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Storm
06-04-2008, 04:59 AM
First and foremost, I have indeed read the FAQ. Unfortunately, when I say newb, I mean it.

Secondly, I'll give you a small bio for context. I am a history major (one semester from a BA and on to my PhD) who lives and operates in West Virginia. I have yet to see any local brewshops or anything of the kind. I am Scots-Irish and have a wedding in about 16 months where I would like to serve my own mead. That and I've been wanting to make some for, oh the last 8 years or so. Right now I have my hands in a lot and bills piling up and no money to do much of anything, including my hobbies, which makes this new venture somewhat overwhelming. I am by no means an able person when it comes to following directions, but I learn quickly, especially when I am shown what needs to be done. Barring that, I hope to find several people who are willing to spend the time to dumb some things down for me so I too may enjoy this loved past time.

Now, onto the good stuff.

I will be going to the Outer Banks from the 6th to the 14th so I'm not planning on doing anything major as of right now. However, I would like to, within the next several weeks, figure out what I will HAVE to have (I also read the newbee guide) to begin producing oh, I don't know, 5-10 gallon batches a time maybe? First though, I'm curious as to if there is a generally areed upon simple mead recipe I can do, maybe a gallon or so? I've searched and searched for recipes, and been successful in finding many, but not knowing the many of the basics, or comprehending them at least, I am finding myself in a rut.

For my first batch, a gallon or so I think would be fine, I would like to do a straight mead or sack mead, maybe a melomel or metheglin afterwards. I'm also interested in Cyser and Hppocras but thought maybe those would be better for later. Then again, maybe a Cyser would be nice. Lacking a plethora of funds...that's not right...I basically have no money to work with...that's better...I'm wondering if there are items I can use that are most likely already around and easily obtained. For instance, I don't have any carboys, in fact, I didn't know what those were and had to look it up (shot to the ego!) but I may be able to find something like it. Does anyone have any suggestions as to if this will be possible? I've tried looking for these answers before posting, but coming up short (or at least in my understanding of previoulsy posted topics) I have decided to ask those more learned than myself. I would appreciate any help, and if anyone would like to adopt an FNG I don't mind contact via e-mail or AIM. Just cut me some slack and before you know it I'll have it right as rain.

So, with that, I'll again apologize for my newbtastic newbness. Greetings again and my thanks in advance!

P.S. It is 5 AM, quite a time for me to decide to join a forum and attempt an intelligable post.

Sláinte!

GrantLee63
06-04-2008, 05:24 AM
First of all, welcome to Gotmead.com ..... I made this in February of 2007 for a wedding in August of that same year. It turned out pretty damned good and was enjoyed by all. It is a variation of Joe's No-Age Pyment:

(16) 02/25/2007 – No-Age Pyment for Joel’s Wedding


I’m doubling-up a batch on this one - 12 gallons for Joel’s Wedding on 08/25/2007 – 6 months to the day from today!

Here is the ingredient list:

• 24 pounds of Raw Wildflower honey
• 12 ounces of Buckwheat honey
• 1 ½ teaspoons Pectin Enzyme
• 6 gallons of Newman’s Own Grape Juice from Costco
• Water to 12 gallon mark on fermenter
• 25 grams Lalvin EC-1118

Additionally, after initial fermentation is complete the following items are needed:

• 6 teaspoons Potassium Sorbate
• 2 teaspoon Sodium Bimetasulphate
• 96 ounces of Newman’s Own Grape Juice (for back-flavoring)
• 4 pounds of Raw Wildflower honey (for back-sweetening)

Procedure / process:

• Mixed heated honey, Pectin Enzyme and about 4 gallons of warm water vigorously with lees stirrer.
• Added 6 gallons of Grape Juice and stirred with lees stirrer.
• Rehydrated yeast and used1 tablespoon of GoFerm.
• Pitched yeast.
• Used O2 system for 1 ½ minutes.
• Covered fermenter with lid.

02/25/2007 – OG Brix = 25. SG = 1.105. I will add 1 tablespoon of DAP at the 1/3 sugar break, or 17 Brix.

02/26/2007 – Aerated for 1 minute with pure O2 in the AM, and stirred with my lees stirrer in the PM. Brix = 21.

02/27/2007 – Aerated for 1 minute with pure O2 in the AM, and stirred with my lees stirrer in the PM. Brix = 18. Added 1 tablespoon of DAP and mixed well.


02/28/2007 – Aerated for 1 minute with pure O2 in the AM, and stirred with my lees stirrer in the PM. Brix = 12

03/04/2007 – Brix = 10

03/11/2007 – Brix = 10 - Added 6 teaspoons of Potassium Sorbate and 2 teaspoons of Sodium Bimetasulphate. Gently stirred with my lees stirrer.

03/18/2007 – Racked from the 20 gallon fermenter into two 6 ½ gallon carboys in which was added 2 pounds raw wildflower honey, 48 ounces of grape juice, 1 ½ ounces of medium toast American Oak, and 1 ½ ounces of heavy toast French Oak. Finishing Hydrometer reading = 1.000 - ABV = 14.2%

06/09/2007 – Bottled 62 750 ml bottles. The oak gave this no-age mead a very interesting character. Although my FG reading indicates a dry mead, it does not taste as dry as you would think. Hopefully Joel and his wedding guests will like it!


- GL63

JephSullivan
06-04-2008, 12:55 PM
Hi Storm! Welcome to GotMead! I started out like you. I had no homebrewing equipment, and I didn't know where the nearest homebrew shop is, so I wanted to make a mead with ingredients from the supermarket, and equipment I had around the house. I made a website about what i did: Jeff Sullivan's Mead Experiment (http://home.comcast.net/~jephsullivan/mead/). I made a fermentation vessel out of a food grade plastic container, and an airlock out of a cup, a small jar, and a plastic tube.

The recipe I used, Joe's Ancient Orange, Clove, and Cinnamon Mead (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=412&topic=600.msg3709#msg3709), is posted on GotMead. It is a common recipe for beginners because of Joe's descriptive procedure, and easy-to-find ingredient list. It doesn't teach you a lot of advanced brewing practices that you may need for the larger batches you want to try, but it's a good way to "get your foot in the door" of mead making.

Storm
06-04-2008, 01:06 PM
Thank you for the welcome GrantLee and JephSullivan and for the useful info. It's good to know that if I can figure out how to do this I should have time to work out a recipe I like enough to serve at my wedding. I'm going to try and have as much Gaelic/Scots-Irish influence in my wedding as possible and have been looking for a Gaelic mead recipe which I did find http://www.clannada.org/recipes_namead.php This is for a non-alcoholic mead which may seem unusual to some I suppose. I drink very little alcohol so finding non-alcoholic recipes seem like something that would be interesting, but I will still attempt to brew an alcoholic mead. However, a non-alcoholic mead might be interesting because I won't have a lot of alcohol at my wedding.

Some other things I've thought of after getting some sleep I will now post.

I looked but didn't find much in the way alcohol content. What exactly can I do to control the alcohol content in my brew? That is, if I don't necessarily want a brew to get hammered with. Keep in mind I don't know much about alcoholic drinks in general and nothing about the process of brewing any tupe of alcohol. I am glad though that I've picked mead to be the one I want to start with.

Also, the sweetness of the brew. I understand that some things are done during the secondary stage of brewing because, from what I understand, spices and etc can dilute(?) during primary. How can I make my brew sweet-tasting with no problem?

Thanks to both of you. Jeph, I'm going to take a look at both your experiment and the recipe you gave me and hope I can find a way to brew, even though it might not happen until I get back.

WorkSpace
06-07-2008, 02:15 AM
.... What exactly can I do to control the alcohol content in my brew? That is, if I don't necessarily want a brew to get hammered with. ...

Storm, I am also a newbe here. But here is my take on it.

Making mead basically involves converting the sugar in honey to alcohol and making a drink out of it. So a non-alcoholic mead sounds a bit like a contradiction in terms. Having said that, you can limit the alcohol content. And you do this by limiting the amount of honey used in the fermentation. 1 Kg of honey per 4 litres produces a mead with an alcohol content of about 10%. So 500 grams of honey per 4 litres should result in about 5% alcohol by volume (someone correct me if I am wrong). Let the fermentation of sugars in the honey run it's full course. Then after stopping further fermentation by adding sulphite, add as much honey as you want to sweeten and add flavour.

Leonora
06-07-2008, 01:37 PM
Greetings and Welcome!

Another way to limit your alcohol content is to use an ale yeast. They generally top out at 6% or so with honey. I have used Edme 33 yeast a couple of times and made a cyser very sucessfully.

For 1 gallon:

1 can apple juice
1 to 2 lbs honey (semi-sweet to sweet)
pour into gallon jug and top off with good water to where the jug starts to shoulder in. Shake/stir until everything is all mixed throughly.

Take a hyrometer reading. It should be in the 1.05 to 1.07 region.

Pitch the yeast - I generally do hydrate even beer yeasts in GoFerm but I have also just dropped the dry yeast into the jug (like you do when making beer).

Feed about 3 g of FermAidK and shake well at the end of lag phase which is generally pretty quick.

My ale yeast meads are generally a bit muskier than wine yeast mead. But I can make a low alcohol mead that is still sweet. The first time I made it it was way too sweet.

Good luck!

Leonora

Storm
06-07-2008, 10:04 PM
Thank you WorkSpace and Leonora.

WorkSpace, the non-alcoholic direction is strictly for those under 21 who will be at me wedding reception. I'll be serving mead, if I can hammer down a recipe before go time, along with champagne/wine. The youngsters will get sparkling cider types of drinks along with the non-alcoholic mead, a mixture of honey, spices, etc, in keeping with the motif. Sorry for the confusion.

I just got to the OBX and I can't wait to get back home to start brewing in a week.

webmaster
06-08-2008, 02:01 PM
Storm, welcome to Gotmead, and I hope you're having fun in OBX! I live outside Raleigh, and the Outer Banks are one of favorite vacation spots.

You've already gotten some good advice from several of our folks here, so I'll just add this: Read as much as you can about fermentation techniques. This is what makes the difference between a mead that takes a month to ferment out and a year to age, and a mead that finishes in 1-2 weeks, and is drinkable in a month. Stirring 2x daily until your 1/3 sugar break will keep your ferment going cleanly, and let it finish quickly and with little in the way of off-flavors.

If you get really into managing your ferments, the Patron areas of the forum are chock-full of very interesting conversations on fermentation management, the chemistry of mead, and how to best create specific meads so that each recipe is given the best possible care for what it needs to ferment well.

Where on the Outer Banks are you vacationing? We tend to end up out on Manteo or Emerald Isle.....

Storm
06-11-2008, 09:08 AM
Thanks for the welcome Vicky. We're in Pirate's Cove Marina in Manteo and I'm enjoying my time here. Unfortunately we're getting some major smoke and haze from wildfires or something miles and miles away so shifting winds are wreaking some havoc on our vacation.

I am going to try and read as much as possible but any suggestions I can get are very welcome. Unfortunately, with my wedding being about a year and 4 months away, I don't have a lot of time for a recipe that's amazing when it's aged a long time. I also need to find a n ew job as soon as we get back which is going to be taking up some time. So, any help I get I appreciate, but my goal is to find a recipe or two to whip up and choose the one I like the most, then be able to make big enough batches ot serve at the wedding. That said, I'll also be brewing other batches that I'll let age.

Thanks for the continued welcomes and I hope to hear more and learn more from you guys in the future and ope to become a patron soon. Headed to the beach now though, everyone have a good day!

webmaster
06-11-2008, 09:40 AM
Hey Storm,

You're just across the water from where my daughter and I perform at the Roanoke Island Festival Park when we're down there! I love Manteo. Sorry the wildfires are smokin' y'all out, we've had a lot of trouble with fires this year, its been so dry....

OK, if we're talking just over a year and you need a good mead in quantity, then you need to consider what flavors you like, and we can help you construct a recipe and process that will get you there in time.

So tell us what sorts of flavors you favor, and we'll see what we can do to help you construct a mead for your weddin'.

OOC92
06-12-2008, 11:40 PM
and a mead that finishes in 1-2 weeks, and is drinkable in a month.

I am very newb to making mead. I am thinking of diving in. I live in the New Orleans area, a sworn rum-drinker, but there is something about mead that seems irresistable. I am just wondering how do you get such quick results. I know, I know, newbies should start with the simple tried and true. But I would like to know, nonetheless- for FUTURE reference.

Storm
06-13-2008, 11:40 AM
Hey stop jacking my thread!

Anyway, I like all kinds of flavors so tying down some that go well with each other is going to be one of my many challenges. My fiancee and I hit some money snags this week which has made vacation less enjoyable than it could have been, not to mention that a week just doesn't seem like enough time to do everything I wanted down here in the OBX, so my initial brewing will be postponed until more funds are found.

On our way down here I noticed my fiancee's mom has a habit of buying gallon jugs of applejuice. The jugs are glass and look exactly like carboys that can be obtained from internet sites (remember I don't have anything resembling a homebrewers store, etc). So, I thought I could try those as my fermenters. I've also found some places that sell airlocks, I don't trust myself to make one from scratch, but are there any places that Got Meaders tend to use more often with better prices? I suppose that would go for all the accessories. I know I need a hydrometer but to be honest, I don't even really know what a hydrometer is or does.

I know we have some local beekeepers around where I live, but is this kind of honey worth using? I've seen that some people say it's ok, some others disagree. Will it make a large impact on the resulting brew?

This is our last day down here in the OBX and we have to take a weeks worth of pictures for our scrapbook, but I'll continue reading and researching and hopefully I can get to brewing soon. Thanks again for any and all help.


EDIT: I've also noticed the plethora of yeasts that people use but am unsure of which is the best one. If there is not best one, that is, if the yeasts efficiency correllates to the type of brewing going on, how do I choose a yeast?

webmaster
06-14-2008, 12:47 AM
First things first, both Storm and OOC92, read the NewBee Guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14). It will give you basic concepts and knowledge of equipment to go forward with, and save you time here on getting to your recipes.

Storm, go to http://www.morebeer.com, (a kind sponsor) and a popular homebrew shop with a lot of Gotmeaders. Also good is http://www.jaysbrewing.com, where I go when my LHBS doesn't have something. http://www.northernbrewer.com is also excellent. All have good prices and selections.

For equipment, at the minimum you should have 2 fermenting vessels (one to start, and one to rack to), airlocks, racking tubing, sterilizing chemicals & a hydrometer.

For honey, if you can find local honey that is reasonably priced (around $2-3/lb) and that you like, you should buy it. Local beekeepers are the backbone of the honey industry. If you don't have a local supplier, or like me can't seem to get a decent price per pound locally, I highly recommend http://www.beefolks.com, http://www.morebeer.com and http://www.northernbrewer.com for reasonably priced bulk honey buys.

As to yeasts, you can write a book on what yeast to use with what sort of mead (and I probably will at some point), but we generally find that Lalvin/Lallemand yeasts are pretty popular around here. Which one is best to use is going to depend on the recipe, the desired outcome for the mead (sweet/dry/etc.,), the temperature in the area, and other information.

Guys, if you *really* want to get into the guts of meadmaking and managing a ferment so that your mead is both good to drink, and the recipe is repeatable, then consider joining the Patron areas. We not only have some pretty extensive discussions on fermentation management (and the reasoning and chemistry behind it), but there are a number of discussions of what yeasts to use in what cases, plus a growing pile of proven 'Gotmead Certified' recipes that we *know* make good meads. Patrons also get special attention from the master meadmakers in help with recipes and such.

So, get busy with the search tool (the one right above the forum menu) and do your research on equipment, how to choose a yeast for your recipe and other hot topics around here.

wayneb
06-14-2008, 01:01 AM
Guys, if you *really* want to get into the guts of meadmaking and managing a ferment so that your mead is both good to drink, and the recipe is repeatable, then consider joining the Patron areas. We not only have some pretty extensive discussions on fermentation management (and the reasoning and chemistry behind it), but there are a number of discussions of what yeasts to use in what cases, plus a growing pile of proven 'Gotmead Certified' recipes that we *know* make good meads. Patrons also get special attention from the master meadmakers in help with recipes and such.



OK, guys! Vicky could be perceived as doing a little bit of marketing here, and that might lead some of you to think that this is no more than blatant advertising. Well, it might be an example of free-market commerce at work ;) , but it also is a very sound recommendation. The Patrons sections here on Gotmead will provide you with data, advice, and one-on-one consultation with the most experienced meadmakers on the planet, that you will get no where else, for less than the price of one reference book! I'm not kidding -- and hey, I pay for the Patron's membership myself. It is one of the best investments in my meadmaking that I've ever made. Almost as useful as my hydrometer! ;D

sandman
06-14-2008, 01:11 AM
Amen to that one brudda! Best money I ever spent... and my meads show the benefit from all that accrued knowledge. Heck, it was worth it just to access the other patron's recipe listings. :cheers:

Oskaar
06-14-2008, 01:14 AM
First and foremost, I have indeed read the FAQ. Unfortunately, when I say newb, I mean it.

Secondly, I'll give you a small bio for context. I am a history major (one semester from a BA and on to my PhD) who lives and operates in West Virginia. I have yet to see any local brewshops or anything of the kind...snip....
Sláinte!


Dude, we all started somewhere. I kinda think I started on a fishing boat in the late fifties, that's another story for another time, but ..... I digress!

Anyhow, you may not be close to any homebrew shops, BUT, the web is ubiquitous if nothing else:

http://www.zymurguy.com (local family run business in Orange County, CA)
http://www.morebeer.com
http://www.homebrewheaven.com
http://www.leeners.com
http://www.northernbrewer.com
http://www.midwestsupplies.com

So. . . . do I need to go on. To me the biggest "NON" excuse in the world is that there are "....no local home brew shops (LHBS) close to me"

OK, now that we've found you some resources, what do you want to make?

Cheers,

Oskaar
http://www.austinhomebrew.com

Oskaar
06-14-2008, 01:18 AM
Guys, if you *really* want to get into the guts of meadmaking and managing a ferment so that your mead is both good to drink, and the recipe is repeatable, then consider joining the Patron areas. We not only have some pretty extensive discussions on fermentation management (and the reasoning and chemistry behind it), but there are a number of discussions of what yeasts to use in what cases, plus a growing pile of proven 'Gotmead Certified' recipes that we *know* make good meads. Patrons also get special attention from the master meadmakers in help with recipes and such.



OK, guys! Vicky could be perceived as doing a little bit of marketing here, and that might lead some of you to think that this is no more than blatant advertising. Well, it might be an example of free-market commerce at work ;) , but it also is a very sound recommendation. The Patrons sections here on Gotmead will provide you with data, advice, and one-on-one consultation with the most experienced meadmakers on the planet, that you will get no where else, for less than the price of one reference book! I'm not kidding -- and hey, I pay for the Patron's membership myself. It is one of the best investments in my meadmaking that I've ever made. Almost as useful as my hydrometer! ;D


Wayne is right on the money here. This place has some of the best mead minds in the world like Wayne himself. So, if you really want to make mead, and do it well right out of the gate, consider joining. You'll get to hobnob with complete geeks like Wayne . . . and me. And, if you're into uber geekiness, Ken Schramm his own dang self stops in here from time to time and will impart some sage advice to folks. Just another reason to become a patron and support the site.

Cheers,

Oskaar

WRATHWILDE
06-14-2008, 06:36 PM
As one of the Crew who remember the very lean days of GotMead, believe me there were times before the voluntary patron membership when this site was close to shutting down... Unfortunately Vicky will probably never recoup the full cost it takes to run the site, but we can at least help her try to break even. I've been sending donations since before there was a membership program, as have many others. Luckily, Vicky has kept GotMead mostly free for the majority of you casual users to browse through.
It was a compromise to be sure. Many of us pushed her toward subscription only, others rebelled at the thought of having to pay anything at all to access a web site.
It still amazes me that people feel they are entitled to feed off another's hard work and investment for nothing. This site has probably cost Vicky thousands of dollars in software and hosting fees, and tens of thousands in time spent coding, debugging and web maintenance. Web Ads just aren't going to make this site self sustainable. This site provides a valuable SERVICE to the mead community, and like all services, GotMead needs a steady stream of revenue to continue to its service to the community.
Now if this site were a store that generated revenue from sales, the web fee would be built into the purchase price, but it's not. All GotMead has to offer is the largest Mead Resource anywhere, with an active community that is constantly pushing boundaries, experimenting, and diagnosing problems for other brewers, and some of the members here are undoubtably brewing the best meads on earth. Without this site many of us would never have learned how to make a world class mead, but we did because we were willing to help Vicky fund this site through it's toughest times... you can help those who follow as we have helped you... become a patron, and don't skimp... set it up for automatic yearly renewal. I'm a lifetime patron regardless, but I still have my membership set up to donate automatically every year.

Cheers,
Wrathwilde

holycontagion
06-15-2008, 12:03 AM
Amen Wrath (and btw I'm a user of your brewlog sheet ;D). I just became a patron and I've already spent many hours going through the newly available information. Mere words and my meager expenditure on the subscription could never demonstrate how thankful I am for this site and everyone who maintains it adds their own content and wisdom. Now if I could only make the chat work :D

Storm
06-16-2008, 12:38 PM
Holy crap!

I'd meant to post again before we left the OBX but I could not and our drive back resulte din us stayng overnight again where I was unable to post. Vicky and Oskaar and eveyone else, I appreciate the help so far. Please don't take it personally I've not yet become a Patron, my fiancee and I are effectively broke untila few weeks when her paycheck from her new RN position comes in. I am nothing close to being a mooch and when possible will take Vicky's hard work and pay it forward.

Vicky and Oskaar, thanks for your posts. I was going to post for some good equipment resources. I found Jaysbrewing.com and several more on my own. Being so short on cash I'm going to need to find the best of the less expensive stuff to use. I will look around and post my thoughts equipment-wise and see what you guys think.

As for conversation of recipes and flavors I would really like to try some kind of melomel, most likely a blueberry and an apricot. I've used the search engine in regards to melomels and have found that some people use purees from the Oregon Fruit Company and Homebrewers.com so I thought I could do that too. Now I suppose I should try and find a recipe that doesn't need to ferment for a long time.

I'm going to try and find some more info on yeasts and alcohol content, etc. Thanks guys.

I'll be on AIM as much as possible if anyone wants to drop me a line.

WRATHWILDE
06-16-2008, 01:59 PM
There's a difference between not being in a position to help... and feeling entitled to free services. People know which camp they fall in, I'm not judging anyone by lack of patron status. I've spent years being broke myself, so I know what it's like.

Cheers,
Wrathwilde

Angus
06-16-2008, 02:11 PM
Vicky and Oskaar, thanks for your posts. I was going to post for some good equipment resources. I found Jaysbrewing.com and several more on my own. Being so short on cash I'm going to need to find the best of the less expensive stuff to use. I will look around and post my thoughts equipment-wise and see what you guys think.


Quick note: on the Main Site (yes, there is more outside of the Forums), in the left column is Making Mead > Brewing Supplies. You can find a bunch of brew supply locations all over the country. One may be close to you.

Angus

Storm
06-16-2008, 02:15 PM
I've never felt entitled to anything, for those who wish to help me, I appreciate it. I expect to become a patron within weeks, once I get some money to do so, but until then....

Angus, thanks. I found those a few days ago after looking on my own, I must have just looked over them the first time.

Storm
06-16-2008, 07:36 PM
Ok, so I've been looking around at equipemt and I'm curious if it's worth my time throwing up a post of what Im considering ordering and my initial thoughts on how to brew my first batch of mead just so I don't horribly muck it up. Any thoughts?

Yo momma
06-16-2008, 07:45 PM
After doing some research :icon_study:, if you have any questions, by all means post away. :icon_thumright:

I have always posted my recipes for input. There is nothing like the help of veterans to get you going. Post them in the discussion area, then when your ready, post your brew in the brewlog area for further help and info on your batch.

Good Luck
:cheers:

Storm
06-16-2008, 09:55 PM
So, this post will primarily be equipment I need for my first batch, and their roles in the brewing process as I understand. I've been looking at Midwestsupplies and Jaysbrewing, along with AmericanBrewmaster. I'm not quite sure on some of this stuff though, and have yet to tally the cost of buying individually or buying a kit.

If I take the kit approach I was looking at http://www.midwestsupplies.com/products/ProdByID.aspx?ProdID=6876 as it has some of what I seem to need to brew a first batch.

However, if bought individually I may come in under the kits pricetag. The kit has bottling equipment that I do not need right now and can save for while the batch ferments. The kit also has 5 gallon carboys and I was under the impression that most people use 6.5s. The primary fermenter in the kit is a 6.5 gallon bucket. Herein lies one of my questions: While a glass primary allows you to see your mead fermenting, how do you decide when to rack from a plastic bucket primary and which primary is more feasible?

I'm trying to keep in mind that I would like to do TWO batches at once, a blueberry melomel (for me) and an apricot melomel (for her).

I'm going to look around some more and try tallying individually. Any thoughts or suggestions would be welcome, I'll post again later this evening.

WRATHWILDE
06-17-2008, 12:26 AM
Storm,
Most use a 6.5 gallon so that they have a bit of extra space during fermentation and also that they still have around 5 gallons total for bulk aging. You tend to lose a bit of mead to every time you rack, due to the lees you're racking off of.

Personally I never use a bucket past the first three days, after my batch is done with the need for oxygen strength stirring... it goes into glass. That's not to say you can't go longer... but I think we're all agreed on this site that the quicker you get it out of plastic and into glass - the better it is for your mead.

Technically I don't rack out of the plastic primary, I use a funnel and pour the buckets contents into the Carboy... this acts as my last stir/aeration of the first three days... when oxygen is still a good thing for your yeast and mead.

Cheers,
Wrathwilde

Storm
06-17-2008, 02:25 AM
Thanks Wrathwilde. I'll go ahead and post what I'm understanding as the process of fermentation/racking. Must preparation, etc will come once I figure out my recipes. I do apologize again for being a supernewb :sad5:, but the sooner I can nail the majority of this down, the faster I can get started once I get the funds for my materials. Being on a timetable really sucks... :BangHead:

I've read through the Newbee Guide numerous times, but I always like to double check that I understand things. That said, to my understanding the first three days should be devoted to aeration. If using the bucket for these three days it seems the only thing needed would be that the lid is drilled to allow a lees stirrer to be inserted and used and to allow for an airlock. Hopefully that's right.

Then, after these first three days, the batch would be racked (or poured) (in)to a 6.5 gallon carboy for fermentation. The 6.5 being used to allow for extra room for gases, etc, correct? When fermentation winds down it will be racked again to a 6 or 5 gallon carboy, and if I am indeed making mels it will be racked onto fruit puree or juice. I am curious about a post I saw a few days ago by Oskaar about completed fermntation in 5-14 days.

Things are still a little sketchy as to the scientific part of all this, that is the use and reading of the hydrometer etc.

Let's see, what else...oh! Why not talk a little about prospective recipes?

As I understand it the more honey that is put into a brew makes it sweeter (and by the way, what exactly does 'sweet' mean?). That is, past the alcohol tolerance of the yeast, the yeast will stop converting the sugars into alcohol and the remaning honey will sweeten the mead.

So, armed with just about a thimble-full of knowledge I would like to do both a blueberry melomel and an apricot melomel. Now, I am aware that there are blueberry melomel recipes floating around, but what I'm curious about is how someone actually arrives at a given recipe. That is, the method of deciding on the amount of honey total and per gallon, the yeast and extra ingredients. Really, what I'm looking for is a low-alcohol content mead (stop laughing) that has a lot of flavor, much like a juice drink. I've seen numerous ways of brewing a melomel like racking onto fresh fruit, puree or using juice and I'm wondering which will provide me with what I'm looking for.

Thanks guys. Night. I think...

WRATHWILDE
06-17-2008, 03:24 AM
Storm,
Brew buckets are usually pre drilled with a gasket to hold an airlock, to use a lees stirrer you remove the lid completely.

Also a rule of thumb guide to sweetness can be found in my post here. (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=3495.0)

For a 5 gallon batch a quick way to estimate is to use the same amount of honey (in pounds) as your yeasts alcohol tolerance. For example if your yeast's tolerance is 14%, then you'll want to use anything up to 14 lbs of honey for a dry mead, you'll need more than 14 lbs to to start leaving residual sugars. (Starting point: Any yeast tolerance % = base lbs in honey) For off dry you'll need to add 1 pound, for semi-sweet 2 pounds, for a sweet mead 3 to 4 pounds. This will get you very close to your desired result. If you are making a show mead, NO NUTRIENTS, it's best to estimate as [% - 1] = lbs of honey.

Yeast will often not hit their tolerance without nutrients.

To figure out what you need for larger batches, use the above formula to get your estimate for 5 gallons, then divide the amount of honey you need by 5 to get the amount of honey you need per gallon. Then multiply the amount of honey needed per gallon by the size of the batch you're making.

Always use the best tasting honey you can find, with a minimum of processing, filtering and heating.

Low alcohol meads are difficult, as active fermentations require lots of sulfite/sorbate to stop, they are best used when fermentations are slowing. Using less honey also means a less full bodied mead. A low alcohol Melomel with a predominately juice taste, as you're wanting, would likely spoil quickly without Lots of Preservatives AND Sterile Filtering.

Cheers,
Wrathwilde

Storm
06-17-2008, 10:46 AM
Hmm...

Well, thank you Wrathwilde. I'm glad I know that before going into it. If I don't worry so much about the alcohol content, how prominent will the juice taste be?

Yo momma
06-17-2008, 03:05 PM
You would be very surprised at the amount of flavor you get from some Mel's. I think you need to try some commercial mead and guess for yourself what you would like to find. Strawberry is one of the most flavorful in my opinion along with cherry and blueberry. It's hard to say what your going to come up with until you post a recipe and let us disect it giving you what you want.

Storm
06-18-2008, 12:51 AM
I'll try to find some mead somewhere locally.

Oh! Just got back from my grandfather's house and was surprised when a neighbor came by and told us he and his wife had just gotten a buttload of cherries. He said to help ourselves and I plan on going tomorrow to pick the trees clean. So, with such a fortuitous turn of events for me, I'm thinking of going to try and find stuff to do a few batches.

For those who have experience with melomels, what would be the best way to use cherries? Do they need to be frozen at all? Can they be frozen and used later? Should they be racked onto during secondary? Pureed? Do they need to be pitted? Both? Suggestions? If I can get enough I'd like to do several batches once I have enough equipment, which should be in several weeks.

I'll try and figure out some kind of preliminary recipe tomorrow and see what you guys think.

Yo momma
06-18-2008, 06:08 AM
Find your recipe and make sure to post what kind of cherries they are. It will make a difference.

Storm
06-18-2008, 12:48 PM
Oh, I suppose I'll have to ask then. All I know is that they're growing up the hill from my grandda's. I'm going to pick in about an hour or so, I'll post whne I return. Thanks Yomomma.

Yo momma
06-18-2008, 05:29 PM
Well, there are 2 kinds, Sweet and Tart. Sweet are a dark purple while the tart ones are a red color. It is said that Sweet Cherries make mead taste like cough medicine. I don't have any experience with brewing cherries yet, but that is some peoples opinions.

skunkboy
06-18-2008, 05:56 PM
Pitted and frozen would be my recommendation, but that it also a lot of work...

Storm
06-18-2008, 10:27 PM
I aksed and was told that he thought they were Bing Cherries. My fiancee and I gathered, washed, pitted and froze three containers that hold some 16.5 liters each, not sure what that is imperically. I'm going back tomorrow for more. Can anyone tell me if those are ok for Cherry Meads? If not, I know that they're great for pies! ;D

Tomorrow I'm going to call some local wine shops to see if they have any homebrewing equipment. Can anyone point in me in the right direction on how to build a recipe for my first mead? Also, would any problems arise by doing a large batch, say in a 3 gallon carboy for a primary and racking into three 1 gallon carboys?

WRATHWILDE
06-19-2008, 04:24 AM
Well, there are 2 kinds, Sweet and Tart. Sweet are a dark purple while the tart ones are a red color. It is said that Sweet Cherries make mead taste like cough medicine. I don't have any experience with brewing cherries yet, but that is some peoples opinions.


Bing Cherries are Sweet - I'd suggest mixing the cherries with tart cherries or if not avail... tart cherry concentrate. I'd suggest at least a (2:1) possibly a (3:1) ratio - tart to sweet.

Cheers,
Wrathwilde

Storm
06-19-2008, 10:53 AM
I wonder if he was wrong then because they taste tart and are extremely red.

Storm
07-09-2008, 05:50 PM
My copy of the Compleat Meadmaker is here! I'm no longer on a timetable so I'm going to read this and then begin working on my new hobby.

Medsen Fey
07-10-2008, 08:11 AM
Well, there are 2 kinds, Sweet and Tart. Sweet are a dark purple while the tart ones are a red color.


So I guess it's true - The darker the cherry the sweeter the juice! ;)

Storm
07-13-2008, 02:28 AM
Ok, guys. I'm through the vast majority of The Compleat Meadmaker and bouncing off the walls. I went today to a wine shop, a town away, that sells homebrewing equipment, seemingly for less than I've found on the internet which I'm excited about. I plan on going back next week to get some of the stuff I'll need to start. I also found some honey..Virginia Brand Honey at my bulk store in 5 pound jars. Can anyone tell me if you use this kind of honey or have used it? It says Grade A Clover on the jar and I figured for right now it would suit my needs, what with their seemingly being no place carrying any other types. The brewers also have many kinds of yeast, though most seems to be Red Star and other than that only saw Lalvin EC 1118. As for the first batch I will indeed be doing JAO, which as I've found is this:

3 1/2 lbs Clover
1 Large orange (later cut in eights or smaller rind and all)
1 small handful of raisins
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole clove
1 teaspoon of Fleismanns bread yeast
Balance water to one gallon

Some immediate questions: What needs to be done to make this into a 5 gallon batch as all I seemed to have found was the recipe for a one gallon, at least 15 pounds of honey? Can I use the EC1118 or does it have to be Fleismanns? Can anything successfully (meaning, have any of you successfully done it) take the place of the orange?

I'll try and post some more tomorrow, hopefully I'll have some good info and by Tuesday I can go and get everything I need.

Medsen Fey
07-13-2008, 06:51 AM
Hello Storm,

The Clover honey should work just fine for a JAO recipe. If you find local beekeepers in your area, you can get fresher unprocessed honey which may be superior in any recipe you use it in. For the JAO recipe, you are able to tweak it with different yeast, and different ingredients and processes, but if you do, the warranty is void! As an example, if you use EC-1118, it is a yeast with a much higher alcohol tolerance than the bread yeast and it will produce a dry result that you may or may not like.

I would recommend sticking to recipe as written to make your first batch. See how it works; see how it tastes, and then based on that, you can make changes to try and suit what you like best. To make 5 gallons, just multiply all the ingredients by 5 - it scales up easily.

Good luck with it!
Medsen

Storm
07-13-2008, 08:37 PM
So...somewhere around 17 1/2 pounds of honey? The yeast thing is good...I don't want a high alcohol content, so I'll grab some Fleismann's. The reasoning behind the honey is one of money. My friend has an aunt and uncle who sells honey, but at something like 10-12 dollars a pound I think. That's way too much for me right now.

skunkboy
07-14-2008, 08:55 PM
10-12 dollars a pound?!? Shouldn't be more than 1/2 that at most, if it is a really desirable varietal (single source) honey.
If clover or wildflower should top out a like at like $3 a pound.

Storm
07-14-2008, 09:55 PM
Yeah, I don't recall...something might have been lost in translation.

I am tentatively going tomorrow to obtain my homebrewing equipment. I plan on getting the wine kit that includes: a fermenting pail, 6.5 gallon (I think) carboy, hydrometer and racking stuff. I also plan on picking up the honey, water and other ingredients needed for the JAO recipe. As the place is a good drive away, is there anything else I should get? An extra carboy perhaps? I thought about one or two gallon ones to do smaller one gallon batches that I can use my cherries with and to try some other things with. Depending on the cost I'm going to nab some extra airlocks either way. Any other suggestions? I know it's late and it's a little short notice...but...

skunkboy
07-14-2008, 11:01 PM
Possibly some DAP, yeast energizer, and a couple of packets of dried yeast if this is a long drive. If you are
planning to pick up some extra airlocks and bubblers, then it might help to have something to start any new batches
your thinking of starting up later on at the spur of the moment. Especially if you think that you might be able to find
some cheap 1 gallon glass jugs, cheap or free.
Then again I always wander out of the local homebrewing shops with more than I intended to buy in the first place. ::)