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Old 01-20-2013, 09:07 PM   #1
S2005
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Default Thinking about making mead! A couple questions.

So, I have been starting up a few batches of beer. I'm really excited. One is in the bottle, and the other is fermenting still.

I think mead would be a neat beverage to attempt next. I understand at the minimum, I can toss some yeast, 1 gallon of water, and 3 lbs of honey in a fermenter and a few months later have mead?

I'm sure there are more steps to it than this. I only want to make a small batch to start with.

Here are some things I've found around town locally. Let me know if any of it is usable.

**All Pictures are Clickable Thumbnails**

Here is the honey I already own a bunch of. My wife mixes it with tea, and coffee and cereal etc for allergies.



My local Home Depot had these 2 gallon plastic buckets with lids. They have little "2"s on them. That's food grade yes?



My walmart had both of these for sale as well. Both are "2" on the bottom, so food grade yes? The one on the left is 1.25 Gallons, while the one on the right is 1 gallon.

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Old 01-20-2013, 09:36 PM   #2
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Well in theory honey, water and yeast would add up to a show mead. Yet whereas beer musts and grape pulps have plenty of nutrients etc, all honey has is fermentable sugars.

So while show meads are feasible, a lot of people don't bother as they are invariably long, slow ferments, that finish very sweet - personally I find them a PITA.

With the addition of some nutrients etc, you can make a traditional type mead.

Of the pictures, yes, the honey would work, as would the plastic bucket, but once it's finished it's ferment, it ideally, needs to go into glass. I understand that they sell cheap wine in gallon or 4 litre jugs. One of those would work.

It's best if you read up on method/technique and probably use a tried and tested recipe for a first try.

If you have a read here, it answers pretty much most of the questions the new mead maker might have and the JAO recipe is in chapter 6, which while a bit unconventional in style/method, is a good, easy, repeatable recipe that provides a predictable result if followed as closely as possible.

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Old 01-21-2013, 12:59 AM   #3
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s2005, you might want to check Lowe's out rather than HD. Lowe's has some five gallon buckets labeled as food grade. The recycle emblems are denoting types of plastics, whether that means food grade or not I don't know. The buckets at Lowe's hold five gallons with about an inch of head space. They would be fine for fermentations from a gallong to around 3 or so gallons allowing you plenty of room for oxygenating/stirring vigorously, plenty of room for foam, and room to do more than a single gallon. Just a thought...

Follow fatbloke's suggestions on studying up a touch. Making mead is different from making beer....it is more like making wine.

Basic difference between a "show mead" and a "traditional mead" is that traditional meads have nutrients added to them to make the yeast nice and healthy and strong. The yeast in the show meads have to tough it on their own which can create off tastes and take a long time.

I'm a newbee and have a traditional that I started back on November 24, 2012 (Iron Bowl Mead). I tasted some that I had thieved for gravity testing Friday night and it was pretty doggone good...had a little edge to it, but for only being 3 months old I thought it was doing great! It tasted something akin to a strong white wine/champagne blend. I can only imagine what several more months of aging will do for it!

I also bottled some Joe's Ancient Orange Mead Friday night. It wasn't that great having some bitterness to it. I'll let those bottles age for a few months and revisit them.

Glass is definitely better than plastic for secondary and beyond. The problems with plastic is that it can let oxygen penetrate, can give off 'tastes", and is scratched easily. Glass doesn't have any of those problems but are somewhat difficult in adding/removing fruit from (narrow mouths) and can break (be careful!). Kegs are great, too. I'm using buckets, 1-gallon jugs, and 3-gallon carboys for now and hope to evenutally move to kegs. I've been looking for glass jugs in the grocery store that juice comes in...no luck in my area other than 1/2 gallon Martinelli juice jugs...no gallons. About the only thing I've seen has been wine jugs that near the gallon mark. My problem is that I don't drink very often and it'd take me a long time to empty a jug of wine. You might check some bars or restraunts and see if you can score a couple from them. I have heard that some healthfood stores carry juices in glass jugs...but we're out in the boonies and no healthfood stores nearby. Don't, from what I can tell, use containers that previously housed vinegar.

Your honey looks good...unfilterred, uncooked, product of USA.

Best wishes,
Ed

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Old 01-21-2013, 01:33 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies fellas!!! Really appreciate it!!!

I see South Alabama there, I'm down in the Eastern Shore area across from Mobile

I'll definitely study up on this. Glad my Honey is good stuff.

There aren't a lot of options for me either. Our state has goofy laws, and its not easy to find everything I want/need. I'm 45 minutes from the Wine Smith in Mobile, and about the same distance to Pensacola HB Stores.

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Old 01-21-2013, 02:57 AM   #5
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Gotcha on the location, nice area. I'm about 130 miles north of you. I've got a good old friend that I haven't seen in a while that lives over in Gold Hill. Live's in the old two story house the founder of Gold Hill built...look off the front upstairs porch and the sidewalk in the front yard forms a heart...pretty cool.

I know what you mean about local homebrew stores. Mine is probably 65 miles from me...I get most things by mail order.

Yelp, study up a bit and with a beer background you'll have some mead fermenting before you know it. The Joe's Ancient Orange Mead is supposed to be a "quick" mead drinkable in a few months (not saying how good it is at that age, though). There's also a quick grape recipe. I just started a variety of the quick grape yesterday.

A gallon jug (homebrew store oughta have them), a bucket and a lid (Lowes has lids with gaskets in them...kinda tough getting off and on but...), a stopper to fit the mouth of the jug and an air lock (I like the "S" type). You'll need to drill a hole in the lid a little bigger than the diameter of the stem on your air lock. They make a gromet to fit in the hole to make it seal...I simply cut a rough hole with a box cutter, took a dremel with a small sanding drum on it and made the hole the right size and smooth. When I started my JAOM I simply poked a tiny hole in a balloon and stretched it over the mouth of the jug...it worked till I could get a proper air lock...be sure and sanitize the balloon inside and out.

The big thing is to sanitize everything....just like in beer making, I suppose.

Ed

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Old 01-21-2013, 03:30 AM   #6
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Thanks Ed!

I think I'll stick to the 1 gallon batches. Not 100% sure I'll like Mead yet. I'm not a big wine fan, and I like bitter and hoppy beers...

Mostly making it just to see how it goes, and see if anyone likes it

I'm brewing lots of different things just to experiment, and see who likes what in my friend/family circles.

Doing it to make me happy, as well as others

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Old 01-21-2013, 03:54 AM   #7
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If your just looking to do a gallon I suggest looking at the store for any beverage in a gallon glass jug. I used to buy one of the cheap robust reds in the gallon jug to make roasts and cook with.

Take a look at JAOM its simple easy and makes a halfway decent product. Alot of us even like to fiddle with that brew every now and again.

I recently {a year or so now] have been toying with braggots.. now thats a world I like living in. My most recent was a stronger wildflower honey [partailly burnt] with light dme and centennial hops. Dosnt sound appealing but it was fantastic.

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