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Old 05-14-2013, 06:51 PM   #1
sdwrage
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Default My First Mead - Criticism Welcome

Hey all. Me and a friend just started on our first mead recipe:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f80/oran...y-mead-410860/

Now after researching, I found that bacteria loves citric acid and my recipe has quite a bit in it. I have a Campden tablet that came with the wine making kit but was unsure if I was supposed to do this in primary or secondary. I am about 4 1/2 days into the fermentation process and definitely didn't want to open the lid to look at the mead as that would expose it to oxygen.

Any thoughts?

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Old 05-14-2013, 07:54 PM   #2
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Yeast are aerobic and anaerobic...pop the top and stir twice a day until SG has dropped by at least 50-66%. Since you used orange slices you could actually leave slices intact in carboy until the drop--weeks to months as in the style of Joe Mattioli Ancient Orange Mead. As far as drinkability, well....aim for a year. Have fun!

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Old 05-14-2013, 10:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saramc View Post
Yeast are aerobic and anaerobic...pop the top and stir twice a day until SG has dropped by at least 50-66%. Since you used orange slices you could actually leave slices intact in carboy until the drop--weeks to months as in the style of Joe Mattioli Ancient Orange Mead. As far as drinkability, well....aim for a year. Have fun!
Yikes! A year? I was planning on a month total lol. Maybe I should bide my time with some Cider then after this batch is done. As far as stirring, I was just swishing the bucket around. I need to get a hydrometer as I don't know the gravity yet.
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:51 AM   #4
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The recipe seems rather old style.

The fruit element will add some nutrient value but I don't see any mention of other sources. So maybe a teaspoon or two of bread yeast, microwaved in100mls of water to kill it off, let it cool then add that.

Meads don't generally need acid up front, you can add then too taste afterwards. Honey musts generally have more than enough acidity for the yeast.

Plus don't sweat air/O2 in the early stages of fermentation, even the JAO recipe says about shaking a carboy batch to get air into it.

And Sara is spot on about the possible long time. Mead making does need patience. You should consider ageing the batch for 6 months as a minimum.....

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Old 05-15-2013, 05:10 AM   #5
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I agree with fatbloke about adding a nutritional component if you can, yeast energizer & yeast nutrient would be good items to always keep in stock, along with an extra hydrometer. The three little boxes of raisins are added for nutrients more than any acid they will contribute.

If it were me, when you transfer from bucket to carboy (secondary container, not secondary fermentation, which is actually a process called 'malolactic fermentation, aka MLF) and when your SG has reached 1.000 or less, I would add the peels, painstakingly removed from all bitter white pith, of 3-5 of the most aromatic fresh oranges you can source, and the peel of one lemon also. Tuck the peels inside a clean/sanitized nylon kneehigh stocking, that way the peels are easily contained and you can easily insert the stocking down the neck of gallon carboy. Tie a piece of unwaxed dental floss around top of stocking and let the floss hang out of carboy neck, the bung will hold it in place and still create an airtight seal. Or just let the peels float, you will remove them in about two months. The reason I would add additional peels is because the initial ferment will likely strip away all flavor and aromatics from the first two oranges. One-quarter cup of fresh rosemary would be quite nice, especially with the citrus peel. Not overpowering, just light enough that people start asking as they try to identify.

A helpful hint on bulk aging mead: once reaching F.G., bulk age for one month for each % of ACV. For small batches, consider putting away a few 375ml bottles and earmark for 3-5-10 years from now. Make sure your corks will stand the test of time, or be prepared to apply new corks before the old ones go kaput.

Oh, if really want mead that can be consumed young, read up on 'short meads'. Commercial kits are available by Ambrosia Farms for $6-8 before shipping, you supply the gallon jug, water & honey. Years ago I made a handful of these, so I could enjoy some mead while my batches aged. No one has ever complained and three commercial vintners asked for my recipe. Even though these are short meads I have ended up stabilizing and bottling each batch, even made sparkling short mead. The CherryGal is my favorite & my husband now makes sure to stash a few kits in my Christmas stocking each year. Could I make my own short mead ingredient kits? Sure, but I happen to enjoy these, even though I now have 50+ gallons of my own mead creations finally ready to consume and share with friends while another 50+ are either fermenting or bulk aging.

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