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Old 04-30-2008, 01:45 PM   #1
JensenDiamond
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Hi all, i've started brewing a honey mead from a book i was given by a friend of mine

"Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers" by Stephen Harrod Buhner

there are hundreds of recipies in the book and we picked one that looked simple enough, though it was 20 gallons. we reduced the quantity to 1 gallon.

the directions below are reproduced from the book.( there is a question in here honest, just keep going)

"Take 20 gallons of the best spring-water can be gotten and put over the fire, and let stand for two or three hours, but suffer it not to boil, and to every gallon of water add three pound of virgins honey (!?!), and let it gently boil an hour or more, and take off the scum in the boiling and when almost cold add two spoonfulls of ale-yeast to every gallon, and let so work for two days then barrel it up and add to every gallon of liquor Nutmeg,Mace, Cinnamon in powder each half an ounce, tye it up in a bag and cast it into the liquor, then stop it close for a month, two or three, the longer the better, draw it out and bottle it, and a bit of Loaf-Sugar"

ok here are the questions you have all been waiting for>>>>>

i am concerned about the fermentaion time scale after reading several threads on this site would it be safer to leave it longer?

after close to 36 hours there is no froth, regularly discribed as a good sign of fermentaion starting, as there is no direction to activate the yeast i didn't, could this be the problem? it's dried wine yeast as no other was available at the time

currently the fermentaion is (hopefully) happening in a large bucket in the garage the temp of the liquid this moring was 59F and the SG reading has not changed from th original 1.264. Could the garage be too cold?


lastly is it possible to rescue the situation??

i'd quite like to be able to and with the home-brew at my mates wedding in about 10 weeks (another reason to use this quick recipe)

thanks in advance

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Old 04-30-2008, 01:54 PM   #2
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I have never made a mead but, since honey is devoid of the nutrients necessary for yeast I would expect you may have a stuck ferment.

Maybe try using some yeast energizer?

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Old 04-30-2008, 01:58 PM   #3
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Well, that is a very high OG, so your yeast might have some trouble with it. (Are you sure of the OG? My hydrometer doesn't even go up that high! Mine goes up to about 1.170 which would give you about 20% alcohol. Maybe look again, or take a picture of it so we can read it, too)

Still, for now, bring in inside and try to keep it above 70 degrees. Wine yeast love it closer to 80 degrees, but as long as you're above 70 you should be ok. Add some yeast nutrient (slowly- that will volcanoe up on you) and stir, stir, stir, several times per day.

NO way you'll have it in 10 weeks- you're looking at 4 years before it's drinkable, unless you're completely wrong about the OG. It'll be like very sweet rocket fuel for a few years! If you only used three pounds of honey, though, in one gallon, it won't be that bad. Maybe like 13% alcohol- still won't be ready in 2 months, though!

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Old 04-30-2008, 02:12 PM   #4
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yea meads needs yeast nutrients, good oxygenation before pitching the yeast, and possibly a little acidity. also an SG of 1.264 is very high if that is an accurate reading I dont know of any yeasts that are going to get started in it. if 1.264 fermented down to 1.000 you would have 37.5% alcohol, also 3 pounds per gallon should only give about 1.105 SG. I assume you misread the hydrometer or just made a typo.
59f is a little cold I would try bringing it up to 70f. even if it starts fermenting I would not expect it to be done in 10 weeks meads take a long time to ferment and often need even longer to age before they're really good.

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Old 04-30-2008, 02:21 PM   #5
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I have a dry mead fermenting that was around 1.124 OG. It has been fermenting solid for almost 6 months. If you need something for a wedding in 10 weeks, and you do not yet brew beer, I would suggest starting a batch of EdWort's Apfelwein.

Good luck!

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Old 04-30-2008, 02:30 PM   #6
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ahh, oops. the hydrometer goes upto 1.124, i think 1.064 was what i was aiming at, according to a beer calculator i found it would be an ABV around 8%, i'll try not to mash the numbers togther next time...

i'm not claiming to be anything other than a N00b but could the recipe be so far out? apparently it's from 1695. so techniques and technology would be very different at a guess.

the yeast was dried but the packet said it had additives for faster fermentation and clarifying, is that going to be the energiser?.

ok i'll look into the EdWort's Apfelwein

thanks for the quick responses

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Old 04-30-2008, 02:39 PM   #7
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What kind of wine yeast is it? For now, go out to a LHBS and buy some nutrient and energizer. Meads are often devoid of all the things in those additives.

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Old 04-30-2008, 02:46 PM   #8
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An OG of 1.064 doesn't make sense either- if you used three pounds of honey in 1 UK gallon, the OG would be 1.086 or so. In a US gallon, it would be 1.104 or so.

Anyway, you want fermentation to start, so you need some yeast nutrient. I think it's sold as DAP (di-ammonium something?) or some other brand names.

It's just a guess as to the recipe being so far out- but the recipe talks about fermenting for a few months or so (longer the better) and then bottling. It doesn't say to drink it in two months! A year or two is good for a lighter mead. Anything more than about 12% ABV will be good in two years or so, and the "bigger" meads will be better in 5 years.

Honey is a notoriously slow fermenter, and then it takes a long time to mellow and smooth out. But, it is really good and it's worth it!

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Old 04-30-2008, 03:24 PM   #9
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1.064 is what i wanted to end at
1.124 is where i started and am stuck at.

there was 3 lbs in weight of honey and 1 UK gallon of water (8Pints)
given the quantities am i being realistic?


i looked up DAP and that seems to be the stuff i'm after.

and there is a good point about the bottling after 2-3 or more months not the drinking, i hate being a n00b everthing seems to overwhelm me, i think i have bitten off more than i can chew with this...oh well, see it through and learn from it. i may even try to drink it!!

thanks for the advice

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Old 04-30-2008, 03:27 PM   #10
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Just a note-
JAOM finishes at around 13%, and is supposedly ready to drink in around 2 months.

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