View Full Version : First time mead making...

01-24-2005, 06:23 PM
So... Hello! This is the first time that I try to make mead at and I've got some question. Here's what I've done so far.

about 750-800 gr wildflower honey
2 lt. pure water
4-5 gr high fermentation safeale 04 dry yeast

Done must, and put everything in fermentator with air lock. Fermentation started right after 2-3 hours. So what's on now? Is everythin right till now? Till when shuold I wait (till fementation stop or what else?)? And one last question: if I'd like to add some favour (like vanilla) when should I do it?

Thank you!

01-24-2005, 06:40 PM
Welcome to the board! If you havn't done so, go out and buy a copy of Ken Shramm's The Compleat Meadmaker. Any meadmaker will tell you it is the mead bible, and anyone starting out should read it.

Remember to keep everything sterilized and sealed away from oxygen.

Usually fruit and flavorings are added after your first racking, about 6-8 weeks after you pitch your yeast. This helps maintain the flavor, rather than have all of the flavor more or less fermented out.

Do you have any more questions? I'm sure you have alot.

01-24-2005, 06:43 PM
Yes... I've seen that making mead is quite different than beer... so... How much should I wait now? Only a question of fermatation stopping or density like beer making (with beer I know it's time to bottle measuring density...)? And what to do next?

01-24-2005, 06:57 PM
You should rack every 6 weeks or so to get it off the lees (sediment). Are you experienced with beer? Are you familiar with racking?

The mead usually takes a couple rackings until it is clear. Your mead should become drinkable in about 6 weeks to a year. The longer you age it, the better it will taste. Timewise, mead is more like wine then beer.

Another thing to consider is yeast nutrient. Honey doesn't have natural nutrients for yeast like the ingredients for wine and beer. You should get some yeast nutrient and add about a half tsp per gallon asap.

800 gr of honey? How many lbs is that? How big is your batch size? Do you know what your sg is right now? How sweet/dry are you hoping for?

01-24-2005, 07:04 PM
I've got some experience with waizen and trappist-like beer....800 gr of honey are mmm... I think 2 pounds... for about 0.75 gallon... trying to make sweet mead. mmm... what's sg? And...can you tell me what to use as natural yeast nutrient (can't find raisins now)?

01-24-2005, 08:28 PM
.75 gallon? So you are using a gallon jug? What are you fermenting in? In that case, 2 lbs for 3/4 gallon is about right for a sweet mead. What is the alcohol tolerance of your yeast?

Most meadmakers go out and buy some yeast nutrient from a brew shop. If you want to go natural, you better go get some raisins.

SG (Specific Gravity) refers to a measurment of solids to liquids. You can get a hydrometer for this at a brew shop, but it isn't absolutely necessary.

Do you happen to have MSN messenger? If so we can chat back and forth a bit and I can answer alot of the questions you might have. You can also download it for free.

01-25-2005, 03:45 AM
Thank you for answering...I'm using a jug that is about 1,5-2 gallons. About SG: can you give me some values to look for (endig value at least)? Raisins are quite impossible to find at this time of the year for me... can I use other fruits? And yes, I've got MSN!

01-25-2005, 04:23 AM
You can use dried berries like currants, cherries, blackberries, blueberries, etc. as long as there is no Sulfur Dioxide used in the drying process. I've used them with great results. No raisins?? Are you in Europe somewhere?

I'm guessing you're close to some wineries who may be able supply you with Di Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) and yeast hulls/energizer.



01-25-2005, 04:59 AM
Yes, I'm in Italy...can I also use fresh blueberries? How much?

01-25-2005, 06:45 AM
You can, but the fresh blueberries will be better in the secondary and retain more of their original flavor and character.

You can use the dried blueberries in the primary, and then rack onto them in the secondary. I've done this before and it has turned out really great.



01-25-2005, 06:57 AM
Ok...I'll try to find something... mmm... is it good to open the fermentation jug while bubbling?

01-25-2005, 12:17 PM
You want to try to aviod that most of the time, but as long as it's only for a second or two before replacing the stopper, it won't hurt it.

01-25-2005, 12:51 PM
Well... I've finally found raisins... I'll start by adding 5-6... is this amount right? Any suggestion?

01-25-2005, 01:15 PM
Start with about 10 or 12 raisins. That should be about right if I remember.



01-25-2005, 05:38 PM
0skaar, if you were to use a food grade pail for the primary (say about a weeks worth of ferment 1.040) then wanted to add 8 lbs of marionberry puree to the process.

would you put it into the bucket in a straining bag or would you put it in to the glass carboy with out the bag?

i plan on using a glass carboy for the secondary ferment but i don't think i could get the straining bag out of it!

or.... should i just dump the fruit in and rack on to the fruit and worry about seperating the finished ferment from the scum later???

thank you!

01-25-2005, 06:00 PM
Though there is the risk of added oxidation, I usually put the fruit (never used puree) into the secondary and rack onto it. Then I will rack off the fruit when I think it's had enough. If you are careful with your racking technique you shouldn't cause too much problem. Though I suppose the extra racking will cause you to loose some liquid.

01-25-2005, 07:45 PM
When I'm doing a melomel and I start out with fruit in the primary I use a 6.5 gallon carboy and rack down to a 5 gallon vessel with more fruit in the secondary. There are times that I want to layer two different flavors that meld into a very nice complexity that you can't get by using just juice or just fruit either in the secondary or primary.

Process-wise I generally use frozen or fresh-frozen fruit that I run through my chinois and then pass through a funnel into the primary or seccondary vessel. I have used steeping bags, nylon stockings, silk stockings, etc. in carboys, plastic buckets and corney kegs. Each have their plusses and minuses, but at this point in my brewing life
I prefer glass carboys because they seem to clear a bit faster than the others in my experience, as well as not retaining tastes like plastics.

When I use a steeping bag in a carboy I generally fit the empty bag through the mouth and neck of the carboy, and then use a funnel to pour the fruit through and into the bag until it's full, then I tie it off and let it drop to the bottom. Then I fill with the must and pitch the yeast if it's in the primary, or rack onto it if it's in the secondary.

Most of the time I don't use bags to enclose my fruit because I stir my must during primary frequently, and I'm not really worried about transfering some chunkies into the secondary. But most of the time I don't use fruit in the primary because I generally brew a show mead and wait until fruit becomes available to put in the secondary.

There are some meadmakers I've met that use 20 pounds of fruit or more in the primary, and none in the secondary and their stuff is outstanding. None that I know of use a steeping bag, and most of them use carboys.

Hope that helps,