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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > am new to mead making and am kind of stuck.
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:39 AM   #1
wretchedgirl
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Default am new to mead making and am kind of stuck.

hello

mead has always been an interest of mine, however i am an amatuer beer brewer (20 brews under my belt so far) but i have never made mead.
so i decided i would give it a try. however i am a bit stuck on the correct procedures as many people have many different methods it seems (youtube etc).

i plan on making 23L of mead and i have my 23L glass demijohn and a 23L fermenting keg (which i use for my beer, it has been so very thoroughly cleaned and sanitised though) and all the other equipment such as measuring jugs, siphon tube etc.


as for the ingredients, i decided to buy a winemaking kit. the kit includes:

  • 50g potassium metabisulphite (sanitizer)
  • 25g pectolase
  • 5g lavlin 71B winemaking yeast
  • 6g GO-FERM protect nutrient
  • 7g Fermaid A nutrient
  • 25g citric acid
  • 1.25 tspoon of tannin

i also have 6kg of honey straight from the hive (friend is a bee keeper) so im assuming honey hasn't gone through proper "factory" pasteurising or whatever. and 20L of spring water.

how do i go about making this mead exactly? i know how to sanitise my equipment but have never made wine/mead before and am at a bit of a loss sadly. can any of you guys/girls help me at all please? some simple, direct instructions would be greatly appreciated.

having these instructions in metric system would also be great as it leaves little room for error, (my metric-imperial conversions are not that great). however not too much of a biggie.

also, i have a lemon tree at home that is laden with fruit at the moment. i thought of possibly adding some lemons to this brew, but have heard that it may a) taste like lemon honey cough syrup afterwards, B) the fruit may begin to rot after racking the mead and making it taste like lemon-ass. any suggestions about if adding lemons to mead is a good idea?

cheers
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:24 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wretchedgirl View Post
hello

mead has always been an interest of mine, however i am an amatuer beer brewer (20 brews under my belt so far) but i have never made mead.
so i decided i would give it a try. however i am a bit stuck on the correct procedures as many people have many different methods it seems (youtube etc).

i plan on making 23L of mead and i have my 23L glass demijohn and a 23L fermenting keg (which i use for my beer, it has been so very thoroughly cleaned and sanitised though) and all the other equipment such as measuring jugs, siphon tube etc.


as for the ingredients, i decided to buy a winemaking kit. the kit includes:
  • 50g potassium metabisulphite (sanitizer)
  • 25g pectolase
  • 5g lavlin 71B winemaking yeast
  • 6g GO-FERM protect nutrient
  • 7g Fermaid A nutrient
  • 25g citric acid
  • 1.25 tspoon of tannin

i also have 6kg of honey straight from the hive (friend is a bee keeper) so im assuming honey hasn't gone through proper "factory" pasteurising or whatever. and 20L of spring water.

how do i go about making this mead exactly? i know how to sanitise my equipment but have never made wine/mead before and am at a bit of a loss sadly. can any of you guys/girls help me at all please? some simple, direct instructions would be greatly appreciated.

having these instructions in metric system would also be great as it leaves little room for error, (my metric-imperial conversions are not that great). however not too much of a biggie.

also, i have a lemon tree at home that is laden with fruit at the moment. i thought of possibly adding some lemons to this brew, but have heard that it may a) taste like lemon honey cough syrup afterwards, B) the fruit may begin to rot after racking the mead and making it taste like lemon-ass. any suggestions about if adding lemons to mead is a good idea?

cheers
Some reading matter.

The metric/imperial conversion can be dealt with by the internet (just put what needs converting into google.....) - you may have thought that a 23 litre fermenter is a weird size ? Well, that's because it's a fraction over 5 imp gallons.

For "traditional" mead musts I use a minimum of 1.36/3lb per 4.55 litre/1 imp gallon. Once it's mixed up to the 1 gallon/4.55lt quantity, I take a hydrometer reading, if it's less than 1.110, I add a bit more honey, then test again (1.110 is a good reading for providing about 15% ABV).

Did the kit come with grape concentrate ? if so, which one (Chenin Blanc concentrate/juice is very "honey like" in taste) ? (you can use grape concentrate for back sweetening, instead of honey if you wanted, or you could use it to adjust the initial gravity to the level you want).

I'd have thought that for a 5 gallon batch, you'll need about 17.5lb/7.93 kg of honey (possibly a little more - as it would depend on the reading you get once it's mixed up to about 22.5 litres with water).

You'd then rehydrate the yeast as per the pack instructions, but add the GoFerm to the rehydrating water and a teaspoon or two of the honey.

Then once it's rehydrated, pitch the yeast into the honey/water mix. Give it a damn good stir to get some air into the batch, then airlock it.

Next day, sanitise the "stirring implement", open the batch and take a reading, then stir the hell out of it, replace the airlock.

Once you see signs of fermentation (bubbles in the airlock), after the most recent stirring/aeration, add half of the nutrients, stir again and airlock afterwards.

The daily aeration and measuring regime continues until you hit the 1/3rd sugar break (if the starting gravity was 1.090, then the 1/3rd point is 1.060), that is when you add the second half of the nutrients (only after the aeration/stirring has been done as you don't want to cause a mead eruption).

Once the second part of the nutrient has been mixed in, you can then airlock it off and let it finish.

You'll know it's finished once the bubbles have stopped at the airlock, and you've got 3 identical gravity readings taken across the period of about a week.

Now presuming you don't know if you'll enjoy a dry mead or not, I'd suggest that you plan to back sweeten it to "medium".

So, once you've confirmed that the ferment has finished, it will need racking off the sediment, adding the stabilising chems (sulphite and sorbate), then taking some "honey syrup" (a mix of honey/water at 50/50 ratio - this mix is so that it is easily mixed into the batch and you don't have to mix the hell out of it, which could introduce air/O2 when you don't want it) and mix it in gently, a little at a time, then test the gravity after each addition of the sweetening syrup. You'd be looking at a back sweetened gravity of between 1.010 and 1.015 for a "medium".

Then it's just a case of either leaving it to clear naturally, or getting some finings to clear it quicker (clearing method is personal choice). Some people like the clear naturally, through time. I'm not fussed, just depends how impatient I'm feeling.

Once it's cleared, you can bottle it and let it age. Or you can clear it with time and it will be ageing as well as clearing.

Ageing meads in bulk seems to be the preferred method, as it's a good compromise of home brewers not having temperature/climate controlled storage for ageing (in bottles), so bulk storage/ageing helps retain consistency in the batch, reducing temperature variations.

Dunno if that lot helps any.......
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:53 PM   #3
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The above is all good advice, but I'd say keep it simple:

1) Sanitize everything
2) Mix water, honey, nutrient to desired gravity at room temperature (no heating!)
3) Pitch yeast
4) Wait.
5) OPTIONAL: Aerate & de-gas daily for the first 3-5 days. Beware of the must foaming over!

Do not add lemons to the primary. The acidity can really mess with your fermentation. You can add the lemons later in secondary if you wish.

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Old 07-13-2012, 01:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bk0 View Post
The above is all good advice, but I'd say keep it simple:

1) Sanitize everything
2) Mix water, honey, nutrient to desired gravity at room temperature (no heating!)
3) Pitch yeast
4) Wait.
5) OPTIONAL: Aerate & de-gas daily for the first 3-5 days. Beware of the must foaming over!

Do not add lemons to the primary. The acidity can really mess with your fermentation. You can add the lemons later in secondary if you wish.
would you say 18l of water would be a good start for the 6kgs of honey i have? i reckon 23l is probably a bit too much if i want a decent alcohol level.
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:11 AM   #5
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That seems reasonable if my math is right (comes to about 2.8 lbs/gallon in old fashioned imperial units )

I would use 2 tsp (10ml) of yeast nutrient and the same amount of yeast energizer for a batch that size.

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Old 07-13-2012, 06:16 AM   #6
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well thanks to you guys and your great advice i have successfully gotten my must into the fermenting keg. however make the rookie mistake of re hydrating my 71B too soon with its yeast nutrient and the must is still sitting at 40C (104F) which i'm too sure is way too high to pitch and will probably kill the yeast. so i have put the yeast-less must in a bath tub full of cold water. while re hydrated yeast is sitting on the bench in the kitchen. any advice here? have i done the right thing?

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Old 07-13-2012, 06:56 AM   #7
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Actually, you're probably fine with the yeast...

From Lalvin's site:

REHYDRATION

Dissolve the dry yeast in 50 mL (2 oz) of warm NOT HOT water (40°- 43°C / 104°-109°F). Let stand 15 minutes without stirring, then stir well to suspend all the yeast. Add to previously sulfited must.
(The yeast should not be kept in the rehydration medium longer than recommended.)

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Old 07-13-2012, 07:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
Actually, you're probably fine with the yeast...

From Lalvin's site:

REHYDRATION

Dissolve the dry yeast in 50 mL (2 oz) of warm NOT HOT water (40°- 43°C / 104°-109°F). Let stand 15 minutes without stirring, then stir well to suspend all the yeast. Add to previously sulfited must.
(The yeast should not be kept in the rehydration medium longer than recommended.)
thank you this

i just came home from a beer run to find keg had gone down to 28c (82F) so i pitched the yeast and go firm nutrient anyway..
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Old 07-13-2012, 06:36 PM   #9
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Hopefully you haven't filled your fermenter close to the top, otherwise you are going to have a MEA when you degas!

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Old 07-14-2012, 12:53 AM   #10
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Hopefully you haven't filled your fermenter close to the top, otherwise you are going to have a MEA when you degas!
nah, its still got 5L worth of space untill it reaches the top (which it wont).

threw it on a heat pad and wrapped a blanket around it before i went to bed last night (winter here over in NZ) and came back this morning to check on it, not bubbling. how long does it take roughly before it starts bubbling? i found with my beer brewing, the beer, it would be bubbling by now.
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