First Time Brewer, some advice please.

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Viking_Warrior

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Greetings all, I stumbled across these forums today while looking for methods of making my own mead and I have just a few questions.

1. There seem to be many different variations on how to make mead, some say bring the water to a boil while others just say to warm it for about 10-15 minuets. Which is the better method?

2. There are no brew shops within a reasonable distance of where I live and I am not sure where I might obtain a airlock. A friend of mine said that I could use a cheese cloth instead, would this work just as well? Also, would I be able to buy wine yeast in a grocery store?

Thanks for any help.
 

Clonefarmer

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1. There seem to be many different variations on how to make mead, some say bring the water to a boil while others just say to warm it for about 10-15 minuets. Which is the better method?

Haven't made a mead yet so can't help you there.

2. There are no brew shops within a reasonable distance of where I live and I am not sure where I might obtain a airlock. A friend of mine said that I could use a cheese cloth instead, would this work just as well? Also, would I be able to buy wine yeast in a grocery store?

Instead of an airlock you can use a piece of hose attached from the fermenter to a jar with water in it. Search blow off tube for instructions or pics.

As far as the wine yeast I have yet to see it in any grocery store.
 

Joker

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Most I have read to say bring to boil. Have you looked at the mead recipe section here? Mead - Home Brew Forums

There are a bunch of great online brew shops to chose from some advertise on here with great deals regularly.
 

LaurieGator

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Are you making mead for an SCA competition or just for your enjoyment? Some SCA competitions require you to boil your mead to replicate ancient recipes.

If you are not making it for SCA, then DO NOT boil your honey. You boil away some of the more subtle essences of the honey if you do this. I usually warm up the honey in some warm water in the sink then transfer it to my carboy with a couple of gallons of water. (if any honey remains, I use warm water to rinse it out and put it into the carboy) I use a lees stirrer to mix the honey in well then mix in the rest of the water and add yeast and nutrients. I do a stirring and yeast feeding schedule for the first week depending on the gravity readings. I transfer to a secondary vessel after a few weeks and transfer onto additional secondary fermentors every 2 - 3 months until it has cleared and is ready to bottle. Then I sample after a year, 18 months and 2 years to find out when the green taste has cleared.

I would invest the $1.59 in an airlock. Since it is in a carboy for such a long time it is not wise to keep it only covered in a cheesecloth. Any online store will have airlocks (morewine.com is a good supplier...)

As for yeast, you won't be able to find true wine or mead yeast in the grocery store. You can find Fleischmann's bread yeast, which is a great yeast for a quick mead recipe called Joe's Ancient Orange. This is a great mead to start with! It is pretty sweet, but usually ready in about 6 - 8 weeks. This mead is good if you can let it age for a while, but you may end up having a problem with "2 legged cellar rats" who deplete your stash!

Mead is fun to make, but takes an awful long time...
 

Nurmey

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Welcome to HBT!

We have a mead forum and several mead experts on this board to help with your questions. But since you are here...

I'm a non boiler of honey for my mead. Honey by its nature is antimicrobial so there is really no need to heat treat it.

Do you have yeast nutrient? It's kind of important because there is not enough nutrients in honey to keep the yeast healthy. I mention this because if you don't have any wine yeast I doubt you have nutrient. Both those and an airlock can be order online very easy. You really can't buy wine yeast at the grocery store, however, if you want to give Joe's Ancient Orange Mead a try it uses bread yeast. It's a pretty famous mead (at least in cyber space) but it isn't exactly like show mead.

You can open ferment (with cheese cloth) or use aluminum foil or plastic wrap with some pin holes poked in to allow CO2 to escape or as mentioned above use a blow off tube. Personally, I would just order up an airlock.
 

llazy_llama

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I'm not a mead guy, but I can bring my beer experience to bear on your airlock question.

Sanitize a piece of tinfoil, then place that over the opening of your carboy. That's all you need. The bacteria can't walk, climb, lift, or otherwise move on their own... they can only ride wind currents. Plenty of us use tinfoil on all of our carboys. The tinfoil will form enough of a seal to keep the nasties out, but is light enough to allow excess CO2 to vent out.

Don't do the cheese cloth thing, as it can allow bacteria through. And don't do the baloon with a hole in it trick, same risk there.
 
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Viking_Warrior

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Oh, wow. Thank you all for the wonderful replies! :) Luckly enough I was told there is a brew shop just forty minuets away. Apparently they just didn't have a website.

Anyway, I apologize for posting in the wrong forums. I just saw "Beginners" in the title and thought that would be the most appropriate place to post. I will ask in the right forums form now on.

But yes, this is for my own enjoyment not a competition. I loved the mead I was given at a Renaissance Fair and wanted to make my own. Again, thank you for the advice and I will most defiantly take it to heart.

Hope my mead turns out well!
 

Nurmey

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No need to apologize for using the wrong forum, I just wanted you to know about it so you can read up on mead if you need to. BTW, we also have mead recipes in the recipe database as well as plenty in the mead forum.
 

LaurieGator

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Don't worry about the wrong forum, all is good!

Mead making is fun! I stared with meads and cysers and progressed to beer because I wanted something that would finish a little faster than a year or two! Joe's Ancient Orange mead is tried and tested by many of us and is a fun mead that you can make with stuff around the house. Just make sure the oranges you use in it aren't too pithy... We are lucky down here in AZ, our local oranges have very thin rinds and are perfect for making that mead...

Enjoy the mead and have fun!
 
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