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View Full Version : My first mead. 12# Linden Honey and a 3 gal carboy ... recipe anyone?



cantusviri
09-13-2007, 12:59 AM
I started brewing beer about 10 months ago but have recently been reading about meads and thought I'd try one. I picked up 12# of linden honey and a 3 gal carboy and am looking fo advice on a recipe. Thought I'd just try something simple to start ... maybe a straight honey mead. I understand they may take months/years to mature. Would it be too hopful to make a mead that would be drinkable by Christmas? Saving some for later? Thanks!

AsharaLyn
09-13-2007, 01:05 AM
If you want something meadish that will be ready by Christmas, check out the recipe for Joe's Ancient Orange. It's not a good first recipe in terms of good mead making practices, but if you want something quick and easy to see if you'll like mead, you can't beat it.

ucflumberjack
09-13-2007, 01:30 AM
I think cysers are the best way to go. Make a spiced cyser, backsweeten some of it and serve around xmas, then age the rest withouth backsweetening it. If you make one with lower alcohol content it should be more drinkable young. Use an ale yeast with a predictable alcohol tolerance so you can have lowish alcohol content yet a sweet finish without having to stabilize. The first one i made was something like this:

-4 gal apple juice
-1 gal honey
-a few cinnamon sticks
-ale yeast
-let it ferment out, then rack off the lees and onto more cinnamon, leave it alone til its clear, bottle. drink what you want at christmas time, age the rest as long as you can manage.

just figure out the aocohol tolerance of an ale yeast(find something under 10%), then add enough honey to the apple juice to make it finish at like 1.01-1.03. I like cysers for first meads because the apple juice usually has enough of its own nutrients to make up for your lack of practice with NAS.

ucflumberjack
09-13-2007, 01:36 AM
i just looked at the yeast table and wyeast sweet mead yeast is supposed to be at 11%. its not a real reliable yeast... but.... you might give it a go, it if finishes early then itll just be a little sweeter. add the apple juice(roughly 2.5 gallons) to a bucket, then start adding honey and checking gravity until your at 1.10. then aerate heavily and pitch your yeast and add cinnamon(or your favorite spice). it should finish around 1.02....

cantusviri
09-13-2007, 02:04 AM
Thanks! Will try a cyser, apples are falling off the tree here. I have some WL750 French Red Yeast (17%) ... will that do, or should I pick up the wyeast sweet mead? Could I rack 1 gal off at some point and add Potassium Sorbate to halt the fermentation (or would this be necessary?) and let the rest go till finished? I like the idea of saving some for next year. Thanks Again!

wildaho
09-13-2007, 03:28 AM
Hi cantusviri! And welcome to GotMead?

Unless you use a BUNCH of honey, that yeast will ferment very dry. Stopping it with sorbate and K Meta will work but you'll probably be ahead choosing a yeast that finishes in the range you're looking for. I'd feel comfortable with a 10% - 13% cyser for Christmas if you want something really smooth. Just be sure to follow the nutrient addition and aeration suggestions in other threads. See the yeast chart at http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=625&Itemid=42 for some common yeast characteristics. It shows alcohol tolerances and flavor characteristics and will help you narrow down your choices. You might even consider using an ale yeast if you don't plan on going much over 10%. Nottingham's Dry works well for cysers in that range.

Another question: do you want this to be a sparkling mead or still? If you want sparkling, stopping the fermentation pretty much leaves force-carbonation to make it happen. If you let the yeast stop the fermentation, however, you have some options with priming in the bottle to get your carbonation.

I prefer my meads still and semi-dry. What are you looking for in yours?

Wade

ucflumberjack
09-13-2007, 10:08 PM
normally with mead when your coming up with a recipe you decide what the alcohol content will be and how sweet you want it to finish at. then you look at the gravity required to reach that alcohol content, and add just enough extra to have it finish where you want it. so if 10% is 1.10, and you want it to finish at 1.02, you use enough honey to get it to 1.12 (1.10 + 0.02) and start the fermentation. my thought was just to make a lower alcohol mead so it will taste better sooner. also it shouldn't be dry, because again, it will take longer to taste good. so if you have something sweet and lower in alcohol it will taste better sooner. i have no idea about what ale yeasts alcohol tolerances are, youll have to do some research on that one or go with nottinghams like wildaho suggested. honestly in your position i would make a smaller batch for christmas and a bigger batch to age a while.

Wolfie
09-14-2007, 04:11 PM
Yo! If you keep the ABV near 10-12% it can be drinkable by X-mas, but it will be so much better by next x-mas

Keep er simple ;)

#1- sweetness: I'm assuming you want her sweet so I'd suggest aiming it to finish at no less than 1.01, thats semi sweet--some people like them as high as 1.03.

#2- yeasts: I'd go with that Ale yeast or with 71B which will hit ~14 but is noted for aging quickly and well. A fine beginners yeast and still one of my faves.

You'll want to pick up roughly 3 gallons of cider and you'll need between 5 and 8 Lb honey depending on what your doing.

5#'s honey
~2.5 Gal cider
SG 1.101, PA 13.2%
at 1.02 ABV~10% at 1.01 ABV~12%

Whats key here is that the recipe is approximate--if you want a particular SG dissolve honey in cider until you get that SG, recipes and mead calculators will only give you a ball park figure.

#3--Lastly, in case you are unfamiliar with mead practices I would avoid boiling the honey or heating the cider. Heating the cider may cause pectins to set which will make your mead hazy, if you realy want to heat that cider, you can get around the haze by using pectic enzyme.

Good luck

~Z

cantusviri
09-16-2007, 02:12 AM
Thanks All!

This is great info ... plan on brewing in the next few days ... will post results and certainly questions ...

Thanks!

cantusviri
09-21-2007, 08:03 PM
so ... last night I combined 92 oz of AJ + (5) 12 oz cans of AJ concentrate + ~108 oz of water (just under what was required for the concentrate) ... for a total volume of ~206 oz of AJ ... roughly 1.6 gal of liquid ... and ~8.75 lbs of honey ... (I just added the honey till I reached my target volume of 3 gal) ... I should've taken SG readings as I added, but didn't ... ended up with SG of 1.126 ... I was looking for a OG of 1.100 as suggested by you all ... so I racked 1 gal of must into (2) 1/2 gal growlers ... then added more water to the original must till i reached 1.100 ... transfered must and 3 cinn. sticks to a 3 gal carboy ... when cooled, airated well and pitched 71B + 1 1/2 tsp of yeast nutrient into 3 gal carboy ... pitched 1/2 a vial (split between the (2) 1/2 gal growlers) of WL750 Fr. Red Yeast (which I had on hand) + 1/4 tsp yeast nutrient into each of the (2) 1/2 gal growlers ... to one i also added 4 crushed allspice berries and 1/16 tsp cardamon ... this morning they were bubbling vigorously ...

so, am I on my way? ... what now? ... just time? ... or is there more along the way? ... when do I rack to secondary? ... how long in the secondary? ... another question: in a couple of months could I rack 1 gal or so off the 3 gal batch to bottle for this Christmas and let the remainder finish out ... then bottle (possibly carbonate) and condition for next year? ... can I use standard 12 oz or 22 oz brown bottles with caps, or are grolsch/swing tops required/recommended?

Sorry for all the newbie questions ... Thanks for all your help to get me going on my first mead!