There is an intense debate going on at my house right now as to whether or not make a mead or just brew more beer. (hyperbole... nothing at my house is intense)
After failing miserably at making mead using the vague instructions found at stormthecastle (tasted like turpentine smells even after a year of "maturing"), I bought Schramm's book The Compleat Meadmaker.
I bought it because I have a gallon and a half of local honey bought from Walker Honey Farm slowly crystallizing, lemons falling off the neighbor's tree, and coriander is pretty cheap. So, it's gonna be a metheglin.
I'd like to do the recipe he's published for Dry Nutmeg Metheglin. Except with entirely different spices. My concern is the yeast. It's always the yeast.
I've read his book cover to cover and he doesn't mention the "how-to" of how to do the yeast starters in this recipe.
It calls for:
500 ml Epernay yeast starter
500 ml starter of Pasteur Champagne yeast
As it happens, I have a 2 liter Erlenmeyer flask, a stir plate & magnet, two 5 gram packets of Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast, and an hour spent researching this topic. Weird how homebrewers collect random stuff, huh? I've learned two things so far:
1. Epernay has a number II now. It's a yeast. Not available at my LHBS.
2. Schramm doesn't describe how to make a yeast starter with dry yeast beyond saying, "Follow the instructions on the packet." (I'm paraphrasing).
Now, I could assume these are both liquid yeasts, for which he does give a rather low-tech approach to producing a starter for, but his instructions are for 2 liters. I'm not making over a gallon of yeast starter for a 5 gallon batch of mead. I suppose I could scale it down for two starters of 500 ml each, but then I'm stuck with using only trace amounts of DME, honey, yeast energizer, & nutrients. And I'm still without a clue what to replace the Epernay with.
So, my internet friends, what should I do? I've already decided I'm brewing beer (given) but am I to make mead too? What are my yeast options? I've got a 7-gallon fermentation bucket with a pretty picture of grapes and a 3-piece air lock absolutely dieing to be sanitized for a purpose.
But then I suppose I could just keep the honey for countless peanut butter and honey sandwiches.