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View Full Version : Hello from a newbee in Chicago



slackcub
11-01-2012, 01:11 AM
Hey everyone, just figured I'd introduce myself. I live in Chicago, new to mead making (started my first batch of JAO about a month ago). I'm itching to Try some different recipes, and I've read through the newbee guide on Got Mead?. A little nervous about trying something more involved than JAO. Any suggestions/pointers/recipes are greatly appreciated!

Just looking to make some friends, and folks who are willing to share some expertise with this novice.

Nice meeting everyone!

David

celticgladiator
11-01-2012, 01:22 AM
Welcome to the forums!!!! You will find a wealth of information here!

Chevette Girl
11-01-2012, 10:45 AM
Start with a JAO, then try a traditional, just make sure you use yeast nutrients... then once you know how to do those, the sky's the limit!

slackcub
11-01-2012, 11:34 AM
Any particular traditionals you would recommend?

Chevette Girl
11-01-2012, 12:04 PM
Find a honey you really like (or can afford :)). Decide how big a batch you want. Decide how sweet and how strong you want it, there's nothing saying you can't have it REALLY sweet just like there's nothing saying you can't have it completley dry. A good guide is how you typically like your wines.

Play with the mead calculator, read up on the yeast varieties that are available to you, and talk to us when you're formulating your recipe to make sure you haven't missed a critical piece of information. Don't forget to include what you're aiming for, we can help you get pointed in the right direction to finish with what you wanted when you started.

If you like it sweet but not too strong, you will probably want to pick a target alcohol content and a yeast with a moderate alcohol tolerance, ferment it dry, stabilize it, then backsweeten it. Something like that should be drinkable in six months to a year. If you like it sweet and strong, you definitely want to be using nutrients and energizer and you might want to consider a high-tolerance yeast and also step-feeding, since you may not get optimal performance if you load all your honey into your must right up front, but be warned, it may take a few years of aging before it's not burning your nose hairs from OMG ALCOHOL.

Figure out how much honey you need, whether you need to invest in more equipment (ie, bigger carboy and another airlock), make your appropriate purchases, and start a Gotmead brewlog as you're getting started. If you have questions along the way or we see that you're about to do something strange or are missing something critical, we'll let you know!

If you find a recipe somewhere other than here or Ken Schramm's Compleat Meadmaker book, here are a couple of things to consider:

-you don't need to heat honey even if it's unpasteurized. There shouldn't be anything terrible in it, and the yeast have a habit of kicking the butt of any competitive organisms anyway. Plus, heating it can drive off the delicate flavours and aromas.
-don't add acid to a mead must. Honey's got its own acidity and a lot of older recipes don't acknowledge this and they try to make it more acidic, which can result in too low of a pH and ticked off yeasties.
-no matter what it says on the label, stay away from wyeast's Sweet Mead Yeast until you know what you're doing. It's a finicky little beggar and has stalled out on even experienced meadmakers. Packets are less expensive and have higher cell counts than "smack packs" of liquid yeast.

Hope that helps!

slackcub
11-01-2012, 12:31 PM
It definitely does. unfortunately, I'm very impatient. guess I'll be making a lot of JAO while I'm waiting for everything else to age.

Chevette Girl
11-01-2012, 01:16 PM
You certainly won't be the only one who regularly makes JAO to keep yourself out of the stuff that's supposed to be aging :) Do a search on "JAO variant" (use the quotes) and you'll find some threads with other variations on the theme. My personal favourite is the blackberry variation I've come up with.

kudapucat
11-01-2012, 09:02 PM
I have a mate who's just brewed his 95th JAO or JAO variant. He's only ever attempted 2 other styles. He just loves his JAO and does a fine job making it too!

Chevette Girl
11-01-2012, 10:13 PM
Yeah, I'm up around 40 or 50 by now myself... it's such a fun recipe!

kudapucat
11-02-2012, 02:41 AM
My brew partner's only been brewing since early 2011 though CG!

Chevette Girl
11-02-2012, 10:30 AM
Wow, that's pretty prolific! Then again, my main thing is really fruit wines... if I could afford the honey though ;D

slackcub
11-03-2012, 03:48 AM
I just hope I can find space to store all this aging mead. I will definitely have to look into the variants!