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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Sticky: Mead Making FAQs
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Old 10-05-2008, 09:13 PM   #1
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Default Sticky: Mead Making FAQs

For the benefit of those who may not know me, my name is "Hightest". My mead-making background goes back over two decades. Some of you may have seen my screen name on brewing forums such as: The Brewboard, WinePress, Got Mead, Northern Brewer, and More Beer. I was a mead forum moderator for over four years, organizing and managing several online group brews, and answering many brewing related questions.

During those moderating days, I found forum members often asked common questions. When I realized how many times I answered these questions, I prepared some FAQs to save me a bunch of keystrokes. The following topics will link you to these FAQs (With the exception of the speadsheet (XLS), all are in PDF format):

Basics
What is Mead?
Honey Fermentation Concerns
Making A Basic Mead
Rehydrating Dry Yeast
Staggered Nutrient Additions
Maple Syrup, Facts & Grades

Additives
Yeast Nutrients, Energizers, etc.
Urea Based Nutrients
Fining: What, When, & Why
Sparkolloid Fining
Bentonite
Adding Potassium Carbonate
Potassium Sorbate

Tools
Calculate Your Mead's OG
Mead Calculator Spreadsheet (8/04/09)
Refractometer How to (2/18/09)
I Need Help...! (11/24/08)

Advanced Concepts
Restarting A Stuck Fermentation
Servomyces - Good for Mead?
Autolysis - Is it really bad?
pH Probe Use & Care
Brewing Additive Shelf Lives
Malolactic Fermentation (MLF)
The ABW vs. ABV Relationship (11/11/08)

Fermentation Charts (12/31/08)
2005 Fall’s Bounty Cyser
2006 Apple Butter Cyser
2006 Riesling Pyment Comparison to Estimate (01/01/09)
2006 Riesling Pyment (Group Brew)
2007 Traditional Mead
Raw Chart Data (12/03/09)


If you have any questions, please start a new topic concerning your question in the mead forum so that others may also learn from the resulting discussion. I only ask that you be patient for my reply as I'm finding that I'm not able to spend as much time online as in the past...

Perhaps others can add other mead-related FAQ links to this topic as well...

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Old 10-25-2008, 02:16 PM   #2
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Notice to Mead Calculator Spreadsheet users

This spreadsheet was created using Excel 2003 (XLS). I recently found out that there is a compatibility issue using Excel 2007 with XLS type files. However, there is a way in which you should be able to use the Mead Calculator Spreadsheet.

Microsoft has a Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack that is designed to allow Office 2007 users to work with earlier office files. I hope this "fix" works for you.
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Old 01-31-2009, 02:03 PM   #3
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Posted Rev. 10 to the Mead Calculator spreadsheet - Adds a 2nd NAS table that calculates the additions in decimal teaspoons (for those who may not have a digital scale).

Also unlocked a cell that was inadvertently locked. As no one mentioned this as a problem up to this point, I guess it wasn't interferring with the spreadsheet's use...

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Old 02-19-2009, 04:42 AM   #4
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Added Refractometer FAQ.

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Old 02-19-2009, 06:29 AM   #5
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as to your K2CO3 addition, have you ever considered using KOH instead. It's a lot more effective at lowering the pH. Done in staggered additions with the rest of the nutrients, it keeps the pH down, and still adds potassium. We got a mead to ferment out from 1.150 to 1.006 in 6 days like this. It was still cloudy, but not fusel hot or anything.

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Old 02-19-2009, 12:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z987k View Post
as to your K2CO3 addition, have you ever considered using KOH instead...
Yes, KOH is a viable option, but I tend not to suggest it to the general public because of its potential caustic nature.

Although I realize only a 10% solution would be needed, it is typically not as available as the K2CO3 & KHCO3. As such, the stock solution would have to be prepared from a more concentrated form of KOH - therein lies my concern, and the reason why I do not promote its use.

However, I am interested in understanding the basis for your comment that KOH is "more effective at lowering the pH". If you'd like, I'd like to pursue the subject in a new forum topic rather than in this one.
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Old 07-03-2009, 11:51 PM   #7
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Recently I have been given what I consider to be an honor and a recognition of my mead expertise as my mead FAQs are now included as reference reading in the 2009 BJCP Mead Exam Study Guide.

I would like to thank both Oskaar (Pete Bakulic) and Gordon Strong for this privilege. Somehow I also feel wayneb may have also played a part...

Thank you all!

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Old 08-05-2009, 08:22 PM   #8
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Posted Rev. 11 to the Mead Calculator spreadsheet. Revised it to include the capability for two types of juices (SG & volume data entry) and unlocked the Cider SG cell so that the actual SG (if known) may be used.

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Old 04-04-2010, 03:21 PM   #9
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I'd like to add some things:

Here are some things it took me 6 months to learn, hopefully it will help other noobs like myself.

1: Adding fruit doesn't make it tastier, easier, or quicker. It makes it more complicated with more chances of failure and off-flavors.

2: Honey is naturally antiseptic. Don't boil it.

3: "Quick-Mead" recipes are fantasy. It will take a very long time to finish. Buy another carboy for mead, because "I need the carboy for another project" isn't a legitimate excuse for trying to rush your mead.

4: Because of the higher Starting Gravity, it won't be done in a week or two, or six or eight. You really must use a hydrometer to see when it's done, often the yeast will slow down to where you can't tell there's active fermentation, but will still make bottles explode. The only time you don't need a hydrometer is if you plan on aging it in a carboy with an airlock for a year.

5: Cold-Crashing doesn't always work. Even Freezing it, then thawing it out, doesn't always work. Yeast have been around for a billion years, a little chill isn't necessarily enough to stop it.

6: Stabilizers don't always work.

7: Nutrients exist for a reason. If you don't use them, you'll have problems. Sure, ancient people didn't use them, but they also ate rancid meat for dinner and life expectancy was in the mid-30's.

8: Fleischmann's does not make your mead taste like bread. It's actually a pretty neutral-flavored yeast.

9: Grolsch-Bottles work fine.

10: Good aeration to start fermentation and during the first few days is absolutely critical or the yeast will poop out early and leave undesirable flavors.

11: Yes, you can scale down a recipe from 5 gallons to one gallon, and use the same amount of yeast.

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Old 09-06-2011, 07:25 PM   #10
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sorry to double post... but I still need to say a big THANKS!!!! to hightest...

I also thought this seemed like a pretty good intro resource:http://www.utahpagans.org/MeadLecture.htm

sorry if it's been posted... I haven't read the whole thread yet!

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