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Old 12-16-2010, 05:40 AM   #1
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Default New To Mead

Hi, i'm a beer brewer, but really enjoy mead and wine and would like to begin making it, and I'm going to start a mead first. I have a basic parted together beer kit, basically I got what I thought I needed, then bought more. I'm looking for a few things I still need to get and the aprox cost of them, being as my budget is then and I need to plan out any expense over $50 (I'm saving for an engagement ring). Also, any place to buy mead ingredients online would be greatly helpful. I appreciate any help in my first mead adventure.

I plan on giving about half of this first mead to my dad as a gift, and will then get him into mead making.

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Old 12-16-2010, 06:22 AM   #2
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If you have a hydrometer and a brewing bucket your well on your way.
What you need now is:
1 - the best honey you can afford.
2 - another carboy or two to allow you to age your mead after primary fermentation.
3 - A good yeast that matches your final ABV, most beer yeast can do 12% easily.
4 - yeast nutriants and DAP to do an SNA (Staggered Nutrient Additions)
See and read -
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/sticky-mead-making-faqs-83030/
Reading all of the FAQ will open up a whole new world for you.

5 - Lots of bottles to start the collection.
6 - More carboys and bottles to fill the pipeline.
7 - Even more carboys and bottles to fill the pipeline.

Next thing you know your addicted, but very happy.

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Old 12-16-2010, 04:55 PM   #3
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I have a ton of bottles, but the carboy will be the next thing I get. I have 2 buckets but no carboy yet.

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A few that are gone. I miss them....

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my recomendation: Have an understanding SWMBO
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:56 AM   #4
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I find that the yeast for wines and champagnes are often less expensive than beer yeast, depending on the strain. For example the EV-1118 champagne yeast is a dollar, compared to my safale for beer which is 4-6.
The nutrients and dap will, depending on bottle size, probably be about three bucks each.
Honey will run anywhere from 1.99/pound to 6.99/pound or higher for the special stuff. There's a lot about looking for local sources where you can get good honey in bulk, and quite a few threads about the different honeys and blends. (I'm not so experienced so I'm using honey from big bulk stores rather than my locals... so far.)
Beer bottles work, but you may want to look at wine bottles or even champagne bottles. I think it's mostly in regards to presentation, more than storage differences, but mead will be in there longer than beer. (So just find and keep the empty wine bottles you and friends and family drink during the time you make the mead and you should be fine.)

I'd say the big thing to buy will probably wind up being that carboy since you'll probably have a long secondary.

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Old 12-17-2010, 10:51 PM   #5
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I highly, highly recommend the narbonde 71-B yeast strain for just about every mead style.

that, plus staggered nutrients, and degassing CO2 2-3x a day the first week of primary does WONDERS for yeast health and less harshness even right out of primary.

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Old 12-17-2010, 11:04 PM   #6
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Really? That one was on my list to try. I'm finding that the EC-1118 leaves too much of a yeasty flavor that I just don't find to my taste. After peeking around, I think your two main costs will be the honey and the carboy. The yeast strains prices will vary of course but shouldn't break the bank. Find a good recipe and some good honey though. And that carboy should last for many brewing cycles for beer, wine and mead.

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Old 12-18-2010, 08:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore View Post
I highly, highly recommend the narbonde 71-B yeast strain for just about every mead style.

that, plus staggered nutrients, and degassing CO2 2-3x a day the first week of primary does WONDERS for yeast health and less harshness even right out of primary.
It's good, but further trials have lead me to prefer K1V-1116, or even better still, D21 - this would be for straight traditionals. The 71B is brilliant if you use fruit that has a malic content to it........

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Really? That one was on my list to try. I'm finding that the EC-1118 leaves too much of a yeasty flavor that I just don't find to my taste. -----%<-----
EC-1118 shouldn't leave any yeasty type flavour at all, if used/handled correctly. It's a champagne yeast (a very active one at that), hence it does tend to blow a lot of the more subtle aroma/flavour straight out the airlock. K1V has been described as the "swiss army knife" of yeasts for mead, not sure I'd agree but it certainly does a good job and ages beautifully, as does D21
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:41 PM   #8
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Perhaps we're getting off topic, but I've also been enthralled with 71B om my first experiment with it (for the recent cherry melomel that I made)! The initial tastings when I racked off the cherries was awesome enough that I decided to make my annual cyser with it too...I can't wait to see how that compares to prior years' versions...

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Old 12-18-2010, 11:54 PM   #9
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Well, I kind of think its both my process and a recommended belief. 1) For certain I have not let some of my batches age long enough, either in the secondary or in the bottle. 2) The yeast descriptions from Ken Schramm's book describes it in this manner and from pure mental pursuasion, when a person believes that something is going to be a certain way, they may be more inclined to think they're tasting/seeing/smelling something when it may not be there. I can't recall the term. I'm sure that once I get much more experience and do a few batches where I do the exact same steps at the same time and do yeast comparisions then I'll have a better way to judge. I would like to try the D-47 over the 71B based on his recomendations, but i'm sure that there are many who have threads and information about yeast comparisons which we can really expand on.

The main point was that at least for me, the lavin yeast are pretty cheap on a per packet basis compared to many beer yeasts.
So, on a single batch basis.
Honey lets say a generic light @ 3.99 per pound for lets go with 12 pounds. About $48
The carboy, lets say glass. about $27.99 But this will be a long term cost.
The nutrients and energizer. Lets go pricy at $3 per (ranges from 1.30 for a small 2oz to 2.75 for a 8oz) and you won't be using a whole lot so maybe a medium term cost.
The yeast. Lets go with two packets of any of the lalvin yeasts: .89x2=1.80 (The liquid yeast and wyeast activator packs are about 7).
Long(ish) term costs $34 (so spread that out over the year(s))
honey&yeast being the immediate drink cost, 50 for a 5 gallon batch.

about 84 total, where most of the cost will wind up being the honey. I guestimated my prices using northernbrewer and didn't include bottles, caps or corks, racking canes etc which we assume you have. Yeah, I'm sure there's still going to be some variancy due to price differences, tax, shipping etc.

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Old 12-21-2010, 09:23 PM   #10
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I will need corks, but that's a small enough cost in my opinion. I need to get a carboy (i think SWMBO is getting me one) and I will start getting the cash together for the honey. Any suggestions for honey?

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Drinking: Amber (bottled), AHS Pilsner (Kegged), 80 Schilling (Kegged), and Dunkelweizen (Bottled).
A few that are gone. I miss them....

Quote:
Originally Posted by kegtoe View Post
my recomendation: Have an understanding SWMBO
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