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Thread: mead query

  1. Default mead query

    i am newbie..mead was given by a cousin of mine and after tasting it..wooooow.. it was soooo great..i want to make mead but all i have is honey, a slant of saccharomyces cerevisiae that i bought from a college lab (it was all they have), honey..i have been looking for winemaking supplies and ingredients here at out place but i cant find one in manila..i have no hydrometer also..and this problem has given me sleepless nights...i came here to ask you guys for help..

    1. first, i want to propagate the only yeast slant i have...yeast nutrients,dme's,dap,malt extracts cannot be found here.
    2.i am planning to make only a 1 liter mead..a week(thats why i need to cultivate my yeast)what are the ratio of honey and water and of course the yeast for a one liter mead?
    3. if i am going to boil baker's yeast as yeast nutrient substitute how many grams of bakers yeast do i have to boil, in how many ml of water and do i have to let it boil til dry before using it to the wort.
    if i am going to make 10 liters of mead..do i have to just double the amount intended for 1 liter?
    4.do i have to make a starter for a one liter mead?
    5.is it possible not to put raisins or other ingredients for the mead,,i just want it plain and sweet

    thank you for your help!!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    7,537

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    Hey, welcome to the forum!

    I'm sure some of the European folks will jump in and tell you where best to locate winemaking supplies so I'll leave that for them and just comment on the things I'm qualified to

    1) There are techniques for propagating yeast and I think some folks here may have done it, but it's really not recommended, as yeast will mutate all on their own so what you get a few generations down the road isn't going to have the same properties as what you started with. What I'd suggest until you can get a supply of yeast is doing something along the lines of a sourdough starter - Make a starter with it (I'd suggest a 1 litre jar) and keep it well-fed with something like apple juice and in the refrigerator until you need to use some, let what you take out come to room temperature slowly before you pitch it, you might want to use it to start a starter for each batch just to boost your yeast count. Other folks may have better ideas but that's what I'd do if I only had one packet of yeast to keep me going.

    2) A litre is APPROXIMATELY a quarter of a gallon, so you'll get similar results if you divide a 1 gallon recipe by 4 or a 5 gallon recipe by 20. Recipes do scale up and down, just multiply or divide everything as appropriate... I find this to be a very helpful website when converting units from "American" to everywhere else

    Although this does make me want to ask you a question: why do you want to make 1 litre a week? Is that the biggest container you can get? Wines and meads are better with a little age, and larger batches tend to age better (also they tend to last long enough to age). A gallon a month might be a better approach. If you check around and read some of the many brewlogs, you'll see that very few of us drink our meads within the first 6 months, which means you'll have 24 1-litre bottles kicking around before they're worth drinking, unless you make something like the Joe's Ancient Orange mead at the beginning of this thread, or maybe a Sima recipe like this one (scaled down) might be a neat place to start.

    3) It doesn't have to boil dry, just a good boil for about 5 minutes or microwave it until about half the water's evaporated. If you can't get your hands on anything like energizer or nutrients, check out this thread, I think it's got suggestions on amounts. I usually use 2 tsp per gallon in half a cup of water, boil until it's about a quarter-cup, but I also use proper yeast nutrients and energizer as well. There are more threads on substitutions you can make when you don't have access to or don't want to use the usual additives, I'd suggest checking out the forum search tool, start with search terms along the lines of "natural nutrients" or something like that. The two recipes I suggested above use bread yeast, they don't use any of the storebought stuff and are fairly predictable even without the use of a hydrometer.

    4) Ordinarily, no you don't, usually for dry yeast you just want to rehydrate it, but if you're trying to use one packet of yeast for the rest of your brewing career you probably will want to... mix up your must in one container, add your rehydrated yeast to another, and just keep doubling the volume until all the must has been added...

    5) Honey itself doesn't have a lot of the nutrients that yeast need to multiply into a strong colony, which is why we often recommend adding raisins or something if you don't have yeast nutrients available. You won't taste the raisins in the finished product anyway, even if you add a considerable amount of them (up to a pound per gallon of raisins will quite easily hide behind any other flavour)... Do a search on "show mead" (a mead with honey, water and yeast as the only ingredients) and you'll see that they often take a looooooong time to finish. Mine did. Presuming it's even finished now.

    If you want to make decent mead, I suggest you start by reading the Newbee Guide off to the left there, if you haven't already.

    Good luck with it!
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Ithaca, NY
    Posts
    4,944

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    Howdy! There are some homebrew supply stores in Australia; maybe those can ship to you?

    Normal brewer's yeast is S. cerevisiae. Works for bread too, so who knows what they gave you. If you have access to viable bread yeast, you can just skip the slant and just use the bread yeast for fermentation. Check out the recipe for Joe's Ancient Orange (JAO).

    Or, if you want to use the slant... Apple juice is a good idea to propagate your yeast if you can't get the "usual" stuff; yeast love apples. Be sure to get the juice that does not have any preservatives, or you might prevent your yeast from multiplying. Start small--very small. I've not yet gone from a slant, but you should be able to find some good instructions floating around online. Some beer people use slants so you might have better luck looking there for instructions. Be sure to follow them for the volume steps. You don't want to pitch your tiny bit of yeast into a huge container right away. Start small and usually you double the volume repeatedly over many days and get to a useful amount of yeast.

    I'd also consider watering the apple juice down a bit. Say 1 part water to 3 parts juice. This will help the yeast from being shocked by high amounts of sugar. Also if you have a hard time getting yeast, but will be brewing frequently, I would suggest not pitching your whole colony into each batch. Build up the yeast until you have more than you need, pitch some and save some to rebuild for the next batch. Kind of like a sourdough starter where you save a little each time.

    As far as "making starters", well that's what you're doing when you start with a slant. No way around it.

    You don't have to add raisins, but you do need to add something. Boiled bread yeast is an option, but you need to add a lot compared to the "concentrated" nutrients. You might consider doing fruit mead; the fruits will add nutrients so you don't need to add as much boiled yeast. Apple juice is nice and easy since you don't have to deal with fruit solids, and apple mead (cyser) is really tasty.

    Another suggestion for having an easier time fermenting would be to use less honey. Normally you see about 3 lbs per gallon for a ~14% alcohol mead. Cut that down to 2 lbs per gallon and you'll still have a ~9-10% alcohol mead but it will be much easier to manage and require less nutrients.

    If you're not planning on aging these long and like sweet, I would suggest making a diluted honey solution and adding that to the mead when you pour it in the glass. This way you avoid having to figure out stabilizing a sweet mead before bottling.

    Ok, tons of info! Definitely read the NewBee guide and let us know if this all made sense.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Chinandega, Nicaragua
    Posts
    428

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    Quote Originally Posted by firemandan View Post
    i am newbie..mead was given by a cousin of mine and after tasting it..wooooow.. it was soooo great..i want to make mead but all i have is honey, a slant of saccharomyces cerevisiae that i bought from a college lab (it was all they have), honey..i have been looking for winemaking supplies and ingredients here at out place but i cant find one in manila..i have no hydrometer also..and this problem has given me sleepless nights...i came here to ask you guys for help..

    1. first, i want to propagate the only yeast slant i have...yeast nutrients,dme's,dap,malt extracts cannot be found here.
    2.i am planning to make only a 1 liter mead..a week(thats why i need to cultivate my yeast)what are the ratio of honey and water and of course the yeast for a one liter mead?
    3. if i am going to boil baker's yeast as yeast nutrient substitute how many grams of bakers yeast do i have to boil, in how many ml of water and do i have to let it boil til dry before using it to the wort.
    if i am going to make 10 liters of mead..do i have to just double the amount intended for 1 liter?
    4.do i have to make a starter for a one liter mead?
    5.is it possible not to put raisins or other ingredients for the mead,,i just want it plain and sweet

    thank you for your help!!!!
    Well, you don't have to buy your stuff in a homebrew store, you should find DAP at gardening stores, bread yeast a supermarkets, you can use this yeast for JAO,which should be a good start for you. Also you can boil few grams of this bread yeast and mix with DAP and you'll have a decent nutrient.

    Saludos,
    L'émotion de vin n'ad'égal que l'amour charnel. - Juliette Gréco

    Vinos de Miel

    http://www.delospalacios.com.ni

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Noe Palacios View Post
    Well, you don't have to buy your stuff in a homebrew store, you should find DAP at gardening stores, bread yeast a supermarkets, you can use this yeast for JAO,which should be a good start for you. Also you can boil few grams of this bread yeast and mix with DAP and you'll have a decent nutrient.

    Saludos,
    Wait, DAP from a gardening store? I'm assuming you mean DAP sold as fertilizer. I would recommend that people steer away from or at least be very, very careful if using chemical fertilizer as your source of DAP in mead making. It is highly possibly that any DAP fertilizers sold in gardening stores are not food grade or contain other chemicals as well.

    If you are propagating yeast from a slant you will want to do multiple starters, gradually increasing in size. I would recommend something other than honey for your fermentable in the starters as honey is obviously lacking in the nutrients needed for good yeast reproduction.

    If you cannot easily get the yeast nutrients you are looking for, you might want to try adding some proportion (maybe 10%) of another fermentable sugar source to your mead that is naturally high in those nutrients. For instance, if you have access to malt extract, it is high in many micronutrients and free amino nitrogen (FAN) that yeast require for reproduction and fermentation. Grape juice, on the other hand, is low in FAN and I wouldn't recommend it in this case.
    BJCP Certified Beer Judge since 2003. Owner of Mt. Si Mead Supply.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Chinandega, Nicaragua
    Posts
    428

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan K View Post
    Wait, DAP from a gardening store? I'm assuming you mean DAP sold as fertilizer. I would recommend that people steer away from or at least be very, very careful if using chemical fertilizer as your source of DAP in mead making. It is highly possibly that any DAP fertilizers sold in gardening stores are not food grade or contain other chemicals as well.
    Agree, the observation is valid. It was a desperate solution.

    I don't know Philipines' customs rules, but here in Nicaragua I'm in the same situation, there aren't homebrewer stores, so I buy everything from USA without problems. Yes, USA near Nicaragua, but Australia is near Philipines and in Australia there are a lot good of On Line stores, so if you want make good and reliable starters don't hesitate, buy what you need at spicialized stores in Australia.

    Saludos,
    L'émotion de vin n'ad'égal que l'amour charnel. - Juliette Gréco

    Vinos de Miel

    http://www.delospalacios.com.ni

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Noe Palacios View Post
    I don't know Philipines' customs rules, but here in Nicaragua I'm in the same situation, there aren't homebrewer stores, so I buy everything from USA without problems.
    Maybe you should start one.
    BJCP Certified Beer Judge since 2003. Owner of Mt. Si Mead Supply.

  8. Default

    thank you for your help..i will try what you all said and post my recipe here...God bless you!

  9. #9

    Smile

    Hey welcome to the forum FiremanDan
    - They say hard work never hurts anybody, but why take the chance.

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