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View Full Version : New to Mead! I have questions, any suggestions?



Krzyzstof
11-16-2006, 01:53 PM
Hello all, my name is Chris. I've been thinking of starting to brew mead with a friend of mine. So far I've tried one batch and it turned out to be not too shabby. I want to start out doing it as a hobby, but once I've gained enough experience, knowledge, and ability, I want to eventually turn it into a business. Everyone's gotta start somewhere, and I would rather start at the beginning and learn how to do everything right then just jump right into it an fudge everything.

But one of my main questions is I've noticed that there's a good deal of mathematics and science involved in mead-making. Would it be wise to take a math class and/or a biology/chemistry class at my local community college to freshen up my skills?

Also, I know that someone ( I believe it was Vicky, along with a score of other people) said to make friends with the local homebrew store. I'm planning on going to check out the place on friday, and I don't want to seem like that pesky person that walks in and says "Teach me everything." If I have plenty of questions, do you think they'll most likely have plenty of answers and be happy to help? I don't want my first visit to be the one that results in the guys at the store having to make themselves look busy every time I walk in the door.

Last, when I make gallon batches of mead, is it ok to just let them sit in the carboys in my closet? I live in an apartment so theres a limited amount of space in which I could put them. Would that adversly affect any of the processes?

David Baldwin
11-16-2006, 07:47 PM
Chris,

Welcome to Gotmead and to the hobby!

Don't be afraid to seek out the help of the local brewshop. They should be eager to get you whatever you need to get your hobby rolling.

As to making it a business, check out the section Starting a Meadery. It's a great place to get some good perspective on what you can expect. It's not a hobby you can just roll into a sucessful business. The scale of operation and the regulatory hurdles involved translate into some serious commitment in time and cash. There aren't many viable shortcuts, and you will need some significant cash available to make it happen. You may be able to set up a micro-winery but expect to need $50,000 to $100,000 just to get started.

As to education, I'd recommend that you find out what your CC offers in the way of small business classes. Math, Biology and Accounting are going to be very helpful too.


Good luck.

David Baldwin

Leonora
11-17-2006, 12:12 PM
As a small business person I'll tell you that having a hobby and having a business are two ENTIRELY different things.

You will need business courses more than you ever think possible. Many businesses fail due to poor accounting and keeping a sense of cash flow.

We have people say to us "you work for yourself so you can set your own hours" and we say "yes, we get to work any 22 out of 24 hours that we like!"

My advice to you is to brew a lot first to see if you "grok" it. There are many different ways to approach brewing. If you read the various brew logs you will see everything from very methodical to very artistic. And both make good brews. I think it would be a good idea to see what your style is.

One of the things that I notice as a business all of my products (herbal bath and body care) have to be exactly the same batch to batch, year to year or folks complain. I would say that as a commercial brewer that would be your challenge to be consistant.

I think the best route would be, after doing a lot of hobby brewing, to go apprentice to a meadery. Learn from another's mistakes and get a small paycheck to do so.

YMMV,
Leonora

P.S. Sitting in a carboy in a closet should be fine as long as the closet is fairly cool and temperature consistant. Search the term: "bulk aging" for more info.

Rhianni
11-24-2006, 06:24 PM
Hello Krzyzstof!

How much airspace is in the carboys? You want as little as possible. 1 gallon in a 5 gallon carboy will not be good. Not ruined or undrinkable but nothing business worthy.

Dont be afraid to ask. You LHBS (local home brew store) should be more then happy to answer questions. A brewer making good tasting mead will keep making it and keep buying supplies.

For a hobby I dont think you HAVE to go too much into math. If you want to eventually do it I agree with Leonora as a business you will need to be consistant and that would require math. If I bought two bottles of mead from a meadery and they were different I would be very suspect that the meadery knows what they are doing. Not because they are different but beacuse if I am going to spend money on something I want a very specific flavor and quality.

While it could be useful, I dont think you will need biology classes. Keep notes on measurements, temperatures, strains of yeast and how long each phase went.

Oskaar
11-24-2006, 07:24 PM
Hey Chris,

You're getting some good advice here. I'd add that taking a winemaking course or two will really bring your production skills up in a hurry.

Cheers,

Oskaar