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Jino

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I want to make a mead using a 1 or 3 gallon glass carboy. Does anyone have a good recipe/procedure for it?

I have never made a mead before but i have thought about doing it for some time. What yeast would be the best? Any specific type of honey that can be recommended?

What would be the better option to make, 1 or 3 gallons? I don't really want a whole heap of it but if 1 gallon really isn't worth it i would do the 3.

Thanks

PS: Sorry if this is the wrong section for this. If so admins please feel free to move it.

[edit: added appology :)]
 

Airgead

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Jino said:
I want to make a mead using a 1 or 3 gallon glass carboy. Does anyone have a good recipe/procedure for it?

I have never made a mead before but i have thought about doing it for some time. What yeast would be the best? Any specific type of honey that can be recommended?

What would be the better option to make, 1 or 3 gallons? I don't really want a whole heap of it but if 1 gallon really isn't worth it i would do the 3.

Thanks

PS: Sorry if this is the wrong section for this. If so admins please feel free to move it.

[edit: added appology :)]
[post="68553"][/post]​
Jino

I make quite a bit of mead and its fabulous stuff.

Technically, any fermented beverage that gets the bulk of its fermentables from honey is a mead so that can range from a 'show' mead - all honey, through the melomels (fruit and honey) to juice and honey (pyment and cyser) and malt and honey (braggot) mixes.

In general, the more honey in a batch the longer it will take to age. A show mead will gererally be good after 2-5 years and at its best after 8-10 if properly stored. The aging time depends a lot on the type of honey used - stronger honeys make a better mead but take longer to age (in general but in mead making exceptions seem to be the rule). A melomel can age in as little as 6 months. Braggot is usually fine to drink after 2.

I tend to brew mead in 1 gal batches until I am sure I have a recipe corerct. Good honey is too expensive to waste.

As for procedure, treat it as a wine rather than a beer (except braggot). Ferment with a wine yeast. Fermentation can take ages. Bulk age for a few months then bottle and age till its good. I tend to open a bottle every 2-3 months till its drinking well. if its not drinking well by the end of my 6 or so bottles I revise the recipe. This does make for a very slow learning curve.

Let me know what style you are looking at making and I'll give you any tips I have.

Cheers
Dave
 

Jino

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Thanks Dave. Thats more info then i could have wished for!

I think i would like to have a go at a braggot to start jsut to have a go at it and try it within a shorter period of time and from there give a pyment or cyser a go.

I have had a browse at the Making Mead book (kinda have a soft copy of it but ssshhh) and there is a recipe for a Ale Mead which uses a brewers yeast. Is that more of a braggot?

Have you ever tried making a show mead? I don't know if i could make something and then leave it for 10 years! But i'm sure it would be awesome after such an ageing.

My thought were exactly what you said about the 1 gallon batches. I would like to experiment a bit more before i started to make the larger ones.

What do you age it in? I was going to ferment in a 1 gallon glass carboy and then rack for aging but what should i rack it to? Another 1 gal carboy? Also what do you bottle in? Do you use wine bottles? I have some in a "half bottle" i think they are called. I guess that would be the best way.

Thanks for the help its much appreciated. And sorry for all the n00b questions!!!
 

Airgead

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Jino said:
Thanks Dave. Thats more info then i could have wished for!

I think i would like to have a go at a braggot to start jsut to have a go at it and try it within a shorter period of time and from there give a pyment or cyser a go.
No problem Jino. As far as I am concerned, the more meadmakers in Oz the better.
That's a good plan. Learn from the quick stuff then move to the longer ones. Melomels are usualy the easiest to move up to. Cysers (honey and apple juice - essentialy a fortified cider) are just as easy as a melomel but pyments (grape juice and honey) can be tricky as they have all the issues of meadmaking plus all the issues involved in making good wine.

Jino said:
I have had a browse at the Making Mead book (kinda have a soft copy of it but ssshhh) and there is a recipe for a Ale Mead which uses a brewers yeast. Is that more of a braggot?
In general, a braggot (first documented as being made by monks on an island off Ireland in about 1250 BTW) is an ale where between 20 and 50% of the fermentables come from honey. It should be more a beer than a mead. my last braggot was at the top end of the scale at 50/50 and it is possibly a little lacking in malt flavour. I'll drop back down to around 40% for next time. Anything less than around 20% honey won't get enough honey flavour. Most "Honey Beers" use a tiny amount of hoeny and just manage a little honey aroma).

My recipe is at home but from memory it was 50/50 malt and honey with the malt being 10% wheat malt. About 35 IBU using POR with a little cascade at the end for flavour/aroma. The cascade is a bit much so I'll use somethign a bit more subtle next time. I fermented with WLP001 because that was all my LHBS had at the time. Most of my previous braggots used one of the brittish yeasts though I am thinking that some of ther German/Belgan wheat yeasts might be nice.

If the book you are refering to is the Acton and Duncan one then their mead ale is a bit disappointing. Honey ferments out absolutely dry so you end up with a thin dry beer with no head retention. I have jigged that recipe a little and added some crystal to body it up a bit but I prefer the style of the braggot. Historicaly speaking ale mead was probably a small (small = meadmaking term for weak) mead bittered with whatever herbs were around.

Jino said:
Have you ever tried making a show mead? I don't know if i could make something and then leave it for 10 years! But i'm sure it would be awesome after such an ageing.
Yep. i've done a couple. I don't do them much though as it is a long time to wait and by the time they are at their best you have drunk almost all of them in sampling. I have bought a lot of show mead though from Mt Vincent meadery (now sadly closed) which was the only decent meadery in the country. The best I ever had was their 92 white box which I drank the last ever bottle of last year.

Jino said:
What do you age it in? I was going to ferment in a 1 gallon glass carboy and then rack for aging but what should i rack it to? Another 1 gal carboy? Also what do you bottle in? Do you use wine bottles? I have some in a "half bottle" i think they are called. I guess that would be the best way.
[post="68613"][/post]​
To be honest I usually rack into another 1 gal carboy. I should really get something smaller to rack into. You can get 3 cal carboys apparently that would do nicely. The alternative is food grade plastic and squeeze the headspace out. Having said that though I tend not to bulk age for long. I usually bottle as soon as it has cleared and let it age in the bottle.

I usually bottle into wine bottles but I am starting a collection of half bottles for a rather nice fortified cyser I will be bottling as soon as it clears.

Have fun

Cheers
Dave
 

Lufah

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Take a look at these FAQs for some great info on nutrient additions. I started using the timed additions and it improved my mead a lot. http://www.brewboard.com/index.php?showforum=36

I also do a lot of small 1gal batches. I just bottle them up in beer bottles with O2 barrier caps. Just about the only time I use wine bottles is for gifts. They just look a lot better.

Also I'm a big fan of the no heat method of making mead. Just heat the water enough to mix the honey and nutrients in.

Travis
 

Justin

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A timely post fellas, thanks.

I was considering having a go at a spiced apple mead soon. Just doing a bit of research beforehand so all comments above are greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Justin
 

Jino

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Thanks Dave. I think i'll give that recipe you posted ago and let you know how it turns out. Apparently there is a place around here that sells the half bottles for a good price so i might look into getting some of those. I was given a bottle of mead the other day in 1 and it looks really good.

I was speaking to someone the other day about meads and they seem to rack them a fair few times and each time adding more honey instead of all at the begining. Do any of you do that or just in the one go?

I can't seem to access that link Travis?? I get a page not found.
 

Justin

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Yep same here. But if you just chop off the end of the address, back to the brewboard.com bit you can go into the wine and mead FAQ section from there.

Cheers.
 

Jino

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Thanks mate. I really should have tried that!
 

pint of lager

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One of the key factors with meads is getting the right nutrients. Beverages such as malt based beer and grape based wine have just about all the nutrients that yeasts need for successful reproduction and alcohol making. When making meads and non grape based fruit wines, get the balance of nutrients right.

I have made a couple of meads, including spiced apple meads. Have always added all the honey at the start. Watch the spices, really fresh and strong spices may mean your mead will take so long to mature, it will be ready to be consumed at your wake.

Some people make sweet meads, and they do this by adding small amounts of honey till the yeast cannot ferment any more, then add a bit more. Others backsweeten. Some people follow recipes that believe the yeast will ferment better in a weaker sugar solution, rather than the strong sugar solution that occurs if you add all the honey at once.

Racking is a bit of a pain, you always loose a bit in the headspace which must be filled up with something to avoid oxidation. Aim to have zero crud in the bottles when you bottle. The crud doesn't taste nice and if it ends up as a haze in the glass, it spoils the flavour. I like 15 litre batches as at least you have something to show at the end.

Currently have about 8 kg of very fresh honey that I collected straight out of a tree from the neighbours last week. It is slowly filtering through muslin to remove grit, woodchips and wax, and am wondering if I should pastuerize it or use it as it is. Fresh honey tastes awesome.
 

Justin

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Cool, thanks for the input.

As for the honey, I'm no expert but I don't think you need to pastuerize it, I think the main reason they pasteurize it to stop the honey from crystalizing. Honey has it's own antibacterial properties (probably just the extremely high conc of sugar). Your honey will be full of brood too no doubt, I don;t know if that changes anything though.

Anyway, I'm just talking crap now, I don't really know the answer. Try google.

Cheers, JD
 

Jino

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Thanks for the info POL. The Making Mead book does talk alot about the yeast nutrients and acids that are needed to be added.

8kg of good fresh honey is a aweosme score!
My LHBs is apparently getting in some Clover honey which is apparently good stuff to use for mead?

Oh and Airqead the Makin Mead book i have is the Acton and Duncan one so as per your advice i won't do the Ale Mead from there.
 

Airgead

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Jino said:
I was speaking to someone the other day about meads and they seem to rack them a fair few times and each time adding more honey instead of all at the begining. Do any of you do that or just in the one go?

[post="68953"][/post]​
Adding honey till it wont ferment any more will give you a sweet mead. I prefer mine dry so I don't.

O yaeh.. I shoudl have mentioned nutrients. The more honey in a recipe, the less nutrient there is for the yeast. Generally a melomel will get enough nutrient from the fruit (but i tend to add a half dose anyway just in case). A show mead really needs the nutrient.

If you do add acid, best to add it at the end of the fermentation as adding it at the beginning can inhibit the yeast.

Cheers
Dave
 

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After doing some reading, when using honey, it is better to chemically treat it with camden tablets to knock out wild yeasts and any other free loaders rather than heat treating or pastuerizing it. Easy. This preserves the honey flavours that are lost during heat treating. This is also the preferred method when treating fruits for fruit wines.

Then we had six bags of oranges dropped off. Mmmm honey orange mead. So pulled out the recipe book and made that. 2.6 kg of honey, 1 kg of sugar, 4 litres orange juice plus malic acid, nutrients and yeast for 16 litres, to be racked to a 15 litre glass demijohn after primary.

Still have lots of oranges and quite a bit of honey left.
 

poppa joe

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ALL ABOUT MEAD by S.W.ANDREWS...Published 1971...By ...Wait for it...
MILLS & BOON...I feel a love match coming on.....
Cheers
PJ :p :D
 

capretta

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*thread sticks rotting hand through graveyard soil into the daylight.........."brains..brains!!"*

hi all, i am going to make a cyser with pear juice and i wanted the OG around the 1100 mark, so heavier on the honey than pear, and just wanted to know if anyone knew if the specific gravity of honey was an industry standard or varied greatly between manufacturers.

promash lists its potential at 1042 or something, would this be a decent ballpark or do i need to test the honey?

the honey i got was from a road side fruit shop/stall in bathurst, natural honey goldfields apiaries. 3kg for $18.
 

DarkFaerytale

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3kg for 18 bucks is a great deal! my last lot cost me 10 bucks a kg, not much more to add, i just go by promash but i don't take gravity readings on my mead, just let it go and assume what promash said is around about right

-Phill
 

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The worst mead I have ever made had 9kg of honey and 9kg of watermelon in it - tasted foul and was like paint stripper. Even mixing it with other stuff like soft drink did not help it.

The best Mead i made was 4 kg and Californian Steam yeast, still it was a lovely white wine-ish drink, after some time and some further refermentation in the bottle it was like a bloody good champagne - minus the nice toastie yeast notes - but bloody good.

I always used DAP as a nutrient - dunno about using the wyeast nutrient I bring in - me think i am going to have to get some honey. Capretta where did you pick you honey up from??

Scotty
 

Chad

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I've done 5 x 5L batches so far. The first two batches have been bottled in small beer bottles, and are coming up to a year old very soon. I don't expect a great deal out of them as I accidentally oxygenated them when racking, but I now have that sorted and can rack a lot 'cleaner'.
The other three batches are bulk aging until I get around to getting some wine bottles and a capper.

So far my batches are;
1. Traditional
2. Melomel (Orange)
3. Melomel ('Joe's Ancient Orange', on the GotMead site)
4. Melomel (Apricot)
5. Metheglin (Vanilla and Cinnamon)

So far, number 3 and in particular 5 are turning out really good. The Vanilla is going to be a great desert wine with some icecream.

When I make them, they are either straight into a 5L demijohn, or I do up a double batch of traditional in a 15L plastic fermenter for primary, and then split them into 2 x 5L and add the adjuncts to make two different meads.

Make sure you check out www.GotMead.com, and in particular their online calculator which I have found to be fairly accurate and useful.
 

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