View Full Version : This Involved?

04-30-2016, 03:43 PM
I've been interested in expanding my horizon from just brewing beer to making meads and wines, but just haven't sat down to really dig into what it takes. SWMBO made two wines and stalled out so I've cleaned up the Better Bottles and inherited them.

I read a bit somewhere on making mead and according to this fellow you'll need to stir up the lees daily, and once fermentation is complete you'll need gas to fill the neck of the carboy to keep oxygen off of it. Is this right? I didn't come across that long ago when I first became interested. My understanding, as with wines, nutrients needed to be added twice after the initial dose.

04-30-2016, 04:26 PM
Stir up lees daily: Not necessary, particularly regarding the lees. Off gassing is usually a good thing to do for the early stages.
Filling with gas: No, not usually necessary unless you are aging for a long time.
Nutrients, added in intervals is a common method and amounts/timing/if at all will vary by recipe.

04-30-2016, 04:41 PM
What is off gassing?

04-30-2016, 04:42 PM
Hey! And welcome to the forum! Many of us also evolved into meadmaking from our beer brewing days, so you're in good company.

First off, I would recommend you check out the resources on the FAQ's page, here http://www.gotmead.com/forum/faq.php?faq=meadfaq#faq_newbee, especially the Newbee's Guide to making mead. This will answer many of your questions.

Additionally, for your first mead, I strongly recommend a JAO, Joe's Ancient Orange. It produces very good results right off the bat, with easy to obtain ingredients, and very little fuss. There's a HUGE thread on this forum about it, like 1500+ posts long, but you'll find the actual recipe in post #2.

If you decide to go off on your own and make something of your own creation, or something from a recipe you found elsewhere, please come post the recipe here first, and let the experienced mazers take a look. Many come halfway into ferments gone wrong, asking advice, and there is much less to be done at that point to rescue what could have been a good batch.

On the topic of gas, or purging oxygen from the top of the carboy, you'll find varying opinions, but I would wager 90% or better would say don't worry about it. It takes far more exposure to oxygen to "flaw" a mead than a little headspace. Just do what you would normally do with a beer to limit oxygenation during transfer and storage.

As for nutrients, again you will find varying methods espoused by those who have developed their own preferred regiments. Generally you'll find staggered nutrient additions recommended at 24 hours after the pitch, 48-72 hours after, and at the 1/3 sugar break (when 1/3 of the fermentable sugars have been consumed, measured by gravity readings). And a variety of nutrients are available, with the most common being Fermaid-K, Fermaid-O, Fermax, and pure DAP (diammonium phosphate). I personally have gone to the TOSNA nutrient protocol, which uses only Fermaid-O (an organic nutrient). The TOSNA protocol is completely spelled out at www.meadmaderight.com. I have had nothing but good results when I follow it.

That's probably enough for now. Again, welcome, and please come back and share ALL the details of your recipe before you kick it off. And get yourself some GoFerm and a hydrometer if you don't already have them. They will be highly highly recommended at nearly every turn in this forum!


04-30-2016, 08:23 PM
Off-gassing or degassing is simply stirring the "mead-to-be" gently to release the CO2 trapped in suspension. Sometimes you can get a volcano of foam from the CO2 if you rush it. Getting the gas out of suspension allows for particulates to settle more readily, as well as making a more still wine or mead.

04-30-2016, 09:25 PM
Not only that but most important the gases become toxic to the yeast, so it's best to continue to cause it to leave suspension to keep the yeast in better condition.

Depending on how long you want to leave it "dirty" and what ingredients you added to your batch, you will want to keep the lees in suspension by stirring every few days. Leaving them buried in the bottom of your batch is not a good idea. That keeps them from being exposed to the honey/sugar. Normally I keep them stirred about for a few weeks after fermentation has stopped. Then I cold crash them and rack.

04-30-2016, 09:53 PM
@Mazer: Thanks for the welcome!

Outside of the first few beer recipes I've liked to create my own. I'm not sure it's quite the ordeal with mead as it's much more simple until you get outside of just honey (I've had fantastic dry hopped meads!), but as I do even still years later is post my recipes and ask for opinions and will do here as well.

I have several hydrometers as I found it sucks to break the lone one. One is a nice one I bought SWMBO for wine that has a thermometer as well, which I've inherited along with whatever wine nutrients I bought her.

I should have taken the time to read through the stickies first. I will do that before I get serious enough to buy bulk honey and yeast.