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Thread: Noob on second must.

  1. #1

    Default Noob on second must.

    Hi all,

    I got a Mead recipe on a website called storm the castle and since I've been wanting to try Mead for a long time I decided to just go for it. I'm Irish and live in England and I don't know American weights but this is what I have done.

    3 and a half litres of water
    4 340g jars of basic honey from the supermarket.
    fast acting yeast from the same supermarket.
    raisins for the yeast

    I brewed this in the spring water bottle and used a balloon as an airlock as per the sites instructions and it's now four weeks later. I bought some demijohns (Americans call them carboys) cheap from a charity shop (Thrift shop) and after much sterilisation and practice I racked the mead last week.

    This morning I was getting a bubble every 40 odd seconds, I just looked again and it's gone up to a bubble every 10 seconds.

    Now obviously I get that Mead can be easy but I worry that this one was too easy and something's messed up and the bubble thing has only increased my worry.

    Friday I made a raspberry Melomel using the same basic recipe and it's bubbling away nicely in the wardrobe next to the first batch. But I only chopped the raspberries and only 200g. I figured I could add more when I racked after a little taste to make sure the raspberry doesn't become too strong a taste, but having read juicing or crushing is the best way to get the flavour out I'm now worried that I need to add more raspberries now.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Ithaca, NY
    Posts
    4,944

    Default

    Hi there! Welcome to GotMead!

    In case it helps, here are some conversions from normal units to American.

    1 kg = 2.2 lbs (weight)
    1 lb = 16 oz

    3.78 L = 1 US gallon (volume) --NB UK gallons are bigger
    1 US gallon = 4 quarts = 8 pints = 16 cups
    1 cup = 8 fl oz
    1 fl oz = 2 tbsp = 6 tsp
    1 tsp = 15 ml (or close enough for small measures)

    Ok so now that is done. For your first mead, amount of bubbles is not a terribly good indicator of anything quantitative. If you want to know if your mead is done, still going, stalled, or otherwise you should invest in a hydrometer.

    200 g of berries in a ~5 L batch is not very much, but yes you can always add more later. A rough chop and/or squish should be sufficient processing.

    You'll find a recipe on this site called Joe's Ancient Orange (JAO) which is pretty similar to one of the storm the castle recipes (probably because their recipe is based on JAO). It's a pretty basic recipe that turns out reliably good stuff--as long as you follow the instructions.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    UK - South Coast.
    Posts
    3,475

    Default

    Also for future reference, most of the "big 4" will sell their honeys in UK industry standard sizes i.e.340g/12oz or 454g/1lb jars, yet if you go to aldi or Lidl, you'll get 250g, 500g or.even 1kg euro sizes.....

    I automatically make my batches to 1 Imp gallon/4.55 litres, but always use a hydrometer to check the numbers, so end up using between 3.5 & 4lb of honey per gallon. For fruit batches I use about 3lb per gallon, but it depends on the fruit, as to whether its enough, raspberry is surprisingly strong, yet strawberry is a lot lighter.....
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    7,800

    Default

    This is my favourite website for converting to "American" and welcome to the forum!

    I know from experience that if you soak raspberries in spirits for long enough, the raspberries lose their colour and flavour even through the skins, the only thing you'll miss from not breaking the seed-containing cells will be the fruit's sugars. You might be able to break them up with a spoon between the side of your demijohn and a sanitized spoon handle or something too.

    Good luck with your brews!
    "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
    "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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    UK - South Coast.
    Posts
    3,475

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    This is my favourite website for converting to "American" and welcome to the forum!

    I know from experience that if you soak raspberries in spirits for long enough, the raspberries lose their colour and flavour even through the skins, the only thing you'll miss from not breaking the seed-containing cells will be the fruit's sugars. You might be able to break them up with a spoon between the side of your demijohn and a sanitized spoon handle or something too.

    Good luck with your brews!
    Erm.....freeze then thaw ? It's probably the best/safest way of not damaging the pips, but gets you to the fruit sugars quicker.....
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  6. #6

    Default

    Thank you to everyone who answered. There is some great advice here. I do need to get a hydrometer, luckily the town where I live has a home brew shop so I'll be hitting them up for one and other equipment tomorrow. Then it's just learning how to use it and what it all means! :s

    The supermarkets around here all sell frozen raspberries which are cheaper than the fresh and I guess would be better for home brew once thawed so that's good to know. When I rack the Melomel in a couple of weeks I'll add some then.

    The Mead is bubbling once every minute now so I guess it caught a second wind. lol. But it's clearing nicely now and I'm looking forward to racking it into a tertiary container to let it age for a bit (having a little taste test along the way of course! ;p) My biggest problem right now is explaining to my other half why we need to let it age, but then this is the man who once tried to home brew and lasted a whole hour before taste testing it!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    7,800

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lupilu View Post
    My biggest problem right now is explaining to my other half why we need to let it age, but then this is the man who once tried to home brew and lasted a whole hour before taste testing it!
    <facepalm> Good luck with that... Fortunately mine stays the heck away from my brewing area unless I need him to move something heavy! I'm not sure how long the StormtheCastle batch takes to be complete and then how long to be drinkable, but if you think he'd be up for something sweet and you want something to keep your other half busy while you let this age, I'd highly recommend the Joe's Ancient Orange, made with bread yeast and drinkable at 2 months. Better at 6-12, but it IS drinkable at 2 months.
    "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
    "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

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lupilu View Post
    Hi all,

    I got a Mead recipe on a website called storm the castle and since I've been wanting to try Mead for a long time I decided to just go for it. I'm Irish and live in England and I don't know American weights but this is what I have done.

    3 and a half litres of water
    4 340g jars of basic honey from the supermarket.
    fast acting yeast from the same supermarket.
    raisins for the yeast

    I brewed this in the spring water bottle and used a balloon as an airlock as per the sites instructions and it's now four weeks later. I bought some demijohns (Americans call them carboys) cheap from a charity shop (Thrift shop) and after much sterilisation and practice I racked the mead last week.

    This morning I was getting a bubble every 40 odd seconds, I just looked again and it's gone up to a bubble every 10 seconds.

    Now obviously I get that Mead can be easy but I worry that this one was too easy and something's messed up and the bubble thing has only increased my worry.

    Friday I made a raspberry Melomel using the same basic recipe and it's bubbling away nicely in the wardrobe next to the first batch. But I only chopped the raspberries and only 200g. I figured I could add more when I racked after a little taste to make sure the raspberry doesn't become too strong a taste, but having read juicing or crushing is the best way to get the flavour out I'm now worried that I need to add more raspberries now.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Hello lupilu and welcome to gotmead.com! I had to chime in and tell you I did exactly what you've done, I also found and made that same one gallon batch from Will's site stormthecastle.com, my very first batch of mead, this past January. And I used store bought honey just like you did as well. And, I'll tell you, I didn't much care for it right after I made it and bottled it at about 60 days. Mine finished dry, ~1.006.
    So now, it's 119 days, about 4 months old, and been in the bottle (I only bottled two 750ml bottles of it) 61 days today (two months).
    And, I was bottling a braggot yesterday that I recently made and opened one of these bottles (from my very first batch of mead) and I've got to tell you it is pretty damn good!! At 60 days old it tasted yeasty, pithy and just had sort of an unpleasant overall bitterness to it. NOW, it has mellowed quite a bit, the pithiness is pretty much gone, and it has a pretty nice nose and taste, I think!
    I'm def going to hang onto the last bottle for at least 6 more months before I open it and bet it will be fantastic by then.

    So don't worry, it sounds like you're off to a great start and yes, add more raspberrys if yo think it needs more. One thing I've learned since starting this home brewing adventure this past January, there aren't that many mistakes you can make that aren't correctable/self correctable over time. Cheers and have fun!

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