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When should I add barley or rye to my mead?

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JustAnAnvil

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I'm looking at making my first batch of news and I think most of the process worked out, but I don't know if I need to change the recipe to account for the grain I want to add or when to add it.

Do I add it when I make the must or do I throw it in with the other spices/flavorings?

Does using apple cider/juice over water make a difference with the grain?

Should I grind the grain into more of a powder before adding it?
 

dmtaylor

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Grain needs to be malted, milled, and mashed. Otherwise you are just adding starch and protein. Use malt, mill/crush the malt finely, place in a fine mesh bag, steep in warm water at approximately 149 F or 65 C for at least 30 minutes, then pull the bag out and discard, and use the liquid wort. The wort needs to be boiled for at least ~10 minutes to prevent it from going sour (unless you want it to go sour). Cool and add with the rest of the ingredients at beginning of fermentation.

You could use a mixture of water and apple juice for the mash if you wish. The acidity might help convert more starch to sugar. The ideal mash pH is about 5.3-5.4 at mash temperature. Malt itself brings the pH to about 5.6-5.8, so a little acidity is welcome to bring down to the desired mash pH of 5.3-5.4.
 
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JustAnAnvil

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Are hops going to be necessary for this? Also will cheese cloth work to hold the grains?
 

dmtaylor

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Are hops going to be necessary for this? Also will cheese cloth work to hold the grains?
Hops vs. no hops, of course, is your own decision to make. With the other ingredients you are using, you probably do not need hops, too much going on at once in my humble opinion. But of course do whatever you like.

Yes, cheese cloth would work for this.
 
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