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Thread: First batch

  1. #1

    Default First batch

    I've never made mead (or any alcohol) before but after coming across a video on YouTube i decided to give it a try.

    1 Galon store bought bottled water
    3 Pounds honey
    1/2 packet bread yeast
    Baloon (as airlock)

    some3of the water was poured out of the bottle adn everything was made in the water bottle.
    i started it on 7/6 and after 2 weeks i moved it into a new bottle on 7/21, leaving the slude at the bottom on the bottle behind. I them moved it into my fridge and poured 1 glass.
    All i taste is honey, with a alcholic after taste. it this normal for mead. It's been a long time since I have had mead I don't remember.

    any thoughts.

  2. #2

    Default

    Welcome to the addiction

    That's probably normal for following a youtube video, and doing what you did. But no. Good mead tastes nothing like that.

    lookup Gotmeadlive podcast and start on 9/5/17 if you want to learn how
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  3. #3

    Default

    Well that is a very basic first go of things but it clearly did something as you are tasting some alcohol. If I had to guess it is still fermenting or the fermentation stopped early leaving significant honey in the must. There's nothing wrong with a very basic approach but you'll find you get better/more predictable results with a more modern protocol.

    To start you will want a bit of gear:
    • most importantly a hydrometer. loosely speaking the hydrometer measures the amount of dissolved sugars in the must (honey mixed with water for fermentation is a must). This will help you know what is occurring as fermentation proceeds. It will also help you get an estimate on the alcohol by volume (ABV) you have produced once the fermentation is complete.
    • wine yeast rather than bread yeasts
    • a yeast rehydration product such as go-firm/go-firm protect evolution
    • a yeast nutrient such as fermaid-O
    • sanitizer such as starsan to help keep unwanted yeast/bacteria out of your must

    Additional helpful gear:
    • A fermentation vessel & carboy with airlocks will also be helpful/easier but not strictly necessary up front.
    • scale that will measure up to 20+ grams in milligram increments
    • autosyphon/racking cane with tubing
    • turkey baster


    Most of this is not overly expensive when compared to the honey we use in the must. They are easily obtained on amazon or a site dedicated to fermentation such as morewinemaking.com.

    Now for the knowledge component of things. The basic approach will make alcohol/mead. It will just do it in a very unpredictable fashion. If you want to make mead with some degree of predictability then invest some time in the following:

    The procedure of making mead right:
    Modern mead making podcast series:

    The only significant, procedural question, you be left with by the end: How exactly do I cold crash?
    Either Vicky or AJ on the podcast 9/25/18 define it as: Cold crash - place your mead (still in primary but gravity no longer changing thus no longer fermenting) in a fridge around 4C for 1+ weeks (generally 1-2 weeks). Helps with flocculation - or clearing the mead by getting yeasts/proteins to stick together.

    That's probably 10-12h of podcast. Quite a bit of it is banter/filler... but there is gold in there, even in the banter. I've listened to each of them at least twice; taking detailed notes!

    The modern mead making series continues from there but they dive into specific meads like pyments, cysers, etc. That was a little scary for me so I stuck with a traditional out of the gate! I will go into them with fervor once I am no longer doubting myself on the basics.


    Extra goodies I've found helpful:
    A very help glossary: https://morewinemaking.com/articles/wine_terminology - fermenters talk weird sometimes!

    https://morewinemaking.com/articles/SO2_management additional information on how to stabilize your mead

    https://www.bjcp.org/mead/Mead_Study.pdf - basically a book on this stuff. Some seems out of date but you'll be able to spot it after understanding the podcasts. very helpful section on "balance" & mead faults.

    9-25-18 Ryan Carlson - Pairing Yeast to Meads: 9-25-18-ryan-carlson-pairing-yeast-to-meads

    10-2-18 Ryan Carlson – Pairing Yeasts to Meads – Part 2:10-2-18-ryan-carlson-pairing-yeasts-to-meads-part-2
    8-29-17 Ryan Carlson - Oaking Your Mead: 8-29-17-ryan-carlson-oaking-mead

    that oaking podcast is well supported by this supplement: https://morewinemaking.com/web_files...nfopaper09.pdf

    Squatchy on acid adjustment/additions for balance

    Squatchy on basic mead concepts: http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthr...-this!!!/page2 a large post that details much of the podcasts above

    Loveofrose detailed oaking experiment: http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthr...mic-Experiment

    I know that seems like a lot but you will enjoy the hobby much more if you understand it and get the results you set out to obtain!

  4. #4

    Default

    Good job brother for sharing all of that. I just didn't have much time tonight.

    I'm pretty sure when he racked just a short time into the fermentation he racked off the biomass
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    I'm pretty sure when he racked just a short time into the fermentation he racked off the biomass
    That's sharp thinking right there... I didn't even consider that. Experience has its advantages!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
    Posts
    321

    Default

    3lb honey into 1 gallon jug gives me a ~14% ABV. I'm going to guess that the yeast tapped out early, which is why it's so sweet still. No worries. My first mead tasted like someone dissolved an angry bride's rotten bouquet into a bucket of gasoline. I still have a bottle of it somewhere stored away in the hopes that after a million years it'll be "ok".

    Don't give up, follow Ryan (Squatchy)'s advice and posts and enjoy the hobby. It takes a while, but it's worth every second!

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks for the advise. TBH this first batch was done on a bit of an impulse, so i had to work it into my monthy already planned out budget.
    Next month I'm thinking baout making 2 one-gallon batches, and letting them ferment for maybe 3 and 4 weeks.
    As for gear, I'll have to work on it slowly, as my budget allows.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,487

    Default

    Hi Jedite83 - and welcome. I know brewers (of beer ) tend to laugh at the idea of making single gallons but no one drinks a gallon of wine or mead at a single sitting unless they have a drinking problem... so I would suggest that you don't aim to make two batches each one gallon next month but you make one batch and see what went right and what went less right and then based on that knowledge you begin the next batch. When you are up and running and you can make a gallon of very drinkable mead without blinking then it might make more sense to make a few batches simultaneously but unless you know what you are doing and, what you are doing results in an enjoyably drinkable mead, then making several batches at the same time may simply mean that each batch will be as good (or as bad) the next... and what you want to be doing is improving your skill from one batch to the next... Just sayin' . it's your time and your mead - and your money.. But that said, I would buy an hydrometer before you do anything else. They cost about $10.00 and the truth is that they are really the one tool you require in wine or mead making.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    789

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedite83 View Post
    Thanks for the advise. TBH this first batch was done on a bit of an impulse, so i had to work it into my monthy already planned out budget.
    Next month I'm thinking baout making 2 one-gallon batches, and letting them ferment for maybe 3 and 4 weeks.
    As for gear, I'll have to work on it slowly, as my budget allows.
    Look at Craigslist, for used “beer brewing” or wine making” equipment. But, before doing so, have an idea what you are looking for and how much you are willing to pay.

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