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-   -   First Attempt At Mead...'lil Advice Please (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/first-attempt-mead-lil-advice-please-74446/)

nelsongg 07-31-2008 01:32 AM

First Attempt At Mead...'lil Advice Please
 
I've been brewing beer for about a year now and I would like to try a mead. I've had mead a couple of times but it was years ago. I can't even remember if it was still or sparkling.
What I would like to do is acquire 5 one gallon carboys and make 4 different one gallon batches so I might be able to get an idea of what myself and my wife might like for future larger batches. My taste in wine tends toward dry reds and dry champagne. My wifes tends to lean towards a little more sweet and fruity. Now the questions:

1. Is this a good idea?

2. Based upon our tastes, could someone suggest some recipes?

3. Could I brew 4 gallons of a "base" then add fruit, spices or nothing to the individual carboys to make different flavors?

4. Last question. Still or sparkling? I know that this is a personal preference, but are there certain types of mead that one or the other is just not done?

Thanks for reading my ramble. If anyone would also like to answer any questions that I should have asked, feel free.

Thanks,
Greg

BigKahuna 07-31-2008 02:34 AM

#1. YES! Great Idea
#2. I would look at a nice sweet mead for her, perhaps with a strawberry or peach addition.
#3. YES YOU CAN! (And it's a great idea)
#4. I like mead still. I know that the Sparkeling meads are a treat, and they definitely have a place, but for the bulk, I like Still.

There are 2 threads you should check out:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/3-sisters-cousin-65692/
and
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f85/just-want-share-62859/

tooomanycolors 07-31-2008 03:25 AM

haha the second one is mine:)
anyway
1) agreed do it youll be happy
2)try for a semi-sweet/dry its a good compromise, my gf likes dry and i like everything Ive made so either way...
3)personally I would suggest just a straight varietal for your first using something like D-47 yeast
4)still unless kegging, sparkling mead would neccessitate bottling in beer bottles or using champagne bottles with cages, and champagne corkers are booku expensive...sparkling with normal corks leads to broken closet doors, personal experience.

BigKahuna 07-31-2008 04:30 AM

HEY...That was #100 for you....and You've quoted me in the Sig line.

Congratulations and THANKS:D

Kauai_Kahuna 07-31-2008 09:09 AM

I think that is a great way to try it out. I would make one standard batch, and use 2 different yeast, and maybe vary one with fruit, and one not. Champagne yeast and a sweet mead yeast. That should address both of your desires and give you a great idea of where you want to go next. Or just refill the 4 jugs and try some more while your making on large batch.
The only down side to this is trying to get a bulk deal on airlocks, then keeping everything in the yeasts temperature range.

nelsongg 08-01-2008 01:39 AM

Thanks all who replied. I guess my general plan for a first batch has been approved by the forum.
"TOOMANYCOLORS" I believe recommended a base of a "straight varietal".
What is a straight varietal?
I also liked Kauai_Kahuna's idea of the 2 different yeasts.

As far as the bottling, I already use flip tops and champagne bottles for my beer, so if I do a sparkling, I'm prepared with caps or plastic corks and wires.

The wife has expressed an interest in a peach and a spice flavor. I believe the other two gallons will be plain utilizing the two different yeasts' idea. One will be still and the other sparkling.

Question: Does the dryness or sweetness of a batch achieved thru the type of yeast used or the type/quantity of honey used?

The goal for the base I'm looking to make is slightly dry to lightly sweet range.
Any recipe links for a mead in this flavor range would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all,
Greg

tooomanycolors 08-01-2008 02:22 AM

what i meant by varietal is choose one type of honey: clover, orange blossom, wildflower, etc. and use that for your mead along with water and yeast. This is easy and pretty idiot proof and will give you an idea of an easy homemade mead. Then if you like it start experimenting that what I did, and now I have bigkahuna telling me that Im gonna make some crazy ****, haha

The Blow Leprechaun 08-01-2008 01:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nelsongg (Post 781008)
Question: Does the dryness or sweetness of a batch achieved thru the type of yeast used or the type/quantity of honey used?

Both. Various yeasts can only tolerate a certain amount of alcohol, and your quantity of honey will determine how much alcohol there will be.

CBBaron 08-01-2008 03:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nelsongg (Post 781008)
Question: Does the dryness or sweetness of a batch achieved thru the type of yeast used or the type/quantity of honey used?

The goal for the base I'm looking to make is slightly dry to lightly sweet range.
Any recipe links for a mead in this flavor range would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all,
Greg

Both, Different yeast varieties have different alcohol tolerances. If your potential alcohol of the must, based on the honey content, exceeds the tolerance of the yeast then you will end up with a sweet mead. The amount you exceed the tolerance determines how sweet it is.

Craig

gratus fermentatio 08-02-2008 12:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nelsongg (Post 781008)
The wife has expressed an interest in a peach and a spice flavor.
Question: Does the dryness or sweetness of a batch achieved thru the type of yeast used or the type/quantity of honey used?

Hi nelsongg: Here is a recipe from Ken Schramm's "The Compleat Meadmaker"
makes 5gal.
12 lbs white clover or other high-quality varietal honey
3 gal water (approximately) enough to fill to 5 gallons
2 tsp yeast energizer
2 tsp yeast nutrient
2.5 tsp pectic enzyme (optinal, but highly recommended)
10 - 12 lbs fresh peaches, blanched, peeled & halved (pits removed)
1.5 - 2 oz. fresh, peeled & mashed ginger root (optional, but recommended)
1 liter starter of Lalvin D-47 yeast

I made this recipe once, substituting apricots for peaches & using 1/2 the fruit in primary & 1/2 in secondary; the results weren't bad, but I decided next time to at least double the fruit for a more pronounced flavor. Oddly enough that sort of fuzzy feel from the skins was conveyed (a little) to the finished product (I didn't peel the fruit) It was very interesting. As far as the dryness/sweetness question: That is solely dependant on how much fermentable sugar is available to the yeast & what alcohol tolerance your yeast has. BUT: I would suggest that you use a good varietal honey such as orange blossom, or clover... I used some local honey that was full of knapweed, tastes great on toast, but makes for a very sharp mead that takes a long time to round out, like about 2 years or so. Hope you find this info useful. Regards, GF.


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