View Full Version : Things have certainly changed.

02-17-2016, 09:16 AM
Hi there.. I'm new around here so be gentle.

I used to do a bit of simple home brewing when I was just a poor student, (Three decades or so ago now.) Since then time constraints and easy availability of supermarket wine saw the brew kit relegated to the back of the garage.

The one thing I really missed though was decent Mead.

Don't get me wrong, the commercial stuff is available over here if your pockets are deep enough, it's just far too sweet.

For some reason in Britain, people seem to think mead should be sweet enough to send a Hummingbird Hyperglycemic. http://www.wayland.me.uk/assets/images/th_smiley-yuck.gif

So I'm dusting off the old glass wear, replacing all the stuff that didn't survive and while looking for advice I found this place. Wow...

Thirty years back I only had a little paperback book with five recipes in it for information. Four of them were too sweet as well. So I ending up experimenting and came up with my own thing.

Money was tight back then remember and on one occasion I didn't quite have enough honey and my eyes fell on a tin of Black Treacle in the back of the cupboard (Over there you would call it Molasses.) I ended up with an 80% honey 20% Treacle mix which made the best gallon of "Mead" I ever made. (I'm still not sure what it should be properly called though.)

Around the various Living History groups I worked with, it soon became known as "Wayland's Dark Brew" so that's what I've decided to resurrect to get me back into the game.

What has really changed since then is the sheer amount of information that is available now and the varieties of yeasts and nutrients is bewildering. I've read my way through the NewBee's Mead Making articles and I've scared myself silly with all the things I must have done wrong back then.

I used to just boil the water, add the ingredients, wait for it to cool down a bit and chuck in some dried yeast. When it stopped bubbling after a few weeks I racked it off, rinsed the bottle and started the next brew. http://www.wayland.me.uk/assets/images/scary.gif

Anyway, I'm a bit wiser these days but I am wondering what sort of nutrients might be suggested to improve the fermentation process with this sort of mix.

2lb. Honey.
1/2lb. Molasses.
Champagne yeast?
made up to 1 gallon of must.

Any thoughts?

02-17-2016, 10:05 AM
Here is a recipe that uses sorghum syrup (molasses without the sulfur). It is called Sorglyn. I've made it twice now.


02-17-2016, 11:11 AM
Thank you. That's very useful.

I've ordered some Lalvin EC-1118 and some K1-V1116 too, thought I'd try them both out.

I was going to add some Fermaid K and I'm looking at an off the shelf nutrient from my local store which is an undisclosed blend of DAP and Ammonium Sulphate.

The Potassium Bicarbonate, is that to lower the acidity? Would Bicarb of Soda do a similar job?

02-17-2016, 12:29 PM
Avoid Bicarb of soda. Tastes terrible. Percipitated Chalk work as well buy it is dirty and leaves a fairly persistent white residue that takes a while to fall out.

Potassium Bicarbonate or Potassium Carbonate is much more soluble and provides a potassium source for your yeast is. Much better product. Yes it is for acid reduction/buffering.

Also fermaid K contains DAP.

02-17-2016, 12:45 PM
OK got that ordered and on the way.

I'll just have to wait a bit longer to start things off.

02-17-2016, 07:21 PM
Order yourself some goferm too, to properly rehydrate your yeast prior to pitching. We've moved out of the cave, and into the barn, and we're no longer dry pitching yeast! Lol

02-17-2016, 07:26 PM
I'm having trouble sourcing that over here for some reason.

Any ideas what I could replace it with?

02-17-2016, 08:22 PM
No. If you can't get goferm, just rehydrate with 104F water for 20-30 minutes, then slowly add small portions of the must to the yeast slurry every 5 minutes until the slurry temp and gravity is pretty close to the must at large. Then pitch.

02-17-2016, 08:47 PM
If no Goferm is available, just rehydrate per the manufacturer's instructions. That has worked fine for me.

02-18-2016, 04:24 AM
Thanks, will do.

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know what to call a brew made with honey and molasses? It's one I can't find a proper name for.

02-18-2016, 09:12 AM
According to @bmwr75 above, it's called a Sorglyn.

02-18-2016, 10:03 AM
Ah.. I thought sorghum syrup was slightly different to cane molasses, hence the name "Sorglyn".

As most of the traditional names like mead, melomel and pyment pre-date the plentiful availability of cane sugars in Europe, I suspect there may not actually be a "traditional" name for such a blended brew.

Interestingly, sugar is listed amongst spices or medicines in many early medieval sources so perhaps it should be considered as a form of metheglin.

02-18-2016, 10:10 AM
Sorghum syrup is made from sorghum. Molasses is made from sugar cane. Completely different. Especially in flavor.

Better brewing through science!

See my brewing site at www.denardbrewing.com

See my Current Mead Making Techniques article here:

02-18-2016, 10:54 AM
I thought that might be the case.

You must be Bray then... I came across your website a couple of times when I started researching. Very useful. http://www.wayland.me.uk/assets/images/notworthy.gif

I'm amazed how scientific this has all become in recent years, no doubt for the best, but I'm going to have to work out what I'm doing with a hydrometer for a start.

02-18-2016, 11:31 AM
Yes, I'm Bray. Welcome back to the hobby and welcome to Gotmead. Just do one thing at a time and you'll be fine.

Lots of people here are willing to help. Just ask!

Better brewing through science!

See my brewing site at www.denardbrewing.com

See my Current Mead Making Techniques article here:

02-18-2016, 12:51 PM
Thank you.

I've been trying to work out how to use the Mead Calculator widget but without much luck.

As mentioned, I'm aiming for a dry mead around 16-18% ABV from a blend of 80% Honey (~80% sugar) & 20% Molasses (~65% Sugar)

I'll try the Lalvin EC-1118 first I think. and I'm making a gallon.

Can anyone work out what sort of quantity of Honey & Molasses I should start out with?

02-18-2016, 02:38 PM
An ABV of about 17% takes about 3.25 lbs of sugar dissolved in 1 US gallon (a smaller gallon than the UK gallon) . I think that that might be something like 2.6 lbs of honey and the remainder molasses but I am not sure how much molasses you want to add if it is only 65% sugar.. (presumably 1/3 more than the .65 lbs) . What you might want to do is simply pour the honey into your fermenter mixing it thoroughly and then adding and mixing the molasses while measuring the solution of the must until you get a gravity of about 1.130 (potential ABV of about 17%).

02-18-2016, 05:50 PM
Thanks for that.

It sounds like a sensible way to do it.