Any concern about using crystallized honey?

    6) I see LOT'S of recipes. Any thoughts? Some people add fruit or raisins, etc. I just want to get one batch under my belt first.

    Thanks in advance.....I appreciate all the help!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    6,628

    Default Re: I'm in but need advice

    The state of the honey is no concern. If you like sweet, consider a mead made with melter honey. The unfermentable carmel results in a sweet taste Your brew bucket size is just fine. The D 47 is a good low alcohol yeast. The only concerns I have is the age of the yeast. Fresher is better and D 47 likes a cool fermenting temperature. Mid sixties and not over seventy if you can help it. My worries about sanitizing things are little. Clean is good enough. I don't ever use Camden tablets and have never had a failure caused by wild bugs taking over the fermentation. I recommend Ken Schramms book the Compleat Meadmaker. It will answer all your questions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    5,365

    Default Re: I'm in but need advice

    Thanks. Just got the book (Kindle version). Yeast is pretty much new. Expiration is 02/2018. I have two cellars in this old house. One is pretty much perfect for this venture.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    6,628

    Default Re: I'm in but need advice

    The book is getting dated. I wish schramm would update. Many exciting refinements since written. Go to gotmead.com. be a big spender and buy the patron status. Endless supply of new and proven recipes and good solid advice.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Louisville, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,506

    Default Re: I'm in but need advice

    I'm in the same boat as you, Ravenseye. Thirty-some years ago I made a boatload of wine, but only made one batch of mead. Oddly enough, it was a variation of Joe's Ancient Orange Mead that I made up a recipe for. I never knew about JAOM until the other day when reading Vance's recipe for it; so I guess Ole Joe and I were on the same page somehow. Came out pretty good.

    I've got some honey from 1998 that I am using for the mead recipes.
    I found a couple of charts on home brew sites that list the various yeasts and SG alcohol numbers so it's easier to match the yeast with the type of mead I am trying to make......sweet or dry, fruity or tannin and leathery. Trying to learn some of the details a little bit.
    Dandelion mead is on the list and linden flower next spring and summer...


    You're going to have lots of fun!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    5,365

    Default Re: I'm in but need advice

    I'm excited but concerned about finding the time. My wife and I along with friends of ours went on a wine / mead weekend a couple years back and I was surprised by the variety that people were making. We found some small operations in Maine and New Hampshire but the stuff they were turning out was so good. I'll probably start the first batch right after Thanksgiving.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    West Jordan, UT, USA
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: I'm in but need advice

    Raven, welcome to the meadery.
    Most of the mead makers that I know prefer to use fresh honey in order to get the most out of varietal flavors and aromas. They say older honey can give an off flavor. Meh, I don't completely agree. IME, fresh honey does impart best aroma, and best flavor up front, but older honey seems to lend it's flavors on the back end. Older ain't so good for aroma. I have about 20 lb left of a 60 lb bucket of storage honey that is approaching 40 years old. As for straight mead, it is not my favorite. I prefer this year's batch of honey. But for melomel (mead with fruit wine), it is excellent. It definitely has a noticeable flavor of honey in the aftertaste.

    There is no telling what your friend was tasting that put him off mead, but mead certainly has it's own character, a flavor I don't know how to describe and is not for everyone, especially if they're new to homemade booze. Melomel is my go-to honey booze for that reason. My favorite is a tart cherry mel.

    Crystallized honey is no problem. You'll be mixing it in hot water. I always boil the water I'll be using for mead, in order to get rid of the chlorine and any bugs in it, so I add the honey while it is stll warm enough to melt the crystals.

    makemead.net is a good resource

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    256

    Default Re: I'm in but need advice

    stormthecastle.com Full of recipes & all the info on mead making you could want.
    Beeman
    All things may be lawful; but not all things are advantagous.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    5,365

    Default Re: I'm in but need advice

    OK, just read Compleat Meadmaker sitting at a bar tonight (how fitting) while ducking traffic on my 50 mile commute home. Great book. Lots of info. I'll be looking for more. I need to find some basic 3 gallon recipes and I have a hunch I'll be experimenting with some 1 gallon trials.

    Hops, my friend didn't like the mead mainly because he's a beer guy at heart. He and his friend came over a couple years ago and used my apple press, taking home a BUNCH of juice. He made lots of cider things and decided to try mead. He, his wife and their friend aren't too into anything sweet or non-"hoppy" so that's why they're not doing mead again. They still line up for the apples and we did an apple pressing party this past September when we pressed about 50 bushels for lots of folk who mainly watched and ate good food while we broke a sweat. My goal is sometime in the future, there will be a mead tasting table as part of that event.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    6,628

    Default Re: I'm in but need advice

    Schramm has an autumn bounty or some such cyser recipe that works perfectly with your friends cyder. I have to buy my apple juice but I often make a base mead/cyser then add pie cherries or chokecherries to that in a secondary fermentation. I have ten gallons bulk aging in variations on that theme.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    515

    Default Re: I'm in but need advice

    I've found a staggered nutrient addition regime makes for a clean ferment and a mead that is quite drinkable in a short time (it all gets better with age). SNA and TOSNA are some published methods. Lots of old recipes with boiling involved - totally unnecessary, we use no-rinse sanitizer and have never had any contamination issues. Also lots of old recipes basically toss honey, water and yeast in a bucket - I'm sure it worked for Brother Adam but for the average maizer, it's gonna be years before it's drinkable.

    D47 likes it cold - if you can't manage under 70, I'd spend the 99 cents on 71B or another yeast that doesn't create fussels when it's warm.

    It's a misconception many people have that mead is sweet, it can range from bone dry to cloyingly sweet, it's up to you. Honestly it can be whatever you want it to be, our most recent is a mead with Saaz hops in the boil and Fuggle in a dry hop, force carbonated - we keep the sweetness up enough that it plays off the bitterness of the hops = end result is a 15% ABV mead that comes off along the lines of a light IPA.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    4,602

    Default Re: I'm in but need advice

    Mead making techniques can be widely varied with an equally varied and diverse outcome. Although fresh honeys as mentioned can create a better profile of the varietal honeys, their are many versions that lend well to older honey or even homey of lesser quality. In the case of brochette An older stabilized honey lends well to being caramelized and tends to leave a nice buttery toffee on the pallet. While in the case of meadow foam the fresher the better to bring out that lovely light marshmallow flavor.
    For a first attempt I would recommend starting with a straight forward mead with moderate Alcohol By Volume (ABV) fermented to dryness then back sweetened to taste. Rather that a fermentation which will result in residual sugars. Experience has tough me that most meads benefit from a slow cool ferment rather that a hot fast one. And As ChuckReburn stated staggering the nutrition to ensure a thorough proper ferment which will reduce possibilities of hydrogen sulfides developing within the mead. Patience and aging are very important In mead making and can turn a nice mead into a fabulous one.

    My basic Mead recipe consist of the following per gallon of must.

    *13 cups water,
    *3 cups honey, (Enough to bring Specific Gravity to desired level) I like to shoot for between 1.085 to 1.100 which will finish to dryness at between 12.46% And 14.86% ABV.
    *1/4 TSP wine tannin
    *1 TSP yeast nutrient
    *1/8 TSP Potassium Metabisulphite (K-Met)
    *desired yeast 1 Sacket for up to 5 gallons.

    Mix all ingredients except yeast and one half the yeast nutrient. Although some may disagree the K-Met is important Not only to discourage growth of undesirable yeasts, but to sanitize the must.
    Sanitizing in mead making is vital Many bacteria's can be disastrous to meads and wines, quite often poor sanitation results in development of hydrogen sulfide which can ruin a god wine if left too long. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a colorless, flammable gas, and it produces the distinctive odor of rotten eggs. The nose is very sensitive to H2S, so minute quantities of this gas can easily be detected. Unless hydrogen sulfide is removed from wine promptly, it can react with other wine materials and form mercaptan. Mercaptan can then be oxidized into disulfides, and mercaptan and disulfide also produce very disagreeable odors. Most people can detect less than one part per million of H2S, so very small quantities of hydrogen sulfide can completely spoil a fine wine. In smaller amounts, hydrogen sulfide can give wines a skunk or rotten cabbage odor. In even smaller quantities, H2S may not produce a recognizable odor, but it often destroys the fruity nose of the wine. By far the best way to deal with them is to avoid them all together. By following proper sanitation and providing ample yeast nutrients.

    Allow The must to stand 24 hours. stir vigorously, Take an SG reading Then add the yeast. I like to stir in 1/2 the yeast and pitch the remainder on top. Once fermentation begins I like to keep the vessel in a cool spot somewhere in the upper 60S. to lower 70S Monitoring the SG daily. When the SG reaches 1/2 the way mark add the remainder of the yeast nutrient. and allow to finish fermentation. when the SG reaches 1.000 or below and remains there for 3 days One can consider the fermentation complete. At this time I rack off the lees and let stand , after 30 days I rack again and add another dose of K-Met 1/8 TSP per gallon or 1/4 TSP for 2 to 5 gallons Here the SO2 acts to protect and preserve the mead. I then rack every 90 days and ad K-Met. Until no lees fall in 90 days. At this point I back sweeten to desired taste. add 1/2 tap potassium Sorbate to prevent further fermentation and let stand for 24 to 72 hours. Rack into a clean vessel and bottle. At this point you should have a fairly desirable mead. In 6 more months you will have a pearl.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Canon City Colorado
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: I'm in but need advice

    Making mead is an art! It is simple to do if you have the basic knowledge. I learned how to brew when I was a teenager and have made many things over the years. I prefer mead and the sweeter the better. The joy for me is making something unique and delicious. I used to make mead like Tenbears describes above but have changed slightly. I never boil my honey, nor do it sanitize the must. Honey inhibits contamination on its own and once you introduce your specialized yeast strain it will over power most anything naturally in your environment. I also start with a high gravity, 1.150-1.170 must allowing the yeast to fully ferment out leaving the mead sweet with a high ABV. I maintain a temp between 70-75 for my Wyeast 1388 starter that has been on a stir plate for 3 days with GoFerm. I degass every day for 3 to 5 days depending on how aggressive the fermentation is. I stagger my nutrients, Fermaid K or O + DAP and rack as soon as the fermentation slows dramatically or stops. I also start with some K2CO3 to help keep PH in check. I cold crash and use sparkolloid to aid in clearing. I don't like preservatives, so I don't use any sulfites or sorbates. I can drink a clear mead within a month but I still prefer to bulk condition for 6 months or more. I have had contamination issues in the past but I sanitize well so it's rare for me these days.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads