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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Finally gonna start a mead on Friday. Advice very welcome.
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:00 AM   #1
firstRWD
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Default Finally gonna start a mead on Friday. Advice very welcome.

This is gonna be my first batch of anything. I originally got into this to brew beer, which I haven't done yet, but my girlfriend got into the idea of mead. We went and picked up 2 1gal glass carboys(basically just glass jugs), the airlocks, Wyeast's Dry Mead yeast(what the LBS had), and 5lbs of what is supposed to be good local white clover honey. It says that for flavor, it's been warm strained, but not overheated or force-filtered and there may be particles of beeswax and pollen in it. I assume those are perfectly fine to have in the mead and will just drop to the bottom of the carboy when it settles?

Anyway, the thing I need the most advice on is if this will make something decent with a basic water/honey/yeast mixture or if it would be highly advisable to add something else to it. Will it be bland or something if we just do a very basic mead or will it still result in a good mead? I was gonna keep it basic since it's my first batch, but since I'm doing two gallons in separate carboys, I could add something simple to at least one of them if you guys think I really should.

And thank you to everyone here. Basically all of the info I've gathered so far has been from searching around your old threads. You've already been a help.

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Old 06-13-2012, 08:03 AM   #2
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wheres your yeast nutrient ??

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Old 06-13-2012, 08:54 AM   #3
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I've read about yeast nutrients, and read recipes with them. I thought it was just to help things along, but not necessary. I'm just trying to keep it simple since this is the first time I've ever fermented everything. Do I need a nutrient? If not necessary, how advisable would you say it is? Also, the "smack pack" that the yeast comes in contains a nutrient to start the yeast off healthy and active, and it's enough for a 6gal batch(I'm doing 2gal). Does that make any difference in the fermentation part and need for nutrient addition?

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Old 06-13-2012, 09:09 AM   #4
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I would say just adding some nutrient at the start to help things along is probably easier in the long run than not bothering. Its not needed, but without it the yeast can struggle to finish or take ages getting there.

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Old 06-13-2012, 09:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firstRWD View Post
It says that for flavor, it's been warm strained, but not overheated or force-filtered and there may be particles of beeswax and pollen in it. I assume those are perfectly fine to have in the mead and will just drop to the bottom of the carboy when it settles?
heavy bits like wax will settle out usually in the primary. I usually find that some pollen starts to collect on the surface in the secondaries. Just rack below that.

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Anyway, the thing I need the most advice on is if this will make something decent with a basic water/honey/yeast mixture or if it would be highly advisable to add something else to it. Will it be bland or something if we just do a very basic mead or will it still result in a good mead? I was gonna keep it basic since it's my first batch, but since I'm doing two gallons in separate carboys, I could add something simple to at least one of them if you guys think I really should.
a traditional- water, honey, nutrient, yeast has a surprising amount to flavor to it. However you could always add fruit to the secondary fermentation later on if you change your mind.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:25 AM   #6
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Well thanks for the input on the nutrient. I guess I'll have to get back to the LBS and see what they've got for a nutrient. I've read that more yeast is better, and it's OK to use a yeast pack "intended for up to 5gal" in my 2gal batch of mead. Is there a particular amount of nutrient I should use, or is it the same idea as the yeast?

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Old 06-13-2012, 09:29 AM   #7
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heavy bits like wax will settle out usually in the primary. I usually find that some pollen starts to collect on the surface in the secondaries. Just rack below that.

a traditional- water, honey, nutrient, yeast has a surprising amount to flavor to it. However you could always add fruit to the secondary fermentation later on if you change your mind.
Thanks. And I guess I'll probably just stick to the simple version then. Maybe add a little bit of vanilla or something to one of the two carboys just to get a direct comparison of how additions affect it.
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by firstRWD View Post
Well thanks for the input on the nutrient. I guess I'll have to get back to the LBS and see what they've got for a nutrient. I've read that more yeast is better, and it's OK to use a yeast pack "intended for up to 5gal" in my 2gal batch of mead. Is there a particular amount of nutrient I should use, or is it the same idea as the yeast?
IF your LHBS is not nearby you can make energiser at home.

Take ordinary bread yeast and boil it in a small amount of water to kill it.
I would think a packet would be plenty for your 2 gallons.

Purchased energizer should have instructions but I believe it is 1 tsp / gallon

For ultimate results do a search on this site for SNA (staggered nutrient additions) There may be a sticky for it at the top of the Mead page.
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I have 8 carboys, 8 cornies, 5-1 gal jugs, 200 wine bottles, 10 cases of beer bottles and a nice assortment of flip tops....My goal is to keep them at least 50% occupied
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:28 PM   #9
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If you are planning on using 5 pounds in a 2 gallon batch be aware that it will be a real light must, your OG will be around 1.08 or so (if you don't have a hydrometer yet, get one, it's an invaluable and very inexpensive tool in meadmaking/brewing). Using a yeast strain that is meant to make a dry mead like the smack pack you got will take it very very dry which isn't a bad thing if you like very dry beverages, but if you are looking for even a hint of residual sweetness you will probably want to up the amouint of honey used. The "standard" as much as we can call it is about 3 pounds of honey per gallon of must. Or when all is said and done you can stabilize and add more honey to bring the sweetness level up to where you want it, if you do.

Not using any nutrients puts you in a "Show" mead verse "Traditional" mead category, it'll work and can be very good but will require more patients as the yeast has to work harder and sort of fend more for themselves for nutrients, it'll be like you trying to live off of just sugar coated rice cakes for awhile, it'll keep you going but won't be long before you're not feeling so great and start getting slow and sluggish. Your ferment will do the same, the yeast will be rocking from the juice used in the smack pack at first, kind of like if you started off on redbull before diving into the rice cakes, but that'll be used up and the ferment will slow down, it'll get there but not nearlly as efficiently as with some nutrient additions. You can always pick up a pack of cheap bread yeast at the grocery store, simmer it in like a cup of boiling water for about 10 minutes then cool and add that to your must, it works as food for the good yeast if you can't easily go get some nutrients at your lhbs.

About your LHBS, they can be a great source of information, especially for beer and frequently wine, however thats where their knowledge base usually lies. Mead has it's own quirks and nuances slightly different than either, so the advice you will get from them will probably be more appropriate for wine than mead.

As a beginer asking questions here or other forums, checking out the newbee guide at gotmead.com (link below) and Ken Schramms book "The Compleat Meadmaker" are great places for answers. The book is a bit dated as far as methods and such but the technical info on fermentation and different ingredients is still amazing.

http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?opt...=108&Itemid=14

Good luck and welcome to the mead obsession...

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Old 06-13-2012, 10:44 PM   #10
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One concept new mead makers don't really discover early is Oaking.

Oak the mead!

There are some threads here on oaking and over on gotmead.com/forum that are very useful. It helps add complexity and some smoothness to it.

Matrix

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