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Thread: Getting into mead making

  1. Default Getting into mead making

    hey everybody. I've never fermented anything before, but i wanna get into mead making. I don't know alot about it, but i know the general process from all the recipes and videos i've watched on it. I just wanted to run my recipe by to make sure it would produce a nice, sweet mead.

    I wanna make my first batch a sweet metheglin, and it's only gunna be a gallon batch because i don't feel like making more than that to find that i messed something up :P so im gunna start small and if i like it make a bigger batch. I would also like to use ingredients they would have had back in the ancient days (hypothetically speaking) except for the yeast:

    3lbs. Honey (not sure what kind it is, its a local honey. It's pretty dark)
    1Gallon Water
    1 handful of raisins as a yeast nutrient
    Orange skins as yeast nutrient and flavor
    Vanilla bean
    Lalvin D-47 yeast

    I'd like to add little Black Tea as a source or tannin, but im not sure how much, how, or why to add it :/

    Like i said, I'm new to Mead making. Any tips or advice to help get me started would be VERY much appreciated


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Elk Grove, CA

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    While we're waiting for the mentors to chime in on your recipe, I'll say WELCOME!

    In the interests of full disclosure, however, I feel compelled to warn you that you almost assuredly will NOT be content with brewing only one gallon for very long. I don't even drink* and I wish I could put together a new batch every weekend, so beware.

    *I'm really going to have to start...someone has to drink up all this mead

  3. Default

    Maybe ill make more than a gallon, I just don't wanna spend all the money on honey and such in a first batch to find that i messed something up. Who knows, if i get a bunch of go-for-its maybe ill increase my batch size.

    Also, thanks for the warm welcome

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Calgary AB Canada


    Just do what I did and start with a whole bunch of 1 gallon batchs to try a bunch of things. Start with one, then when you think you feel sure it hasn't turned into vinegar do more. And more. And more! Now (only a couple months later) 1 gallon batchs make me sad, because I know how frighteningly fast I can drink that gallon, and I have others waiting in the wings to replace each one as I drink it!

    I think brewing might be more addictive than the alcohol itself!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Elk Grove, CA

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    Exactly, AToE. It just tickles my little science teacher's fancy to arrange everything in my head and then put it into action and voila! The magic happens!

  6. #6


    welcome to gotmead thelgar! I agree with these guys start small to get comfortable in the process and you will have little problem stepping into larger batches as soon as you realize how quickly it disappears. But Starting small allows for a bit more confidence building in the mead making process, its how I started.

    I just bottled a sour cherry, and a peach mead, and will be starting a pear and a pyment soon. I have access to cheap fresh fruit so I make mead depending on the season. Doing a CYSER!! soon I hope.

    your recipe should do ok the D47 good for residual sugar.

  7. #7


    Welcome to Gotmead Thelgar! Glad to see you stop by. Adding black tea to your must? One reason to do it is to add a bit of astringency to the mead to help balance the sweetness. This is to effect the mouthfeel (to borrow a brewing term) to add dryness or help to tone down the sweetness. This is one reason why tannins are used. Some say it's to give the mead taste a bit of zip to what could otherwise be a blander, flatter taste. This is why some wait to the end, before bottling to add tannins. Black teas have a lot of tannins or tannins can come other kinds of tea or from many other sources including fruits, spices and berries. Your home brew shop also sells tannins in a powder form. Another effect is that tannin helps the mead to clear as it binds with smaller protein chains to make them insoluble. So again this helps at the late stage in the meadmaking process. Teas also can lend their antioxidants to a mead. So there is something to be said for tea in mead. When you add the tea, you probably won't taste it in the final mead. If you like the taste of black tea, you may wish to add a bit more but Making Wild Wines and Meads by Vargas suggests only one tablespoon of strong black tea per gallon of wine. So make a cup of strong black tea like Earl Grey, pour some off in a small cup and let it cool while you finish your cup of tea. When the tea's cooled down to room temperature, add it to your still cloudy but fermented mead. Wait and watch for clearing. Another shot of tea can be added later if you need to adjust the taste a bit. I'd suggest you start your mead and add a spot of tea as needed to respond to a cloudy, hazy mead or to suit the final feel of the mead to your palate.

    One other suggestion is to zest your oranges and add 2 teaspoons of the zest. I'd also add some of the juice of the orange too taking care to not add the white orange pith.

    With a one gallon recipe you're getting off to a solid start. It's a good test batch that you can vary in future batches to suit your taste in the future. It's quite close to Joe's Ancient Orange Spice Mead that's covered here on the board and the NewBee Guide. I'd highly recommend you try that one too in the near future. The result will be dramatically different as it will result in a sweet mead and yours may end up drier. But you'll be amazed in the variety of results with small changes in recipe. Thelgar, you're on your way! The smartest thing you did was ask your questions. You'll find we all are experimenting with each batch and many here have a vast knowledge and some first hand experiences to share that will help you have great results with your meads much earlier in your learning process. Best of luck.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    The Fusel Shack, in the swamp west of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida


    Welcome to GotMead Thelgar!

    I hope you'll find you enjoy meadmaking and as for doing more than 1 gallon, I say Go for it! You'll have fun comparing different flavors and seeing how each turns out. And don't worry about drinking it all - there always seem to be a lot of friends around willing to help with that.

    Do take time to read the NewBee Guide. It will help you get going smoothly.
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

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