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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Thinking of my first mead... could use some advice...i know nothing...
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:10 PM   #1
basilchef
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Default Thinking of my first mead... could use some advice...i know nothing...

Again, dont know much about mead. what i do know is it takes much longer then beer to make. That being said when i make my first mead i dont want to make just a simple honey water nutrient/energizer and yeast mead. i want something with character. I was hoping to get a sparkling dry mead if poss. i also want some flavor but ill have look more into that. bunch of questions to answer as many as you would like: i dont really want to put the mead into my ferm chamber so what is a good yeast to use at higher temps? What is the typical process like? when do you bottle? how many bottles will i yield from a gallon of mead? i figure if i brew this soon it will be ready in dec or jan. what would be a good winter mead? thanks to all who post -cheers

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Old 06-28-2012, 11:24 PM   #2
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Look in the recipe section just below this section and the mead recipe's are in there. Also read the sticky's for a ton of info as well. I started with the JAOM recipe and it came out nice after 10 weeks. Here's a link http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f80/joes...ge-mead-49106/

You will enjoy this one. Stick it in a closet or basement and leave it alone until it clears then bottle and enjoy. I would start with more than a gallon batch though if you can. Once the yeast and everything else settles you would only get a couple bottles out of it.

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Old 06-28-2012, 11:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bigbeavk View Post
Look in the recipe section just below this section and the mead recipe's are in there. Also read the sticky's for a ton of info as well. I started with the JAOM recipe and it came out nice after 10 weeks. Here's a link http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f80/joes...ge-mead-49106/

You will enjoy this one. Stick it in a closet or basement and leave it alone until it clears then bottle and enjoy. I would start with more than a gallon batch though if you can. Once the yeast and everything else settles you would only get a couple bottles out of it.

i see everybody brew the JAOM. i guess it is a must brew. can you drink it right after bottling? and do the same rules apply to mead that apply to beer in the essence it has to be a glass/better bottle carboy to avoid oxidation? the reason i was going to make a gallon is the fact i have a gallon carboy just sitting around and brew beer A LOT so i dont want to give up my carboy for the mead. also i have never had mead just wanted to try it. do they sell it liquor stores?
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:17 AM   #4
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i see everybody brew the JAOM. i guess it is a must brew. can you drink it right after bottling? and do the same rules apply to mead that apply to beer in the essence it has to be a glass/better bottle carboy to avoid oxidation? the reason i was going to make a gallon is the fact i have a gallon carboy just sitting around and brew beer A LOT so i dont want to give up my carboy for the mead. also i have never had mead just wanted to try it. do they sell it liquor stores?
It's not a "must brew" recipe, more of a case that its the easiest one to make as it just follow the recipe as per the instructions, use the method as suggested and you can pretty much get all the ingredients from the grocery store.

So you can make a brew with almost guaranteed success, without committing lots of money and equipment, if you're not sure.....

Is it drinkable once bottled ? Joes recipe says yes, I say no. The longer you can leave it ageing the better it gets. Aged for minimum of 6 months and its like drinking a different brew compared to what its like when first bottled.........
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:45 AM   #5
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That being said when i make my first mead i dont want to make just a simple honey water nutrient/energizer and yeast mead.
Yes you do.
JAOM or another base mead.
You can always add coffee nutmeg mangos and tomatos later, but learn the process, what mead taste like, how it ferments, ages, everything in the process, then get creative and you'll actually know how those additions alter a mead.

good high temp wine yeasts, d-47, 1118, 1116
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:25 AM   #6
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-----%<-----
good high temp wine yeasts, d-47, 1118, 1116
D47 ? Good high temp ? You're avin a laugh son.......

D21, yes, but you brew meads with D47 above 70F and you're gonna end up with a batch of fusel alcohol !

A search for the Lallemand/Lalvin yeast list will give you all the details (no mention of the fusel issue of course).
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:19 PM   #7
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They do sell it in liquor stores but not a lot of the commercial ones are very good, chaucers for example to me tastes like as$, B Nektar meadery has a limited run heading your direction, they have an amazing reputation for great product but I haven't tasted it yet myself.

Starting with a one gallon batches is a good place to begin.

A traditional mead can be amazing and have a lot of depth, flavor and character if you find a decent honey, not the cheap grocery store clover or as we have here "golden honey" which isn't specific of it's variety and really doesn't have much flavor.

Your blurb on the left says you're from Mass? finding some cranberry honey shouldn't be too difficult, I've been told by a bunch of people how amazing it is there. Make yourself a batch of traditional with it to get the processes of mixing the must, yeast rehydration, aeration, and staggered nutrients down, simple yet important techniques to produce a great mead. you can even kick it up a little by adding some vanilla beans into secondary. A simple clean mead is a great place to start because it gives you the basis of what mead is, how it acts and how it tastes, then from there you can let the mad scientist skills out and the journey is endless.

Most yeasts that have a little higher temperature tolerance (above 69*F) without producing a ton of fusels, are going to also have higher alcohol tolerance, but since you are looking for something on the dryer side that will work ok, Lalvin K1V-1116 would be a decent strain to start with. For sparkling dry, after using a yeast like that you may even have to prime with a little additional honey at the end as they tend to devour all sugars available. Now with all that said there is the downside of using a yeast like that. during primary they also blow alot of flavor/aroma characters of what they are fermenting out through the airlock, not all, not like cooking your honey will do (avoid heat please) but you will lose some.

As far as a JAOM, it's not a must make, it's not a required first mead, It's not a base mead, It's an I got lucky and worked out a cheap I don't gotta do much work recipe mead. The combination of ingredients and method really only works with that recipe. Eventually you will hear everyone talk about it and be curious and want to throw together a 1 gallon batch, nothing wrong with that, go to walmart, grab the cheapest version of everything you can, pour it in a gallon jug, shake the sh!t out of it, dump bread yeast in it dry then set it someplace dark and forget it exists for a few months. it will produce a syrupy sweet mead, which balances the bitterness of the orange pith, one without the other and no one would want to drink the stuff. Something that it does have going for it is the color, it is a pretty mead. But you will be able to say you made it, I think it was probably the 8th or 9th mead I tried just because, plus people asking questions, it's tough to give good information until you've made something yourself. I personally am not a fan of real sweet meads, I like semi sweet to dry, so I used the JAOM as a mixer, 3 parts ginger ale with 1 part JAOM was actually real good. I may put together another batch simply for that reason, maybe use it in other types of cocktails even.

About bottling...when fermentation is complete and it is 100% crystal clear, like can hold a newspaper up to the other side of the carboy and read through it clear, thats when you can bottle, not when you have to though, you can bulk age it instead of bottle condition if you choose, and you will get approx 4 750ml bottles from a gallon.

Mead likes oxygen in the begining, not just the initial addition like with most beers but for the first third of fermentation, daily or even a couple times a day a good shake/stir/swirl lets the disolved CO2 out and lets a little more O2 in, makes the yeast happy.

For winter, a metheglin (mead made with herbs/spices) something with warm spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove is good, I've been thinking a roasted pumpkin recipe would be good. If you search you can find recipes about fall meads with pumpkin puree and such in it I just am thinking dicing, seasoning and roasting the pumpkin could give it richer, deeper flavor. Or making a spiced cyser (using apple juice instead of water) like a spiced apple cider mead would also be tasty for the colder north east months. Also a combo mead partial bochet (mead that you boil the honey to a desired level of caramelization, the only time adding heat to honey is actually a good thing), seasoning and roasting some sweet potatoes or yams and caramelizing half of the honey until it is mid to dark color to get the marshmallow flavors from it to make a candied yam type mix.

As I said, once you get the basics down of how to make a traditional mead...the possibilities are endless

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Old 06-29-2012, 02:09 PM   #8
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I have never brewed a JAOM. My process was to get what is known by many as the mead making bible. "The guide to Complet Mead Making" by Ken Schram. It is a very good book and only a few tweaks to update it. for instance do not boil honey, it is not neccessary. You only need to bring the honey up to a temp that it melts well and integrates with the water.

My suggestion, Follow the Sticky here, get that book, read the sticky for beginers at the site of Gotmead.com/forum.

Do your first batch as a basic mead, maybe one fruit or one spice. Vanilla is good. A single fruit is good too. Just do a simple batch of honey with only one more element. Expect it to age 6 months to a year AFTER it has cleared so you can read through it.

A good high temp yeast is Lavin 71B. It goes to like 82 degrees. The trick with this yeast though is to not leave it on the lees for very long. Once the primary fermentation has slowed down signifigantly and it has 1/4 inch or more of sediment then rack it. D47 as mentioned earlier only goes to about 70 before it starts producing some nasty side effects. I would recomend that if your ferment area goes over 68 then go with 71B. It is a strong yeast.

Much like beer the one thing that I have found to be of primary importance is to sanitize your equipment prior to use. Oh and if you go with a fruit then I would not suggest "Sanitizing" or "Pasturizing" the fruit. Just put the fruit in the secondary and it is not needed because in the secondary the ABV% should be close to 10% so it should kill any non-visible spoilage organizms.

Come up with a recipie and post it and we can suggest changes. Or just go for it. I also have never done a 1 gal recipie. I have only done 5-6 and have only had a problem with one mead not turning out. A watermellon that the melon went bad in the fridge prior to my using it. I didn't know and Watermellon is hard anyway as there is not much flavor and it is a delicate flavor to work with.

Hope it goes well.
Matrix

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Old 06-29-2012, 04:17 PM   #9
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they do sell it in liquor stores but not a lot of the commercial ones are very good, chaucers for example to me tastes like as$, b nektar meadery has a limited run heading your direction, they have an amazing reputation for great product but i haven't tasted it yet myself.

Starting with a one gallon batches is a good place to begin.

A traditional mead can be amazing and have a lot of depth, flavor and character if you find a decent honey, not the cheap grocery store clover or as we have here "golden honey" which isn't specific of it's variety and really doesn't have much flavor.

Your blurb on the left says you're from mass? Finding some cranberry honey shouldn't be too difficult, i've been told by a bunch of people how amazing it is there. Make yourself a batch of traditional with it to get the processes of mixing the must, yeast rehydration, aeration, and staggered nutrients down, simple yet important techniques to produce a great mead. You can even kick it up a little by adding some vanilla beans into secondary. A simple clean mead is a great place to start because it gives you the basis of what mead is, how it acts and how it tastes, then from there you can let the mad scientist skills out and the journey is endless.

Most yeasts that have a little higher temperature tolerance (above 69*f) without producing a ton of fusels, are going to also have higher alcohol tolerance, but since you are looking for something on the dryer side that will work ok, lalvin k1v-1116 would be a decent strain to start with. For sparkling dry, after using a yeast like that you may even have to prime with a little additional honey at the end as they tend to devour all sugars available. Now with all that said there is the downside of using a yeast like that. During primary they also blow alot of flavor/aroma characters of what they are fermenting out through the airlock, not all, not like cooking your honey will do (avoid heat please) but you will lose some.

As far as a jaom, it's not a must make, it's not a required first mead, it's not a base mead, it's an i got lucky and worked out a cheap i don't gotta do much work recipe mead. The combination of ingredients and method really only works with that recipe. Eventually you will hear everyone talk about it and be curious and want to throw together a 1 gallon batch, nothing wrong with that, go to walmart, grab the cheapest version of everything you can, pour it in a gallon jug, shake the sh!t out of it, dump bread yeast in it dry then set it someplace dark and forget it exists for a few months. It will produce a syrupy sweet mead, which balances the bitterness of the orange pith, one without the other and no one would want to drink the stuff. Something that it does have going for it is the color, it is a pretty mead. But you will be able to say you made it, i think it was probably the 8th or 9th mead i tried just because, plus people asking questions, it's tough to give good information until you've made something yourself. I personally am not a fan of real sweet meads, i like semi sweet to dry, so i used the jaom as a mixer, 3 parts ginger ale with 1 part jaom was actually real good. I may put together another batch simply for that reason, maybe use it in other types of cocktails even.

About bottling...when fermentation is complete and it is 100% crystal clear, like can hold a newspaper up to the other side of the carboy and read through it clear, thats when you can bottle, not when you have to though, you can bulk age it instead of bottle condition if you choose, and you will get approx 4 750ml bottles from a gallon.

Mead likes oxygen in the begining, not just the initial addition like with most beers but for the first third of fermentation, daily or even a couple times a day a good shake/stir/swirl lets the disolved co2 out and lets a little more o2 in, makes the yeast happy.

For winter, a metheglin (mead made with herbs/spices) something with warm spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove is good, i've been thinking a roasted pumpkin recipe would be good. If you search you can find recipes about fall meads with pumpkin puree and such in it i just am thinking dicing, seasoning and roasting the pumpkin could give it richer, deeper flavor. Or making a spiced cyser (using apple juice instead of water) like a spiced apple cider mead would also be tasty for the colder north east months. Also a combo mead partial bochet (mead that you boil the honey to a desired level of caramelization, the only time adding heat to honey is actually a good thing), seasoning and roasting some sweet potatoes or yams and caramelizing half of the honey until it is mid to dark color to get the marshmallow flavors from it to make a candied yam type mix.

As i said, once you get the basics down of how to make a traditional mead...the possibilities are endless
great answer!
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:10 AM   #10
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"It will produce a syrupy sweet mead, which balances the bitterness of the orange pith, one without the other and no one would want to drink the stuff."

I used an organic bread yeast from the store by my house. I only used the zest and fruit with no white pith in my batch. It came out at 1.008 which is not extremely sweet and was really good right at bottling. I am storing a case and a half to age so I can see how it changes from month to month. So you can change a few things after reading about it and have a decent tasting mead at 10 weeks also confirmed by quite a few friends. Though I can't wait to age it a while and keep testing it to note the changes. You are on the right track by reading and asking for advice before starting.

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