View Full Version : Thoughts on what I did?

12-04-2008, 12:17 PM
Hello all- recently found this site and it got me thinking about making some mead again. I am an active beer homebrewer and did a few meads many years ago. They were fruit meads, sparkling, that I was not very fond of. I have a co-worker who keeps bees so I have a ready supply of cheap honey, and I have been using it in beermaking. This time I decided to do a bigger mead, using Charlie Papazian's Barkshack Gingermead recipe as a basis. After I got it made up, I realized that I had confused the size of the containers I had and wound up with 15# honey instead of 9#. This was a 5.5 gallon batch. Here's what I did:

Steeped 1# British crystal malt (60 deg.) at 150 F for 30 minutes. Removed from pot. Into the pot (with about 2 1/2 gallons of water):

1# Beet sugar (remember I thought I only had 9# honey)
15# Honey (mixed / wildflower)

Heated all this to 200F, held for 15 minutes. Added:

6 oz. peeled and sliced ginger
1 1/2 tsp. Gypsum
1 tsp. Citric Acid
3 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
1 tsp. Irish moss

Held for another 15 minutes. Cut heat and added 2# partially frozen tart cherries. Let sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (This step intended to pasteurize the cherries).

Dumped into 6.5 gallon carboy holding 2 1/2 gallons filtered water.
Stirred, took a reading- 1.110.

Pitched yeast- Lalvin K1-V1116

This took off well and had a nice steady fermentation. Not a huge amount of foam or anything. Kitchen temps around 68F. Racked it off into a 5 gal. carboy after three weeks, gravity at 1.016. Quite tasty if a little sweet. Still a steady bubbling, ever 13 sec's or so, in the 65F corner of my study. Racked it two days ago.

I would appreciate any thoughts on my process or what I might do to help this batch along. I think everything worked!

12-04-2008, 01:21 PM
Welcome BikeNBrew,

Basically, your process is sound, and it sounds like the general fermentation is proceeding nicely. As to the methods used, there are a couple of things that you may encounter that could be a problem.

First, the recipes Papazian created were based off his knowledge of brewing beer. Thus, he included Irish Moss, which really is not necessary in a Mead. It wont hurt, but you can do without it.

Second, adding an acid up front is not the best time to do it. Acids are added to balance a sweet Mead, and until you have completed fermentation, you do not really know how sweet it will be. The better approach might be to wait to add any acid blend until fermentation has finished, and perhaps after the Mead has aged a few months, to see if you even need any.

Third, you did not mention adding any pectic enzyme, but you added the cherries to the very hot liquid. You may have set the pectins, which could result in some hazing. Since you added the cherries when they were frozen, you may be lucky enough to have cooled the liquid sufficiently to have avoided some of this issue, but do not be surprised if there is a haze that just will not clear.

As for adding extra honey and the sugar, the SG of 1.110 is not that high and the K1-V1116 should chomp through that to dry.

Finally, you did not mention any fermentation management, such as adding oxygen, additional doses of nutrient or energizer. Do a quick search for Oskaar in a Nutshell, or the Rules of Thumb threads to get an idea of some good techniques. Both of the threads were authored by Wrathwilde and contain excellent summaries.

Welcome aboard and good luck with the batch. Keep us informed how it goes.


12-04-2008, 01:22 PM
Hey, BikeNBrew! Welcome to the GotMead? community!!

While it is too late to change what you've already done, (don't panic -- you didn't do anything catastrophic to the brew) we would recommend some changes to the recipe based on things that have been learned since the time that Charlie P. made up a few mead recipes based on his beer brewing experience.

As it turns out this recipe, since it is a braggot (hybrid between mead and beer), won't be perturbed too much by the gypsum, irish moss, and acid additions, but in general they aren't recommended these days for meads. To bring you up to speed on why not, just search for each of those terms using the forum search tool and you'll read dozens of past postings telling you all you need to know.

I also recommend that you check out the NewBee Guide, which will take you through the logic behind what most of us do in our recipes and processes these days.

No worries about your batch of Barkshack. It isn't my favorite recipe, but what you've done should turn out pretty much how Charlie intended it to.

12-04-2008, 01:23 PM
Angus, you beat me to it again! How can you type so fast???? ;D

08-27-2009, 11:41 PM
Well, folks, it came out pretty good, I think. About 10% alcohol, some residual sweetness, nice cognac color, and crystal clear. The cherries are there but you probably wouldn't guess if you did not know. Ginger is the same way. The wife says it tastes like cough syrup...But mead is mead- doesn't taste like anything else. I am enjoying it and looking forward to the next batch- I have ten pounds of blueberries in the freezer. I will have to cruise the forum for ideas. Promise I will post the recipe before I make it this time! Thanks- Todd

Medsen Fey
08-28-2009, 10:00 AM
Welcome to GotMead BikeNBrew!!

Yes, I'm making a shameless plug to encourage patronage here, but Oskaarz "You Bleu my Berriez" Melomel (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12476&highlight=oskaarz+blue) is a recipe that is worth the $25 all by itself, to say nothing of the other advanced mead making information and recipes that are available in the Patron's area.