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View Full Version : How do I make Mead without all the fancy equipment?



Sir_Lancelot
12-04-2005, 05:13 AM
Im waiting to make my own Mead after trying some made by a friend of mine, the stuff was great, another friend of mine made a batch that wasnt so great tasted more like honey beer than honey wine, and this is comming from a guy who dosent care for beer or wine but wants more mead so had decided to make some.

Well after my backstory with Mead Its time to get to the serious stuff, I want to make it for myself so I decided being the internet junkie that I am Id Google Mead Making and well it sounded like I needed basically a world of equipment and the directions confused me, There are no local brewerys around here, no local homebrew stores, nothing to give me a push in the right direction and the two friends of mine that do make mead are always at work and near impossible to get up with sometimes, So I need to know How can I made mead without all the fancy equipment all the sites are saying I need. This is pretty much what I have to work with

A Gallon Milk Jug (after i drink the milk thats in it and wash it out)
A Full Mason Jar of Sourwood Honey
A Local Spring in walking distance where I can get some good fresh water
A few empty Mason Jars laying around in the dishwasher
I can collect empty soda bottles from friends at college and wash them out for the bottling
and my kitchen

I also got about 8 bucks with which I can go buy some NOW brand Brewers Yeast from the natural foods and medicine store however Ive heard regular yeast for baking bread works just as well and its much much cheaper as I dont have much money to spend on anything.

Now as far as some of the equipment goes I think I might be able to rig up an Airlock if I can get some plastic tubes, by using two empty soda bottles cut in half and taped together fill them with water and run one tube out of one end into the bottle its fermeting in, and the other end can hang out, From looking at Airlocks it appears the water keeps air out but lets the gasses travel the through, I dunno cause if thats how it works thats easy to rig up Im guessing the Fermentation gasses creates air bubbles that travel though the water and pop out and release into the air on the other side then again I dont know much about it.

The thing for sifting the must Im guessing you mean a strainer or a spoon with tiny holes in it

and for Bottling I can just pour it though a funnel after its done fermenting into the empty plastic soda bottles and set it up to age for a month or two.

but I dont know much else, like I dont know how you prepare everything how much to add, IM only looking at making a gallon as a test batch and I dont have much to work with here. So if you guys can simply tell me how to make it without includeing anything an average joe cant find laying around the kitchen that would be great.

Mu
12-04-2005, 06:46 AM
Have a look at this link

http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=600.0

That’s a one gallon bath, good size for you. You will need something to sanitize all your equipment with, you need things to be clean to keep out infection, and off flavors.

Secondly have a look at this link, it’s for beer, but the lessons there apply with brewing in general.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/index.html

I would boil or pasteurize the water you plan on using as well, the less chance of bacteria been present the better. Clean is good…

Anywho, hope that helps for a start.

Mu. ;D

WRATHWILDE
12-04-2005, 07:24 AM
Welcome to the forum Sir_Lancelot!

You don't need the strainer. Don't pour the mead into bottles after it's done fermenting, use the tubing your using for your airlock, resterilize it before you transfer your mead. Make sure your tubing is long enough to siphon from just above the lee's (dead yeast and sediment at the bottom after fermentation) into the bottom of the bottles you'll be using. You want to minimize the amount of air your mead is exposed to after fermenting as it can oxidize the mead, leading to not so pleasant tastes. Some others on the forum have done mead making on the cheap... they maybe able to offer you more tips.

Wrathwilde

Mu
12-04-2005, 07:50 AM
I would have mentioned the oxidization thing but that beer book covers all that, have a read it will be worth your wile…Really wish I had before I started my first batch, now I know why I have off flavors lol…

Mu

Dan McFeeley
12-04-2005, 01:47 PM
Rather than the one gallon milk jug (likely plastic?) I'd suggest buying yourself a bottle or two of jug wine. That will give you a nice one gallon size glass carboy.

Plastic doesn't work well with fermentation -- best to stick with glass.

lostnbronx
12-04-2005, 02:08 PM
To the good advice already given, I'll add this: don't go with the Brewer's Yeast from the health food store. It will probably have been rendered inert, since it is a nutritional supplement and not meant for baking or brewing. Go with the baker's yeast for now, until such time as you can get ahold of some wine or beer yeast.

Good luck!

-David

Sir_Lancelot
12-04-2005, 03:03 PM
Ok, the advice is welcome, but I still need to know the measurements like How much Honey How much Water How Much Yeast, how exactly do I prepare it, remember Im stuck to makeshift equipment here cause I dont have the money to go out and buy anything beyond some yeast and honey

and on the topic of glass fermentation jug Ill see what I can do about finding one but I dont think Ill go out and buy a gallon of wine, alochol in my town is too expensive a 6 pack of beer runs you almost 10 bucks around here, maybe Ill hit some yard sells if I can find any and see if anyones selling glassware that I can take home and steralize. Beyond all that I think Im good to go.

lostnbronx
12-04-2005, 06:23 PM
Lance,

Joe's Ancient Orange, Cinnamon, and Clove Mead (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=600.0) is a very basic recipe that's quite popular here and on many other mead boards You'll find extensive postings about it (check the Brewlog section here too). An important note to remember though, is that while this recipe is simplicity itself to make, you have to follow it to the letter -- NO SUBSTITUTIONS OR VARIATIONS. Resist the urge to get creative (on this first batch, anyway) and you'll have a great mead for sure. Everything in this recipe is there for a reason, and monkeying with it will rarely improve it, and usually just hurt it.

Whatever you decide to do, please post about it in the Brewlog section, so we can help/follow you along.

Good Luck!

-David

CheshireCat
12-04-2005, 07:43 PM
If you're dead-set on using plastic, here's a website that sells airlocks for soda bottles. :P

http://e-z-caps.com/

Mu
12-05-2005, 12:39 AM
I guess you could make your air lock the blow of way…Just have some tube run from the top of your bottle down to a jar, or a small bucket of water <boil it first> that would work as well, and might be easier for you to rig up?

Mu.

Brewbear
12-05-2005, 02:25 AM
Welcome to the forums ;D
I would go to the 99 cents store and buy a 1gal. bottle of Crystal Geyser water. Pour/drink about 1 quart, drop in 3.5 lb honey (for sweet mead) re-cap it, shake till the honey is dissolved. Cut an orange in 1/8th slices and drop it in, add a handfull of raisins, 1 crushed stick of cinnamon, 2 cloves and a teaspoon of Fleishmans bread yeast(you should get 2 batches out of one pack)...voila, Ancient orange. Actually, I take out 1/2 gal of water and add some back when all the ingredients are in. Next, use your knife or any other tool to make a hole in the lid, attach the hose and put/immerse the other end in a mason jar with water and bleach. Seal the top end of the hose to the lid with some candle wax. Leave about 3 inches headspace for fermentation, put the jug in a nice, warm place and sit back. When most/all of the fruit drop, you're ready to drink.

Hope that helps,
Ted

Pewter_of_Deodar
12-05-2005, 12:14 PM
Sir Lancelot,

While I welcome you to Gotmead and I applaud your desire to make mead, I can't help but think that trying to make mead on an $8 or $10 budget is a little like trying to play golf with tees and golf balls but no clubs.

At a minimum you need to:
1. Go out to the grocery store and buy apple cider in a gallon glass container, drink the cider and you have a free jug for about $3 or $4.
2. Go online and buy an S bubble trap, a stopper for the gallon jug to , a couple feet of plastic tubing, and a packet of yeast for about $4 or $5 plus shipping. Try www.leeners.com
3. Look at the Ancient Orange in the recipe section and go to the grocery and buy the orange and spices. Maybe another $5 or so and you will have enough spices to make many batches..

So you can possibly make it on $15, but not $8... but generally be aware that meadmaking is not a cheap hobby as even just the honey for every batch is expensive...

Good luck,
Pewter

MacLupine
12-06-2005, 02:11 AM
Bah! and HUMBUG too!!!

Brewbear's last post was about right on the money! I personally have made slightly drinkable mead in 2 weeks using 20 oz Mt.Dew bottles and balloons with holes pricked in them for airlocks. Remember 1/4 to 1/3 your total volume to start with needs to be honey, and everything else is just extra. I do agree with the applejuice in 1 gallon glass jug though, I've got 4 of those, and I need more. you can drink or pour out about 1/3 of it into another container, then add your honey and cinamon and/or cloves, yeast, shake, add juice back in to make total volume and shake again (Capped), put on your pricked balloon and let it sit for about 2 weeks, then rack into the second glass jug I'm sure you'll have by then. Re-streatch balloon and let it sit untill it clears. that's about as simple as it gets.

CheshireCat
12-06-2005, 09:20 AM
I was shopping at Kroger the other day, and they had apple juice in glass jugs. But since the juice was organic and such, it was about $7 a gallon, almost as expensive as any jug of bumwine. :(

Pewter_of_Deodar
12-06-2005, 11:16 AM
Juice in glass jugs at the local HyVee is hit and miss. Sometimes they have it in plastic, sometimes in glass. But the bottom line is that if you have a desire to get a gallon glass jug, you can find one...

Good luck,
Pewter

Pewter_of_Deodar
12-06-2005, 11:21 AM
I personally have made slightly drinkable mead in 2 weeks using 20 oz Mt.Dew bottles and balloons with holes pricked in them for airlocks.

Mac,

Not to pick on you, but "slightly drinkable" is not what I am trying to help Lancelot make. When you talk about a two week old mead in a pop bottle, it brings to mind the three week old in a liter bottle mead that someone brought to the tasting at Pennsic last year. You can ask Wrathwilde about that one.

I had forgotten about using balloons for traps and that is a good suggestion. But I still believe that someone is trying to "make mead on a beer budget" if they aren't willing to invest more than $10 up front. It will be interesting to see how things turn out...

Peace,
Pewter

MacLupine
12-07-2005, 09:41 AM
;D No worries Pewter, I was simply trying to point out that it could be done, Granted with a bit of aging, the 2 week old that I spoke of would have been much tastier. Also, if this is someones first mead, it really shouldn't cost any more than $10. They just gotta keep in mind that as their first mead, it may or may not be good... if it's not good in the end, ya gotta keep trying! by the time you got your first batch out of the way, you will have gained experience, and at least a little equipment, so you can go and spend another $10, get more equipment and try again! heh... I'm in it for the long haul obviously.

Pewter_of_Deodar
12-07-2005, 01:03 PM
Mac,

My worry is more that the use of ad hoc equipment may cause the batch to turn out poorly and disillusion our new brewer. Just like recommending Ancient Orange, I think there are some basic things that are necessities (sterilizing solution, airlock, etc.). I grant you that you can shortcut these using bleach, balloons, and so on and get by cheaper than if you use One Step, S trap, etc. But each shortcut has a risk. Bleach can end up ruining the taste or impacting the fermentation if the container is not properly rinsed and I assume that rinsing a glass jug to get rid of every last trace of bleach is easier to do correctly than something like a plastic milk jug.

Anyway, I think we all share the same goal in trying to help Lancelot succeed in his first try !

Take care,
Pewter

raliaraven
09-14-2017, 12:07 AM
So I need to know How can I made mead without all the fancy equipment all the sites are saying I need. This is pretty much what I have to work with

A Gallon Milk Jug (after i drink the milk thats in it and wash it out)
A Full Mason Jar of Sourwood Honey
A Local Spring in walking distance where I can get some good fresh water
A few empty Mason Jars laying around in the dishwasher
I can collect empty soda bottles from friends at college and wash them out for the bottling
and my kitchen

I also got about 8 bucks with which I can go buy some NOW brand Brewers Yeast from the natural foods and medicine store however Ive heard regular yeast for baking bread works just as well and its much much cheaper as I dont have much money to spend on anything.

Now as far as some of the equipment goes I think I might be able to rig up an Airlock if I can get some plastic tubes, by using two empty soda bottles cut in half and taped together fill them with water and run one tube out of one end into the bottle its fermeting in, and the other end can hang out, From looking at Airlocks it appears the water keeps air out but lets the gasses travel the through, I dunno cause if thats how it works thats easy to rig up Im guessing the Fermentation gasses creates air bubbles that travel though the water and pop out and release into the air on the other side then again I dont know much about it.

The thing for sifting the must Im guessing you mean a strainer or a spoon with tiny holes in it

and for Bottling I can just pour it though a funnel after its done fermenting into the empty plastic soda bottles and set it up to age for a month or two.

In my high school Freshmen year I used this recipe to make my submission for our edible fermentation projects. 'http://www.scienceinschool.org/2008/issue8/gingerbeer' I did it to the letter and had a very successful batch of Ginger Beer to present to my class. No fancy equipment, and it seems to me, to be very close to the process that goes into making mead. Only thing I can see needing some alteration is the fermentation process itself. Maybe by keeping the cap off of the jug, or even by poking a hole through the center? I haven't tried it yet but will definitely update once I've tried it!

Swn Gwyrdd
09-14-2017, 05:32 AM
Mate, this thread's over 12 years old. I don't think it's worth reviving it :p