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Old 10-17-2012, 07:08 PM   #1
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Default First batch of mead.

I finally started my first batch of mead. I have been talking about learning to make beer/wine over the last few years and finally took the plunge.

I am stationed in the Azores and when I found out of the Portuguese that work with me, husband is one of the largest bee keepers on the island, it was a easy decision. He has 90 stands of bees all over the island and is currently sitting on 200kg of honey from this season. The honey is fairly dark and made from the wild flowers that cover the island. Mostly hydrangeas since they cover the island.

I decided to keep my first batch pretty simple.

15lbs of local Azorean honey.
4 gal of local spring water.
Lalvin D47 yeast.
I also used energizer and nutrients for the yeast.

I ended up with an OG 1.09

Made a few mistakes, like not having cold water ready to cool the must, so I had to wait till this morning to pitch the yeast. But I can say the yeast is going crazy after 10 hours when I checked it after work. I also was nervous when I realized D47s temp max was around 70F, but then didn't realize the house has cooled down to the mid 60s this fall already.

I think the hardest thing is going to be the wait for this to be finished. I am ready to start my next batch. I think I will place a order with Midwest later tonight to get stuff to start a few 1 gal experimentals.

I would like to try a burnt mead and one using the local wild yeast here, to make a pure mead just from this island. Since my landlord produces about 600-700L of wine behind my house every year, I could end up picking up something from his wine instead of something really local.

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Old 10-17-2012, 07:12 PM   #2
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Looks like a good mead to me!
I envy you and your food choices. My landlord's family is from the Azores and the few family meals I've attended were unreal. I don't know why linguica isn't the best selling sausage in the world.

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Old 10-17-2012, 07:39 PM   #3
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He has 4 houses he rents on the island and keeps a small one bedroom behind my house just party in. So get invited up every few weeks for an amazing meal, homemade wine, and his own aguardiente (spirit made from the waste wine). Even though I can't legally use it, I will bring back an aguardiente distill for home decor, they look like works of art.

Though this year was a very bad year for his grapes, he has 3 small vineyards, and only one produced this year. He is going pull up all his grapes at the one at my house and restart with a different variety. In his words they are only good for aguardiente.

If I do a burnt wine, I am probably just going to order some cheap honey. I can't bring myself to destroying the fresh local stuff here.

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Old 10-18-2012, 09:23 PM   #4
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Well I don't know their honey, but I'd have thought you certainly wouldn't need to heat it in any way.

Heating it drives off aromatics and more subtle flavouring elements (same as using champagne yeasts). For area's where temp is likely to be an issue, K1-V1116 is an excellent yeast to use (it's pretty good for traditionals anyway).

As for it being ready to drink ? nah, probably not. many young meads taste bloody hideous, but once aged some (6 months to a year minimum), they transform into a really nice, wonderful drink.

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Old 10-19-2012, 12:35 AM   #5
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Oh, that sounds so wonderful! I'm jealous.

You have lots of options with the honey, and I think you'll find some wonderful combinations.

I wouldn't heat the honey at all, unless it's full of "stuff" that you have to filter through cheesecloth. Because of the low moisture content, honey doesn't have spoilage organisms in it naturally.

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Old 10-19-2012, 01:50 PM   #6
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I think I took it up 120ish just help with the mixing and cleaning out the jars. The honey that I got from her was very clean, bit dark, I would say the must ended up about amber ale color, though very fragrant.

The yeast is really working now, the air lock has action about every 2 seconds right now. I think I am going to take a SG reading tomorrow. Or should I wait on this?

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Old 11-14-2012, 07:39 PM   #7
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I ended up racking to a secondary when the SG reached 0.98, it went way dryer than I thought. At this point I decided to throw all caution out of the wind and turn it to melomel, so I added about 3 lbs of sweet cherries to the mix. SG shot up to about 1.01-1.02 with this new addition and week later it was about down to .098 again.

I am very surprised, its nearly cleared up and taste very nice right now. Week ago it was undrinkable, and now its nearly ready to serve with diner.

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