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  1. Default It's time ... I'm doing it!

    Hi all ... this is my first post, although I have been reading a while.

    I've wanted to make mead for a long time (i LOVE honey) and I'm ready to get started. I think I'll be pretty serious about it and have been studying for a few months. I have the Schramm and Piatz books, I've watched enough youtube videos to know the ones who forgot to study yeast nutrient additions (or even sanitation in some cases haha!), and I've read enough on here to know that I want to ask my questions BEFORE I screw it up.

    Today I got my first shipment of equipment from Northern Brewer and I have another large order coming from Midwest in a couple days. Father's Day sales ROCK!

    I have not yet decided exactly what I want to do first. I'm thinking a 3 gallon batch of traditional ... with orange blossom honey. In case I do something right, I hear OB tastes pretty good in a traditional. I also have some one-gallon jugs, I thought about splitting up the 3 gallons. One thought I've had is to ferment the 3 gallons dry and then split into 3 .. leave one gallon dry ... backsweeten one to semi ... and another to sweet. Just to see what they taste like. I'm leaning towards this right now, but I have a few days before I really have to decide! Haha! I haven't even ordered the honey yet, so it will be more than a few days, but I'm ready to go ... almost!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    795

    Default

    Yeast?

    Goferm, for yeast rehydration?

    What nutrients are you planning to use? Fermaid O?

    Do you have a nutrient protocol? TOSNA?

    Are you planning on doing daily aeration/degassing?

  3. #3

    Default

    I would suggest buying some Mesquite honey from Trader Joes and use D21.

    Whatever you do post your protocol first so we can look over it. Answer the above questions that Darigoni asked.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,495

    Default

    Hi TractorMan - and welcome,
    There may be a simpler approach perhaps, and that is not to commit any one of the three gallons to any one level of sweetness before you test for the level of sweetness you might prefer. In other words, whatever the size of your first batch you might consider fermenting this brut dry but then bench test the mead to determine how sweet you prefer it. It may be that you really do not like this as a sweet mead and do not like it as a dry mead but when you add enough honey to back sweeten it to say 1.015 it is perfect for you. If that is the sweetness that this batch calls for (and that may have everything to do with the amount of alcohol in it, the intensity of the honey flavor, the acidity of this batch, the level of tannins to cite four parameters you might then see whether different sweeteners make equally delightful drinks - for example, what if you added maple syrup to a sweetness level of 1.015 or agave syrup.. In other words, you can determine how sweet this batch should be using relatively small quantities of mead and you can experiment with different kinds of sweeteners also using small quantities of mead. With what remains you can then either go for broke by choosing one level of sweetness and one kind of flavor note in addition to the OB honey or you can break down the larger batch into smaller batches with their own sweetness/flavor characteristics..

  5. Default

    when we leaveThanks you guys! Right now, I'm not prepared to answer most of your questions. I haven't made very many final decisions yet. I'm still gathering information.

    We just moved into a new house (the real reason I'm ready to go now). I bought a couple cheap temperature monitors off Amazon and put them in my 2 preferred places to ferment. The extra room upstairs just stays where I set the thermostat, which got up to 80 degrees today while we were gone. The basement sits at a cooler 71.6-72.4 degrees, that's probably my spot, right? I know I now need to look into the yeast temperature tolerances, I just haven't done it yet. While we're on the subject, how do you guys fine-tune your ferment temps?

    Rehydration and nutrient protocol are a couple more rabbit holes I haven't explored deeply yet. I figure i want to do the best I can possibly do, right? My understanding about nutrients is that TOSNA and Fermaid O are typically preferred over DAP and Fermaid K. Again, I'll do what's best, but the way my mind works, I have to do things one at a time and only right when I need too. Haha! I have already thought about aeration/degassing. I'll start the batch right after work on Friday evening. I'll be able to stir it all I want until I leave for work again on Monday morning.

    To expound a bit on my thoughts of making one gallon each dry, semi-, and sweet ... I truthfully expect I'll make mead with the tastes of other folks in mind, as much as i will my own taste. I'll probably make way more than I could drink, I'll need to get rid of it somehow! Haha! I tend to dive into things pretty deep once it truly catches my interest. I know me ... I've seen me do it! Haha! Having a bit of each will let me give samples to friends and see what they think.

    Oh yeah, today my local fresh produce guy let me know he was getting some fresh-picked black raspberries soon so I reserved a gallon. They'll go into the freezer and come out after I make the Traditional first batch. Also, my Mom's first cousin and her husband have a berry farm a few miles away. I'll have more fresh blackberries than I'll ever need in about a month. Also, I own 40 acres that's basically hunting ground. I have dozens of apple and pear trees growing out there. You can probably guess all the places my train of thought is taking me. Oh yeah, my daughter, who will be a freshman in high school this fall wants to start keeping bees. This could get CRAZY folks!

  6. #6

    Default

    Before you unbox everything, also consider buying a bottle of OB mead and trying it. Mead doesn't taste quite like alcoholic honey. I suspect you'll end up liking mead -- and you'll like home-brewed mead better than commercial once you get the hang of it -- but if you don't, then you've got a lot of specialized equipment that you'll need to rehome.

    (I suggest OB mead because in my personal experience, that's the one commercial traditional style that is consistently very good.)
    Mead Magic
    Turn Honey Into Wine
    With our complete one-gallon kit!

  7. Default

    Well, I had a large response I typed in last night, said an admin needed to approve it. Seems like its gone now.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    795

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TractorMan View Post
    Well, I had a large response I typed in last night, said an admin needed to approve it. Seems like its gone now.

    Yeah, it will show up eventually. In the mean time, create your message in another app (doc file, text file, email, etc.), then come on here, create a short post (like your last one), once you see that it's on the forum you have 20-30 minutes to edit it, so edit it by cutting and pasting from the other app.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    Yeah, it will show up eventually. In the mean time, create your message in another app (doc file, text file, email, etc.), then come on here, create a short post (like your last one), once you see that it's on the forum you have 20-30 minutes to edit it, so edit it by cutting and pasting from the other app.
    Well that's kind of annoying. Its close to 24 hours later and still not up. Is this approval required because I'm new? Like, if I get to a certain # of posts they'll show up right away?

  10. Default

    I have an update ... to the missing post ... which I refuse to type out again! Haha! I really hope it shows up.

    The temperature in my basement spiked at 74 degrees today, so it gets slightly warmer than I initially thought. It's very hot here right now with heat advisories for the entire weekend, so that's pretty near the highest it will ever be, I'm confident.
    Last edited by TractorMan; 06-17-2018 at 01:41 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Brookline, NH
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    Quote Originally Posted by TractorMan View Post
    Well that's kind of annoying. Its close to 24 hours later and still not up. Is this approval required because I'm new? Like, if I get to a certain # of posts they'll show up right away?

    It's to weed out spammers.

  12. #12
    Devin Petry-Johnson Gotmead Visitor

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TractorMan View Post
    I have an update ... to the missing post ... which I refuse to type out again! Haha! I really hope it shows up.

    The temperature in my basement spiked at 74 degrees today, so it gets slightly warmer than I initially thought. It's very hot here right now with heat advisories for the entire weekend, so that's pretty near the highest it will ever be, I'm confident.
    Welcome, TractorMan. I can relate to the vanishing post thing. It's frustrating. I had some issues when I first joined but I don't have that problem anymore.

    Kudos on the amount of research you've done. You're already way ahead of the curve. And it sounds like you've realized that just because someone posted a video (or made a post on the forum) that doesn't make them an expert.

    The OB traditionals that I've made have been pretty good. I also blended OB with other honey for trads and they were even better. Have fun! It sounds like you're waiting on the honey order to come through. What I did when I was just starting out is I did a couple of 1 gallon batches of the Joe's Ancient Orange Mead while I waited on my regular mead to ferment, clear, and age. I was so excited to start making mead and it seemed like the JOAM was drinkable sooner so it helped me be patient with the other meads. It will also give you a good idea of a sweet mead, so you'll have a better idea if you want to go for sweet or dry with your OB Trad. EDIT: I'll add that the JOAM bread yeast will probably do better in the 74 degree heat than other yeasts. And keep in mind that the temp in the must will be higher than the ambient temp because the yeast are generating heat.
    Last edited by Devin Petry-Johnson; 06-18-2018 at 12:59 PM. Reason: more info

  13. Default

    A bit of what I wrote in the milk-carton post was about how I haven't picked a yeast yet. I haven't gotten serious at all about it. I've bee monitoring temps so I'd have an idea of that first. It looks like my go-to spot in the basement will top out at 74 when its hot outside. I asked ... How do you guys regulate temp to get specifically what you want?

    Also, I haven't chosen a honey 100%. I lean towards OB because it has a reputation for nice mead and I think I'd like to try an OB Trad dry, semi-, and sweet. I don't really know what to expect yet, so I feel this will be a worthwhile baseline for me.

    I talked about nutrients ... I'm familiar with the vocab, i think. It is my understanding that things like TOSNA 2.0 and Fermaid O have replaced DAP and Fermaid K, in general. Again, I don't really feel I need to know this yet, I still haven't chosen a yeast or varietal honey. Haha!

    I've already decided to start the batch on a Friday after work. I'll be able to degass and aerate as much as I want until I leave for work Monday morning. As for specifics and schedules ... well ... I've not get there yet!!

    Other than starsan, I haven't ordered anything in the line of chemicals. I think things like k-metabisulfite, k-sorbate, fining stuff are in my future ... others I'm not thinking of right now, I'm sure. Like I said, I've been studying a lot and know a lot of vocab, but I haven't gotten to the point where I need to know specifics.

    I also went into a bit about future plans. The other day, a good friend who has a fresh produce shop let me know he was getting some fresh black raspberries so I reserved a gallon. Also, my mom's cousin has a berry farm as a business. In a month or so I'll have fresh blackberries coming out of my ears. I own 40 acres, basically a deer hunting property, I have a couple dozen apple and pears trees of various varieties growing. My 13-yr old daughter has told me multiple time she wants to raise bees. So why not make some mead?!?!?!?

    Oh yeah, we just moved into a new house with a lot of space, that's why the time has come to begin!!

  14. Default

    Haha! I took the advice of darigoni and I saved this one!!

    A bit of what I wrote in the milk-carton post was about how I haven't picked a yeast yet. I haven't gotten serious at all about it. I've been monitoring temps so I'd have an idea of that first. It looks like my go-to spot in the basement will top out at 74 when its hot outside. I asked ... How do you guys regulate temp to get specifically what you want?

    Also, I haven't chosen a honey 100%. I lean towards OB because it has a reputation for nice mead and I think I'd like to try an OB Trad dry, semi-, and sweet. I don't really know what to expect yet, so I feel this will be a worthwhile baseline for me.

    I talked about nutrients ... I'm familiar with the vocab, i think. It is my understanding that things like TOSNA 2.0 and Fermaid O have replaced DAP and Fermaid K, in general. Again, I don't really feel I need to know specifics yet, I still haven't chosen a yeast or varietal honey. Haha!

    I've already decided to start the batch on a Friday after work. I'll be able to degass and aerate as much as I want until I leave for work Monday morning. As for specifics and schedules ... well ... I've not got there yet!!

    Other than starsan, I haven't ordered anything in the line of chemicals. I think things like k-metabisulfite, k-sorbate, fining stuff are in my future ... others I'm not thinking of right now, I'm sure. Like I said, I've been studying a lot and know a lot of vocab, but I haven't gotten to the point where I need to know specifics.

    I also went into a bit about future plans. The other day, a good friend who has a fresh produce shop let me know he was getting some fresh black raspberries so I reserved a gallon. Also, my mom's cousin has a berry farm as a business. In a month or so I'll have fresh blackberries coming out of my ears. I own 40 acres, basically a deer hunting property, I have a couple dozen apple and pears trees of various varieties growing. My 13-yr old daughter has told me multiple time she wants to raise bees. So why not make some mead?!?!?!?

    Oh yeah, we just moved into a new house with a lot of space, that's why the time has come to begin!!

    Copied from Gotmead.com - Read More at:http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthr...e-I-m-doing-it!
    Last edited by TractorMan; 06-18-2018 at 11:02 PM.

  15. #15

    Default

    I would take Mesquite and D21 any day over OB. Just saying. I like OB for Melomels. But I win more medals with other honey for trads than I do with OB. One last thing. California OB is miles better than Florida's stuff.

    If your stuck on OB I would suggest QA23 or CY3079
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  16. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    I would take Mesquite and D21 any day over OB. Just saying. I like OB for Melomels. But I win more medals with other honey for trads than I do with OB. One last thing. California OB is miles better than Florida's stuff.

    If your stuck on OB I would suggest QA23 or CY3079
    Squatchy ... Hey! I haven't ordered any OB so I'm certainly not certain. Haha! Can you tell me why you like mesquite, if you don't mind? I've also read enough to know you are generous enough to offer tasting and critique of mead. It is certainly in my plans to take you up on that offer eventually, if you're willing! BTW, did I also read you have a course you take newbees through? If so, what do you do first in that?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    795

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TractorMan View Post
    A bit of what I wrote in the milk-carton post was about how I haven't picked a yeast yet. I haven't gotten serious at all about it. I've been monitoring temps so I'd have an idea of that first. It looks like my go-to spot in the basement will top out at 74 when its hot outside. I asked ... How do you guys regulate temp to get specifically what you want?

    Also, I haven't chosen a honey 100%. I lean towards OB because it has a reputation for nice mead and I think I'd like to try an OB Trad dry, semi-, and sweet. I don't really know what to expect yet, so I feel this will be a worthwhile baseline for me.

    I talked about nutrients ... I'm familiar with the vocab, i think. It is my understanding that things like TOSNA 2.0 and Fermaid O have replaced DAP and Fermaid K, in general. Again, I don't really feel I need to know specifics yet, I still haven't chosen a yeast or varietal honey. Haha!
    You should check out the Scott Labs Handbook. A good place to learn about the characteristics of yeast (ABV, temp range, nutrient requirements, etc) and nutrients.

    http://www.scottlab.com/pdf/ScottlabsHandbook2017.pdf

    I used my cool basement the first year, but ended up buying a used working chest freezer ($30 off of Craiglist). I added an Inkbird Temp controller $40 and two heating pads ($30?) and I was off an running. There are other things you can do (put your fermenter in a pan of water, drape a towel or t-shirt over it and then put a fan blowing on it), but cooling can be more difficult than heating. That's why you should pay attention to the temperature range of the yeast you'll be using. As an example, you may not want to use D47 this time of year as the range s 59-68F. The act of fermentation itself can cause temperature spikes of 5 to 10 degrees F, so leave yourself a buffer.

    Both Fermaid K and DAP are still being used, but DAP is definitely being phased out. There is something called iTOSNA, which uses Fermaid K, and what it basically comes down to is it uses 1/2 the amount of that you would use if you were using Fermaid O.

    I used Clover Honey, from Costco, for my first couple of batches and then bought a 5 gallon bucket of OB for he next couple. This year I'm working on buckets of knotweed and wildflower. For your first couple of batches, while you gather your equipment, figure out how to use it and work out your processes, I guess I would use something that was readily available. There will be plenty of time to purchase and use more exotic varieties.

  18. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    I would suggest buying some Mesquite honey from Trader Joes and use D21.

    Whatever you do post your protocol first so we can look over it. Answer the above questions that Darigoni asked.
    I'm up for this. I looked into it a bit. D21 looks like it would like the temp in my basement. I can only find Trader Joe's honey online in 3 lbs and they only have 2. For a 3 gallon batch I'm pretty sure I'll need around 9 lbs. I can't get to any specialty stores, so I need to buy online. "Well ain't this place a geographical oddity ... 2 weeks from everywhere!" Haha! Anyone know a place to get some good mesquite?

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TractorMan View Post
    Squatchy ... Hey! I haven't ordered any OB so I'm certainly not certain. Haha! Can you tell me why you like mesquite, if you don't mind? I've also read enough to know you are generous enough to offer tasting and critique of mead. It is certainly in my plans to take you up on that offer eventually, if you're willing! BTW, did I also read you have a course you take newbees through? If so, what do you do first in that?
    So in general terms, you want to pick a yeast that compliments the tasting notes you get from the honey. ANd then in a broader sense. So strains do certain styles pretty good across the board. D21 is always a good yeast to make traditionals with. And works especially well with mesquite. And almost everyone loves it. And because Trader Joes sells it everywhere it seemed like a good place for you to start. That yeast also does well for people who can't control temps. It does well at room temps. Even so. Trty to put it in the coolest plaace you have in the house this time of year. Look up D21 and it will tell you about that strain. Go to Scotts lab Handbook and find it around page 7-10. Of course I will critique your mead when you get it finished up Just let me know when your ready to send me a sample. If you go to the "Gotmeadlive" radio podcast and start on 9/5/17 I walk you through the entire process and explain why we do what we do and how to use the best science available to us to make award winning mead that drinkable right out of the carboy.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  20. Default

    Trader Joe's sells it EVERYWHERE? I'm afraid you might be underestimating my proximity. Does Wal-Mart carry it? I have to drive 30 miles to check. To get to any kind of real specialty shop or health food store or anything like that we're talkin' 90 miles. I'm not joking. That being said, let's switch gears for a minute. I might have some luck with local honey. Also, I have the gallon of black raspberries from my buddy. Picked Thursday morning and in my freezer before 6pm. Perhaps I should kick things off with a melomel if I can get some local honey? I'm pretty sure I won't find local varietals, only wildflower.

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