View Full Version : Your first meadmaking experience

08-07-2004, 10:16 AM
What was the biggest lesson you learned from your first meadmaking session?

Was it discouraging or inspiring, and how did it affect your approach to meadmaking the next time?


08-07-2004, 11:23 AM
Does the planning stage count, or just the actual making of the mead?

08-07-2004, 10:32 PM
It's all good bro!

08-08-2004, 01:17 AM
Good. Since I haven't actually made any yet all I'm qualified to talk about is the planning stage.

Personally, I think the planning is the most challenging and important part of the process. Once it's all together it pretty much takes care of itself. The most difficult thing is sorting through the possible ingredients and deciding what you want to use to get the flavor you're after. It's especially difficult for someone like me, who's never made any and doesn't have the slightest idea what effect different ingredients and different yeasts may have on the final result. I'm having to search as many sites as I can to find people who've used similar ingredients or suppliers who give suggestions as to the effects of their products. It can be very frustrating at times because it seems like a lot of guesswork. And there's always the concern that the final result will wind up tasting like mud laced with battery acid. But I like a challenge, and so far I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Let's face it, anybody can buy a commercial mead or even one of the paint-by-numbers kits they offer, and that's fine if that's what they want. Seems far more rewarding to create something unique, even if it takes a few "oops" along the way.

08-09-2004, 04:23 AM
The first time I brewed I used a big pot in the kitchen and boiled stuff all over the stove. It made a big mess, and was a real chore to clean up.

Not being the type that likes to repeat mistakes, I went out and started looking around for ways to improve, the right kind of equipment and good recipes. There were a couple of my friends that homebrewed so I helped them brew about ten batches before I did my second batch.

The brewing went much smoother, no boil over, no big mess, and the mead turned out really great.


08-09-2004, 08:04 AM
I learned from my first experiece that one has to refrain from constatnt racking and stirring and messing with the mead. I must have racked it 5 times in 2 months. Too much handling disturbs the yeast and they don't like to be bothered when they are eating. (ha) ;) Patience is a virtue and Mead knows how do do its thing if we just provide the right enviornment and sanitary conditions. It will even speak to you if you are receptive. Also I found from my first experience that there are a lot of bad recipes floating around out there. (some good ones too) Its best to do your homework first and ask a lot of questions like: is this step really necessary? Why do I need this ingredient? etc. Then dig in and experiment like the rest of us. Mead is like the next generation! A new frontier! Claim your grub stake. Learn from the mistakes of others and then go on to discovery!
Best of Luck,

Vicky Rowe
08-09-2004, 09:58 AM
Hmm...my first experience? Don't get to complicated. I found a book by Patricia Teleseco on Magical Brews, and chose a mead from that. It had about 20 different spices in it (my Christmas Mead, up on the recipe board). Once it fermented, it tasted like *gasoline*. Nasty, to say the least. I'd made a 3 gallon batch, and it got sealed in the 3 gallon carboy with plastic, and stashed in the basement. About every 3 months or so, I'd remember it was down there, and taste it. Still gasoline. After about 18 months, it mysteriously went from gasoline to nectar of the gods!

I also boiled with that one, and while experimenting after pitching the first one (I made about 8 meads while the first aged in the basement, forgotton), I decided that I'd rather pastuerize, and that I'd rather not use any chemicals except a bit of yeast nutrient. Since then, I brew my meads clean, adding only raisins or yeast nutrient, and balancing with additonal honey or lemon juice at the end.


David Baldwin
10-07-2004, 10:26 PM
Well, my first batch is clearing and aging. It's been oaked - maybe a bit too much oak... and I don't plan to mess with it again until December.

Lesson #1 patience is a virtue.

Lesson #2 Ask FIRST, I've found lots of help here that would have helped me avoid some minor mistakes.

Lesson #3 research research research. I am convinced that my first batch was/will be successful because I spent a full year researching the how, what, when, where, and why before I started anything. I don't think it should take a year of study for everyone, but I have a background in research, so old habbits die hard.

The first day was the worst as far as busy and mess are concerned. Have everything you need ahead of time, and take time to plan it all out step by step. Take some time to really plan ahead to prepare your work area. Get up early and make sure you clear and clean the kitchen thoroughly. I took an entire day to work through starting my first batch. I sipped Jadwiga through the day to inspire me toward my end goal.

I have since moved my entire operation out of the kitchen and into my basement where fermentation temperatures will be more constant and cooler. It's "my place" in the house. A domain of my very own in which I can play the mad scientist to my hearts content.

Develop a good relationship with your local winemaking supply shop. I'm becomming a familiar face at Cascade Winery of www.makeyourownwine.com

To quote Nike... Just do it. It has been more fun than I ever imagined.

... and now on to my second batch...

10-21-2004, 07:21 AM
my first batch was raspberry melomel. the results were very encouraging. i did learn a couple of things. first that it is best to start in primary fermenter instead of a carboy. second be patient cause the results keep getting better with age. third it is easiest to learn by watching others do. my uncle was kind enough to lend me equipment and then demonstrate how to rack and bottle. i have since bought my own equipment from the local brewing store. i just bottled my second batch (or what was left of it :P) and i must admit that was much more of a learning experience. i am still learning but i have definitely caught the bug. i am about to start my sixth batch which will be some cyser.

10-22-2004, 03:05 AM
Welcome Beckett,
Thanks for your first post and hoping to hear more of your progress.