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Old 11-09-2013, 05:02 AM   #1
vamo
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Default 1st mead attempt

I have been brewing kit extract beer for years, but never really have had the will to experiment before now. Recently I responded to an add by someone selling all their home brew equip at a very cheap price and I have gone from 2 carboys to 8 so I have a little more freedom to experiment.

Being the well-read homebrewer I am I remember Charlrie Papazian stating anyone that can make beer has the know how and equipment to make mead. I decided to use one of his recipes as the basis for my mead. I decided to only heat the water instead of boiling as papazian suggested. The idea is a high alcohol sweet mead with a hint of ginger, not sure if it will be necessary to back sweeten. I definitely now have an alcohol product made from honey fermenting in my basement, but am not too confident in saying anything beyond that.

The recipe I used is:
3.5gal H2O (storebought "spring" water)
18lbs honey
2oz Ginger
1 tab whirfloc
TBD amount of acid blend (gonna taste and make a judgement call)
1 8g pack of FermaidK
Yeast: Redstar Champagne
starting gravity : 1.127

Having never even attempted a wine of any type I do have some questions and concerns.

1. Should I have used some gypsum in the recipe (I see now that I overlooked the ingredient in the recipes I borrowed from. Is there anything else missing from my recipe, and if so is it too late to add now.

2. How will I know when to rack. With beer I just take the gravity and when its near 1.010 and not moving I move to secondary and bottle 2 days later.

3. How will I minimize headspace when I do rack, right now I am a few inches from the neck of a glass carboy and when I rack I will surely lose some volume. If I do nothing and just live with a lot of headspace in the secondary how bad will it be?

Last question is more of a curiousity and bright idea by a total mead noob; Has anyone ever tried to ferment with cheap honey and backsweeten with the good stuff, the idea here is the yeast will remove most of the flavors anyway during the ferment and the strongest flavors will come from what I am using to backsweeten with.

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Old 11-09-2013, 05:04 AM   #2
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Also want to say I want to keep this first batch relatively simple.

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Old 11-09-2013, 09:27 PM   #3
jonmohno
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1) Dont worry about the gypsum.

2) Maybe rack after a month

3) You can topp off with water or honey water mixture when racking.

Trying staggared additions of your nurtrient and oxygenating the first 2-4 days to get it going good. The 2 oz of ginger probably wont do much you may have to add more for secondary and its recommended to leave the skins on. I added almost half pound in my 3 gallon batch and all I got was a lemony character but I did just steep it with the honey before fermenting. I also added a vannila bean in the steep and a bean in the 3 gallon carboy for a few months and didnt get much from that so far,will see how it is in about 6 months though. My gravity wasnt ideal either it was 1.09 and femented dry with 05 ale yeast. Thing I regret is having this low gravity although it is a 12.5% mead right now just needs time hopefully to get good and my guess is at least a year. Fully dry is probably too dry for me also.

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