View Full Version : My First mead

03-16-2015, 08:28 AM
Hi All

So purchased 5 gallon carboy and access to a lot of honey and really fancy trying my hand at mead.
I just want to do a simple honey mead.

I had browsed through a good few recipes and hoped to just use spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Could I add 1 litre of pure apple juice ? would this enhance flavor?
Also some help in controlling the flavor of such a mead i hope to get somewhere between dry and sweet.
I see carbonating with champagne yeast is quite popular so the do and dont on this would be great also.

Sorry for the total newbie questions any help is greatly appreciated

03-16-2015, 08:30 AM
Oh also in addition I have all the required sanitizing products :)
and sanitary conditions will be paramount
really need help on the other stuff

03-16-2015, 08:36 AM
If you can find where the newbee guide is these days that will help you a good bit getting started. Sorry to say I'm not sure how to find the place where it is stored.

03-16-2015, 08:42 AM
Read this!


03-16-2015, 10:51 AM
This is great some great advice on the post thanks squatchy

03-16-2015, 11:09 AM
IS apple juice a bad idea ?
Do not want to use oranges

03-16-2015, 12:21 PM
Like some advice on yeasts and best to use.
WHich yeast will clear quickest ? also the benefits or constraints of champagne yeast vs Wine vs bread yeast?

03-16-2015, 04:25 PM
Apple juice is fine. Makes it a cyser, adds flavour and some nutrients.

Different yeasts have a) different tastes, b) different temperature tolerances and c) different alcohol tolerances. LoveOfRose has done some experiments that show that ale yeasts result in a mead that is ready to drink much sooner (search here on BOMM). Bread yeast has a low alcohol tolerance, and is pretty reliable about when it stops. One bread yeast recipe that is really popular is the JAOM, but if you're going to make one, follow the recipe exactly the first time - it has some subtle tricks in it. Wine yeasts (including champagne yeasts) need to age a little longer, but have a higher ABV range - most of them will take a mead dry in most contexts.

I don't know that yeast type has a strong relationship to speed of clarification.

71B and K1V-1116 are reasonably friendly to start with. the only trick with the 71B is that you don't want to leave it on the lees for a long time. With the K1V, it's got a high alcohol tolerance, and will almost certainly eat all the honey you put in until it's dry, assuming it has enough nutrients.

Carbonating is its own tricky thing. If you want dry and carbonated, that's relatively straight forward, and we can give you a nudge on the maths. If you want *sweet* and carbonated, you either need to go with forced carbing in a keg, or get into some seriously fiddly stuff (search on "méthode champenoise"). I wouldn't recommend the latter for a first time, though.

03-17-2015, 02:00 PM
Newbee guide, got it right here courtesy of Jas53, just click on me. (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8NHT5MfFPduSkx6NHE5ZC1CSzQ/view?usp=sharing)

If that does not work let me know...

03-18-2015, 10:27 AM
Wow great advice guys the guide is great and some tips on how not to ruin a batch :)
OK so I will go with the K1V-1116. I will be closely monitoring the ferment as per guide.
Roughly how long would i need to siphon into secondary carboy?
Also the time frames seem to vastly differ from brew to bottling to drinking.
Being this is my first batch I would like to keep it as prompt as possible any tips on this ?

03-18-2015, 12:00 PM
My ingredients list (work in progress) is looking as so

Yeast =K1V-1116
15lbs of a local sourced dark floral honey (local is boyne valley in Ireland) 84g of sugar per 100g
3 cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 Liter of unsweetened Apple juice (no Potassium sorbate)
50 raisins

This is just a thought at the moment, but thinking maybe need some additions such as a nutrient?
Also is it worth adding something to help with the clarity?

03-18-2015, 01:37 PM
The raisins will act as a nutrient source. You are basically making a JAOM, Joe's Ancient Orange Mead (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/6885-Joe-Mattioli-s-Foolproof-Ancient-Orange-Clove-and-Cinnamon-Mead), I can guarantee you that using K1V you will need to age this for about 1 month for each percentage of ABV you create. Say it's a 15% ABV, then you age it for 15 months, this is a general rule and does not always apply. The JAOM is meant to use the oranges & raisins as nutrient & flavoring & bittering agent. It is also very specific to using regular bread yeast, any other type of yeast WILL require an extended aging. JAOM is generally ready in 100 to 120 days for drinking. For a faster method you can use the BOMM protocol, (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/22295-Bray-s-One-Month-Mead-aka-the-quot-BOMM-quot-1-gallon) AKA: Bray's One Month Mead.

Also remember that when your mead is fermenting that it will take up some space for the foam in the carboy. If you are not careful then you may end up with a MEA, Mead Explosion Accident. Basically the CO2 that is trapped in solution makes the mead foam like crazy and shoot out of the carboy like an overly shaken warm soda. Most just have a sticky mess all over where they set the carboy down, some have had to do major cleaning including the ceiling and walls... So be sure you keep some head space in you carboy or you might have a mess. This is not to scare you, most people have had a few, they are just to be watched out for as they waste precious honey and future mead!

03-18-2015, 02:36 PM
One way you can help to avoid MEA. Degas your must first to get a lot of of the CO2 out of the mead. Then, when you measure your nutrients place them in a bit of water and stir it until it dissolves and then put it in your carboy slowly a bit at a time.

03-18-2015, 02:56 PM
+1 on that Squatchy! Yeah forgot that little tidbit as most of this is just getting to be second nature after ~2 years....

03-27-2015, 08:27 AM
Hi All

SO my mead is fermenting , well i hope it is :o
Its been sealed up since 3pm yesterday so nearly 24hrs and no bubbles in Airlock is this right.
I went with a different yeast in the end Connoisseur's Choice - W0094 a white wine yeast with 15% ceiling.

Bit worried ended up an expensive must in the end is it to early

03-28-2015, 01:03 PM
That looks to be a yeast from the UK, I'm not familiar with that one, maybe Fatbloke or Kudapucat can help with that one...

03-30-2015, 01:11 PM
Correct the Yeast is from the UK I am in Ireland so easiest option.
The airlock activity is really frequent now every 10 seconds.
Yeast instructions advise that 14% is reached after 28 days
so be racking earlier than I tought.

So when racking all the additives raisins etc will be gone should I add anything when it goes into secondary container ?

03-31-2015, 12:54 PM
Headspace is a concern, but unless you have something to top it up with it's somewhat difficult to fill up that space. Some people have used marbles, but what I do is this: Rack the mead, making sure it still has a little fermenting/outgassing to do, that will push the Oxygen out, and replace it with CO2. Some of mine have been sitting like that for months with no visible/flavor degradation. This is NOT the recommended method, but it works for ME. Other use marbles, or a similar type of mead, or even a commercial mead that is neutral in flavor. There are others, so hopefully they will chime in with some best practices, mine is fraught with problems if you don't monitor them. My experiences so YMMV...

03-31-2015, 04:16 PM
You want to make sure that you have an hydrometer so that you can measure the change in gravity (density) of the mead rather than assume the frequency (or lack thereof) of the bubbles in the airlock are sending you messages from the yeast. When the gravity drops to around 1.005 and much of the active fermentation has slowed then you want to rack the mead into a container with very little or no headroom. While there is enough sugar for the yeast to vigorously consume , half the weight of the sugar will be converted to CO2 (and half to alcohol) and that volume of CO2 is enough to blanket the mead and inhibit any oxidation. After the vigorous fermentation has slowed or stopped then the volume of CO2 being produced is reduced and so the blanket of gas no longer can be used with such confidence...

04-30-2015, 09:26 AM
Hi All

My gravity dropped to 1.005 so i racked into carboy with very little head space.
The airlock activity has increased and the mead is defiantly still fermenting.
Just gonna leave it now let it clear as its a cyser this might take a while.
I did have a small taste before racking and its acidity is high giving a slight vinegar taste.
Is this normal seems fine

04-30-2015, 10:05 AM
That's why we use K2co3 when we make the must. It buffers the pH. If it gets below 3.2 or so it will inhibit the yeast from doing their thing. One thing to mention. When the yeast first begin their journey they require lots of oxygen. I do my primary in a fermenting bucket and just cover the top with a towel. You should also stir it vigorously 2 times a day . You want to let it degas so it doesn't get to toxic and introduce oxygen at the same time. And lastly to stir the yeast back into suspension. After it's halfway mark stop trying to introduce oxygen. You will still want to degas/re-suspend it every day.

The tartness should be ok. Apples do that as well as your ale yeast may also give it that flavor profile. Age and/or added honey latter will balance that. You can top it off with apple juice, apple wine, white wine, concentrate if you want an even stronger apple presence.

04-30-2015, 11:38 AM
Thanks I had hoped it was just the apples I am using a wine yeast usually used for sauvignon blanc
Gonna have another taste on the next rack. Might have to use bentonite to clear this cyser

04-30-2015, 03:56 PM
You're going to have to let it age any way before you can drink it. I would just let it clear on it's own.. You can cold crash it and that will help. Let it sit a few months and see what happens. Pectinaze should help it clear too.

04-30-2015, 09:48 PM
super kleer is also pretty amazing for clearing. But yeah, patience is going to be your most important ingredient at this point.