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)
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.