View Full Version : Help with finding a good supplier online.

02-08-2008, 06:00 PM
Hello all my name is JJ. My gf and I just recently decided to pick up a new hobby to pass the time and so we thought we'd give a go at mead making. Recently we purchased the book The compleat meadmaker and have read it cover to cover and are now planning on trying the first recipe from the book for those familiar with it. My problem is this, we live relatively far from any major cities or distributors seeing as how we live towards the central sierra's near Bear Valley and were hoping to do all of our ordering for ingredients off of the internet and preferably to avoid any major shipping debacle were hoping we could order from somewhere within california. Now for most of our supplies we seem to be ok with ordering from a brewing supplier out of Concord that this site lists but we're having a bit more difficult time finding an online distributor of some of the lavlin yeasts (specifically the one from the recipe) and the nutrients/energizers(or the fermaid) on what we would hope would a one stop shopping website. If anyone could help us and point us in the right direction it would be much appreciated. Thx again hope it isn't too annoying.

02-08-2008, 06:52 PM
I have had superior service from "More Beer", also "More Wine" (same folks, I believe).
You can check out morewinemaking.com

As for Honey, Miller's Honey ships, and they have given me wonderful service and good prices.

02-08-2008, 08:29 PM
excellent I had been looking at the MoreBeer website (they're the site from concord I mentioned) but was having difficulty finding wine yeast's on their site but their wine portion covers that although it looks like i 'll have to make them in seperate orders from what appears is the same site. One last question however is can I use a 5 gallon aluminum stockpot since the book here seems to only suggest Stainless Steel Stockpots. I know aluminum has a tendency to be fairly reactive compared to all other metals but would it make a difference in what is essentially just hot sugar water ? I personally would guess no but if anyone knows for sure or close to sure i'd really appreciate a little help thx again.

02-08-2008, 09:07 PM
Instead of the stock pot to heat the must, just don't heat the must. Speaking for myself, I never heat the must. Just add water and honey and stir for a long time. Ferment in the bucket or carboy and enjoy.

And plus one to the More Beer/More Wine people. I have used them for a long time and they are good with the shipping. I just wish it was all on one site.

02-08-2008, 09:19 PM
Yeah ..... like liff said - no need to heat the must, and if you want to improve the pourability of the honey, just let it sit in some hot water for a while. I have dealt with MoreBeer / MoreWine / Norther Brewer / Midwest Homebrewing Supplies / Williams Brewing, and all have been very good. As far as honey, I have had very good sucess with local honey producers, on eBay and just today, a 60 pound pail of Mesquite honey from Miller Honey arrived.

This is a great hobby that will teach you patience.


02-08-2008, 09:32 PM
Ya i can definately buy into the not heating the must idea the only problem is the gf is a stickler for the rules and she wants to do the very first recipe from her book to the T and therefor wants to heat the must. However money wins over rules and if aluminum stockpots are no good she'll buy into not using one she just wanted me to find out if aluminum would effect it.

02-08-2008, 10:00 PM
Hi jj and welcome!

I'm in the no heat camp too. What recipe is your gf wanting to use? Is it one of Papazian's older recipes? There are a bunch of extremely good recipes on this site for a first time mead maker. The beauty of these recipes is that the developers are right here and you can ask them questions! Even Ken Schramm hangs out here.

A very popular recipe is Joe's Foolproof Ancient Orange. A lot of people here got there start making it. And it doesn't require heat!

Medsen Fey
02-08-2008, 10:17 PM
Welcome to GotMead JJ!

If the recipe you are planning to use is an older one, watch out for acid additions at the beginning. These can sometimes drop the pH of your must down to a point that causes the yeast to stall leaving you with a stuck fermentation. Some of the older recipes also call for gypsum, Irish moss, and other things that are probably of little value in most cases.

If you haven't taken a look at the Mead NewBee Guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14) on the main GotMead site, it is definitely worth reading. A little front end prep work can save a lot of grief later.

Good Meading,

02-08-2008, 10:48 PM
HMM , sorry i thought i replied but it apparently did not go through. The recipe i'm using has no acid introductions at the beginning or at all for that matter. At the risk of copyrite it's essentially just water, honey, and nutrients with energizer heated then pitching the yeast once it's cooled. The only worry was we do not desire to buy a 5 gallon stainless steel pot to make the must in when we have a 5 gallon aluminum one. But if the aluminum somehow reacts with the must like it does with acidic concoctions we might consider buying a stainless steal one just for this recipe. I would just assume do no heat like everyone is suggesting and be fine with that but am being arm twisted into following the complete directions. So atm we're leaning towards maybe ignoring this portion but we're hoping someone can shed light on stainless steel vs. aluminum stock pots. Either way though I appreciate all the great support and help we're very excited about this and are even more excited by the help and enthusiasm this community has been giving.

Medsen Fey
02-08-2008, 11:07 PM
Using an aluminum pot to heat the must will cause no immediate problems, and won't create toxic mead, so I wouldn't invest in a steel one to do one batch. In general I don't like using aluminum cookware though, and prefer stainless steel - there isn't enough evidence to say for sure that aluminum can lead to long term problems like Alzheimer's, but I'm quite certain that stainless does not.

Happy meading!

02-08-2008, 11:15 PM
The MoreBeer/MoreWine site was recently revamped. The shopping carts used to be combined, but now are separate for whatever reason. I'm sure you can call them and they'll straighten it out for you, very friendly folks there. Free shipping over $59!

02-08-2008, 11:55 PM
I dont want to speak for him, but the author of that book is on this forum from time to time and im pretty sure he doesnt even heat all his musts anymore. Do a search with his name as the username in the forum search function and read through his most recent posts until you can find the ones in which he gives advice and im pretty sure youll find an instance where he says that you dont need to heat the must all the time or not at all. again, i dont want to put words in his mouth, but search through it and im sure youll see it in his posts. its Ken Schramm.

most people have pretty much abandoned that method. it stems from beer brewing and sanitation. in beer you do it to utilize hops and to sanitize the wort. baddies cant grow in honey. yeast outcompetes other organisms once they get into the must, alcohol created by yeast kills most baddies. generally its been accepted that heating only degrades the flavor and aroma of the honey. its your call though, read through Kens posts, and oskaars too and any others you have time for and decide for yourself, thats what mead is all about.

02-09-2008, 04:53 AM
Welcome to Got Mead?!!

I can understand your gf's worry over bad bugs (I'm kind of a freak about it myself, sometimes), but if you have her do an internet search on honey in general ( :icon_study: knowledge is power!), it won't take long to find all the info letting you know its natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral properties (I even found a few articles documenting the clinical trials that raw honey heals burn wounds faster & w/ less scarring than actual burn medications!) But if you heat the honey (pasteurize it), most of those properties are pretty much done for.

Reference page 43 of Ken Schramm's "The Compleat Meadmaker" and you'll see his procedure for the "No-Heat Method," which you and your gf can apply to the said recipe you are trying to make (it was the first and second recipe I did: they're awesome already!) I heated my first batch (per the recipe, to the letter), but used the no-heat method on the second: My experience is the second has a notably better experience (read:taste) than the first.

I read somewhere here where aluminum was basically discouraged due to the slightly higher acid that naturally occurs in honey: do the search... :icon_study: Ultimately, it's all up to you, and it'll be great no matter what!

It MUST be stressed, and CANNOT be stressed enough, the importance of cleanliness, sanitation, and sterility!! ON EVERYTHING!!
Every single thing, inside AND out, without exception that may touch your must. Even a little (unless it won't be going back into your carboy :drunken_smilie: ) Take a specific gravity reading just before you pitch the yeast, so we can help you figure out where your alcohol (and other things) is at when its done. :icon_scratch:

Have fun with it, don't freak out if it doesn't act the way you think it should ("It's taking too long!" "It's not clearing!"). Patience is the key. Just remember: The longer you wait, the better it is! If you can't wait, then take the advice of many here: in the meantime, go find some good commercial stuff! Local, if at all possible. There are topics here in the forum devoted to good commercial meads and meths; check them out!

Again, welcome to your new obsession, and "happy meading!" :cheers:

02-11-2008, 12:45 AM
Heating honey is really not required. The "old school" recipes (and I am from that old school, so I'm familiar with the old ways...) called for boiling and skimming, or for heating to pasteurization temperatures, out of a combination of tradition ("Well, we've ALWAYS done it that way!") and concerns about dormant microbes in the honey. As it turns out, boiling and skimming really DO impact the flavor profile of any honey, and IMHO, generally not for the better. In fact, the presence of the various proteins that boiling and skimming was designed to remove actually encourage healthier fermentations, since they provide the yeast with additional trace nutrients. Even Ken has said that a lot of the information in his book is now pushing 10+ years old, and not representative of our current state of knowledge about the hobby. In fact he has hinted that his publisher may give him the green light on a new edition soon. That would be cool!

Anyway, do not boil, and only heat to pasteurization if you can't convince your gf that it is in fact safe to use raw honey. But the most current studies have shown that the combination of extremely high specific gravity, the hygroscopic qualities of the sugars, and the naturally occurring enzymes in honey pretty much do a number on any microbe that has the misfortune to land in it. No worries -- your honey is not going to spontaneously support any harmful microorganisms... until you dilute it. As others in this thread have said, to prevent problems as the must is being mixed and afterward, keep everything that touches the must scrupulously clean and sanitized.

That's all you need to do.

Enjoy the addiction, er, ahh, hobby!!

02-11-2008, 06:49 PM
Just wanted to add my 2 regarding the aluminum vs. stainless question. I did a lot of research about this because I wanted to buy a large 8+ gallon pot to do full boils on my beer, and it really "hurt$" to buy a stainless pot that large. After my research I decided to go with aluminum. I found a 10 gallon pot for about $40 on Amazon.

To summarize what I learned when researching this question:
No one has proven that you can get alzheimer's from aluminum. It appears to be a rumor. A common rebuttal to the aluminum-alzheimer's concern goes something like, "There's more aluminum in a single antacid tablet than you would get in an entire batch of beer..." so I wouldn't worry about that too much.
Many trustworthy homebrewing experts say that they have used aluminum with no detectable off-flavors or other negative effects on their beer.
If you go with aluminum, boil water in the pot for an hour before you use it for the first time. The inner surface of the pot will darken as an oxide layer is deposited. This will give you some protection from acidic worts. (Butterlily brings up a good point that honey must has a low pH. My research was for beer and though beer wort is also acidic, I'm not sure how it compares to mead.)
When you clean the pot in the future, don't scrub off that dark oxide layer. Use a soft sponge or some other non-abrasive tool when cleaning. Bleach can also attack that layer, so never use bleach to sanitize an aluminum vessel (not that you would need to sanitize if you're planing on boiling the must in there.) If you do remove the oxide layer, you may get a metallic off taste, but that's still not a harmful amount of aluminum. (Source: How to Brew by John Palmer (http://www.howtobrew.com/appendices/appendixB.html))

I hope that helps. Having said all that, I'm a no-heat guy myself, but I'd encourage you to try it any way you want. It's your mead, and I'm sure a lot of great mead has been made over the years using the boiling method.

02-12-2008, 04:15 PM
Well thank you all for your posts this is such a friendly and responsive forum quite the opposite of the majority of the internet these days. Anyways we decided here to go with the no boil method for our first batch and are about ready to get started just as soon as our yeast and nutrients we ordered arrive which should be any day now. Now quick question just for those living in nor cal I will be ordering some honey from Miller's online but also saw that my local supermarket is having a sale on 5 lb jugs of honey from Wild Mountain Brand honey for $10 which is apparently from Oakland. Now while i'm sure the miller honey will be superior and this honey doesn't say what type of honey it in fact is i was considering getting and using about 15lbs of this for my first batch just to kinda get the hang of it. The honey claims it's unprocessed, unfiltered, and un cooked so i was wondering if it would be alright just for a first batch trial run. I'll definately be ordering better honey online it's just for a first trial run paying about $30 for shipping even though it's in state for 2 gallons seems like I might rather wait till my second or third batch. Also, has anyone used a Carlo Rossi bottle as a 1 gallon carboy I was thinking about getting these since MoreBeer seems to be out and it's actually on sale at the same price here as it would be just to order the jug from MoreBeer even ignoring shipping. If you have could u tell me what size rubber stopped u used? Just guess measuring it seems like it'll be about a #6 and I'm sure i could get much more accurate was just wondering if anyone else had experience with this and could clue me in.

One again thx all I appreciate all the help and support you have given.

02-12-2008, 06:22 PM
Oh and 1 more thing , is the GotMead.com link broken for anyone else today ? I had to look up the forum linc in my history to be able to get anywhere otherwise it was a dead gotmead logo and nothing else.

02-12-2008, 06:24 PM
Yes, I am seeing that too. Just the logo and nothing else.

02-12-2008, 09:58 PM
Just taste it and try to imagine it a whole lot less sweet and if it tastes good then use it. ask the guy if he knows what flowers the bees mainly go to or at least what grows in the area around his hives.

02-12-2008, 10:30 PM
Well the thing is this isn't farmer's market honey and i'ts not from the supplier. Apparently it's from Oakland which is about 3/4 hrs West of me but i'm pretty sure it's just somewhat generic but idk. When i went to the market today to get some just figuring if it was horrible in the end product it wouldn't be a big loss at all i did find taht while it's not labled on the honey brand name is Cole's Wild Mountain Honey. Anyways was just wondering if anyone knew if it would be complete trash or not we have however been using it for everything else honey goes in (cooking and such) around the house for over a year and it is better than any other generic stuff we've gotten but don't know how far that'll go towards making this batch but w/e first batch having it not be the best wouldn't be the worst thing.

02-12-2008, 11:25 PM
Hey, if it is your first batch, I think that it would be better than some unknown generic clover from who knows where. If it is truly unheated and minimally processed, you'll likely make a very good mead with it! I use something similar from Madhava here in Colorado. They're a local packer and they purchase honey from a lot of small beekeepers here along the Front Range. They're perfectly fine for my melomels, and the "wild ferment" batch that I made from their clover variety is actually quite complex and good.

I think you're fine to try Cole's Wild Mountain -- and if it turns out well you'll be the first to tell us all, right? ;)

02-13-2008, 12:47 AM
Well, it says unblended, unfiltered, undiluted, and uncooked and U.S. Grade A Fancy w/e that means . Anyways i'll start this up as soon as the yeast and nutrient shipment comes in (hoping tomorrow) so i'll let everyone know.

Thx again.

02-13-2008, 09:43 PM
I was told, basically, If you like the way it tastes raw, you'll do just fine with your mead. ;) And so far, it's been good advice. Have fun! :icon_thumleft:

02-17-2008, 11:52 AM
Hi JJ,

Welcome to GotMead!

jjwtayWrote: "Also, has anyone used a Carlo Rossi bottle as a 1 gallon carboy...."
Yes, I use them with a 6-1/2 drilled stopper. It fits just fine in the smaller neck. Also, you haven't mentioned if you already have a thermometer, a hydrometer, etc...
To answer your question about store honey vs Millers. ALL store honey is pasturized. Raw honey is preferred.


02-17-2008, 11:57 AM
Well this has RAW right on the label so idk, and yes I do have a hydrometer, thermometer and it kinda goes on from there.