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General Category => Other Fermentables => Topic started by: goobrew on March 24, 2011, 06:19:14 PM

Title: Thinking of making mead for the first time
Post by: goobrew on March 24, 2011, 06:19:14 PM
I have been given #2.5 of clover honey and I'm thinking of making a small batch of mead with it.  Is this enough to make a batch?  Would the volume be enough to be worth making?  Does anyone have a simple mead recipe?  I have been homebrewing for about 20 years, so I guess I know what I am doing with fermentation, but i'm spooked by the whole mead thing (no boil, long ferment, additives  ??? ).  Some input would be greatly appreciated.
Title: Re: Thinking of making mead for the first time
Post by: euge on March 24, 2011, 06:39:57 PM
Might make a decent gallon of 1.088/8.5% ABV mead. To get all technical, you'll probably need some way of checking pH at various points in the fermentation.

Or you could let it "ride" like I always did. :)

There's some accomplished mead-makers here. They'll be more helpful.
Title: Re: Thinking of making mead for the first time
Post by: dmtaylor on March 24, 2011, 11:39:27 PM
Yep, 2.5 pounds will make you around 1 gallon of decent mead.  Just add water until it hits around a gallon, plus or minus.  Then pitch your yeast and let it go for a month.  Doesn't need to be too complicated.  On the other hand....

Many self-proclaimed experts would poo-poo the idea, but I like to heat treat my must (i.e., raw mead) at about 160 F for 10 minutes to kill any wild bugs, then cool and pitch a mead yeast or wine yeast.  It's true you don't need to boil or heat treat, but in my experience, I had an unheated batch that tasted like vomit and had to be dumped so I vowed never to do that again.  Then after fermentation is complete, add sorbate and prime as normal... or don't.  Meads are traditionally uncarbonated, but I like a little fizz in mine.
Title: Re: Thinking of making mead for the first time
Post by: goobrew on March 25, 2011, 12:02:38 AM
What about the water?  Treat it just like brewing water?  i.e. remove chlorine or chloramine, charcoal filter for bad taste.
Title: Re: Thinking of making mead for the first time
Post by: euge on March 25, 2011, 01:02:56 AM
What about the water?  Treat it just like brewing water?  i.e. remove chlorine or chloramine, charcoal filter for bad taste.

Definitely.
Title: Re: Thinking of making mead for the first time
Post by: punatic on March 25, 2011, 02:19:52 AM
Use the same water you brew beer with.

It's only enough honey to make a gallon of so of mead, so just have fun with it and see where it takes you.  But, I can guarantee you that if it turns out good, which it probably will, you are going to wish you had made 5 gallons.

I don't use heat when I make mead.  I did when I first started making mead, but I stopped heating my mead as an experiment a while back.  Several hundred batches later I still have not made an infected batch.  But, that said, if you do go with no-heat mead making you need to practice strict sanitation techniques, and be sure to pitch large volumes of yeast.

The Spring 1995 issue of Zymurgy has a good article about meadmaking in it.  You can download a PDF copy of it here:

Mead Success: Ingredients, Process and Techniques (http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/1305/Springzym95-Mead.pdf)
Title: Re: Thinking of making mead for the first time
Post by: kenschramm on March 27, 2011, 12:40:25 PM
Wow.  I haven't seen that article in a long time.  Thanks for setting the wayback machine to 1995, Sherman.  There's actually a tidbit in there that I was hunting for. That was cool.
Title: Re: Thinking of making mead for the first time
Post by: punatic on March 27, 2011, 02:59:27 PM
Thank you Ken for that article and the tasting you and Dan did at the 1995 NHC.  You mentioned no-heat meads at the tasting and planted a seed in my mind.  I went home and started making meads with no heat or sulfite.  Your.article in the Nov/Dec 05 issue of Zymurgy confirmed my experience with no-heat, no-sulfite melomels.  Let the fermentation get rockin and rollin and then add the fruit, especially if you're not using dry yeast.

Fermentation does blow some of the volatile aromas out of the airlock, but no-heat meadmaking makes mead with much more of the honey's floral qualities in it than mead made with heated honey.

I use the nutrient formula and schedule (with a minor modification) from your '05 article too.

Not meaning to be obsequious, but your research and writings have had large affect on my meadmaking.  I'm really happy to see you posting here!
Title: Re: Thinking of making mead for the first time
Post by: kenschramm on March 31, 2011, 05:16:46 PM
Cut it out,man, you're making me self conscious.  I am glad the book and the articles helped.

Of all the sessions I have ever done at the Conference, that is the best by far in my opinion.  Charlie, Spencer Thomas, Bill Pfeiffer and Byron Burch were pouring for us.  I felt like Dan and I were batting lead off with Yaz, Kaline, Jim Rice and Willie Stargell cheering us on from the dugout. 

Title: Re: Thinking of making mead for the first time
Post by: hamiltont on March 31, 2011, 05:28:16 PM
I made a gallon of Joe's Ancient Orange Mead for my first attempt. Amazingly simple and more amazingly tasty. Cheers!!!
Title: Re: Thinking of making mead for the first time
Post by: punatic on April 01, 2011, 02:11:05 AM

Of all the sessions I have ever done at the Conference, that is the best by far in my opinion.  Charlie, Spencer Thomas, Bill Pfeiffer and Byron Burch were pouring for us.  I felt like Dan and I were batting lead off with Yaz, Kaline, Jim Rice and Willie Stargell cheering us on from the dugout. 

Seems like I remember George Fix and Fred Eckhardt pouring too, but hey, that was 16 years ago and I had been drinking...

That tasting was definitely an upward inflection point in the curve of my meadmaking...  ;D