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Thread: Advice requested for next brewing project.

  1. #1

    Default Advice requested for next brewing project.

    Hello!

    So I conquered Joe's Ancient Orange mead, it was a huge hit. After my successful first small batch I went ahead and brewed up 10 gallons. It about destroyed my campmates with hangovers at Pennsic this year, but they loved it.

    But on to bigger and better things! Now that I've discovered this is something I can do, I'm not sure what to do next. I imagine I need to learn some more traditional brewing techniques. I've checked out some of the recipes (especially the Certified ones). They look a little advanced.

    I was hoping someone would be so kind as to recommend the next step I should take. I'd love to hear any suggestions as to what I should brew next. I have access to quite a few carboys large and small so I'm fine with experimenting.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    640

    Default An educational experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Godric View Post
    Hello!

    So I conquered Joe's Ancient Orange mead, it was a huge hit. After my successful first small batch I went ahead and brewed up 10 gallons. It about destroyed my campmates with hangovers at Pennsic this year, but they loved it.

    But on to bigger and better things! Now that I've discovered this is something I can do, I'm not sure what to do next. I imagine I need to learn some more traditional brewing techniques. I've checked out some of the recipes (especially the Certified ones). They look a little advanced.

    I was hoping someone would be so kind as to recommend the next step I should take. I'd love to hear any suggestions as to what I should brew next. I have access to quite a few carboys large and small so I'm fine with experimenting.

    Thanks!
    Try a six gallon batch of traditional. Frement to dry and then spit into six one-gallon batches. From there you can "play and learn" to your heart's content. For example:
    1) Leave one batch "as is" for comparison (providing that it's not mouth-puckering dry)
    2) Back-sweenten a gallon to taste
    3) Add oak to either an additional gallon of dry mead or an additional gallon of back sweetened mead, or both. There are 3 types of oak and 4 different toast levels.
    4) Make a gallon of sparkling (12 oz. beer bottles)
    5) Add spice(s) to a gallon
    6) Etc.

    There are endless possibilites and combinations. You can learn what you like best and get a lot of experince from a single six gallon batch. PLUS you get quite a variety quickly.
    Age improves with mead, even more than mead improves with age.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Tennessee Valley
    Posts
    1,128

    Default

    My first mead was a JAO.

    For my second mead I made a spiced cyser. Now I am planning a blueberry and back currant mel.

    My cyser didn't ferment out real smooth due to the high temps. My understanding is that traditionals will show every flaw and may take a very long time to come round. So I'm holding off until my fermentation management skills are a bit sharper.

    I do want to make a traditional before next summer gets here.
    “Give a man a beer, waste an hour. Teach a man to brew, and waste a lifetime!”

    slàinte mhath

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    8,370

    Default

    Congrats on getting your campmates soused!

    What seems complicated about the recipes you've read? Maybe we can help you ease into it...

    If nutrients and energizers confuse you, make something that includes fruit so the yeast have some nutrients available already.

    If fruit preparation scares you (perhaps it should!! it can be pretty time-consuming sometimes) try something using storebought juice or cider, just make sure it doesn't contain anything ending with sulphite or sorbate in its ingredient list.

    If using pectinase is intimidating, don't worry too much, it's not the end of the world if your fruited mead is a little hazy.

    If yeast selection is overwhelming, choose something that's tried and true, I'd recommend Lalvin EC-1118 or KV-1116, they're both very tolerant of newbie mistakes like I've subjected them to for years.

    If honey selection is a problem, start with something basic like clover honey, or whatever you can get least expensively at your store or apiary. Or maybe start a couple batches concurrently where everything's identical except the type of honey used.

    Don't worry about pH just yet, I've been making wines and meads for 6 years adding acidity up front (apparently this is old-school) with no way to test it, and most of my stuff turns out OK, I've had probably less than 5% stuck batches in over a hundred batch sample size.

    If all the sanitizing confuses you, you just have to think it out a little in advance and plan how you're going to keep anything that touches your must away from anything else between the time it's sanitized and the time you use it. I'm sure you can get lots of tips in that area, I like to keep my solution in 2 large mason jars and I pour it over my implements either using the other jar or the hydrometer test tube or the bucket I'm sanitizing. Some folks keep it in a spray bottle. You'll work something out.

    If you have developed "hydrometer-phobia", that's one you should probably get help with, it'll be important if you want repeatable results and don't want to risk bottle bombs. It's also nice to be able to tell your campmates exactly how soused they're gonna get...
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Ithaca, NY
    Posts
    4,958

    Default

    The quick cysers and pyments are a good next step. Apple and grape juices are easy to come by and open up worlds of new possibilities. Try a hippocras after that (grapes and spices), or one of the spice cysers (search Cinnful Cyser for example). After that maybe try your favorite fruit (Yo's strawberry perhaps?). Traditionals can be great but do take some extra work and I'd save those until you're experienced with nutrients, aeration, and the like.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

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