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Wellington89
07-05-2016, 06:24 AM
Hi folks. I've been interested in home-brewing for some time now (I'm fascinated by the subject of self-sustainable lifestyles in general) and have tried my hand at beer brewing from a kit a couple of times with limited success. That pretty much knocked the wind out of my sales and I've been procrastinating about having another go ever since. It occurred to me that as a beginner to home brewing, I may be better served by trying my hand at brewing mead first. Is it any easier to brew for the beginner than say wine, ale or lager? Or are they all much of a muchness? Please forgive my naivety and lack of knowledge. Any pointers would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Masbustelo
07-05-2016, 07:58 AM
Mead is a much simpler process. Mead is made versus being brewed. To make mead, one assembles the ingredients, water and yeast. Usually nothng is even heated. From what I know regarding brewing versus mead making, mead is both simpler and much more forgiving. It seems brewers are obsessed with infections occuring and in mead making such occurences are very rare.

bmwr75
07-05-2016, 09:27 AM
Mead is much easier than beer based on what I've read.

Shelley
07-05-2016, 09:35 AM
I've brewed mead, beer from scratch (whole grain), beer with a beer machine (cheating, but more fun for me), and various wines. By far, mead is the easiest, most forgiving alcohol to make at home, with the most consistent results. You can start with very simple techniques to make a very drinkable mead, then go "advanced" with a myriad of techniques (most -- if not all -- of which folks discuss on this site).

Take a look at the recipe for Joe's Ancient Orange (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/6885-Joe-Mattioli-s-Foolproof-Ancient-Orange-Clove-and-Cinnamon-Mead) mead. It's a recipe that's easy to start with, and delightful to drink.

This assumes that you already know that you like mead, of course. :D

bernardsmith
07-05-2016, 06:02 PM
Brewing can take a few hours of active work. Mead take a few minutes. Not sure if mead or beer is more forgiving but brewers are far more paranoid about infections and seem to be far more obsessed with the bells and whistles that are used in brewing than mead makers are in the process of fermentation.

58limited
07-05-2016, 07:31 PM
Yes mead making is for you! Give it a try. Read through the posts on this site and the NewBee guide ( http://gotmead.com/blog/making-mead/mead-newbee-guide/the-newbee-guide-to-making-mead/ ). The results are wonderful. And don't give up on beer - its not hard and the problems you had may have been due to substandard kits rather than something you did. Youtube has a lot of how-to videos.

Wellington89
07-06-2016, 01:10 AM
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. It certainly sounds like mead is the way ahead for me at this point in my home brewing journey. I'm sure the answer to this question will be on the forum somewhere (I'll do a search after posting) but is it worth me holding on to any of my used beer brewing equipment for the purposes of making the mead? Especially as it is likely substandard, as pointed out by 58limited. Or would it be better to just throw it all out and start again? Also, is buying pre-used mead making kit advisable? I'm on a bit of tight budget and would like to keep costs down where possible. Apologies for sounding so cheap.

58limited
07-06-2016, 04:36 AM
I was referring to ingredient kits (such as an IPA or porter kit), not equipment, when I made that comment. What kind of equipment do you have? I started off by brewing beer and then moved to meads and I use my beer equipment for this: fermentation buckets, siphons, hydrometer, bottle capper, etc. I do not own a carboy - the buckets stack for storage and take up much less space. The only thing I do not use is the stainless boiling pot since I do not boil the honey.

Chevette Girl
07-06-2016, 12:51 PM
Equipment is pretty standard and anything you had for beermaking should work fine for meadmaking, especially if you are on a budget. Just do invest in some good cleaner and sanitizer and you should be all set.

If you can follow a recipe just once before you feel the need to play with it, meadmaking is definitely for you :)

Wellington89
07-07-2016, 12:35 AM
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. It certainly sounds like mead is the way ahead for me at this point in my home brewing journey. I'm sure the answer to this question will be on the forum somewhere (I'll do a search after posting) but is it worth me holding on to any of my used beer brewing equipment (http://www.used.forsale/beer-brewing-equipment) for the purposes of making the mead? Especially as it is likely substandard, as pointed out by 58limited. Or would it be better to just throw it all out and start again? Also, is buying pre-used mead making kit advisable? I'm on a bit of tight budget and would like to keep costs down where possible. Apologies for sounding so cheap.


Equipment is pretty standard and anything you had for beermaking should work fine for meadmaking, especially if you are on a budget. Just do invest in some good cleaner and sanitizer and you should be all set.

If you can follow a recipe just once before you feel the need to play with it, meadmaking is definitely for you :)


I was referring to ingredient kits (such as an IPA or porter kit), not equipment, when I made that comment. What kind of equipment do you have? I started off by brewing beer and then moved to meads and I use my beer equipment for this: fermentation buckets, siphons, hydrometer, bottle capper, etc. I do not own a carboy - the buckets stack for storage and take up much less space. The only thing I do not use is the stainless boiling pot since I do not boil the honey.

Thanks for the feedback Chevette Girl. Your straight forward answer has definitely inspired me to get a grip, stop procrastinating and move forward. It's certainly mild relief that I won't have to fully invest in a whole new set of equipment. Best I get dusting off my beer brewing kit. 58limited, thanks for the clarification. I understand where you were coming from now and the "kit" certainly wasn't of the highest quality. It was purchased from a high street retailer rather than a specialist retailer. Lesson learned. Thanks again everybody, I will let you know how I get on. Oh, one more question, I have a bee keeper acquaintance who produces his own honey? Would that be suitable for mead making or would I be better buying direct from the super-market?

Shelley
07-07-2016, 06:57 AM
Oh, one more question, I have a bee keeper acquaintance who produces his own honey? Would that be suitable for mead making or would I be better buying direct from the super-market?

Beekeeper's honey from down the road is nearly always better than supermarket honey. For everything.

Sez the beekeeper. :-)

EbonHawk
07-09-2016, 12:26 AM
Meadmaking is definitely easier, but no less rewarding for me. As an example, I kind of got a brew crew together and we started brewing beer awhile back.. 3 batches later, the subject comes up (from me, and from them) on several occasions to try making some different types of mead. We're done and cleaning up after a batch of mead making and someone says, "This is SOO much easier than making beer... 4 hour sessions, 5 times as much crap to clean up.. We just sanitized and put ingredients together for 4 different batches of mead in the time it takes to mash grain and get the boil started for our last beer... WHY are we still making beer?" It was said half-jokingly, of course, but the point finally struck home that mead-making is a LOT simpler and less time-consuming than brewing. Yeah, you can shorten those beer sessions down considerably by using pre-extracted grains (malt syrup and DME) but you lose some of the quality, imo. Mead making is almost an afterthought after doing a bunch of long all-grain mashes. I'm not knocking anyone who likes to make complicated meads; I'm just saying that for me it's a whole different type of process, much simpler, and doesn't involve the potential for dumping a few quarts of boiling hot wort inside your shoe!!

Beer is pretty damn forgiving so I'm not sure about any major advantages of mead-making over beer in that respect. But I also have a pretty extensive chemistry and clean-lab technique background, so I'm a natural at cleanliness and sanitization. It just comes natural after a lot of repetition. But, that doesn't mean that I don't catch myself sometimes dropping a stirring spoon and going, "Crap, the sanitizing solution is 40 feet away..ahh, screw it." And in it goes without a second thought anymore. Ok, I have to admit, there have been a few occasions where I'm lying awake at night wondering if that one flub is going to destroy my $60 batch of strawberry pizzazz or not. But you do learn to live with some things and not sweat them too much. This is supposed to fun, dammit. :-)