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gisbrewmaster
03-09-2008, 11:26 PM
Hi all,

I am looking to make mead for the first time and I want the simplest recipe possible.

I have the following ingredients to make a 5 gallon batch:

12lb local orange blossom honey (raw)
yeast nutrient
acid blend
Spring water
2 packages of dry champaign yeast

I would like to make a semi sweet mead with half the batch bottled with carbonation and half still. I have looked through some of the recipes on the site but all seem to have some additional ingredients. When I make something for the first time I like to make it as basic as possible so that I can understand what all the ingredients bring to the table before i add things. Does anyone have a step by step process that I can use for a 5 gallon batch. I am particularly interested in how to get the honey clean since it is raw and unpasteurized. Any assistance would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Matt

butterlily5
03-09-2008, 11:44 PM
Welcome to GotMead?!!

You could take a gander at my brewlog if you'd like: "The Lily-Girl's Learning Curve" (I don't know how to link stuff yet.) It's 2 batches of the same basic recipe, handled slightly different, which made a noticeable difference in the way they've come out. Now, First thing to say, it's a general rule not to add the acid blend until well after fermentation, usually when you're about to bottle (and then it's pretty much to taste). Also, Since honey is anti-fungal/anti-bacterial/anti-viral, it's also generally accepted that heating your honey and must is unnecessary, as it tends to change the honey: I can tell you that between my 2 batches, the unheated batch is generally the preference for anyone who has tasted them. It's totally up to you, tho! Some people feel more comfortable to pasteurize.

Keep in mind, tho, I had no idea about nutrient additions or any of that at the time of this brewlog, so I highly suggest you do a search for Oskaar's lessons on nutrient management: things will work so much better for you!

But that recipe is about as basic as I know, and they came out as a semi-sweet mead on the first batch, and a sweet mead on the second.

Welcome, again, to your new obsession! :cheers:

Oskaar
03-09-2008, 11:45 PM
Welcome to Got Mead?

OK let's get you making some good mead here.

1. Take the acid blend and put it in your garage somewhere in a cool dark place and forget about it.
2. Which specific Champagne yeast do you have? Please include the manufacturer and specific strain/name (i.e. Red Star Premier Cuvee or Lallemand EC-1118)
3. If you want a semi-sweet mead you'll need at least 6-8 more pounds of honey, otherwise your mead will be dry and thin.

Next, read the newbees guide to mead making here (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14) which will give you what you need for a very good basic step by step process.

Cheers,

Oskaar

butterlily5
03-10-2008, 12:01 AM
Yeah, what he said! :icon_thumleft:

CBBaron
03-10-2008, 09:34 AM
Hi all,

I am looking to make mead for the first time and I want the simplest recipe possible.

I have the following ingredients to make a 5 gallon batch:

12lb local orange blossom honey (raw)
yeast nutrient
acid blend
Spring water
2 packages of dry champaign yeast

I would like to make a semi sweet mead with half the batch bottled with carbonation and half still. I have looked through some of the recipes on the site but all seem to have some additional ingredients. When I make something for the first time I like to make it as basic as possible so that I can understand what all the ingredients bring to the table before i add things. Does anyone have a step by step process that I can use for a 5 gallon batch. I am particularly interested in how to get the honey clean since it is raw and unpasteurized. Any assistance would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Matt


I'm very new to mead also but what I have learned so far is:
Basic mead recipe 1gal- You can scale the ingredients up to 5 or 6 gals with the same yeast.
2-3# honey
yeast nutrient per manufacturers instructions
water to 1gal
rehydrated wine yeast per manufacturers instructions

Sanitize everything
Mix honey, water and nutrient at room temp. A little hot water can be used to rinse out the honey container.
Pitch yeast
stir a couple times a day for the first couple days to ensure the yeast have enough O2.
After it stops bubbling (1-2 months) transfer to a carboy to allow clearing and aging.

Champagne yeast have a high alcohol tolerance so they will take nearly any mead to dry. If you want a sweet mead you will have to use sorbate and sulfite and then back sweeten. If you use other yeast types it is possible to create a must that exceeds the alcohol tolerance of the yeast and causes them to stop early leaving the mead sweet.

It is difficult to get a sparkling sweet mead. Bottle conditioned mead requires that the yeast eat a small amount of sugar to create the CO2 in the bottle. Sweet mead has leftover sugar. The yeast will eat this sugar unless something is done to prevent this. So if you try to make a sparkling sweet mead you either get a flat mead or bottle bombs. The only option is to force carbonate the mead with a kegging system then bottle from the keg.

Craig

Oskaar
03-10-2008, 02:07 PM
snip....Champagne yeast have a high alcohol tolerance so they will take nearly any mead to dry. If you want a sweet mead you will have to use sorbate and sulfite and then back sweeten. If you use other yeast types it is possible to create a must that exceeds the alcohol tolerance of the yeast and causes them to stop early leaving the mead sweet.

It is difficult to get a sparkling sweet mead. Bottle conditioned mead requires that the yeast eat a small amount of sugar to create the CO2 in the bottle. Sweet mead has leftover sugar. The yeast will eat this sugar unless something is done to prevent this. So if you try to make a sparkling sweet mead you either get a flat mead or bottle bombs. The only option is to force carbonate the mead with a kegging system then bottle from the keg.

Craig


OK, there are several strains of champagne yeast so they will vary in alcohol tolerance from 11 - 18% which is why we need specific information on which yeast by which manufacturer.

Sweet mead does have residual sugar and yeast can eat them if the ABV Tolerance is above the current ABV level at bottling. However, the major concern with unstabilized residual sugar meads (and wines) is mostly from secondary fermentation by either malolactic bacteria or yeast. If there is a malolactic fermentation in the bottle you'll end up with fizzy not so good tasting mead. If you have a secondary fermentation by the yeast that you haven't eliminated by stabilizing then you may indeed have bottle bombs if the sugar level is sufficient enough to exceed 6 atmospheres of pressure or more.

So, let's get back to the questions I asked about your ingredients. Specific yeast name and manufacturer. Also, the suggestion to lose the acid is in play. Acid is not necessary since it is more likely to stall your ferment than to enhance it, or the flavor for that matter.

Cheers,

Oskaar

gisbrewmaster
03-10-2008, 03:38 PM
Hi All,

I have the following yeast:
Red Star Wine Yeasts 5 grams. Pasteur Champagne. Neutral flavor profile, recommended for dry wines. Despite the name, this yeast should not be used in sparkling wines (use Premier Cuvee). Alcohol tolerance up to 17%. Ferments between 60 and 80 degrees.

As a beer brewer trying out mead making I also have access to:
Munton and Fison Ale Yeast (6 grams): Muntonís Yeast has very hardy characteristics and will tolerate a wide range of temperature variations during fermentation. For recipes with ingredients consisting of sugar as a source of fermentables, this yeast is very acceptable.

What yeast of the ones I have would you recommend if I want to make a semi-sweet mead!

Thanks Matt

Launcelot
03-10-2008, 05:18 PM
Wow, I actually see a question I can answer.

My first 3 batches were made with the pasteur. all three had varying levels of success.

My first batch I had a very sluggish fermentation out the door, due to lack of proper feeding, I never developed off flavors, but I had an SG that was too high and it took a bit for the yeast to dig in.

My second batch was *very* active (think foam volcano) It was pitched off of a starter that consisted of 1/4c of my 1.12sg must and 1/2c of H20, and I Fermax (as per instructions, I recall it to be like 1/4tsp) started at 92f and allowed to run until it had a healthy foam head, then pitched into oxygenated must. It worked out very well producing a fairly dry .96sg) final and is currently aging on oak.

My third batch was Pineapple, and while it has all the fun loving taste of paint stripper, my understanding (points at Oskaar) is that I need to age the pineapple for a very long while.

If you are looking for a bigh ABV and a healthy easy yeast, the pasteur so far has worked well for me.

::grins happily:: Extremely happy to have been able to answer at least a part of your question, I will now STFU so Oskaar or one of the other very knowledgeable types here can do a better job of it.

--Launce

Medsen Fey
03-10-2008, 07:00 PM
Hello gisbrewmaster, welcome to GotMead!

Knowing that you want a semi-sweet result, do you have an idea how high an alcohol content you want? This will have some bearing in the yeast choice.

Medsen

gisbrewmaster
03-10-2008, 08:55 PM
Hi,

I would say I would like an ABV of 10-12% but I don't really know what I am looking for. I never even had mead before it just sounds interesting. I have just done some reading and it seems to me that a lot of people like a semi-sweet mead so i figured that is what i would shoot for. If it was a little on the dryer side I would probably be ok with that. I usually like dry wine.

Matt

wildaho
03-11-2008, 02:26 AM
There are a couple of ways you can go here I guess.


I never even had mead before it just sounds interesting.

Okay, what about it sounds interesting? What beers or wines or even whiskies/hard liqours do you like? You can probably find a mead profile that will fit and blow your socks off.

I think your best best is to to define the flavors you want to pursue. "Mead" is a very nebulous category. There are experts here that can help you but they have to know the profile you are looking for (note: I am not one of the experts, just a big fan.).

One of the simplest meads you can do is a cyser (honey and cider). I don't say that just because I like apple based musts, its more for their ease of fermenting. Honey needs nutrients and apple juice can supply a lot of those. Cysers are a great introduction into the variety and range that fermented honey can bring you. Add different fruits and/or spices and there you go!

You say:

it seems to me that a lot of people like a semi-sweet mead so i figured that is what i would shoot for.

A lot of people also like them dry (me amongst them). Dry or sweet will really depend on the other flavors you want. What do you want?

gisbrewmaster
03-11-2008, 09:03 PM
I think that a mead that has a hint of residual sugar will make it less harsh especially if I am going still. I am personally a fan of pretty dry wines and very hoppy beers. i guess what it comes down too is I want a good drinkable mead that a wide variety or people would like. I don't know exactly what profile I am looking for. I guess the profile I am looking for is good and drinkable.

Medsen Fey
03-11-2008, 09:19 PM
One idea you might consider is to make a couple of small batches to see what you like best. If you make two different one gallon batches with about 3 pounds of honey each, the ale yeast will probably leave you with a sweet batch and the champagne yeast will produce a dry batch and then you can taste both. That'll give you an idea of what you like best - heck, you might find you really like both.

Medsen