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Indian_villager

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Hello there! I'm Alex and I've recently taken an interest in making mead. (I planned on crossing over to beer after a while). I currently have a 6 gallon carboy with airlock and drilled stopper, a bottle of star san, and a packet of refrigerated d47 yeast as recommended by the local brew shop guy. I just wanted to try a basic mead that is just water and honey, but what is getting me right now is the whole nutrient thing.

I bought a small bottle of nutrient that clearly states "CONTAINS UREA" and I read that pdf in the sticky that says it is evil. They did have a Yeast Engergizer (which I think is what the guy actually told me to pick up). So what do I do as far as nutrient goes? I know most recipes say I don't need it but from the pdfs I read on this site the nutrients make the primary fermentation go quicker, and I was hoping to get my mead drinkable within a month or two.

I am lost and the shop that I am talking about it Corrado's in Clifton NJ.

Thanks again for any and all help.

Sincerely
-Alex
 

jezter6

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Realistic -- a month or two is out of the question.

Maybe if you do something like JOAM - but normal meads just take longer. It takes a little extra time to age all that alcohol out. At 1-2 months, for most meads, will be rather boozy and rocket fuel tasting and will mellow out. Extra sweetness (either from yeast pooping out early or backsweetening) will certainly reduce your perception of that taste, but it will still be there.

Another option is to make something like a hydromel which is a weaker mead. You can do that with less honey, and then (based on preferences) add some other things to make it slightly more complex or sweeter. Homebrewer_99 has a great Lemonade Mead in the recipe area that might work, although I aged mine at least 6 months just due to cloudyness.

Good luck and welcome to the forum.

PS -- Any chance you're the same indian_villager from HookahForum?
 

KCWortHog

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Urea isn't evil. Don't believe everything you read. ;) It's not urine, it's a source of nitrogen that's synthesized in a lab and used to feed your yeast.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urea

I posted these a while back, but IMO these are the best resources on yeast health & nutrient additions I've seen. Given the homebrewed-mead success Curt Stock & Kris England have seen, I am inclined to go with their advice & process. And Ken Schramm's advice is, of course, solid as a rock.

Optimizing Honey Fermentation by Ken Schramm
and
Making Great Mead by Kristen England & Curt Stock (NHC 2008)

The presentation addresses "nutrient" and "energizer". I always forget which one is supposed to be which, plus I think the naming convention is rather silly. Instead I just use DAP and FermaidK and forget the whole nutrient/energizer concept.

DAP = Diammonium Phosphate = essentially a source of nitrogen for the yeast
FermaidK = DAp + inorganic nitrogen + organic nitrogen + spent yeast + minerals for yeast health

While a month or 2 is optimistic, it's not impossible (and x2 for the hydromel suggestion). I think most meads can be ready to drink in 3-4 months IF you do them properly. And by that I mean proper yeast nutrition, degassing, good fermentation temp control, and sanitation. And, select a yeast that won't turn your mead into "rocket fuel" (aka, don't use 1118 unless you're trying to salvage a batch).

Just remember that the key to a good mead lies in a solid fermentation. And that means good yeast nutrition.
 
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Indian_villager

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Realistic -- a month or two is out of the question.

Maybe if you do something like JOAM - but normal meads just take longer. It takes a little extra time to age all that alcohol out. At 1-2 months, for most meads, will be rather boozy and rocket fuel tasting and will mellow out. Extra sweetness (either from yeast pooping out early or backsweetening) will certainly reduce your perception of that taste, but it will still be there.

Another option is to make something like a hydromel which is a weaker mead. You can do that with less honey, and then (based on preferences) add some other things to make it slightly more complex or sweeter. Homebrewer_99 has a great Lemonade Mead in the recipe area that might work, although I aged mine at least 6 months just due to cloudyness.

Good luck and welcome to the forum.

PS -- Any chance you're the same indian_villager from HookahForum?
Yes I am one and the same Cotsi told me about this forum!

That lemonade mead recipe is what got me thinking about it. I saw it on instructables.com
 

jezter6

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Sweet. Another HF'er on HBT! Don't know if I mentioned this place to cotsi or not.

I tried to get Mush over here - he makes mead too.

I have the lemonade mead on tap right now, and it's good on a nice hot day. Probably will be gone before it hits 90 though.

Really though, make a bit of JOAM - get yourself something to drink while the better stuff is aging. Great meads take time. You can shorten that time by doing the things KCWorthog said above, but in the end - you'll notice lots of changes as things age.
 
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Indian_villager

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Urea isn't evil. Don't believe everything you read. ;) It's not urine, it's a source of nitrogen that's synthesized in a lab and used to feed your yeast.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urea

I posted these a while back, but IMO these are the best resources on yeast health & nutrient additions I've seen. Given the homebrewed-mead success Curt Stock & Kris England have seen, I am inclined to go with their advice & process. And Ken Schramm's advice is, of course, solid as a rock.

Optimizing Honey Fermentation by Ken Schramm
and
Making Great Mead by Kristen England & Curt Stock (NHC 2008)

The presentation addresses "nutrient" and "energizer". I always forget which one is supposed to be which, plus I think the naming convention is rather silly. Instead I just use DAP and FermaidK and forget the whole nutrient/energizer concept.

DAP = Diammonium Phosphate = essentially a source of nitrogen for the yeast
FermaidK = DAp + inorganic nitrogen + organic nitrogen + spent yeast + minerals for yeast health

While a month or 2 is optimistic, it's not impossible (and x2 for the hydromel suggestion). I think most meads can be ready to drink in 3-4 months IF you do them properly. And by that I mean proper yeast nutrition, degassing, good fermentation temp control, and sanitation. And, select a yeast that won't turn your mead into "rocket fuel" (aka, don't use 1118 unless you're trying to salvage a batch).

Just remember that the key to a good mead lies in a solid fermentation. And that means good yeast nutrition.

Thank you for those documents. They were truly helpful in clarifying what I needed to do.
 
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Indian_villager

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Sweet. Another HF'er on HBT! Don't know if I mentioned this place to cotsi or not.

I tried to get Mush over here - he makes mead too.

I have the lemonade mead on tap right now, and it's good on a nice hot day. Probably will be gone before it hits 90 though.

Really though, make a bit of JOAM - get yourself something to drink while the better stuff is aging. Great meads take time. You can shorten that time by doing the things KCWorthog said above, but in the end - you'll notice lots of changes as things age.
I do plan on making some properly aged mead down the line. It is just that currently, I wanted something drinkable in somewhere between 2-3 months for some private reasons.
 

KCWortHog

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Are you set on making a traditional mead?

Given your timeline, this is what I'd do -

* Plan on making a sweet or semi-sweet still mead (about 3 pounds of honey per gallon - with your 6gal carboy, do a 5 gallon batch. So I'd do 15 pounds of honey.)
* Do the Kris England nutrient/O2 schedule
* Use your D47 - that's a good yeast. Hydrate it in Go-Ferm if you have/can get some

With 15 pounds of honey in a 5 gallon batch, you're looking at an OG of about 1.100 and a FG (using D47) of around 1.005, or thereabouts. That should take about 10 days.

Be sure your fermentation is in a place under 70 degrees, closer to 65 if possible. This is especially important with trad. meads since the higher temps will lead to fusel alcohols (making it "hot").

Rack it into secondary, let it sit for a month or so (or a week before you need it), then sorbate it. Let it sit for a couple of days and backsweeten to taste. You could probably do without the backsweetening, but even a small amount of honey (a cup or so) in a 5-gallon batch will really heighten the honey profile and improve the depth of the mead. That should do it.

It'll get better over time, but that should give you a decent, drinkable mead in 2-3 months. Don't dawdle. :)
 

KCWortHog

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Oh - the reason I asked if you were set on a trad. mead was because making something like a blueberry or blackberry melomel (using frozen fruit) will contribute to the drinkability of the mead. Kind of like eating plain cheerios vs. cheerios with berries and sugar. ;)
 
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Indian_villager

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Are you set on making a traditional mead?

Given your timeline, this is what I'd do -

* Plan on making a sweet or semi-sweet still mead (about 3 pounds of honey per gallon - with your 6gal carboy, do a 5 gallon batch. So I'd do 15 pounds of honey.)
* Do the Kris England nutrient/O2 schedule
* Use your D47 - that's a good yeast. Hydrate it in Go-Ferm if you have/can get some

With 15 pounds of honey in a 5 gallon batch, you're looking at an OG of about 1.100 and a FG (using D47) of around 1.005, or thereabouts. That should take about 10 days.

Be sure your fermentation is in a place under 70 degrees, closer to 65 if possible. This is especially important with trad. meads since the higher temps will lead to fusel alcohols (making it "hot").

Rack it into secondary, let it sit for a month or so (or a week before you need it), then sorbate it. Let it sit for a couple of days and backsweeten to taste. You could probably do without the backsweetening, but even a small amount of honey (a cup or so) in a 5-gallon batch will really heighten the honey profile and improve the depth of the mead. That should do it.

It'll get better over time, but that should give you a decent, drinkable mead in 2-3 months. Don't dawdle. :)
Thank you for the reply. I was going to use the fast fermentation method described in the pdf posted earlier....i just have to purchase the nutrients online and wait! but Thank you for the feedback. Honestly by the stereotypical forum dynamic I was expecting to be called a n00b and told to STFU. But you folks are so polite! This is going to be the start of a beautiful relationship.
 

jezter6

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The mead sub-forum is quite different. A whole lot less of the really outrageous "noob question" and a lot less attitude in general.

Of course, that's probably because we're just more patient folks given the type of beverages we make and the time we have to sit around waiting for good mead.
 
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Indian_villager

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Are you set on making a traditional mead?

Given your timeline, this is what I'd do -

* Plan on making a sweet or semi-sweet still mead (about 3 pounds of honey per gallon - with your 6gal carboy, do a 5 gallon batch. So I'd do 15 pounds of honey.)
* Do the Kris England nutrient/O2 schedule
* Use your D47 - that's a good yeast. Hydrate it in Go-Ferm if you have/can get some

With 15 pounds of honey in a 5 gallon batch, you're looking at an OG of about 1.100 and a FG (using D47) of around 1.005, or thereabouts. That should take about 10 days.

Be sure your fermentation is in a place under 70 degrees, closer to 65 if possible. This is especially important with trad. meads since the higher temps will lead to fusel alcohols (making it "hot").

Rack it into secondary, let it sit for a month or so (or a week before you need it), then sorbate it. Let it sit for a couple of days and backsweeten to taste. You could probably do without the backsweetening, but even a small amount of honey (a cup or so) in a 5-gallon batch will really heighten the honey profile and improve the depth of the mead. That should do it.

It'll get better over time, but that should give you a decent, drinkable mead in 2-3 months. Don't dawdle. :)
Hey thank you for the tips! The thing is my local brew shop has Fermax not Fermaid K. Do you feel they would be comprable?
Shown here
http://www.rebelbrewer.com/shoppingcart/products/FerMax-Yeast-Nutrient-%2d-4-oz..html

Sorry about being late on a reply, I just graduated for college! (Professional bum with a chemical engineering degree, anyone hiring?) So i've been moving out of my dorm so I have not started on this project yet!

Great thing about dorming is end of the year trash raiding! I just picked up a fridge from my raiding that I can convert to a kegerator if I ever get good at this hobby! I also found some great 4L glass wine jugs to use as fermentors!

Quick question about the glass jugs. One of them had a rusty beer cap in it and stained the glass a bit on the inside. Anything that will get rid of the stain? Is it even worth it?

Thanks for all the help folks! It really means a lot!
 
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