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  1. #21

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    10 batches is 9 more than I've made. And I'm tempted to have more than one variety going at once - mostly because I'm old and running out of time to perfect my mead. But, as I've learned with this 1st batch, there are so many variables that I didn't learn through reading before trying, that I'd rather chance ruining 1 batch at a time rather than 5 or 6.

  2. #22

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    Yea as a Newb myself, I decided to follow Oskaar's advice and focus on a straight mead. I used to be in the SCA and there was a guy who made the mead for us. It was killer and that's what I am aiming for. I don't know what he used and no one that I can get in contact with remembers the guys name.

    So what I decided to do was pick that memory from the cobwebs. Take the other memories of the mead that I have had since and didn't like and shoot for something that I enjoy.

    I did make a melomel this past winter, but following a suggestion from Ken Shramm's book, I added the fruit into the secondary. This allowed me to make my straight mead using the same recipe as my first batch and then take 3 gallons off to make the mel.

    This weekend I am making another 6 gallon batch and it's going to be the same, varietal honey, D47 yeast and Ozarka Spring Water..

    I must say that the first batch, even though it had "Issues" has gotten better with every month.

    And I agree, this Forum, and the people here are the best of the internet..

    Happy Meading!

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Calgary AB Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemist View Post
    All sounds like great advice. And, yes, it is my intent to stick with one mead until I feel really comfortable before branching out into other options. Based on my past experiences making dandelion wine, I find that to be sound advice.
    Oak chips it is! Can it be over done in terms of quantity or length of time? I have racked the mead off into the second stage before bottling. I have a full 5 gallons plus.
    Oh man can it ever be over-done! Go back and read Oskaar's post one more time, "chips" is what he recommends against using, cubes, spirals, beans, anything else is better really (except for powder and extract, those are worse).

    And even with cubes, yes it can be over done. For 5 gallons I personally would add between 1/2oz and 1oz and start taking small taste tests every week after about 2 or 3 weeks. You can always add more oak, can't really take it out once it's in there though!
    ~AToE (A Thing of Eternity... it's a nerd thing...)

    AKA: Alan H

  4. #24

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    Oak "chips" was my mind not communicating with my fingers. I remember seeing the spirals when I first ordered my equipment and ingredients wondering if I would want/need them. It's the spirals I will order - not chips. I promise!

  5. #25

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    havoc64... "I used to be in the SCA and there was a guy who made the mead for us."
    Not knowing what SCA was, I looked it up on the internet. But then I had to decide from many organizations. Student Conservation Society... Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists... Society of Creative Anachronism... or Sexual Compulsives Anonymous... among others.
    Too many choices - too much fun.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemist View Post
    havoc64... "I used to be in the SCA and there was a guy who made the mead for us."
    Not knowing what SCA was, I looked it up on the internet. But then I had to decide from many organizations. Student Conservation Society... Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists... Society of Creative Anachronism... or Sexual Compulsives Anonymous... among others.
    Too many choices - too much fun.
    Society for Creative Anachronism is generally accepted as the most common/standard. On this board the level of geek is high enough that it becomes a pretty sure thing.
    #! /bin/ksh
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  7. #27
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    There's a whole forum for the SCA here:
    http://www.gotmead.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=152
    Making Mead With TLC since 2010

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    The OC
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    Quote Originally Posted by AToE View Post
    While I'm pretty timid to dissagree with Oskaar (especially since I agree with 99% of his post entirely), I think pretty much every mead maker has to go through a period of being unfocussed. Most people's first year (for some people even longer) is spent making, this, that, anything they can...snip...
    I don't disagree here. Newbees will naturally want to make all kinds of weird-o-mels once they dive in. My advice is still to make one kind of mead many times and practice your basic meadmaking skills. That doesn't preclude making other stuff in the meantime. I generally don't mention it because its kind of a given in my mind and I tend to gloss over the stuff I consider obvious, probably a bad habit!

    So learning by rote is necessary, but so is learning by experimentation. My advice is to note and store the "aha" moments from the experimentation, but be sure to use the basic meadmaking skills you are learning to turn them into a part of your craft.
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  9. #29
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    Jun 2009
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    Calgary AB Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oskaar View Post
    I don't disagree here. Newbees will naturally want to make all kinds of weird-o-mels once they dive in. My advice is still to make one kind of mead many times and practice your basic meadmaking skills. That doesn't preclude making other stuff in the meantime. I generally don't mention it because its kind of a given in my mind and I tend to gloss over the stuff I consider obvious, probably a bad habit!

    So learning by rote is necessary, but so is learning by experimentation. My advice is to note and store the "aha" moments from the experimentation, but be sure to use the basic meadmaking skills you are learning to turn them into a part of your craft.
    I think the combination of your suggestion of repeating recipes over and over, with the idea of side by side test batchs, is the best way to accelerate learning, otherwise it'll take decades.

    I'm personally so glad I started doing side by side tests very early on. Some of the experiments I did after I'd been making mead for only a half a year are just now in the next year or so going to start providing me with data. So my advice to everyone, is start the comparision batches as early as possible!
    ~AToE (A Thing of Eternity... it's a nerd thing...)

    AKA: Alan H

  10. #30
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    Mar 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oskaar View Post
    I don't disagree here. Newbees will naturally want to make all kinds of weird-o-mels once they dive in. My advice is still to make one kind of mead many times and practice your basic meadmaking skills. That doesn't preclude making other stuff in the meantime. I generally don't mention it because its kind of a given in my mind and I tend to gloss over the stuff I consider obvious, probably a bad habit!

    So learning by rote is necessary, but so is learning by experimentation. My advice is to note and store the "aha" moments from the experimentation, but be sure to use the basic meadmaking skills you are learning to turn them into a part of your craft.
    Personally, I think I'll take this advice... My creativity is starting to run wild and I think I better rein it in a bit...
    "The single biggest threat to our planet is the destruction of habitat and along the way the loss of precious wildlife. We need to reach a balance where people, habitat and wildlife can co-exist -- if we don't, everyone loses...one day...Since when has killing a wild animal, eating it or wearing it, ever saved a species?" - Stephen Robert Irwin (1962 - 2006)

  11. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by THawk View Post
    Personally, I think I'll take this advice... My creativity is starting to run wild and I think I better rein it in a bit...

    I know the feeling...

    I kinda figure I'm going to concentrate on making JAO's perfectly every time. Already my wife and I are beginning to learn how we like our mead. My next big 5 gallon batch I think I'll be removing more of the orange pith since we don't like how much harshness it contributes.
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  12. #32
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    It's a really good thing to do, I'm always shocked by how much I haven't yet learned that can improve a specific mead, every time I think I've done the ultimate version and taken perfect care of it I find out I've still got a long ways to go!
    ~AToE (A Thing of Eternity... it's a nerd thing...)

    AKA: Alan H

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loadnabox View Post
    I kinda figure I'm going to concentrate on making JAO's perfectly every time. Already my wife and I are beginning to learn how we like our mead. My next big 5 gallon batch I think I'll be removing more of the orange pith since we don't like how much harshness it contributes.
    That's what I'm gonna do -- make JAO's until I can make it in my sleep... It's the one mead I can probably make here with this kind of weather (at least maybe until December)...
    "The single biggest threat to our planet is the destruction of habitat and along the way the loss of precious wildlife. We need to reach a balance where people, habitat and wildlife can co-exist -- if we don't, everyone loses...one day...Since when has killing a wild animal, eating it or wearing it, ever saved a species?" - Stephen Robert Irwin (1962 - 2006)

  14. #34

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    I give up... someone please explain JAO.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemist View Post
    I give up... someone please explain JAO.
    JAO (actually JAOM) - Joe's Ancient Orange Mead

    It's a foolproof sweet mead recipe that usually guarantees success if followed to the letter (deviate and you 'void the warranty'). Drinkable in about 2 months (per the recipe) but usually better if aged. The recipe is the first thread in the "General Recipe Discussion" area (the recipe itself is in the last or second last page).

    It's quite delicious...
    "The single biggest threat to our planet is the destruction of habitat and along the way the loss of precious wildlife. We need to reach a balance where people, habitat and wildlife can co-exist -- if we don't, everyone loses...one day...Since when has killing a wild animal, eating it or wearing it, ever saved a species?" - Stephen Robert Irwin (1962 - 2006)

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemist View Post
    I give up... someone please explain JAO.
    The link in case you need it Joe Mattioli's Foolproof Ancient Orange, Clove, and Cinnamon Mead
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  17. #37
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    AToE's suggestion of running a lot of side-by-side test batches is something I wish I'd started doing more of years ago. Then I'd have more useful results now instead of still needing another year or two!

    Oskaar's suggestion of getting really good at one thing before you branch out?

    I've been thinking about that one suggestion from such an esteemed Gotmead community leader a lot since I first read it and looking back over my brewing history I think that is probably great advice for a meadmaker. But I don't think it could have worked as well for me because I started with winemaking, not meadmaking, using what was locally and seasonally available, so even year to year there were variations in the quantity and quality of what was available, and it took a long time to figure out what was drinkable and what was GOOD and what's been consistent. So even though I know my redcurrant wine kicks ass fairly consistently, I can't just go out and buy redcurrants and make it for practice... it has to be a good season for them, I have to find time to pick and prepare the fruits before they spoil on the bush, and I've never seen them commercially available, so it's not as easy as "go make this recipe a lot of times and get it perfect before you do anything else." And I'm totally guilty of trying to ferment anything I could get my hands on, from frozen concentrates to jalapeno peppers, but I think I learned a lot about consistent results despite using different ingredients. The reason I get inconsistent results is because sometimes my methods are inconsistent or even sometimes sloppy (don't cut corners on aeration, quality ingredients, sanitation or nutrients and check your airlock water levels more often than you think you need to!). I guess the short version of what I'm trying to say is that you can follow Oskaar's advice a lot faster with traditional meads or mels that can be made with easily-obtained fruits than you can if your ingredients are more restricted. So stick with something simpla and tasty with easy-to-get ingredients of consistent quality. Which was probably also implicit in Oskaar's suggestion, I just like to spell it out cause I have a bad habit of expecting everyone else to think the way I do and what's obvious to me often isn't to anyone else.

    I have a consistent (for me) recipe for maple mead that gives me great results. Any time my brew log says, "DO THIS AGAIN!!!", it's usually a sure bet that it'll be something I want to drink a lot of

    Once I discovered the Joe's Ancient Orange recipe (somewhere around my third year of winemaking) and started messing with it and found my favourite variation (blackberry), there are definite merits to just tossing everything together the way you always do (because you've percected your good technique with practice) and knowing it'll all turn out great.
    Last edited by Chevette Girl; 05-17-2011 at 01:09 PM.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  18. #38

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    Thank you.
    I love simple answers and I knew this had to be one.
    The ironic thing is that I copied that samr recipe to my desktop and didn't put 2 and 2 together to see that Joe"s Ancient Orange was the answer.

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