View Full Version : First time newbee in need of encouragement

Marc F.
12-27-2012, 07:52 PM
Merry Holiday greetings to everyone.

I've been reading on mead for some months now and I want to make my own mead.
I haven't fermented anything in my lifetime but I've just ordered all the materials I need to start making mead.
(I Think my new hobby already got out of hand before I even started it).

I wanted to start with a 2 liter plastic juice-can of JAOM with a balloon on top but ended up with ordering a complete deluxe wine-making kit with a 5 liter bottle and a 25 liter fermenting bucket. (and yeast, lots of different chemicals, racking equipment, hydrometer+glass, bottle brush, 20 corks capsules and labels, corker, 21cm funnel with siff and more....)
This one (It's Dutch, but you probably could figure out most of the text.)

I know that Joe's mead is the easiest way to go, but with all the stuff I ordered (and all the things/logs/recipes I read), Would it be wrong just to experiment just a little bit and go with another recipe?
Can't wait to start my first batch :D

12-27-2012, 09:13 PM
You sound like me!

I am so tempted to buy the larger containers, and have plans to upgrade them after I have a couple of mini batches under my belt. It's way too easy to buy things.

Why not get a couple gallon sized jugs and work with that? You can get 2 jugs for around 10 dollars and an airlock and corks for a couple bucks. One for primary and one for secondary.

Seems to me, that you should start with a gallon sized portion before you make 5 gallons of a recipe. I know the temptation is strong to go big but this is what I would and am doing first. :) That way you don't waste a lot of honey with something that you may not like. :)

12-27-2012, 11:04 PM
Hi MarcF you can never be wrong about using your gear [experiment] to make what you want. Weigh up the downside and the potential and make a decision. Most people would say go the easy & known way but whats wrong with going the hard & less known way. You could stuff up going either direction as you see on this site but both ways could also go really well. You have got enough stuff to make one of each....Peter

12-28-2012, 03:32 AM
A 5 litre fermenter is a good start - I'd say get that started with a JAO as closely to the recipe as you can so you'd have a benchmark batch of that.

Then a traditional batch, as there's little point in "trying to run before you can walk".

I don't know what the Netherlands is like for home brew supplies but if you have transport, you have Brouwland next door in Belgium. Which IMO is close to being western Europe's home brewing Mecca!

Plus if finding varietal honey isn't easy, ask around of any Poles who might be having a holiday and if they'd bring back something good. One of the Polish members here helped me arrange some Polish buckwheat honey that was shipped to the family of a colleague who in turn brought it back for me. Very good stuff......

As I say, don't contemplate anything too fancy or special until you've got a couple of batches under your belt. As there's little point wasting or using nice ingredients to make mediocre meads......

12-28-2012, 11:45 AM
...and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you, Marc F.!!!!

I'm with fatbloke,...well, not really. I'm over here in the southeastern part of the USA while he's in the UK and, well, er...you know what I meant. ;D

I'm a newbee and started with a gallon of JAOM, it's been fermenting for 2.3 months now and I'm waiting for the fruit to drop...it smells *good*!!! I started a 3-gallon batch of traditional after the JAOM, it was a month old on Christmas Eve and the last taste of it was *very* good...and with age it will only get better. ;) Matter of fact, it's so good I might just make traditionals for the rest of my fermenting life...probably not, though, being as I like to experiment. ;)

I have little experience to share with you but I decided to start out simple and basic and it has worked well for me....and I had all the equipment on hand, too, when I made up that JAOM.

Best wishes,

12-28-2012, 11:52 AM
I just want to add that most "regular" meads will take a while to age to a good taste. The reason lots of people make the JAOM is that it is a "quick" mead and can be fermented and aged in the same container. Racking to another container later to help with clearing/racking doesn't hurt but that can actually be done straight out of the original container. It is simple and is designed to be that way so that it's easy and fast. You could be drinking the JAOM while the other meads are still aging. There is also Joe's Grape Pyment to look at. ;)

If you are interested in something that you will have to age for a while then a traditional would be a good pick so that you can see what a straight up honey wine tastes like (it tastes good!). You could even go so far as to move part of the traditional into a secondary vessel and add fruit for a melomel or something to that effect.

Just some thoughts I thought I'd share...

Marc F.
12-29-2012, 02:29 PM
Everybody, thank you for the nice greetings.
I've decided to save my new equipment for an original. And yes, I figured I still need to do some (much) more research on them. I know I wanted to do too much for my first batch, but with all the stuff I have atm it's hard to resist. :happy6: (and I still need to get Ph-strips).

So, I will start with a JAO/JAOM in an about a gallon jug. I think I can start in a few days after i get all the ingredients.
Since I don't have any sources for honey, do you think woodland-honey from the Lidl will work in Joe's?

I don't know what the Netherlands is like for home brew supplies but if you have transport, you have Brouwland next door in Belgium. Which IMO is close to being western Europe's home brewing Mecca!

We have Brouwland in the Netherlands now ;).
But I ordered all my stuff at Brouwmarkt(.nl). there are quite a couple more that sell online.
Yeast types are the main problem. I haven't seen many of the yeasts you people use in your recipes. (no K1v-1116 etc.).
I have seen some Wyeast liquid packs though, but they don't say what strain it is only what sort of wine it's for. (On the webstores that is).

I think you will see a lot of me in this Forum.
And thank you in advance.


12-29-2012, 03:53 PM
For the yeast you may be able to find equivalents at brouwmakt or at brouwland but rather than just relying on some vague naming (some of the locally packaged ranges are like that here). You, ideally, need to know the exact strain details too, which is why the Lalvin yeasts are popular - they publish more info/data on their products than any other manufacturer.

If need be, you can get the 5 types that are packed in home brew sizes here (I can send you a link if you need that).

There's a massive range of strains but they only seem to be available in larger quantities. Though if you don't mind mail order from the US theres a couple of places that do their own packs of some of the less familiar yeasts....

As for honey ? anything from Lidl would be fine if you're going to use fruit or spices etc to flavour the mead like JAO. It's brews like traditionals, where the flavour of the honey is the main or only taste that the quality becomes more important. So it would also give you some time to see if you could track down a local bee keeper or two to see if they'd sell you some raw, untreated honey which would be best for traditional type brews.

Marc F.
12-29-2012, 04:29 PM
I can not find much info about it.
It has an alcohol tolerance of 17% made for dry wines and meades. Can't find any info on kind of strain etc.
Is there anyone that can provide me with more info on this one?
(Also, it costs 10,35 at brouwmarkt :().

12-29-2012, 10:00 PM
Are no dry yeasts are availible, they would have to be cheaper than that...

Poking about on their site they do carry dry yeasts, but Eastern European(?) ones that I have never heard of...

Wijngist Bordeaux
Wijngist Kitzinger Bordeaux

Biergist Mauribrew Ale works okay in mead, it is an ale yeast though.
Nottingham and Windsor are also good much cheaper alternatives if you are willing to try them out....

12-29-2012, 11:32 PM
These all sound like wine or ale yeasts. Mark F., are you looking for yeast for the JAOM or looking for yeasts to use later?

If it's for JAOM then a bread yeast is what you would want to look for. If it's for later use then pardon the interruption. :)


Marc F.
12-30-2012, 07:38 PM
These all sound like wine or ale yeasts. Marc F., are you looking for yeast for the JAOM or looking for yeasts to use later?

I know JAO is made with breadyeast.
I'm searching for yeasts that have the same characteristics as the yeasts you Americans use. It would be great if we can get an USA vs EU yeast chart going to see which yeasts behave the same.

12-30-2012, 09:36 PM
Ok, I gotcha now, Mark F.

Best wishes,

Marc F.
01-04-2013, 07:54 PM
So, any Euros like to share yeast experiences?
I can't do this on my own.
Please share stories about your mead made with Euro yeasts!