Hello Got Mead community.
I just started up an account here as I have recently gotten interested in learning to create my own mead. I went out and got a wine starter kit, read the newbie guide up, down and sideways. Now I have assembled my ingredients and I would like some advice on a couple of things if you guys would be willing. Just let me know if I am missing anything important or have the wrong idea about anything.
I am trying to make something similar to the show mead shown in the newbee guide. However I have some slight changes in mind. First is I want to start by making a 1 gallon batch, in case I screw up somewhere. Secondly, when I went to the wine shop, the store owner does not stock Lalvin RC212.
I plan to re-sweeten this batch after the fermentation is done, to taste as i have no clue how sweet a certain specific gravity is.
So here it is, according to the mead caulculator.
1 package Lalvin EC-1118
2.5 Pounds Honey
1 teaspoon Yeast Nutrient (no brand on package)
Water to balance 1 gallon
The owner was surprised that I was suggested that. He recommended Lalvin EC-1118 as it was more hardy and his customers have had good results with making mead from it. Seeing as they didn't have my intended yeast I went with it. According to what I found in the newbie guide it has an alcohol tolerance of 18%, so I assume I will need to now closely watch my sugar so that the %AV doesn't get away on me. So I settled on 2.5 pounds, but I will also be watching the hydrometer to try to get as close to 1.09 as possible as I think that will be a better indicator.
The honey I plan on using has a story. It has been sitting in my grandmother basement for a LONG time (At least 10 years, at most 19) in a plastic pail that has never been opened or disturbed until now. My grandmother used to get a pail from the local bee keeper every year for letting him put hives on her fields. I opened it up and took a look at it and it smells amazing, and tastes great. Very white and it hasn't even crystallized after all this time, just got a little creamy and can be stirred with some effort, but not much. I have no clue what kind it is, but my knowledge of the area tells me it is most likely primarily Alfalfa an has a very nice white color to reaffirm my belief. The only thing about it that it has a very syrupy darker brown honey on top of it has has not settled or "creamed" at all. Is that a good sign or a bad sign? I tasted the syrup and it is delicious. The honey has been sitting awhile so I am not sure if I should boil, pasteurize, add a campden tablet before I add the yeast, or just leave it as is. I would post pictures but this forum isn't letting me upload.
The water is well water from my grandmothers farm, run through a tap mounted brita water filter. I have not treated it in any way or form just stuck it in some plastic pepsi bottles. Should I do anything with it from here?
Sterilant - Sodium Metabisulphite
Chlorinated Cleaner - "contains" Chlorinated Trisodium Phosphate
Campden Tablets - Sodium Metabisulphite
Do I need any other chemicals? I hear a lot here that adding a campden tablet alone is not enough to prevent a re-ferment aster bottleing and that I should use sorbate as well. I also hear a lot of people swear by adding oak to the recipie or "oaking", can this be done in the secondary ferment, what kind of oak would be best for me and how important is it?