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Old 12-30-2011, 10:29 PM   #1
zacschmidt
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Default Broke College Brewer

Hello everyone, I've been reading all threads on this form for quite a while and am interested in starting to brew mead. From what I've read, besides getting a good recipe and patience, mead seems fairly easy to brew.

However I am a broke college student and have just enough to cover bills and a basic starter kit for small batches doesn't come very cheap.

I'm looking for somewhere to get some equipment that is cheap or possible used but in good condition or home made equipment. If someone might be able to provide a few leads that would be awesome!

Or if someone on here like an experienced brewer had some old used equipment that they no longer use that they might like to sell for cheap or donate that would be really nice!

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Old 12-30-2011, 10:32 PM   #2
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What college

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Old 12-30-2011, 10:33 PM   #3
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Craigslist. Maybe you should add your location to your profile - that experienced brewer might live next door.

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Old 12-30-2011, 11:01 PM   #4
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Since mead takes a lot of time to age, you could start small and then add the other pieces as you need them. For instance, you certainly wouldn't need bottling equipment right away... kettle, sanitizer, fermenter, airlock, yeast nutrient, yeast, honey will get you started.

Kettle; assuming you will boil the must. You can probably borrow one from someone.

Fermenter/airlock; $20-$25 at your local homebrew supplier. There are numerous online sources that will get you in the same ball park.

yeast/yeast nutrient; under $10 from LHBS or online

honey; ??? prices can vary widely depending on type. Also depends on how much you use for the recipe

sanitizer; $1.50 Lots of people poo-poo bleach, but I think it is great for the beginner on a budget. It cleans and sanitizes which not many other products do. It does, however, require proper rinsing. Beach has been used by both home brewers and pros for a long time. Simple reason- it works

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Old 12-30-2011, 11:13 PM   #5
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Mead is probably the cheapest equipment setup possible. You don't need a kettle, especially if you use reverse osmosis water at 39¢ a gallon. All you need is a fermenter bucket and airlock ($10) and some nutrient and yeast to get started. Then honey. You can either buy Wild Mountain Honey for about $2 a pound, or you can buy Manuka honey for $15 a pound. Or anything in between. Everything else you can buy down the road, while your mead is fermenting.

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Old 12-31-2011, 12:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bottlebomber View Post
Mead is probably the cheapest equipment setup possible. You don't need a kettle, especially if you use reverse osmosis water at 39¢ a gallon. All you need is a fermenter bucket and airlock ($10) and some nutrient and yeast to get started. Then honey. You can either buy Wild Mountain Honey for about $2 a pound, or you can buy Manuka honey for $15 a pound. Or anything in between. Everything else you can buy down the road, while your mead is fermenting.
Wild Mountain honey is 2 dollars where you are?! In the UK, for a pound jar of decent honey you're looking at like 3-4 pounds (about 5-6 dollars).
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:00 AM   #7
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I started on a budget as well.
Here's the basics on cheap:

1.) Fermenter: 4 liter table wine jugs(carlo rossi) or one gallon jugs(apple cider, etc.)

2.)Airlock and drilled stopper. three bucks.

3.)Honey

4.) Yeast nutrient. 1.25

5.) Yeast, 1.25

6.) Campden tablet if your not gonna boil, saves you the pot.

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Old 12-31-2011, 01:19 AM   #8
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If you REALLY wanna go cheap. Buy your favorite soda in a 2 liter bottle - drink it! Drill a hole in the cap, place an airlock in it and voilá! You have a fermentor.

Buy a jar of honey you like and mix some water and honey, add cheap dry wine yeast (they're like 3 USD here in Sweden) and some yeast nutrients. It'll ferment dry, so occasionally add more honey until it stops fermenting. Then add some more if you want to sweeten it, then let it clear and age.

Let's see here, by my local prices we're up to 22 SEK for the soda, 17 SEK for the yeast, 40 SEK-ish for the nutrients (there is a cheap wine and nutrient combo you can buy here, but I haven't tried it. I think they're about 20 SEK), 20-ish SEK for the airlock, 50-ish SEK for a 700 gram jar of honey. That's 150-ish SEK or around 20 USD. Or 17-ish USD for the cheap wine and nutrient combo.

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Old 12-31-2011, 03:21 AM   #9
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look up the JOAM recipe: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f80/joes-ancient-orange-mead-49106/

You could get by with the following:
- 1 gallon container(empty milk jug, empty juice container, my LHBS sells 1 gal glass jugs for about $5).
- Air lock or balloon. Just put the balloon on top, and vent it when it gets big so it doesn't blow off.
- Sanitizer(bleach works or sanitizer from the LHBS would work too)
- Empty pop bottles, sanitized, with screw on tops(they're not wine bottles, but you won't need a corker or capper), and I'm assuming a college student could convince friends to save a few bottles
- Ingredients for recipe, which should run you about $20 bucks at the grocery store(give or take depending on honey prices where you shop).

Also, as was previously mentioned, if you indicate where you're located, someone on this forum may be willing to make small equipment donations.

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Old 12-31-2011, 03:28 AM   #10
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If you are a broke college student and interested in fermenting beverages, unless you have a free or cheap source of honey, I would rather just spend the $50-$100 on an all-grain setup and brew beer if it were me. Making mead is not cheap. Honey is expensive, especially compared to getting grain.

It is certainly a much cheaper setup to make mead, but every batch will cost quite a bit more than an equivalent batch of beer, at least in my own experience. And of course you do generally need to wait months to properly enjoy the products of your labor when you make mead.

That being said, I have a friend who made mead in college using the free honey packets from the cafeteria. Naturally it took a very large number of packets, and quite a bit of manual labor to make a batch using free honey, but I'm just putting it out there as a possibility.

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