Author Topic: First Mead  (Read 8001 times)

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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First Mead
« on: February 16, 2016, 02:34:44 PM »
Mead Makers- looking for some guidance on making small batch (3-gal?) of mead for first time.

I'd like to make blueberry mead I think. Don't want to screw it up so any recipe, process or other detailed guidance would be much appreciated  ;D

Here's one i found on my LHBS site-perhaps advise on whats good, bad or the wrong way with this:

•   49 ozBlueberry Puree
•   6 lbsClover Honey
•   6 tspAcid Blend
•   3 tspYeast Nutrient
•   3 tspPectic Enzyme
•   5 tabletsCampden Tablets
Procedure
Combine honey with one gallon of water in a stock pot and heat to 180 degrees F. for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and skim any white film off of the surface. Do not boil.
Remove pot from the heat and place it in a sink of cold water to reduce its temperature. Stir every 10 minutes and change the sink water, do this two or three times.
Add 1 gallon of water, acid blend, yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme and grape tannin. Stir well.
Pour the blueberry puree into the kettle and stir well.
Clean and sanitize your fermenter pail, lid and airlock.
Open the packet of wine yeast and pour it into the fermenter pail. Pour the must into the fermenter. Add water to make a full 3 gallons.
Close the fermenter pail, attach the airlock and ferment at room temperature for 3 weeks.
1st Racking: Racking mead should be done by gently siphoning. We do not recommend using wine pumps or filters. Mead is very susceptible to oxidation. Move the fermenter pail into racking position at least 2 days before actually transferring the mead. This will allow time for the sediment to settle.
Clean and sanitize a 3 gallon carboy, stopper, air lock and siphon set up.
Crush 3 Campden Tablets and place them into the carboy. Gently siphon the blueberry melomel into the carboy. Be careful not to disturb the sediment.
Add water to bring the level of the mead up to the bottom of the carboy neck.
Close the carboy with an air lock and ferment in a dark place for at least 30 days but not more than 45 days.
2nd Racking: Clean and sanitize the fermenter pail then siphon the mead from the carboy to the pail.
Clean and sanitize the carboy and repeat the 1st racking step, but this time only use 2 crushed Campden tablets.
Allow the blueberry wine mead to rest in a dark place at least 30 to 45 days or until it clears.
3rd Racking: There is no substitute for time when making mead. The more mature the mead is prior to bottling the better it will be. A third racking will allow the mead to brighten and age.
All recipes except Sweet Mead do not use any additives on this racking.
Bottling: blueberry melomel can be bottled as you would wine or beer. I prefer to bottle in 375ml wine bottles or 7oz clear beer bottles. These smaller sizes reduce waste caused by leftovers. If the beer bottle method is used the caps must be the oxygen barrier type. Wine bottles should be closed with a 1-3/4 inch cork.
Gently fill each bottle but do not cap until all are filled.
Cap or cork the bottles. Store them upright in a dark cool place. Mead will take time to age and in my experience it will undergo many changes. A batch which tastes great a bottling time may taste bad after 3 months in the bottle and then fabulous at 6 months.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 02:37:29 PM by Wort-H.O.G. »
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2016, 03:04:27 PM »
Why not dump and stir? Heat is not required.

Rehydrate?

Staggered Nutient Additions? Degas?
« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 03:07:02 PM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline pete b

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2016, 04:12:57 PM »
I would skip the acid blend and tannin until tasting it before bottling, I find blueberries add their own tannin and acidity. I would warm the water just enough to mix the honey thoroughly, and without access to my own recipes 2# honey/gallon seems light. I'm also used to using whole fruit but in general like to go heavy with the fruit. I never sulfite meads so wouldn't recommend campden tablets and they seem particularly not helpful in this recipe that's not being backsweetened.
My simple instructions would be mix honey, warm water and blueberries, let cool to low sixties, add hydrated yeast (lalvin 71b or Rc212 good here), look up yeast nutrient regimen and degass and add nutrients according to schedule, rack after two weeks in low 60's into carboy (fill into neck) keep at room temp for a few weeks to a couple months, rack into 3rd carboy also with no head space (its good with mead to have different size carboys, you can also make a bit extra and keep 1/2 gallon fermenting in separate jar with airlock to top off), then let sit as long as you can stand in your cellar, preferably a year or more., then bottle. Blueberry ages well, I recommend corking and aging a few bottles for a few years.
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2016, 04:24:55 PM »
Listen to pete b...

Not a huge fan of the sludge volume with purees, but they work fine. Suspect you'll want a couple more lbs of honey as mentioned.  As for nutrients, I use fermaid o but fermaid k + DAP has plenty of success. You didn't say what you wanted this mead to be, sweetness and alcohol-wise.  Those details will help us help you.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 04:26:47 PM by udubdawg »

Offline pete b

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2016, 04:49:14 PM »
Listen to pete b...


+ 1
There's a first for everything... :)
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2016, 04:59:51 PM »
Yeah thanks Pete. I figured kind of similar to my wine process.

So I don't know what's a OG to target ...1.080-90??? Similar to some wines I make. And yeah not sure but I'm thinking I will like a little back sweeten vs bone dry- like my ciders.

Few years aging- ok but what's realistic start consumption, even if you let some of it age longer?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline pete b

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2016, 05:21:28 PM »
Yeah thanks Pete. I figured kind of similar to my wine process.

So I don't know what's a OG to target ...1.080-90??? Similar to some wines I make. And yeah not sure but I'm thinking I will like a little back sweeten vs bone dry- like my ciders.

Few years aging- ok but what's realistic start consumption, even if you let some of it age longer?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Funny thing about my meadmaking is that my girlfriend taught me and she's been doing it for a long time and thinks using the SG scale is stupid because potential alcohol is so intuitive so I use SG for beer because everyone does in recipes etc. but use PA for mead. Its easy to convert because you just look across your hydrometer. I think I do blueberry about 13 % and it finishes semi dry. For sweet mead do 15%. No need to backsweeten with mead above say 11% PA, just use a yeast that won't ferment to dryness, which is most of them including the ones I mentioned. Lalvin, as I recall, has a nice chart on their website with the propensities of each yeast, including alcohol tolerance. Also, the honey and fruit contribute to a nice mouthfeel. I highly recommend trying your first batch about 14% or 13% PA with one of the yeasts I mentioned and no sulfite/sorbate/backsweetening.
With cool primary temps, a nutrient schedule and the lower end of gravity you could like it in 6-9 months but age really makes it nice.
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2016, 05:48:44 PM »
so the nutrient schedule- whats that look like? same as my wyeast yeast nutrient?

sounds like I mind as well go the full 5-6 gals since there so  much time on the backend before getting to drink it.
might have to get another carboy just for mead.
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline pete b

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2016, 06:50:26 PM »
There are particular staggered nutrient addition schedules, it might be something you want to google. Here is what the AHA website has: http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/improve-mead-staggered-nutrient-additions/) Personally I degass everyday and add nutrient in small amounts twice the first 2 days of active fermentation, once the next day or two and maybe one more time around day 7. then I let it be. Make sure to degass first then add nutrients or you'll have a volcano. I either use a paddle if I have a batch of melomel with a mesh bag of fruit in it and move that around to degass or if no fruit I use a mix stir but on a low speed, your not trying to add oxygen your allowing co2 to release.
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2016, 08:37:41 PM »
thanks Pete- super helpful!

now the fruit- i could obviously go puree, or could go with flash frozen blueberries . fresh isnt good option this time of year.

I presume the frozen would be best option - how many pounds would you use for 5.5-6 gals? anything different I need to consider using whole fruit vs puree?
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2016, 08:59:25 PM »
Frank P.

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2016, 09:08:56 PM »
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2016, 09:17:07 PM »
yeah thanks for the article post.

so add fruit like for beer-save for secondary and rack on top to get the most contribution?
Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline udubdawg

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2016, 09:22:42 PM »
No reason you can't make a 3g batch; that's what most of mine are. I go sweeter with lots of fruit character so last time was about 5 lbs frozen and a half gallon of RW Knudsen 100% blueb juice.

There really isn't a wrong answer for when to add. Fruit provides some nutrients so I prefer fruit in primary.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 09:25:50 PM by udubdawg »

Offline pete b

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2016, 09:23:45 PM »
yeah thanks for the article post.

so add fruit like for beer-save for secondary and rack on top to get the most contribution?
I have always used fruit in primary. I don't think that the yeast in a mead is in as good shape after primary as beer yeast due to the high alcohol content. Not at home with notes as far as amount of blueberries but we tend to make a stain the bottle dark blueberry. We freeze the blueberries during the season then make a big batch at once. I seem to remember 80# blueberries in a 20 gallon batch.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.