View Full Version : My first 5 gal (20 liter!) batch

01-29-2006, 01:45 AM
My sister (are you lurking?) got me mead equip for xmas (at my request); course it's a 6 gal primary and carboy (cause they're plastic and easy to ship to Australia) so I'm going with a 5 gal mead for my first batch.
I'd like to make a dry mead (dry to slightly dry anyway) and have the following I'm ready to assemble: (I'm using metric since I'm in a metric country!)
4.5 kg honey (non-varietal)
planning on adding Fermaid
have 7 Gram of Lalvin D-47
15 liters water

I'm going off of K. Schramm's dry show mead; wondering if I could add just a touch of orange and/or nutmeg to add interest to the batch? Found a reference suggesting zest from 1.5 orange, juice from 2 orange and 2/3 tsp nutmeg. Best added in primary or secondary fermentation?
Have to check and see if I can get oak chips to add toward the end (it's hard ordering stuff here as Australia has strict import restrictions).
Can I use clean tea towels to cover primary for initial couple of days to provide more oxygen? Or should I just stir it a few times?

Any other suggestions?
Thanks for any tips.

01-29-2006, 11:14 AM
Sanitized tea towels are good bucket covers - better yet are flour sack towels.
try a 21 litre starter - you'll want the primary to be a bit bigger than the secondary container.
I'd add the spices to secondary, and would definately add a whole (quartered) nutmeg as opposed to ground... ground will make clearing difficult, and will be impossible to remove when the proper spice level is reached.
Orange juice, I'd add to secondary.
D47 lends lovely citrus notes when mead sits on its lees. Consider racking from bucket to carboy early (after a week, perhaps) then leaving it alone for 4-5 months before you do anything with it - hold off on the spices, in other words. You can always add them later, but you'll probably be pleasantly surpised with what honey, water and yeast can give you.

01-29-2006, 02:06 PM
Welcome to the forums ;D
By adding 4.5 kg honey in a 15 liter batch and using D-47 will yield a bone dry mead. Adding 6 kg of honey will get you just north of dry, a little residual sugar will be left in the mead.

Hope that helps,

The Honey Farmer
01-30-2006, 05:35 PM
Good day Shieldmaiden, I'm making the same batch. You're braver than I am. This is my first batch and the only thing I did different was the D47 yeast also. The reason I did that was that is what came with the Kit. When I have more experance then I'll experment. Untill then it's by the book. Mine has been in the primary for 9 days now. One bubble every 3 second. Let me know how yours turns out.

Have a good day, The Honey Farmer

01-31-2006, 12:19 AM
Thanks for the hints, think I'll start this Friday...how do you sanitize a tea towel??

01-31-2006, 02:49 AM
Have to check and see if I can get oak chips to add toward the end (it's hard ordering stuff here as Australia has strict import restrictions).

Any brew shop has all that you need (except honey), especially oak. I have a local one (Brisbane), but there are mail order places Down Under, and maybe "Mu" knows of a few. By the way, which state?

What honey is with the kit or are you using local honey. If it is local, I would aim to have it slightly sweet, because dry eucalyptus honey can be a bit strong :P, but that is a personal preference.

01-31-2006, 08:50 AM
sanitizing a towel - I'm sure there are plenty of ways, but I just soak them in iodophor solution and wring them out.

01-31-2006, 09:53 AM
I too would recommend 5.5-6 kg honey minimum for a dry mead, otherwise it might seem a bit thin.

02-01-2006, 02:02 AM
Thanks for the info; I'm in Canberra and there is a brew shop here but I hadn't checked for oak chips.
And I do plan on adding more honey! I'm using local honey, but I did test it to make sure I liked it. I'll get more exact on varietals with the next batch!

02-01-2006, 02:19 AM
Hey Shieldmaiden,
Keep in mind that adding more honey during fermentation (step feeding) could result in the yeasties taking off again and reaching a higher alcohol limit. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you like dry mead and plan on aging it for a long time. If you wand a semi-dry mead, use all the honey upfront and let the yeasties do their job, once thy're done they'll drop out. Give the mead calculator a try to see how much honey you need: http://www.gotmead.com/making-mead/mead-calculator.shtml


02-12-2006, 01:34 AM
Feb 12 - I finally found the time to put together the mead!! Yeah. Now for the watching time.
I did go with 6 kg of honey to 21 liters water (plus Fermaid). Thanks for all the advice. Oh, the initial gravity was 1.096. Should make for a dry mead, yes?

02-12-2006, 01:40 AM
I just thought of another question:
I'd like to make some of the mead sparkling; since I'd do that with priming sugar upon bottling, I could do it to just part of the batch right? (say 1/2). I've also read that a dry mead is a good candidate for sparkling.
Any considerations to this idea?

02-12-2006, 09:42 AM
Without forced carbonation, a dry mead is the only *safe* mead to carbonate. Yes, you can certainly carbonate a dry mead, and it's done exactly the same as beer if you do natural bottle carbonation.

Your yeast ain't too bad to make a carbonated beverage from, but in the future, try DV10 or K1V or EC-1118 for that application. D47 adds a lot of mouthfeel, and it's kinda chunky or rubbery to be carbonated if you care about that kind of thing.

02-24-2006, 08:09 AM
Okay, here's the picture so far...
2/12: 6 kg honey, 21 litre batch (~6 gallons) 1.25 tsp Fermaid and 7 gr Lalvin D-47 (no boil must).
Initial gravity: 1.096
gentle bubbling after 24 hours, ~every 4 seconds.
2/15: Added .5 tsp Fermaid and stirred well (lots of fizzing).
2/19: steady bubbles, every 3-5 seconds
2/24: bubbles at every 6-7 seconds.

When to rack to secondary fermentation carboy? My sister suggests now. (haven't checked the gravity since I don't want to open unnecessarily) How do you know when to go to the next step?
I want to "juice it up", how much orange juice and zest for a 6 gall batch in the 2nd fermentation? (I'd like a subtle orange flavor)
Would DAP have helped with this reciepe?
I'm trying for a dry mead, maybe with some sparkle. (that's a later step I know)
Anything else?

02-24-2006, 09:20 AM
With D-47? Is it in a bucket now? If so, yeah, racking now will be fine... go ahead and take some lees with you when you rack. D-47 lees is good for the final product. Once you rack it this time, you'll never need to rack it again. If it's in carboy, you won't need to rack. Especially with this yeast, I'd wait until it was completely done fermenting and aged for a while before tinkering with the acid (adding your juice).

02-24-2006, 12:18 PM
I want to "juice it up", how much orange juice and zest for a 6 gall batch in the 2nd fermentation? (I'd like a subtle orange flavor)

I recommend tasting it before deciding what to add -- you may find you like it this way, or that only a hint of juice or zest is required. Also, since this recipe is, or is based upon, a show mead recipe, you may not want to add a dominant flavor like orange at this stage without thinking of the bitter/astringent qualities it could use as a balancer.

Of course, your personal preference is the only thing that matters here, but you may just want to start a batch of Joe's Ancient Orange (http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=600.0) -- it'll be ready and drinkable before this batch, and it's got plenty of orange flavor!