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kaycee
10-04-2010, 03:57 AM
Hi, I have a bumper crop of Autumn Olive Berries this year. When I found out they weren't just "for the birds", I decided to try to make mead. Then I started looking up "How to Make Mead" and I'm back to "for the birds". :)

I've read recipes and instructions that call for everything from an old water jug to over $400. worth of "necessary" equipment, from fermenting for 2 months to 18, and so many other variations on the theme that I'm totally confused.

Is there some way a newbee can just make a small and relatively uncomplicated batch to see if she wants to make this a permanent activity? I don't mind investing in a carboy and airlock and a few other essentials, but after all the mixed "instructions" I don't know whether to get a gallon or 5 gallon, whether to expect to be fermenting/racking/siphoning for a year or month, etc.

I'd appreciate any help anyone can offer. I think I may have a narrow harvesting window here. Can fruit be picked and stored....and how does one do/store?
Thanks so much, Karen

mmclean
10-04-2010, 06:53 AM
First let me say, Welcome to GotMead?

I would suggest that you read the NewBee Guide found with the link to your left. It is a great resource.

I firmly believe that, Got Mead? is "the" informative voice for the modern mead maker. And we're a freindly bunch as well. ;D

The search tool is your friend. These treads go deep and wide. Use it first as you may pull many treads and post and get a more rounded response than just asking the general fourm.

If you still don't have your answer, at least you have the information to ask a well formed question.

"To get a better answer, ask better questions."

Be specific and address one topic per post. Give enough background information (recipes, SG, temps, PH, whatever you think will help) so someone can understand where you are.

Your at the right place.

Tannin Boy
10-04-2010, 06:56 AM
Hi, I have a bumper crop of Autumn Olive Berries this year. When I found out they weren't just "for the birds", I decided to try to make mead. Then I started looking up "How to Make Mead" and I'm back to "for the birds". :)

I've read recipes and instructions that call for everything from an old water jug to over $400. worth of "necessary" equipment, from fermenting for 2 months to 18, and so many other variations on the theme that I'm totally confused.

Is there some way a newbee can just make a small and relatively uncomplicated batch to see if she wants to make this a permanent activity? I don't mind investing in a carboy and airlock and a few other essentials, but after all the mixed "instructions" I don't know whether to get a gallon or 5 gallon, whether to expect to be fermenting/racking/siphoning for a year or month, etc.

I'd appreciate any help anyone can offer. I think I may have a narrow harvesting window here. Can fruit be picked and stored....and how does one do/store?
Thanks so much, Karen

Karen,

Welcome to the Gotmead....!
I am very new to this mead making as well, so many others will chime in and answer some of your questions. This mead making is a wonderful pastime and you can control costs so don't be to worried on that front. When you have some spare time go to the panel on the left hand side and read the detailed info under the Newbie Guide as you will find many answer's to questions you will have. Another great read is a book by Ken Schramm " The Complete Meadmaker" a wonderful read if you wish to know more. Now go out there and get those berries before the birds do and keep us posted as I cannot say I have heard of these before...Best wishes on your mead making journey.

TB

P.S. You can freeze them until you feel like taking on your first batch too. No need to feel like your under pressure to start.

Medsen Fey
10-04-2010, 10:05 AM
Welcome to GotMead kaycee!

I've never seen or tasted an autumn olive berry. Where do you find them?

For dipping your toe into the world of meadmaking you don't need a big investment. A 1-gallon batch will help you get the idea. Joe's Ancient Orange recipe (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&recipe_id=118&Itemid=459) is a good one, and one that many new mead makers try. It doesn't require anything fancy; a stopper and airlock, and a little siphon tube, and a 1 gallon glass jug (which you can buy filled with apple juice or cheap wine). The equipment for this is all of about $5-10. For anything more, I would urge you to spend the $10-15 for a hydrometer. For bottling and capping/corking, there may be some additional expense, but it isn't huge.

If you can eat olive berries, then you can make mead out of them. I'm sure folks can help you come up with a recipe. What do they taste like?

Storing them in the freezer works with most berries, so that's probably the way to go until you have a plan in place.

Medsen

kaycee
10-04-2010, 11:13 AM
Hi Medsen, Autumn Olives are a Michigan (where I live) natural wild species. I planted some to attract birds and only recently found out they are okay for human consumption too. They are a small pea-sized red fruit with a nice tangy sweet taste.
K

crimsondrac
10-04-2010, 02:28 PM
Hi and welcome to the Forums.

I am pretty new to the mead making world myself and a few things I have come to realize.

First, yes, look at the Joe's Ancient Orange recipe in the newbie guide. It is probably the easiest, simplest, most fool-proof recipe you could find. It uses simple baking yeast and does not require any specialty honey or ingrediants. It is also very tasty after about 3-4 months of aging.

Second, I would go for a 5 Gallon batch. If you just make a 1 gallon batch, keep in mind some will go to waste as you rack it of to a secondary container to get rid of the solids. By the time you are done, you will end up with anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 of what you started out with. With a 5 gallon batch, you still lose the same amount and you end up with much more drinkable mead. Plus 5 gallons will last you longer from batch to batch, keeping in mind there is aging time. If you are crunched for money, you can buy a 5 gallon plastic carboy at most grocery stores for about 5 or 10 bucks. Also, if you have acceess to 5 gallon food grade buckets, that would work too.

If you made nothing but Joe's Ancient Orange, then you would probably be safe not buying a hydrometer. The recipe is pretty fool proof. But if you ever decide to start trying your own recipes or one you found in a book, do invest in a hydrometer and some pH test strips. It will save you a lot of time later and you will have a better idea of what your finished Alcohol by Volume is.

There are some tutorials on the internet on how to make your own airlock using a few dollars worth of tubing but for a few dollars, you could buy a real airlock, so I guess it depends on if you already have some food grade tubing lying about or not.