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keepitlow
12-07-2009, 07:55 PM
How many batches of mead a year do you make?

Did the number change from when you were a beginner as opposed to a more knowledgeable mead maker?

What sparked this question was the fact that the book says to age mead 6 months to a year. So if you make one batch and wait a year to find out it is crap...that time span to learn must make it tough to progress quickly.

AToE
12-07-2009, 08:05 PM
That's my thoughts exactly. I've been doing this for only 6 months-ish, but I've done more than 20 batches already, some small some bigger. Some of it has been ready to drink as early as 3 months (not that it wouldn't improve with more though) and some is at 6 months and still not very good (probably will never be good in some cases). To me this makes 1 gal batches superior for beginners to bigger batches, even though it is extremely dissapointing to see how fast each batch dissapears after bottling.

I'm trying to do a lot of side by side testing to accellerate my learning. For example, early in the new year I will be doing 10 identical batches of traditional dry mead (right down to having been mixed a single 10 gal batch of must) using 10 different yeasts. I've also already got some side by side testing going for different yeasts in blueberry melomels, and different aging styles with maple wines.

So, while I'm definitely still very much a newb, I feel that I am a lot further along the learning curve than someone might be at the 1/2 year mark, and at least most of my failures have been only a gallon lost, and at the most 15-25 bucks and some time wasted.

Big Mac
12-07-2009, 08:09 PM
I learned this weekend to keep a brewlog for EVERYTHING. About three months ago I threw together a cyser, and racked it this past weekend, taking a small sample. It is AMAZING. And I haven't a clue what yeast I used. I'm thinking it's D47.

I have made approximately 20 meads this past year, my first, after being a winemaker for about two years.

slowbie
12-07-2009, 08:50 PM
I am VERY new at this (0 completed batches) but I have two batches started, and one should finish up in about 2 months and the other is going to take 6 or more. The shorter one is a one gallon batch and the longer one is a five gallon. I think that AToE is right that one gallon batches are a great way to go when you start out. I plan on getting more one gallon jugs and starting a couple more one gallon batches after a month or so from now.

Kee
12-07-2009, 09:57 PM
I have a good 18-24 going as well. I read Ken's book and the newbee guide at least a dozen times each before I started. I'm confident that I managed the fermentation/aging process well enough to make good mead.

wayneb
12-07-2009, 10:08 PM
I tend to have anywhere from 75 to 125 gallons/year going, but that' s just me. ;D

tatgeer
12-07-2009, 10:36 PM
How many batches of mead a year do you make?

Did the number change from when you were a beginner as opposed to a more knowledgeable mead maker?

What sparked this question was the fact that the book says to age mead 6 months to a year. So if you make one batch and wait a year to find out it is crap...that time span to learn must make it tough to progress quickly.

I started with one 1 gallon jug and quickly expanded to three 1 gallon jugs. About 2 years ago I added a 6.5 gallon carboy to the mix. I've been at it for about 4 years total.

In 2008 I brewed 11 batches for 23 gallons of mead.

In 2009 I've brewed 8 batches for 15 gallons of mead and 2 one-gallon batches of cider. I hope to start 2 more 1-gallon batches this week or next week.

It's true that it takes a while to build up a store, and I find the more I have, the longer I want to age it. This makes my husband crazy, as I'm putting cases of the stuff in the basement and complaining that we don't have any to drink.

You might intentionally throw in a periodic batch of JAO or something else that will be ready quickly, so as to keep you out of the good stuff a little longer.

As far as learning from mistakes - I've found that I have a decent idea at bottling for most batches. Of course the fine-tuning comes after aging, but my method has been to plunge in and make guesses as I go. I've made 2 that turned out VERY dry and were not tasty at bottling - those I'm hoping will mellow out.

wildoates
12-07-2009, 11:28 PM
How many do I do in a year? No idea. I haven't been doing it for a year yet. :)

But so far I've what...6,7 batches going, and a braggot, recently bottled. Aside from the heat/no heat test batches, all start out at least 5 gallons. I, too, did as much homework as I could so I would be less likely to mess up an expensive mess of good honey, and so far, so good, knock on wood and thanks to the mentors' advice.

My limiting factor is always the moolah. ;)

capoeirista13
12-08-2009, 02:47 AM
I started out by making a whole lot of stuff in my first year, most of which didn't turn out too good. Now into my second year of mead-making I'm revising the recipes I originally came up with and they are turning out much much better.

saur0n
12-08-2009, 06:38 AM
I am fairly new to mead brewing as well and like AToE suggested, I think 1 gallon (well, 5 liters in my case) batches are the way to go if you want a steep learning curve. At the moment I have 3 carboys going at it: one traditional mead (bone dry), one Cinnamon-cloves-coriander seeds metheglin (dessert mead, will possibly be drunk like mulled wine) and a blackcurrant melomel (sherry yeast, so dry).
A fourth carboy serves as a spare for racking purposes.
Recently I bought a 30 liters brewing bucket which will serve to "mass" produce the brew that I liked best at the time of bottling. (I know that the flavor of the mead can change rather dramatically while aging, but I can't wait several months/years to make that decision, so I'll have to take a leap of faith here ;D)

For now my production ratio is (give or take) 15 liters every 2-ish months. But that will change rapidly once the bucket comes into play. *grin*

storm1969
12-08-2009, 10:23 AM
Well, batches going?

If we are only talking mead, I usually start 3-6 a year (all 5+ gallons), but in that I tend to let my mead sit at least 2 years before bottling, I have at least 6-10 in process at any time...

Add in 40-60 gallons of wine into the mix, and you get my basement winery filled with full carboys/Barrels...

socpsy
12-08-2009, 12:52 PM
Since July, I've brewed 12 gallons of braggot and 13.5 gallons of mead of various types.http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a349/socpsy/thumbs.gif

Fishbone
12-09-2009, 03:02 PM
Hmmmm...this past year I've brewed...Approximately 30 gallons of various mead and approximately 50 gallons of various styles of beer. These amounts would be alot more but I need more carboys. Unfortunately, with the holidays approaching most of it is gone as I use it for gifts...I gave a whole case of assorted mead to my friends' family for their annual Thanksgiving/Family Reunion in Nag's Head, NC.

skunkboy
12-10-2009, 08:31 PM
I have been starting about 80-90 gallons a year for a while now. Fun to bottle lots of stuff and then you won't be tempted to drink or give it all away, and it can age for a while.

Usually running :
12 5 gallon carboys
12 3 gallon carboys
12 1 gallon carboys

ucflumberjack
12-11-2009, 07:34 AM
When I first started I made a ton! Ok, maybe not that much compared to other gotmeaders but quiet a bit for me. It was like 6 or 7 full batches (5-6 gallons). But now I'm in the habbit of making 1 per year, an oaked sack mead with orange blossom honey. I make beer too and between the two thats just to much booze for one person. Eventually I'll get up to making the sack mead and a braggot but prolly not until I have the space to store it all.

wayneb
12-11-2009, 11:33 AM
Most of my production goes out as gifts, and it is rare that I have more than 6 750 ml bottles of any one batch left behind for my own consumption. That's why my total volume has to be so high.

akueck
12-11-2009, 04:56 PM
I haven't been making much lately; we've moved twice in the last 18 months. I make beer, cider, and mead and counting everything I've made about 10 batches per year for the last 5 years, plus a few more every year where I go help a friend make something. Next year is not looking to be a very productive year either, since we'll be spending some time out of the country starting fall-ish; everything we do now is already geared towards "let's have less stuff to get rid of/store when we leave". I realize getting rid of "extra" beer/mead would be fairly trivial, but I'll probably be on mead hiatus for the foreseeable future and beer will only be made to maintain a small inventory.