Author Topic: First Mead  (Read 3137 times)

Offline brown stout

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First Mead
« on: November 20, 2012, 07:47:41 PM »
Hello,



I have been home brewing beer for the past five years and have always had in the back of my mind to make a mead.  I have recently picked up some stoneware mead bottles that were used in Baltimore, Maryland during the 1840-1850's time frame and thought now was the time to make some mead.  What would you suggest that I make.


Thanks,

Marc
Collector of early embossed Porter & Ale, Brown Stout, and Stoneware Mead bottles (1840-1860's).

Offline jamminbrew

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2012, 08:20:47 PM »
That's a pretty broad question. What do you like in beer? Fruit? Spice? Plain? You can make almost anything... Use apple juice (cyser) in it, if you like a cider, or spices. My first mead I used ginger, cinnamon, and clove (metheglin). Came out fantastic. I currently have two fruit meads (melomels) going: an apricot and a peach mead. The possibilities, like beer are endless. And in my opinion, meads are easier than beer to make. (They just take longer)  Do you like sweet? Dry? Carbonated or still?

I would suggest trying a true, plain mead, get a feel for the flavors. Then play with it. Or like me, I tried several different store bought and home brewed meads before making my first.
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Offline brown stout

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2012, 09:19:18 PM »
Thanks, Ben. My favorite beers are Strong Ales and Barley Wines.  I like your suggestion.  I will start plain and work from there.



Marc
Collector of early embossed Porter & Ale, Brown Stout, and Stoneware Mead bottles (1840-1860's).

Offline punatic

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2012, 01:12:07 AM »
Avoid Barkshack Ginger Mead.  Nasty! (IMHO).  I would suggest trying some kind of a fruit mead.  Fruit in the mead lends nutrients and stability.  Most of all read Ken Schramm's book The Complete Meadmaker.

Please tell us more about the antique mead bottles you found.
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Offline jamminbrew

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2012, 05:57:32 PM »
Barkshack had toooo much ginger... 
And +1000 on the Ken Schramm book, excellent book on meads.
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Offline brown stout

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2012, 06:59:16 PM »
Avoid Barkshack Ginger Mead.  Nasty! (IMHO).  I would suggest trying some kind of a fruit mead.  Fruit in the mead lends nutrients and stability.  Most of all read Ken Schramm's book The Complete Meadmaker.

Please tell us more about the antique mead bottles you found.


The mead bottles that I have were dug up from privy's in Baltimore. ( Circa 1840-1860 pits)   One example that I have is a very heavy( 2.12 lb) grey salt glaze stoneware bottle that measures 10" tall.  Wm. Russell is impressed on one side.  William Russell was a bottler that bottled beer, mead, and soda.  He was located at 22 Light Street.  He was in business from 1847-1861.

Thanks,

Marc

Collector of early embossed Porter & Ale, Brown Stout, and Stoneware Mead bottles (1840-1860's).

Offline svejk

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2012, 06:59:12 PM »
As you're researching what type of mead to make, I recommend that you familiarize yourself with no-boil musts, staggered nutrient additions, aeration and degassing of meads.  Meads are very easy on day 1, but the treatment of fermentation is very different from what you do for typical beers.  I think it is common for first meads to be under attenuated because the must is low in nutrients and the CO2 needs to be driven out of the must to allow the yeast to finish the job.

Offline brown stout

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2012, 07:14:38 PM »
As you're researching what type of mead to make, I recommend that you familiarize yourself with no-boil musts, staggered nutrient additions, aeration and degassing of meads.  Meads are very easy on day 1, but the treatment of fermentation is very different from what you do for typical beers.  I think it is common for first meads to be under attenuated because the must is low in nutrients and the CO2 needs to be driven out of the must to allow the yeast to finish the job.


Thanks for the information.  This will help me out.
Collector of early embossed Porter & Ale, Brown Stout, and Stoneware Mead bottles (1840-1860's).

Offline punatic

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2012, 11:12:19 PM »
I think it is common for first meads to be under attenuated because the must is low in nutrients and the CO2 needs to be driven out of the must to allow the yeast to finish the job.
 

I make "under attenuated" meads on purpose, regularly.  I like low alcohol sweet meads.  Back-sweetening does not give the same flavor profile.  Never tried driving out the carbon dioxide.  Seems like taking a chance on making a sherry-like mead by introducing oxygen at the wrong time.
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Offline guido

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2012, 05:47:44 AM »
I think it is common for first meads to be under attenuated because the must is low in nutrients and the CO2 needs to be driven out of the must to allow the yeast to finish the job.
 

I make "under attenuated" meads on purpose, regularly.  I like low alcohol sweet meads.  Back-sweetening does not give the same flavor profile.  Never tried driving out the carbon dioxide.  Seems like taking a chance on making a sherry-like mead by introducing oxygen at the wrong time.

Staggered nutrient additions and de-gassing have done wonders for my meads.  Full attenuation, yet they retain a certain "sweetness," even though the gravity is low.  De-gassing won't introduce any off flavors as long as it's done during the first few days of primary fermentation.  I have a wand that I hook up to a power drill and let 'er fly.  Trick is you need a large 7.9 gallon bucket during this time.  The foam will be incredible and you might lose some must otherwise.  Once fermentation slows, I transfer to a carboy.  There's an excellent article by Steve Piatz called "Making Mead the Easy Way."  I'm sure you could find it on Google.  I highly recommend the article.
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Offline svejk

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2012, 12:11:22 PM »
From my own experience and research, aeration of the must is beneficial during the first part of fermentation - usually described as the point at which 1/3 of the available fermentables have been consumed.  Up until that point, I degas and aerate at the same time. For the final 2/3 of fermentation, I degas much more gently. I haven't tried it yet, but I've seen youtube videos where people use vacuum pumps to degas wine.

I do tend to prefer dry meads myself, but my first mead finished with a really high gravity, and I didn't like it at all for a really long time because I found it cloying. It's a bit over four years old now, and it has turned into a very nice sipper.

Offline brown stout

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2012, 07:58:07 PM »
I think it is common for first meads to be under attenuated because the must is low in nutrients and the CO2 needs to be driven out of the must to allow the yeast to finish the job.
 

I make "under attenuated" meads on purpose, regularly.  I like low alcohol sweet meads.  Back-sweetening does not give the same flavor profile.  Never tried driving out the carbon dioxide.  Seems like taking a chance on making a sherry-like mead by introducing oxygen at the wrong time.

Staggered nutrient additions and de-gassing have done wonders for my meads.  Full attenuation, yet they retain a certain "sweetness," even though the gravity is low.  De-gassing won't introduce any off flavors as long as it's done during the first few days of primary fermentation.  I have a wand that I hook up to a power drill and let 'er fly.  Trick is you need a large 7.9 gallon bucket during this time.  The foam will be incredible and you might lose some must otherwise.  Once fermentation slows, I transfer to a carboy.  There's an excellent article by Steve Piatz called "Making Mead the Easy Way."  I'm sure you could find it on Google.  I highly recommend the article.


Should I use a 7.9 gallon bucket in the beginning to be safe.( for 5 gallon batch)  I was going to use one of my 6.5 gallon glass carboys and am worried now about the foaming and ability to aerate.
Collector of early embossed Porter & Ale, Brown Stout, and Stoneware Mead bottles (1840-1860's).

Offline udubdawg

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2012, 08:20:30 PM »
I much prefer to use the big buckets for my meads, but assuming you're careful, 1.5 gallons of space can certainly be enough for you.  Start really slow, take your time, keep from scratching up your equipment, and get a bunch of CO2 out of solution before you mix in that next staggered nutrient addition if you're adding them.

Offline punatic

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2012, 01:10:32 AM »
I primary ferment my meads in a 10 gallon SS Volrath stockpot with a lid - a semi-open fermenter.  The extra head space is especially nice when fermenting on fruit.  The lid is easy to open when making nutrient additions and punching down the cap twice a day.  When the fermentation has slowed, but not finished, I rack into 25L glass carboys to finish and clear.

The SS stock pot is easy to sterilze.  I put a couple of inches of water in it, put the top on it, and bring it to a boil for 15 minutes or so.  I've been using it as a fermenter for about 10 years now, ever since I went to sanke kegs for HLT and wort kettle.

In that time I've never had an infected batch.  The lid is not airlocked and does not seal,but it fits flush to the pot so the CO2 escapes easily.  The ease of access, extra head space and chemical free sanitizing make the stockpot my favorite primary mead fermenter.
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