I started making cider this year and so far I've had fun and ended up with some very drinkable results. I love rustic style home brew, and I'm not into trying finicky recipes that have everything down to a fine science( yet anyways). I just want to start with some basic recipes. The two I'm really interested in trying are a pomagranite mead and a basic mead with vanilla.
For the pomagranite, am I better to use juice initially, or should I add maybe whole seeds? Juice. You can juice a pomegranite using a citrus juicer. Can you add juice after primary fermentation or will that just restart fermentation and have the same end results as adding at the beginning?Add it after, it will restart fermentation, but you'll leave much more flavor that way.
For the vanilla, should I add a vanilla bean right at the beginning, or after primary fermentation?Sorry, not sure on this one. Search this sight for adding vanilla bean, I'm sure the answer is around.
Do I need yeast nutrients? Yes. Although I've had success without, I now believe you should use nutrients in mead Will adding raisins do the same thing? Yes, maybe not as well, but if your adding fermentable fruit to mead for primary fermentation your need for nutrient is greatly deminished.
Finally, is it ok to just use. EC 1118, or do I need something specific? EC 1118 is OK to use (but I don't like it) I would suggest RedStar Premier Cuvee to all new mead makers. It's reliable, neutral, and really lets the other flavors shine. Can you use an ale yeast? YES! My best mead ever was made with a White Labs saison yeast I assume you would end with very different results? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Before this weekend I would have said yes. But I helped out a very accomplished mead maker doing a demo and he had two simple meads that tasted the same. One made with an ale yeast, and the other made with a dry wine yeast. They were both very dry and I couldn't tell the difference between them
Thanks! Good luck and happy mead making