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Old 05-08-2011, 05:23 AM   #1
JSTStorm
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Default Batch suggestions, few questions...

So, I tried to brew some mead months ago, and had a horrendous explosion. Since then, I've still been interested, just hadn't had the time or money. Well, I found some money, so I bought some stuff. My friends tell me when something interests me, I go for the gold. I ordered from MidWest Supplies, and while I forgot some things, I'll make another order before I need them (i.e. racking cane, bottling stuff, etc, etc.).

So, this is what I have, equipment-wise:

  • Two 6.5 gallon bucket fermenters
    One 5-gallon carboy
    Three 1-gallon jugs
    Five airlocks, three 3-piece, two S-Bubble
    Five, Lalvin D-47
    Five, Lalvin EC-1118
    Five, Red Star Pasteur Red
    Five, Red Star Premier Cuvée
    1 lb. yeast nutrient
    1 oz. yeast energizer
    100 potassium metabisulfite (Campden tablets)
    2 oz. Sodium Benzoate

I've also got 18 pounds of clover honey on hand. Note that this is the 3 lb. jugs sold by WalMart and/or Sams. I've hit a wall in terms of local apiaries, so my ability to get honey like Tupelo, Orange Blossom, etc, etc is severely hindered and the costs of shipping 12+ pounds of it are prohibitive. The 3 lb. jugs here are about $8.30 each.

My plan was to, as usual, do a JAOM, so that takes care of one 1-gallon jug and an airlock. I'm also going to try another quickee recipe I found.

So, really, what I'm looking for is an idea on a larger-scale batch that can I can bulk age, I'll start it in one of my 6.5s and have the 5-gallon to rack to later, along with another one gallon to use as a separate batch or top off. I'd like to do a melomel, a blueberry or tri-berry. I don't particularly care about ABV, I'd just like to have something my friends and I can enjoy siting around and shooting the breeze, but I'd like it to be flavorful. I don't drink much wine, though my ex and I normally drank Moscato d'Asti when I did. As far as I know this is a dessert wine that's something like 10-11 ABV, so that's the only reference to my background with wines I can really give you.

Essentially, my post boils down to this:

1) Is there a recipe I haven't found that would make a flavorful blueberry/tri-berry melomel with no particular ABV level that would take six months or less to be drinkable? (and I can bulk age what we don't intially drink)

If not, I don't mind waiting longer, but I will want to do something we can enjoy before-hand as a lot of my friends are interested.

2) Are there any other quickee recipes that could tide my friends and I over while I do some larger batches?

3) Does any one know of any apiaries in south-east Ohio (I'm in north-west WV) that have varieties of honey? I could travel to pick them up if they're not too far. All of my searching has been fruitless.

Thanks for any help you guys can give me, hopefully I can do the same for others in the future.
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:10 AM   #2
fatbloke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSTStorm View Post
So, I tried to brew some mead months ago, and had a horrendous explosion. Since then, I've still been interested, just hadn't had the time or money. Well, I found some money, so I bought some stuff. My friends tell me when something interests me, I go for the gold. I ordered from MidWest Supplies, and while I forgot some things, I'll make another order before I need them (i.e. racking cane, bottling stuff, etc, etc.).

So, this is what I have, equipment-wise:
  • Two 6.5 gallon bucket fermenters
    One 5-gallon carboy
    Three 1-gallon jugs
    Five airlocks, three 3-piece, two S-Bubble
    Five, Lalvin D-47
    Five, Lalvin EC-1118
    Five, Red Star Pasteur Red
    Five, Red Star Premier Cuvée
    1 lb. yeast nutrient
    1 oz. yeast energizer
    100 potassium metabisulfite (Campden tablets)
    2 oz. Sodium Benzoate
Impressive list of kit to be getting on with. A few additions though, to start with, I'd get some slightly different yeasts, I don't know about the pasteur, not having used it, I seem to recall that the Premier Cuvee is just another champagne yeast (similar in properties to the EC-1118) and the D47, while a good yeast, is one that doesn't like to ferment too warm so unless you've got kit to keep the temp below 70F, I'd suggest you consider something like K1V-1116, which is considered by some as "the swiss army knife of wine yeasts". It's got a wide temperature range, a good tolerance to %ABV and low nutrient requirements. It's pretty damn good for "traditionals".....
Quote:
I've also got 18 pounds of clover honey on hand. Note that this is the 3 lb. jugs sold by WalMart and/or Sams. I've hit a wall in terms of local apiaries, so my ability to get honey like Tupelo, Orange Blossom, etc, etc is severely hindered and the costs of shipping 12+ pounds of it are prohibitive. The 3 lb. jugs here are about $8.30 each.

My plan was to, as usual, do a JAOM, so that takes care of one 1-gallon jug and an airlock. I'm also going to try another quickee recipe I found.

So, really, what I'm looking for is an idea on a larger-scale batch that can I can bulk age, I'll start it in one of my 6.5s and have the 5-gallon to rack to later, along with another one gallon to use as a separate batch or top off. I'd like to do a melomel, a blueberry or tri-berry. I don't particularly care about ABV, I'd just like to have something my friends and I can enjoy siting around and shooting the breeze, but I'd like it to be flavorful. I don't drink much wine, though my ex and I normally drank Moscato d'Asti when I did. As far as I know this is a dessert wine that's something like 10-11 ABV, so that's the only reference to my background with wines I can really give you.
Well some are lucky enough to make batches of JAO and have it drinkable quickly, though that's relative. Invariably it's good after about 6 months to a year of ageing, much like more complex recipes.

Of course, you can just make a traditional and then back sweeten it to make it drinkable (again, that's relative).

I seem to recall that the wine type you quote is an Italian spumante type, which means it's reasonably sweet tasting and "easy" to drink. Rather than something dry and more complex like a prosecco or champagne.

I can't even really suggest that you try a commercial mead as a lot of them are "dessert" meads, so very very sweet and not really representative of "good" meads.

Not being in the US means I can't really recommend much, though I do understand that Bnektar and Isaaks of Salem make mediums and dry meads, but what with the various strange shipping regs in some states, it might not be possible for you to get some shipped down to WV, you'd have to check (those two I mentioned are in MI).
Quote:
Essentially, my post boils down to this:

1) Is there a recipe I haven't found that would make a flavorful blueberry/tri-berry melomel with no particular ABV level that would take six months or less to be drinkable? (and I can bulk age what we don't intially drink)

If not, I don't mind waiting longer, but I will want to do something we can enjoy before-hand as a lot of my friends are interested.

2) Are there any other quickee recipes that could tide my friends and I over while I do some larger batches?

3) Does any one know of any apiaries in south-east Ohio (I'm in north-west WV) that have varieties of honey? I could travel to pick them up if they're not too far. All of my searching has been fruitless.

Thanks for any help you guys can give me, hopefully I can do the same for others in the future.
Again, not being in the US, I can't really say about apiaries and stuff in different states. Though you could check out the shipping cost from The Bee Folks (USPS tends to be the cheapest, particularly for international to me). They have a good range of different honeys, though there might be somewhere cheaper, nearer etc. Google is your friend.

Oh, and if you google for "honey finder" I believe that's run by the USDA and has a good list of honey producers in various states.....

As for recipes, again, as your taste is different to mine, it's trial and error really. For "quick", google for "Joes Quick Pyment", because it's reputed to be a recipe that it quick to make and I'd guess could easily be back sweetened with either honey or more grape juice.

I'd have thought that if you're in a bit of a rush to get going (and drinking ), then you'd want to add some finings to your armoury of kit, something like bentonite and/or Sparkoloid. Plus try to find some extra containers that you can rack a finished mead to for ageing it in bulk (saves the hassle of bottles etc).

That's about all that comes to mind right now, Oh, no it's not.......

For back sweetening, if you use honey, you can sometimes get a haze in already cleared meads (it's a protein haze I believe), so rather than having to add finings/clearing agents twice, you can either run your ferment to as dry as possible and then back sweeten (stabilising first of course) with honey to a particular gravity (I like my meads at about medium sweet, about 1.010 - and yes, if you haven't got one, you will really need a hydrometer and thermometer). Then clear them.

Or you can use something that is "honey like" - something like Chenin Blanc grape concentrate, is good. Alexanders is, I believe, available in 46 and 96oz can's.....

regards

fatbloke
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:20 PM   #3
KevinM
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If you drive to columbus for any reason, try visiting Brother's Drake Meadery, heard it's good, they've got a tasting room there. You can get some examples of mead and find out what you like tastewise.

*edit*
Check out: Kenco Farms somewhere in Sutton, WV (http://www.rtol.net/kencofarms/) They appear to have both honey, and mead.

And when you refer to "and had a horrendous explosion" what happened? (I'm assuming that it was in some relation to the original mead attempt)

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