Doc's Mead

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Doc

Doctor's Orders Brewing
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Mead has been something I've been planning to do for years.
This arvo I finally did it.
I've read lots about making mead, from the simple to the advanced methods and was getting more and more confused.
Finally figured it was time to stop procrastinating and just do it.
I've had 3kg of honey sitting here waiting for it for almost as many years.

My plan is to do the bulk of the ferment in a normal plastic pail fermenter, then when fermentation is almost finished transfer to 5 litre glass flagons and add fruit. Probably oranges to one and either lychees, raspberries or grapefruit to the other.

Doc's Virgin Mead
3kg of Honey (unknown type; bought from that sweet shop (Fardoulis??) on the Princess Highway in Kogarah about 3 years ago)
500ml of Grape Juice Concentrate (from Marks Home Brew in Newcastle)
25gr Malic Acid
20gr Tartaric Acid
1 tsp Yeast Energiser (Vits A & B)
~ 9 litres water.
Lalvin EC1118 yeast.

OG ~1.086

Will see how this goes, but I'm tempted to get another going as I have an orange tree laden with fruit about to go to waist.
Farmers markets are on this weekend, so will pickup some more honey then.

Doc
 

pdilley

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Congratulations on getting out there and putting down a Mead and showing some signs of getting a bit of the Mead bug. If you want, just ask about any points you are still confused about and I, Dave or the rest of the group will help out.

Being a champers, expect a FG around 0.996-0.998. Being a neutral, high alcohol yeast, it makes for a dry mead that needs some time to age out and it is capable of producing esters. It will go up to 18% before giving up so all but the very high starting gravity Meads will ferment out dry.

We dont usually add acids until after fermentation to balance and adjust after fermentation is completed as we now know honey musts have very poor pH buffering capacity and pH drops during fermentation.

Experiment with the next one(s) and have by all means some fun crafting them.

I think the lychees were already tried without imparting much flavour but the rest sounds yummy. Remember bramble fruits like Raspberries add a decent amount of acidity so thats another reason to balance after fermentation as you can rack the same fermented Mead onto various fruit and spices and each one can be individualy balanced to suit.

And its ok to smell your fermentation lock emitions with Meads :)

Cheers,
Brewer Pete
 

Doc

Doctor's Orders Brewing
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Cheers BP.
Ideally I should have used WLP720 Sweet Mead yeast.
I'm going to have to resurrect it from the yeast fridge, but didn't want to put off the mead any longer.
The next batch will be with the 720 yeast.

Doc
 

pdilley

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With the yeast sold as Mead yeast, they're both rather slow, and even the dry is not particularly attenuative. The sweet has been known to take forever to do much at all and you need to put nutrients in to prevent stuck fermentation. Counter intuitive for a yeast sold for a purpose but I think they were flagged for purpose as with the sweet its it bit of a wuss and gives up the ghost early but alas is finicky.

But give it a go with the nutrient addition and see how it goes. For the third one try a wine yeast D-47 or give US-05 a go. I'm late for shower and work so I'll come back and give you a list of other yeasts to try. D-47 is sometimes hard to find at smaller LHBSs but mine has it, as it caters to wine and cider makers as well as AGs and Tin brewers so a full service shop.

Cheers,
Brewer Pete
 

pdilley

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Ross I think has some Red Star Montrachet left.

So if you get some for Mead then you'll find: Very tolerant. Gives moderate ABV so can be used for both low and high gravity meads. Produces complex aromas, and can be used to enhance color extraction from fruit (melomels). Good ethanol tolerance. During the onset of fermentation it can produce more H2S than alcohol. Needs nutrients.


Jumping back to the Lalvin line:

D-47 makes mead with nice crisp character. Leaves a nice white zinfandel character that some people dislike but others love.Yields chardonnay buttery flavors. Good with cysers. Be sure to supplement with yeast nutrients, especially usable nitrogen.

71B-1112 is a very nice yeast. Ferments and ages quickly, compared to other mead yeasts. Leaves nice fruity character to mead that makes it a great choice for melomels and pyments.

KIV-116 clears well, little harsh when young. Ages smooth with good honey character. Capable of surviving a number of difficult conditions, such as low nutrient musts and high levels of SO2 or sugar.

RC-212 is a very low producer of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and sulphur dioxide (SO2).


Back to Red Star, not sure if Ross or LHBSs in your area have them:

Cote des Blancs Epernay II makes nice, crisp mead. Good with cycers, but has "green wine" flavor that smooths with age, but is still there. Fine fruit aroma. Slow fermentor, Good general purpose yeast. Best used at cooler fermentation temperatures. VERY sensitive to cold shock ( quick temperature changes ). Produces fruity / estery aromas. Very easy to leave residual sugar.... best for sweeter meads, as it has low alcohol tolerance

Pasteur Champagne produces a very dry, clean mead. It can make a pretty alcoholic mead. Good ethanol tolerance. Minimal off-tastes. High alcohol tolerance.

Premier Cuve Prise de Mousse makes a very dry melomel - takes some time for the harshness to mellow out. Good ethanol tolerance. Must age to rid meads of phenolic taste.

Flor Sherry makes fairly strong meads. Has some unusual character - but not objectionable.


If you are going to use anyones "Mead" yeasts, sweet or dry you really are recommended to build up a large starter and to use nutrient additions to help them from getting stuck and making it to the finish line. Best results from home brewers are had with wine yeasts or very clean ale yeasts like US-05 surprisingly :)

An entry for your Sweet Mead yeast would be very fussy about temperature. Slow starter. Prone to stuck fermantation. Leaves lots of residual sugar. Needs nutrients! Does better with melomels. Make a Starter!



Cheers,
Brewer Pete
 

Doc

Doctor's Orders Brewing
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Cheers BP.

I've used the WLP720 a number of times in ciders, and one attempt at a hard lemonade. It always finished well.
However if I can resurrect it, I'll be building it up well on a stir plate.
the EC-1118 was all the LHBS had, and the wine yeast I thought I had, I must have used at some point (probably on the stuck ferment on the Gose last year).
Looks like fermentation is just starting to kick in now on the mead I put down late yesterday arvo. Quite a lag that I'm not used to these days :p
My next mail order will include some mead stuff for sure.

Doc
 

Steve

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:icon_offtopic: BrewerPete are you in the Canberra Brewers? Would love to have a chat about meads at a meeting sometime (and maybe a taste). After reading the other mead thread and now Docs I have to admit I am a little intrigued. Maybe intrigued enough to give one a bash. If you are in the Club you should do an article in our Newsletter....Intro to Meads. Im amazed at your wealth of knowledge on the subject.
Cheers
Steve
 

brettprevans

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Ross did have some Red Star Montrachet left about a month ago when I ordered some. Ive got 2 packets sitting in the fridge waiting to be used.
 

Fents

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add 2 whole chilli's uncut to one of tha batch's doc. tried some of hairofthedogs recently with the chillis and its pretty damn good.
 

Steve

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add 2 whole chilli's uncut to one of tha batch's doc. tried some of hairofthedogs recently with the chillis and its pretty damn good.

Now you're talking. As well as a few indian spices.
Cheers
Steve
 

EK

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There seems to be a bit of Mead activity on the site lately, maybe we should add a Mead specific forum?

EK
 

Doc

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Now you're talking. As well as a few indian spices.
Cheers
Steve


I like those ideas.
Won't run before I walk though.
Start simple then build up to funkier things. Love the idea of chillis.

Doc
 

pdilley

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:icon_offtopic: BrewerPete are you in the Canberra Brewers?

Yeah :) look under my name on the left there :p

You missed last meeting? Everyone drank my Pale Ale and love my Saaz hops (although it was POR), oogled my A/C Stirplate and talked Mead and Beer brewing all night long. We ended up taking up the corner bar and I was behind the counter running it :p

Cheers,
Brewer Pete
 

pdilley

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I like those ideas.
Won't run before I walk though.
Start simple then build up to funkier things. Love the idea of chillis.

Doc

Yeah chilies and Meads are common marriages. Even the guys on Basic Brewing Video/Radio did video/radio podcasts on Meads with Ancho Chili I believe.

I want to dive into the deep end but now that I'm back in Oz I need to spend the arduous time fermenting out all the different honey varietals to see what I have to work with as all the honeys I had at my disposal before are either not here or in short supply.

If you are going slow, then a simple progression would be still Mead, Sparkling Mead, and highly alcoholic and carbonated Champagne Mead. Then play with honey varietals and yeasts while sticking with still Meads as carbonation adds burn and gets in the way of full honey flavour profile and find what you like. Then spices then fruit, unless you already are familiar with brewing with fruit. Along the way you can put down some long aging recipes and makes some quick drinking ones like JAO to fill the gap between waiting for aging and character development in the long aging recipes.

Cheers,
Brewer Pete
 

pdilley

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Looks like fermentation is just starting to kick in now on the mead I put down late yesterday arvo. Quite a lag that I'm not used to these days :p
My next mail order will include some mead stuff for sure.

Doc


Lag time, gotta love it :)

With the full SNA-1/3 Sugar Break fermentation management you'll have Meads fermenting like beers and eliminates all these lag times and gives you giant krausens as well. It seems difficult but once you do one of them that way, its rather a piece of piss. Maybe its the "All Grain" stigma but of the Meads. Once done its easy, but seems not very approachable to one who has not done it.

Its like the gardener who switches to feeding and looking after soil microbe's instead of plants and then shock, discovers their garden going gang busters.

Its switching to feeding and looking after the yeast's needs and then discovering your Mead going gang busters :)

Cheers,
Brewer Pete
 

barls

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Cheers BP.

I've used the WLP720 a number of times in ciders, and one attempt at a hard lemonade. It always finished well.
However if I can resurrect it, I'll be building it up well on a stir plate.
the EC-1118 was all the LHBS had, and the wine yeast I thought I had, I must have used at some point (probably on the stuck ferment on the Gose last year).
Looks like fermentation is just starting to kick in now on the mead I put down late yesterday arvo. Quite a lag that I'm not used to these days :p
My next mail order will include some mead stuff for sure.

Doc
hey doc if you cant resurrect it, ive got some here somewhere.
 

flattop

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Wouldn't believe it i finally went back to my brew shop to buy grain and grab a small Demi for mead last weekend.... no demi's left......
Think i will run it in a spare fermenter....
 

Doc

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hey doc if you cant resurrect it, ive got some here somewhere.

Thanks Barls.
It is on the stir plate as we speak.
One starter was labelled 2003 and the other 2005.
How resilient is this yeast ? :p

Doc
 

Doc

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Went out and checked on the mead tonight.
Hasn't been disturbed or checked or looked at for 10 weeks.

Just flogged a sample.

Doc__s_Mead_002__Large_.jpg

It has a nice aroma to it. Nice and clovey with warm alcohol notes.
Taste initially is a little hint of cider, some sweetness (haven't taken a gravity sample to know where it is at), and pleasant.

Time for racking to secondary and some fruit.
Has anyone used the fruit extracts that Ross sells in their meads ?

Doc
 

pdilley

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Not tried the extracts. Are they 100% juice origin based or chemical mixtures?

When on your trip you might have seen all those cylinders in the refrigerator section of the supermarkets in the states full of frozen juice concentrates. Those are great brewing adjuncts and sorely wished to be available here as well.

If you can get the fresh fruit volume equivalents from the extract then it would be simple to sort out a volume amount to get a flavour profile for your volume of Mead.


Cheers,
Brewer Pete
 

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