View Full Version : Basic, sweet Mead

03-02-2004, 01:12 AM
I'm new to the forum and rather new to mead. I started my first batch last Summer, which completely dissapeared by Christmas Eve night. ;D Couldn't help it.

I have two batches started at present. The first batch was pitched about a month ago and was racked, oh, about a week ago. The second batch was pitched Sunday morning. Both are doing fine but, with a forum as this, with all the knowledge at ones finger-tips, why not take advantage? You fellahs that are willing to share your knowledge, save beginner's, like myself, years of sacrifice and toil.

My intent is to get the basics down solid, before branching off to more complicated recipes. At the present my desire is to stay with a non-chemical, traditional mead. I've been using tea & lemon, with spring water & raw honey. Simmering & skimming.

Ok, my first question to the forum:

I am doing 3 gallon batches. The end result I wish to accomplish is a sweet mead. I supect 3 or more pounds to the gallon, but what do you reccomend as a yeast, along with what amount of honey?

I've been using Champagne yeast w/ 4lbs. of honey to the gallon, but as I mentioned earlier, I haven't been able to let it age. ;D But, now that I have several carboys, etc... I do intend to begin aging and thus seek your advice on a simple, traditional, sweet mead.

03-02-2004, 01:26 AM
hmmm You might try the following

1.5 - 2 pounds of Buckwheat honey (nutrient source)
5 - 5.5 pound other honey(s) of your choice. (not Buckwheat)
Water to 3 gallons
k1-v1116 Yeast (wil have some residual sweetens typically)

Sweeten, lemon, and tea to taste afterwards.

Consider using apple juice sometime instead of water. This gives a cyser. If you do you can drop a pound of honey.

03-02-2004, 01:48 AM
ThirstyViking, I've been using the tea & lemon for a yeast feeder and acid. From your reply, I get the impression that this may not be neccessary, at least with the Buckwheat honey. Please expound......

03-02-2004, 03:19 AM
Well, Buckwheat honey (especially eastern us Buckwheat IIRC) is very high in nutrients compared to other honeys. So much so that if you do much research on meads made with only Buchwheat you'll find numerous tales of strong off flavors and VERY long ageing times.

It is the opinion of the "Natural Meadmaker Cult" :o that the reason why this is true is that having too much of a chemical (or even nutrients found in Buckwheat honey) produces off flavors.... It is also possible to find people who knowing nothing of buckwheat honey charachteristics adding nutrient to a Varietal Buckwheat increasing thier difficulties.

100% buchwheat Varietal meads are notorious for Very Rapid Ferments and off flavors... Too much nutrient? that what several of us think. I'm a new member of the "Cult". Dan McFeeley might be considered a member. Chuck Wintrgreen(Sp?) has been posting about mead for many years, in 1998 or maybe 1999 he went to Brittany France and toured old meaderies (check the Mead Lovers Digest Archives for posts). What he learned was that many/most of them Blended their Honeys and used Buckwheat.

Reading his posts would help you.
http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&board=Natural;action=usersrecentposts;username=chu ckwm

He does make a 100% Buckwheat mead.

But Vicky asks about buckwheat. This is a VERY strong honey. My wife says it smells like "barnyard" (manure). It does have a strong aroma, which disappears with fermentation. It's funny, I've not yet made a 100% buckwheat show mead, although I've been meaning to. But the last two smoke'n chiles meads that I made were 100% buckwheat.

It has been my experience that 100% buckwheat ferments out just about overnight, clears in like a week, and is ready to drink almost immediately, but it is very strongly flavored. Perhaps my Smoke'n Chiles has burned out my tastebuds! I don't know what yeast you're using Vicky, but I generally use either D47 or K1. I also got my buckwheat from Dutch Gold. Where you got yours may make a difference.
For his smoke'n chilies mead he adds 5 pounds of jalapenos and a couple pounds of ginger. and some Tea. So the strong tastes that others may find a bit unpleasant have a lot of competition.

For Blended Honey meads Chuck recomends an OG of 1.1 and 2 pounds of buckwheat honey in a 5 gallon batch. This is usually 11.5-12 pounds of honey. I use ~ 8-10 oz per gallon ( chuck uses 6.4 oz/gallon) but i have less experience than chuck.

A Final note on Fermentation.... The process of fermentation releases heat into your must. Usually this is a slow enough process that it is balanced by typical air cooling. Others who brew professionally have suggested 1 degree rise per 1% alchohol produced IIRC (though it might have been 1 per Brix). Off flavors are a known side effect of high temperature fermentations as yeast produce different compounds under temperature stress. This too may have a component in buchwheats reputation for producing meads in need of lots of aging.

Well this is pretty much all I can say about buckwheat honey.

Dan McFeeley would also be a good source for natural meadmaking knowledge.

http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&board=Natural;action=usersrecentposts;username=mcf eeley