Well in the last week and a half I've created my first two batches of mead. For my first batch I made a traditional mead with 17 pounds of orange blossom honey. I did not heat the honey at all. The starting gravity of this batch was 1.112. I added 1 teaspoon of Fermaid K and dropped in my airstone hooked up to a walmart aquarium pump and aerated for about 20 minutes and then pitched Montrachet yeast. I saw bubbles in the airlock within 5 hours and been fermenting along nicely for the past week at 68 degrees. Of course, while I was racking it out of my brew pot into the carboy, the hose slipped out and sprayed sticky honey water all over the hardwood floor, which was a joy to clean up. I didn't even bother to check the ph, since I figured mead has been around forever without having its ph messed with.
17 lbs orange blossom honey
20g Montrachet yeast
1 tsp Fermaid K
Aerated for 20 minutes
For my second batch, I made a bochet mead similar to the recipe that BargainFittings posted. I boiled 18 pounds of blackberry honey for 130 minutes (with a loooooooong spoon) until the honey was a dark reddish brown color. I added cool spring water and came out with exactly 5 gallons, and added the 1.5 lbs of orange blossom honey. I think this will bring back a little of the aromatics lost in the boil and perhaps give a little more complexity to the finished mead. After that I had a starting gravity of 1.136 and added my yeast nutrient.
As I was racking this into my carboy, once again my siphon tube leaped out of my carboy and sprayed burnt honey water mixture on me, the floor, the oven, the white cabinets as I scrambled to put the hose back in. I think I did fairly well though, since I only lost about a cups worth of must, though I think I'm doing a number on this hardwood floor. Even after I think I got it all cleaned up, I'll step in the wrong spot in the kitchen and hear that velcro like sound of my shoe unsticking from the floor. lol After all that, I hit the must with my airstone for 20 minutes and pitched the yeast. I went ahead and pitched the whole 40g per the recipe, but I'm thinking that's a wee bit overkill for a 5 gallon batch. Anyway, I came down 6 hours later to go to work and the airlock was already bubbling away.
A funny thing I noticed though, is it's sitting right next to my other carboy which is holding at 68 degrees, and the bochet is at 70. I guess the EC-1118 is putting off a bit more heat than the Montrachet, so I may wrap a wet towel around it or something for the time being.
19.5 lbs of honey
(18 lbs of blackberry honey - caramelized)
(1.5 lbs orange blossum honey - raw, added after the must cooled)
40g EC-1118 yeast
2 tsp Fermaid K
Aerated for 20 minutes
Here's a compilation of pictures I took of the honey throughout the boil. My house still smells like caramelized honey. lol
I stole this idea from machinelf. lol It looks like a painters palate.
Aerating the must. (After my spill)
Both of my meads fermenting away on some barstools.