A little help for my first brew.
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lynchburg, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    28

    Default A little help for my first brew.

    I want to make a gallon of basic mead. Just the regular honey mead. I ordered my stuff so I can try it because I want to make some pumpkin mead come October and I wanted some practice. What’s my recipe for a sweet gallon of mead? I don’t want it dry. And any tips or tricks? First time doing rhis

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
    Posts
    1,852

    Default Re: A little help for my first brew.

    not sure what the "stuff" you ordered
    but this might be a good start... you can toss out all the flavering to make it a basic
    https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/t...ge-mead.49106/

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lambton Shores, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    274

    Default Re: A little help for my first brew.

    Welcome to the world of mead making...AKA your new obsession

    Making sweet meads is not trivial; it is one of the harder things to do unless you're willing to take a few shortcuts. Traditionally, sweet meads are made by preparing a must (unfermented honey/water mix) containing enough honey that there is more sugar than the yeast can ferment - typically in the range of 4lbs/US gallon. The yeast will ferment until they hit their alcohol tolerance, and then settle out, leaving a sweet mead behind. While that sounds simple, stuck fermentations (when the yeast quits before it should, leaving you with a sugary mess) and long ageing periods (to address off-flavours produced by stressed yeast) are common with these kinds of meads, and I would not suggest them for beginners.

    "Cheating" (aka, doing what they do with wine making) can produce a modest-alcohol (8-10%) sweet mead in a shorter period of time. The way this works is that you let the yeast ferment a lower-gravity must to completion, allow it to age until it tastes good, and then you chemically stabilise the mead and add honey (or sugar, or fruit juice, etc) to backsweeten until you hit the desired sweetness. Advantage is that you can easily and quickly make a sweet mead; downside is that you have to add "chemicals", which some people dislike. ("chemicals" in quotes, because what the heck do those people think water, sugars, alcohol, etc are?)

    If you want to go the cheater route, I would suggest the following:

    Purchase/Acquire Before Brewing
    • 1 gallon carboy, demijohn or other glass fermenter
    • A brewing friendly sanitiser; I'd recommend Starsan.
    • Airlock and bung; make sure the bung/airlock fits the fermenter
    • Fermaid-O, Fermaid-K or other complete yeast nutrient (make sure the nutrient contains dead yeast, and is not simply DAP - you can usually tell by colour; complete nutrients are beige-to-brown; DAP (and similar artificial nutrients) are stark white)
    • Lalvin D-47 yeast
    • Potassium (preferred) or Sodium (less preferred) metabisulfite
    • Potassium sorbate
    • ~1.5 lbs (~8% mead) to 2.2 lbs (~10% mead) of good quality honey; avoid pasturized or filtered products as they have less flavour. I'd also suggest staying away from strongly flavoured honeys (e.g. buckwheat) as these can be overpowering.
    • If your water is treated with chlorine: Collect 1 to 1.5 gallons of water and let sit in an uncovered container over-night before brewday
    • If your water is treated with chloramine, or you don't know what your city uses: Purchase 1 to 1.5 gallons of spring/bottled water (not reverse-osmosis or distilled water)
    • If your water comes from a well: If it tastes good, use as is. If it has a strong mineral (or other) character, purchase 1 to 1.5 gallons of spring/bottled water (not reverse-osmosis or distilled water)


    Day 1
    1. Clean your fermenter with soap and water, and then rinse thoroughly; no soap bubbles should form when water is dumped from the fermenter
    2. Sanitize your fermenter as per the manufacturer's instructions. Drain sanitizer; if using a sanitizer that must be rinsed, rinse with tap water (if your water source is treated) or with boiled water (if using well water or water you don't trust).
    3. Pour your honey into the fermenter, rinsing residual residual honey from the container with the water your prepared the night before or purchased.
    4. Add 2 g of yeast nutrient*
    5. Add your treated/purchased water to the fermenter until the fermenter is ~1/2 full, cap with a bit of saran warp, and shake the dickens out of it until the honey dissolves (or stir with a long spoon, if you have one - be sure to sanitise the spoon first). If you are having trouble dissolving the honey, try warming the carboy in hot water. Avoid over-heating as this can drive off some of the more subtle honey flavours and aromas.
    6. Using your good water. top up the carboy to 1 gallon. You can take a gravity reading at this point if you have a wine refractometer, but this is not required.
    7. Open the yeast packet with clean scissors, and pour the yeast into the fermenter**
    8. Place airlock on the fermenter, being sure to sanitise the bung and to fill the airlock with sanitizor or unflavoured vodka.
    9. Place in a dark closest, ideally one with a temperature around room temperature, and leave it be


    *Some yeast makers add nutrient in stages, which may speed ageing slightly. If you want to do this, add half the nutrient when dissolving the honey, and divide the remainder into thirds - the first 3rd is added 48 hrs after you add the yeast, the second 3rd added at 72 hrs, and the final 3rd added at day 7. In my experience the benefit of this method is minimal unless you are producing very high alcohol meads (>12% ABV); this recipe should give you a 8-10% mead.

    **Normally yeast shoudl be rehydrated prior to adding it to yeast must. But you are adding enough yeast for 5 gallons to 1 gallon, so you should be OK. If you are making higher-alcohol meads, or larger volumes, always rehydrate your yeast. To rehydrate, warm ~1 cup of spring/RO/distilled (e.g. chlorine/chloramine-free) water to 40C (~105F) and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit for 10 min then stir the yeast into the water. Let sit an additional 5 minutes, then add yeast/water mix to your fermenter. This allows a larger portion of the yeast to survive being rehydrated, giving you more yeast to ferment the mead.

    Over the first week you should see a pretty constant bubbling through your airlock; this will slow with time and cease totally by week 3 or 4. If you made the 8% version the mead should be ready at the end of week 4; if you made the 10% version I'd suggest letting the mead age for another 2 weeks. If you're going to age longer than 6-8 weeks (counting from the day you added yeast), you should siphon it to a cleaned/sanitised fermenter at the end of week 4 in order to get the mead off of the yeast - make sure to cap the fermenter with an airlock.

    Once you are ready to package
    1. Dissolve 1/4 tsp of potassium (or sodium) metabisulfite into 200 ml warm water. If you don't have a metric measuring cup, use 1 cup of water which is about 250 ml
    2. Throw away all but 50 ml (~1/3 cup) of this solution, to the remaining solution add 0.75 tsp of potassium sorbate. Mix until dissolved
    3. Siphon the mead to a clean container, being careful to minimize the transfer of any yeast
    4. Mix in sorbate/metabisulfate solution into the mead
    5. Add your sweetening agent to taste; if using honey I would recommend pre-diluting it 50:50 in water to make it easier to dissolve into the mead
    6. Bottle


    That's it - pretty simple! One last note - because this mead is stabilized it cannot be carbonated unless you carbonate artificially. Its great as a still mead, so that's not really an issue. The metabisulfite has an extra bonus advantage, in that it is an antioxidant and will help your mead age longer.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lynchburg, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    28

    Default

    Sorry for the late reply- been busy. This attached picture is what I ordered, not using The plastic I’m using the glass and I have another glass carboy for my secondary fermentation. Thanks for the very detailed instruction. I am using lalvin d-47 so I shouldn’t have to backsweeten if I understood what you said right? I’m just trying this so when I harvest honey next year I won’t waste my own honey on mead.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lambton Shores, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    274

    Default Re: A little help for my first brew.

    That's a good startup kit; you can use that bucket for up to ~4 weeks, but more than that and there can be concerns with oxygen ingress. D47 may still require backsweetening, but it is a very fruity yeast so "dry" meads made with it tend to taste less dry than with other yeasts. Depends on how sweet you want your mead to be.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lynchburg, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    28

    Default

    Ok thanks. My supplies are supposed to come in tomorrow so we shall see.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lynchburg, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: A little help for my first brew.

    Since the bucket is 2 gallons, can i only add 1 gallon or is all that headroom bad? I feel like I saw somewhere that I don't need that much headroom.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    1,433

    Default Re: A little help for my first brew.

    How often should mead be racked?

    My local Brew Supply Store advised racking weekly. ????This is to avoid off taste/souring of mead caused by sediment at bottom of carboy.

    What do you replace volume with to fill carboy as one loses a couple of cups with each racking?
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lambton Shores, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    274

    Default Re: A little help for my first brew.

    DO NOT rack weekly - if there is a contaminant in the fruit, racking will not protect you as that contaminant will be in the mead within minutes or hours of adding the fruit. In contrast, racking wastes mead, introduces oxygen, and represents a chance for infection from your equipment.

    I rack plain meads twice: the first time 3-4 weeks after adding yeast, once primary fermentation is complete. This gets the mead off of the spent yeast. I rack a second time shortly before bottling, to get the mead off of anything that has settled in that time.

    For meads with a lot of additives - large fruit or spice additions - I add an extra racking between those two, to get the mead off of spent fruit or material that settles in the medium-term. This aids in the clarification process and is otherwise unneeded.

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