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Sourcheese
03-27-2012, 11:06 PM
This is a big.. wow amazing forum I found and you guys are awesome.. thread, and how I found out about mead.

Ive always loved cooking. Mixing ingredients and playing with a recipe until it is perfect. When I was in shelburn falls I took my son to a maple suger house and found honey from apple blossoms. I had in my head that it would be something amazing to cook with. I had an idea of using the honey to make some kind of hybrid sweet and hot buffalo chicken sauce... And I googled it and found out about mead.

Never had any idea about mead or even making wine in my life. But I bought the 5 lbs of honey anyway. Did a google search and found a recipe that didnt seem to complex and rolled with it and gathered some ingredients. On the way to my sons mom house to drop him off, I found a shop that sold homeade brew equipment in south weymouth massachusetts and got a funnel and a vial of white labs sweat mead yeast and went to a local whole foods store and got supplies.

So here I am with 2 batches sitting in my next room. one gallon batch is about 20 raisins and a crushed up stick of cinnamon, the other is 15 raisins, orange, and vanilla bean.

In the past 5 hours I have read over massive amounts of data from this forum and have discovered a whole world out their I had no idea of. It seems like mead can be as complicated or as easy as you want it to be. So much like cooking.

Anyway Im kind of going off. But Im glad I found out about this forum and found out about mead.

I cant wait to try to make my next 2 batches... strawberry vanilla, and vanilla cinnamon. And I think when I "rack" that batch of vanilla cinnamon, Ill add mint leaves.

I cant wait to see where this new hobby leads me, and I cant wait to learn more from all of you.

TAKeyser
03-27-2012, 11:09 PM
and another addict is born ;D

Sourcheese
03-27-2012, 11:13 PM
LOL well my only issue is going to be waiting so long before its to be drank.

Seems like when you prime it (forgive my lack of proper termanolagy) you let it ferment for about 3 -4 weeks. or until for me the balloon deflates.. then I put it in a secondary to start all over again... this time without the oranges or whatever I had initially and that can take about 4 months... then bottling it... which will take at least 6 months.

ah well I want a lot of it ready to go when I do.

TAKeyser
03-27-2012, 11:18 PM
Most meads do take a while before you can drink them, but there are a couple "quick" recipes such as
JOA http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?p=186855#post186855
4 Week Cyser http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7449&highlight=week+cyser
Joe's Grape http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6491&highlight=Quick+Grape

One piece of equipment to grab next time you're at the Home Brew shop is a Hydrometer. Great Investment!

Chevette Girl
03-27-2012, 11:34 PM
LOL well my only issue is going to be waiting so long before its to be drank.

Seems like when you prime it (forgive my lack of proper termanolagy) you let it ferment for about 3 -4 weeks.

"Yeah yeah, patience, how long will that take?" ;D Welcome to the forum (and of course the addiction).

We do have a glossary (look up, way up), but I suspect you mean pitch (add the yeast). Priming is what you do just prior to bottling (in suitable bottles) if you want carbonation. And that amount of time depends on the individual fermentation, I had one that frigging bubbled for six years before I finally got annoyed and hit it with chemicals, and at least one of the regular members here has had fermentations that were complete within 24 hours. The average is a week or two.

Do yourself a big, big favour. Two of them, actually... Read the Newbee guide if you didn't start there, and get yourself a hydrometer like TAKeyser recommended. Better yet, get two, they're pretty fragile and will follow Murphy's Law in breaking right when you need them most. It's a much better indicator of when your fermentation's done than a flaccid balloon :)

Then we'll be happy to answer any of your questions / commiserate with you on how long it takes to be drinkable ;).

Sourcheese
03-27-2012, 11:35 PM
yes! I think I hit a new hobby...

Questions

Im reading more and more that different yeast survives in stronger alcohol environments. Yeast + carbohydrates = etoh with a gas byproduct of carbon dioxide. And certain types of yeast die off once that % of alcohol level has been reached.

Does dryness = increased alcohol? Is a sweet mead weaker? I am wondering because I would think that if a yeast ate more sugar.. then that would make me think that sweetness would be gone, but the yeast produces more alcohol as a byproduct.

Other question I have about yeast. It is becoming very apparent with some of the ingredients that Im reading that yeast can survive some very low ph environments.

Is thier a set limit for what yeast can survive in? and does it slow down the metabolism of the yeast or increase it in a low ph environment?

Do different yeast strains react differently in these conditions?

.. edited part...

Thursday I have off. I plan on going to home brew emporium which is local to me and getting a hydrometer. I am going to get more equipment to get the best results possible for making mead. some gallon jugs of water with balloons with holes in them to monitor fermentation isnt going to cut it after I have read more of this forum. Any other ideas would be appreciated. I am thinking a siphon. I think for my pitch Ill use plastic 5 gallon bottles. I know that plastic allows o2 inside but my thought is that yeast needs as much o2 initially as possible so Im not going to worry to much about that. Though when I go from my pitch to my secondary I plan on using glass bottles to keep it in a very stable and pure environment.

TAKeyser
03-27-2012, 11:44 PM
Someone is typing faster than me right now so these questions will probably already be answered by the time you read this lol



Im reading more and more that different yeast survives in stronger alcohol environments. Yeast + carbohydrates = etoh with a gas byproduct of carbon dioxide. And certain types of yeast die off once that % of alcohol level has been reached.

Does dryness = increased alcohol? Is a sweet mead weaker? I am wondering because I would think that if a yeast ate more sugar.. then that would make me think that sweetness would be gone, but the yeast produces more alcohol as a byproduct.

No dryness does not equal more alcohol. It all boils down to the amount of sugars that you start with (measured by a hydrometer) and how much the yeast can consume. There are baselines on what the yeast companies say you should get with the various yeast strains, but when you get into oxygen additions and staggered nutrient additions many of us exceeds their posted limits. After a few batches with a strain you'll learn your house limits.


Other question I have about yeast. It is becoming very apparent with some of the ingredients that Im reading that yeast can survive some very low ph environments.

Is thier a set limit for what yeast can survive in? and does it slow down the metabolism of the yeast or increase it in a low ph environment?

Wine yeasts usually work best in a PH environment in the 3.5-4 range, anything outside this range and fermentation will begin to slow and if you get too low/high the fermentation can stall.

brian92fs
03-27-2012, 11:54 PM
Word of caution about local brew shops. They can be great places but they can often provide misleading info. Many brew shops will be ran by beer or wine makers who dabble in meads. They'll often provide advice that comes from their beer or wine backgrounds. Sometimes good... Sometimes misleading.

I'll also echo what CG said - the NewBee guide and search function are great resources when you're getting started.

Sourcheese
03-27-2012, 11:59 PM
Thank you. I can steal a ph kit from work to keep ph level within that range.

I am starting to see that as you move along with your fermentation process.. you could add more fruit or juice as you see fit, as long as it kept to a certain ph level to maximize whatever yeast you use. And if you want it sweet, just keep the ph at a level, keep your etoh level lower than what your yeast will die at. If Im wrong please let me know.

I have a lot more to research to do. But you have answered a lot of questions.

Sourcheese
03-28-2012, 12:01 AM
Brian you are right. When I talked to a local brew shop about adding oranges... he said just make an orange zest out of it. basically just the shredded bits of orange flakes. From what I read when I thought about making my first batch of mead that seemed unnecessary. And Im glad I read a few recipes before listening to him.

Chevette Girl
03-28-2012, 12:08 AM
Sweet versus dry and alcohol content are not directly related. Sweet versus dry is whether there's any sugar left that the yeast didn't eat. If you make a must so strong that the yeast can't finish the sugars, then yes, it will be a sweet strong mead. If you mistreat your yeast or use a sorbated juice in a recipe, you may well end up with a stuck ferment where there's a lot of sugar left and not a lot of alcohol. If you make a relatively weak batch (say a pound of honey in a gallon) you will end up with something dry and not terribly alcoholic. If you make a strong must and get your yeast well-prepared for it, you may well end up with a very dry, very alcoholic batch. But then, you can backsweeten it once you've stabilized it with chemicals to make the yeast stop.

So what most(?) of us do when designing a recipe is decide what alcohol content we want to aim for, ferment it dry, stabilize it, and then add more honey later if we think the taste requires it. Most of us go through a "how strong can I make it!!??" phase early on in our brewing careers and make a lot of rocket fuel that needs to age for years before it stops burning out your nostril hairs...

You've probably already read that you take your starting SG and your finishing SG and stuff the values into the mead calculator's tool and it'll tell you what percent alcohol you've got, so you can see that for a set beginning, the drier it is, the stronger it will be, but it really depends on your starting point.

When you get your hydrometer you'll find that 3.5 lb of honey in a gallon of water gives you somewhere around 1.125 (+/- ~0.010) for a speficic gravity, if you dump yeast in anything much stronger than that you'd better take measures to ensure that your yeasties will be happy or they may not finish the job.

If you're hitting the brew store anyways, you might want some stoppers and airlocks, they're better than balloons. And you'll want some hose for racking... probably a racking cane too. Check out whether they have a starter kit, it might have all you need and then some, plus a 5-gal carboy for when you want to make a bigger batch.

Hope that hasn't made things more confusinig.

Edit:
Someone is typing faster than me right now so these questions will probably already be answered by the time you read this lol
yeah that...

TAKeyser
03-28-2012, 12:14 AM
Thank you. I can steal a ph kit from work to keep ph level within that range.

The usual problem with Mead is the PH will drop below the limits and you can adjust this up with small additions of Potassium bicarbonate


I am starting to see that as you move along with your fermentation process.. you could add more fruit or juice as you see fit,

Yes you can add more fruit (or juices) later on. Many will add additional fruit is the secondary to bring out more of the flavor and aroma that fermentation can sometimes hide.


And if you want it sweet, just keep the ph at a level, keep your etoh level lower than what your yeast will die at. If Im wrong please let me know.

There's different ways to make a sweet mead, use the search function in the menu bar above and search BACKSWEETEN for perhaps the easiest and the way many of us do it. It involves letting it ferment dry and than stabilizing the yeast and adding additional honey.

If you know the yeast companies recommendations you can also attempt to plan a sweet mead. For example Lalvin says their D47 yeast should drop about 1.105 in Gravity (Gravity is a measuremet of the amount of fermentables in your must), so in theory you could make your must with a gravity of 1.120 Gravity and leave .015 of residual sugars which would equate to about 16%abv and a semi-sweet mead (using the Mazer Cup definition). That being said I know that in my house and using my methods D47 usually drops 1.115 leaving me very little residual sugars, but being classified as a Dry Mead.

hope that made sense

Edit:
Told you someone always types faster than me :)
I did win the first type off though lol

Sourcheese
03-28-2012, 12:22 AM
Thank you all. This batch I will do what I can with, but my next batch of mead will follow a more scientific approach towards making what I want.

I did not have an exact plan.

I honestly, until the information both of you provided in my thread, did not know that you could really have a plan with wine. I had no idea mead could be so precise.

And one last question. I dont think I would use it at this point but for purely educational purposes.. why potassium bicarb vs sodium bicarb?

Chevette Girl
03-28-2012, 12:24 AM
Thank you. I can steal a ph kit from work to keep ph level within that range.


Oh, you'll want strips or a meter, a titration kit won't do it, honey messes up the results.

Chevette Girl
03-28-2012, 12:25 AM
And one last question. I dont think I would use it at this point but for purely educational purposes.. why potassium bicarb vs sodium bicarb?

It doesn't take much sodium bicarb before you can taste the sodium...

TAKeyser
03-28-2012, 12:27 AM
And one last question. I dont think I would use it at this point but for purely educational purposes.. why potassium bicarb vs sodium bicarb?

You can use Sodium Bicarb or Calcium Bicarb, but most prefer Potassium Bicarb. If you add too much Sodium Bicarb you could end up with a salty taste and Calcium Bicarb can leave a chalky taste, which if you only need to make 1 adjustment probably wouldn't happen but I've seen musts that needed numerous additions to keep them in a good PH range.

TAKeyser
03-28-2012, 12:27 AM
See what I mean by people type faster than I do >:(

Chevette Girl
03-28-2012, 12:34 AM
See what I mean by people type faster than I do >:(

;D Wanna thumb-wrestle for it next time?

Sourcheese
03-28-2012, 12:34 AM
lol "It doesn't take much sodium bicarb before you can taste the sodium" I didnt think about this.

I was thinking that yeast liked potassium more or something like that.

I dont mind some salted peanuts along with my beer, but to hell with adding it in my drink.

I have a lot of food for thought. Thank you all again!

TAKeyser
03-28-2012, 12:40 AM
;D Wanna thumb-wrestle for it next time?

That may be possible since you're only a few hours away ;D



I have a lot of food for thought. Thank you all again!

I think it's safe to say that it's no problem at all, we all love to talk about mead.

the NewBee Guide in the yellow box over on the left is a great resource as is the search function. There's also a great book by Ken Schramm called "The Compleat Meadmaker" it's on sale right now on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Compleat-Meadmaker-Production-Award-winning/dp/0937381802

TheAlchemist
03-28-2012, 10:44 AM
You can use egg shells (Ca++ Carbonate) to titrate up the pH.
Welcome to GotMead, Sourcheese!

Chevette Girl
03-28-2012, 01:11 PM
That may be possible since you're only a few hours away ;D

We'll have to meet on this side of the border though, I don't have a passport :)

TAKeyser
03-28-2012, 02:09 PM
We'll have to meet on this side of the border though, I don't have a passport :)

We may have to meet at the border, my passport may be expired :)

BrewinNColorado
03-28-2012, 02:18 PM
Lol, I'm picturing Chevette Girl standing right on the Canada side and TAKeyser standing right on the U.S side and carefully exchanging meads so as not to cross into the other country.

TAKeyser
03-28-2012, 02:30 PM
Lol, I'm picturing Chevette Girl standing right on the Canada side and TAKeyser standing right on the U.S side and carefully exchanging meads so as not to cross into the other country.

Somehow I'm picturing ATF agents sweeping in and hauling me to prison.

fivecats
03-28-2012, 11:11 PM
Somehow I'm picturing ATF agents sweeping in and hauling me to prison.

Have you no sense of adventure?!

TAKeyser
03-28-2012, 11:15 PM
Have you no sense of adventure?!

Well since I went back to college for another degree with the hopes of going into Government service I prefer my adventures not preclude me from future employment

fivecats
03-28-2012, 11:26 PM
Well since I went back to college for another degree with the hopes of going into Government service I prefer my adventures not preclude me from future employment

One should never let an education prevent one from having adventures. ;D

TAKeyser
03-28-2012, 11:32 PM
One should never let an education prevent one from having adventures. ;D

I'll happily have adventures, just not the ones that will leave me unemployable ;D and if they have they ability to prevent future employment I prefer not to do them in plain site of border agents and/or the thousands of cameras we have posted along the border

Chevette Girl
03-29-2012, 10:30 AM
I bet there are miles and miles of border where there's barely a fence...;D

TAKeyser
03-29-2012, 11:12 AM
"Break the Law Todd, go ahead break it! Future employment is not important, go for it!" Great advice guys, some friends you are :D

wayneb
03-29-2012, 11:13 AM
Reminds me of another time & place... I was crossing the border between North Dakota and Manitoba once back in the early '80s, and Canada Immigration and Customs manned the guard shack on the northbound side of the road, with US Customs and Immigration agents over on the southbound side. I was somewhat taken aback because there was absolutely no barrier of any kind on the road at the border (and prior to that crossing, I had only been up to Canada via either the crossing at Niagara or at Windsor/Detroit, where they treated the border with a little more formalism). In fact, while there was a light on in the Canadian guard shack, nobody at first came out to meet me when I stopped my car at the shack. I sat there patiently for about 5 minutes, and then decided to go look in because I didn't want to drive off only to have someone chasing me down later.

I found the guy in the shack watching TV, and he was clearly a little miffed that I was interrupting his break. But once he realized that I was only trying to do "the right thing" his demeanor changed, he became rather friendly, and he told me that nobody ever stops to check in at that crossing. He also advised that on my way back south if I didn't want to go through the hassle of checking in with the US side (where, frankly, the agents often did full vehicle inspections to relieve their boredom), I should instead cross at the gravel road that I'd passed about a half mile back -- since that road, although no longer maintained, was still passable and was completely open and unsecured. That was where all the locals crossed. He was right; on my way back I found that gravel road and took it back into the US. Nobody noticed.

I have to admit, I miss those days....

TAKeyser
03-29-2012, 11:22 AM
if you count Alaska we share just over 7,000 miles of border with Canada and only 1% of that border is secured by 119 internation crossing points manned by actual Border Agents (see mom I have learned something in College). Now the U.S has started installing Camera's (32 in the Detroit sector at a cost of $20K per camera set-up) and the Northen Border is now using UVA Drones so that extends how much is secure.

fivecats
03-29-2012, 12:24 PM
"Break the Law Todd, go ahead break it! Future employment is not important, go for it!" Great advice guys, some friends you are :D

But, if you're caught, just think how wonderfully aged those meads you have set aside now would be! ;D

TAKeyser
03-29-2012, 12:36 PM
But, if you're caught, just think how wonderfully aged those meads you have set aside now would be! ;D

It would prevent me from cracking open a bottle too soon. I'd also get the new experience of making Jailhouse Brew.

fivecats
03-29-2012, 01:02 PM
It would prevent me from cracking open a bottle too soon. I'd also get the new experience of making Jailhouse Brew.

See the new possibilities we're trying to open you up to? ;D

TAKeyser
03-29-2012, 01:05 PM
ahhhh, what good friends, sorry I ever doubted your intentions lol

fivecats
03-29-2012, 01:06 PM
ahhhh, what good friends, sorry I ever doubted your intentions lol

Aw, shucks! All's forgiven! ;D