View Full Version : Smaller batches for starting out?

11-08-2005, 10:17 PM
Hi, all! Newbie here, though I'm no stranger to cooking. :)

This may seem like a stupid question, but is there a reason not to start out my mead making career with one-gallon batches? Glass gallon jars are easy to come by, and it seems like taking the chance of wasting five gallons worth of ingredients on a potentially bad beginners batch (I love alliteration) may not be a good idea.

Thank you all for your help.

11-08-2005, 10:37 PM
I've too just started, and have been sticking to one gallon batches. I feel it gives me the practice, but costs much less as well. Of course there is less to go around, so you might not see the aging as well, but trade offs are everywhere...

11-08-2005, 11:08 PM
Consistency is usually the issue, but for the price its hard to beat ;)

Some other links:
http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=1909.0 (Joe's advice is excellent)

11-09-2005, 12:52 AM
I started with 1 gal batches but quickly went to 5gallons ;D
If you start with 1 gallon, keep really good notes, it will be easier to reproduce on a large batch in case you find *the one* that you really like.

P.S. Welcome to the forums!!

11-09-2005, 09:31 AM
Cool! Thanks everyone, and especially for the links, JamesP. They were good reading.

Maybe I'll split the difference and go for a three-gallon batch for my first. ;D

11-09-2005, 10:22 AM
If you are going to do 1 gallon batches, and enjoy experimenting, you can easily do comparison tests.

Make a few 1 gallon batches at the same time, using the same recipe, but change one variable:

1) use different yeast in each.
2) add a different fruit to each when fermented.
3) use the same yeast, but change the amount of honey in each (This is the test that I currently have underway.)
4) use a different variety of honey for each (in the same amount).

Since meads can take a very long time to mature, if you do simultaneous experiments, in a relatively short amount of time you can determine your personal preferences for future batches.

Just an idea, from an overactive mind. Good luck, and have fun.

11-09-2005, 11:49 AM
3) use the same yeast, but change the amount of honey in each (This is the test that I currently have underway.)


This sounds really interesting! Think you could post the details? Side-by-side comparisons are popular reading here, and usually very informative!


11-09-2005, 02:04 PM
Sure! The details are relatively easy....the waiting is hard.

I started these one week ago, so I am very early in the experiment. I also wanted 3 gallons each, only because if I'm going to wait a significantly long time, I want a significant amount of mead at the end. I also made this recipe (at the 3# per gallon) level last year, so I am reasonably sure that this recipe will produce drinkable meads.

I used a pretty simple recipe, using fresh, locally produced, unprocessed clover honey.
1 tsp of acid blend.
Yeast nutrient according to label instructions (3 teaspoons for 3 gallons.)
Batch 1: 2 pounds per gallon (6# total)
Batch 2: 3 pounds per gallon (9# total)
Batch 3: 4 pounds per gallon (12# total)
Batch 4: 5 pounds per gallon (15# total--yeah, I know this will be a monster!)

Rehydrated 2 packets of EC-1118 for each batch. No starter, I didn't want to add that variable.

I weighed the honey, measured it by volume, and dissolved it into the same volume of boiled tap water (with acid blend, and yeast nutrient). Then I immediately diluted it to 3 gallons with distilled water. Chilled as needed to approximately 85 degrees F. Poured into carboy, aerated with aquarium pump and stone for 20 minutes. Pitched yeast. Airlocks bubbling slowly after 12 hours.

At 24 hours after pitching, I aerated each for 10 minutes. Repeated that at 48 hours. At 96 hours, I aerated for 10 minutes and added yeast nutrient at half the label recommendation, and yeast energizer at full label recommendations (1 tsp each batch).

Then I sat back and watched the airlocks start to bubble and fart like a frat house on the Monday after a homecoming victory.

I don't plan to do anything further until all activity cease, at which time I will check gravity and rack to another carboy. I will provide updates as things progress.

Okay...so maybe this wasn't "relatively easy", but I was focused on controlling as many variables as possible. My goal with this experiement: find the "perfect" ratio of honey:water for my tastebuds.

After this test is complete, I will then repeat it with my "perfect ratio", but using different honeys.

If anyone can think of anything that I should add at this point, please let me know. I am still learning.

If I need taste testers for my experiments, I'll let you know where to find me.


11-09-2005, 03:17 PM

If I need taste testers for my experiments, I'll let you know where to find me.

Wisconsin, huh? I will volunteer my taste buds for this experiment. Although unsure of the results, I am willing to make this sacrifice for the advancement of mead making. Tell me where and when.


P.S. My prediction.....Favre retires before the end of the season with an "injury".

11-09-2005, 03:25 PM
Awesome experiment, keep us posted. Also, keep in mind, this test will reveal your "ideal ratio" only for this yeast.


11-09-2005, 03:40 PM
Yeah, this test will only be valid for this specific yeast. But I'm a young (choke, snort) man, so I can run this experiment many times over, substituting yeasts.

Of course, that means I will have lots of mead to drink....oh the price you must pay to advance science!

When I need objective tastebuds, I'll be sure to let you know. As for your prediction...yeah, I know. You can smell the inevitability of it in the air around Lambeau Field. Of course....I have lots of ale and mead to help me through the coming dark days.