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Old 06-17-2012, 08:53 AM   #1
billyda59
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Default Simplest possible (crude) metheglin recipe

Hey everyone. I made mead, once, a long time ago but I don't really remember what all was in it anymore. I definitely know I didn't use any fancy brewing ingredients like yeast energizer and such.

I'm currently planning to make a ~4.5 gallon batch of metheglin in a 5 gallon bucket. Here's my planned recipe so far. I'm really hoping everyone here will help me hammer out details, especially the measurements for the ingredients.

~Ingredients~
Cheapo honey from Winco
Pumpkin pie spice
Bread yeast
Water


So how much of each ingredient do I need? Do I REALLY need something else in there as a nutrient? I want to keep this as simple as possible. I don't expect my mead to win any awards.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 06-17-2012, 12:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyda59 View Post
Hey everyone. I made mead, once, a long time ago but I don't really remember what all was in it anymore. I definitely know I didn't use any fancy brewing ingredients like yeast energizer and such.

I'm currently planning to make a ~4.5 gallon batch of metheglin in a 5 gallon bucket. Here's my planned recipe so far. I'm really hoping everyone here will help me hammer out details, especially the measurements for the ingredients.

~Ingredients~
Cheapo honey from Winco
Pumpkin pie spice
Bread yeast
Water


So how much of each ingredient do I need? Do I REALLY need something else in there as a nutrient? I want to keep this as simple as possible. I don't expect my mead to win any awards.

Thanks in advance.
The honey will depend on the sugar content, so practically speaking, you should think of about 3lb per gallon i.e. probably get enough for 5 gallons of mead, add it into the bucket for 4.5 gallons, make it up to the Target volume with water, the take a gravity reading (yes, you'll need a hydrometer). I'd suggest that you aim for between 1.100 and 1.110.

You will need some yeast nutrient - I'd say fermaidk, fermax or similar.

With the spices, I'd suggest that you use whole spices, not ground spices, and just make it as a traditional brew, then add the spices to secondary. It's usually best to add spices to the minimum amount you can get away with. Let it steep for a couple of weeks then taste it. You can always add more, but if you added too much you could easily make it undrinkable.
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Old 06-18-2012, 12:53 AM   #3
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Okay, so about how much nutrient would I need for a 4.5 gallon (17 liter) batch? A description I'm reading on the Fermax says use 1 teaspoon per gallon, but I figure it probably depends on what I'm brewing.

Also, would you recommend I use something other than bread yeast, even if I am just going for a crude mead? Can yeast really make a distinguishable difference to an untrained palette?

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Old 06-18-2012, 01:19 AM   #4
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Okay, so about how much nutrient would I need for a 4.5 gallon (17 liter) batch? A description I'm reading on the Fermax says use 1 teaspoon per gallon, but I figure it probably depends on what I'm brewing.

Also, would you recommend I use something other than bread yeast, even if I am just going for a crude mead? Can yeast really make a distinguishable difference to an untrained palette?
there are ways to calculate the actual nutrient requirement but the package instructions will get you pretty far.

To answer your second question, YES, yeast makes a huge difference. You will do much better with a reliable wine yeast than bread yeast. Yes I know JAOM (Joe's Ancient Orange Mead) shines with just bread yeast, but that mead is a little unusual. I really like 71B as a dry yeast for mead...
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Old 06-18-2012, 02:12 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by billyda59
Also, would you recommend I use something other than bread yeast, even if I am just going for a crude mead? Can yeast really make a distinguishable difference to an untrained palette?
I agree with biochem completely, bread yeast does work for JAOM but it has crappy flocculation, kind of a pain to work with and to me leaves things syrupy sweet.

Wine yeast only costs around $1 a pack, I like 3 for a 5 gallon batch. Im a huge fan of Lalvin strains, they works well, consistant, and have a selection that allows you to choose one that will give you the end product (dry, semi-sweet or sweet) that you want. Just a couple notes if you go that way, the 1118 is a monster, will take most anything dry and really seems best suited to fix a stuck ferment more than being a primary yeast and the D47 is a nice yeast it keeps things medium sweet and leaves a nice mouth feel but it is finicky about temperature, you'll need to keep your must somewhere under 69*F.
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:29 PM   #6
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Thank you so much for all the good information, everybody. I really appreciate it. I think for my yeast I'll just end up using the "monster" Lalvin 1118. That way I figure I'll get the quickest results and a dryer product.

Also, the note about keeping my must under 69*F confuses me! I have a Canadian friend who makes his own whiskey and he sticks a fish tank heater in his fermentation vessels to keep the temperature 75*F+. I'm fairly certain higher temperature cause the yeast to work better, and harder. Can anyone explain why its different with mead and wines?

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Old 06-18-2012, 02:36 PM   #7
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Not all yeast strains act the same, they all have a temperature range that best suits them, Lalvin D47 especially is one that if it is kept at 70*F or above will produce a lot of fusel alcohols. The fusel flavor isn't pleasant, tasting hot solvent like rocket fuelish, has an oily consistency, and will take a very long time to age out and sometimes never does. In whiskey it is actually part of the flavor profile, but even then most of it is concentrated in the end or the "tails" of distillation which is collected seperately so not to overwhelm the batch. Since the fusels are produced when fermentation occurs at higher temperatures, one way to prevent that crappy tasting alcohol from ending up in your mead is to keep it below the 70* mark.

Better alternatives than turning up the heat on the yeast to get the most efficient production are:
Proper pitch rate
Rehydration
Good initial oxygenation
Maintaining optimal temp. range that the strain likes
Staggered nutrients (during first 1/3 of fermentation)
Aeration/Degassing (during first 1/3 of fermentation)

Sounds like a lot but the first three are all done when mixing the must and take little time and effort and the last two can be done at the same time.

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. I think for my yeast I'll just end up using the "monster" Lalvin 1118. That way I figure I'll get the quickest results and a dryer product.
Choose whichever yeast you like but if you ask around you'll probably find most people prefer the 1116 over 1118 for initial ferment, both will give you a dry end product with 18% abv potential. The 1116 has a wider temperature range giving a little more leeway for fluctuations, it is a moderately fast instead of very fast fermenter which will help retain more of the honeys character flavor and aroma. It works great in lower nutrient situations which makes it very good for mead. 1118 is like the special ops soldier of the wine yeast world, it thrives in a situation where another yeast has sputtered out without finishing the job, It goes in eats through and burns off everything including alot of flavor and aroma components when it restarts a stuck ferment.
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:54 AM   #8
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Okay, so you've convinced me that Lalvin 1116 would be a bit better, even if it means a slightly longer wait.

Now my planned recipe is as follows.

-14 lbs of honey
-1 teaspoon of Lalvin 1116 yeast
-5 teaspoons of Fermax yeast nutrient
-Fill the container up to roughly 4.5 gallons of warm (~95*F) water

Stir everything well.

Seal the container and add the airlock on top.

Wait for the bubbles to stop.

Should take about 3 months to ferment I'm guessing. Any better estimates would be appreciated.

Does this recipe sound about right? I know I was told to stagger the nutrients but just mixing everything at the beginning is easier (I like easy :P) and I think it should still ferment reasonably well that way. Please do correct me if I'm wrong.

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Old 06-19-2012, 04:26 AM   #9
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Add some whole raisins, they REDUCE the need need to add additional nutrients in mid stages. Other than that just be sure to rack at 1/2 to 1 inch lees so they don't effect flavor. Btw 1116 isn't slow by any means, probably only a weeks maybe two difference from 1118, for a much better flavor.

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Old 06-19-2012, 11:32 PM   #10
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Wait for the bubbles to stop.

Should take about 3 months to ferment I'm guessing. Any better estimates would be appreciated.
Don't rely on the bubbles, the airlock is really only a two way valve, use your hydrometer to determine when the ferment is done. 1116 will ferment out a lot faster than you're expecting.
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