View Full Version : First Attempt

04-14-2014, 07:53 PM
This is our first attempt at making mead, and as such we decided to start 3 small batches (1 gallon each) rather than a larger batch. What we have is 3 gallons started a week apart with the oldest being 5 weeks old and the youngest being 3 weeks old. Armed with a recipe and some loose instructions, here's what we did:

1 quart of honey (raw from a local farm)

1/2 orange

tea bag (used normal tea, not flavored)

Enough water to fill the bottle

1 pack 71B yeast

We made tea with about 2 quarts of water and mixed the honey in, then let it cool so the yeast wouldn't die when we added it, then added the yeast, mixed it up really good, and put into a glass gallon jug. Added the orange (sectioned) and an air lock and let it go. The guy at the brewing supply shop said 1 yeast pack would do 6 gallons but we could add the whole thing to 1 gallon and it would just speed up the fermentation.

Ok so today we taste it and here are the results:

1. Oldest batch is bubbling every 27-28 seconds - smelled like vinegar when we first took it out but after sitting for a while tastes ok with a slight bite to it.

2. Middle batch is bubbling every 14-15 seconds - smelled and tasted sour but after sitting a while tasted ok without the bite to it.

3. Newest batch is bubbling every 8-9 seconds - smelled and tasted sweet with mild alcohol taste, taste and smell didn't change after we let it sit.

Questions are as follows:

1. How do we know when it's done? We tried using a hydrometer and wrote down the beginning readings but now the thing just sinks to the bottom of the tube so obviously we're doing something wrong.

2. The person who gave us the recipe said we should let it bubble until it's clear with sediment on the bottom but ours is still very cloudy (honey colored). Is this letting it get clear good advice or did he steer us wrong there?

3. Did we use too much yeast after all and will that mess things up?

4. How important is keeping it in darkness? We have one batch in a closet but the other two are just sitting on the counter. If we are supposed to keep it dark then why?

04-14-2014, 09:47 PM
As the gravity drops you will have to fill your tube almost to the top to get the hydrometer to float, otherwise you may have broken it and need a new one. Is there liquid inside of it? You can't really add too much yeast, within reason, don't worry about it one packet for a gallon is fine that's what most everyone uses. I may be wrong but I wouldn't really worry about keeping it dark until you start aging it.

04-15-2014, 01:40 AM
Ditto to Honeyhog and would stress that you should rely on your hydrometer readings; they will go to 1.000 (the reading for plain water) or even less and will stay there indefinitely when it is done. So yes, fill your 'tube' completely so that the hydrometer has room to sink or float. Don't worry about the sediment for several weeks after your hydrometer readings quit changing; then rack the mead off the sediment to finish aging and clarifying.

As a side note, your next batch should be a JAOM - Joe's Ancient Orange Mead. Very similar to what you have done, but I suspect you might like the results better. Your 71B yeast is going to leave it very dry, and backsweeterning is a technique perhaps better learned in a future batch.

04-15-2014, 03:27 PM
As far as sunlight goes it is best to keep it out of direct light, if I were you I would grab several large towels and wrap them around the carboys

Sent from The Age of Legends, trapped inside a Stasis Box

Medsen Fey
04-17-2014, 06:59 PM
Sunlight (and other UV light) can cause sulfur odors known as light-strike or Goût de Lumiere. You can use a T-shirt or a plastic garbage bag over your fermenter as well.


04-18-2014, 12:32 AM
Ok guys, great replies/info there and I really appreciate it since I'm a rookie at this.