View Full Version : New guy here. Can you believe the name "mead" was available?

08-05-2014, 10:32 PM
Hello all. To date I've managed to make a few different one gallon variations of joam and I've made several variations of joe's quick grape mead. Making jqgm with white grape juice being my and my friends' favorite so far. In fact I just started 2 six gallon batches for a friend's wedding in a few months.

I just picked up a 55 ish (don't know exact size) oak barrel from a friend of friend who used it to age red wine. I'm tossing around the idea of trying a big batch of mead in it.

Any advice or tips for a noob who is likely getting in over his head?

Chevette Girl
08-05-2014, 11:01 PM
Welcome to Gotmead.

My best advice? Read, read and read some more. Especially the Newbee Guide, wherever it's hiding these days. And books on winemaking. And Ken Schramm's Compleat Meadmaker.

Try some 1-gal batches of traditional meads with different yeasts, or try the BOMM recipe. Try things. Try everything. If it sits still long enough, ferment it! See how it tastes, see how you like it, see if you can pick out flaws that can be corrected next time.

And document EVERYTHING, even what tools you use for mashing berries. It might matter later.

08-06-2014, 01:40 PM
Thanks! That's pretty much what I've been doing. Just mostly sticking to the simpler recipes.

Any tips on how to scale up a recipe to such a large batch? For example, how much do i scale up the yeast. Obviously I'm not going to use 55 times as much.

08-06-2014, 02:14 PM
Keep in mind oak barrels seep and can make a mess

08-06-2014, 04:46 PM
You're going to make 55 gallons? And with a name like that, obviously suffering from Mazerotic Encephalopathic Affective Disorder.....LOL

08-06-2014, 04:53 PM
If I had the space and barrel I would in a heart beat!

08-06-2014, 09:56 PM
Hopefully you like oak in your beverages...

08-06-2014, 11:11 PM
I love the flavor oak puts in. Aesir meadery in Everett wa is testing a traditional in a small barrel that he got from a well known maker of bourban. It's only a couple months in but i got to taste a little and woah it was excellent. The whisky flavor was incredible. And the oak flavor was already pretty strong. It was only a 5 gallon barrel though and as I understand it the smaller barrel imparts the flavor quicker.

When i got the opportunity to pick up this barrel from a guy who made red wines in it I couldn't say no. I have room in my garage and know to be careful about seeping.

I found a good idea digging through the forum where a guy used two 32 gallon plastic garbage cans as a primary. I will likely go that route.

I also have enough carboys and containers to make about thirty gallons so I've thought about filling those and letting them ferment then dumping them in the barrel. Then I'll start another thirty and after a few weeks racking that to the barrel with the rest. As far as I understand the huge head space in the barrel shouldn't hurt anything since it will only be for a few weeks. You guys agree? But again, I might just do the plastic can route. We'll see.

Sorry about the long post.....

Chevette Girl
08-07-2014, 01:58 AM
If you put it in the barrel while it's still fizzing a little, you should be safe enough as the carbon dioxide it's releasing should chase most of the oxygen out the airlock.

08-07-2014, 09:18 AM
I would also keep that barrel filled with water to keep it from drying out and developing leaks.

08-07-2014, 10:26 AM
That's a good idea chevette. Thank you.

and I'm getting ready to fill it with water pretty soon here so i can make sure the thing will even seal up.

I think I'm going to drill a hole in the end of it and fill it while it's upright. Then when I actually fill it with mead I'll put it back on its side with a pour spout in the hole I created. That should be fine right? I never see barrels upright, they are always on their side...