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Hidalgo
01-27-2004, 07:28 AM
Hello there.

I've been making my own Ginger Beer (non alcoholic) for the past few years for my family and friends.

I've decided to branch out and start making mead and fortunately there's a brew shop just a few minutes down the road from where I live.

This forum looks like a great place to ask questions and I'm sure I'll have plenty.

Just wanted to post and say hello.

-Will

Jmattioli
01-28-2004, 05:43 AM
Hello Will,
Welcome aboard. I hope I speak for everybody. Glad to have your here. Ask away as there are plenty of patient and courteous meadmakers on this site willing to share their experience with you as they have with me.
Regards, Joe

Hidalgo
01-28-2004, 06:35 AM
Thanks.

It all seems so overwhelming at first. As I start to research the process and break the steps down one at a time, it is beginning to make sense now.

I have seen "kits" for wine and mead for sale. They seem to have everything I need to get started on a first batch.

I've also ordered "The Compleat Meadmaker By Ken Schramm" as that was highly recommended to me to help me get started.

JoeM
01-28-2004, 11:04 AM
It can be overwhelming and quite complicated as well, but only if you make it that way...my advice to newcomers is always to start simple, you can always get more complicated as you go. Some of the best meads i have had have been as simple as honey, water, yeast and a squeeze of lemon juice!

frob23
01-29-2004, 06:31 AM
Hey man, welcome to the group.

Yeah, many people here will be glad to respond. But sometimes remember to be patient. This group runs at mead speed... which isn't as fast as many people expect. :-)

Hidalgo
01-29-2004, 10:52 AM
Yep, I'm going to keep it simple and to the point for awhile.

And patience? I have a 10 year old and an 8 year old...If I don't have patience by now...I never will! :)

ThistyViking
01-30-2004, 10:34 AM
well a whole new level of patience is called for with meadmaking. My advice to you is to start with a Cyser... since you really don't understand Patience yet :-)

A simple cyser recipe is almost fool proof, and remains tasty throughtout its life cycle IME so lack of patience isn't punished with concerns about spoiled efforts.

1 gallon Apple juice (NO PRESERVATIVEs, ABSOLUTELY NO SORBATE, read ingredients Carefully)
2 - 2.5 pounds honey
(multiply above for batch size)

Wine yeast (D-47, K1-V1116, or a similar one)
A sweet mead yeast, or a cider yeast should be fine, check you brewshop yeast for manufacturers Recomendations

Let the fun begin At the end of the Bulk Aging Hit with SO2 and sweeten to taste with Apple juice concentrate (AJC)containing Sorbate as a preservative. (Do not use this to top off when racking unless you want to end fermentaion).

Use of the AJC will help restore lost apple charachter from the fermentation process if needed.

Apple juice has enough nutirents to meet the needs of the yeast.

Hidalgo
01-30-2004, 12:56 PM
Thanks for the recipe.

I picked up some equipment today and also a sweet mead/wine yeast as well. I still need to get the honey, though. I have some contacts here locally for bulk honey, but with the recipe you gave I could just pick up the honey at a market.

It appears that honey will be the most expensive part of this process.

Hidalgo
01-30-2004, 08:50 PM
At the end of the Bulk Aging Hit with SO2 and sweeten to taste with Apple juice concentrate (AJC)containing Sorbate as a preservative.

Just curious, but was exactly is SO2? I'm not familiar with that term. Also, with the recipe you listed above, what would the time frame be from start to finish; just to give a frame of reference?

Thanks again for all the help, people!

ThistyViking
01-31-2004, 01:34 AM
Sorry i said SO2, (sulfur Dioxide) what i really mant to say was Potassium-Metabisulfite. This will help protect your mead against Oxidation and prevent malolactic bacteria from eating your sorbate and causing off flavors, they don't like the K-meta (K is the chemical symbol for potassium). Thier is also Na-Metabisulfite (Na is Sodium, i prefer the potasium personally)

GntlKnght
01-31-2004, 09:28 AM
ThirstyV
Just curious. With the recipe you give above, how long before the "end of Bulk Aging"? Those of us with NO experience, and little patience, like the idea of tasting something SOONER than 9 months?!
Thanks!

Hidalgo
01-31-2004, 10:21 AM
I was curious about that myself. How long should I make each stage?

It looks like with the above recipe, I have everything except the apple juice, honey, and then I can get the Potassium-Metabisulfite at the brew shop.

I have done a lot of reading in the past few days and it looks like there's as many ways to make mead as there are types of mead out there. I'm starting to get loopy with all the info. I think I'll stick with ThirstyViking's advice to start with the cyser and keep it simple.

ThistyViking
01-31-2004, 04:40 PM
ThirstyV
Just curious. With the recipe you give above, how long before the "end of Bulk Aging"? Those of us with NO experience, and little patience, like the idea of tasting something SOONER than 9 months?!
Thanks!
Now all mead seems to improve with aging....
That being said, I intimately remember how
IMPATIENT i was with my first recipe.

The Simple Cyser Recipe i gave has always remained very tasty at every stage. if you use a champagne yeast it runs to a really dry white wine type finish. Typically I don't Bulk Age my cysers, They are What I have been brewing to drink while I am patient on my other meads and build up enough reserves so i can drink other meads and age a cyser.

You can bottle your cyser after only a couple months if you cold stabalize it to cause more rapid clearing, but the clearring is just a presentation thing... :-) Several Mugs of my first cyser dissappeared in the primary stage.

My batch was 3.5 gallons, I drank more than 1/2 gallon from primary and had to top off with Applejuice concentrate when i racked it for the first time.
At two months I transferred my recipe into a pair of 1 gallon jugs and bottled the third gallon for a christmass party, then bottled the Remaineder before new years (Santa gave me bottles :-)
at 4.5 months there was no more bottles remaining.

I have had Really good cysers made by other people. a local fellow uses Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrels, and apparently is unconcerned with oxidation. One year he drove the barrel around in the back of his truck and gave away samples for months, (more than 1/2 the barrel)

He brought his Barrel cyser to my mead tasting, I think i might have to buy a used barrel and drive 600 miles for bulk honey and cider this fall too. He also Brought a sparkling Pear Melomel that kicked the ass of any champagne I've Ever Had.

Both of these meads had about 1 year of age on them. The pear was 1 year exactly while the Cyser was 1 year and 3 months (8 months in a barrel IIRC)

GntlKnght
01-31-2004, 05:11 PM
I have done a lot of reading in the past few days and it looks like there's as many ways to make mead as there are types of mead out there. I'm starting to get loopy with all the info.

I know EXACTLY what you mean! It appears there are more opinions about the "right way to make mead" than there are meadmakers!
After reading a bit more, we're sure we've screwed something up! Even tho everything is working like we've been told it would, we don't want to find out we were successful at making something undrinkable in several months! We just bought some 1 gallon carboys, so I think we are going to play with ThirstyViking's recipe and drink some success! ;)

ThistyViking
01-31-2004, 05:58 PM
I was curious about that myself. How long should I make each stage?


I use a Bucket Primarry but my bucket isn't airlocked, so I transfer to a carboy primary(s) after 2-3 weeks when the mead no longer has a foam head. It then has 2-3 more weeks in the carboys with all the lees from the bucket (I stir it real well before I transfer but this is a meadmaking oddity for my situation)

IF your bucket is airlocked, forget that nonsence and leave it in a bucket for 4 weeks, then take a hydrometer reading and taste (I drink it from the tube that floats the hydrometer).

You should be able to compare your hydrometer reading from the bucket with your original gravity (OG) and your yeast attenuation rating from the manufacturers web pages to get an idea of how finished your yeast is... Assuming it is anywhere close, transfer to a carboy, otherwise wait 2 more weeks.

Assuming a reasonable Starting OG of 1.2 or less, transfering it at about 1.03 is a good rule of thumb for first timers. This leaves fermentation in its new home to help protect it, but is finished enough to be palatable to almost everyone if you somehow manage to stick the fermentation at this racking.

Some people add fruit to the Primary bucket at this stage for a bucket secondary that retains more fruit flavor in thier melomels. They then typiclly let this run another month. Remove the Fruit (often times squeezing juice out). Fruint being in an ingredient bag makes all of this easier. Then rack.

Now you have your 1-2 m/o mead in a nice glass carboy,
Bubbles slowly escaping,
possible some fermentation going on.

A patient guy racks ever 30-90 days as sediment builds up on the bottom (1yr) :-/
A less patient guy adds fining agents, or cold stabalizes to make it clear faster (1-2 mo) :D
The hasty individual skips this stage puts it in a corny keg and calls his friends over (1 day) ;D

Honestly the Cyser does get better, it's just so good to start with that too often it dies an early death :P

Obligatory Sanitization Plug
http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&board=JustMead;action=display;num=1075638430;start =0#0

ThistyViking
01-31-2004, 06:01 PM
We just bought some 1 gallon carboys, so I think we are going to play with ThirstyViking's recipe and drink some success! ;)

I hope they were filled with Apple Juice/cider when you bought them :-)

frob23
02-03-2004, 01:28 AM
Man, I was just reading through this thread when I saw the whole comment about adding jucie with preservatives to STOP fermentation! That is perfect!!! I was just wondering how I was going to ensure the batch I have didn't explode in the bottles. I was so sure I would never buy anything with preservatives again that I didn't even think of using that. I was going to run down to the brew store and buy some chemicals... sure it is the same thing but I like the idea of the concentrate.

Great idea ThirstyViking! I am running out right now!

frob23
02-03-2004, 02:06 AM
You will not believe this... there was not one single concentrate on the shelves of my local publix that had preservatives. At least not in the frozen section and I could not find any in liquid form on the shelves. So I said, Zeigler's killed it once they can do it again. I grabbed a half gallon of Zeigler's and tossed it in there -- I had room because I have been drinking it recently right from the bucket. It has slowed to almost a stop but I was afraid to bottle it because it was still inching along... I will wait now and bottle it in the morning (just using the bottles the apple juice came in).

Yeah, I know nothing special. But I need to get this out of the primary so I can start a mead.

Hidalgo
02-08-2004, 08:17 PM
Using Thirsty Viking's suggestion, I mixed up a 5 gallon batch on 2-7-04 and by 2-8-04 the bubbles were appearing through the airlock and it smells great!

Question: When do I rack into secondary? When the bubbles decrease to a certain amount per minute? After a set period of time?

This is a simple cyser recipe BTW...

Thanks.

JoeM
02-09-2004, 12:23 AM
i usually rack at about 6 weeks. but you can sooner if your fermentation slows down considerably and much of the sediment drops out, say at about one bubble per minute.

ThistyViking
02-11-2004, 12:17 AM
With your mead airlocked, 4-6 weeks is a good time, if your not using a hydrometer go for 5-6 and a slow bubble rate as recomended.

Hidalgo
02-11-2004, 07:51 AM
It's locked up pretty tight so I'll leave it alone...

The airlock "pops" about once every 2-3 seconds...AND I've been writing EVERYTHING down....