Well, I started my mead journey two months ago and I currently have 9 different batches in varying quantities sitting on a bench in one of my cellars. I learned a lot in a short time and I'm looking forward to learning a whole lot more. Here are some of them:
- It's easier to use fermenting pails than carboys in the primary. With a pail, I can make the batch a little larger (I'm mainly doing one gallon batches since I'm so new at this) so that when I rack off into a secondary, I don't have to worry about what to use when I need to top off.
- It's not as hard as I thought to restart a batch that never got going (or stalled almost immediately according to my hydrometer). Maybe I got lucky when I brewed up a starter to revive the batch.
- Move the primary up to the kitchen the night before racking so that the stirred up lees has a chance to re-settle before you work on it.
- Like in beekeeping, there are LOT'S of right answers (opinions) depending on who you talk to!
- Trust your hydrometer. Trust your hydrometer. Trust your hydrometer (I bought a backup so that I won't be stuck without one if I drop it). I also learned the "trust" lesson when making maple syrup.
- Starting multiple recipes means you have to take good notes and keep a good log. My memory ain't what it used to be.
- It's good to use a calendar to schedule future, anticipated events like racking, adding nutrients, etc. Did I mention my memory ain't what it used to be?
- It's OK to experiment a little....just keep good notes in case something goes wonderfully right or terribly wrong.
- Mead making is another great lesson in patience; like beekeeping, gardening, marriage, etc.
- Dogs and cats love to clean up spilled mead.
- Yeast is a wonderful organism that deserves much more credit that much of the world gives it.
- It never hurts to sip mead while you're making it. Gives you something to look forward to.
I'm sure there's more but these are what popped into my head during my 90 minute commute to work this morning. Thought I'd share.
Thanks everyone for all the help so far!