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Old 09-27-2012, 02:09 AM   #1
Kmcogar
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Default Starter for mead help

A friend gave me 12 pounds of honey. I planned on 5 gallons of mead but I'm not sure 12 lbs is
Enough. So I ordered some stuff to make mead off of eBay.

How should I make the starter? I have dry yeast packets and nutrients and energizer.

Recipes and help is appreciated.
Ingredients:

12 lbs of honey
Energizer
Water
2 packets o yeast
Nutri

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Old 09-27-2012, 02:23 AM   #2
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Here is the recipe I use for a starter and it works great!

2 cups warm water
1/2 cup of honey
1/4 tsp of yeast nutrients
10 fine chopped up raisins

Stir up real good and sprinkle yeast on top. Do no stir yeast into mix. Cover with paper towel and rubberband it there. Wait 8 hours lightly swirling every so often after the first couple hours.

Hope that helps.

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Old 09-27-2012, 12:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arpolis
Here is the recipe I use for a starter and it works great!

2 cups warm water
1/2 cup of honey
1/4 tsp of yeast nutrients
10 fine chopped up raisins

Stir up real good and sprinkle yeast on top. Do no stir yeast into mix. Cover with paper towel and rubberband it there. Wait 8 hours lightly swirling every so often after the first couple hours.

Hope that helps.
I have a stir plate. Should I use that? That way the yeast can sit while I'm at work.

Do I use 1 yeast packet or 2?

When do I add the yeast energizer?
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:41 PM   #4
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What brand/kind of yeast did you get? The little dry packets usually say they're good up to 5 gallons, though I've used them in 6.5g batches without doing a starter and they work fine. With high gravity brews you might want to use extra since some of the yeasts have trouble getting going if there is a lot of sugar in the must. With a starter I'm assuming the yeast get to start multiplying a bit before going into the must.

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Old 09-27-2012, 02:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by porcupine73
What brand/kind of yeast did you get? The little dry packets usually say they're good up to 5 gallons, though I've used them in 6.5g batches without doing a starter and they work fine. With high gravity brews you might want to use extra since some of the yeasts have trouble getting going if there is a lot of sugar in the must. With a starter I'm assuming the yeast get to start multiplying a bit before going into the must.
I got Alvin 71B-1122 ( http://www.lalvinyeast.com/71B.asp )

Is 12 lbs of honey enough for 5 gallons?
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:00 PM   #6
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Oh ok, it says up to 14% alcohol tolerance. Usually I figure you get about 5% abv per pound of sweetener per gallon, though with honey it can vary a bit. So using those rough numbers 12 lbs honey to 5 gallons of water is 2.4 lb/gal which very roughly might give around 12% abv. Though the honey will take up some of the volume of the 5 gallons so it will be less than five gallons of water. So it may ferment to dryness, but if you like it sweet I believe you can stabilize it after the ferment is done and then backsweeten to taste.

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Old 09-27-2012, 04:47 PM   #7
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Do you think it would be better if I got 3 more pounds? I would like it to be a sweet mead. Well not too sweet but sweet enough for my wife.

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Old 09-27-2012, 04:56 PM   #8
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Possibly. What I hear others mention is that it can get a stronger 'alcohol' taste the higher the % abv. But if you want it sweet, I think the options are yes put in more sweetener so that the yeasts can't tolerate the alcohol level before eating all the sugar. And/or after it finishes fermenting, taste it, and if it is not sweet enough, stabilize it (I assume when people say that they are killing the yeasts somehow), then 'backsweeten', meaning add enough sweetener to make it taste the way you want.

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Old 09-27-2012, 05:03 PM   #9
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Or just my amount to 4 gallons? Is headspace an issue with mead?

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Old 09-27-2012, 10:49 PM   #10
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Head space is not an issue at first with the primary fermentation but can be an issue after the main fermentation and oxygen gets a chance to sit on the mead. Personally I say go with the 12 lb with water topped up on the 5 gallon Carboy. It is very easy to back sweeten mead and it has many benefits.

Once fermentation is done and the mead is super clear to te point you can read a newspaper through it, add in Camden tablets crushed up at 1 per gallon and potassium sorbate per package directions. I think it is like 1tsp per gallon but don't quote that. Then add in honey to taste. For a semi sweet mead you may only need to add in 1.5 - 2 lb of honey.

Benefits:

1) The sulfites act as an anti oxidant and help with aging the mead for long periods of time as well as making sure you have no further fermentation or infections while aging.

2) adding honey after fermentation will add back lost delicate honey flavors from the fermentation process.

3) less ABV means less aging needed for the drink to be drinkable. Around 12% ABV is as much as I would go personally for a casual drink that you may want often.

Technically 1 5g package of Lalvin yeast rehydrated per the instructions on the package will start in a mead must just fine. I still like using starters because it reduces lag time. Keeps the yeast from being too stressed in a higher gravity must which helps reduce any off flavors. If you can do a starter without too much hassle I suggest that.

If you take gravity readings with a hydrometer then you can add energizer once 1/3 of the fermentation is complete. Or you can split it up and add smaller amounts every 12 - 24 hours until 1/3 of the fermentation is complete.

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