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Klar
01-24-2013, 08:54 AM
Hi all,

Now, I'm a complete newbee, and I think some of you mead-lovers will want to shout at me for the way I've tried to make my mead. I basically took a Storm the Castle recipe, got carboys and airlocks, and that's pretty much all the technical equipment I used. All ingredients for my mead were supermarket budget-bought, and there are two batches; one has a couple of squeezes of lime in it.
I've just bottled them, but I think I need to rack them again - in the bottles, they are opaque, and smell and taste yeasty. In fact, there is very little honey taste to speak of. Oddly, of the four bottles of the lime batch, two are yellow (kind of like cloudy apple juice), and another two are a pretty, oaky brown (and are much clearer).
Basically, what's I'm asking is do I need to re-rack them, and is it worth even bothering?

The_Bishop
01-24-2013, 09:19 AM
Sounds like they needed more time to settle and age before bottling. You may have a couple of bottle bombs, there; if it's still fermenting the CO2 will build up in the bottles, pressurizing them.

Klar
01-24-2013, 09:24 AM
That's what I was worried about. So I should rack them? I'm just worried that the lack of honey-taste means the whole batch is a write-off and I might as well use my kit to start again instead.

Fisk Jaegaren
01-24-2013, 11:09 AM
Well, more info on your process is needed....but if the only equipment you have is carboys and airlocks, your making mead is going to be a difficult endeavor!

Get a hydrometer, probably the most important tool for any type of home brewer, usually less than $10 at a supply store.

Keep a brew log, heck you can start your own thread on Gotmead and keep others informed of your progress/process.

NEVER bottle mead or wine that hasn't cleared, that opaque-ness and yeasty taste, yeah....that's yeast!

You can make mead with just a carboy and airlock.....thousands make JAOM without it, but with a few more simple tools, a look through the newbee guide (or a thorough reading of Ken Schramm's "The complete mead maker") couples with time and patience, you can make top quality mead.

Klar
01-24-2013, 11:34 AM
Thanks for the replies :)

I took Storm the Castle at its word - I pretty much left the carboy in the cupboard for a couple of months and forgot about it. I didn't think it was still fermenting or had active yeast, because it appeared to have stopped bubbling, so I figured it was done. I've transfered it from the bottles to another carboy for the meantime, but I'm confused as to why it's all yeasty without any visible activity.
I'll have a look at getting a hydrometer - I just don't have any confidence in my ability to use the information it gives me in any meaningful way. :P

bigdan110
01-24-2013, 11:47 AM
just dont waste your money on any of the books on there most of it is the same 2 page spread on sanitation copy and pasted 1/3 of the book is the same text, save ur money get ken scramms if ur going to buy any books on it

Marshmallow Blue
01-24-2013, 11:53 AM
just dont waste your money on any of the books on there most of it is the same 2 page spread on sanitation copy and pasted 1/3 of the book is the same text, save ur money get ken scramms if ur going to buy any books on it

Schraam's book might as well be the mead bible because it is that great. It has big chunks about a lot of ingredients and how they will effect your mead. I got it for Chirstmas and read it cover to cover (minus the recipes and honey suppliers) in a week. It's still on my dining / coffee table for whenever I need to look up stuff.

brian92fs
01-24-2013, 03:20 PM
A couple of thoughts on this:


Get a hydrometer. You use it to identify the end of fermentation. When the reading has not changed for a week or two, it’s probably done.
Even then, nearly any mead/wine with residual sugar has the potential to become a bottle bomb. Doesn’t matter how long it’s been “inactive”. The hydrometer needs to read close to 0.99 to be “safe”. Do a search on stabilizing and you’ll find countless discussions on how to safely prepare your mead for bottling. Sulfites and sorbates are the simplest way to stabilize, but other methods exist.
Sounds like you used super market bread yeast. If so, this is part of the reason for the yeast flavors and aromas you’re describing. It’s a characteristic of that type of yeast. A wine yeast will provide different characteristic depending on your selection.
Sounds like it hasn’t cleared yet. Another reason for the yeasty flavors. Some meads drop clear immediately after fermentation. Some will never clear without fining and filtering. I’ve found that most meads will clear fairly well with several rackings, 6 – 12 months of aging and at least one fining treatment. Cold crashing can also help things along. Filtering is an option, but requires an investment in equipment.


I’d suggest sticking the bottles in the fridge. This will reduce the chances of bottle bombs. Try leaving them in there upright for 1 -2 weeks. This would essentially “cold crash” them and might cause some sediment to drop out. After that, you can consider racking/pouring off the sediment in the bottle and sending them back to a carboy to continue aging and clearing.

If you leave them in the bottles, keep an eye on the corks. If they start pushing out, you’ve entered the danger zone.

Chevette Girl
01-25-2013, 06:02 PM
I think I started with even less (less knowledge too) but the purple kitchen ceiling may suggest that learning how to do research might have been a better idea on my part... if only I'd had Gotmead then I would have saved myself a lot of time and effort! :)

I second (third?) the suggestion to get a hydrometer. All the other equipment certainly makes life easier, but this one's the most important tool in your meadmaking kit, even more important than carboys and airlocks. And don't worry about it being useful to you at your level, it's not difficult and we'll help you get the hang of it.

I also second the idea of refrigerating what you've got, sometimes that will make it settle out. If you don't have proper racking equipment anyway, decanting from these bottles to new sanitized bottles will work out fine, you don't necessarily need to pour it all back into a carboy and then find room for the carboy in the refrigerator, this way you can do it a bottle at a time if you have limited fridge space, and you'll know with the first one if it's going to work at all, if it's going to drop clear, you should see a visible difference within the first two or three days.

I'll also recommend Ken's book, I definitely wish I'd known about it before I started meadmaking. Very informative and also really well-written.