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Old 05-17-2011, 04:52 PM   #1
freekmccoy
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I'm looking to make my first 5 gal batch of mead.
First off,is this too much to start off with? I'm looking to buy a kit,and not really interested in getting different size bottles,and it seems like most recipes here are for that amount.
Can someone suggest a good starter kit,I'd prefer something with bucket primary/carboy finish( I hope I'm understanding this)
now,as far as honey goes,I have found a local place that has descriptions of their honey as follows:

Our light in color variety is nectar from Locust & Basswood trees, Clover or Wingstem blossoms

Our medium (in color but mild in flavor), honey comes from the nectar of Raspberry, Blackberry and Sumac blossoming mainly in the spring. This is our main honey flow and we usually have it available all year.


Our delicious, rich dark honey comes from the nectar of Poplar (blooms in the spring), Bamboo (Japanese Knotweed) and fall wild flowers including goldenrod and aster

Most varieties are from flowers that bloom along the Ohio River Valley and the Appalachian foothills.

Which would be the best honey to use? and how much do I need to buy?
I'd like to make a mead with some fresh strawberries

Any help is appreciated... Thanks

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Old 05-17-2011, 05:57 PM   #2
commonsenseman
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Here's a good starter kit if you'd like to use beer bottles, or may make beer with the same kit (I do).

http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewin...arter-kit.html

If you want to go the wine route, this one looks good.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/winema...aking-kit.html

That honey sounds real good to me, it all just depends on what type of mead you want to make.

This calculator works really well to give you a general idea of how much honey to use, etc.

Also, check out the newbie guide for some great info on how to make mead, it should answer most of your questions.

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Old 05-18-2011, 02:52 PM   #3
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thank you

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Old 05-28-2011, 04:56 AM   #4
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One more noob question.... can you use a better bottle as a secondary fermenter or does making mead require a glass secondary? Thanks.

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Old 05-28-2011, 07:19 AM   #5
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better bottles are fine.

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Old 05-29-2011, 02:14 AM   #6
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thanks, good to know.

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Old 05-29-2011, 02:40 AM   #7
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What are you planning to use for primary?

I would go with at least a full gallon of head space in the primary. Also read up about nutrient use, aeration, and other processes that mead making involves, that are not present in brewing.

I made two batches of traditional mead using regional wildflower honey. Color is excellent in bottles. A nice golden shade that just makes you want to drink it right there. At 18% it is sure to warm you from the inside out.

IMO, mead is a rather basic recipe. If you're going for a traditional type, then it's simply water, honey, yeast and time. You'll want to add nutrient and degass/aerate it until 1/3 of the sugars have been consumed. But once that's done, you really do just leave it alone. I would also recommend using Lalvin Labs wine yeast. I've used EC-1118 in my traditional meads, and D47 in my blackberry melomel (14% ABV) as well as my hard ginger ale.

Also, use honey that you like/love the flavor of by itself. Then pick a yeast that will treat it right, or as you would like. Also pick a yeast that has it's temperature range as one you'll be able to easily maintain it in.

I would also avoid heating the must above 100F at all costs. If a kit said to boil the must, or get it above 100-110F, I would ignore those instructions. As long as you have everything sanitized, you don't need to do that at all.

I would also suggest having an autosiphon for this. You'll probably end up racking the batch 3-5 times before it's finally ready for bottles. Once fermentation is complete, each racking helps to get off of the lees and make the product clearer. Another difference from brewing... Depending on how strong you plan to make the mead, don't plan on it being good to drink for at least 6-12 months. Higher ABV levels will need more time to become good drinking. Something at or below 14% should be good at 6-8 months. 18% or less, about a year. Above that, you could be looking at 18 months before it's really good. Of course, they'll all get even better as time goes on. Set some bottles aside and try the previous batches along with the new ones.

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Old 05-29-2011, 09:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
What are you planning to use for primary?

I would go with at least a full gallon of head space in the primary. Also read up about nutrient use, aeration, and other processes that mead making involves, that are not present in brewing.

I made two batches of traditional mead using regional wildflower honey. Color is excellent in bottles. A nice golden shade that just makes you want to drink it right there. At 18% it is sure to warm you from the inside out.

IMO, mead is a rather basic recipe. If you're going for a traditional type, then it's simply water, honey, yeast and time. You'll want to add nutrient and degass/aerate it until 1/3 of the sugars have been consumed. But once that's done, you really do just leave it alone. I would also recommend using Lalvin Labs wine yeast. I've used EC-1118 in my traditional meads, and D47 in my blackberry melomel (14% ABV) as well as my hard ginger ale.

Also, use honey that you like/love the flavor of by itself. Then pick a yeast that will treat it right, or as you would like. Also pick a yeast that has it's temperature range as one you'll be able to easily maintain it in.

I would also avoid heating the must above 100F at all costs. If a kit said to boil the must, or get it above 100-110F, I would ignore those instructions. As long as you have everything sanitized, you don't need to do that at all.

I would also suggest having an autosiphon for this. You'll probably end up racking the batch 3-5 times before it's finally ready for bottles. Once fermentation is complete, each racking helps to get off of the lees and make the product clearer. Another difference from brewing... Depending on how strong you plan to make the mead, don't plan on it being good to drink for at least 6-12 months. Higher ABV levels will need more time to become good drinking. Something at or below 14% should be good at 6-8 months. 18% or less, about a year. Above that, you could be looking at 18 months before it's really good. Of course, they'll all get even better as time goes on. Set some bottles aside and try the previous batches along with the new ones.
Ok, well Golddiggie is pretty much on the mark there. Here's a better link about Lalvin yeasts. Yes, a lot of them are only available in commercial packs, but if you check out morewine, you'll see that they must be repackaging some of the less frequently used ones.

My primary yeast is D21, with a back up of K1V-1116.

Also, remember that the data supplied is alluding to what the yeasts do with grape musts, so it's better to do a bit of reading up here, and/or at places like Gotmead to get an idea about good yeasts to use for meads. Don't just jump at the liquid yeast packs because they've got "mead" in the title, some of them are very finicky to use and can be a complete PITA.

K1V-1116 is considered by some to be the "swiss army knife" of yeasts. It certainly does good things to it, particularly once the mead is aged some.....
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