View Full Version : Little confused about technique

12-21-2009, 06:52 PM
I am very interested in the caramel apple mead I've seen both here and on the HBT forum.

I have a couple questions about the initial technique using the DMEs.

Steep grains in 1.5 gallons of apple juice at 155F for 45 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in the DME and honey. Rinse grain sack with 1/2 gallon apple juice.

Since the recipe includes regular DME and crystal/caramel malt, does grains mean the first DME or the caramel? Or both? I do not have any beer brewing in my background, so maybe I'm missing something.

Also, if you would please be so kind, I'd like to make this on a smaller scale, like a gallon, rather than 5 gallons. I think I've got a good eye on what the recipe might look like. I will post it below and if those with more experience could add a few pointers if needed, I would so much appreciate it. I'd really rather get my homework/groundwork done before investing in ingredients.

Caramel Apple Mead (for hopefully 1 gallon)
1 gal. apple juice
1/2 lb. DME
3/4 lb. 60L Crystal Malt
1 3/4 lbs. Orange Blossom Honey
1//2 lb. Clover Honey
1/2 lb. Buckwheat Honey plus 1/4 lb. for later racking
1/2 a Vanilla bean (possibly split)
Will probably use Lalvin K1V1116 yeast

I have the buckwheat honey already stashed. I think I may use clover honey for both the clover and the orange blossom, mostly because it's easier to find.


12-21-2009, 07:24 PM
Laura, I think the following will help - DME is an abbreviation for dried malt extract. It is not grain, but instead is all the sugars, polysaccharides, and soluble proteins extracted from grain and then dried (often vacuum dried at low temperature).

So, the "grains" that summersolstice talks about are the crystal malt grains. The DME is water soluble, and is added later, with the honey.

And I haven't looked at the original in some time, but if you simply divided his 5 gallon recipe ingredient amounts by 5, that would be the correct approach to make a gallon.

12-21-2009, 07:27 PM
DME is Dry Malt Extract. All you need to do with this is dissolve it and it's ready to go. I might recommend a short boil of the DME as well, just to make sure it is sanitary. DME is not designed to be used without boiling, so there could be more than zero nasties in it.

The grains that they want you to steep are the crystal malts. The specific time and temperature are honestly not very important since crystal malt is fully converted and the steep only dissolves the solids. I also recommend a short boil for this steep water for the same reasons. (raw grain *definitely* has stuff living on it!)

So to recap, soak the grains in water, remove the grains when the water hits about 160 (rinse), stir in the DME and boil for 10 or so minutes. The easiest way to accomplish the grain soaking and the water heating simultaneously is to put the grains into cold water, turn on the heat, and pull out the grains when it gets hot. The time in between is enough to dissolve the sugars/starches.

12-22-2009, 10:10 AM
A few quick things from one newbie to another that might have confused me. My apologies if any of this is redundant or obvious to you.

First, generally people just use a full 5 gram packet of yeast for any batch size from one gallon to five gallons, so you won't need to scale that.

Second, steeping the grains and adding and boiling the DME, you'll want to let it cool before adding the honey to preserve aromatics and whatnot. If you've read the NewBee Guide (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=108&Itemid=14) like I did, you might notice that it gives a great non-biased discussion of boiling vs. pasteurization vs. no heat, but what wasn't clear to me until I came to the forums was that basically everybody does the no heat method. So you're going to want to wait until it gets below 100F to add the honey. However, if you add when it's still relatively warm like that, it can save you some tired arms by making the honey mix with the water easier.

Also, I don't know what you're planning on fermenting in, but if it's a one gallon jug, you're going to want to make sure to leave space at the top, as with the beginning of JAO because my K1V traditional mead batch has filled the airlock twice and I have 1.5 gallons of headspace in a 5 gallon batch.

Along those lines, wayneb said to divide by five, which is correct for a one gallon of mead, but if you are using a primary fermenter that is big enough (maybe 2+ gallons), you might want to just keep the divided by 4 numbers you have posted and make the slightly bigger batch so you can end up with about a full gallon after racking losses.

12-22-2009, 01:45 PM
Yes, that makes things much clearer! I am more familiar with baking recipes where the items in the recipe are usually listed in order of use. And, while I could find quite a bit on DME, I just wasn't clear on the recipe.
Thanks so much for the pointers, it really does help.

I've got my first batch of JAO in my closet, which I'm going to check on tomorrow, see how it is going. I did only make one batch, but due to spacing, I did split the batch into two containers in order to leave proper headroom. I am probably going to do the same idea here, if needed. Thanks for the pointer about getting a finished gallon, I had not thought about that.