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View Full Version : FIrst batch on the way!!



paul84043
05-22-2005, 02:01 PM
I realize that this post regenerates itself several thousand times a year, but I'm excited about having my first batch bubbling away.
I have some very general questions, I have looked through the forum, but need more basic information.
I want to make a very simple, probably boring, standard mead for my first batch. I used 15# clover honey, that was already "clean", but not processed. I used filtered water so I did not boil anything, I only heated the water up to dissolve the honey into solution.
I used the disodium phosphate as a acid balancer, as I'm not too horribly worried about becoming a purist quite yet, and a normal yeast nutrient packet from the local brew shop.
All the yummy goodness went into the carboy (6.5gal for a 5 gallon batch) and I pitched dry champagne yeast when the temp dropped into the mid 80's.
In my excitement, and due to my sheer mastery of beer making ;-) I forgot to take an OG reading.....my bad...any guesses at what 15# of clover honey in a 5 gallon batch comes in at?
I did oxygenate though...I use an airstone and pure oxygen from the hardware store. I also use Star San for sanitation, it has never failed me...great stuff.
It has been about 16 hours and my little carboy of happiness is bubbling away, so I must have done something right.
I got 2 packets of yeast, thinking that at some point, I will probably want to repitch to keep things moving.
It seems that some people rack compuslively, while others let their mead sit for months. Some age/ferment for eons, while others bottle inside of a couple of months.
With a plain, standard mead, nothing fancy, what kind of a timeframe am I looking at? I am expecting about 4 months til bottling, but know from experience that it can very dramatically. I talked to one person this past week that indicated that he had made mead in the past and it wasn't very good...of course, he did a 3 week primary, a 3 week secondary, bottled and drank it...that doesn't seem like it would have been anywhere near done yet...
Is there anything I can do as time goes by to possibly give 'er a little zip without diverting too far from the path of a basic mead?
How many times do people rack on average? My brew shop recommended racking every month for 4 months. That seems excessive, but I won't really know until I see how much stuff I get at the bottom.
Any general pointers wold be greatly appreciated. I know that I have plenty of time to poke around and figure things out, but I'm impatient.
It's a good thing that I have been making beer for a while and have developed the ability to ignore the carboys for months at a time. Beer was bad enough for an impatient person, mead would have killed me.

Thanks...

Paul.

JoeM
05-22-2005, 03:26 PM
Racking once a month for the first 4 months is far in excess of what is necessary. I usually rack my mead between 6 and 12 weeks...at this point fermentation has practically come to a halt and the mead has begun to clear. I find no real advantage to racking any earlier than this. I may rack a second time between 6-8 months if i feel the mead needs it. Meads made with fruit most certainly will need a second (and sometimes even third) racking, but straight meads may not.

Racking more than necessary exposes your must to unwanted elements. You also have unnecessary volume loss.

The problem that your friend had is most likely due to the fact that his mead was simply way too young. I usually bottle my meads between 8-12 monts and begin consuming between 12-18 months.

One of the most frustrating things that happened to me early on was drinking most of a batch of mead when it was about 6 months old, only to find that at a year it was simply amazing, but by that time there was almost none left!

This is why I am a big proponent of allowing my meads to age at least 12-14 months before i even consider trying them. I want there to be a few bottles left when it reaches its full potential! With this in mind have patience, put it in the back of the closet and forget about it for a few months.

paul84043
05-22-2005, 07:15 PM
Thanks, that's pretty much what my gut instinct was telling me, but I am still very new to mead.
I would like to make a fast mead that's ready within say 2 to 3 months, but I plan on getting probably 5 batches going within the next little while, plus a few batches of beer to keep things interesting.
I have 4 primaries and apparently with mead, there's no real need for the high volume 6.5 gallon primaries, so in that event, I have an unlimited supply of 5 gallon glass carboys. We have a stack of about 300 of them behind my work and I can take as many as I want.
I currently have 5.
I had probably in the neighborhood of 10 to 15 batches of beer going at one point a year or so back, some bottled and aging, and 30 to 40 cases of beer done on shelves in my basement. I had everything ranging from Kolsch to barleywines...It's an awesome hobby, and it never seems to go bad. I have batches that are pushing 2 years old and are just getting better. I look forward to starting some mead storage for special occasions. I have found through experience that the patience pays off big time.

Thanks for you input. I appreciate it!

Paul.

lostnbronx
05-23-2005, 01:01 AM
I have an unlimited supply of 5 gallon glass carboys. We have a stack of about 300 of them behind my work and I can take as many as I want.


Paul,

Wow! Where do you work, and are they hiring?!

-David

paul84043
05-23-2005, 09:48 PM
You know, I don't know exactly what they used them for, or what they got in them. I know it's not toxic, otherwise they would have had to dispose of them by now.
I would be happy to share, but unfortunately, shipping could easily exceed the cost of a 5 gal. carboy at the local brew shop...not much point...

The room I had my mead stored in got a little warm yesterday and the activity slowed down, so I had to move it to the basement, which happens to sit at perfect brewing temp all summer long... It was happily ticking away this morning....okay...just 6 to 9 more months and we've got 'er beat....

I need to make something faster...I'm going to die.

lostnbronx
05-23-2005, 10:55 PM
Paul,

The only sure-fire way to stave-off the mead-waiting blues is to...make more mead! And with all those carboys available, you shouldn't have any problem dealing! ;D

-David