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View Full Version : New guy here, with first batch under way.



stickbow95
02-08-2012, 10:16 AM
Howdy all,

I've enjoyed mead for some time and decided recently to try my hand at a batch.

My first attempt is well on it's way . After doing a large amount of research, and lurking around on this forum, I decided to use the recipe on stormthecastle for a one gallon batch. I wanted to try something relatively simple, a I am completely new to making alcoholic beverages of any sort.

I used a tad over 3lbs of raw clover/wildflower honey, an orange, some raisins, and fleichman's yeast. Sanitized the dickens out of everything... twice. I put it together @48 hrs ago. It is very active presently. This is very exciting to me... I think patience will be my biggest hurdle.

I am wondering what to expect out of this batch as far as sweetness?

I have enjoyed reading through the forum, and look forward to interacting with all of you folks.

Regards,
Ben

maykal
02-08-2012, 10:55 AM
Hi Ben,

I'm new to mead making too so I can't offer you a lot of advice. Put my first batch together on Sunday - seems to be going well and I'm learning a lot from this forum and the newbie guide.

There's a post on the Mead Log section by someone who did the JAO, which I think is more or less the same as the recipe you're using. Check it out here:

http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19312

I think (from what I've read) that JOA mead ends up sweet, with 3.5lbs of honey, so yours might be a little less sweet, depending on how much of a tad over you went ;)

hepcat
02-08-2012, 10:59 AM
Welcome Ben. I just joined the forum yesterday and I too am new at making mead. I did pretty much the same thing you did for my first batch which I started January 31st. I have since then started another gallon batch of the JAO recipe from this site and a two gallon batch I started just last night so have a total 4 gallons going now. All seem to be doing ok but I have some questions which I posted yesterday and still no response from anyone. Anyway, cheers and good luck!

maykal
02-08-2012, 11:07 AM
@hepcat

Just read you post and I'm more of a newbie than you are so, but I think that your mead is fermenting just fine. One bubble every 4 seconds, or even every 7 seconds is still pretty quick. I don't know much about mead making (on my first batch) but certainly with beer brewing that is considered a good 'bubble-rate' for fermentation. Slow is more like when you get one bubble every 30 seconds or longer.

The best way to tell is to use a hydrometer. I didn't notice any OG readings in your post. Did you take any? As a guide, I started my mead off on Sunday and it was 1.090. I've just taken another reading and it's 1.060, so it very much on schedule. It's bubbling at about the same rate; a glug of bubbles every 8-10 seconds.

mmclean
02-08-2012, 05:03 PM
Hi Ben, welcome to GOTMEAD?

I used 3.5 pounds per gallon and never topped off like Joe recommends.

Well at first it seemed coyingly sweet, but smoothed out after a while. I think I perfer my mead more dry.

Next time I will make some with just 3 pounds per gallon and see if that is better to my taste.

Drier means it may need more time to age out.

Really, it's all about personal taste.

hepcat
02-08-2012, 05:11 PM
Thanks for that info maykal! No, didn't check OG, just got a hydrometer yesterday, lol. I guess as long as it seems to be fermenting I'll leave it alone as instructed. Thanks again and best of luck to you!

stickbow95
02-08-2012, 05:56 PM
Thanks for all the welcoming words folks.

I told my dad that I started a batch of mead, and the next thing I know he stops by with four 5-gallon carboys, a handful of airlocks, stoppers, brushes, etc. He used to make wine about 30 years ago. I never imagined he still had some of the gear. Looks like I'm going to make the trip into town, pick up a five-gallon pail of raw honey and start a bigger batch.

1) So... I am not a fan of dry mead. I prefer the medium to sweeter stuff. What type of yeast would you recommend?
I aspire to craft traditional mead (show mead?) but I feel that since I am such a greenhorn, I may stick to something with a bit of flavor added as it appears that that would be a bit more forgiving.
2) I have a lot of frozen wild blueberries. Good Idea?
3) What would be the best way to incorporate the flavor into the mead?
4) Would I need a yeast nutrient if using the blueberries?
5) Is it a great advantage to have a pail type fermenting container, or is a carboy just fine? (I like the idea of being able to see the action.)
I'm sure I'll have a ton more questions...

Thanks all!
Ben

Chevette Girl
02-08-2012, 05:59 PM
I used 3.5 pounds per gallon and never topped off like Joe recommends.

Next time I will make some with just 3 pounds per gallon and see if that is better to my taste.


I recommend you try 3-1/4 lb and also topping it off with water, I found just that quarter-pound made a significant difference to me and I ended up combining that one with another batch that got stuck a little high. JAO is not nice when it's too dry, although my "too dry" and yours may well be on different scales :)

Ben, if you've got a hydrometer now, my JAO's usually age out to 1.030-1.035 with bread yeast. If you used wine yeast instead of bread yeast, it might go a lot lower than that and take more aging before it's not gross...

Chevette Girl
02-08-2012, 06:11 PM
1) So... I am not a fan of dry mead. I prefer the medium to sweeter stuff. What type of yeast would you recommend?
I aspire to craft traditional mead (show mead?) but I feel that since I am such a greenhorn, I may stick to something with a bit of flavor added as it appears that that would be a bit more forgiving.

Nice score! I heartily recommend that you try at least a gallon of Joe's Ancient Orange. And also a traditional mead (use the nutrients and energizer, a show mead doesn't use anything other than honey, yeast and water and they can be finicky). If you don't like it dry, pick an alcohol content you're happy with, a yeast that can do the job, use the Mead Calculator to figure out how much honey you need (or what SG to mix to), mix it up, feed it, nurture it, and when it's finished fermenting, stabilize and backsweeten it with a little more honey to add back some of the sweetness.



2) I have a lot of frozen wild blueberries. Good Idea?

YES! You'll find a number of recipes for blueberry melomels kicking around here. The search tool is your friend and even when it's not, you still learn stuff trying to find what you're looking for.



3) What would be the best way to incorporate the flavor into the mead?

There are many ways. I like using a straining bag (a pillowcase can work, wash it then boil it) in a fermentation bucket in primary fermentation, others like to use just the juice, or only in secondary fermentation (you'd start with a traditional and then add the berries). Generally always recommended to crush them though, otherwise you don't get the full impact of their juices...



4) Would I need a yeast nutrient if using the blueberries?

Generally still a good idea. Like insurance... :D


5) Is it a great advantage to have a pail type fermenting container, or is a carboy just fine? (I like the idea of being able to see the action.)


Opinions will differ, but I find it easier to manage fruit in a bucket, as well as aerating and adding nutrients and checking specific gravity. I rarely do primary in a carboy, although I do use widemouth glass jars for Joe's Ancient Orange batches...

mmclean
02-08-2012, 06:20 PM
Thanks for all the welcoming words folks.

I told my dad that I started a batch of mead, and the next thing I know he stops by with four 5- gallon carboys, a handful of airlocks, stoppers, brushes, etc. He used to make wine about 30 years ago. I never imagined he still had some of the gear. Looks like I'm going to make the trip into town, pick up a five- gallon pail of raw honey and start a bigger batch.

1) So... I am not a fan of dry mead. I prefer the medium to sweeter stuff. What type of yeast would you recommend?

Yeast will depend on the flavor profile your looking for and your desired ABV.


I aspire to craft traditional mead (show mead?) but I feel that since I am such a greenhorn, I may stick to something with a bit of flavor added as it appears that that would be a bit more forgiving.

+1 on this.


2) I have a lot of frozen wild blueberries. Good Idea?


Blueberries are a good idea. Blueberries and blackcurrants is an awesome idea.


3) What would be the best way to incorporate the flavor into the mead?

Oskaarz "You Bleu My Berriez" Melomel (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12468)

My Big Mel (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17180)



4) Would I need a yeast nutrient if using the blueberries?

Yes


5) Is it a great advantage to have a pail type fermenting container, or is a carboy just fine? (I like the idea of being able to see the action.)
For a melomel you really need a bucket for primary.


I'm sure I'll have a ton more questions...

Thanks all!
Ben

Chevette Girl
02-09-2012, 04:01 PM
Blueberries are a good idea. Blueberries and blackcurrants is an awesome idea.



Oskaarz "You Bleu My Berriez" Melomel (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12468)

My Big Mel (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17180)




Unfortunately both those links are in the Patrons' area so they won't be accessible to you.

mmclean
02-09-2012, 04:11 PM
Patrons membership is the best tool a meadcrafter can have.

Just to take a peep at the patrons meadlog is worth the price of admission. :)

TheAlchemist
02-10-2012, 05:02 PM
I told my dad that I started a batch of mead, and the next thing I know he stops by with four 5-gallon carboys, a handful of airlocks, stoppers, brushes, etc. He used to make wine about 30 years ago. I never imagined he still had some of the gear. Looks like I'm going to make the trip into town, pick up a five-gallon pail of raw honey and start a bigger batch.
Ben

Now that's a cool Dad!
Would love to know more about where you can pick up a 5gal bucket of raw honey...

stickbow95
02-10-2012, 05:51 PM
Now that's a cool Dad!
Would love to know more about where you can pick up a 5gal bucket of raw honey...

Are you from this area?

stickbow95
02-10-2012, 07:09 PM
Thanks for the further advice everyone.
Returning to the yeast topic...
Based on my reading and searching, I am leaning toward using Lalvin ICV D 47 for a "sweetish" mead. What say you?
As far as the flavor profile, I'm not picky. I just do not like very dry mead.

Is Fermax a good nutrient? Any other recommendations?

I am growing alarmed... I can see this becoming an addiction and threatening to replace my other two hobbies... well, one of them anyway.;)

stickbow95
02-11-2012, 04:51 PM
Well... I just purchased a copy of "The Complete Meadmaker" .
I will delve into it after the children are abed this evening. I feel like a kid in a candy store.

Chevette Girl
02-13-2012, 04:01 PM
Well... I just purchased a copy of "The Complete Meadmaker" .
I will delve into it after the children are abed this evening. I feel like a kid in a candy store.

Hopefully you won't be disappointed with it, I sure wasn't :)

Soyala_Amaya
02-13-2012, 11:07 PM
Hopefully you won't be disappointed with it, I sure wasn't :)

I'm glad you liked it so much after waiting so long to get it! I have the opposite problem, heh, people keep giving me more copies. I think I have 5 now?

stickbow95
02-14-2012, 04:59 PM
Hopefully you won't be disappointed with it, I sure wasn't :)

To say that I'm not disappointed is an understatement. I can't put it down. Good stuff!

Inkvine
02-14-2012, 06:41 PM
Very new here and very green as far as Mead goes, I first tasted it about 6 months ago and was facinated. I bought the e-book version of Complete mead making because I couldnt wait for it to be shipped. I am also supplementing by reading tons on the web. I keep hearing about how fantastic Joe's ancient orange is for the beginer, but I must admit the idea of using bread yeast is kinda frightening (don't get me wrong I'm not a snob or anything) It just goes against a lot of what I read about. So I would love to hear how your batch turns out. I would also love to try something with blueberries, I was eyeballing the Blue Heaven recipe, but will have to calculate for 1 gallon batch. I am waiting for my supplies to arrive in the mail, can't wait to get started.

Chevette Girl
02-15-2012, 03:29 AM
Don't knock the bread yeast, I think it's still a cerevisae, just one developed for different qualities... some of my favourite meads have been made with bread yeast. The fun thing with Joe's is it breaks all the rules and it still works.

mmclean
02-15-2012, 08:02 AM
Very new here and very green as far as Mead goes, I first tasted it about 6 months ago and was facinated. I bought the e-book version of Complete mead making because I couldnt wait for it to be shipped. I am also supplementing by reading tons on the web. I keep hearing about how fantastic Joe's ancient orange is for the beginer, but I must admit the idea of using bread yeast is kinda frightening (don't get me wrong I'm not a snob or anything) It just goes against a lot of what I read about. So I would love to hear how your batch turns out. I would also love to try something with blueberries, I was eyeballing the Blue Heaven recipe, but will have to calculate for 1 gallon batch. I am waiting for my supplies to arrive in the mail, can't wait to get started.

Hi there Inkvine,

Welcome to GOTMEAD?


Here (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16539) is a link to my JAO meadlog, with scores from last years Mazer Cup.

Inkvine
02-15-2012, 12:43 PM
Hi there Inkvine,

Welcome to GOTMEAD?


Here (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16539) is a link to my JAO meadlog, with scores from last years Mazer Cup.

Thanks very much for the welcome and the link to your very informative JAO log. Congrats on the successful outcome of your experimenting. I hope you have many more. (with highly documented details for us beginners of course);}


Don't knock the bread yeast, I think it's still a cerevisae, just one developed for different qualities... some of my favourite meads have been made with bread yeast. The fun thing with Joe's is it breaks all the rules and it still works.

Thanks for the reply. Not Knocking just eyeballing suspiciously. Its confusing when your new and you read one thing that sounds logical, but is soundly contradicted by something else you read. But that is why I'm here, to bask in the warm glow of the collective knowledge. I think I will try a batch of the Joe's and put those suspicions to rest permenantly.