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Old 01-29-2013, 05:43 PM   #1
graydragon2
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I have made a small batch of JOAM with household things but I am going tomorrow to pick up the equipment I need to start making mead on a larger scale. My LHBS puts together a kit but I was wondering what I need to make sure is in it or what else I need to pick up. In other words, what does everyone suggest I get with the kit. I have about $130 budget to get what I need. I will be making 5 gallon batches. I already have the materials I need for my first batch so that does not figure into the cost. Gonna make a cherry berry mead for my first "real" batch. Honey cost doesn't bother me as I have a deal worked out with a friend where he supplies the honey for 5-6 bottles of the finished product each batch. Also on the honey, his newer honey I can get as he has fresh honey or he has some that is 2 years old in a 100 gal barrel that he said I could have to experiment. Would the 2 year old honey be much different than the newer honey even though they tast the same. Sorry for the long winded post.

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Old 01-29-2013, 06:43 PM   #2
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As for the last question about 2-year-old honey:they found 2,000 year-old-honey in a tomb in Egypt, and it was still perfect.

Honey is amazing food. No worries about that!

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Old 01-29-2013, 06:58 PM   #3
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100 gal of honey! Heck yeah, send me some. Seriously, the age of the honey doesn't matter much. The honey will still be good, it may be crystalized and warming it up will melt it. But if you are given 100 gal of honey then enjoy. You have much mead making in your future. Now will there be a difference? Sure, each years honey is different because it is the seasonal flowers that the bees are feeding on. The bees may have fed on a different mix of flowers. But overall if it is from the same hives and the hives were set in the same area then the honey should be very similar. That said, I still hope it is realitivly unfiltered honey. Sometimes honey is heated and filtered to death. Still good on toast but it's lost a lot of quality. Age would not signifigantly change the flavor of the honey and make it go bad.

As far as a Kit is conserned, I find it better to get the items on my own peacemeal. What some think you need you don't. Here's what I would feel that you would need starting out:

Carboy and or Brew bucket (best for 1 of each)
Hydrometer and test sampler
Turkey baster (works as a wine theif and cheap)
Large Mesh nylon bag for the fruit for easy removal
hops bags for smaller additions such as spices or oaking
A teaspooner or table spooner
Large stockpot (at least 5 gal, stainless steel works fine)
A long stiring spoon
A bottle capper and caps
Bottles
**Sanitizer** (very important)
Some powdered detergent to clean the carboy
Bottle brush and carboy brush
a few galon containers for water.
A large funnel that goes into the carboy is useful but not neccessary
Autosyphon and plastic tubing for it
a few airlocks, about double what you have carboys for so you can clean them and have mead going. With the air locks is also a rubber stopper for the caroby, the brew buckets have a drilled hole instead.
I also like to use a Laddle to mix heated water with left over honey in the container and I have a 1 gal plastic pitcher for pouring honey into when I buy it in bulk.

That's mostly it for mead. Some like more stuff as time goes on but you discover what you need as you do batches.

Consumables: Yeast, Yeast Energizer, Yeast Nutrient, Potasium Sorbate, Sparkloid, Honey, Water (not tap), Oak chips or cubes, your choice of adjuncts (IE the fruit and or spices you wish to use)

Hope it goes well for you. Keep in mind many build up equipment as it's needed and this is what I would get as a basic set.

Matrix

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Old 01-29-2013, 07:57 PM   #4
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thats like 1200 pounds (300-400 gallons of mead) of raw honey....any one of us would give up an arm and probably a leg too for a find like that, especially free.

matrix seemed to cover the list of everything you'll need in time. Minimally for equipment you could get away with for your first batch....

-A fermenting bucket
-A second bucket or carboy for secondary
-A couple of airlocks (with rubber stoppers if using carboys)
-Big pot to mix in (optional)
-Big mixing spoon
-Measuring spoons
-Hydrometer
-Sanitizer
-A cup to rehydrate your yeast if youre not going to pitch dry

That'll get you fermenting, then you can work on stuff you'll need for bottling afterwards. Over time you will figure out what you need or want based on your style, things like autosiphons, bottling wands, extra tubing, spray bottles, grain/hop bags, etc...


Ingredients wise...
-Honey (you hit the mother load)
-Water (some bottled stuff if your tap water isn't great)
-Some form of nutrients for step feeding (either a commercial blend, or boiled bread yeast)
-Yeast
-Fruit since you want to make a melomel

Extras...
-Campden tabs (k-meta) and Potasium sorbate if you plan on chemically stabilizing
-Clearing agents like spakloid or kc if you don't wanna let time do the clearing
-Oak cubes
-Pectic enzyme for your fruit additions

As for your recipe, I highly recommend holding your friut til the secondary. Sometimes homebrew stores sell beer making kits with a couple buckets and various equipment reasonably, just look at what is in them and if its all stuff you'd use or if it'd be more cost effective to buy just the parts you'll need seperately

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Old 01-29-2013, 08:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graydragon2 View Post
he has fresh honey or he has some that is 2 years old in a 100 gal barrel that he said I could have to experiment.
Why can't I find friends like that.!

Well as for the age, I agree don't worry about it, honey is to dry to go bad (that's why we dilute it with water to make mead). I doubt the flavor has changed.

The list provided looks good, although I don't know what the stock pot is for because you don't have to heat/boil anything that large. It cna help to use hot water to disolve honey.

Now there is a 'boil or not' arguement and it goes something like this... Boil, pro kill latent bacteria in honey and help stir it into your must. Con boiling drives of low temp volitals (aka flavor) and the bacteria isn't a problem for the mead and yeast. Depending on the age of the book on making mead you will get different answers. As you might guess, I'm a 'no heat'.. or 'just enough to get all the honey out of the container' But others will disagree with me, and I simply say either approach can work. and with 100 gallons/1200 lb, you can experiment and let us know.

Frankly you need for that about 5 carboys (for longer aging after initial ferment) and 1K bottles for bottling LOL.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:17 PM   #6
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I don't know what the stock pot is for because you don't have to heat/boil anything that large....... As you might guess, I'm a 'no heat'
I'm right there with you on the no heat method. I only included a large pot on my list incase he went with a carboy for a primary over a bucket, it makes it easier to stir/wisk the crap out of it and then funnel it into the carboy, otherwise he has to shake the crap out of it, i prefer stirring personally, im to lazy to shake the 50+ pound fermenter for as long as is needed to mix/aerate the must.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:50 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TheBrewingMedic View Post

I'm right there with you on the no heat method. I only included a large pot on my list incase he went with a carboy for a primary over a bucket, it makes it easier to stir/wisk the crap out of it and then funnel it into the carboy, otherwise he has to shake the crap out of it, i prefer stirring personally, im to lazy to shake the 50+ pound fermenter for as long as is needed to mix/aerate the must.
Lol I type corrected. A whisk some water and a pot makes sense for that although 4 gallon pots are less$
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:06 PM   #8
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Oh, and for the actual mixing, a wine whip is inexpensive, and lets the drill do all the work. Works amazingly well.

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrewingMedic View Post
I'm right there with you on the no heat method. I only included a large pot on my list incase he went with a carboy for a primary over a bucket, it makes it easier to stir/wisk the crap out of it and then funnel it into the carboy, otherwise he has to shake the crap out of it, i prefer stirring personally, im to lazy to shake the 50+ pound fermenter for as long as is needed to mix/aerate the must.
I agree. I do heat it up a little to help disolve the honey and aereate it before tossing the yeast. I mix everything up in the stock pot, after I take readings, including temp for yeast pitching, I pitch yeast and then use my autosypon to go to the carboy. Cleaner that way. I also rack to my stock pot and then back to the carboy after cleaning it out when I go to the secondary. That is if I don't have a spare carboy to go to. I don't boil the honey but minimally heat up some water and use that heat to help disolve the honey easier. I also used the stock pot to carmelize 6 pounds of honey for a Bochett. You wouldn't believe how much honey foams up!

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Old 01-30-2013, 03:59 PM   #10
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I must be the only one who ferments in a bottling bucket. Then rack after a month to a carboy - I add a little honey at this point to purge the head space and mead of any O2 in a 'natural' fashion.... Ok, honestly, I don't have co2 otherwise, so I use and available solution. about 95% of what I do is because I have an available solution....

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