PDA

View Full Version : First mead



HarbingerSTG
02-24-2017, 01:25 PM
Hello!

I've been researching meadmaking for a few weeks now and I've decided to take the plunge!

I'm trying to make a 1 gallon batch of a semi sweet traditional mead using only orange blossom honey. I was wondering what amount of honey and what yeast will get me to 6.5-7 ABV? My ultimate goal is a session mead I can put in 12oz amber bottles with oxygen barrier caps.

gregma
02-24-2017, 01:34 PM
http://www.meadmakr.com/batch-buildr/ should give you what you are looking for and much more!

jeffvenuti
02-24-2017, 01:37 PM
Harbi,

It's non trivial to get a low abv like you suggest and maintain enough residual sugar to be semi-sweet. Usually involves some more sophisticated techniques that I wouldn't necessarily recommend for a first time mead maker.

Have you read the NewBee Guide and do you have the recommended equipment?

If you're intent on going this route you'll have a dry mead at the end of ferment that you'll have to backsweeten after stabilization (rendering the yeast inactive), or using a non fermentable sweetener.

Your other option is a full strength mead (14-16% abv) that maintains some residual sugar after the yeast hit their alcohol tolerance limit.

Jeff

bernardsmith
02-24-2017, 01:51 PM
Hi HarbingerSTG - and welcome. You will want to start with a specific gravity of about 1.050. Fully fermented this should give you an ABV of about 6.5%. To reach 1.050 you need to mix about 1.5 lbs of honey with enough water to make about 1 US gallon. You ask what yeast. Any yeast will get you there but you might try D47 or 71B or you might try using an ale yeast. I just bottled a gallon of mead ( a t'ej) where I used Belle Saison yeast. The thing is that any yeast will ferment 1.5 lbs of honey bone dry. The trick is then to stabilize the mead by removing as many of the yeast cells as you can (by cold crashing and racking the mead off the precipitated yeast and then by adding K-meta and K-sorbate to inhibit any residual yeast from fermenting any sugars you add. Adding 4 oz of sugar (boiled in a little water with a drop of lemon juice) will increase the gravity by about 10 points. That may (or may not) be sweet enough for what you are looking for.

The trick here is to bench test your mead to see how sweet you prefer it. If you take three or four samples of the mead of a known quantity and you dissolve specific and known quantities of sugar into each sample then you can home in on the exact quantity of sugar you prefer in a specific sample. You then divide the total volume of your mead (the 1 gallon) by the sample size and use that number to multiply the quantity of sugar you used to obtain the total amount of sugar you need to dissolve in that gallon batch.

caduseus
02-24-2017, 01:52 PM
Hello!

I've been researching meadmaking for a few weeks now and I've decided to take the plunge!

I'm trying to make a 1 gallon batch of a semi sweet traditional mead using only orange blossom honey. I was wondering what amount of honey and what yeast will get me to 6.5-7 ABV? My ultimate goal is a session mead I can put in 12oz amber bottles with oxygen barrier caps.

What you are looking to make is a Short mead (also called a hydromel).

There are many ways to do this but always easiest to start with a tried and true recipe.

While I prefer wine yeast the recipe below is pretty simple and gets you a drinkable mead quickly:
https://denardbrewing.com/blog/post/Fidnemed/

This is the famous BOMM (Bray's One Month Mead) adapted to much lower ABV (what you are looking for) and can be done much faster.

I would stabilize at the end (using potassium sorbate with potassium metabisulffite). Then back sweeten to taste. Keep in mind that over time it will come across sweeter than what it tastes like RIGHT after fermentation.
FYI: semi sweet varies by definition but across definitions it can be a Specific Gravity between 1.010 and 1.020.

The tea in the recipe is optional. It adds tea tannins. Personally i prefer ageing in oak or using tannin powder added.

He says you can drink in one week but i would recommend waiting a month.

Hydrometer! Hydrometer!
Too many NewBees dont use this enough if it all.

Hope this helps

HarbingerSTG
02-24-2017, 02:02 PM
The meadmakr link is gold! I think I will do that and just backsweeten. Will it end up a still? (which I'd prefer)

jeffvenuti
02-24-2017, 02:15 PM
Should be still. If it doesn't end up still it's because you didn't stabilize properly and you'll have bottle bombs on your hands.

Jeff

HarbingerSTG
02-24-2017, 03:23 PM
Thank you everyone! Current plan of attack is to use 1.5 lbs of honey with water to get an OG around 1.050 then use D47 until it slows down. Siphon it to my other carboy after about 7-10 days. Then cold crash, rack, add K meta and K sorbate, wait a week and then back sweeten. Cheers!

Dadux
02-24-2017, 04:06 PM
Hey there.
So all the advce you got is neat, just wanna add a couple of things
Honey is low on nutrients. Even for such a low ABV mead you want to add some nutrients such as fermaid K or O.
If you are new to brewing stabilizing is a bit complicated and you probably need to know a few other stuff too before you begin. Most of it is in the Newbee guide of the Gotmead page.

About short meads, I have done some around 6% ABV and I can tell you a couple of things. my go-to method is after pitching, aereate and add nutrients. then just close it and degas lightly everyday for the first three days. You can complicate yourself more but this is just the easy way. low ABV meads can get easily contaminated with acetobacter so keep an eye on that. With this simple method you get drinkable mead very fast with less work and risk. I let short meads sit for a month, then rack, stabilize and backsweeten, then bottle, and my bottles are absolutely clear of lees. You say you want to rack in 7 days, i recomend you wait more, at least a couple and up to 4 or 5 weeks, to ensure the ferment is well over (mine usually slow down at the end and take some good 15 days). You also want to shake the carboy 2-3 times per week while doing this to keep the lees in suspension. Stop doing it a week before racking so they settle down.
The tricky thing about session meads is giving them a good character. I dont want to complicate this anymore but im gonna leave you a link i saw in this forum posted somewhere, because you might be interested
The ABV for the recipes is a bith higher than what you look for, but just adapt the honey levels for desired ABV and all should be good. Definetly worth a look. http://www.groennfell.com/recipes

Apart from that, a recomended recipe for beginers is JAOM (search it on google or here). its suuuuper easy to do, gives decent results and takes no effort. yields around an 11% ABV and sweet/semi-sweet so i know its not exactly what you are looking for now but since its so easy you might want to give it a try after this or at the same time (if you do follow the recipe EXACTLY).

Edit: Ah also there is this, in case you like podcasts: http://gotmead.com/blog/gotmead-live/1-31-17-making-great-session-meads-jason-scott-phelps-ancient-fire-meadery/