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Old 10-22-2009, 06:48 PM   #1
Wild Duk
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Default First mead, a few question

I'm making a simple 1 gallon batch.

1. Do I have to heat the honey and water up, I read somewhere you can sterilize it using K-meta.....

2. After the secondary ferm. and subsuquent rackings, what can I use to top off the carboy......

Thanks

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Old 10-22-2009, 09:05 PM   #2
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I am new to meads as well, I never heat my honey hotter than 80-90F. I just want to get it all mixed well. I think there are two camps on this one, the ones who heat there honey and those who don't.

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Old 10-22-2009, 09:38 PM   #3
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1) No. You can pitch K-meta 24 hours before yeasting. Honey is pretty hearty in full concentration, so really the only thing you're worried about is the water (IMHO). Even if you don't pitch K-meta, you don't need to heat the water or honey, just shake like a mofo or have a massive stirring utensil to make sure the honey is dissolved in the water.

2) Water. Water/Honey mix. Juices. Anything works. Some people put marbles in the carboy, but I can see how that wouldn't be a great idea anyway. I would boil the water first (or kmeta) just to make sure it's good before you put it in the mead, but that's the over sanitary part of me coming out.


That said. I heat the water up just to make it easy to dissolve the honey. I normally heat 1g of water and then move it off the burner and put in the honey, get it dissolved, then fill up the rest with cold water to bring it back down to pitch temps.

My theory is the honey's only getting heated to about 100-100F based on a short contact time with hot water, so I'm not destroying the aromatics. I think most of us would agree that boiling the must isn't necessary and could be bad for the aromatics.

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Old 10-23-2009, 11:31 AM   #4
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If your water is good enough to drink, then it's good enough to make mead. It is unnecessary to boil the water. Also honey's natural properties do not warrant the use of KMETA.

While I do slightly heat the water (to make dissolving the honey somewhat more easy), I have never boiled it or used KMETA.

I use KMETA in two situations: First, to sanitize fresh-picked fruit when I feel there might be some type of "wild beast" present. And second, as an oxygen scavenger for long-term (years) aging - to ~75 ppm.

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Old 10-24-2009, 02:27 AM   #5
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You want to heat the honey with some water (not boil it) and skim off the foam. If it is commercial grade honey there will not be allot, but still skim as much as you can. If it is local honey I have taken as much as a pint of foam from it.

That foam is mostly wax. You don't want wax in your mead. It is also "other" things like bee parts, etc. But I consider the skimming of the honey to be one of the most important steps in making mead.

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Old 10-24-2009, 12:28 PM   #6
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I boil tap water if not filtering to get the residual chlorine out, but I'd been using spring water for make-up. I installed a Pur filter and have been using filtered tap water.

I don't boil water nor heat honey. I use a six-gallon bucket for my primary. I sanitize it, take it to the brew store, load it up with honey, take it home, and add 80°F filtered water up to six gallons. I rehydrate yeast with hot filtered tap water per instructions.

Secondary is a six gallon carboy. I let the mead sit there until clear, testing occasionally. By the time it's clear I've generally tested (and tasted) close enough to a gallons worth. I then rack to a tertiary five gallon carboy for aging and oaking. The mead fills the carboy, so I have no need for adding more liquid.

I haven't sterilized a must yet and, so far, haven't had a problem. All equipment is sanitized before testing or any other operation. I'll be making a cyser this weekend (Schramm's Fall's Bounty recipe), and the potential contamination from bacteria in the apple juice has been a concern. My plan is to focus on healthy yeast to overcome any bacteria, but that's about it.

Lastly, 1 gallon batches are good for experimenting with new stuff, but I like at least 5 to 6 gallons because there is more room to work when aerating, adding nutrients and energizers, and such as that.

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