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View Full Version : Making mead for the first time, saying hello!



WBCarson
02-09-2015, 02:40 PM
I am making mead in Georgia!
I went to Breadbeckers and got 12 pounds of unfiltered orange blossom honey. Fairly dark and had a pronounced flavor but didn't smell or taste off.
I have all the equipment, hydrometer and such from a different hobby. Everything was sanitized well.
I bought a Speidel Fermenter in 7 gallons size.
http://www.homebrewing.org/Speidel-30L-Plastic-Fermenter-79-gal_p_5070.html
Very nice, very thick plastic, seals very well. Way better than that "big mouth bubbler another site sells.
I did not heat the honey, added it to 5 gallons. I did get the Wyeast 4184 because i like my wines on the sweet side and they got me with the labeling.
Slapped the bag..nothing. shook it. Nothing, stuck it in some warm water. Nothing. Waited a few hours. Bag still flat. Opened it and the inner bag was broke so it should have worked. It smelled bad. Not like yeast i am used to. So i have some EC1118 i use for a different hobby. Pitched it, took right off.
Water temp was around 80 degrees and i was going to let it cool some before taking a SG. I forgot. I pitch at that temp to let the yeast take off and colonize faster than just using plain cold water. Plus, it helped the honey dissolve better. I added nutrients. I dont remember the brand, but it was labeled Yeast Nutrient and i added 1tsp/Gal. A bit more than the directions said but honey is low in nutrients.
Based on its alcohol tolerance being so high i know this yeast will make it dry. I will float the hydrometer to make sure its done. Running yeast too fast can cause off flavors. This yeast likes it a bit warmer but since my basement runs around 65 degrees i let it run slow.

Its been bubbling away! I started it 6 days ago. Its slowed down a lot this past day, i can see the airlock slowly rise and can gauge the action. When it doesn't rise anymore for a few days, i will take a reading. Because its dry i will probably back sweeten. I read where you add Potassium sorbate and Potassium metabisulfite to stop any yeast before you back sweeten.
Lesson learned already:
I know next time i will add more honey for a more robust flavor. I will go with a different yest with a lower Alcohol tolerance. I will take a SG before i close the lid.

So, my first batch, wish me well.
Now, i have to go stir my maple sap. I tapped my trees. I am making maple syrup in Georgia!

Medsen Fey
02-09-2015, 06:24 PM
You don't necessarily need more honey for robust flavor, just use very aromatic and flavorful honey, and age will let that show. It does help to use yeast that don't blow so many aromatic elements out the airlock which EC-1118 tends to do. However, avoid the Wyeast sweet mead strain until you have more experience as it is finicky.

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