Author Topic: First Mead  (Read 766 times)

Offline Phil_M

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First Mead
« on: May 21, 2017, 05:27:10 PM »
So, I think I'm finally about to jump in.

The local Amish sell keep bees/sell honey, and I've been wanting to make mead from it for a while. As the title says, I've never done this before, so I'm trying to make sure all my ducks are in a row.

I know to use staggered nutrient additions, but I'm curious what others are using.

I'm not sure if I want to just do a straight mead, or add fruits. Strawberries and rhubarb are in season, and I'm wondering if they might work nicely in a mead...though perhaps I'll just stick to plain. Other than those two, there isn't much yet in season.

I don't plan to boil, is any heating required at all?
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Offline mikesharp1

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2017, 05:43:51 PM »
I just made my first last night basically clean, clean, clean. I heated 1.25 in two batches to 110 degrees cooled poured into my fermentation bucket then added spring water while your brew is getting hot rehydrate your yeast. Yes use nutrient.


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Offline dannyjed

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2017, 07:49:51 PM »
I think a strawberry rhubarb mead sounds delicious. I don't boil or heat the honey up, except I put the honey container in warm water and try to get every bit of it out (usually more of a problem in winter months).
Dan Chisholm

Offline pete b

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2017, 05:23:39 AM »
We have actually made a nice rhubarb melomel a few times. Strawberries are tricky in that their flavor and aroma are hard to capture. You are on the right track using fruit in season though and personally I would go for it with a rhubarb strawberry melomel. The tartness of the rhubarb will help the strawberry flavor. Use a ridiculous amount of strawberries.  Unless you sulfite the cooler will fade to a sort of brownish red, a small amount of raspberries​ helps.
When using fresh fruit in mead I put the fruit in a mesh bag and put in the fermenter after mixing the honey with hot water. Just remember to leave a ton of headspace. If you don't​use a bag plan on losing some liquid to the trub.
A tip for a first timer is to make an extra half gallon. That way you can put the extra in a half gallon glass milk jug or Mason jar with an airlock so that when you rack into tertiary you can top it off.
I would use lalvin 71b for this mead. It complements fruit body and aroma and mellows acidity.

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Offline Phil_M

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2017, 05:59:15 AM »
If large amounts of strawberries are needed, I may opt to just do straight rhubarb, or go plain. With all the rain we've had the strawberry crop has been lousy, and they'll be out of season within a week, maybe two. The former is more likely, as the forecast is again calling for rain most of this week.
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Offline pete b

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2017, 06:47:08 AM »
Cherry season must be coming up down there.
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2017, 03:32:58 AM »
I think we still have a ways to go for cherries, though I'm not a huge fan of them so I've never paid much attention to their season.

If I wait for a local fruit, it'll be blackberries.
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Offline pete b

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2017, 08:46:42 AM »
Blackberries are great in mead. They taste great and it doesn't take too long to pick enough. I really like mixing berries. Most years we are able to make a big batch with a mixture of blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, and elderberries. the combination makes a nice dry red melomel that is as good as any nice red wine.
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Offline mchrispen

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2017, 10:32:40 AM »
Can I suggest Tasting the honey before you decide. Some wildflower honeys can throw medicinal notes that you may or may not like. I tend to do a small batch with new Honey sources. This could also help direct how much fruit you might need. It should also give you an idea of the acidity of the honey. I prefer people's first mead be a traditional as there is so much to learn and understand about fermented honey. Then again - big berry melomels are just awesome.


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Offline erockrph

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2017, 12:24:11 PM »
I agreee that strawberries are tough. The time I tried a strawberry melomel I used 3 lb/gallon pre-ferment and another 3 lb/gallon post-ferment. It still was lacking in strawberry character in the end. I did find that adding some acid helped boost the strawberry note, but still not enough.

I'm a melomel guy myself, and I really like blackberries, raspberries and currants. Sadly, it looks like I'm going to lose my black currants to mildew yet again this year. I might try a ginger-lime mead along the lines of my ginger-beer recipe for my next one. I'd really like to brew a golden raspberry mead, but it will be tough/expensive to acquire enough of those for even a small batch.

As far as SNA goes, I have been using a mix of Fermaid K and DAP divided into 4 additions roughly at day 0,1,3 and 5. I just picked up some Fermaid O and I will be using that in my next few meads instead of the Fermaid K/DAP mixture.
Eric B.

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Offline udubdawg

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2017, 06:40:55 AM »
ugh, this reminds me that I made a no-water-added Alpine Strawberry/Tupelo and managed to bury the Tupelo character.  About $100/gallon for alcoholic strawberry jam.   :'(

Offline Phil_M

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Re: First Mead
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2017, 09:11:58 AM »
well right now the project is on hold: I want to try a small container to see what the honey tastes like first. Thing is, they had already sold everything smaller than a quart last time we were there. Going to wait and try again.

I'm also thinking about just waiting it out till blackberry season...
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