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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * Januray 20, 2004 * Mead Suggestions < Previous Next >

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JOHN K. LEE (206.66.239.111)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 04:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm wanting to try to make a mead this month. I'm gearing up for next Christmas. I'm leaning toward a traditional style or a raspberry melomel. Either one will be an experience since I've never even tasted a mead much less made one. Does anyone have any good recipes they would care to share. Thanks guys!
-J.K.L.
 

cheesehead (134.84.5.37)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 05:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Get the Complete Meadmaker book by Ken Schramm.

Get some clover honey. Ferment that with no fruit. Rack it onto fruit after the primary.

Use Lalvin D-47 or Red Star Montrachet dry yeast. Use a yeast nutrient, but don't add acid blend, if you want, until before bottling.

I did a one gallon experitmetal batch this way using one can of Oregan raspberry puree. It turned out very very well and I'm kicking myself that I didn't make more.

I can get more details if you want, but it really is that easy.

I used 3 lbs of honey in my one gallon batch and it turned out a bit tart, very nice, but could have used a bit more honey sweetness.

Mead is easy to make. You just have to wait longer. I've got about 25 gallons in various stages now, which has irritatingly limited by brewing. Oh well.
 

David Woods (63.95.170.150)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 05:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have made a couple of meads, a acermel (maple syrup mead), a blueberry melomel and I have a plum melomel fermenting now. I didn't like the way wine yeast tasted, or how high the alcohol level would go, so I have started using dry ale yeast. The taste is great to me and I can achieve a sweeter mead which is to my style.

I make 3 gallons at a time and usually start with 2 gallons of water and about 3-4lbs of honey. After about a week, I add the frozen smashed fruit (about a pound per gallon to start), or consentrate cans (no perservatives!)to the secondary and rack the mead ontop of it. After about 2 weeks I move to 3rd vessel and add more consentrate or honey to start to achieve the level of sweetness that I want. I check it every 3 or 4 days and add more honey when needed. After it is to my taste, I let it sit another week or so and then I bottle with no priming sugar.
There is always something left that will give the bottle a little carbonization, but not much.

Hope this helps,
David
 

PalerThanAle (65.168.73.62)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 05:51 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here is a nice reference: Bees Lees II

The best part about cyser/meads/melomels/etc is I feel like you have more artistic freedom than making beer and still have a very drinkable product.

PTA
 

aleman (207.109.230.222)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 05:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

http://www.quiltsandbrew.net/mead.htm
 

Wm John Ivey (12.72.93.214)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 06:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My question is how much head space do you need in the primary? Does this stuff take off? Can I use a 6.5 carboy for a 3gal experiment,and how soon can I bottle it and forget about it?
 

cheesehead (134.84.5.37)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 06:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You hardly need any head space at all. You don't get a big foamy krausen if you're doing just honey. You might get a bit if you've got fruit in the primary, but you should really rack onto fruit after the primary so you don't lose the fruit aromatics.

I think you'd be ok with a big carboy and a 3 gallon batch. You might want to blanket with CO2 for secondary if you have a CO2 tank.
 

cheesehead (134.84.5.37)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 06:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with PTA about artistic freedom. I've done a bunch of blending with meads, taking a batch that was too sweet and adding it to a batch that was too dry, then adding more honey and fruit until I got a flavor I liked. Not at all like beer in that sense.
 

chumley (199.92.192.126)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 07:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I plan on taking cheesehead's suggestion and brewing a simple mead this month. Might even brew it Friday. Hopefully it will be ready by July-August so I can pickup some fresh fruit and make melomels. For a 5-gallon batch, I was thinking 15 pounds of light clover honey, Wyeast yeast nutrient, and Cote Des Blanc wine yeast. Heat water to boiling, let cool to 175°F, stir in the honey, cool and pitch the yeast. Ferment until July to hopefully get a mead somewhere in between sweet and dry. Sound like a plan?
 

cheesehead (134.84.5.37)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 07:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey, chumley, you learn quick! ;-)

As a rule of thumb 12 lbs of honey will be about a gallon in volume, so you only need 4 gallons of water with that much honey to get five total gallons.

I'd have to consult Schramm, but if I remember correctly 3 lbs of honey per gallon with get you on the sweet side.

Cotes des Blanc is a bit of a slow fermenter and will also finish sweet.

Your heating method is fine. You don't want to boil your honey, as some books suggest.

Schramm also does a no-heat, no-sulfite method. His premise is that honey is too acid itself to carry any nasties. He just practices good sanitation and mixes his honey with water and pitches his yeast.

I tried this on my last mead batch and on transfer to secondary everything was fine.
 

chumley (199.92.192.126)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 08:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, cheesehead. Maybe I will cut my honey amounts back to 13-14 lbs. I already have 2 packets of the Cotes des Blanc yeast, so I will stick with that.

I will also stick with my heating method. I don't think Schramm's no-heat method would work too well with my 32°F Montana tap water right now - I have a mental picture of a cold rock of honey sitting in the bottom of a bucket, with me stirring endlessly.
 

Patrick C. (63.250.179.198)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 08:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here's my first mead, with the very comlpex recipe of 15 pounds of honey plus Nottingham yeast. There's no need for a blowoff tube-

mead1.jpg
The ring of yeast and slime on the neck is a little misleading, as it never got close to overflowing.
Now for the long story-
I started by dissolving 10 lbs of honey in about a gallon of hot water, then topped up the carboy to 4 gallons with cold tap water. Temperature was around 68F, and has stayed close to that the whole time. I added about 4g of yeast nutrient, then pitched two 11g packs of Nottingham and oxygenated. It started bubbling about 12 hours later, and chugged along for about 4 days before slowing down. I then dissolved the last 5 pounds of honey in hot water and added some cold water to get it down around 75°. Poured this in the fermenter and topped up to just over 5 gallons. I didn't measure the OG, but decided to rely on a calculated OG since I didn't add all of the honey at the beginning. The chugging picked up again for a few days, then slowed to about 1 bubble every 30 seconds. I thought it was finished, so I checked the gravity- STILL 1.100! I added another 4g of yeast nutrient, and a day or so later it took off again. The 'second' fermentation has been going for almost a week now, and is starting to slow down. Time for another gravity reading, I guess. No problems other than the 'false start' fermentation, and a lot easier than brewing a batch of beer. Now to wait, and wait, and wait...
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 09:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Go ahead and heat the water, chumley. I wouldn't worry about driving off the aromatics unless it was a really subtle varietal honey.
 

cheesehead (24.118.124.147)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 09:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

According to Schramm:

dry mead 10 lbs honey per 5 gallon batch
medium 12.5-14 lbs honey per 5 gallon batch
sweet 15-18 lbs honey per 5 gallon batch
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 09:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I might disagree slightly with Ken Schramm. Twelve pounds of honey (one gallon in volume) per 5 gallons will yield an O.G. of 1.090 and an F.G. of 0.998 when fermented with a typical dry yeast. That's quite dry. In my experience you have to increase the honey to about 3 lbs. per gallon (O.G. 1.114) or more to achieve a somewhat sweet mead.

By the way, I recommend making sweet mead by fermenting a must of about 1.100 and then gradually adding honey (I add a pound per week) until fermentation subsides and the mead is at the desired sweetness. There is less chance of a stuck fermentation and the results are much more predictable.
 

JOHN K. LEE (206.66.239.111)
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2004 - 09:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is it true you are not supposed to cook honey in aluminum?
-J.K.L.
 

Kevin Davis (67.233.12.233)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 02:03 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This maybe a stupid question, but I have never tasted mead, I realize the fruit will give it a fruity flavor, but what does a straight honey mead taste like? Is it a wine taste, or can it be described? Based on the numbers above am I correct to say it would be around 13% + alcohol? Does it burn a little going down like brandy? Thanks,
Kevin
 

Andrew Bales (65.28.61.181)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 02:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kevin - it tastes like whatever you make....I do a lemon lime mead (15#/5g) and it is tart and dry, like wine but it is more acidic (probably due to the fruit juices). I have had some raspberry meads that were outstanding, just amazing, right up there with the best lambic brewers. When someone makes one that is dialed in, it is the best drink in the world. IMHO wine holds nothing to mead.
 

Beertracker (68.13.253.7)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 07:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would suggest keeping it simple! Try a nice traditional or varietal mead for your first experience following Bill's advice on pounds of honey per gallon for a nice medium-sweet/semi-sec mead. I prefer to use either Orange Blossom or Tupelo honey in my traditional meads & IMO you can't go wrong with the Lalvin ICV-D47 ~ Cotes-du-Rhone. CHEERS! Beertracker
 

Mike Kessenich (165.189.92.23)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 01:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Just a comment on the no need for a blow off tube statement above. This may be true with a straight mead, but if you're making a cyser (apple juice & honey) you can have a pretty big head!
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 02:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kevin, mead is unique and can have great variety, but in general a dry mead made only with light clover honey has a white wine character something like a chardonnay but a little more subtle. There are some soft honey and flower notes in the aroma and finish. If sparkling, dry mead is somewhat like champagne. The use of varietal honey, fruits and spices can add considerably to the complexity. Sweet meads are obviously sweeter and usually have more concentrated flavors.
 

Dave Johnston (12.221.36.212)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 04:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Melomels can be done in a 1 or 2 step process. Either works well and neither shortens the time needed. Mead is a labor of love, time and patience.

1 gal honey (approx 12 lbs)
If using whole fruit freeze it first then use it
lb. for lb. in other words 12 lbs whole fruit.
If using Oregon purees use at least 2 cans better with 3
Add:
1 TBSP Citric acid or acid blend
1/2 tsp grape tannin powder, don't use this if using whole fruit with seeds.
Pectic enzyme powder as directed, this is important to drop pectins from raspberries.
2 TBSPs Yeast nutrient
2 TBSPs Yeast energizer
Cotes de Blanc or Lalvin 2116 yeast

Don't muck about with a small batch you'll hate yourself in about a year's time that you didn't make more.

If using whole fruit put in a 6.5 gallon bucket so that you can stir it daily for a 7 days then rack to secondary in glass 6.5 gallon. Top up to 6 gallons. Leave this for at least a month and rack to tertiary 6 gallon, take gravity reading at this time. Occasionally take gravities until it's below 1.000 it could go as low as .990 if it seems stuck you can rouse the h*** out of it and or add champagne yeast. With the Lalvin this really shouldn't be necessary.
Now is the time to age it, remember good mead takes patience. Age at least 1 year before bottling, bottle and serve at room temperature and allow it to breathe for at least 15 minutes before serving.

If you prefer you can use the old school method and replace the citric acid and grape tannin with an orange and two lipton tea bags.
Squeeze as much juice from the orange as you can and add the juice and the orange to primary add the two tea bags at this time also.

Mead is the nectar of the gods and should be treated as such, there is no rushing a great mead.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 06:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dave, I would qualify your directions in one respect. The purpose of acid blend is to counter the cloying sweetness of some meads. It is not needed in dry meads and can further lower the pH of fruit meads to the point where it can inhibit the yeast. If you need to use acid blend, do so by adding it to the bottling bucket and adjusting the amount to taste.
 

chumley (199.92.192.126)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 06:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What's the deal on tannins? I see Dave specifies either powder or tea bags. Is this needed for fermentation, or is it like acid, something to add to taste?
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 06:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It's a flavor issue. Some people like the astringency contributed by tannins, somewhat like red wine. Others feel tannins are not needed. I say it's up to you.
 

JOHN K. LEE (206.66.239.111)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 07:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey guys,
I've all over the net educating myself about mead the past 3 days. On the "Got Mead" website they mention that the honey should not be boiled in aluminum...Is this an issue I should even be concerned about. Probably not considering that I asked the same question earlier and didn't get a response. I wouldn't worried about but I don't own a stainless pot big enough. If anyone has an answer it would be much appreciated.
-J.K.L.
 

PalerThanAle (65.168.73.62)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 07:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I wouldn't worry about it. That little piece of information probably is related back to the AL scare of Alzheimer's and/or the fear making the mead taste metalic. Besides, I would worry about it.

PTA
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 07:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The concern is that the must, which is more acidic than wort, will react with the aluminum. Frankly I think the risk is overblown. There might be a little darkening of the pot.
 

JOHN K. LEE (206.66.239.111)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 07:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks again fellas....I've decided on the raspberry melomel for this weekend. I'm not sure of how much of everything I'll use yet though. By reading everybody's posts I don't think I can screw it up too bad. I guess I'll let you know next year!
-J.K.L.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 08:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The recommendation to use a lot of fruit is a good one. Add about 2 lbs. per gallon when you rack the mead to secondary. Allow a lot of headspace in the fermenter and watch for fruit residue clogging the airlock with explosive consequences.
 

Mike Kessenich (165.189.92.23)
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 09:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"honey should not be boiled in aluminum" It should say honey should not be boiled period!

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