Mead - the homebrew thread

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quirkzoo1

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Any homebrewers on this board also make mead? Love to hear your thoughts, successes, failures, experiments, etc...

I got most of my basic info off of Homebrew talk's stickies, but I find the signal to noise ratio over there to be terrible.

I have made one batch of mead, dry mead, 12.5, 1 gallon of wildflower, 1 gallon of clover. Pretty happy with it overall. I aged half of the clover mead on cranberries and it turned out very good. I attempted to age half of the wildflower on "spices" (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, star anise) and came out way too heavy on the palate numbing spices. If I want to try a spiced mead in the future I think I will try using the tincture method instead.

I just picked up a small jar of honey at the local farmer's market (wildflower/alfalfa blend) and it has an amazingly rich flavor, definitely want to make some mead with it, thinking semi-sweet, straight mead. For anyone that has made a straight mead, do you add any tannins? I have heard a little bit of black tea goes a long way.
 

domtronzero

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I've made a dozen-or-so batches of mead. I currently have 6 gallons of cyser in a fermenter ready to add 10 pounds of raspberries to. I am going to freeze-distill half of it (my first attempt at ice-mead).

I will occasionally brew an IPA or a hoppy pale ale or a stout, but since I brew so infrequently these days I tend to brew things that take several months or more to finish. Mostly meads and sours these days.

I've never added tannins but I do like to add some white-wine (or hard cider) soaked oak cubes (medium toast French oak) to the fermenters and let it sit. They tend to add a bit of tannic dryness to the finished product and a little bit of complexity from the oak.
 

nedvalton1

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I have done 15 or so batches of mead ranging from dry tupelo, triple berry (raspberry, blackberry, blueberry), vanilla bean with wild flower honey, blueberry honey, galberry honey, .....
I have never added tannin as I follow the keep it simple method. Water, nutrients, energizer, yeast, honey (no boil), camden
Its served me well took first in dry category of domras cup with the tupelo
 

blatantdream

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I make mini batches of mead. I kind of Frankenstein the recipes from different ones I find online. It's more manageable to go for 1 gallon batches for me since you can experiment more and when you don't have much room. It takes a lot longer to brew mead so I can get a few started at the same time as well. I normally use an unfiltered wildflower honey from Florida, 48oz for a one gallon batch. I've never tried adding spices but have done melomels. My blueberry mead was quite a hit and only took 3 months to make.

What kind of yeast is everyone using? I tend to use the LALVIN 71B-1122 “NARBONNE” which works well but I would like to try something different.
 

daysinthewake1

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My first mead was bottled last week. A one gallon batch of the foolproof Joe's Ancient Orange Mead recipe. It tasted really good on bottling day. Now it will sit in bottles until Feb. I'll post the recipe if anybody is interested.
 

TomTwanks1

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Very new in the mead making game but it has been very gratifying so far. Plan on making a sweet spiced cyser (Apple pie clone) and a coffee/toasted coconut/macadamia nut mead when I come back from vacation.
Now if anyone of you ******** wanna send me 30-40# of honey as "extras" in a trade, let's work something out :rolleyes:
 

ExPimp

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I've been doing some reading after experiencing my first mind blowing mead a few weeks ago, and I really want to give it a shot... I will be following this thread now as well.
 

vonnegut21

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Thinking of doing my first batch this weekend. From what I've read, people seem split between the boil/heat to at least 180F crowd and the don't bother crowd (Michael Fairbrother says nothing above 80F is necessary). What have you all had the best results with as far as temperature?
 

bum732

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The only reason people heat honey is so it leaves the container easily. There is absolutely no reason to cook/boil honey for anti-microbial purposes. All it does is drive away those delicate aromatics present. There is a reason that 100 yr old honey exists and is still edible.
 

TomTwanks1

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Agree with bum732, if everything else is clean no need to heat the honey warmer than it takes to get it out of the container.
^ this so much. Started an Apple Pie spiced cyser a few weeks ago with high hopes. I'd imagine its gonna be ****ing rocket fuel for the first year. I guess thats the love/hate relationship with making mead.
 

vonnegut21

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Just made my first batch of mead last night. Thinking of splitting the batch into a standard unfruited and a fruited batch for secondary. Anyone have any insight on secondary fermentation on fruit rather than fruit juice as part/all of the liquid in primary?

TomTwanks, which method do you use for your famous blueberry melomel?
 

TomTwanks1

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TomTwanks, which method do you use for your famous blueberry melomel?
Lol @ famous

I fruited in both primary and secondary fermentation in multiple stages. I puréed (5 lb?) of blueberry and threw that in the primary. Let the d47 sit on the lees for a few month then transferred to sexondary where I threw in more fresh fruit &pectic enzyme to extract the juices more efficiently. After a month or so, I sorbate/sulfite to stop fermentation and threw in more fresh fruit and let that sit for about 5 months. Backsweetened, viola!
 

vonnegut21

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Lol @ famous

I fruited in both primary and secondary fermentation in multiple stages. I puréed (5 lb?) of blueberry and threw that in the primary. Let the d47 sit on the lees for a few month then transferred to sexondary where I threw in more fresh fruit &pectic enzyme to extract the juices more efficiently. After a month or so, I sorbate/sulfite to stop fermentation and threw in more fresh fruit and let that sit for about 5 months. Backsweetened, viola!
5 gallon batch? Also how many lb/gallon do you secondary with?
 

Beerontwowheels

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Just made my first batch of mead last night. Thinking of splitting the batch into a standard unfruited and a fruited batch for secondary. Anyone have any insight on secondary fermentation on fruit rather than fruit juice as part/all of the liquid in primary?

TomTwanks, which method do you use for your famous blueberry melomel?

What variety honey and which yeast strain did you go with?
 

blatantdream

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Yes, 5 gallons. I believe I did 3 or 4lb/gallon.
That's a lot of fruit.
I normally go with 1lb of fruit/ per gallon. I only fruit once in secondary. However, I do small 1 gallon batches. Fruiting 3 times, wow... I may try that on next batch. Starting a passionfruit mead next for me and would like to try to do a pyment.

On another note, my Mixed Berry Mead won 3rd place last weekend at Homebrew Alley, the annual NYC homebrewers competition. Yay! :)
 

Beerontwowheels

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Alright, I've read through Schramm's The Compleat Meadmaker and I have a few questions before I proceed:

1) Most sources say to feed the yeast with nutrient for approximately three days after pitching (staggered additions). Pretty standard? I think I'm supposed to stir before adding the additons, is that correct? How much energizer per addition? 1/4 teaspoon?

2) How often, if at all, do you de-gas your mead? I didn't see this covered in Schramm's book, but I've heard it is necessary. If this is a 'best practice', When should you no longer de-gas? Once fermentation is 50%, 75%, 100% complete?

3) I've got 13.75 lbs of Orange Blossom, 2 packets of Lavlin 71B-1122, Yeast nutrient, yeast energizer and potassium sorbate. That should make a 1.098 mead (~13%) at 5 gallons. Don't think I'm missing anything necessary at this stage...Any reason to switch to the D-47 that seems popular? Schramm says he prefers 71B for dark fruit melomels, so I think I'm good here. Planning on adding vanilla and sour cherries to this at some point if that helps choose yeast.

4) Ferm temps - Lavlin 71B-1122 has a temp range of 60° - 85°. Any reason to stay closer to one end of the spectrum or the other, or should 70° be a sweet spot?

Thanks for any assistance.

Cheers!
 
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TomTwanks1

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Alright, I've read through Schramm's The Compleat Meadmaker and I have a few questions before I proceed:

1) Most sources say to feed the yeast with nutrient for approximately three days after pitching (staggered additions). Pretty standard? I think I'm supposed to stir before adding the additons, is that correct? How much energizer per addition? 1/4 teaspoon?

2) How often, if at all, do you de-gas your mead? I didn't see this covered in Schramm's book, but I've heard it is necessary. If this is a 'best practice', When should you no longer de-gas? Once fermentation is 50%, 75%, 100% complete?

3) I've got 13.75 lbs of Orange Blossom, 2 packets of Lavlin 71B-1122, Yeast nutrient, yeast energizer and potassium sorbate. That should make a 1.098 mead (~13%) at 5 gallons. Don't think I'm missing anything necessary at this stage...Any reason to switch to the D-47 that seems popular? Schramm says he prefers 71B for dark fruit melomels, so I think I'm good here. Planning on adding vanilla and sour cherries to this at some point if that helps choose yeast.

4) Ferm temps - Lavlin 71B-1122 has a temp range of 60° - 85°. Any reason to stay closer to one end of the spectrum or the other, or should 70° be a sweet spot?

Thanks for any assistance.

Cheers!

I'm not no professional so take everything I say with a grain of salt...

1) Pretty standard I'd say. I stagger mine nutrients over a course of 5 days (brew days, +2, +2), 1/3 of the recommended dose per instructions. It should have a recommended dose on the bottle.
2) I degas my mead by swirling my carboy around because I dont have a degassing mixer/drill at the moment. I swirl it at least once a day for the first few weeks. I had no idea if it makes a difference but de-gassing is recommended so I do it.
3) Not sure why you would need sorbate at the beginning stage but if you plan on making a sweet/still mead you will need sorbate and sulfite. I've never used 71B so I can't say there are any advantages in my personal experience but I have used d-47 several times. Its worked great so far and leaves fruity characteristics when left on the lees for at least a few months. I guess not feeling rushed to go to a secondary may be an advantage...
4) Sorry, can't help here. I'd imagine you could find a bit more info on their site or gotmead.com or homebrewtalk.com.

Like I said I'm a amateur at best, but heres some of my knowledge.
 

Beerontwowheels

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3) Not sure why you would need sorbate at the beginning stage but if you plan on making a sweet/still mead you will need sorbate and sulfite.

Yeah, didn't mean it to come off like that. Just listing all my 'ingredients' but that one is clearly not for the beginning stages.

My upstairs spare bedroom runs 65-70° so that should be a good spot to let it slumber. What type of fermentation activity should I be prepared for? Do I need a blow-off tube ready to go like with higher gravity beers?

Thanks for the feedback. Just cleaned up my carboy, will get this going later this week/weekend.
 

blatantdream

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4) Ferm temps - Lavlin 71B-1122 has a temp range of 60° - 85°. Any reason to stay closer to one end of the spectrum or the other, or should 70° be a sweet spot?
Depending on your recipe, the lower on the temperature range the better in my experience. It tends to get a little "hot" (alcoholic) the higher you go. (Just my take from what I've seen. An amateur mead brewer here as well.)
 

vonnegut21

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1) I stagger mine nutrients over a course of 5 days (brew days, +2, +2), 1/3 of the recommended dose per instructions. It should have a recommended dose on the bottle.
:eek:

Just added my third addition this morning... but each one has been a full dose. Did I ruin my mead/create a ticking time bomb?
 

KWilk

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:eek:

Just added my third addition this morning... but each one has been a full dose. Did I ruin my mead/create a ticking time bomb?
feed-me-seymour.jpg
 

Fishy

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I always add "too much" nutrient and they always turn out fine. If your yeast can handle really high abv you might ferment all the way through.
 

Beerontwowheels

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Picked up 64 ounces of R.W. Knudsens Tart Cherry Juice. Tasted it this afternoon and it is seriously fantastic juice. 100% organic. Nothing in it but sour cherry concentrate and water. Definitely going to use this juice in my first mead. Cost is about 10$ for 32oz, so while not cheap, definitely delicious.
 
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