Suggestion for a first time try at mead

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SpikPT

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Hello guys, never done mead before but since I produce my own honey which has a really good taste and I think it's superior to what I buy in portuguese supermarkets, I really want to give it a try. Here in portugal it's also really hard to buy mead so that's another reason I want to try it. I don't know which recipe to follow or even which kind of mead I would appreciate more so I'm open to any suggestion for a recipe to follow. Thanks in advance for any help you might give me.
 

dwhite60

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Google search, "Joe's Ancient Orange Mead". Simple, fool proof, and makes a very nice mead. It's ready in about 30 days but gets better for years in the bottle.
 
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SpikPT

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Google search, "Joe's Ancient Orange Mead". Simple, fool proof, and makes a very nice mead. It's ready in about 30 days but gets better for years in the bottle.
I found this thread Joe's Ancient Orange Mead and I have some questions. Can I follow what malkore said and omit the raisins and use the wyeast sweet mead yeast instead of the bread yeast? And if I want to do a bigger amount like 5.5 gallons can I simply multiply all the ingredients x5.5? Thanks for your help
 
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SpikPT

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Get a small scale, some fermaid O yeast nutrient, and use TONSA 3.0. You'll be glad you did. Degas twice a day. Don't boil your mead, don't heat the water above 100F. Keep it simple, water, honey, yeast, yeast nutrient.

There's a little problem... Fermaid isn't sold in europe, only go-ferm and nutrient vit, idk which nutrient should I go for in this case...
 

madscientist451

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I suppose just substitute what you can get. The main thing is to do the staggered nutrient additions and de-gassing.
 

HVCBrewing

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"Produce my own honey" how fantastic is that?

Honey, when fermented dry, is a pretty subtle flavor. Most meads get their flavor by adding flavor to the mead in the form of fruits, hops and spices. Where as a wine gets the flavor from the grapes. As a result, beverages made with honey hit the full spectrum of flavor profiles depending on what you add to the mead. I would suggest starting with what you like to drink. From a wine perspective are you looking for sweet or dry? Do you like beer? There are several honey-hop options that produce a Brut-style beverage.

IMO - most beverages fermented with honey take time to develop to their potential. I make beer, mead and wine. My experience is meads take 6+ months to overcome fermentation and continues to get better from their. I made a vanilla mead in 2006 that is still fine. It's a combination of subtle flavors, but has no defect from age. Poor yeast nutrients will produce (to quote my wife) industrial notes. Often those dissipate over time, but can be minimized by proper yeast nutrients.

Sweet meads have sugar to offset any off flavors and tend to drink sooner. Joes Ancient Orange is a great recipe, but needs good honey (sounds like you have it) and good citrus. When I lived in Illinois and made JAO, it was terrible. Moved to Florida (has better honey and citrus) and it came out great.

For Hoppy Meads do an internet search for "Farmhouse Saison Mead" and "Hop Head IPA Style Mead". Both take 5+ months to get in the bottle but are fantastic. They age well beyond that. They finish dry, light bodied and full of flavor.

Good luck and keep at it.
 
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SpikPT

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"Produce my own honey" how fantastic is that?

Honey, when fermented dry, is a pretty subtle flavor. Most meads get their flavor by adding flavor to the mead in the form of fruits, hops and spices. Where as a wine gets the flavor from the grapes. As a result, beverages made with honey hit the full spectrum of flavor profiles depending on what you add to the mead. I would suggest starting with what you like to drink. From a wine perspective are you looking for sweet or dry? Do you like beer? There are several honey-hop options that produce a Brut-style beverage.

IMO - most beverages fermented with honey take time to develop to their potential. I make beer, mead and wine. My experience is meads take 6+ months to overcome fermentation and continues to get better from their. I made a vanilla mead in 2006 that is still fine. It's a combination of subtle flavors, but has no defect from age. Poor yeast nutrients will produce (to quote my wife) industrial notes. Often those dissipate over time, but can be minimized by proper yeast nutrients.

Sweet meads have sugar to offset any off flavors and tend to drink sooner. Joes Ancient Orange is a great recipe, but needs good honey (sounds like you have it) and good citrus. When I lived in Illinois and made JAO, it was terrible. Moved to Florida (has better honey and citrus) and it came out great.

For Hoppy Meads do an internet search for "Farmhouse Saison Mead" and "Hop Head IPA Style Mead". Both take 5+ months to get in the bottle but are fantastic. They age well beyond that. They finish dry, light bodied and full of flavor.

Good luck and keep at it.
I'm into brewing beer at the moment and ofc I'm also portuguese and for those who don't know, Portugal has a culture of wine just like france. We have a really famous type of wine here called Port wine, "vinho do porto" which is a sweet wine especially appreciated by the british. I would like eventually try out hop meads, seems a really interesting thing but for the 1st mead I think a sweet mead would be the best options and eventually try out dry versions, and hopped versions. I have over 500kg of honey production per year so I can diversify a lot and make larger batches at once. I already decided to import some fermaid O for yeast nutrients, eventhough I have to pay 35$ per 120g... Here in portugal we also have really good citrus, especially those from south of portugal and I was thinking about using clementines which are really good quality and sweet. My favourite type when it comes to choose an "orange variety" to eat. I'm thinking about trying the MAOM recipe with d-47 yeast for a 1st time and from there I try many other recipes. I have still one question, which is since I use raw unfilter honey, should I try to eat it to 150f for 10min to kill wild spores or stick with the rule of not heating honey at all? And about water chemistry, should I care about it at all or not? Thanks for all the help guys, I really appreciate it
 

bushpilot

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I love clementines, I wonder how that will turn out? It sounds good.

I am a beekeeper as well, but only produce about 150 or so kg per year. I don't heat my honey, and it works fine. The yeast you pitch will outperform the wild spores.

I use well water, and I don't worry about its chemistry. If I were in a city with treated water, I would be more concerned and would consider using bottled spring water.

It sounds like you are off to a good start!
 

Golddiggie

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I've used raw, unfiltered honey in pretty much every mead I've ever made without issue. I never heated it above 100F at any point. I've also used Lavlin Labs yeast wine yeast, since you're making honey wine. There's a lot of information on the Got Mead web site, that's worth at least looking at.

Personally, I'd start with a traditional mead recipe. K.I.S.S. principal in full effect there.

DO make sure you leave enough head space in your fermenter since when you degas you'll get a LOT of foam. I made that mistake (not enough head space), once. You'll also need to add oxygen into the mead until you hit the 1/3 break (IIRC) or when 1/3 of the honey has been consumed by the yeast. I would use a real oxygenation system since it's pretty much impossible to properly oxygenate the must with atmospheric O2. Basically, a sintered stone on a stainless wand connected to a regulator on a bottle of pure oxygen will do the job. You can use the same setup for your beer as well. In fact, I do. Giving yeast a healthy dose of oxygen before they really get going does a LOT of good. In it's most basic break-down, pure O2 is needed for them to create healthy cell walls. Not enough oxygen means they cannot do this. Which means, especially in higher OG fermentations, they'll struggle (more stress on the yeast) and present trouble. Either longer fermentation times, or suboptimal (or not as good as it could have been) end results. With the fact that oxygenating with pure O2 is a LOT easier on the brewer/maker, made it an easy choice when I made the switch.
 

HVCBrewing

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I don't boil the honey when making a mead. I don't believe it's needed if once the must is made you are ready to pitch the yeast and the yeast is viable. If you choose to let the must sit for an extended period of time (3-24 hours) , sulfites or boiling would be appropriate.

One reason I alway rehydrate my yeast before pitching into a Mead, is rehydration confirms it's working. I typically rehydrate with Go-Ferm (without Go-Ferm is OK), 15 minutes after the yeast has been rehydrated, I add 1/4 cup of must to the yeast and let sit for another 15 minutes. By then you should have unmistakable fermentation. If not, add some more must and let it sit for 30-minutes. If that doesn't work, consider new yeast.

It's important the must you add is at a yeast friendly temperature, which means at or near a yeast pitching temperature.
 
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SpikPT

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Ok so I guess I won't heat the honey. Here in portugal we are having some problems in recent years with the introduction of asian wasps. They're really bad for the bees... Also my honey flavor will vary depending on the time I collect it, rn it's more floral and sweet and then it'll get darker and more flavorful if I collect after/end of summer. Gonna use bottled spring water, it's cheap here, and my normal water it's way too mineral and I don't want to risk it. Don't really like the flavor of the municipal water either. About the oxygenation, I have everything you said except for the O2 bottle. I tried to search for it but it seems to be way to expensive to buy one for now... For the yeast, I think I will do a yeast starter just like I do for beer, it seems to be the best option for an healthy fermentation. Thanks for all the help guys. I hope to get into my first mead in the next weeks.
 

Golddiggie

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I use a welding O2 bottle. Easy to get here in the US. Even the smallest one they offer (that uses a standard regulator connection) will last you a LOT of batches. Even adding batches of mead into the mix, with it's additional uses.

I usually go for late season harvest honey since it has more flavor. There are calculation tools out there (online/free) that will help you to figure out how much honey to use to get your desired ABV level. I always go to the tolerance of the yeast being used. Typically plus a little since I don't like to let it go to dry. You can also formulate to go to dry and then add honey at the end. Just be sure to give it plenty of time after the honey addition to eat as much as it can.

I learned, over the batches I've done, that giving the mead TIME in batch/bulk form is a GOOD thing. Even with transfers (be sure to limit exposure to oxygen post fermentation) I give it time. Typically at least a month per % of ABV. So, a 14% ABV batch will go at least 14 months from making to considering going to bottle. You can also store in an oxygen void container for even longer. I use sanke (commercial beer) kegs to store things long term. I purge them with CO2 before that. 2" TC caps fit nicely on the tops of those kegs (with the clamps). I even use CO2 to push into/out of the kegs. I have some batches that will be getting sampled sometime in the next month and I'll decide if they're ready for bottle (or can) yet. If so, I'll extract from the kegs with my beer gun directly into bottle/can.

The days of me using a siphon to transfer ANYTHING are long past gone. No more tweaked backs due to that for me.
 

Dan Risher

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I would suggest you check out denardbrewing.com. A great resource with some very good recipes and nutrient schedule information by a guy who has done a ton of research and experimentation on mead making. Some interesting beer recipes, also.
 
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