First time making Mead

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FoamyMugs

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so this summer, me and my father are going to be brewing our own mead for the first time, our goal is to make one sweet enough to down two pints without blinking but strong enough to regret the same action aha, I know it is a lot of trial and error but does anyone have any tips or recipes to get what we're looking for?
 

Golddiggie

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IMO, for a first mead, go traditional. I did that with my initial batch and don't regret it. Be sure to use quality honey with good flavor. I used regional wildflower for mine (actually, for all my mead batches).
Decide what ABV you're looking to get for this. I would go to the tolerance of a yeast strain and then either back sweeten, or add enough honey to leave some sweet at the end of things.
Be sure to degas/oxygenate until the 1/3 break. Also add nutrient for the yeast to use while going to town.
Do NOT heat your must (honey/water solution) above 100F. Doing so will remove all the aromas and delicate flavors from the honey. I would set the limit to low 90's. You make mead, like you do a fruit based wine. No boiling/heating involved (unlike brewing beer).
IME, it's a lot less 'trial and error' if you can give it the time it needs once you pass the 1/3 break. It takes care and feeding until then, but then just leave it the hell alone. I've also found that a good parameter is it will be 1 month in process per 1% ABV of finished product. Which means a mead that's 18% ABV is 1-1/2 years from yeast going in to bottle/glass. You might be able to shorten that some, but I wouldn't risk it.
You'll want to either dump the lees/yeast from the fermenter, or transfer off of them periodically once fermentation is 100% complete. That can take weeks, or more, depending on the yeast used and the strength of the must.

I'm actually thinking about getting a small conical to use for batches of mead, and/or cider, moving forward. I do have vessels I can transfer to when ready that are able to handle pressure and so I can move with a CO2 push. The conical has a working pressure of 15psi as well. I do pressure transfers for all my fermenters or aging vessels. Multiple benefits there. Not the least of which is NOT needing to lift a vessel to get a siphon going. Top that off with when you move the vessel, you then need to let things settle down again. Screw that noise. ;)
 

Dan O

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so this summer, me and my father are going to be brewing our own mead for the first time, our goal is to make one sweet enough to down two pints without blinking but strong enough to regret the same action aha, I know it is a lot of trial and error but does anyone have any tips or recipes to get what we're looking for?
I like a good traditional as well as @Golddiggie , but, if you want a simple one, try a JAOM (Joe's ancient orange mead). It's a set it & forget it kind of mead that once you put all the ingredients together, you don't do anything to it until it clears on its own. (About 2 months, 3 @ the most)
Mind you, this recipe won't "teach" you anything about mead making, but, it makes a sweet, damn tasty mead that doesn't require ANY attention until you're ready to drink it (after it's ready, of course).
 
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Ryue

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I've also found that a good parameter is it will be 1 month in process per 1% ABV of finished product. Which means a mead that's 18% ABV is 1-1/2 years from yeast going in to bottle/glass.
While I agree with most of what you said, I disagree with this.
I have had a couple recipes that needed longer, but for the most part all my recipes were high ABV (12-19%) and delicious in 3 to 4 months.
 
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Golddiggie

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While I agree with most of what you said, I disagree with this.
I have had a couple recipes that needed longer, but for the most part all my recipes were high ABV (12-19%) and delicious in 3 to 4 months.
Just going off the batches I've made. Too young and they were HOT. Let them age out (at least a full year even at 18% ABV) and they were MUCH better. I've changed some of my fermentation processes since then, so maybe with the newer method(s) it would be different. Won't know until I try. BUT, I won't assume batches will be ready for glass in less than six months from pitching yeast.
In the previous batches I didn't have the ability to cold crash. I didn't filter, and don't have the hardware to do that now (nor do I have any desire to). So you need to give things time to fully settle out. I probably went to bottle a bit sooner than I should have, since there's some sediment in the last bottle I have (from the 2010 batch).
I'm nothing if not patient. So giving mead the a year, or more, before going to bottle (or glass) is of no concern.
 

Dan O

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Just going off the batches I've made. Too young and they were HOT. Let them age out (at least a full year even at 18% ABV) and they were MUCH better. I've changed some of my fermentation processes since then, so maybe with the newer method(s) it would be different. Won't know until I try. BUT, I won't assume batches will be ready for glass in less than six months from pitching yeast.
In the previous batches I didn't have the ability to cold crash. I didn't filter, and don't have the hardware to do that now (nor do I have any desire to). So you need to give things time to fully settle out. I probably went to bottle a bit sooner than I should have, since there's some sediment in the last bottle I have (from the 2010 batch).
I'm nothing if not patient. So giving mead the a year, or more, before going to bottle (or glass) is of no concern.
I have switched the majority of batches that I do to BOMM protocols with great success. I use TOSNA 3.0 for dry yeasts.
Most of the meads I've made have been ready to drink @ 2 months, but, have been awesome @ 6 months or over.
I tend to let them sit for longer than the 30 days that @loveofrose does, but, I don't have temperature control, so my meads take about 60 days or so to accomplish what he does in 30. Really, the only time I'm concerned about how clear it gets is when I want to gift some & want it to shine.
Other than that, drink it!! 😋
That said, I personally don't care about the clarity as much as I do the taste.The people I have shared it with, say it looks nice clear, but, the ones that have had a haze or cloudiness to them were just as delicious as the clear ones.
 

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Just going off the batches I've made. Too young and they were HOT. Let them age out (at least a full year even at 18% ABV) and they were MUCH better. I've changed some of my fermentation processes since then, so maybe with the newer method(s) it would be different. Won't know until I try. BUT, I won't assume batches will be ready for glass in less than six months from pitching yeast.
In the previous batches I didn't have the ability to cold crash. I didn't filter, and don't have the hardware to do that now (nor do I have any desire to). So you need to give things time to fully settle out. I probably went to bottle a bit sooner than I should have, since there's some sediment in the last bottle I have (from the 2010 batch).
I'm nothing if not patient. So giving mead the a year, or more, before going to bottle (or glass) is of no concern.
Not saying there is anything wrong with that, just that it has a lot of variables and sometimes they turn out great right out the gate. Maybe I've just gotten lucky 😅🤣

so this summer, me and my father are going to be brewing our own mead for the first time, our goal is to make one sweet enough to down two pints without blinking but strong enough to regret the same action aha, I know it is a lot of trial and error but does anyone have any tips or recipes to get what we're looking for?
Anyway, back to the OP (sorry for getting sidetracked 😅)
I'm probably going to get some flack for this recipe, being as I don't think most people heat up their must, but ya know what? I'm all for trying different things and this turned out pretty damned good lol.

1 gallon water
2 pomegranates, seeded
2lbs strawberries, quartered
12oz blackberries, whole

Steep for 1 hour at 120°-140°f
Cool to 90°
Add 3 cups of honey (about 40oz)

Red Star Premiere Blanc Champagne Yeast

SG: 1.090
Pitched 9-29-2020
FG: 0.996 10-18-2020
12.33%ABV

Stabilize
Backsweeten 8oz/gal (or to taste)

I steeped it on the stove, once the honey is mixed in, transition to your fermenter and pitch yeast

I'll make some adjustments to this recipe, but for a first run it turned out well, strong but not overwhelming, slightly on the sweet side. Everybody loved it 👍🏻
 

Dan O

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Not saying there is anything wrong with that, just that it has a lot of variables and sometimes they turn out great right out the gate. Maybe I've just gotten lucky 😅🤣



Anyway, back to the OP (sorry for getting sidetracked 😅)
I'm probably going to get some flack for this recipe, being as I don't think most people heat up their must, but ya know what? I'm all for trying different things and this turned out pretty damned good lol.

1 gallon water
2 pomegranates, seeded
2lbs strawberries, quartered
12oz blackberries, whole

Steep for 1 hour at 120°-140°f
Cool to 90°
Add 3 cups of honey (about 40oz)

Red Star Premiere Blanc Champagne Yeast

SG: 1.090
Pitched 9-29-2020
FG: 0.996 10-18-2020
12.33%ABV

Stabilize
Backsweeten 8oz/gal (or to taste)

I steeped it on the stove, once the honey is mixed in, transition to your fermenter and pitch yeast

I'll make some adjustments to this recipe, but for a first run it turned out well, strong but not overwhelming, slightly on the sweet side. Everybody loved it 👍🏻
Did you put the fruit in primary or just the steeped juice?
If the fruit was in primary, did it take a lot of the tannic values from the blackberry seeds?
Also, you "seeded" the pomegranate. You removed the seeds from the individual juice pods?🤔 Not sure I read it right. Thanks, in advance for clarifying.
Happy meading 😎
 

Ryue

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Did you put the fruit in primary or just the steeped juice?
If the fruit was in primary, did it take a lot of the tannic values from the blackberry seeds?
Also, you "seeded" the pomegranate. You removed the seeds from the individual juice pods?🤔 Not sure I read it right. Thanks, in advance for clarifying.
Happy meading 😎
Sorry I should have specified, just copied and pasted from my notes lol.
I filtered all the fruit out before transitioning to the carboy.
I just cut open the pomegranate, removed the pods (with seeds still in them) and tossed them directly into the pot.

I think next time I might try adding some more fresh fruit to primary though.. 🤔
 

Golddiggie

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@Ryue IF I read this correct, you did steep with the fruit in just water. Cooled it to 90F and then added the honey. If so, then the honey never got above 90F which is good.

Personally, I like the flavors you get from wildflower honey. I did a blackberry mead once and will probably never do that again.

I did do a maple wine that people really enjoyed, even 10 years later. I might look at getting enough syrup to make up another batch soon. Last batch went to about 14%. I'd probably aim for the same, or a little lower. Maybe in the 10-12% range. Just more things to think about.
 

Ryue

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IF I read this correct, you did steep with the fruit in just water. Cooled it to 90F and then added the honey. If so, then the honey never got above 90F which is good.
Correct, honey was added after that had cooled down.
I think I might try to cut the abv back to maybe 6 or 7%, I'd like to be able to fill up my ale horns a handful of times without being overly sloshed🤣
 

Golddiggie

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My biggest concern with trying to do a low ABV mead is the only real way to do that is to ferment to that level and then kill/remove all the yeast. I have family members that have unpleasant reactions to the chemicals used to stabilize. Which kind of rules it out for me. Especially if I plan to bottle (using wine bottles). Plus I've not [yet] done a carbonated mead. For that, I'd rather keg it anyway. ;)

Sounds like you need smaller ale horns...
 

Ryue

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That's fair, could be difficult if you have to avoid stabilizing.
I had already stabilized prior to backsweetening, so the only difference in my situation would be doing it at a lower abv 🤷‍♂️

Possibly.. but I love my 24(ish)oz horn!🤣
I'm also a relative light weight, so that doesn't help lol
 

Golddiggie

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I don't drink much, so even for beer I'm not filling a pint glass. For mead/wine, I use an actual wine glass since I'm not going to have a lot in a single glass. Plus I usually only open up mead when there's other people around to share it with.
 

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Check out this thread Bray's One Month Mead It is a long one, but you can find out about the BOOM method. I haven't made too many meads, but my recommendation is to use enough honey in the primary to get as strong as you want and let the yeast go all the way to dry then stabilize and back sweeten. :mug:
 
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