View Full Version : first mead, kinda not really

10-12-2008, 10:02 PM
hello all i am new here and i had some stuff to ask, so my roommate and i are looking to make my first real mead, we have made my first one, however i have had some difficulty with it, and i don't know if it might be stuck, we did the Joe's ancient orange following the recipe to the "T" except i left out the allspice but I'm hoping to move up. but first this is my plan
i want to make some more of Joe's ancient orange but i am going to do it with a 3 gallon, but following the recipe as i did before, but i would like to use local honey(from my local farmer's market, the only local honey source i know of) rather than store brand, however they only have one type of honey for sale. is this ok to deviate from it? also we have a 6.5 gallon carboy we purchased with our original order(http://www.midwestsupplies.com/products/ProdBySubCat.aspx?SubCat=610, highly suggest them) and we want to put something into it, and since it should(hopefully)be fermented around mid to late december(preferrably one that is ready quick much like Joe's ancient orange) my roommate wants something the he can have mulled like a wine so we can heat it and drink it on the cold nights in december. any suggestions?
heres some additional info:
i have glanced over this thread but there are so many recipes that i dont know where to start:
i am looking to pick up a 6.5 gallon primary fermentation bucket from the brew store when i go to get my 3 gallon glass carboy
i have read the newbee guide and i have watched the Midwest supplies video they sent me which was more for wine making more than mead brewing but i hear and they look quite similar.
any questions comment or anything much appreciated

10-13-2008, 02:05 AM
I've never made a JAO before but I can't see using a different honey making that much of a difference. Most honeys very greatly from different regions anyway so most of the time people change that anyway. But I would check with someone who is into this more technical to see if more or less nutrients are required as that can be important.

Something that will be ready quick that you can mull... something that will not need time to mellow out the flavors. Probably a short mead. These are usually low ABV and you can sweeten them to taste since you are going to heat up and put spice in it right before drinking. If you wanted you can make this one and bulk age till the Yule and then drink as much as you want and then add more if you wanted to use that 6.5g carboy/bucket. Maybe a raspberry, which will be my next(first) melomel, or a vanilla metheglin like the one I am making right now, or crack those allspice open and use that.

My first was an allspice meth and it came out dry, too dry for my taste, so I just use it for cooking stuff in place of a white wine.

10-13-2008, 02:20 AM
he said he wanted something Christmas-y he said.

10-13-2008, 03:37 AM
to me, hard cider sounds christmasy, and there are tons of cider recipes on here, you can find one that you think sounds good and message the user to see how long it took, or maybe just follow their brewlog, which is probably where you will find the recipe anyway

10-13-2008, 10:55 AM
The different honey will have some slight character changes but nothing major. Be sure to only use the zest and the flesh of the oranges not the white pith as it will make it very hot and bitter.
From experience with this recipe, it will be hot anyways but mellows out after 6 months or so.
Good luck and keep us posted.



10-13-2008, 12:54 PM
Well if you going to mull it in spices you can make the spices anything that you want. That way if you were to make just a short mead with no additional flavors the mulling would only be a simple change to a recipe.

10-15-2008, 01:40 AM
ok so im back from the brewshop and i have picked up my hydrometer and thief finally!!!
i want to got and check my Joe's ancient orange but i dont think it will fit the 1 gallon jug.
also does anyone know where to get local honey in the Minneapolis St. Paul area?
im about an hour away in wright county if anyone has some local sources

10-15-2008, 05:18 AM
There are the internet stores. And I know that allaboutmead.com ships from Minasota. Your brew shop doesn't have any? I didn't think that mead making was very popular where I live but my LHBS sells a huge amount. Other places are flea markts or farmer markets, craigslist, and locally owned heath food places. It may sound weired but they do have them their sometimes, from local people, but the quantities that you can buy it in is small generally, the containers not limits on weight. The price here is around the same as the LHBS.

10-15-2008, 12:33 PM
Allaboutmead.com is in Michigan, but they'll ship to Minnesota! ;)

However, Northern Brewer is in St. Paul: http://www.northernbrewer.com/about-us.html They've got honey, along with pretty much everything else you'll need.

10-16-2008, 02:37 AM
Northern brewer is great, esp. in the winter time when the farmers market is closed. My only criticism is the yeast selection--which is actually pretty good, but not as good as it it at B3 (http://morewinemaking.com/search?PHPSESSID=d034b1c9207ea368ca61024049ae4871&search=yeast&=Search)

On that note: The farmers markets around the twin cities are your best friend. Ames honey has local honey at comparable prices (and I guess his basswood took blue ribbon at the fair) and during the summer there is just no better place to find good deals on fruit for a kick ass melomel.

Nice to see another Minnesotan on the boards, welcome!


edit-- oh yeah, just about any kind of honey will provide something to a JAO, don't sweat it.

10-16-2008, 05:57 PM
thanks everyone for your sites. i will definitely be looking to quite a few for our 5 gallon batch. for now my friend is picking up some organic stuff from a city near by, and tonight we will be making some of Joe's ancient orange tonight, and since we did the first one i wanted to vary the second one a little bit.i was thinking of peeling the oranges because of many people gave their displeasure to the "rind taste" in it also i want to add some of the "american oak cubes (house toast)" to my 3 gallon batch and i also was going to put some of the "ammonium phosphate yeast nutrient" as well. i am going to add the specified 3 tsp into the must before pitching the yeast, correct? also i have looked through and i haven't really been able to find how much oak to put in per gallon. so now with those variants(along with me using wildflower honey for it) i am going to follow the recipe and just multiply everything by 3 for it, which is okay correct?

10-17-2008, 10:52 PM
ok well we went ahead with it, and just followed the recipe because my roommate wasn't eager to deviate from it.
we actually had to use the food scale at our health food store across the street to weigh the honey, and we used the paint mixer which worked amazingly, no shaking required, though my roommate did a little for fun :laughing7:
im still wanting to put in the oak but he wanted to wait on the advice from you, so is it too late and he is afraid it will ruin the mead..will it?
oh here are all the readings btw:
bailing: 33
potential alcohol: 20%

10-18-2008, 11:49 AM
Let the mead finish fermenting out and when it hits the final gravity then rack it into bulk aging and add the oak that you want for flavor.

10-18-2008, 01:00 PM

On the oak, American oaks will add a whiskey-type flavor and French oak will add a more mellow, vanillan flavor, which I just clarified with Oskaar yesterday. Personally,If I were making another batch, I'd do a heavy French oak for about 2 months and then check again monthly, until I was happy with it. Remember that oak taste will mellow alot with ageing.

And it's not the rind, or zest, that makes the JAO bitter, it's the white pith. That's why I always zest fruits and use the flesh only.
Hope this helps.



10-18-2008, 03:50 PM
Let me clarify that point even further. American oak infuses faster and has a more pronounced flavor than French oak, especially in ciders, traditional meads and some melomels. It tends to remind people of the oak flavor in whiskey/bourbon because of the type of oak barrels that are used post distillation. So while the oak character brings to mind a nice sippin' whiskey, the actual flavor of the whiskey is not imparted to the mead. American oak has some really intense tannin and can quickly overpower a mead. Use in low doses and start checking within 2 weeks. Let it drift a little further than your finishing target on the infusion, and then get the oak out of it. It will mellow back down during bulk aging, or bottle storage.



10-18-2008, 05:31 PM
wow thank you, i didnt know there was such a difference between the 2. thank you so much. i am definitely going to be getting some french oak, because that sounds much better. thank you for the heads up, i just took a glance and grabbed american

10-22-2008, 11:16 PM
ok, day 5 and here are the readings:

Standard gravity: 1.111
Potential alcohol: 15%
Oechsle: 25.5

my other one-gallon is on day 19 and its not hardly bubbling i had turned it side to side and are that i got 1 bubble. i can see small bubbles of co2 but the airlock(3-piece, which i am using in both) isn't moving, save that one time. any suggestions?
by the way, i tried taking a reading but the hole on the jug is too small for the 1 gallon

i dont so much mean suggestions as i am wondering if i am ok, i really dont know how rapidly the mead is supposed to bubble especially after primary fermentation has finished

10-23-2008, 01:11 AM
There's a good chance that one's done. It's possible to have a ferment done in about a week under optimum conditions, so 19 days seems reasonable for a JAO that was treated well. The gas that is coming off is just residual CO2 that's still dissolved in the mead, and it will slowly be released while the mead clears.

10-23-2008, 01:18 AM
there is a layer at the bottom of lees, but it has come close to clearing though

10-24-2008, 01:14 AM
so what does this mean?