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samson11
09-12-2007, 05:45 AM
Hi There

I am not new to brewing; I have been making beer and wine for 27 years now and just found this form yesterday. I have made one batch of mead two years ago and I loved it! (It was an apple cyser with Christmas spice) I have been thinking about making more and have been getting honey. I have 1 gallon of clover.

1 gallon of honey from a friend that has bees and gave it to me because she said she could not sell it because it was from the top of the hive and had to much water content in it. Here is the thing. I am mot sure what to do with this gallon of honey? Would it best to use it in traditional mead or with grapes as a pyment or what? The hive is in the city so the flowers are what ever there is in bloom around here, fruit trees, garden flowers and what ever.

I have been looking at a lot of books and think that I would like to do ginger mead and mint tea mead. Witch honey would be best for the ginger mead and witch would be beat for the mint tea? I like to end up with a mead that is on the sweet side. I am not in to dry meads.

So, will these two kinds be any good as sweeter mead? What ever sort of advise you prowess can give me would be great!! After all you have been doing honey thing more then me.

Thanks

Oskaar
09-12-2007, 07:50 AM
Welcome to Got Mead?

I'd recommend that you taste your honey before you make any decisions about which way to go with your recipes. If the honey lacks body and character I'd recommend that you purchase additional honey from another source (or if your friend has more honey to spare from the hive that is not from the top and is of higher quality) that is higher quality. I've found that a lighter color/flavor honey can be a good match for a mint mead, and I don't see why that wouldn't translate well to a ginger mint mead as well. I'm not a fan of tea in mead, never cared for the flavor, but if this is just mint tea from mint leaves, then I don't see why that wouldn't work just fine.

So I'd say that you want to taste your honey and see if it's too light/watery to carry a good flavor, character and aroma into your mead. If it is, then get some additional honey that is more full of flavor, but not over the top (I'd shy away from buckweat, avocado, nut honeys, etc. in favor of more light amber to golden honeys) So I'd go something like:

16-20 lbs Clover or a lighter varietal honey with good aromatics and flavor
Mint Tea - to the concentration you desire
Ginger - to the concentration you desire
H2O to 6 gallons
12 grams R-HST (http://morewinemaking.com/view_product/16508/102731) or BA11 (http://morewinemaking.com/view_product/16505/102731) yeast by Lallemand.

Balance your must to 1.125-1.130 beginning gravity, make sure your pH is good, and that your balance of ginger and mint is strong but not overpowering so it comes through well in the mead. You may supplement with more mint and/or ginger in secondary should you find it lacking from the primary.

Make sure to use Go-Ferm to rehydrate your yeast, and dose as recommended by Lallemand with Fermaid-K at the end of the Lag phase and the 1/3 sugar break.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

zionpsyfer
09-12-2007, 07:51 AM
Samson, Just in case you didn't hear it in your last post.... Welcome to Gotmead!


Honestly, it would be best to use the honey in a recipe that you're going to want to drink. The rest is just details. Have you tried the honey? Does it have any characteristics that stand out to you?

If you're looking at doing a ginger mead, here are some posts by others that may help get you started.
Wildahos Ginger Meth (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=412&topic=5752.0)
More ginger recipe discussions (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=412&topic=5749.0)

As for the mint...
Good description by oskaar at the bottom on what he does (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=412&topic=838.0)

If you will be going with mint tea instead of just adding the mint itself, there are two ways to go about it. The first method I've read about adds the tea bags directly in the batch. The bags are removed once the desired flavor is attained. Pros: I can see this giving you more precise control over the amount of flavor you add. Cons: If you space out the batch, you could over spice/flavor. The second method involves making a relatively strong tea and adding that to the must. Cons: I can see myself overdoing the tea and having too strong a flavor. Coffee meads made with this method can take on an astringent and bitter flavor. I do not know if the same is true for any teas. Pros: You would get more bang for your buck on each tea bag used??

I'm sure someone with hands on experience with teas in meads will be able to set us both straight if I'm off base. ;)


If the honey flavor is relatively neutral, you can go with either. I would imagine that the amounts of ginger or mint you use would really depend on what you were looking for. Just for an example, if the honey were lightly floral and you went with the mint, going very easy on the mint would allow the floral character of the honey to still come through. Either of these spices would be good in a sweet mead in my opinion.

If the flavor isn't so neutral, then choose one that you think will complement the flavor.

A word of caution. If you know that the honey has a high concentration of water in it, I would use it quickly or find a way to get it in a freezer. Normal honey has such a low water content that it is relatively safe from bacterial infection and spontaneous fermentation. Higher water contents can change this. It sounds like you're gearing up to use it soon though.


Hope this helps a little, browse the newbee and recipe sections a bit before you get started. There's a wealth of info in there that I'm sure will help. Keep an eye out for Staggered Nutrient Addition Schedule information (NAS for short). I've yet to make a batch of wine, but I cannot recall reading anything about NASes for wine. It's a common practice by the vets here, and after having tried a batch using it... I can say it's worth it.



Edit: Bam, Oskaar snuck in while I was rambling.

samson11
09-12-2007, 10:15 AM
Thanks for the wellcome

Ok I tasted the honey and thank it is going to work. If there is too much water in it you can not tell. Its dark and has a nice body to it.

I found this recipe is in a really old book it was printed in the 60s

15 lbs dark honey
6 oz freshly chopped ginger root
1 tsp gypsum
1 tsp acid blend
3 tsp yeast nutrient
tsp Irish moss power
3 oz mint tea
2 pkgs champagne yeast
cup corn sugar for bottling

Boil the honey, ginger root, acid, yeast nutrient, gypsum and Irish moss in 1 gallons water for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, add the mint tea and let cool to room temp. Add to primary and top off with water to make 5 gallons. Let set 24 hours and pitch yeast. Rack in a week to carboy and put on air lock, rack again in 2 months, add cup corn sugar and bottle. Set in a dark place for one year and enjoy.


What do you all think? I want to get started soon because I have 7 carboys empty and we know thats not rite!

The 2 gallons of honey is calling me to do something with them!!

If anyone has a more up to date recipes I would like to see them too.

Thanks for the help

wolf_tracker
09-12-2007, 10:44 AM
:wave:

this is a very old recipes.
you probably don't want to use it

1 tsp gypsum
tsp Irish moss power

don't believe ppl use these any more

and lots of ppl dont boil the honey either ...

have you read through the beginners section
and search the recipes

est for the last year or so ... thoughts are really changing

my .02
:cheers:
wolf

asj
09-12-2007, 11:18 AM
If the beek knows it's over 18% make sure to use it up pretty quickly. Wild yeast and other beasties can live in honey that has high moisture content so don't let it sit around. Maybe it'll be worth pasteurizing the honey/must this time just in case? If you have to store it for a while it maybe worth freezing it to keep in good shape.

For recipe's look on the board here, recipe's have changed since the 60s.

Pewter_of_Deodar
09-12-2007, 12:40 PM
As Asj noted, if the water content is too high, the honey can spoil. Also, if the water content is high enough that it might spoil, heating the must to around 140F to 160F and holding it there for 15 minutes or so will pasteurize any nasties out of the honey.

If the flavor of the honey is weak, you can do as Oskaar suggested and use spices such as mint (or vanilla or cinnamon or anything else you like) to add some stronger flavors to spice things up (pun intended). Also, you can use a fruit although I'd personally recommend something other than grapes. You will end up with a fairly bland pyment if the honey has very little to add to the flavor. Maybe use a fruit with some tartness or a flavor strong enough that it would have hidden the honey taste even if you had used a stronger honey. Maybe cherries or elderberries or strawberries?

Anyway, good luck,
Pewter

zionpsyfer
09-12-2007, 04:08 PM
Good! A nice dark honey will work well.


Wolf tracker's right. Watch out for those two ingredients. Also beware of recipes that call for acid addition up front. Very rarely do recipes call for acid at the beginning of a recipe anymore. Acid is used only to balance out the profile after fermentation has completed. Adding in acid to the must at the beginning can cause fermentation problems. You shouldn't need two packages of yeast. Something tells me this has to do with the acid blend and irish moss powder. One packet will do just fine if you have set up the environment right. Also note that using a champagne yeast, your batch will tend to ferment to dryness. If you're looking for a sweeter mead, consider using a wine yeast.


Sounds tasty! Keep us apprised.

ucflumberjack
09-12-2007, 09:31 PM
Old recipes dont generally work real well as most of them were made by people who hadnt tailored them to honey, but rather to grapes or malted grains. this website is full of people who have been tailoring their recipes to honey based musts for a long time and with great success. the best thing to do here is read read read. go through as many posts as you have time for and your efforts will be rewarded.

samson11
09-13-2007, 01:38 PM
Thanks so much for everything,I have been reading alot, over 7 hours now!
I am getting a alot of great info.
one thing I am not seeing is the use of mint tea in mead?
My wife says that she knows where I can get some fresh mint. How much fresh mint would I use? Would it be better to add it after heating the hony?
Does 1 gallon of honey weighed less than 15lbs?

I put the tub on the scale and it said 12.92 lbs. I though that I had plenty for two 5 gallons of mead.

wolf_tracker
09-13-2007, 04:13 PM
:wave:

different honeys have different weights ...
i believe a ball park would be one quart honey to 1 gallon of mead

but better then weight is starting gravity
do you want sweet mead or dry mead

you start with different sg for each

one gallon of honey would not make 2 five gallon batched imo

:cheers:
wolf