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Reggie
01-16-2006, 05:32 PM
HI, I've never made mead before, nor have I made any other brewed beverage so I have no clue what I am doing. I haven't bought anything yet but I have done a lot of research including reading this forum. My plan is so far is to buy 2 gallon jugs, a couple airlocks, ect. for equipment and use a few pounds of the most natural honey found at my local grocery store with some tea to provide some extra flavors and the necessary nutrients for the yeast. I am planning on using Lavin D-47 because from what I have heard it is very resilient. My idea of the basic process is thus: Heat water and dissolve the honey into it. Then bring it to between 140 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes. Then transfer into a glass carboy. I plan on making about a gallon the first time and am thinking about using 3 pounds of honey. Also if everything goes to plan I want to let it age in bulk in the secondary fermenter for a few months. I donít want to use any sulfites this time. I just would like to know if there is anything major Iím forgetting and if this is good for a beginner to start with. One last thing: because I am on a limited budget and plan on getting everything from a dealer, a friend suggested using mason jars instead of bottles because they are cheaper. Is there any problems with this? All of your help is appreciated!

Mu
01-16-2006, 06:43 PM
Joes Ancient Orange, Clove and Cinnamon Mead, is often recommended as a first mead, because the process is simple, and the results are said to be <mines still bubbling> fairly predictable and itís drinkable soon.

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

You might want to use the juice of a lemon as well, if you going to use that recipe. I may be wrong here <im new to this as well> but I suspect that will finish fairly dry, with a potential Alcohol of about 15-16%? I know D47 can go higher than the 14% that itís said to ferment to <from reading this forum>

Mason jars seem to be fine to use <do a search they pop up a bit>. My only other question is what water are you using?

Here is a link to ĖHow to brew- by John Palmer
http://www.howtobrew.com/sitemap.html

Itís beer related, but the lessons can be applied to brewing anything. If you donít like chemicals how do you plan to sterilize you equipment?

Mu.

<Im probably wrong with my calculations for potential alcohol and so forth, but you learn by making mistakes, so weight for someone with a little more knowledge than myself to make a comment backing that up, or contradicting it> :-\

Reggie
01-16-2006, 08:32 PM
I'm not sure what water to use, but I do plan on using a sterilizing agent, I just don't want to use any sulfites or clearing agents due to the fact that some of my friends have alergies and I would rather not risk it. If you could advise a type of water to use, it would appreciated.

WRATHWILDE
01-16-2006, 08:57 PM
Any good bottled spring water will do just fine, I'd stay away from distilled and tap water though. You don't need to heat the water after you added the honey, it's not necessary and will drive off more of the flavor from the honey. I usually add my honey at about 100 (f) just to help it dissolve when stirring. Store bought honeys are usually pretty bland because most of the major brands are heated and pumped through filters... as long as you sterilized your jars well, there is no need to sterilize the must.

Wrathwilde

Mu
01-16-2006, 11:31 PM
I use rain water because I live rurally <so it shouldnít have any pollution in it> I tend to boil it before adding the honey however, because it does sit in a tank. Oh and on the D47 you may just need one jar, because you can age on it for a while <that might save you some money>

Mu.

Brewbear
01-17-2006, 01:28 AM
Hi Reggie,
Welcome to the forums ;D
Wrath pointed out that you don't need to boil/simmer the must (that's the name for it once it is ready to ferment). I use Crystal Geyser water from the 99 cents store. Not only that, I use the plastic bottle as my primary fermenter, drill a hole in the cap and airlock it. Adding tea in the mead is a way of introducing tannins upfront, not a neccessary thing, a show mead by definition has only honey, water and yeast.
If you plan a mead to be north of dry and south of very sweet, given the yeast chosen, i would use 3.5 lb honey, 3 lb will finish dry. I use Iodophore for sanitizing, it is a no-rinse agent. In my experience D-47 goes to about 16% alcohol. If you decide to try Ancient Orange as a first mead, a couple of things to keep in mind: 1. follow the recipe to the letter; 2. use the Fleishmans yeast, any other will most likely finish dry. Crush the cinnamon sticks with a rolling pin and chop the raisins (greater surface area)
If you have a Trader Joe's around (or any other store for that matter) stop in and get a couple gallons apple juice in glass bottles. You'll have your fermenters (they take a 81/2 size stopper) and the apple juice free :-\ Either that, or ferment the apple juice with honey....but I'm going into the material for the second class on brewing ;)

Cheers,
Brewbear

Angus
01-17-2006, 11:38 AM
Welcome Reggie,

There are differing oppinions on such things as water, heating etc. Every suggestion is valid, but be prepared for a counter suggestion that will still be valid. For example, Wrath suggested to stay away from bottled or tap water. Other brewers will tell you that the minerals in tap water help the fermentation process, and that bottled water is great as long as you add the nutrients needed for a healthy fermentation. I have tasted Wrath's creations and they are delicious, so spring water works wonderfully. But I have also used tap water with good results. Just make sure there is no Chloridium in your supply (do a search for an explanation on this).

Heating is also hotly debated. Some people recommend boiling the Must, while others do not heat the water at all. Your plan to pasteurize the Must by heating it to 140 to 180 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes will work fine, but you will lose some of the floral characteristics of the honey doing this. I personally agree with Wrath and only warm the water and honey enough to make mixing it easier.

Because of the limited budget, my 2c would be this: Sanitize all equipment using bleach and water solution. Rinse very well to get rid of the bleach smell. Use tap water, warmed up about 100 degrees. Warm the honey to help it pour from the container. Skip the tea so you know what the final product tastes like without any added tannins. Add some yeast nutrient, or a few crushed raisins, and shake the Must like crazy to dissolve the honey into the water and to aerate it very well. Properly hydrate the D47 per the instructions on the pack and pitch, then cover the container with a clean cloth. Aerate well by shaking couple of times a day for the first 3 days, then airlock and let ferment until you are down to 1 blip every 30 to 60 seconds. Rack into secondary and let it bulk age. Cold-shock the yeast in the fridge for a week to help the yeast flocculate and drop out of suspension if needed. Rack into Grolsch beer bottles or mason jars properly sanitized with the bleach solution. Enjoy.

Angus

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-17-2006, 11:41 AM
You can boil the water for a few minutes to sterilize it then set it aside for a while with a lid on it to cool.

When heating your must once you start adding ingredients (if you choose to do that) you never want to "boil" but heat to no more than 170F. I heat to this temperature, whisk the heck out of it, and skim the scum I get out of the batch.

Anyway, best of luck,
Pewter

WRATHWILDE
01-17-2006, 01:12 PM
Wrath suggested to stay away from bottled or tap water.

Actually Angus... I use bottled spring water, what I said was stay away from distilled (as it is devoid of trace minerals) and tap water. Many city water suppliers have switched over to a type of chlorination that cannot be boiled or even filtered out. So if you don't know what type your city uses, or if have a home water softener it is probably best to stick with bottled spring water.

Wrathwilde

Angus
01-17-2006, 03:06 PM
Wrath,

I agreed with the spring water since it will certainly have some of the dissolved minerals that will help in the fermentation while avoiding the nasty chloridium that cannot be boiled out. Trust me, I am licking my lips waiting for your chocolate Mead to be ready, so no complaints from me on your choice of water :D

Angus

wilstang
01-18-2006, 01:14 AM
I'm new too,but hate waiting 9 months to a year plus for just 1 gal. of mead....I jumped right in w/ 5 gal batches, and since Dec. 15th have 4-5 gal. batches,plus 1 gal. ancient orange,and 1gal. of a test in which I added 12oz. pommegranite molasses to 3qts orange blossom mead. Admittedly I stretched my budget but plan on a very happy new year in '07.
Regarding water; I live where the tap water is pretty good and not flourinated(another concern, I think).When its said to use 100 deg. tap water, I believe that means cold tap water heated on stove.
Maybe just urban legend, but I've been told to always cook with cold water....nasty things can accumulate in hot water tanks.



Will

Sander
01-18-2006, 02:57 AM
I don't even bother to heat the water. I just use cold water straight from the tap. Tap water is of excellent quality here.

mouko_yamamoto
01-18-2006, 08:49 PM
I didn't know where else to throw this, and didn't want to make a new thread. Has anyone ever heard of the term "meadhing?" I searched for "mead" on wikipedia, and it mentioned this word. Never heard of it on here. Also, I threw a definition of "Mazer" on there, feel free to edit it.

Aggie4You
01-19-2006, 01:13 PM
I am planning on using Lavin D-47 because from what I have heard it is very resilient. My idea of the basic process is thus: Heat water and dissolve the honey into it. Then bring it to between 140 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes. Then transfer into a glass carboy. I plan on making about a gallon the first time and am thinking about using 3 pounds of honey. Also if everything goes to plan I want to let it age in bulk in the secondary fermenter for a few months. I donít want to use any sulfites this time. I just would like to know if there is anything major Iím forgetting and if this is good for a beginner to start with. One last thing: because I am on a limited budget and plan on getting everything from a dealer, a friend suggested using mason jars instead of bottles because they are cheaper. Is there any problems with this? All of your help is appreciated!


That sounds good. Just a few comments.

First, you've chosen a good yeast. Another one you might want to look at is Lalvin K1V-1116. From what I can tell, it's even more resilient than the D-47. Of course, you're end product will be a bit stouter, so if that's something you'd rather avoid, D-47 is probably your best bet.

Second, while you can heat the must to make it easier to incorporate the honey, I don't generally recommend heating it too much. I've found tha the best option for me is to heat half the water to about 105-110 F with the honey bottles sitting in the water (but raised off the floor of the pan... I usually throw a couple of forks or spoons into the bottom, but you can use just about anything). This makes the honey easier to pour. Then, I will split the water in half, pour the honey into one half of the water, and use the remaining half to "rinse" the honey bottle. All of the hot stuff gets combined in the end. While all of this is going on, the other half of the water sits in the fridge (or freezer if it won't be there long enough to freeze) to chill as much as possible. I mix the cold water and the the warm must before adding it to the fermenter. This does a few things. First, it cools the must so that I can add the yeast more quickly (they don't like spas as much as we do) and it helps to keep the glass fermenter from cracking due to temperature changes. Just before I add the must to the fermenter, I take a sample and measure the SG.

That leads me to my third comment. BUY A HYDROMETER. They aren't expensive and will make troubleshooting much easier (hopefully you won't need to troubleshoot). You can get a hydrometer and a test jar for under $10. At any rate, knowing the starting gravity and the gravity when the fermentation stops will be of great value to you. I know because I didn't have one for my first mead and it was quite frustrating not knowing if the fermentation had stalled or was finished.

Reggie
01-24-2006, 12:48 AM
One more question. Does it matter how much of the yeast I put in? Can you put in too much yeast or does it matter since it's living and is going to multiply anyway?

Tyred
01-24-2006, 07:24 AM
Yes, it does. But it also depends on what you are making. From memory (I'm sure to be corrected if wrong) 5-7 grams (one sacket or teaspoon) of yeast can cope with up to 5 gallons of mead. It's also best (except for Ancient Orange) to hydrate your yeast before. If you do a search for hydrate you should fine the information regarding that. Best of luck and welcome to our meadness.

The Honey Farmer
01-24-2006, 03:00 PM
Hi Reggie, just a suggestion on honey. If you can't buy it from a beekeeper buy it from a health food store. Health food stores sell raw honey. Pure and natural. Most honey from your local super market has been purchased by a "honey Broker" who sells it to a "Packer" who dumps it into a giant vat along with everybody elses honey from where ever they can buy it and then it is heated and blended, strained and filtered and in general turned into sweet brown syrup that all taste the same so they add "flavor" to it and flash chill it, then bottle it as orange, clover ect. We bee keepers wouldn't put that stuff on our tables let alone put it into something good as mead. Honey is too expesive to use cheep stuff. Hope this didn't sound like a lecture I'm just proud of my hobby and my product. Happy fermenting. The Honey Farmer

Reggie
01-27-2006, 08:37 PM
Ok, so here is the story: Very lo-tech, just trying to get some experiance at little or no cost and trouble to myself. I used the Poor Man's Cyser (Apple) Mead recipie in the recipies section. I tried to spend as little as possible but I used a sorbate-free apple juice that I like and 1 pound of spun white honey (Most expensive and unprocessed I could get in town), along with sugar, lemon juice, and green tea bags, then I boiled it and filled up 1 two-liter bottle and two small snapple bottles. I then made 3 ballon airlocks and set them in a dark, warm place. I followed the directions to the letter and used the rapid rising breat yeast. After an hour or so I could barly tell that they were producing carbon dioxide. I'm going to leave them alone and check them in the morning. No starting gravity nor estimated alcohol content measurements here though. I'm just trying to get my feet wet when it comes to mead. Thanks for all the help!

http://www.gotmead.com/component/option,com_pccookbook/page,viewrecipe/cat_id,4/recipe_id,25/

Reggie
02-11-2006, 09:13 PM
I started on this Cyser a few weeks ago and not to my surprize it is still fermenting. It took alittle while for it to get started. I tasted one the other day and it has a sour/tart taste to it. Is this normal? Is this Bad? Is the cyser ruined?