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Old 02-23-2013, 10:28 PM   #1
KTMurphy
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Default First time mead making, many questions

Hey all.

Been doing extract beer brewing for about a year or so, and my girlfriend has shown interest in making a Mead. I had received a gift cert to my LHBS for Christmas, and since I was thinking about doing some small batch home brew I decided to buy a few things so I could do small batches Mead or Beer.

On the suggestion of the shop owner I picked up a 2 gal plastic fermenter and a 1 gal carboy. She also gave me a recipe but it was for 5 gallons. She said I can just divide into 1 gal but also said to not bother with any of the finings or yeast nutrient.

What it boils down to is basically boil 1 gal of water, add 2-3lbs of honey, add yeast (she recommended Lalvin EC-1118) and toss into the fermenter for a week, then rack to the carboy for 2-3 months minimum.

Does this sound reasonable?

I've been going through the recipes and discussions here and elsewhere and there seems to be pretty strong opinions regarding boiling the water or not, boiling the honey with the water or no boiling at all. She also said the yeast nutrient isn't necessary for a 1 gallon (or maybe 1/2 gallon if I do it in a growler,) which seems counter to what I'm reading here.

I plan to use honey from a local apiary. If it makes any difference, they advertise it as "Not Heated Or Micro Filtered."

Any advice would be appreciated. Honey is expensive and I don't wanna dump 30 bucks down the drain!

Also, I'm assuming it I can bottle it like I would beer?



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Old 02-23-2013, 10:36 PM   #2
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Aerate, but I think that plan is fine. You are unlikely to need any nutrient with a batch that size and a large amount of yeast.

But yes, its the simplest form that is mead. Just do it and see what you think. From there you will know whether you want something different, some people stick with that.

Go with the 3 lbs of honey, that yeast will finish pretty dry anyway. I also agree with the 2-3 month wait minimum, it will take a while to mellow out.

Yes, bottle as you would beer, or maybe you feel like doing wine bottles, whatever strikes your fancy. That yeast won't be near done after it's fermented out so adding priming sugar as you would beer will produce a sparkling mead.

ETA: I grew up on LI, in Amityville. What part are you in?



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Old 02-23-2013, 10:46 PM   #3
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Thanks! It almost sounded too simple, I was afraid I was missing something.

I want to do something with fruit in it, like blueberries, but the GF insists on doing a basic straight mead to start. Hopefully the second batch she'll let me experiment... with my equipment.

Does the mead continue to improve in the bottle? Do I get anything out of leaving it in the carboy longer vs bottling and let it age that way?

I'm in Suffolk County, in Ronkonkoma. The apiary is down the road, in Bohemia.

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Old 02-23-2013, 11:21 PM   #4
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See, I do not like plain mead. Just may not have found the 'honey spot' for me. But melomel I am all over. Have not given up on tradl mead and just try different honey...hoping the raw wildflower honey in transit does the trick, but I have a stash of tupelo honey too. Thing is, tupelo keeps getting raided by someone. I sleepwalk...yep, that is my excuse, sticking to it.

Keep in carboy/gallon jug until degassed, nice and clear, and not dropping sediment for about 45-60 days from the last racking...and then bottle if you want to. All kinds of pros/cons on bulk aging vs bottle aging, but to me a gallon batch really will not make a huge dent in the aging discussion. Still improves in bottle.

Enjoy your mazing!

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Old 02-24-2013, 09:42 AM   #5
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Ok, so even with a 1 gallon batch, nutrient is generally required, otherwise it can still make for a long, slow ferment that will finish sweet.

A teaspoon of something like FermaidK, fermax or similar would be fine, or even a hand full of raisins and some boiled bread yeast would help.

I don't like EC-1118 (without a specific reason for using it), it blows too much of the aromatics and some of the more subtle flavour characteristics straight out the airlock. Something with a similar tolerance, but more hardy characteristics, like K1-V1116 is better suited IMO.

Plus it'd likely need more than just a couple of months to age, I'd say that you should presume at least 6 months after the ferment is complete, possibly more.



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