View Full Version : My first 3 meads!!!

12-19-2011, 11:48 AM
So after spending a crazy drunken night at my friends flat drinking a multitude of homebrewed drinks, including a 39% beer called Tactical Nuclear Penguin and loads of delicious varieties of mead (first time i ever tasted mead) I've been inspired to start homebrewing, and i thought I'd start with mead.

So I know i've only just started but i want to start with a challenge. I'm gonna make 3 different batches of mead. One batch of straight up show mead, honey, water and yeast with yeast energiser and nutrient.
Pretty straight forwards

My second batch is going to be Joe's Ancient Orange, and i'm just gonna follow that to the letter.

The Third batch is the one I have questions about... the challenging one. I want to make a red hopped mead... i think i've got the measurements of the recipe just about right.

6 lbs of locally sourced honey from a local beekeeper
Water to fill to a gallon
1/2 ounce of pelleted cascade hops
1/2-3/4 ounce of dried hibiscus
Lalvin D47 yeast
1/2 table spoon yeast energiser
1/2 tablespoon yeast nutirent.

I just want to know a few things before i get brewing on this one....

I don't want the bitterness of the hops in my mead, just the aromas and a slight alteration to the taste.

Am i using the right amount of hops?
Should i dry hop my mead?
When do i add the hops?

Any other help will also be appreciated if I'm doing something wrong.

Thanks All :)

Chevette Girl
12-19-2011, 12:35 PM
Welcome to the forum, and the addiction! :)

First, if you add nutrients and energizer to your mead, it's no longer a show mead, it's a traditional. You don't want to start off with a show mead, a traditional is a much better idea.

Second, with respect to hops, dry hopping should give you flavour and aroma, it's the boil that brings out the bitterness, and according to what I've read around here, you want to dry hop at the end (like, weeks before you bottle) because the hops will fade within a few months, and only leave the hops in for a short time (few days to a week I think) and then remove it or it leaves a grassy taste. Again, forum searching is your friend, there are a number of good threads on the use of hops.

Third, six pounds of honey to a gallon isn't going to ferment well, your yeast will go "WTF?!" and then die on you. Start with no more than about 3.5 lb in a gallon or else it's going to be only weakly alcoholic (if you're lucky and the yeast have a snack before they die from sugar shock) and syrupy sweet. If you want to get it stronger and the fermentation goes well for you, try step feeding it (do a forum search, there are many mentions of it in here), let it go down to close to finishing (you'll need a hydrometer and you'll have to keep an eye on it daily) and every time it gets below a certain value, add more honey to boost it up again (when I did mine, every time it went below 1.010, I boosted it to 1.025).

Fourth, keep in mind that D-47 can make all kinds of stink if it's too warm when it's fermenting, if your brewing area is going to be over 70F you may want to consider using a different yeast.

And once you bring the honey down to something reasonable, that recipe sounds neat, I've got one batch I've done with hops and I want to try hibiscus, wonder how they'll taste together! Do a forum search on hibiscus and you should get a few hits in the brewlog section, I'm not sure if that's better added in primary or secondary.

If you haven't read the Newbee guide over there on your left, please do! It's a worthwhile read.

12-20-2011, 07:55 PM
Thanks for the welcome, and the advice :)

Just one more thing. I know it will be a while before my mead is ready for the hops to be added but what would be the best way to add dry hops? Should i just throw them straight in or should i consider putting them in a cloth bag and throwing them in, or anything else?

Thanks :)

12-20-2011, 09:57 PM
If you use pelleted hops, I'd definitely say use a FINE bag! Those things turn to mush and dust the second they hit water!

On the other hand, unless you'd be bottling through a filter right off the dry hopping, I'd say use a bag anyway so you don't have an extraneous racking to get off the hops.

12-21-2011, 01:06 AM
In regard to CG's suggestion on when to add hibiscus, I've found that adding some in primary and some in secondary works best. But, it's all down to your tastes. If you want more hibiscus flavor, add more into secondary. If you're looking more for color and a hint of hibiscus, more into primary it is.

I'll second the suggestion to use a fine nylon bag for adding the hops. Pelletized hops degrade into small particles very easily in liquid, and to ensure none make their way into bottles, a nylon bag is your best bet. Even then, they may be a bit of a hassle. If you can find some (either online or locally), I'd opt for whole cone hops or hop "plugs". Both are relatively easy to use, and you'll avoid the hassle that pellets bring.

Also, if you do decide to go the step feeding route, I would look to use something like K1V-1116 instead of D47; D47 just isn't a work horse yeast, and probably wouldn't last long in a high gravity application.

Best of luck to you in your new found hobby! :)