21 - 40 of 49 Posts

#### BernhardHeuvel

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
1,750 Posts
This is how I make mead.

Step 1: Calculate honey needed.

[Desired alcohol content in percent] x [fixed factor 19] = >> [Required amount of sugar in grams per liter] x

[desired batch quantity in liters] = >> [Required total amount of sugar in grams] divided by [fixed factor of

800 g / sugar content of honey kg *** ***] >> = total demand for honey in kilograms

I have fermentation barrels of 31 liters. Those I fill with 25 liters of mead starter. Hence my calculation:

16% x 19 = >> 304 g/l × 25 l = >> 7600 g / 800 g/l =>> 9.5 kg honey (approx.)

Step 2: Heat honey.

Although the honey can also be heated only to 40 °C to preserve the ingredients, but that may produce a wrong

fermentation. You better heat up to 70 °C and later stir in honey to sweeten the mead after the fermentation

- then again you have the ingredients in it. So in the saucepan heat up the honey to 70 °C quickly.

The HMF value is increased by the heating of the honey, but because the honey is then stirred into water, the

HMF value at the mead falls back. So the HMF value is therefore irrelevant.

Step 3: Stir honey into water.

Heat the one quarter of the required amount of water and pour into the fermentation vessel. In my 25 liters

mead starter, that means about 6 liters of water preheated. Then pour the honey into the hot water. Stir.

Fill up with cold water. It is advisable to add only 2/4 of the total required amount of cold water. And

measure the sugar content with the Oechsle scale before adding the remaining water.

Step 4: Determine sugar content.

That is most important. Because honey is not like honey and has distinctly different sugar concentrations!

The above mentioned value of 800g/l sugar content of honey is an average, just a rule of thumb to work with.

Stir in honey or add cold water until you reach a value of 100-110 Oechsle (gram sugar per litre). Take

samples in a 250 ml cylinder, where the Oechsle scale is immersed.

Reverse calculation of potential sugar alcohol content: xxx Oechsle times 0.13 (factor)

110 Oe x 0.13 = 14.3% potential alcohol

Step 5: acidification.

To avoid wrong fermentation and doing someadhing for the good taste! the acidification is important. Honey /

mead naturally has an acidity of approximately 4 g/l. The addition of 1-2 g of citric acid to 1 liter (at 25

liters this means 40g of citric acid) the acid value is lifted up to 6 g/l. The taste is much better and the

yeast is working better.

Step 6: Stir in yeast nutrients.

Because the honey lacks some of the nutrients that are present in juices, for example, yeast nutrients (so

called yeast salts) are to be added. If this step would be omitted, the yeast would stop working after a

short time and the probability of a false fermentation raises.

At 25 liters I add 12g yeast salts.

Step 7: Add the yeast.

Rehydrated dry yeasts (note instructions). Don't use liquid yeasts, they perform much less reliable. Add

yeasts when the temperature of the mead mixture reaches 25 °C. Port or sherry wine yeast pack the many sugar

very well.

Step 8: Fermentation

Observe the fermentation closely and do tests quite often. Depending on the sugar content of the fermentation

runs fast or slow. Primary fermentation runs for two to three weeks. Another two weeks for the second

fermentation.

Step 9: deduct from yeast cake

In a quiet corner of the kitchen, on a little insulation, the mead is dormant after a stormy primary fermentation. The mead still is fermenting, but the time between the bubbling increases. It is time for the mead to be deducted from the yeast.

So lift a little higher - onto the kitchen table.

First, I measure the alcohol content, the acidity to adjust the acidity and the sugar content.

I determine the acidity with blue lye and a small measuring cylinder. First, the mead is filled to the zero line.

Then, drop by drop the blue liquor is added. Then shake. First the mixture turns yellow, then turns into green and finally to dark green - at the graduated cylinder the acidity can be read. Here it is 5 to 6 And so I definitively do not to add more acid.

With the "Vinometre" I measure the alcohol content.

14 vol% alcohol or more - that is quite sufficient. (About 13% prevents vinegar bacterias.) The taste confirms the alcohol content. The mead hardly tastes sweet, but strongly of alcohol.

The Oechsle scale shows 51 g/l residual sugar.

Most people do like a sugar content near by 110 Oechsle (g/l). Need to add some more honey then.

The difference of 110 to 51 g/l is 59 g/l - that much sugar is missing.
59 g/l by 20 l = 1.180 g/l residual sugar, needs to be added. (Mathematically). Honey doesn't consist of 100%

sugar, but about 20% of water. So it needs more honey. So we divide 1180 by 800 g/l = 1.475 kg of honey. I used the good linden honey harvested this year to sweeten the mead.

Carefully warm up to 35 - 40°C, so it mixes better with the mead.

Carefully drain and split the mead from the yeast residues on the ground.

While running I add the honey and sulfur. Stir with a slotted spoon.

The sulfur in the form of potassium pyrosulphite improves the flavor by binding acetaldehyde and prevents the oxidation of the mead and thus the growth of lactic and acetic acid bacteria.

The new barrel is smaller and should be filled right up to the brim - again in order to avoid the oxidation.

The barrel is sealed with a fermentation lid, to avoid the barrel to explode by another second fermentation. And returned to the quiet corner.

Let sit there for another two weeks or more to ripen the mead. When there is no more bubbling, you can fill it into bottles. Make sure the alcohol is measured. Needs to be above 13 %. Heat when bottling.

Regards

Bernhard

#### WVMJ

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
I fee like I just read a manual on meadmaking, thanks for the details. A lot of us dont heat our honey up beyond room temperature, we have drill mounted stirrers that easily mix any honey into the must so heating up isnt needed. Some of us even add sulfites at the beginning so we dont have to heat to prevent unwanted fermenting agents. Your acid test kit is interesting, a little different from the ones used here in the US by most home mead makers but on the same principles. I dont have much faith in a vinometer being accurate in a mead, especially with any residual sweetness, maybe if it was bone dry but with remaining unfermentable sugars always present in honey even at low concentrations I think it interfers with a vinometer.

So what kinds of varietal honeys do you guys get to use? I have read that you have acacia which seems to be the same as our locust trees which in one of our main flows with a very light and flowery honey which is very sweet.

WVMJ

#### laketrout

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
1,651 Posts
newbe here , should I try to add the honey and sugar to warm water to get it in a syrup form , and is it alright to hydrate the yeast first , also thinking about starting it in a plastic bucket primary fermenter with loose lid for awhile until it gets going then putting in the airlock , any problem with that .

#### RABray

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
FlowerPlanter: This sounds very foolish but I need to ask. You do add water to those 12 cans of frozen concentrate correct?

#### laketrout

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
1,651 Posts
I'm not Flower Planter but yes you do add water , mix your ingredients with several inchs of water slosh it around to mix good especially the honey then add the rest of your water and yeast , dont fill all the way or it could bubble over , no need to airlock until most of the bubbling is done

#### SuiGeneris

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
Hard-core mead-maker here. Just thought I'd share a few thoughts:

The OP's recipe is for a type of mead called a pyment - a wine/mead hybrid. You can make similar meads with other fruits/fruit juices, which are called melomels, apple cider (cyser), spices (metheglin), hops (braggot) and a number of other ingredients. Fruited and spiced meads tend to be ready to drink earlier than pure-honey meads, and often are easier to brew due to their bolder flavours (which can cover up fermentation flaws).

I have to disagree with @BernhardHeuvel regarding heating honey. Heating honey drives off a lot of the aromatics, so unless you're deliberately trying to make a cooked or caramelized honey mead (Bochet) you want to avoid heating honey. Honey is intrinsically antiseptic, so risk of infections are low so long as your water is clean and you pitch a healthy dose of yeast immediately after diluting the honey. Most meads can be made using room-temperature water, but if you're going over 12% ABV you may need to warm the water slightly to help the honey dissolve. I find a wine whip works well for dissolving the honey.

If you are concerned about infection, you can pulse the must (unfermented mead) with sulphates - add 0.25g of potassium (or sodium) metabisulphate for every litre of must. Stir in, and let sit overnight (12-18 hours). Then add your yeast and ferment as per normal. Sulphate-sensitive individuals can use this method, as the fermentation will drive off or consume the sulphur compounds.

#### FlowerPlanter

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
4,646 Posts
Discussion Starter
This is a very simple recipe that makes a very nice concord grape "pyment" wine/mead. Concord grape concentrate has a very strong grape flavor which makes it very hard to notice changes, it's also hard to mess up. Lots of extra steps especially the ones seen in post #21 may be necessary for a fine mead but not likely to make a noticeable difference in this concord pyment.

Want it dryer just add less sugar/honey.

I have been making this since the last post five years ago, have adding a few variations. I have tried all honey compared to 1/2 honey and 1/2 sugar I could not tell the difference. I have oaked it and did not like it as much as unoaked, but that could just be me. Have also added hershey's chocolate syrup after the last racking and that made a very nice dessert wine. have tried different yeasts but have come back to cotes de blanc yeast. My favorite is to add a tbsp. per gallon of my own vanilla extract (beans sitting in cheap vodka) added at bottling; smooth's out the flavor and adds to the aroma. It's also very good in many meads.

#### laketrout

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
1,651 Posts
Flower planter I picked up a recipe booklet the other day and noticed that most of them call for tannin's , nutrients , and energizers unlike the recipe you posted . I like the recipe you posted as it doesn't call for more supplies that I dont have yet , looks like there not always needed can I leave them out of some recipes or am I going to have bad results .

#### SuiGeneris

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
Flower planter I picked up a recipe booklet the other day and noticed that most of them call for tannin's , nutrients , and energizers unlike the recipe you posted . I like the recipe you posted as it doesn't call for more supplies that I dont have yet , looks like there not always needed can I leave them out of some recipes or am I going to have bad results .
You can make a perfectly fine mead with nothing more than honey and yeast...but it takes time and patience. Just to give you an idea of what the extras do:

Nutrient/energiser: Mead must is mostly sugar and lacks a lot of the nutrients yeast need for healthy fermentation. Nutrients and energisers are essentially the same thing (energisers have fewer total nutrients), and provide the yeast with the nitrogen and micronutrients they need for successful fermentation. You don't need these, but your ferment will go slower and the yeast will produce more off-flavours. These off-flavours will disappear with additional ageing (months to years). A large dose of nutrient can produce a finished moderate-alcohol mead (8-10%) in 3-6 weeks. That same mead would take 6-12 months to reach a similar taste profile if nutrient is not added.

Tannins: Tannins are added mostly for mouthfeel; they make the mead feel more full-bodied and less watery. Tannins are added <naturally> by fruit and spice additions, so tannins are often unneeded for many fruit/spice/herb meads. They can be a nice addition to a pure-honey mead.

Acid belnd: A mixture of fruit-derived acids (malic, citric and tanic acids). This acidifies the mead, not to make it sour, but rather to "brighten" the flavour. Again, these are provided by fruits and thus not needed for most fruit meads. But for pure-honey meads and spiced/herb'd meads, a bit of acid blend can really make the flavour 'pop' - much like how a bit of salt can bring out the flavours in cooking.

Pectic enzyme: Note ***not pectin***. Pentinase (pectic enzyme) is sometimes added to fruit meads to remove pectins, which can form undesired haze. If not used, pectins will eventually settle out, leaving a clear mead. Don't mix this up with jam/jelly pectin, which will add haze.

Bentonite, gelatin, klenisol, chitosan, sparkiloid, etc: These are all clarifiers that aid in the sedimentation of yeast and other particulates out of the mead, helping it to clarify. I generally don't use these, and rely on time to clarify my meads. They can greatly accelerate clarification, and if real fruit is used, are often the only way to get a truly clear mead. The reason I don't use them is mostly because I'm forgetful, and by the time I remember I have mead ready to bottle, its clarified on its own.

Filtration: OK, not an additive, but something many mead makers use to clear a mead. Clears meads immediately, but can strip flavours.

Potassium (or sodium) metabisulphite: Anti-oxidant and stabilizer. Used to kill-off wild yeast (pre-ferment) or brewers yeast (post-ferment). Must be combined with sorbate if you are stabilising the mead in order to back-sweeten (add honey or sugar or juice after fermentation, to add sweetness to the mead). Is also sometimes added to meads intended to be aged for a long time, as it acts as an anti-oxidant.

Potassium (or sodium) sorbate: Stabilizer that prevents yeast from reproducing. Is used in conjunction with metabisulphate to allow for backsweetening of the mead.

#### laketrout

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
1,651 Posts
Thanks for your time Sui Generis the run down was very informative I will print it out and keep it handy , sounds like they defiantly have there place I was trying to streamline the supplies it seems like every time you go to do something there is one or two items you don't have was wondering if all this stuff was necessary after seeing flower planters recipe with out them .

#### SuiGeneris

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
The good news is that most of them are cheap, and you don't need much, so a little goes a long ways. If you go down the path of the mead-maker, I should warn you that you'll inevitably end up with a basement full of stuff.

#### laketrout

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
1,651 Posts
Well I have flower planters wine recipe cooking and its working good a nice fizz , can this be moved to a secondary fermenter to early and to late and hurt the wine if so can I go by a certain S.G. or just go by say two weeks and move it over .

While I'm waiting on my wine I am working out equipment needed for small batch 1 gallon beer brewing with all grains and no extract. This size will be great for us as we can do more brewing and experimenting and not end up with cases and cases of beer ( I know for some this would not be a bad thing ) the 1 gallon brews will yield maybe 10 bottles of beer so we can do different grain and hops recipes and get different kinds of beer , sounds like fun !!

#### FlowerPlanter

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
4,646 Posts
Discussion Starter
Thanks for the descriptions Sui Generis.

Grapes have everything that yeast needs, all the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and tannins for a heathy fermentation. Honey and some other fruits may be lacking so it is important to supplement them. If you have them you can add, it won't hurt, but you don't need a full dose you can do 1/4 or a 1/3 of the recommended amount. If this is your first batch I would just leave the extra stuff out, then tailor it to your taste, what you will likely find there is little you no difference. The amount of sugar, oaking, and ageing will make a difference that you can
experiment with. Make sure to taste your wine every step along the way.

>can this be moved to a secondary fermenter to early and to late and hurt the wine

Too early just means you may just have racked it too soon which won't hurt but you wont get all the yeast. Too late yes can hurt it if you leave it on the lees (spent yeast) too long this may take a few months. Most rack the primary within a month then rack off the lees every 3-6 months. Sounds like the yeast is just getting started, You will know when it's done.

Here's a nice little brew shop with very good prices for wine, beer and mead brewing. Free shipping on \$50
http://brewandwinesupply.com/

#### SuiGeneris

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
@laketrout
Sounds like you had a bit of a lag in your ferment - nothing to worry about, but I wouldn't recommend transferring until the activity has dropped off. My general "rule" is 1 bubble per minute or less through the airlock. Transferring at this point won't hurt the mead, but you're not helping it either. The goal is to move the mead off of the bulk of the yeast once fermentation is largely completed.

As a general "rule", in mead making if you're not sure if something is ready, let it sit a while longer. Ageing rarely hurts.

@FlowerPlanter
The advantage to adding nutrient at a high rate is a mead that is drinkable much more quickly, and a reduction in potential fermentation issues. Fruits (including grapes) are relatively low-nutrient, especially nitrogen and zinc, although honey is much lower nutrient in comparison. There have been a lot of advances in how mead makers (and vinters) use nutrients, and it is now possible to turn out meads (and wines) of equal quality to traditional methods - but in as little as 4-6 weeks instead of 4-6+ months. They also forestall some of the more common issues new mead makers often experience - fusel alcohols, stuck ferments and the like - making for a "safer" entry point for the new mead maker.

#### laketrout

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
1,651 Posts
Just want to make sure I explained myself right in previous posts , I made flower planters recipe but put it in a 6 gal plastic primary warmed up some water to mix the honey in so it wouldnt just sink to the bottom in a big glob also hydrated the yeast before pitching . Everything went smoothly and it has been working nicely for almost a week now I have the plastic lid just sitting on top with about 5 to 6'' of head space and there is a good layer of foam on top .So am I ok leaving it in the primary for another week or two waiting for the fermenting to slow down ,should I seal it up in the primary with a airlock or I should I dump the whole thing in a carboy now.Don't want to mess this up it smells good !!!

#### SuiGeneris

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
I'd add the airlock so long as the ferment isn't so vigorous as to push the liquid out of the lock. Once the rate of bubbling drops to 1/min or less its ready to move to the carboy.

If your plastic fermenter has a good lid and airlock your mead should be fine in it for well over a month.

#### mgolden

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
1,500 Posts
I have blueberry melomel in a one gallon carboy. It's 4 minutes between burps in the airlock. Alcohol is 8%. I started with 3 lbs of honey and used a full package of D47 yeast(I didn't realize package was good for 5 gallons)

#### laketrout

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
1,651 Posts
SuiGeneris thanks for getting back so quick I will seal it off and put the airlock in appreciate the help .

#### laketrout

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
1,651 Posts
I wanted to check the S.G. on my wine its been a week today and it started out at 1.090 and now a week later its 1.000 . seems very low after only one week and its still bubbling every 8 to 12 seconds is it time to rack over to a carboy or let it go longer in the primary

#### FlowerPlanter

·
##### Registered
Joined
·
4,646 Posts
Discussion Starter
Your S.G. sounds about right to rack off the primary, or you could wait a bit. I usually rack around three weeks. There seems to be a lot of yeast that settles right about that time frame.

21 - 40 of 49 Posts