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Old 12-25-2012, 03:26 AM   #1
kdar
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Default Good recipe for first mead?

Hello everyone.

I am planning to start 6-gallon mead this week and I am trying to find a good recipe for my first attempt at mead.

At the moment I have about 10 lb of honey, do you think it would be enough or I would need to get some more? I know I would need more if I would want to make sweet mead, but I am wondering if 10 lb of honey can be too little for 6-gallon batch?

My other concern if it will be ok to use regular yeast (for bakery) or should I go ahead and buy something more specific?

And another concern... should I really start it in Winter? Or should I wait for warmer weather? During winter the temperature in my home is usually around 70F.. and I am wondering if this will be ok.

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Old 12-25-2012, 04:01 AM   #2
scottv
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There is a great calculator on the gotmead.com site.

I would guess 10 lbs would make a super dry mead at 6 gallons. There are recipes for using a regular yeast but I think it's all JAO meads so if you are wanting a traditional honey mead you would want to get a wine or champaign yeast.

Also you want to look into energizer and nutrient to kick fermentation off at a healthy rate.

70 degrees is fine I keep mine between 63-70.

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Old 12-25-2012, 04:46 AM   #3
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You could try a simple spiced Cyser. I curently have aging a Spiced pumpkin Cyser that was a blend of a Spiced pumpkin Mead and a spiced Hard Cider made with bakers yeast. It actually shows much promise and I believe by next years thanksgving it will be really nice.

I would probably still suggest Lalvin 71B for a Cyser but based off of my experice the bakers yeast may not be terrible, just not as good as the 71B yeast probably would be. Another thing to consider with the yeast is for sheer ease of care the 71B would be better. Bakers yeast has a hard time settling out of the must and clearing may be many many months before you could rack the first time and will probably need to rack multiple times in order to get your mead really clear.

A simple spiced Cyser recipe may look like:

10lb honey
4 cups strong earl grey black tea
6 whole clove
1TBS all spice
6TBS ground nutmeg
6TBS ground Ginger
6 cinnamon sticks
Apple Cider topped off to 6 gallons.

The spices would be optional but I would at least stick with the cinnamon and Ginger. Over all the meads and wines I have done I think I liked the spiced ones like above to be my favorite so far.

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Old 12-27-2012, 12:22 AM   #4
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Thank you all for your replies.

I just found two more bottles of honey that I have apparently bought before. So actually I have close to 20lb.

So probably I don't really need to worry about amount of honey...

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Old 12-27-2012, 01:15 AM   #5
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10lb of honey in 6 gal of water should get you about 1.058 OG, 20lb cranks you on up to 1.115. Either is technically OK for a mead, but 20 bumps the gravity way up and you should probably pitch at least twice as much yeast. Ending ABV will go up correspondingly with OG.

Remember 20lbs of honey has significant volume so you will need to adjust the volume of water/honey to fit your fermentor and still leave reasonable head space.

Temp depends upon the yeast strain you use. For example, EC-1118 has a wide temp range, but 15-25C is optimal. So at about 70F you should be fine. Higher temps are more likely to produce off flavors. Check the specs on the yeast strain you chose.

Be sure and read some of the stickys/wikis/etc on the mead forums here, especially those by "hightest". Some great info there. A key difference between brewing meads and beers is aeration and nutrient additions. Nothing particular difficult but be sure and read up on these subjects. Also mead fermentations tend to be longer running.

Personally, I like to go with basic traditional meads and then blend to make melomels and braggots. This approach gives you a lot of flexibility and the ability to blend flavors to your liking. For example, if the flavors of that big melomel you just made are just too overpowering then you can tone it down a bit by blending with a traditional mead. And, you end up with more interesting stuff to drink.

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