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View Full Version : Traditional mead suggestions, please



K111er
01-26-2007, 08:46 PM
Good day. I've been lurking for about half a year, learning, and in November past I decided I was ready to start. :icon_study: I made beer years ago in brew-on locations, but have never done anything at home.

My first problem was finding a LHBS. Even though many places advertise themselves as homebrew shops, most around here are in fact brew-on facilities, with little (or no) selection in the way of equipment, yeasts, nutrients etc. I managed to find one locally who carries some equipment, but minimal yeasts and the only nutrient was straight DAP. I bought some jugs with airlocks, sanitizer, DAP and a packet of EC1118. They had no hydrometers, test jars, thermometer.

My first mead was a buckwheat JAO, but I chose to use Fleischman quickrise bread yeast, since that is what I had in the cupboard. I pitched 6Nov06, racked to another jug 22Dec06 (46days) right when I noticed it had cleared, and then bottled 13Jan07 (22days more). I did not have a hydrometer when I started this batch, so didnt bother with a final measurement either. Temperature was between 18 and 20 Celcius. The taste is too much for most of my friends, but I don't mind it at all, and hope the 3 bottles that I have left get better with a little time. The buckwheat flavour really balances well (I think) with the orange. I can taste almost no cinnamon or clove.

Next, I started another gallon of JAO, this time using EC1118, and mostly clover honey, with about 1/8-1/4 being buckwheat. By this time, I had a copy of the Compleat Meadmaker, and had read in a few places that use of some buckwheat can add extra needed nutrients. I pitched 25Nov06, and racked to a new jug 12Jan07 (48days). I left this one too long, I am sure of that, but, have it in a dark corner bulk aging for a while. It tastes astringent, and is quite dry, but tastes like it has a lot of potential. I suspect I will blend some honey into this to sweeten it up a little. Again, I can taste the orange, but minimal cinnamon and clove.

So, I combined my engineering problem solving skills with all the information I had read, and I felt comfortable deviating from the prescribed JAO method and ingredients, and have been reasonably successful. Even though they may not be ideal products, I have learned from my experiments.

After all this, I did some yet more research, and found another place close to me that is in fact a LHBS. I didn't get a blank stare when I asked about D47 and a balanced nutrient. In fact, the proprietor took me in the back to his fridge, where he keeps the yeast. A bewildering array was there, and he even keeps liquid yeast, should I wish to use that. They had a selection of hydrometers and thermometers, as well as test jars, so I picked up a bunch more stuff. They had no FermaidK, but did have a yeast nutrient with yeast hulls and amino acids, so I picked some of that up too. The owner's son has apparently won an award for a melomel he made, so I am planning on going back to pick his brain when he returns from his vacation time.

Here is what I am thinking of doing for my next batch, a one gallon traditional mead.

1.50kg clover honey (~3.3lbs)
0.33kg buckwheat honey (0.72lbs)
water to 1 gallon

I have 3 yeasts to choose from, K1V1116, EC1118, or D47. I have both straight DAP, and another nutrient with hulls and amino acids. Lalvin suggests using a balanced nutrient during the first 1/3 of fermentation, with staged additions. I understand this to mean adding a little every couple days, instead of one load initially. This time, I have a hydrometer, so will get more quantitative data.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I had a lot of background. Any comments/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :cheers:

Oskaar
01-27-2007, 07:46 AM
Welcome to GotMead.com.

Sounds like you're having fun experimenting. That's great. I suggest that you make a real batch of Ancient Orange so you'll know what it actually tastes like when the recipe is followed as written.

A couple of questions and a request:

1. Do you have any Go-Ferm? If you're going to make a high gravity must, Go-Ferm is an essential nutrient to ensure your yeast are ready to take on a high sugar must. I would not recommend doing your recipe for the Traditional Mead without using Go-Ferm to rehydrate any one of those three yeasts. I'd recommend holding off on this recipe until you can get some Go-Ferm to rehydrate your yeast, honestly.

2. As it is written your recipe will be close to 1.15 OG. That's about 20% PABV, so you can rule out the D47 yeast unless you're looking for something that is really really sweet. What level of sweetness are you looking for, and do you have an idea of how sweet that is compared to your two other meads?

OK, now for the request. Would you please resize your Avatar to 100x100 to comply with our standard of avatar size please. That is, no larger than 100x100 pixels.

Thanks so much,

Oskaar

K111er
01-27-2007, 12:13 PM
Good morning, thanks for the welcome. My avatar has been changed, thanks for the heads-up.

I have no GoFerm, but am quite happy to take another trip to my LHBS this afternoon. If I am unable to find GoFerm, I can order some I am sure, or he may have something else not branded the same. If I were to try this without GoFerm, would decreasing the amount of honey used help? (decreasing the density of the must may allow for better yeast rehydration?) I understand it will lack the micronutrient uptake advantage during rehydration - would that make the lag phase longer?

I prefer dry wine, and dry to medium mead. The Quickrise Buckwheat is a little too sweet to drink much of, corrected SG~=1.0253. The second batch made with EC1118 shows corrected SG~=1 and is OK - 'hot' but that should age out, I understand. I say OK, but that is for me, noone else who has tried it likes either of them much - yet.