Honey Mead Ale

Australia & New Zealand Homebrewing Forum

Help Support Australia & New Zealand Homebrewing Forum:

brew1000

Member
Joined
17/9/21
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Adelaide
As mentioned in my introductory topic I want to make a simple Honey Mead carbonated ale. My first and only Mead Ale was back in 1996 and I was happy with the result. I adapted a modified recipe I found in Keith Linden's Brewing Beer At Home book. (Light Mead Ale)

I used:
1.5 Kg Honey (Generic BiLo brand)
1/2 Teaspoon Citric Acid
2 Packets of Wander beer yeast (total 10 grams)
12 Grams Hop pellets (Was told used for Irish Stouts)
500 Grams white sugar.
1/2 Teaspoon yeast nutrient.
18 Litres water total.

The above is what I recorded but the original recipe called for 1 Teaspoon of Nutrient so not sure if I had actually used 1/2 or 1. It took 3 weeks to ferment, I will use 1 Teaspoon for my next batch. I was happy with the drinking quality.

The next batch I'm going to use:
2 Kg Honey (again a home branded Honey)
3/4 Teaspoon Citric Acid
15 Grams Fuggles Hops pellets
1 Teaspoon Yeast nutrient
Yeast - at this stage 5 Grams of LALVIN EC-1118
1 Kg White sugar
Add water to bring to 23 Litres total

What do others think? Is the Wine yeast ok instead of normal beer yeast? Is 15 Grams of hops enough? I guess I'm looking at around 5% Alcohol on paper?

One more question. I'm using 25 and 30 Litre plastic brew containers with screw in taps. I kept some of my brewing equipment from 1996. One of the items is a plastic insert that fits into the rear of the tap on the inside which has a slot in it that is designed to point upwards to reduce the amount of sediment being dragged in when bottling. I need another one. What is the name of these and where can I source it from?

I look forward to replies as I want to start the Honey Mead Ale soon.
 

MashBasher

Well-Known Member
Joined
26/6/10
Messages
87
Reaction score
86
I’ve made quite a few meads but am by no means an expert. I’ll defer to others here, but here’s a bit of feedback to get you started.

Hops in beer are intended to balance the residual sweetness of the malt with bitterness. Done well, this makes beer superbly drinkable.

Two things are different about mead:

1. Honey is far more fermentable than malt.
2. Some yeasts are able to take up almost all the available fermentables.

This assumes the yeast has sufficient nutrients - once again a difference between beer and mead is that malt (largely) supplies all the nutrients a yeast needs, but honey can not. A teaspoonful of nutrient sounds like heaps In 23 litres.

With the yeast you plan to use (EC-1118 is basically a champagne yeast, so highly alcohol tolerant and a hungry beast) you are probably looking at a very, very dry finish.

You previously used an ale yeast according to your post, which likely had less alcohol tolerance and a less ability to ferment sugars. This probably left a bit more sweetness behind post fermentation.

So personally, I’d back the hops off a bit (I make a similar mead with that yeast without any hops at all and it comes up lovely) until you get a feel for it.
 

brew1000

Member
Joined
17/9/21
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Adelaide
Thanks for your input MashBasher. Makes sense.

The Mead I made back in 96 (that's 1996 and not Number 96) was quite dry and is my preference for wines and beers. When I stopped brewing beer I noticed how much sweeter commercial beers were at the time. I tend to drink Tooeys Extra Dry now.

I don't know about Super dry but I'll stick with the EC-1118 for this lot. So I might back the hops off a bit s you suggest to say 10 grams as it will likely be dryer with the champagne yeast. So many variables so I guess I'll just try it and adjust accordingly.

Still would like an answer concerning the sediment reducer on the tap if any one can help there. I'm assuming these are still used?
 

MashBasher

Well-Known Member
Joined
26/6/10
Messages
87
Reaction score
86
I assume you are boiling everything including hops. Depends on how long you are boiling for, too. If its 45 minutes or more, you will get high bitterness extraction. If its lonly very brief, you will get more aroma/flavour.

Hop interactions are a complex topic and a there’s a bit of a sliding scale going on. So add that into your variables.

Those sediment reducer thingies are largely useless, I find. Try eBay if you must. You will have to buy a whole plastic tap, or try your local home brew shop (LHBS).

As you have two fermenters, an alternative approach could be to ferment until intense activity slows in one (call this primary) and then transfer (avoiding splashing about too much) into the other one (call this secondary). This will leave most of the grunge behind, and should allow you to have a sparkly clear finished volume sitting on a much reduced amount of yeast. All good things.
 

brew1000

Member
Joined
17/9/21
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Adelaide
This is what I recorded for my 1996 batch which more or less follows Keith Linden's instructions in his book:
Crush hop pellets and place in 500mL water, bring to boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Boil 500mL water and add honey, simmer for 15 minutes, skim off froth formed on top.

Add to the wort the strained hops liquid and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Add 500mL cold water, sugar, and citric acid to wort and stir well. Place in fermenter and add remaining water, stir well then pitch yeast and stir well.
I looked on eBay for the sediment reducer but did not locate any mainly because I don't know what name they go by but if my memory serves me correctly the taps came with them when purchased from a Brew shop. My tap and fermenters I picked up from Bunnings but they are not aimed at a brewing audience so don't have it fitted.

When I made the Mead years ago I used a Barnacle Bill fermenter bucket with lid. They used to sell the buckets cheap once all the mayonnaise was used up. I fitted the lid with an air-lock and it seemed to work well. The buckets don't hold as much as a normal fermenter so I made it up to 18 liters in total.
 

brew1000

Member
Joined
17/9/21
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Adelaide
In my old brew gear I saved is a clear PVC tube. I'm pretty sure I had used that to siphon the Mead from the Barnacle fermenter into a regular fermenter fitted with a tap once it became free which would have reduced the sediment pickup. The bottled mead was quite clear and like a bubbly white with nice fine bubbles. It did not last long once I descovered waiting a bit longer in the bottle improved it.
 

MHB

Well-Known Member
Joined
1/10/05
Messages
6,613
Reaction score
4,040
Location
Newcastle
Looking at the 23L recipe I get somewhere in the 5.7-6% ABV with EC-1118 perhaps a bit higher.
I to would look at some other yeast, Ale yeast makes esters that have quite a lot of flavour, wine yeasts don’t, well not so much.
Personally I find mead made with Champaign yeast thin and gutless. These days you can get dry mead yeast and several liquid ones, I like strong sweat mead and get there by using a dry mead yeast and feeding it honey until it drowns around 16-17% ABV.
When you say Yeast Nutrient, I hope you are referring to a complex nutrient mix, not just DAP. The latter won’t do you all that much good. Proper yeast nutrients bring protein, sterols, nitrogen, trace elements, vitamins... which yeast needs in a mead. Honey and sugar are pretty much purely a carbohydrate source and leave a lot to be desired.
Mark
 

brew1000

Member
Joined
17/9/21
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Adelaide
@MHB: When you say drowning it at 16-17% ABV I assume you are making a still mead or carbonation using some other method like injecting CO2?

My Mead will be carbonated and I will be using natural carbonation in the bottle method. I don't plan on purchasing any expensive brewing equipment

I think based on what you and MashBasher have stated I will just purchase some normal brewing yeast as that is what I had used originally and keep the hops to the 15 grams.

So I'm looking at "Brigalow Home Brew Brewing Yeast 5g". Should I use one or two packets for the 23 Litres?

As for the Nutrient I was going to try to make my own by boiling up Baker's yeast which I have plenty of and possibly some dried sultanas (I think that has been mentioned on this site). In the end I purchased some DAP. Maybe I should use a combination of all three? My original MEAD the brew shop sold me some Nutrient but I have no idea what it actually contained.

I'm not really into all the Adjuncts that recipes list. I try and stay with the KISS method.
 

brew1000

Member
Joined
17/9/21
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Adelaide
Thanks elmoMakesBeer. That is the one I'm looking for. Good price but how much is the postage though. Now that I have some idea of what it's called I searched on eBay for "sediment reducer". There is a listing there for $5 free post in Vic. The postage cost is the killer here (no such thing as free postage). Still I don't think I can improve on that price.

Purchased the eBay one for $4 using an eBay voucher.
 

MHB

Well-Known Member
Joined
1/10/05
Messages
6,613
Reaction score
4,040
Location
Newcastle
Just did a Google for brew shops in Adelaide, the first one I opened (Beerbelly) has Sediment Reducers, Yeast Nutrient and dry mead yeast, as well as plenty of other yeasts. You could get all three delivered for one price.
I'm not sure what you mean by not using "all the Adjuncts... listed" about the only thing left is the Citric acid and that is a worthwhile addition.

I think you will make a much nicer mead ale with the recipe as given. Perhaps you could use another kg or so of honey instead of the white sugar. Personally I would try a kg of DME if I were using an ale yeast, all honey if a mead.
Dry malt extract would supply a lot of the nutrients ale yeast needs.
Mead yeast is breed to survive in a honey based must so would be better in an all honey or honey/sugar must.

It’s a pretty good rule of thumb that you get out what you put in, if you concentrate on making the cheapest brew you can, odds on you won’t get the best brew you can.
Invest a bit of time and money in learning what works and buy quality ingredients and you will probably get a better brew.
Mark
 

brew1000

Member
Joined
17/9/21
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Location
Adelaide
MHB said:
I'm not sure what you mean by not using "all the Adjuncts... listed" about the only thing left is the Citric acid and that is a worthwhile addition
I was generalising. (Note the "s" on the end of word "recipe"). I'm not removing anything from the recipe that I posted and the Citric acid is definitely staying. It's mainly just balancing of the ingredients based on the yeast I decide to use.

When I say Adjuncts I mean things like Dextrose instead of white sugar, Brew enhancers, Finings and other such things. I've tried the first two years ago and did not notice any improvement in brewing beer.

So I will change the recipe to use the Brigalow brewing yeast. I might boil up some bread yeast to kill it to add to the DAP for the nutrient. I guess some dried malt as suggested could also be used for that purpose but it's another ingredient I have to purchase and the rest will go off before I get to use it. What about some Oats ground up in my coffee grinder?

The sediment reducer has been ordered and coming so I will use it even if it does very little I can't see it causing any problems.
 

Latest posts

Top