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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb becoming a purist mead maker.

    Hi everyone, my name is remo. i am first and foremost a noob mead maker and i've come to here to educate myself.

    my questions are very simple but straight to the point. i am somewhat of a purist in almost everything i do, i've cooked in resturants for over 12 years and i perfer to make everything from scratch, from sauces, using vegetables and even mixing of fresh herbs and seasons.(i'm in the process of writing a book on the basic mixtures of herbs and seasons.)

    so to start i have been educating by reading the book: Making Mead and then here:
    http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?opt...omap&Itemid=38

    second i've bought my semi noob starter kit, to make to different 1gal batches.



    2 gals of distiller water
    2 32 oz of raw honey
    2 12 oz of raw honey
    2 oranges
    2 rasien(i know i won't that much)

    why two-one gallon batches? from what i've been reading there are two types mead makers, first just add everything together and second boil water and honey and skim scum. and from what i read it's more for a cleaner refine product.

    i should be picking up my 2 carboys within a couples days, then another two carboys in several so i can rack later on.

    ok here are my some of my question which i hope will be answer within the faq link. IMHO while we as a society we tend to advance in technolgy and make thing alot safer, yet we also tend to forget the most basic essential thing in life and we become handicap by that system.


    if you notice i bought 12oz extra of Honey. everywhere i read if you add more honey you can get a stronger mead(sack mead) and/or if you add honey at the end you can also end with some carbonation. also bottles come intoplay too.

    my first and most important question is yeast. before you send me to the wine making store to buy yeast. i am looking into making my own yeast.

    here's a simple way to make natural yeast, almost the same way i make it when i use to make bread.

    http://youtu.be/w-GmnAD4J7E

    now here's what i'm looking into in the sense of yeast.

    Yeast type Approx max alcoholic % Ideal temp range
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ale 9% * 60-80
    Lager 9% * 45-55 **
    Bread/baking *** 12% 60-80
    Wine 14% 55-75
    Champagne 20% 55-75

    * Can go higher with time, but slows down greatly at this point.
    ** Can ferment at ale temps, but tends to leave cloudy results.
    *** baking yeast can be used in a pinch, and in fact works well with
    citrus wines, but can leave a bread-like smell and taste in
    the beverage that some find objectionable.

    yeast info taken from: http://www.homebrew.net/ferment/


    my second question is more towards to quality of honey and ingreidents. while i see very basic mead recipes has raw honey, orange and raisens. how is the quality of a basic mead with just honey? plain honey mead(whater, yeast and honey)

    now the into my third queston. it's more of a opinion and perference per se.

    granted while my first attemp will be more for wine, i a looking into making:
    Champagne or Ale/Lager. while Champange is bit highend and bottle comes to play too, i'm more of a beer drinker so Ale or Lager. so i'm looking for opinion in taste and higher alcohol context.

    on a final note i do understand while it is state a basic mead recipes is done at six months. the question here is it finish at six month from your final rack? and the longer you leave it the better it taste.

    thank you for any comments and help.

    remo
    it's trust and characater is what i need around me, who you choose to be around you let's you know who you are. and one car in exchange for knowing what's a man's made of, that a price i can live with. - Hans

  2. #2
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    Welcome to gotmead! Looks like your planning to make JOA Mead...

    You may want to start with the packaged yeast, and then try to culture random yeast for a later batch...

    Taste the honey, if you don't like the honey, then you probably won't like the mead, otherwise once again, try it and see what you think of the end product...

    Yes, first try the bread yeast, and then explore further options on later batches...

    Yes, it should improve with age, although be drinkable in say 6 months or less.
    Bees stole my signature file!

  3. #3
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    Welcome to GotMead!

    I would suggest trying the recipe as-is first (I'm assuming you're doing JAO). Don't add extra honey, don't change the yeast, don't do anything differently. As you're starting out, you might not realize how the changes you make affect the end product. Once you've figured out how the raw ingredients turn into the final product (this takes much more than one batch BTW), then you can start fiddling with things.

    As for yeast, ale yeast does not make ale any more than Champagne yeast makes Champagne. The names of the yeast only describe where they came from, and what they are "designed" to do. All the yeasts we use are the same genus, and for the most part the same species: Saccharomyces cerevisiae. They can all make bread, beer, wine, mead, and cider; some are better at doing one of these things than the others and thus we have "bread yeast" and "wine yeast". The yeast you capture to make a sourdough starter is going to be very similar to the yeast in the packet, though you're more likely to end up with a mixed culture of several different subspecies, some bacteria, and other genus yeasts with the captured culture.

    Lots of information, most of it not important for now. Try your hand at the JAO and see how it goes. Good luck!
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  4. #4
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    IMHO JAO is drinkable immediately
    Improves with age
    Spices begin to deminish @ 6 months, but the mead will continue to get smoother.

    Making your own yeast sounds great, it's something I'd love to do, but it's not something I'd try until I was an accomplished meadmaker.
    It is fraught with feasible failure.
    Until all the other variables are nailed down, I just wouldn't go there.

    A mead with just honey, water and yeast is called a show mead, and rarely produced as it has difficulties.
    More common is a traditional mead, which allows for nutrient addition.
    Search for these terms and see what info you can find.

    I also could not recommend this highly enough: get yourself a copy of 'the Compleat Meadmaker ' by Ken Schramm. I found it to be very educational.
    Mae'r teithiau golau ceffyl eto

  5. Default Hey Remo-

    Like you I have come here to learn, but for me, I am seeking new twists to this craft. I come from a long line of purists, therefore for the past 25 years mead was just that - Honey, H2O, yeast & time. Unfortunately sometimes that doesn't turn out so well.

    Last year I got 'radical' according to my father when I added french medium toast oak to 6 weeks of my 2nd fermentation on a batch & fermented a batch adding apples ginger & mulling spice for a "holiday bottling" we fondly called Holiday Hooch.

    A purist would tell you leave out the citrus & raisins otherwise you are making JOA mead just as skunkboy said.

    There are many idea's here that I believe can lead you to some really nice mead. But if you are a purist - taste the honey if you like the flavor of the honey you'll like the mead.

    Good luck
    Last edited by Hellcat; 06-26-2011 at 03:11 PM.

  6. #6
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    A purist can't add oak? apples? spices? How sad! None of these things turn mead into not-mead. The joy of making something yourself is being able to do it however you want. While I admire someone wanting to go the honey-water-yeast-only route, there is so much more to mead that gets left behind if that's the only thing you do. I say try everything, except perhaps the pescamel.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  7. #7
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    Um...what's a pescamel?
    Making Mead With TLC since 2010

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAlchemist View Post
    Um...what's a pescamel?
    Search and beware. Though I can't remember if they spelled it pescamel or pescimel.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  9. #9
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    Well, a pescaterian is someone who eats fish, so I'm guessing...

    Only one hit on the search engine, besides here...
    Making Mead With TLC since 2010

  10. #10
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    thank you everyone for the warm welcom.
    Quote Originally Posted by skunkboy View Post
    Welcome to gotmead! Looks like your planning to make JOA Mead...

    You may want to start with the packaged yeast, and then try to culture random yeast for a later batch...
    yes i did buy a basic yeast pack
    Taste the honey, if you don't like the honey, then you probably won't like the mead, otherwise once again, try it and see what you think of the end product...
    yes i do love honey, the taste
    Yes, first try the bread yeast, and then explore further options on later batches...
    i think i should start simple then
    Yes, it should improve with age, although be drinkable in say 6 months or less.is it 6months from the begining or or 6months from the second rack into bottle.
    Quote Originally Posted by kudapucat View Post
    IMHO JAO is drinkable immediately
    Improves with age
    Spices begin to deminish @ 6 months, but the mead will continue to get smoother.
    really, then is should basiclly do a the simplest form of mead.
    Making your own yeast sounds great, it's something I'd love to do, but it's not something I'd try until I was an accomplished meadmaker.
    It is fraught with feasible failure.
    Until all the other variables are nailed down, I just wouldn't go there.
    i do understand, start with small steps.
    A mead with just honey, water and yeast is called a show mead, and rarely produced as it has difficulties.
    More common is a traditional mead, which allows for nutrient addition.
    Search for these terms and see what info you can find.
    so my question when does "show mead: becomes a "sack mead"
    I also could not recommend this highly enough: get yourself a copy of 'the Compleat Meadmaker ' by Ken Schramm. I found it to be very educational.on my way to barns and noble.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hellcat View Post
    Like you I have come here to learn, but for me, I am seeking new twists to this craft. I come from a long line of purists, therefore for the past 25 years mead was just that - Honey, H2O, yeast & time. Unfortunately sometimes that doesn't turn out so well.
    lol, as everything
    Last year I got 'radical' according to my father when I added french medium toast oak to 6 weeks of my 2nd fermentation on a batch & fermented a batch adding apples ginger & mulling spice for a "holiday bottling" we fondly called Holiday Hooch.
    Hooch.. eww, everytime i hear that word i cringe cause all i can think about is jail house hooch.
    A purist would tell you leave out the citrus & raisins otherwise you are making JOA mead just as skunkboy said.
    yes i realize after several reads that a basic mead was water, yeast and honey.
    There are many idea's here that I believe can lead you to some really nice mead. But if you are a purist - taste the honey if you like the flavor of the honey you'll like the mead.
    yes but the only reason i was going to use raisen and orange was cause or orange blossem honey. several place stated this was one of the best tasting honey for mead and using raisens ad orange would be the same.
    Good luck
    thank you
    Quote Originally Posted by akueck View Post
    A purist can't add oak? apples? spices? How sad!
    not really, but then again wh knows what the future holds.
    None of these things turn mead into not-mead. The joy of making something yourself is being able to do it however you want. While I admire someone wanting to go the honey-water-yeast-only route, there is so much more to mead that gets left behind if that's the only thing you do. I say try everything, except perhaps the pescamel.
    um? yeah? what?
    Quote Originally Posted by TheAlchemist View Post
    Um...what's a pescamel?
    i google it and i can't find it.
    it's trust and characater is what i need around me, who you choose to be around you let's you know who you are. and one car in exchange for knowing what's a man's made of, that a price i can live with. - Hans

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by akueck View Post
    Search and beware. Though I can't remember if they spelled it pescamel or pescimel.
    ok thats a start. lol.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheAlchemist View Post
    Well, a pescaterian is someone who eats fish, so I'm guessing...

    Only one hit on the search engine, besides here...
    well i eat fish... wait a sec.. hope we're not talking about the ex's fish. lol.
    it's trust and characater is what i need around me, who you choose to be around you let's you know who you are. and one car in exchange for knowing what's a man's made of, that a price i can live with. - Hans

  12. #12
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    I believe it's 6 months from pitching. And it is worth the wait.
    This is something that's not well documented, but a good brewer friend of mine tells me a JAO is good 6 months from pitching. I measure everything else from the time I set aside to bulk age.

    A sack mead is any mead that has a sweetness similar to a desert wine.
    JAO is a sack mead. They usually finish up around 1.030 - 1.040

    So you could make a dry show or traditional mead, but by adding more honey you will get residual sweetness and therefore ahve a sack.
    You could also make a dry, stabilise it and backsweeten with honey to make it a sack, but that will probably go against the purist in you ;-)
    Mae'r teithiau golau ceffyl eto

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by kudapucat View Post
    A sack mead is any mead that has a sweetness similar to a desert wine.
    JAO is a sack mead. They usually finish up around 1.030 - 1.040

    So you could make a dry show or traditional mead, but by adding more honey you will get residual sweetness and therefore ahve a sack.
    I think Sack mead refers to a meads high SG, could end up sweet and low ABV or dry and high ABV.

    JAO is good at 6 months, but only gets better and better as time passes! Recommend definitely saving a couple bottles as long as you can to taste what time can do to a mead!

  14. #14
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    Welcome aboard, and it was spelled "piscamel"... I think the "you've gotta read this" thread...<sigh> but I'm not going to go confirm, reading it once was enough for me.

    And yes, I've had JAO as young as 3 months after pitching but I'm usually too lazy to bottle it earlier than about 6 months but it's always good, age just makes it better.

    Start with established recipes. It lets you sort out your procedures without having to wonder about your recipe, wine kits are also good for figuring out how to get everything done. Once you've got a few good recipes that you can make somewhat reliably with good results, then start messing with stuff. If you read enough around here you will eventually get a handle on how each change should affect your mead. And running side-by-side comparaisons can really hit home with how just one thing can affect the taste, I have a long list of stuff to try myself

    Also, if you want to be purist, define what exactly you want mean by it and we can help... making/growing all your own ingredients? Using only locally grown? Organically produced ingredients? Avoiding using any kind of chemical additives? (check out the section on making mead naturally, I don't know if Oskaar has renamed it, there are a few things you need to be aware of before you try to bottle a sweet mead without stabilizing it, for your own safety, and a few limitations on what you can do). There is no one true way to do anything, that's the fun part, just figure out what works for you!

    "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
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  15. #15
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    Last edited by kudapucat; 06-26-2011 at 08:42 PM.
    Mae'r teithiau golau ceffyl eto

  16. #16

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    I prefer definition from a site that has to do with brewing

    They seem to say any mead with an sg over 1.120 and a ABV above 14% is considered a sack mead

    http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/meadintro.php

    But I think we are getting off topic! Sorry about that!

  17. #17

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    i would forget about being a "purist" for the moment. at least get a few brews done before doing anything special.

    the JAO is a good start. just follow the recipe exactly.
    while that is maturing you can get stuck into some better brewing techniques.
    better yeasts, SNA etc. that should keep you busy learning for while.

    then you can advance to capturing wild yeasts, purist etc. by then you will know most of the pitfalls and also what is a good result.

    main thing here is to learn to walk before you run.

  18. #18
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    I consider myself a mild purist, to me not boiling helps be more "purist" (rather than change what the honey is giving me I'm just using it), but there's not really anything non-purist about boiling either, it's still pure mead made from scratch, just a different process.

    None-purism is really only when adding flavouring additives that aren't pure - adding vanilla extract is purist, as it's just alcohol that's had vanilla soaked in it (same as a vanilla mead would be), but synthetic vanilla flavouring would be non-purist - adding a vanilla bean itself would maybe be "extra purist" and would be the way I'd do it (for control reasons, not purist reasons though).

    Adding cherries for flavour = purist, adding cough syrup for cherry flavour = not purist.

    The only non-purist thing I do is add tannin galalcool sometimes, but it's still an ingredient I understand. I don't consider using tannin extracts any less purist than a chef who would cook with wine that the chef didn't ferment themselves, from grapes they didn't grow themselves.

    In the end it's just about getting the result you're after though.
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by remoer View Post

    if you notice i bought 12oz extra of Honey. everywhere i read if you add more honey you can get a stronger mead(sack mead) and/or if you add honey at the end you can also end with some carbonation. also bottles come intoplay too.
    Not entirely accurate. Using a bread yeast the yeast reach their maximum alcohol tolerance pretty easily at which point adding more honey up front only makes the final product sweeter, not more alcoholic. You need to combine a strain with a higher ABV with more sugar to get a higher ABV in the final product. Read the newbie guide for more info on this. There's an entire section on planning that goes over this in great detail.

    my first and most important question is yeast. before you send me to the wine making store to buy yeast. i am looking into making my own yeast.
    I concur with the others that this is a bit too audacious (and I can be audacious).

    It would be like a person who has never baked before deciding to make a Soufflé, modifying the recipe before trying it for the first time, -AND- farming and milling their very own flour for the first time ever to go into the Soufflé.

    It's mostly a matter of "learn to walk before running"

    now here's what i'm looking into in the sense of yeast.

    Yeast type Approx max alcoholic % Ideal temp range
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ale 9% * 60-80
    Lager 9% * 45-55 **
    Bread/baking *** 12% 60-80
    Wine 14% 55-75
    Champagne 20% 55-75
    These would appear to be more target alcohol contents than true yeast capabilities. Every yeast is different, but after a lot of reading there's plenty of Ale yeasts that will hit 14% without a hitch. There's wine yeasts that will hit 18-20% (EC-111

    Use the yeast table in the toolbar to the left to help you in choosing a yeast. Remember that if you aim to let it go dry then back-sweeten to taste then there's no need to worry about choosing a yeast based on it's alcohol tolerance.

    Don't go for a super high ABV, instead aim for a lower alcohol tolerance to make getting everything exactly as you want it easier..... Yeast don't know where you want them to stop and have a tendency to stop early or keep going.

    my second question is more towards to quality of honey and ingreidents. while i see very basic mead recipes has raw honey, orange and raisens. how is the quality of a basic mead with just honey? plain honey mead(whater, yeast and honey)
    There's two types of "plain" meads that would fit your descritpion. A Show mead and a Traditional. Both come out excellent but tend to need a little more aging.

    A show mead doesn't use any nutrients, vitamins etc in making it and are extremely difficult. The quote often used here is the only reason for a show mead is to show you can make one. It's the pinnacle of complexity like the perfect Soufflé in cooking and can take years to ferment versus weeks.

    A traditional will taste so close to a show mead, that you'd have to be an expert taster to tell the difference... and even then... But with a traditional you add nutrients, standard rehydration procedures and possibly even chemicals to stabilize. It ferments much faster than a show mead, and tastes pretty much the same.

    now the into my third queston. it's more of a opinion and perference per se.

    granted while my first attemp will be more for wine, i a looking into making:
    Champagne or Ale/Lager. while Champange is bit highend and bottle comes to play too, i'm more of a beer drinker so Ale or Lager. so i'm looking for opinion in taste and higher alcohol context.
    I haven't done too many ales or lagers, but there's been some discussion in the patron forums as to what tastes better and even if a lower ABV helps keep a party moving better than getting people wasted quickly.

    Higher wine ABV tends to take longer to mellow out.

    on a final note i do understand while it is state a basic mead recipes is done at six months. the question here is it finish at six month from your final rack? and the longer you leave it the better it taste.

    The longer you leave it the better it tastes.

    The time frames given tend to be generalities and not set in stone. You will probably want to re-rack your mead every couple of months. When you do measure the SG to make sure fermentation is done (no change in SG) after that, take 1oz of the sample you measured and enjoy a guilty taste. If it's good to you then it's ready. If it's too harsh or whatever, let it go back to sitting for a few more months.
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  20. #20
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    To set the record slightly more straight (although there are lots of different opinions about mead and meadmaking terms, so this could ignite a debate among folks who may not have done all their homework), the "sack" nomenclature is applied to meads that are higher than average ethanol content. The BJCP reckons that is at or higher than 14% ABV, and that's as good a marker as any for "greater than average" alcohol. "Sack" as a term can be applied to both sweet or dry beverages, and so it does not denote a particular residual sweetness, although it is a common misconception that sack beverages are sweet. Even the historical use of the term in England, referring to Spanish sherries for export to the British isles, could refer to dry or sweet beverages - although the predominant tastes of the time favored sweeter fortified beverages.

    Now I think I'm going to have to edit a Wikipedia entry -- that'll be a first for me....
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