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View Full Version : Why do many mead recipes make 5 gals?



causeofhim
06-27-2006, 02:27 PM
When I find mead recipes they most are for making 5 gals of mead. Even the mead kits you can buy are for 5gals. Why is this? Most wine making carboys are 3 or 6 gals. Wouldn't it make more sinse to make the recipes for this amount?

WRATHWILDE
06-27-2006, 03:54 PM
CoH,

I'd have to disagree with "most" carboys being 3 or 6 gallon. The most common glass carboy in use is, no doubt, the standard 5 gallon bottles that were used for decades as Water cooler bottles in homes and offices... in those prehistoric times before every body had their own water filtration systems.

Wrathwilde

causeofhim
06-27-2006, 05:32 PM
My statement was that "Most wine making carboys are 3 or 6 gals". I was referring to the carboys that are sold for winemaking not the retro water jugs that you can use for wine making.

SteveT
06-27-2006, 05:48 PM
My statement was that "Most wine making carboys are 3 or 6 gals". I was referring to the carboys that are sold for winemaking not the retro water jugs that you can use for wine making.


I think if you read the bee's lees recipes, and others on the 'net many of the recipes are 5 gallon batches. I made beer years before I started mead making, and had 6.5 and 6 gallon carboys. It's a simple matter to convert measurements to scale to whatever size you have on hand.

Dmntd
06-27-2006, 05:53 PM
Common size carboys sold are; 3, 5, 6 & 6 1/2 gallon (2.8 gallon seem to have faded away over the last couple years).

Many of the recipes you've seen may date to a time when the 5 gallon water bottle was the most common fermentation vessel.

Any recipe of mine is for 3 or 6 gallons.

Dmntd

Oskaar
06-27-2006, 05:56 PM
I usually start my recipes as a six gallon batch, but then rack down to a five gallon yield and keep any extra as thieving material.

It's been my experience that five gallon vessels are easier to find 2nd hand than the other sizes, but I do have between 50-60 carboys that are 6.5 or 5 gallon.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Dmntd
06-27-2006, 06:05 PM
The primary & bottling bucks given me by the bastard... I mean my friend who got me started making mead are both 5 gallons.

Any more 6.5 - 7.9 primary buckets are the norm, and I've started to see more 10 & 20 gallon bucks around.

Dmntd

WRATHWILDE
06-27-2006, 06:41 PM
Many of the recipes you've seen may date to a time when the 5 gallon water bottle was the most common fermentation vessel.


Thanks Dmntd, this was exactly the point I was trying to get across, the fact that there are still 5 gallon glass carboys floating around from the 1920s means that there are probably a much higher % of 5 gallon carboys being used today than any other size, in fact I'd be willing to bet that the # of 5 gallon carboys in existence out numbers all of the 2.8, 3, 6 and 6.5 gallon carboys combined. It is with this in mind that I'd say the 5 gallon carboys are probably still the most common carboy being used for brewing. As Oskaar pointed out you can easily find 5 gallon carboys 2nd hand. Finding 3, 6 and 6.5 gallon carboys 2nd hand are a rarity, at least in this area.
Like Oskaar, I generally start larger... in my case 6.5 to 6 to 5 gallon.

As far as mead makers go they are a cheap lot, at least some of the newbees are, I've seen them balk at buying a $7.00 hydrometer for #$%* sake... asking how they can make there own. ::) Others seem to go on scavenging hunts unwilling to spend any $. So an old restaurant pickle bucket becomes the primary and a "retro" water jug becomes the secondary. and a donated bucket of honey that's been sitting in a garage for a decade becomes the honey source. You may think I'm exaggerating, but all of these topics have come up on the boards, albeit not on the same thread. I've found that a number of members here prefer to work on the cheap... so 2nd hand 5 gallon water bottles are a popular choice, some people are willing to give them away just to get rid of them, and you can't beat free 5 gallon carboys.

Wrathwilde

JamesP
06-27-2006, 07:18 PM
5 Gallon carboys? What 5 gallon carboys??

We only have 19.8 Litre ones over here ;D

Dmntd
06-27-2006, 07:22 PM
Exactly Wrathwilde,

I have 6 primary buckets; 3 ~ 1 gallon, 2 ~ 5 gallon and one 20 gallon.

Most of the mead I make, starts off as 5 gallon batch with the gravity for a 6 gallon batch. Depending on how things go I'll add water for 6 gallons once it goes into secondary or if it taste real good as is, it stays a 5 gallon batch.

Hopefully I'll be able to pick up a 14.5 gallon demi-john in the next month or so, I'd like to start making 15 gallon at a time of the tried and true recipes I have.

At least they'll break down evenly for 5 gallon runs.

Dmntd

Dmntd
06-27-2006, 07:24 PM
5 Gallon carboys? What 5 gallon carboys??

We only have 19.8 Litre ones over here ;D


Pour bastard >:D

Dmntd

Dan McFeeley
06-28-2006, 03:09 AM
It's been my experience that five gallon vessels are easier to find 2nd hand than the other sizes, but I do have between 50-60 carboys that are 6.5 or 5 gallon.

Fifty to sixty carboys!? Just how big is the Meadworks? :o :o :o

Hope you have a good ventilation system -- I can just imagine the CO2 problem with all of them going at once. :o ;D

WRATHWILDE
06-28-2006, 03:23 AM
Hope you have a good ventilation system -- I can just imagine the CO2 problem with all of them going at once. :o ;D


I think Oskaar keeps Redheads around to breath up all the excess CO2, this keeps them lightheaded and pliable.

>:D :P ;) ;D

Angus
06-28-2006, 08:49 AM
I think it is also a "self fulfilling prophecy" in that most of the carboys being sold in homebrew stores seem to be 5 gallons (from what I have seen). This may be because of the previously mentioned tendency of using 5 gallon water jugs. This size therefore makes most of the recipes be sized for 5 gallons, which makes new brewers go out to buy a fermenter that can hold 5 gallons. They then formulate new recipes sized for 5 gallons, which......

Angus

Scott Horner
06-28-2006, 10:41 AM
5 gallon carboys are still widely available. I usually have the 5.5 and 6 gallon versions but here is a link to the 5 gallon.

http://morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=16582

Scott