Another Mead Thread

Discussion in 'Products of the Hive' started by Bens-Bees, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    This year I've decided to make a 5 gallon carboy of mead. I have watched lots of mead making videos and done a bit of light reading on the subject so I have some basic understanding of the process. The thing is that every video or tutorial I've read says to add something to it besides just the honey, water and brewers yeast, such as oranges, or raisins. But I don't want to add anything to it other than honey, water and yeast.

    So my question is this:

    Is it really that important to add other ingredients for the fermintation process or is it really just for flavor?
     
  2. buckethat

    buckethat New Member

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    I am no pro at making mead but the one batch i made i didnt add anything to the fermentation process. But when i was done i added something to kill the yeast so it wouldnt blow up in the bottle. That worked for me and it turned out great
     

  3. LunacyMountain

    LunacyMountain New Member

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    Mead can be made with straight Honey, the other ingredients are used because most people enjoy wine more than honey Mead so its more common to find those recipes

    check out this recipe
    http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/brew-1-gallon-of-honey-wine-mead.htm

    here's a bunch more knowledge on the subject of making mead
    http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=27&Itemid=14

    if you've never made mead before I'd advise making a few 1 gallon jugs before you go for the big 5 gallon carboy just in case something goes wrong you won't be out all the honey it takes to make 5 gallons of mead
     
  4. flyweed

    flyweed New Member

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    ahhh..now HERE'S a thread, I can really sink my teeth into. I've been making mead (and hard ciders) for about 8 years now. Started with the simplest which is indeed Honey, water and yeast (bread yeast will work) but you really want a wine or cider yeast strain for better attenuation. Raisins, oranges, etc, just give the yeast more simple sugars to ingest, so they work harder, and create a "hotter" mead (i.e. higher alcohol content)

    Anyway, if you have any questions about making your first batch, don't hesitate to ask me...I am a member at gotmead.com and Home Brew Talk..and have done many many meads.
     
  5. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    Flyweed. Can I be your friend? Who knew there was a mead forum? Come to think of it, they probably have more members than this site has. Thanks for sharing and making your expertise available to us all.
     
  6. flyweed

    flyweed New Member

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    SURE..you can be my friend. I've been known to send out "sample bottles" of a new mead I would make. :) I LOVE making mead. However, it is definitely a hobby ALL about PATIENCE. Meads generally start out at fairly high specific gravity (sugar content) and it takes a good 2 months or so for the yeast to eat all of that sugar and convert to alcohol. THEN, we call the mead "hot" as when you taste it, when it's young, it has a very pronounced alcohol "burn"..hence the term "hot"......most meads must then age for a year or more before the flavors you originally put in start to come out and you get a good nose and taste..and not a harsh alcohol taste.

    I have one mead that I made about 2 years ago, and it is currently bulk aging in my basement....it will be bottled in the next 4 years or so (when my son is 18) and it will be served and opened at his wedding (someday)...so you can see, the longer you can age a mead, the better it is.

    I have one very very GOOD mead that I love to make when I can get ingredients for cheap. I call it Strawberry Pizazz Mead....it uses 18 pounds of fresh strawberries, and 14-15 pounds of Orange Blossom Honey(raw,pure and unfiltered) It is SOOOOOO good, has a lovely strawberry nose, and nice, sweet strawberry taste with a nice finish of honey. It is truly a beautiful drink.....and it ages out to where it's drinkable in about 4 months..so it's one of the quicker meads..but requires alot of attention. You must "punch the cap" 3 times per day, and do standard/staggered nutrient additions. But it is WELL worth it.

    Hope that helps shed a little more light on mead making.

    Dan
     
  7. DonMcJr

    DonMcJr New Member

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    Hey... I've been looking for a Mead Recipe that's basic cause I have the starter kit with the 5 gallon (or is it 6 can't remember) glass carboy and I have my honey and my Maple Syrup and I wanna start a batch.

    Anyone have a good Basic Acerglyn Recipe and any Tips appreciated!
     
  8. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I use lemon peel for acidity. It works for me.

    I have used apricot nectar, took 6 months to finish making, but it was a FINE batch of meed.
     
  9. flyweed

    flyweed New Member

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    Gypsi.....mead doesn't generally need any more acid....and both lemons and lime are both very acidic, and will easily add a "pucker" factor to your mead. I suggest if you are looking for a mead with a lemon or lime flavor...make a good, regular mead, and then back flavor it. Also, when adding peel, do NOT add the white "pith" it will impart a horrible, off-taste....use the zest only.
     
  10. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I use a potato peeler and add the thin yellow peel of 1 2/3 lemons per gallon of mead, have been doing so for 30 years, and I like the way it tastes. I occasionally add the peel only from a couple of red grapes too. I possibly use more honey than most people too. I like my mead better than any I've bought, will post a recipe when I find it.

    Got to tend my sourdough yeast this morning. (it can be used for meadmaking, btw, but I haven't tried that yet.)
     
  11. flyweed

    flyweed New Member

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    for anyone interested in a good, super simple first mead recipe. Here is one, that I make at least once a year:

    Ingredients
    2 lbs Clover honey
    1 oz buckwheat honey
    64-oz Welch's Grape Juice with Vitamin C added- Make sure it has no preservatives in ingredients other than Vitamin C added (A.K.A. Absorbic Acid)
    Balance water if you need it to make 1 gallon after adding honey mixed in water (don't use too much water in honey mix or you'll end up with more than you bargained for.
    Lalvin EC-1118


    Methods/steps
    Just finished bottling my first Grape Mead Melomel or Pyment whatever one wishes to call it and it was started on November 4th and is simply wonderful to drink already. It was ready in 5 weeks!
    Thought I would share my recipe with you, as it is the youngest best tasting, quick mead I have had thus far. Too bad

    It will ferment super fast to dry (about 13% alcohol) because of type of yeast and all the nutrients and natural sugars in Welch's grape juice. It should be to SG =1.000 or less in 14- 21 days max.
    Rack to clean carboy over mixture of 6-oz honey, 6-oz Welch's grape juice, 1/2t of Sorbate and 1/2 crushed campden tablet.
    It will stabilize and clear fast. Let it clear and set for another 2 weeks and it will be ready to bottle and drink.
    It will be medium sweet but smooth and drinkable right away. If you want it semi sweet use 4-oz honey instead of 6-oz / gal.
    The only reason I used the Campden (Sulphite) is because my understanding is that using both Potassium Sorbate and Sulphite together will definitely inhibit renewed fermentation and it did for me.
    Color is deep red, has nice legs on sides of glass after swirling, good nose and great balanced taste) Just don't tell everybody you used Welch's. I won't. Because the juice is clear to start, clearing is naturally fast, fast, fast.
     
  12. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    My mead recipe (2010 reconstruction from memory, been making since 1985)

    Ingredients
    Honey. 2.5 lbs for dry mead or 3 lbs for medium, 3.5 lbs for sweet mead

    ½ teaspoon Fleischmanns yeast (not rapid rise)

    The peel of 1 2/3 good sized lemons. Remove peel with a potato peeler, it should be thin, the yellow part is the good stuff. Use the lemons for lemonade or something, but don’t put them in the mead.

    1 gal spring water or distilled water – no chlorine. Do not use tap water with dechlorinator.

    Put all the honey, the lemon peel, and the water that will fit in the pan that you have to cook it in. Minimum size pan – 5 quarts – need room.
    Bring to a boil fairly slowly – medium high heat. Stir with wooden spoon fairly constantly as it is getting there. When it just starts to bubble turn the heat down, continue to stir every couple of minutes and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn heat off. It will go through a phase where a white skim forms on top, just let it form, don’t remove it.

    Allow to cool in pan until it won’t crack the jug. Have a friend help or use a large funnel to pour it in the jug. Add remaining spring water to the jug, leave at least 1.5 inches of neck unfilled. Cap and shake to mix. Set jug on table and let cool. If flies are around, cover with something while cooling, handiwrap and a rubber band will do. When it is cooler than your hand, but just cooler than your hand, add yeast. If cap is clean and intact, take a clean cotton ball and dangle a bit of the ball, at least a few strands across rim of the jug before capping, leaving the remainder of the cotton ball outside the jug. If cap has any rust, place the cotton ball, put a piece of handiwrap over it, then cap. Place in a warm dark place.

    Do not forget the cotton ball or the jug will explode. It will have carbon dioxide bubbles rising for the next 4 weeks at least. When you don’t see bubbles rising anymore, and hopefully when it is clear, it is done. Sweet mead does not always become crystal clear. Dry and medium usually do.

    Decanting: You will need a clean piece of siphon tubing and a clean jug. Do not shake the mead before decanting, move gently, start the siphon by sucking on the tube (not like we do an aquarium ), and siphon only the top clear part. Sediment can be allowed to re-separate, pour the clear top off of it into a tall narrow glass, cover with handiwrap and refrigerate – usually nets an extra 12 to 16 oz of mead. Flush the remaining sediment.
     
  13. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    My yeast dies of alcohol poisoning in sweet mead. In dry mead, it's done after the yeast starves (runs out of sugars)
     
  14. flyweed

    flyweed New Member

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    cotton ball = Air Lock...I'd consider yourself lucky if you haven't had any bad batches...a cotton does let the mead "off gas" yes, but it also let's IN gas..including air..which is terrible for a fermenting drink of any kind. An airlock filled with water or some vodka works best..it still let's gas escape from the mead, but does NOT let any air back in.

    Decanting = Racking....you want to rack your mead off of any spent fruit, or sediment that builds up on the bottom..this will aid in the clearing process as well.

    Oh..and one more thing...SANITIZING is key to all good fermented drinks be it Mead, Wine, Beer, etc. ANYTHING that touches your fermenting mead needs to not only be clean, but sanitized as well....that include containers, air locks, spoons, hoses, thermometers, etc etc.

    Also, a great mead is only as great as the qualit ingredients you use. I use raw, only screen filtered honey for mine. That way the honey still has bits of pollen, propolis, and many many complex flavors from varietal flowers that are LOST when honey is boiled and pasturized. I NEVER boil any part of my Meads....if I need to certain honeys are warmed with warm water if they have begun to crystalize, but other than that, I never boil.

    Hope that helps
    Dan
     
  15. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    A blown balloon makes 5 gallons of vinegar. 3 or 4 threads from a cotton ball don't let much in, and I haven't had a problem. I make it for me, not to sell, and I am unlikely to buy any fancy air lock stuff at $20 a batch, plus champagne yeast and racks. I make a gallon every couple of years. I drink a gallon total every couple of years. No interest in doing more.

    You do it your way, that's fine with me.

    And I've been sanitizing stuff for 40 years. - Boiling water or clorox do a better job than propolis, if you are talking human foodstuffs.

    I wouldn't touch that grape juice loaded with HFCS with a 10 foot pole, not and call it mead. We have differences of opinion. The purpose of boiling, particularly when fruit juice or crushed fruit is involved, is to kill off wild yeasts which can turn your mead into vinegar.
     
  16. flyweed

    flyweed New Member

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    I don't think you understand what I am saying. I NEVER said to sanitize with propolis (the stuff honey bee's collect)...using bleach mixed with water is JUST fine..as you stated..but there are better sanitizers that are safer like Star San, and Idophor..etc etc. I don't SELL mine either..just brew for friends and family. Too much Govt. red tape to make it to sell!!

    Have I invested a good amount of money in my "hobby"..yes I have. but don't we all, if we want a really good end product??

    You are correct you can do it your way, which is totally fine, but there are other ways too. :)
     
  17. flyweed

    flyweed New Member

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    To get back on track...for the poster wanting a recipe for a Maple/Honey Mead recipe..here is a good one. I've done this one several times.

    [TABLE]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"][h=3]Ingredients[/h] [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="width: 250"]3 lbs Honey[/TD]
    [TD]3 TBS lemon juice[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]1/4 cup brown sugar[/TD]
    [TD]4 oz very strong tea[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]3 fluid oz of Pure maple syrup[/TD]
    [TD]yeast according to preference ( I prefer to use EC 1118)

    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
    Boil some water and pour about 4 oz into a cup with a single teabag. Let this sit for a couple of hours. heat honey (do not boil) with 7 cups of water until it stops foaming, then add maple, brown sugar, lemon, and tea. Turn of the heat and let cool. Pitch yeast when approximately 70 degrees F.

    I tried hard to stick to 'period' ingredients like lemon juice and tea (instead of using chemicals). The lemon juice adds acidity and the tea adds tannin.
    Let it ferment for a month, and then rack into a secondary. After about 2 more months, rack again and taste. If you like it, bottle it. If not, let it sit another couple of months and then bottle. If you don't like sweet meads, you can cut the honey down to either 2 or 2 1/2 lbs. Drink at your leisure!