View Full Version : Bottling day finally arrived for my first mead.

Chris H
08-16-2013, 01:15 PM
I know this is a bit long, but I thought other newbies might learn from a first timer.

So my initial plan was to follow Joe's Ancient Orange to the letter. That really didn't happen at all. I wanted a mead that was more on the dry side. I discovered Wyeast 4632 and decided to see where it could take me.

Here's a breakdown of my recipe:

2 lb Raw Texas Wildflower honey
1 lb Raw Clover Honey
Wyeast 4632 Dry Mead Yeast
1 Valencia Orange Zested and peeled
4 Medjool Dates Sliced and pitted
1 Cinnamon stick
2 Cloves
RO Water to 1 gallon

In February I pitched, aerated, and let it do it's thing for a while just like the rules said.

Then I went off the map a little.

I racked about a month later.

In May I racked it again and added 2 pounds of Raw Texas Wildflower Honey and nutrients. Flavor was hot alcohol with some citrus.

Early July racked again because the lees were starting to stack up and the mead was starting to clear up nicely. Still hot alcohol flavors but the citrus had blended a little more.

July 31, final racking. I also added gelatin as a fining agent at this point.

August 10th, beautifully clear and ready to hit the bottles. It had fermented dry and I didn't add any back sweetening after that second honey addition. However, I did add Potassium Sorbate and K-Meta. I wasn't taking any chances

When I transferred to the bottling bucket, I added 2 oz of heavy toast oak extract I had made months earlier (Toasted oak extracted in vodka) to balance out the flavors.

Tasting at this point was nice. The spices and citrus complemented the honey flavor well. The oak and tannins added vanilla overtones and played very nicely with the overall flavors. As it was, this mead is incredibly drinkable. I enjoyed a small glass of it after bottling. This is a mellow and smooth mead that I think will age very well and get nice and complex in about a year.

Notes in retrospect for first timers:

1. I was very lucky with this mead. I went off the reservation but was still able to pull it off in the end. I think I was able to do this because I read everything I could find about crafting mead and that kept me from making fatal errors and kept the little errors to a minimum. All of my deviations were calculated based on what I had read.

2. Mead is very forgiving due to the very nature of what it is. Don't be afraid of it, just respect pre-defined parameters that are spelled out very clearly from others with more experience than you. This place is a great resource, make use of it.

3. Patience will keep you from screwing up.

4. Buy a hydrometer. Even if you're just planning on making JAOM, take readings otherwise you'll always wonder exactly where you're at. I didn't start with a hydrometer, but I'm guessing my alcohol ended up around 18% based on the yeast tolerances and the amount of honey I used (plus the 2 ounces of vodka extract). I'll never know for sure but that's my best educated guess since I fermented it dry.

Chris H
08-16-2013, 01:24 PM
I want to add pics, but for some reason it won't let me. I've gotten jpegs down to 98K and they say they are still too big. I will work on this and post pics later.

Chris H
08-16-2013, 03:30 PM
For some reason I cannot upload attachments nor can I edit my post so I will just link directly. Sorry I had to add an extra post.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2829/9523559731_9d4d4c8cec.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12427680@N07/9523559731/)
IMG_0425 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12427680@N07/9523559731/) by hastyman@sbcglobal.net (http://www.flickr.com/people/12427680@N07/), on Flickr

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2877/9523546679_0475d43217.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12427680@N07/9523546679/)
IMG_0409 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12427680@N07/9523546679/) by hastyman@sbcglobal.net (http://www.flickr.com/people/12427680@N07/), on Flickr

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5507/9523565959_85433dae51.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12427680@N07/9523565959/)
IMG_0411 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12427680@N07/9523565959/) by hastyman@sbcglobal.net (http://www.flickr.com/people/12427680@N07/), on Flickr

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5502/9526336766_03554e538d.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12427680@N07/9526336766/)
IMG_0412 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12427680@N07/9526336766/) by hastyman@sbcglobal.net (http://www.flickr.com/people/12427680@N07/), on Flickr

08-16-2013, 07:57 PM
Very nice! I would love to taste it! Great color! I bet a big frosty mug of that stuff would make me forget about how hot it is and what the heck happened and why everyone is mad at me!

Chevette Girl
08-24-2013, 03:12 PM
:) Dates make a really nice addition to a JAO, it looks fabulous and so do your labels!

08-24-2013, 05:20 PM
Congratulations! Looks like you've got a winner!

Ain't it cool to be able to drink something made by your own hand and enjoyed by all? Ummm... never mind. Screw them. Its US. Its all US... because WE make the stuff! <grin>


Chris H
08-31-2013, 12:33 PM
Thanks for the replies. Mead is definitely an exercise in patience, but I enjoyed the process. Chevette girl, thanks for the compliment on the labels. I enjoy designing labels almost as much as I do making mead. It keeps me from messing with the carboys while fermentation is doing its thing. I just need to print them on a laser printer next time.

Already planning my second mead with buckwheat honey. Probably start it later this week.

Chevette Girl
09-08-2013, 11:06 AM
I enjoy designing labels almost as much as I do making mead. It keeps me from messing with the carboys while fermentation is doing its thing. I just need to print them on a laser printer next time.

Heh, after making fancy wine labels for my mom's wedding wine and having to clearcoat my inkjet printed labels to keep them from running when chilled, I started looking for a colour laser printer myself, eventually got one for under $150... it's pretty much dedicated to only label duty since toner refills cost almost as much as the printer did... but it sure saves a lot of time figuring out what the heck's in the bottle with the faded label!