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Ant_Man
03-06-2011, 02:49 PM
I once read an article where a guy claimed that as a boy he made mead by putting honey and water in a plastic bottle and leaving it.

Most of the recipes I've seen use yeast and insist on sterile demijons to stop it going bad.

Would it work at all out of interest to just leave it in a bottle, and what would it be like?

Just want to know what's going on with that.

gray
03-06-2011, 04:34 PM
I once read an article where a guy claimed that as a boy he made mead by putting honey and water in a plastic bottle and leaving it.

Most of the recipes I've seen use yeast and insist on sterile demijons to stop it going bad.

Would it work at all out of interest to just leave it in a bottle, and what would it be like?

Just want to know what's going on with that.

It's entirely possible to make mead by putting honey and water in a plastic bottle and leaving it. This is spontaneous fermentation (or natural fermentation or wild yeast fermentation) and relies on yeast that's already contained in/on the ingredients used or on airborne yeasties that are local to your region.

Will it be great? Could be. Your chances are probably better in rural areas than in a city. Will it be reproducible if it is great? Probably not.

Leaving honey and water out to the open and hoping it will make good mead is a crapshoot. From beer to wine to sourdough bread, spontaneous fermentation is definitely used to this day to make quality products and was a common method (and sometimes the most common method) of Mead fermentation in days long past.

AToE
03-06-2011, 06:35 PM
Yeah, just leaving it open for some yeast flying around in the air to land in it and start fermenting is possible, not exactly highly recommended, but possible. You'd definitely not want to cap it, because it'll blow up, and it's almost as likely to just spoil and become honey vinegar as it is to turn into mead...

tweak'e
03-07-2011, 02:36 AM
i have a few locals here and thats the only way they make mead. honey and water in a bucket, throw a towel over the top and leave it.
you have to remember the honey comes with wild yeast in it already.

gray
03-07-2011, 03:22 AM
i have a few locals here and thats the only way they make mead. honey and water in a bucket, throw a towel over the top and leave it.
you have to remember the honey comes with wild yeast in it already.

Are their products any good? Maybe you could cultivate a small batch of yeasties and ship some over here :) A yeast exchange program of sorts.

tweak'e
03-07-2011, 03:51 AM
i have no idea. trouble is i never hear about what they taste like!

Ant_Man
03-07-2011, 11:36 AM
Hey thanks for the responses. So it looks like the story could be truthful.

I like the idea of leaving it in a bucket, I might give it a go.

Could any of you hazard a guess about the amount of water?

Say to limit the damages I use 500g raw honey (1.10 pounds), put it in a clean container with a towel on top.

Stir it a lot for three days to oxygenate...then transfer?

I will report back on the taste. :)

wayneb
03-07-2011, 12:01 PM
If you're going to try to experiment with a wild (or feral) yeast strain, I'd suggest that you do it with a small starter volume first. That way you can not feel too bad about tossing it if the fermentation begins to display undesirable characteristics. When I did my "Wild Thing" ferment a few years back, I pulled a couple of leaves and berries off of a mountain currant bush out on the property, and placed them in a jar with a mixture of honey and water at a starting gravity of around 1.050, if memory serves. Not a huge amount at first - maybe just about a half liter or so. Then, once i was sure that I liked the way the ferment was proceeding in the jar, I doubled the volume, added some Fermaid-K, and let that go for a couple of days more. Finally I was ready for the main batch - and I pitched that wild starter into my main batch of must.

It worked well - but as Oskaar points out, I've been making mead and dumping the lees onto the property here for quite a while, so I may simply have cultured a "feral" strain of winemaking yeast. It could have just as easily ended up being undrinkable swill, so the initial starter culture did two things for me - it helped to develop the colony cell count of the strain, and it allowed me to get a warm feeling early in the process that I wasn't pitching a strain known for generating lots of acetic acid, or worse....

YogiBearMead726
03-07-2011, 12:30 PM
...or worse....

You make it sound like the yeast might get out and try and murder you in the night! Haha. What's worse than having your mead turn into vinegar?

Chevette Girl
03-07-2011, 12:34 PM
... it not being yeast after all but some bacteria, and making something toxic? (probably a stretch, I know)

... pretty sure the yeast won't escape and murder you in the night though :)

Medsen Fey
03-08-2011, 07:25 PM
Haha. What's worse than having your mead turn into vinegar?

Having it make your whole place smell like dead skunks... so bad that you wish the yeast would crawl out and put you out of your misery.
Ask me how I know.

AToE
03-08-2011, 08:16 PM
Having it make your whole place smell like a dead skunks... so bad that you wish the yeast would crawl out and put you out of your misery.
Ask me how I know.

Vinegar isn't the worst case scenario, at least that has a purpose! If it just turned into some random spoiled garbage I'd really be mad.

Chevette Girl
03-08-2011, 10:30 PM
Having it make your whole place smell like a dead skunks... so bad that you wish the yeast would crawl out and put you out of your misery.
Ask me how I know.

<in loud clear stage voice> "Gee, Medsen, how do you know?"

wildoates
03-08-2011, 11:41 PM
Yeah, Medsen, do tell. :)

TheAlchemist
03-10-2011, 05:06 PM
Medsen! You're keeping us waiting!
"How do you know?"
There. You've been asked.