PDA

View Full Version : Basic equipment



Vicomancer
05-03-2017, 05:01 AM
So it seams my first post got lost in the nether, anyway i was wondering what basic equipment is needed/recommended (also i don't live anywhere near a homebrew store or apparently anywhere they ship to)

is for example a large 10 liter water bottle suitable as a primary fermenter (ive read conflicting accounts on this and apparently the type of plastic is important, but my logic tells me that something that comes with drinking water in it can't possibly be toxic) and come bottling day what kind of bottles are suitable, are for example plastic soda bottles with screw tops fine? (i'm guessing they're not) Or do i need something glass that corks or caps?

darigoni
05-03-2017, 07:25 AM
Welcome!

Kind of refreshing to have somebody, who's starting out, ask these questions before they've jumped in with both feet, made mistakes and then ask for help! :-)

Hopefully, another mead maker from your area will respond and can direct you to resources closer to home.

What is your goal? Do you want to make one batch, see what mead taste like and what the process is like? Or is this going to become a hobby?

Do you have any experience? Beer or wine?

You can use all of the items above, but plastic can be hard to clean and sanitize. Plastic can scratch, which creates great places for bad things to hide in. Were you planning on reusing soda bottles or do you have a source for new ones? I personally reuse glass beer bottles.

Please read the NewBee Guide (top of the webpage) and you may also find this guide informative: http://www.meadmakr.com/meadmakr-guide/

Read, ask questions and watch as many videos (Meadology series on Youtube is great) as possible, before you make your first batch.

Most would suggest that your first batch be a JAOM. It can be made with a minimum of equipment and basic ingredients. Google "JAOM".

If you decide to do something other than a JAOM, please post your recipe and your intended procedure here before making it, to get suggestions on what to do and not do (please NO BOILING). You'll also want to invest in a hydrometer.

Good Luck! dave

Vicomancer
05-03-2017, 07:53 AM
Tanks for the swift reply, I had more information in my first post that got lost. My plan is indeed to make JOAM as a first try, I have tasted mead before and loved it and I have already read the newbie guide a few times as well as a number of other guides and threads. I was thinking of reusing the soda bottles because they come with tops already ( I don't know if I can get unused ones) my only other option at this point are what I think are called swing top bottles (they come with top that's part ceramic part rubber and are closed with a sort of lever mechanism).
My only brewing experience is a sort of light mead that's traditional to make for Valborgsmessoafton ( it's about 300g of honey to 5 litres if water, 2 lemons and a couple of raisins and a spoon of sugar when you seal it. Takes about a week to be ready). Which is what got me interested, and I don't plan on stopping with this batch which puts in the hobby category ( or obsession as my girlfriend puts it).

darigoni
05-03-2017, 08:18 AM
I know they were having problems with spammers, so (I think) put a delay in the ability to post on the forums, with new members.

Swing top bottles are nice, but can be expensive, unless they are a byproduct of drinking some good beer! :-) The rubber gaskets can be replaced and found in brew shops or online.

Check out the first entry of this post: http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/26032-Making-Mead

A series of really good videos. The meadlogy series is very good, will show you the easy way to make a JAOM and will expose you to the world of nutrient additions (week 7).

After a JAOM, you should try a BOMM or something similar, that will expose you to actually doing nutrient additions. There's a really good video of that also.

Good luck!

caduseus
05-03-2017, 08:42 AM
You are better off NOT using a LHBS.
Here is their priority for customers:
1) beer makers then
2) wine-makers then
3) cider-makers

Mead-makers are an afterthought if they think about us at all

Proof of this is that NONE carry fermaid-k or fermaid-O. Why?
Because for beer and wine makers, the differnce between fermaid and the other products is basically none but a much higher profit for them for NOT carrying fermaid products.

Only time I used them for mead was when my hydrometer broke and didn't want to wait for amazon. Now I keep an extra on hand.

I got all my mead making supplies online- mostly from amazon.
https://smile.amazon.com/Home-Brew-Ohio-Gallon-Starter/dp/B01DDRNABW/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1493815714&sr=1-1&keywords=Home+brew+mead+kit
I wouldn't use the yeast included.
When run out of those campden tablets- replace with k-meta (potassium metabisulphite)
When you run out of saniter-replace with star-San

The rest is perfect to use indefinitely.


Mead-maker

dingurth
05-03-2017, 09:09 AM
You can ferment in large plastic bottles that you might get water in from the store, but only use them once. I'm sure Finland has a similar recyclable coding scheme, but in the US, you'll find small numbers inside a recycle symbol on most plastics. These tell you what kind of plastic it is and what it is good for. A '1' is usually what you would find on anything from the store: water bottles, peanut butter jars, etc. These plastics are fine for holding food in temporarily, but over time, will leech chemicals into the water. That's why they say don't reuse plastic water bottles too often. A '2' is a food grade plastic. This is what brew buckets are made out of, and means they are good for infinite uses with food/beverage.

TLDR: use plastic water bottles only once if they are not food grade. Try to find a glass carboy or brew bucket if you can.

If your only choices are screw tops or swing tops, use the swing. You want to be able to create a good seal to keep out oxygen, and screw tops won't be able to do that.
Other basic equipment would include:
bleach for sanitizing - starsan is the most recommended sanitizor, but if you aren't near a brewstore it will probably be hard to find. If you use bleach, wash with warm water until you can't smell any trace of it afterwards
balloons - poke a hole in them and that's your airlock to put over your plastic bottles while fermenting
~2 meters of clear plastic tubing (food grade if you can) - you'll need this when racking. For racking itself, you can use the tried and true "suck on the other end til liquid comes out" method
nutrient - after jaom, if you try other meads, they will likely need nutrients. Recommended is Fermaid K and/or O, but in a pinch you can boil some bread yeast to kill them and feed that to your brew
hydrometer - this is the one tool you should find a way to get no matter what. It's the only reliable way to tell if your mead is done

This list is the bare minimum. Like backwoods brew equipment. But if that's all you have access to, it will get the job done as long as you keep it simple :)

bernardsmith
05-03-2017, 09:33 AM
So it seams my first post got lost in the nether, anyway i was wondering what basic equipment is needed/recommended (also i don't live anywhere near a homebrew store or apparently anywhere they ship to)

is for example a large 10 liter water bottle suitable as a primary fermenter (ive read conflicting accounts on this and apparently the type of plastic is important, but my logic tells me that something that comes with drinking water in it can't possibly be toxic) and come bottling day what kind of bottles are suitable, are for example plastic soda bottles with screw tops fine? (i'm guessing they're not) Or do i need something glass that corks or caps?

Hi Vicomancer - and welcome. Sorry, but I think your assumption that plastic containers that were used to store water can be used without any problem as a fermenter is a little questionable , for three reasons.

First, the pH of water is about 7 whereas the pH of mead is likely to be significantly lower (could be about 3)- so now you are dealing with acidic liquids.

Second, alcohol is a better solvent than water and so aging mead (or wine) for any length of time can cause chemicals to leach from the plastic and those chemicals are not always benign.

The third issue is that many plastics are not constructed in ways that prevent oxygen from seeping in (the spaces between the molecules allow air to be transferred in) and so , if you wish to age your mead you may find that over months, it will suffer from oxidation.

All that said, there are many folk who do use carboys that held water to both ferment and age their meads...Should you? That's your call but if you know the risks both to your own health, and the health of those you will be sharing your meads with and you know the risks to the quality of the mead itself then any decision you make will be made with a more full understanding... And that is always a good thing.

For comparsion, I am offering you a link to Better Bottle - a manufacturer of plastic (PET) bottles designed to be used for brewing and wine making. They obviously have a stake in arguing why their bottles are preferred to other kinds of plastic.. http://www.better-bottle.com/products_master.html

Dadux
05-03-2017, 11:15 AM
Food grade plastic works, but if you use water, dont reuse them much.

I see you live in Finland, maybe this will help you. They ship all over europe, if you know swedish you are all set (the page is not in english).

http://shop.humle.se/

Alternative for fermentors are plastic buckets made of food grade plastic. You also will need a flexible tube to rack, a hydrometer, nutrients (not for the JAOM but oh well) yeast (same) and an airlock for your carboy. If you dont have an airlock you can use a ballon, just prick it 3 or 4 times in the top with a big needle. I've been using that for a long time and its perfectly ok. Works on bottles or customized buckets (drill hole in lid, and with some teaking you can have a super cheap construction)

About ageing, you dont need to age in bulk or age that much. Its still discussed that bulk ageing has benefits, but many of us dont have the space or the containers to do it, so we just bottle after a "short" ageing (ranging from 1 month since fermentation start to 6, and then let it age in the bottle all you want)

If you are doing a JAOM, i recommend you use a plastic bottle and follow the recipes to the letter (this is important). IF then you want to move on to diferent mead styles and more complex brews, the url i posted i think will help you. Try buying all or most at once since i guess the shipping cost wont be super cheap.

A book that is considered great for beginners is "the compleat meadmaker" from Ken Schramm, and there are others taht are helpful, but that one is good and helpful, goes over many things you need and you can get it on amazon

Also this site has a newbee guide, which is really helpful to beginners.

Vicomancer
05-03-2017, 12:40 PM
Wow thanks for all the advice, humle.se looks perfect, I was starting to worry that I'd have to pay ridiculous import taxes or take my chances with eBay. And the plastic bottle is just to get some JOAM going while I scour the Internet for information/more advanced equipment that doesn't cost an arm and a leg/and anything else that may be useful so I'll definitely use better equipment for subsequent batches, especially now I know a good place to get it from. Hopefully I'll have something brewing by tomorrow!

Ps does food safe sanitizer that is used in kitchens good enough.

darigoni
05-03-2017, 12:58 PM
Not sure about the sanitizer. Do you have a company/brand name or ingredients list?

The easiest way to make a JAOM, is to buy a one gallon (4L) plastic jug of water and use that as your fermentation vessel. Check out the first video of the Meadology series. Don't use distilled water.

Dadux
05-03-2017, 06:50 PM
Wow thanks for all the advice, humle.se looks perfect, I was starting to worry that I'd have to pay ridiculous import taxes or take my chances with eBay. And the plastic bottle is just to get some JOAM going while I scour the Internet for information/more advanced equipment that doesn't cost an arm and a leg/and anything else that may be useful so I'll definitely use better equipment for subsequent batches, especially now I know a good place to get it from. Hopefully I'll have something brewing by tomorrow!

Ps does food safe sanitizer that is used in kitchens good enough.

To sanitize buy potasium metabisulphite. It is a common aditive to meads and wines to "stabilize", that is, kill the yeasts so you can add more sugars and so they dont get fermented. To sanitize you can use a solution of the metabisulphite. Just do a 1% solution (500ml will last veeery long. mix 500ml water with 5 grams of K-meta) and put it in a recicled spray like the one from cleaning products. to sanitize things like buckets just spray with that and let it dry for 12-24h. Then rinse. For glass you can use bleach but its not recommended for plastics, so 1% k-meta solution is great for those (and plastic buckets are the best, you can buy fermentation plastic buckets in the online store. You can also apply the solution to anything else.

For now you can probably stick to food sanitizer but rinse very well. You dont want mead tasting like sanitizer. Also dont be too neurotic about sanitazion. As long as you dont do any weird shit with your buckets and carboys you should not have any problems. Most of the time, just carefully washing things with normal kitchen detergent is enough. Dont touch anything with your fingers and thats about it.

Vicomancer
05-05-2017, 09:57 AM
I have my first batch going strong, the balloons stood up about half an hour after I made them, and the cabinet I put them in smells lovely.

If all goes well in about two months I'll have some great tasting mead!

darigoni
05-05-2017, 12:50 PM
Congratulations!

"balloons"? More than one? Does that mean you made a double batch?

What did you end up using as a fermentation vessel?

While you are waiting for this batch to finish up, now is a good time to do some more reading and gathering of equipment. You need to understand the concept of nutrient additions. Check out week 7 of the Meadology series. While it's not the latest protocol that the mead world is turning to, it's a real good explanation of what SNA (staggered nutrient additions) is all about. The latest protocol is something called TOSNA (Meadmaderight.com), but that is for people who can get their hands on organic nutrients (i.e Fermaid O). If you end up going that route you'll want to get familiar with this batch calculator (http://www.meadmakr.com/tosna-2-0/).

Of course, you may be happy with your JAOM and stick with that. If you look around the gotmead forum, you'll find a posting of alternate JAOM recipes. I have a friend, who's an accomplished mead maker, but likes JAOM enough that he makes a 5 gallon batch every year.

FYI. While JAOM might be finished in 2 months, like all meads, it will be even better with time.

Good Luck!

dave

caduseus
05-05-2017, 01:31 PM
Congratulations!

"balloons"? More than one? Does that mean you made a double batch?

What did you end up using as a fermentation vessel?

While you are waiting for this batch to finish up, now is a good time to do some more reading and gathering of equipment. You need to understand the concept of nutrient additions. Check out week 7 of the Meadology series. While it's not the latest protocol that the mead world is turning to, it's a real good explanation of what SNA (staggered nutrient additions) is all about. The latest protocol is something called TOSNA (Meadmaderight.com), but that is for people who can get their hands on organic nutrients (i.e Fermaid O). If you end up going that route you'll want to get familiar with this batch calculator (http://www.meadmakr.com/tosna-2-0/).

Of course, you may be happy with your JAOM and stick with that. If you look around the gotmead forum, you'll find a posting of alternate JAOM recipes. I have a friend, who's an accomplished mead maker, but likes JAOM enough that he makes a 5 gallon batch every year.

FYI. While JAOM might be finished in 2 months, like all meads, it will be even better with time.

Good Luck!

dave

Ditto. Newbee guide and meadology series are essential!

Vicomancer
05-06-2017, 07:10 AM
I did indeed make two batches, I used two 5 liter water bottle as fermenters, kept the spices and orange quantity the same but adjusted the honey quantities to match the difference between 1 gallon and 5 liters (1 gallon being closer to four liters).
I have already watched all of the meadology series and read the newbie guide, and I'll probably watch the BOMM video later today, so I'll have something else to try out when I get my proper brewing equipment.

And the reason I made two batches is so I have enough to drink some right when it's finished, give some as gifts if I'm satisfied with the quality (I know a few people who appreciate this sort of gift a lot) and have some left over to see how it develops over time.
Thanks for all the great help! I'll keep you guys posted on the progress and keep you informed of any future experimentation (I can see a lot of it in my future).

Vicomancer
05-06-2017, 07:26 AM
This is the exact recipe with the adjusted honey quantity:
1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
1 clove ( two in second bottle)
1 tbsp bread yeast (rainbow brand torrjäst from prisma)
Handful of raisins (with no additives)
1.8 kg of local unprocessed honey
In about 4.5 l of water ( another 500 ml to be added in about a week or so).