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Old 11-25-2009, 08:03 PM   #1
Randar
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Default New to mead, but excited!

OK, so I am an avid homebrewer who is also a bit of a wine lover and mead has me UBER-intrigued. Since I already own all the equipment (and then some) required to make mead, I made the leap and bought some honey and blackberry puree from NB today and scored 5 cases of 375ml bottles (120 bottles) for $10 a case. I also purchased the Compleat Meadmaker a little over a week ago and have already read it through (although I admit to skimming on the historical stuff to dive into the methods and processes).

My plan is as follows:
- 5 gal batch of blackberry melomel
- batch of basic dry show mead
- batch of vanilla mead
- if I have any honey left, I would also like to try to make a pumpkin or seasonal mead for next winter.

In general, interested in trying a few different styles. I like tannins and dry reds or complex whites and I'm not terribly interested in overly sweet fruity drinks.

I also have a kind of a fruit farm in my backyard with blackberry, gooseberry, jostaberry, blueberry, and raspberry bushes as well as peach, pear, and cherry trees to provide good fodder for future meads (if I can sneak enough from fresh eating stocks).

I purchased a couple pouches of the Lalvin K1V-1116 and plan to use this for the Blackberry and dry show meads.

Any suggestions for the Vanilla and Pumkin meads in terms of yeast and honey varieties?

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Old 11-25-2009, 08:09 PM   #2
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well huray for you man very cool. have fun and fallow the book.

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Old 11-25-2009, 09:01 PM   #3
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Congratulations on your leap of faith! That K1V-1116 is a good all-round yeast, as is D-47. Whenever someone asks for yeast recommendations, I always point them to the Lallemand Yeast Chart. It provides a lot of information and you can choose a yeast based on the properties you're looking for, or your fermentation conditions.

As for a honey recommendation, I always recommend plain clover or alfalfa honey, local if you can get it, for anything other than traditional meads. Well, alfalfa's good for that too, but save your good varietal honey for a straight honey and water mead to celebrate the essence of the varietal honey and to get the most bang for the buck.

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Old 11-25-2009, 09:14 PM   #4
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Congratulations on your leap of faith! That K1V-1116 is a good all-round yeast, as is D-47. Whenever someone asks for yeast recommendations, I always point them to the Lallemand Yeast Chart.
Thanks for the link. I'm a big yeast starter and pitching rate kind of homebrew guy but hardly notice a cursory mention of it in mead discussions. What is the reasoning for this?

I also noticed they have both dry and liquid yeast available (albeit the detailed info for the dry wine yeast seems better documented) but most on here seem to prefer the dry stuff. Is this a cost preference? Is that the same reason for not doing a starter?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-25-2009, 11:23 PM   #5
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You really have two different kinds of mead makers, especially on this board: those who began as brewers and those who began as winemakers and they take different approaches. As a winemaker, I use hydrated dry yeast without a starter, I'd never, ever think of boiling a wine or mead, and I use potassium (or sodium) metabisulfite with citric acid for sanitizing equipment. Brewers, on the other hand, think in terms of liquid yeast, starters, and Starsan. Both work, and advocates have strong opinions. Experiment and see what feels right to you. I'll bet you friends drinking the mead will never know the difference!

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Old 11-25-2009, 11:36 PM   #6
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mead is a wonderful world of waiting, rewarded with something mystical, ancient and delicious. i rate people on how they react to my mead. if you won't try it, you suck. if you try it and leave half the glass, you suck. if you try it and say "that is different" and finish the glass, you're good. if you try it and say "that is harsh" and finish the glass you are good. if you try it and come over the next day asking for more, you are truely enlightened.

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Old 11-27-2009, 01:35 AM   #7
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Sounds like you're off to a good start. If your trees are dwarf, you may want to add more, but if they're just still young, your future's so bright, you'll need some shades soon. Whatever you do, leave the anxiety out of your meads; it tastes like crap.

Thanks for the support. I hope the hobby provides you as much pleasure as it has me.

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Old 11-27-2009, 01:48 AM   #8
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My suggestion is to make a yeast starter. I'm new to Mead too and mine is under attenuated. Although I pitched 2 packages of yeast for a 5 gallon batch and hydrated it wasn't enough. Will definately do a starter next time. My FG is in the 1.03 range.

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Old 11-27-2009, 02:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
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My suggestion is to make a yeast starter. I'm new to Mead too and mine is under attenuated. Although I pitched 2 packages of yeast for a 5 gallon batch and hydrated it wasn't enough. Will definately do a starter next time. My FG is in the 1.03 range.
Did you do the staggered nutrient additions? I have never made a starter and never had an issue getting down to my desired final gravity.
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Old 11-27-2009, 12:29 PM   #10
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I haven't made one for Mead yet, but when I make them for my beer I just throw in a tsp of yeast nutrient. Seems to work fantastic.

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