New mead makers need advice

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moocow10

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My friends and I have decided to get into mead making. We ordered the following as of yesterday:

48 750ml green bordeaux wine bottles
1 Single lever corker
100 corks
2 cylinder locks
2 6.5 gallon fermentation buckets
2 primary fermentation bucket grommets
1 1 gallon glass jug
1 lid for above jug
1 deluxe hydrometer
1 complete racking setup 3/8"
2 6.5 gallon glass carboys
2 #2 rubber bungs (for bucket)
2 #6.5 bored rubber bungs
1 #6.5 solid rubber bung


2 gallons raw clover honey
1 gallon raw buckwheat honey
4oz. liquid wine tannin
10 5g packets Lalvin Wine Yeasts K1V-1116 Montpellier.
(1 or 2)lbs fermax


This is the recipe we think we're going to use:


Ingredients

2 lbs 3 oz Unprocessed Clover honey (ok to substitute if you must)
7 oz Buckwheat honey (do not substitute)
.6t Grape Tannin (needed for taste and clearing)
1/8t Fermax (more will not be better)
1 5g K1V-1116 (must use this yeast)
Balance tap water to make 1 gallon (don't use distilled)
4 Liter Carboy if you have one otherwise use 1 gal

Methods/steps
Well here's the recipe and its my no age sweet mead in three weeks from start to drink.
I call it CW sweet mead because I use a buckwheat percentage blend and yeast combination that I received as a tip from Chuck Wettergreen (CW) and have been experimenting with for many months.

I use a procedure different than he does but am grateful for his unselfish sharing of his experience with natural mead making.
If you want the exact same results as I describe, please do not alter the ingredients or procedure. There is a reason to this madness. Here goes from my notes the latest batch ready:
---------------------
Batch #25
CW Mead Experiment
1 gallon recipe 68F fermentation temperature
---------------------
August 8, 2004
No boil, no skim, no sulfite. Dissolve honey in quart of warm water (tap water).
Dissolve tannin and 1/8t Fermax in 8 oz warm tap water.
Add honey mixture and tannin mixture to carboy and fill to 3 inches from top with cold tap water. Shake well to mix and aerate all ingredients.
Must OG = 1.100
Rehydrate K1V-1116 in 4 oz of tepid water for 15mins in dark place according to instructions on packet. Must temperature should be between 68-80F degrees. If so swirl yeast and gently pour yeast in carboy.
Install airlock and place in dark place or basement with temperature as close to 68F as possible. Will start bubbles in one hour.
After 2 days add a little honey/water mixture to bring to 2 inches from top
August 15th - SG 1.045 (1 week)
August 22nd - SG 1.020 (2nd week) and still working well - Taste great - Gotta stop here
August 23rd - Racked (all must except lees and approximately 5 oz of liquid) into clean 1 gallon carboy containing 1/8t potassium metabisulfite and 1/2t Potassium Sorbate. No need to top off since used 4 Liter carboy for primary and it is almost done.
August 24th - Already Clearing well
August 26th - can read newsprint already
Finished 3 days early. Wait 3 days if you can but it is one fine mead to drink now while you are waiting for something a bit stronger in Alcohol to age. Enjoy.
Cheers, Joe




Is there anything else we should know?
Should we not use this recipe?
Any tips?


If anyone would like to comment on or suggest anything please do as we are all absolute novices and really need guidance.

Thanks in advance everybody.
 

malkore

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K1V-1116 is a high ABV yeast...using less than 3lbs, all your honey should ferment, and this won't be a sweet mead. I'd expect it to be bordering on dry.

but you can always feed more until it stops fermenting and you hit a sweetness you like. I don't stop fermentation with sulfites. I feel one should find a suitable yeast strain and use the right amount of honey to achieve the end product. Artificially stopped meads can resume fermentation later...possibly causing bottle explosions.

I've NEVER added tannin to my mead. I usually add no acid blend either.

this yeast also has high nitrogen requirements...so plenty of yeast energizer needs to be used.

it won't be anywhere close to prime drinking in 3 weeks.

If you are serious about mead making, buy The Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schramm. His instructions and input are supported by over a decade of meadmaking, personal research and experimentation, as well as the feedback from his peers.
 
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moocow10

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Could someone suggest a recipe that would be ready in a month or so maximum that has been tried and true.

We really want our first mead to be a success, and we're willing to wait if we have to.

We're looking for a sweeter mead that tastes like honey and spices without the burning aftertaste of wine, but with the highest alcohol content possible without losing that flavor. We also want to try to avoid lengthy aging times for our first batch.

Please tell me any recipes that are close to this that you have personally tried. If we have to wait longer we have to wait, but we were told that there were various quick meads that would be ready in a month or so like here:

[ame]http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=quick+mead&btnG=Google+Search[/ame]
 

Yooper

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Well, sorry to tell you that anything that I've made that can recommend won't be quick. A month is pushing it, even for beer. A good mead might be a year or two, same as my wines. You could do that recipe, and make a "regular" mead recipe, too, and drink the first while the other is aging.
 

NurseNan

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As a quick mead, this might be ready in 3 weeks, but the flavor will be lacking. Primary fermentation will not be done, nevermind secondary. The honey flavor will be lost in the "heat" of the alcohol, though you might notice that its a little sweet. You might as well dissolve 1 tsp. of honey in a shot of vodka and add 3 shots of club soda. Mind you, this is just my personal opinion- I like mead, so I would not drink this. It will get you drunk, though, and thoroughly hung over.
 

z987k

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any extremely sweet mead should mask a lot of the burning alcohol flavor. We did a 16lbs in 5 gallons and it's pretty much ready to go in 3 months.
 
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