View Full Version : Hello and questions from a novice

09-13-2010, 11:24 PM
Hello everyone,
I recently stumbled on this web site and it kindled an old love. Many, many many and so on years ago when I was in high school and the internet and video games did not exists my friends and I looked for fun activities. Having read about the middle ages we decided to brew mead. our ingredients were simple (honey water yeast) and our technique was basic, but we got pretty good at it and had some wonderful golden nectar.
About ten years ago I tried my hand at brewing beer. I bought all the proper equipment and followed recipes, took readings and such and made some good beer. I made one batch of mead then that my friends manage to liberate from me before I even had a taste. I hear it was good. I had fun, but with life, moves and other changes I never got back to it.
So now I have some time on my hands and thought about giving it another try.
I dug my equipment out of the attic. gave it all a good cleaning and sterilized it. Then in my normal manner I jumped in full boar making two 5gl batches a month apart of each other.
Now that I've been reading these post I'm wondering if I've been too lackadaisical in my simple method. I've never taken hydrometer or PH readings or have very precise about anything and I'm getting worried that I may have messed up, especially since I have changed my simple ingredients and add stuff to spice thing up. I know I'm running on here, but I hope your staying with me.
My first batch and question: I used clove honey and added oranges, raisins, grapes, strawberries, pineapple, 1 lemon, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks and a pinch of allspice. I'll admit it I use Fleishmann’s yeast. It's just reached the one month stage and bubbling has slowed down to about once every five min, It has a great golden color and is clearing nicely. previously I would just let it finish and age in the carboy another month, then bottle. I've never racked before, just herd of it now reading the posts. with all this fruit floating at the top would it be a good idea to strain and transfer the mead to another carboy to finish? or just leave it be till I bottle.

Second batch and question: May have really gone weird on this one.
15lbs honey, 80 oz pure apple juice, two fresh and chopped up honeydew melons, a cup brown sugar, one Clementine orange pealed and two cinnamon sticks, of course spring water. It is going to town and bubbling rapidly. but my concern is that the honey is separating to the bottom. I either haven't or don't remember this happening before and did use my same old method of mixing the honey in hot water and shacking the living heck out of my carboy. I thought about buying one of those long paint stirrers and using my drill to give it a good mixing again, but like I said it's bubbling real good and I hate to disturb it at this point. should I be concerned or just let it go?
Well if you are still reading thank you I look forward to any advice you all have. From what I've seen and read so far on this site there is a lot of great folks with lots of experience. hope to get to know you all and I think maybe it's time for me to actually try a recipe next time.

09-14-2010, 01:45 AM
Welcome (back)!

You can follow your old methods and still turn out good results. Newer techniques are mostly geared toward getting consistently good results and minimizing bad results. This sounds like a good thing, and it is, but it does add some extra work; don't feel compelled to conform.

One thing I would suggest for safety's sake is at least checking the SG (aka gravity) of your mead before bottling. Ensuring that the mead is definitely done fermenting before bottling reduces the chances of unexpected carbonation, which sometimes shows up as exploding bottles. Fleischmann's yeast is good for doing its thing and then graciously kicking the bucket, especially if you give it a good warm home while it's working. So you should be ok with a few weeks of stable gravity once it has cleared up. Wine strains tend to be more resilient, so a few months of stable readings is not a guarantee that a mead with residual sugar won't restart.

Don't worry about undissolved honey at the bottom, it will mix in on its own. Some folks intentionally do not stir the honey in and let diffusion do the hard work. Certainly fits the laid-back life of a mead maker. ;D

09-15-2010, 02:50 AM
Thank you for your reply,
very good advice on getting a reading before I bottle. I do seem to remember my first batch. Being very eager we bottled as soon as we thought it had stopped bubbling. several corks blew out across my basement with in the next couple of days.

I feel a lot better now about my second batch. I am just use to that pretty brown coloring and this is definitely different. I think I'm going to have a green mead.
Thanks again for you thoughts :)

Chevette Girl
09-16-2010, 12:44 AM
I think I'm going to have a green mead.

Dangit! I'll have to try honeydew next time, kiwi wine sure doesn't stay green!