View Full Version : First try

12-02-2010, 02:32 AM
Hello all,
I am wanting to try my hand at brewing a batch of mead. I have brewed a few batches of beer and wine. So i understand some basic of brewing.

What i am thinking of for my first batch is as follows

17 #Honey (Clover/Wildflower) from LHBS
distilled water to 5 gallons
Wyeast Sweet-Mead 4184 (Smack Pack)
And LD Carlson Yeast Nutrient (Urea and Ammonium Phosphate)
And LD Carlson Yeast Energizer (DAP,Yeast Hulls,Magnesium Sulphate, & Vitamin b)

I just want to make a basic sweet mead to start then i will start experimenting with other things.

So the main question i have is on the Nutrient/Energizer. The nutrient says one 1 tsp per gallon so 5 tsp, the energizer says 1/2 tsp per gallon so 2 1/2 tsp. So if i follow the information i have read here about when to add these things i should at half at the start and half at the 1/3 break point??

And another question i have seen alot of reference to FermaidK is this something i should get or is the yeast nutrient/energizer that i have ok to start this batch.

Thanks for any help

12-02-2010, 02:45 AM
Hey, welcome to GotMead Mongo! :D

You should check the NewBee Guide on the left hand side of the page. It's got a lot of useful information to get started with. I would suggest adding the nutrients in stages as you aerate, try doing a search for SNA or "staggered nutrient addition". You'll find some good info on how/why this is a nice approach to go with. Also, some of the liquid yeasts tend to not do so well, so the better you treat it, the better off your chances of getting a nice product will be.

Fermaid K is just a recommended product because Lalvin provides a lot of information about what exactly is in the product. You should be fine with what you have, and perhaps a mentor can chime in about the specifics of what you have.

I'd also recommend investing in a hydrometer, as this is a pretty essential tool (although if you've already been brewing, I don't know if you already have one :p )

Good luck!

12-02-2010, 02:59 AM
Thanks for the info. I have read through the NewBee guide once and will read through it again before i start on this batch. I should have mentioned i do have a hydrometer. I plan to start this in a 6.5 gallon fermentation bucket and then rack into a 5 gallon glass carboy. I will research the SNA method and try and follow that. You said the liquid yeast does not do well. Would i be better to switch to Lavin D-47?

Thanks again,

12-02-2010, 03:10 AM
Welcome Mongo...

I would also suggest using the Mead Calculator http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Itemid=16 to figure out how much honey to add to get to your target...

It looks like with 17#'s of honey, you'll have more than a bit of sweetness left in your mead... You'll be deep into the "desert" category... Try going with about 15 #'s to start, and then back-sweeten to hit your target... There's a lot of threads/posts about back sweetening on these pages, with loads of great info about it...

Either that, or select a different yeast to use, if you're set on using 17#'s of honey...

Also, I'm learning (a little the hard way) that having a gravity like you would with 17#'s will make things take longer than if you start with a little lower gravity... With 15#'s your starting gravity should be about 1.108, which will be easier on the yeasties... You should still have some sweetness left in the mead, if your yeast holds true to spec (could go 1-2% over the ABV listed). Still, if you're looking for in the 'sweet' range, then 15# will get you closer, without more trouble... Even if it goes to 12% or closer to 13%, you'll still be in the medium to sweet range... With the %ABV over what the yeast can handle (or exhausting it) and some residual sugars left, it should prove less of an issue to back-sweeten (if you even have to)...

I would also suggest using the 'cold' method and letting your honey rest overnight (or several hours) to ensure full dissolve into solution. That will make your initial hydrometer reading (critical to have a hydrometer you can trust) more accurate. I didn't do that on my first batch (honey was in a solid state when I began) and my initial readings weren't even close. I started another batch more recently, and after letting it rest overnight, I know the readings were correct...

I've seen many people posting here about not heating up the must/honey anymore... It makes things far easier, and you'll still get a great result (just be sure to follow good sanitation practices)...

Mead is a bit different than brewing beers (I'm doing both)... Going through the newbee guide will really help... Searching the threads should answer most of your remaining questions, and if you have a question not already covered, ask...

Medsen Fey
12-02-2010, 01:33 PM
Welcome to GotMead John!

You sound like you're on the right track. Personally, I think that sweet mead strain of yeast is very problematic for new mead makers, and I would personally use something different - 71B, or perhaps D47.

The nutrient amounts you've listed should be plenty.

Just be sure and start with an appropriate gravity level for whichever yeast you choose. You may want to leave it closer to dry knowing that you can add more honey to make it sweeter after fermentation. With D47 or 71B, a starting gravity around 1.110 should leave you with just a little sweetness.

Remember that with mead, aeration is important - a practice that is discouraged when making beer.

Good Luck!


12-02-2010, 08:01 PM
Thanks for the info everyone. So from the sugesstions i have recieved i will lower the honey to 15 pounds and switch to the D-47 yeast.

So back to the brew shop this weekend to get the yeast and a lees stirrer so i can aerate the must.

Thanks again every one

12-03-2010, 12:41 AM
Thanks for the info everyone. So from the sugesstions i have recieved i will lower the honey to 15 pounds and switch to the D-47 yeast.

So back to the brew shop this weekend to get the yeast and a lees stirrer so i can aerate the must.

Thanks again every one
Personally I wouldn't bother with a lees stirrer. If you have a long handled spoon, then you can just sanitise the handle of that and use it.

Me ? I use citric/sulphate sanitiser in a spray, then just wash and sanitise the liquidiser, then put a pint of must/ferment into it and blitz it. It's the best/easiest/quickest method ever......

For your yeast suggest, prior to his death, Brother Adam (of Buckfast Abbey Bee breeding/mead making fame) had moved away from his "maury" yeast as it had become unavailable/hard to get (actually seems to be the same as Lalvin D21), he'd moved onto using a Montpellier strain, which is available as Lalvin K1V-1116 (and apparently it's also Gervin Varietal E - which is apparently the one he used as it was easier to get hold of down there in Devon).

A lot of people consider it "the swiss army knife of yeasts" - which does pretty well, sum it up......

A good yeast to keep some of......



12-03-2010, 01:34 AM
If you're going the bucket as your primary method, then you can get a long whip to aerate your must... I picked one up Wednesday from a restaurant supply uber-store that's 18" (believe that's the length of the actual whip part)... Makes quick work of aerating your must... Start mixing higher in the must, then go low to pull it all to the bottom and fully aerate... You'll get a thick head of foam this way too...

The whip is, basically, what chef's use to 'whip' cream (hence 'whipped cream')... The business end uses thinner wire than a wisk, hence making it a super-tool for this...

I've yet to get a lees stirrer... Not to say that I won't get one, but it's not high on the list of things I need to get... ;D