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Old 10-23-2012, 08:22 PM   #1
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Default Yeast Starter?

I'm a fairly new all grain beer brewer (long time extract brewer), but wanted to give mead a shot. I ordered a sweet mead kit from midwest supplies, and am wondering if I should do a yeast starter as I would when brewing higher alchohol beers? I'm using a Wyeast smack pack. Also, if I want to add fruit (pear in particular) is that something I should do in the primary or the secondary? Thanks for your help.

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Old 10-23-2012, 10:33 PM   #2
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Which Wyeast smack pack are you using? If it is the Wyeast sweet mead type then absolutly. Just follow the smak pack directions exactly and then add that into your starter and do that normally from there. Also for the recipe use double the yeast nutrients as suggested and go by the SNA plan (Stagard nutrient additions), in the sticky "Mead Making FAQs" at the top of the mead forum. Wyeast sweet mead is a commonly choosen yeast from beginners and is a very finiky nutrient hungry yeast that needs a lot of attention.

Pears can be added in primary or secondary. If used in primary you will get more of a wine like taste since wines rarely taste just like the fruit. In secondary you will get a "fruitier taste". Most seem to add some to primary and most of it to secondary to age on untill the mead is briliantly clear.

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Old 10-24-2012, 08:26 PM   #3
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I'm actually not sure what type of Wyeast it comes with. Midwest doesn't say. I assume it's the sweet mead type. I do have some nutrient on hand, and the kit says it comes with some, so hopefully that's enough. If not I'll have to stop at the LHBS. I'll definitely look at the sticky, thanks!

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Old 10-24-2012, 08:43 PM   #4
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I would add the fruit post fermentation. IME, you'll get more flavors from the fruit that way. How long it remains in there is up to you, and the fruit. I wouldn't let it go too long though (a few weeks or so).

Also, check out the forums on the Got Mead? site for more information about making mead. Including when to add nutrients, how much to add, when to aerate and degas, when to stop these items too. Making mead is FAR different than brewing beer.

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Old 10-24-2012, 09:19 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info. I do agree it seems much different than brewing beer. Only similarities seem to be the fact that there's water and yeast in both and both require fermenting. Besides that, don't see many other similarities yet.

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Old 10-24-2012, 09:25 PM   #6
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Don't forget that mead is very often much stronger than a beer. My initial batches of mead were 14% (blackberry melomel) and 18% (traditional). I have some 14% batches getting ready to be bottled (maple and traditional) along with the base for my Mocha Madness mkII, which is targeted to be 21%.

Last week I started a batch that I expect to reach about 16%. I'm looking at making another batch, hopefully this week, that will be aiming for 18%. I'm still thinking about trying to make a batch that will push WLP099 to the max (25%).

I don't like to chemically stabilize the batches, so I give them more time. A year or better is my benchmark. Gives them plenty of time to become very clear, AND for the yeast to not come back to life.

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
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K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
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