View Full Version : THE second batch

12-18-2015, 01:31 AM
So I made my first batch (5 different 1 gallon recipes) a month ago and have to say it is really interesting after making so much soda and beer in the past. I tasted a few of the meads while transferring and they tasted horrible (smelled great, tasted nasty although the look on my wife's face tasting them might have made the whole thing worth it regardless of how it comes out) :-).

Anyway, now that I know I have at least 6 months and possibly longer before I can actually enjoy mead that doesn't taste disgusting, I am stuck deciding what to do next. Either I wait 6-12 months and if I like this mead I start again, which means I will clearly run out of mead and have to wait for the second batch to be ready. Or I can start another batch sometime soon to build up my supply (this will be within limits of all the carboys that get occupied for a long time). So how often do you make a batch? How big is it? How many batches/gallons do you have going through the each step of the process at a time? I know this is a total preference question with no correct answer but I'm just curious so I can gauge when I might want to make another 5 gallons!

12-18-2015, 10:39 AM
I started out with 1 gallon batches. That didn't last very long at all. I realized how disappointing this would be to wait a year to drink a whole batch in one (with friends) or just a few days alone. It doesn't take any longer to wait for 20 gallons than it does a half gallon. So I bought some 3 gallon carboys off craigslist. That didn't last very long before I went to 5 gallons. My last batch was 11 gallons in a trash can.

Being brand new to this I wouldn't suggest that you try making your own stuff until you have had success making other peoples proven recipes using the latest protocols. Normally, people start with either a BOMM or JAOM. There are tons of old, antiquated recipes on the web. So much has been learned about proper fermentation in the past handful of years. We now can make meads that are drinkable in very short order compared to these out of date recipes. Please let people here look at your recipie/protocol intentions before you make your next batches until you are comfortable enough to go off on your own. You will know when you are ready to blaze your own trail because you will not still be wondering about "this or that".

A search here will help you find those. Follow the recipes EXACTLY. This is important that you do this verbatim! Otherwise you may end up with junk. I would strongly suggest that you become a "Patron member" for only $25 a year you will have access to the better portion of this forum. Just the recipes alone are worth more than that. Not only do you have PROVEN recipes but you will also have access to more advance and in depth information from longtime mazers.

12-18-2015, 01:42 PM
I dunno... I am a contrarian in the bone. I think that one gallon batches to master the process are the way to go and I think experimenting with wine yeasts and with varietals of honey is the key. It's not about following a recipe perfectly, rather it's about understanding and mastering principles... Once you understand principles you don't need a recipe. That means that you can start a new batch almost every week and after a few months you will have meads that you can taste and enjoy when you want ... THEN if you want you can focus in on a single varietal or a single type of mead whether metheglin or melomel or sack or hydromel or whatever... or not.
In my opinion, a proven recipe is a batch of honey dissolved in water to which yeast has been added. Note the temperature, the starting gravity, the pH, the yeast, the amount of sweetness you prefer at bottling, the acidity , the amount of tannins, the oakiness.. you prefer... then play with the addition of fruit or spices or herbs or the level of alcohol... Control everything except ONE variable.. That might be the yeast or the tannins or the amount of honey or the type of honey ....

12-18-2015, 02:03 PM
the thing that drove me crazy about 1 gallon batches was after the first rack I didn't have a true 1g batch any more and had tons of head space while aging. Knowing what I know now I would buy 2 gallon fermenting buckets. then ferment 1.5 gallons or what ever it took to get an exact 1 gallon batch to age. but I quickly jumped to 5-6 gallon batches.


12-18-2015, 08:57 PM
I've done 2 1-gal batches so far, and what I've done is started with a little over 1 gallon (5 or 6 qts) and put the remainder in a growler or howler. This seems to work pretty well, but the remainder batches stopped fermenting first. The owners of my LHBS reccommended this trick.

I'm sticking with small batches until I get some recipes I like down. Then maybe I'll get a 5 gallon carboy. These batches have been brewing since Sept/Oct and I need to taste them to see where they are at. I could start another batch now as I have another free carboy, but I am curious as to how these are turning out and trying to decide what to try next.

I suggest trying something BOMM-like that will be ready in a quicker time frame. If you have trouble finding 1388 yeast, there are some experiments being done by Bray on these forms on similar beer yeasts. CBC-1 and Abbaye look promising: http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/24652-Dry-Yeast-BOMM-Aromatic-Experiment?highlight=BOMM

12-21-2015, 12:26 PM
I'm a cider maker just getting started with mead, and I'm in the same boat - running out of carboys. They're all tied up aging cider.

I started with a 1 gallon JAOM not realizing that it'd take months to be really good. Now I have a JAO BOMM in a plastic jug fermenting in primary. When I rack that for clearing, it'll be my last empty jug.

Not sure where I want to go with this next. I'm a believer in small batch experiments, so until I dial in on a recipe that really works for me I'm not buying 20 lb of honey. I think the BOMM protocol is the key (thank you, Bray). I just need to start drinking some of my ciders and free up some gallon jugs.

12-24-2015, 01:53 PM
...I'm in the same boat - running out of carboys. They're all tied up aging cider.

I do my long-term bulk aging in 1 gallon glass apple juice jugs. Since I go through a gallon of juice each week I have plenty of the things, plus splitting a batch up into individual gallons lets me treat each one differently; if I want to experiment, I only risk one gallon instead of a whole batch.

I save my 3 gallon carboy for secondary fermenting. I also have a 5 gallon glass carboy I got cheap from someone in a local brewing group but I haven't used it yet. I've never done a batch that big, plus I don't know if I'll be able to lift the thing without hurting myself when it's full.