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fathand
11-09-2009, 05:50 PM
I have been commissioned to make a batch of mead for some guys at work. This will be my first batch and the hope is to have it ready before Christmas.

I know this is not possible as I have read that mead takes 6 months to 1 year to age. I explained this to the guys but they said that don't really care; they would at least like to try it before the holiday.

My question is what should I expect from this immature mead?

Also can you bottle age mead or must it age in bulk?

Thanks

jaxn slim
11-09-2009, 05:59 PM
It will not taste very good after only 6-8 weeks. I tried mine a few days ago, a month into fermentation, and it burns a bit... like it's higher proof than it actually is.

You can age it in individual bottles. But for consistency's sake, it's much better to bulk age. Have you seen the NewBee Guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14)yet? It's invaluable.

afdoty
11-09-2009, 05:59 PM
I have been commissioned to make a batch of mead for some guys at work. This will be my first batch and the hope is to have it ready before Christmas.

I know this is not possible as I have read that mead takes 6 months to 1 year to age. I explained this to the guys but they said that don't really care; they would at least like to try it before the holiday.

My question is what should I expect from this immature mead?

Also can you bottle age mead or must it age in bulk?

Thanks

Hi Fat, and welcome. First off, if you post up the exact recipe, ingredients, quantities and process we can take a look at what you're doing. And if you haven't already done so, read through the Newbee guide.... itís great!

Second question first...Don't bottle it! It won't be done by Christmas and if you seal it in a bottle the fermentation will build up the pressure and possibly explode the bottles.... glass in the eye isn't so good on Christmas.

First question: Depends.... on what you're making, how you're making it, your process. That's why we ask to see the recipe, ingredients, quantities and process. So it's hard to answer that without knowing what you're making
.

Medsen Fey
11-09-2009, 06:04 PM
Welcome to GotMead fathand!

There are some quick mead recipes (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewcategory&category_id=69&Itemid=459) on the main site than can be done in a few weeks. The most commonly done is Joe's ancient orange (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&recipe_id=118&Itemid=459). If you start it immediately, it may be ready to bottle by Christmas. However, mead is not a beverage that holds itself to deadlines - it will take whatever time it needs and if you rush it and try to bottle it early, you can have problems including exploding bottles.

Please read the NewBee guide - it will help you with some fundamental information.

Mead can age in the bottle, but it is a good idea not to bottle it until it is really clear. That takes time.

You really would be much better off starting a batch now planning to serve it next Christmas.

Medsen

akueck
11-09-2009, 07:00 PM
If you really have to have something ready in 6 weeks, I'd suggest looking into something more beer-like: low ABV, residual sugars/dextrins. A small beer can be more than ready in 6 weeks. Certain styles might lend themselves to honey more than others. For example, check out Rabbit's Foot Biere de Miel which is based on a Kolsch. Other good ones might be a cream ale (search for a recipe posted by Angus), Belgian wit, blonde ale, or even a hefewiezen. Stay in the 4-5% ABV range with low hops (or even no hops) and you should be able to bottle within a few weeks.

wildoates
11-09-2009, 07:02 PM
Tell your friends: mead is not like beer. It takes a while to make it. :)

Kee
11-09-2009, 07:57 PM
Welcome to GotMead, Fathand!


Tell your friends: mead is not like beer. It takes a while to make it. :)

I wish GotMead had a 'Like' button. Wildoates is dead on.

Even the quick batches that Medsen mentioned will still be young at 6 weeks. As to what to expect, as afdoty said, will depend on the batch you make. There are a few things you can likely expect. It may be hot, the flavors won't be integrated, and yeast will still be in suspension so there may be sediment in the bottle. The taste may range from tolerable to 'oh dear God, what did I do?' There are a lot of things you can do to minimize these; however, a lot of newbies don't ask or don't know to ask. (Congrats. You're ahead of the curve.)

There are many commercial meads available for sale. You friends should consider buying this year and drink yours next.

If you decide to go ahead and do this, follow a recommedation from the mentors exactly. (It says on the badge next to their name what level they are). Do not deviate from the recipe they give you without asking prior. Don't take newbee advice (including mine once you start brewing). Don't substitute yeast because the guy at the home brew store suggested it. Don't. It may be the difference between laughing at your creation over dinner and this not being done on time, a bad reputation as a meadmaker, or a disaster Christmas morning.

Good luck.

socpsy
11-09-2009, 09:03 PM
Joe Mattioli has posted a recipe that is billed as drinkable in 3wks (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showpost.php?p=70576&postcount=7). I've made a couple of batches of it and, for me, at least, it took more like 6 weeks and it actually got better after that.

Jess
11-09-2009, 09:17 PM
Well I'm going to speak as a very inexperienced mead maker, nowhere up to the caliber of the regulars and old-timers at this site, so keep that in mind.

Taste is VERY subjective. I've sampled beer worts that were phenomenal right out of the secondary fermenter and crappy beer that had been fermented and bottle-aged for six months! Some people have very attuned tongues that can discern slight nuances in flavor........and then others have the tongues of pigs lapping away at the slop trough. LOL!

So it kind of depends on what kind of friends you have. Are they blue collar guys that love to slam brewskies while chasing them with shots of Jim Beam or are they the kind of guys that can appreciate the delicate flavor of a fine wine? Because your one month old mead may not taste as well as it could but it will most definately get you crocked!! The alcohol will be in there inside of a couple of weeks of fermentation.

I know a lot of times "the boys" like to do this kind of stuff not to do it right but to just do it and be able to say, "Yeah, we got tore up on that stuff that Joe made, didn't we?"

For what it's worth.

fathand
11-09-2009, 10:04 PM
Thank you all for the replies. I had a feeling waiting and patience was the answer I would get.

Here is the recipe I am planning to use. It is similar to Joe Mattioli's recipe mentioned below.

5 gallon batch

15 lbs. Wildflower honey
5 tsp Acid Blend
5 tsp Yeast Nutrient
2.5 tsp Yeast Energizer
4 packs Lavlin K1-V1116 Montpellier Wine Yeast

I homebrew so I will be storing it a 5 gallon glass carboy. I also plan not to boil the honey and it make a larger starter for the yeast.

AToE
11-09-2009, 10:16 PM
First thing you're going to hear now is "leave out the acid blend!" - it can cause greif for your yeast and you can always add it at the end if you think it needs acidity. Most people don't end up adding it at all.

Also, you don't need to do a starter if you follow the yeast rehydration instructions, and especially not if you rehydrate it with a special rehydration nutrient called goferm (don't use anything else though, reg nutrients and energizers contain DAP which is bad for rehydrating), and especially not if you use 4 packets (assuming 5grams per pack?)! 1-2 of those packs should be totally fine, maybe go with 2 since this is a higher gravity batch.

Of course, I haven't heard any negatives to making a starter, just that it's more or less totally unnecessary.

Also, I'm pretty new, so if anyone (especially the mentors) gives you advice that conflicts with mine please assume they're right and I'm not!

Medsen Fey
11-09-2009, 11:00 PM
AToE your suggestions are right on the money.

The acid blend is likely to cause a very slow if not stuck fermentation. You can use 4 pack of yeast and a starter if you like, but 2 packs rehydrated properly will be plenty - however, to allow the yeast to multiply properly you need to open the fermenter and aerate it at least daily for the first 1/3 of fermentation. Yes, it sounds like heresy to brewers, I know, but it is standard practice in wine/mead making and it will not give you oxidized results.

If your yeast nutrient is DAP, you are probably a little heavy on the nutrient and a little light on the energizer. You might be better off with 3 teaspoons of DAP, and 3 tsp of energizer. K1V is very good even with low nutrient musts.

This recipe will make a mead that is likely to be near dry, with 14-15% ABV and is not going to be ready to drink by Christmas this year. It will be hot, and rough, but in a year it will taste much, much better. If your really want something that will taste okay this Christmas, JAO or Joe's pyment would be better choices.

The major difference between your recipe and Joe's is that you are giving the yeast a lot of nutrients. In his recipe he is starving them a bit, so that it will be easier to stop them with sorbate and sulfite. If you try that with a healthy bunch of well nourished yeast, they may chew right on through it taking the batch dry -remember, dry + high alcohol = long aging.

I don't mean to sound like some wine/mead snob, but I do like my stuff to taste good, not just to be alcoholic and for meads to taste good, most of them need some aging.

Medsen

Jess
11-09-2009, 11:38 PM
I don't mean to sound like some wine/mead snob, but I do like my stuff to taste good, not just to be alcoholic and for meads to taste good, most of them need some aging.

Medsen

You don't sound like a snob at all, Medsen. Just a guy that knows what he likes. My previous comment was just to say that I'm sure some people actually LIKE the taste of month old mead and if you're just looking for alcohol content, most worts/musts are loaded with it after a couple of weeks.

As I'm sure you know, there are many people out there that drink for only one reason and they're not all that particular about taste. LOL!! Scotch, Vodka, Gin and Tequila will attest to that fact. I don't care if was aged in oak barrels for 25 years......it tastes like CRAP! But again, taste is subjective.

Jess
11-09-2009, 11:50 PM
I assume you're a "guy", Medsen. I could very well be wrong! The name doesn't really give a clue. If I was wrong, I apologize.

wildoates
11-10-2009, 12:02 AM
but I do like my stuff to taste good, not just to be alcoholic

As I'm sure you know, there are many people out there that drink for only one reason and they're not all that particular about taste.If all you want to do is to get toasted, there's plenty of cheap cr@p out there to drink without wasting good honey, right? :)

I went to my local grocery to get some booze to make vanilla extract for family members for Christmas. I laughed out loud in the booze aisle to see that the local chain had their own brand of cheap vodka and rum--I mean really cheap, so cheap that even a wino could probably afford it. Can't guarantee the taste, but it'll get ya drunk if that's your goal.

You can get something with fermented honey by Christmas, no problem, but I wouldn't tell my friends it was mead. Vicky will smack you for perpetuating the drunken Viking stereotype. But yeah, you could do it. You could pour a still fermenting mead into a tankard and it'd probably foam nicely and taste yeasty and sweet. If that's what your friends want, well...give it a go!


PS: If you're looking for a quick-fermenting drink, ask afdoty about his exclusive Tree Top Fermenterô kool-aid recipe. :)

afdoty
11-10-2009, 06:37 AM
PS: If you're looking for a quick-fermenting drink, ask afdoty about his exclusive Tree Top Fermenterô kool-aid recipe. :)

LOL... And that was fine after week (what does a 14 year old kid know?)! Kool Aid....ahh for the days.

But you could drink it at any point, it won't kill you (to badly). Just don't seal it....bottles will and do explode!

fathand
11-10-2009, 10:16 AM
With the help of all your advice, I think what we are planning to do is bulk age the majority of the batch but bottle one 12 oz. each for the 4 of us to taste before Christmas.

I let them all know that they should expect it to taste pretty hot and that to truly get a great tasting product we need to let it sit. We all agreed that was the best coarse of action.

Again thanks for all the replies.

Here is the revised recipe...

15 lbs. Wildflower honey
3 tsp Yeast Nutrient
3 tsp Yeast Energizer
2 packs Lavlin K1-V1116

Also the hope was that this would be a sweeter mead. Per Medsen's comments below this will be on the dry side. Is there any thing I can do to make this sweeter?

Medsen Fey
11-10-2009, 10:58 AM
You can let it finish out, even if dry, then stabilize the mead using sulfite and sorbate. This will prevent the yeast from starting up again. Then you can add more honey to get it to the level of sweetness you want. Before you bottle it, you'll want to watch it for a few weeks after sweetening just to be sure the yeast doesn't start up again and to allow it to clear.