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Old 12-18-2007, 11:59 PM   #1
Daburban
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Default Need 1st mead recipe. Must be Sweet!

Hey, i've been on the ale boat for a while and i want to try a mead. I'm looking for something light bubbly and sweet! Can you guys point me towards a good mix?

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Old 12-19-2007, 12:28 AM   #2
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Two schools of thought:

1.) Put tons of honey in the fermentor to start with, more than the yeast can eat, and wait for the alcohol to get high enough where the yeast die out. This leaves behind some of that initial honey you put in unfermented, and therefore sweeter mead. Downsides are it makes a hell of a powerful mead (some aren't into that) and it takes a long time to age out that hot alcohol flavor. The benifit is that it makes a hell of a powerful mead (some are into that ) and requires less tending and maintainance.

2.) Put in a decent amount of honey, enough to hit your gravity and alc by vol (whatever that might be) and let it ferment dry. Age it for a little bit, maybe cold condition it if you can, and make the residual yeast drop out. When it is clear, heat to sanitize some additional honey and add it to the carboy to taste, dialing in your desired sweetness level. The benifits are a lot more control, over alcohol (lower abv means less aging required) and sweetness. The downside is you have to pay attention, and tend your mead more than the traditional way.

As far as carbonating, both have downsides. Usually the danger with bottle carbing mead is that the yeast can simply keep working until the mead gets dryer, overcarbed, and possibly explosive. Most who have carbed mead use champagne bottles with cages over the cork. However if you use the right amount of yeast during bottling (i.e. a little bit) it will simply carb your mead and die out. If you use too much, well just be careful opening them

Personally I like the second approach, mostly because I like variety (and not control, as some would say). With the second approach I can leave some dry, make some semi sweet, some very sweet, and I can choose to carb or not carb each one. Out of one batch, without adding anything other than honey, I just made four or five different meads.

Sorry for the keyboard diarreah. Too much Great Divide Hercules Double IPA. Whoo! Has anyone had this stuff? Its great for long winded posts!

mike

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Old 12-19-2007, 12:34 AM   #3
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Third school of thought-

Use a moderate honey, and a yeast that will die out at a relatively low alcohol level.

Google "Joes ancient orange mead".

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Old 12-19-2007, 12:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLynchLtd
T However if you use the right amount of yeast during bottling (i.e. a little bit) it will simply carb your mead and die out. If you use too much, well just be careful opening them
Could you elaborate on this?

I've never heard of carbonating by adding a regulated amount of yeast before.

It has been my understanding that the yeast is already there- you regulate carbonation by the amount of sugar you add when bottling.
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:25 AM   #5
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probably means using a more alcohol tolerant yeast strain, but only pitching a couple of grains...just enough to get some fermentation, without kicking up so much fermentation you get bombs.
it'd be tricky, and not very consisten. it works better with drier meads, because you don't have much residual sugar left.

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Old 12-20-2007, 01:40 AM   #6
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I used 15# of clover honey in 5 gallons of water, with white labs sweet mead yeast. bottled with corn sugar, and is now 2 months old. it is 11.68% ABV, nice and light but not too dry, and just getting better as time goes by. Most f it will not be opened before next year.

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Old 12-20-2007, 05:56 PM   #7
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The problem with a sweet sparkling mead or wine is that honey and fruit sugars are nearly all fermentable. So to get sweet you have to stop the yeast some way to leave some amount of sugar left in the mead/wine. However if the yeast is stopped it won't produce carbonation to bottle condition and sparkle the mead. So to get sweet and sparkling you have to make a sweet mead using one of the two methods described above and then force carbonate using a kegging system.

Or you could do one of the choices. You could make a flat sweet mead or a sparkling dry mead. Given that mead is very different in taste from beer, you may find one of these choices works very well for you. Maybe try a 1 gal batch of each and see what you like.
Craig

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Old 12-20-2007, 07:36 PM   #8
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Or, of course, you could use the Méthode Champenoise. This is technically known as "a lot of work".

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Old 12-21-2007, 05:39 AM   #9
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my first "original mead" was comprised of 12# Goldenrod, 4# Clover 4.5gallon H2O, Yeast nutrient, and Wyeast Sweet Mead Yeast, started it on Nov5 this year. So far I have ABV of ~13.5% and it is still nice and sweet (I like the goldenrod flavor).

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