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 Post subject: Mead Making
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:48 am 
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After some discussions with our Bee Keepers ( viewtopic.php?f=39&t=93950 ) about making mead, I thought it would be good to stop hijacking their thread and start a brand new thread.

So, over the past 2 months I have done a good bit of exploring the Internet and finding mead making resources. These include the process of making mead, equipment needed, and some suppliers. If anyone has more resources, feel free to link them in this thread and I will attempt to keep the list updated.

General Mead Making Websites:
Storm the Castle Website: http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/

Supplies:

Recipes:
Storm the Castle Recipes: http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/mead-recipes.htm

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 1:12 pm 
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stormthecastle.com is where I went to get my basic mead recipe. I've made about 6 batches of mead thus far and each one is getting better.

Basic checklist of equipment to get started:
Carboy (1-6 gallons)
Plug with hole
Hydrolock
Racking Cane
Hose
Carboy Scrub Brush
Sanitizer

That will get you started for around $50

To make a basic semi sweet mead:

First thing is to sanitize ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that will be touching the ingredients. So sanitize your carboy, funnel if you use one (I recommend it), the stirring instrument for the yeast, and the bowl you put the yeast and water into.

Take a measuring cup and add 1/4 cup of luke warm (not hot) water and pour your yeast in (yeast nutrient too if decide to get it). Stir the mixture until the yeast has been completely dissolved into the water.
Next take 1 quart of honey per gallon of carboy (*5 gallons = 5 quarts or if you have a hydrometer you want it at around 90). Heat your honey up so it pours easier and add it to your carboy.
Next add water, I like to buy store brand spring water. Pour the water in the car boy until it reaches the part of the carboy where it starts to angle in (5 gallon carboys have a glass bead at the very top others may or may not).
Next step is put your plug in and shake..... Shake it like a Polaroid!!! I mean.... Vigorously shake the mixture until all the honey has been dissolved (I try to have the water at around 80-90 degrees), this also adds oxygen to the mead mixture.
After a good 5 minutes of shaking add your yeast mixture into the carboy and start shaking again, at this point the more oxygen you add the better your yeast is going to work. Finally fill your hydrolock and put in the hole of the plug.
Place the carboy in a part of the house that is cool, dark, and dry.

You've just made mead. Wait a couple weeks and primary fermentation is done you can technically bottle it once primary fermentation is finished. But Mead should be racked (transferred to a new carboy and the yeasty bottom stuff thrown away) until it is a golden color that isn't hazy. If you decide to do it until it is clarified, you should bottle it and wait at least 3-4 months before even remotely thinking about consuming.

*With the honey we have and for my the 90 on the hydrometer it's actually closer to 4 quarts per 5 gallons. I say 1 quart per 1 gallon because I think generally to get the "taste" of Mead you want something that is a little sweeter because Mead is VERY much an acquired taste. If you start with a dry Mead it's going to be difficult to drink and you may not want to try it again.

I have 8 gallon of mead fermenting right now. The 5 gallon has been sitting since mid march to clarify and I may rack it a couple more times in the next couple months and bottle it around December/January. The 3 gallon is going to be divided into 3 separate gallon carboys and I'm going to try and condition the yeast to see if I can get it to become stronger and thus more alcoholic.

The next batch of mead I made is going to be with honey that we heated up to separate the wax from the honey. It took on a bit of a smokey (burnt) flavor so I'm wondering how that's going to turn out when fermented. I'll start with just a gallon, and that honey may be just for flavored Mead if it doesn't turn out well.

Sorry for the long post

Secret Squirrel Edit: Thanks for making this thread I have been debating it. Glad you just went and did it, I hate hijacking threads, also hate making new ones! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:56 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:27 pm 
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Here's the batch I started about 2 weeks ago.... The primary fermentation is coming to an end, I'll probably end up racking it shortly (next day or two).

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This is how I store the carboys when they are fermenting, it helps to keep the light out.

Image

I'll post some pictures of the one that's been sitting for about 6 months in a few days when I rack it.

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:15 pm 
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We're taking the "poor man's mead" route since we're not much for alcohol but still want to give making mead a try. Hubby found this "How to make some Mead today -the cheap, fast, and easy way" article over at Storm the Castle and now there is a full plastic jug with a balloon on my kitchen counter. It makes the house smell delicious. This is how it looked the first day (it sort of settles at first and then remixes itself over time):

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I also found an article about making vinegar from cheap wine, so if this batch doesn't turn out awesome, I can make vinegar out of it. We win either way, hopefully!

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:34 am 
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With my extensive mead making experience (about 3 weeks now) I have noticed something but wanted to bounce it off the rest of you.

Smaller batches seem to ferment quicker for me. I have a 3 gallon batch that is still bubbling away at about 1 bubble per 5 seconds from the air lock at around 19 days, but a 1 gallon batch at about 10 days is already slowed down to 1bub/18 secs. Has anyone else noticed this?

Ana, I made a 3 gallon batch of that same recipe! LOL

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:32 am 
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How did yours turn out?

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:51 am 
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Anianna wrote:
How did yours turn out?


Still bubbling away. I'll let you know once I rack/bottle it.

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:54 am 
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NamelessStain wrote:
With my extensive mead making experience (about 3 weeks now) I have noticed something but wanted to bounce it off the rest of you.

Smaller batches seem to ferment quicker for me. I have a 3 gallon batch that is still bubbling away at about 1 bubble per 5 seconds from the air lock at around 19 days, but a 1 gallon batch at about 10 days is already slowed down to 1bub/18 secs. Has anyone else noticed this?

Ana, I made a 3 gallon batch of that same recipe! LOL


I have never made mead, but have made multiple batches of beer and wine. Had this happen in my first batch of 2 gallon beer in a 5 gallon carboy, so I went to my favorite beer forum (that isn't my post):

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/small-b ... te-300937/

Get yourself a triple scale hydrometer, so you can check to see if the alcohol content is increasing. The number of bubbles means nothing.

http://www.amazon.com/Monster-Brew-Home ... hydrometer

I did stop bottling beer in 12 oz bottles as the bottle conditioning is much, much better in 22 oz bottles, but that is a different issue.

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:43 am 
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Couple of books you all might be interested in:

Making Your Own Mead
43 Recipes for Homemade Honey Wines
by Bryan Acton and Peter Duncan

Making Unusual Wild Wines and Meads
125 Unusual Recipes Using Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, & More
by Pattie Vargas and Rich Gulling

My friend made the Strawberry Melomel and it was tasty.

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:49 am 
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While checking out hydrometers, I see that some don't work for beer and wine (such as the "proof & tralle" hydrometers). Is it specifically "triple scale" hydrometers we should be looking for to measure alcohol content in mead?

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:23 am 
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Anianna wrote:
While checking out hydrometers, I see that some don't work for beer and wine (such as the "proof & tralle" hydrometers). Is it specifically "triple scale" hydrometers we should be looking for to measure alcohol content in mead?


I have the one I linked, and it works fine for beer and wine for $7. Never used it on mead, so I honestly don't know.

I think once you get more involved than I do (past hobby stage). I would assume there are better instruments that are more accurate, but I haven't researched.

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:17 pm 
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NamelessStain wrote:
With my extensive mead making experience (about 3 weeks now) I have noticed something but wanted to bounce it off the rest of you.

Smaller batches seem to ferment quicker for me. I have a 3 gallon batch that is still bubbling away at about 1 bubble per 5 seconds from the air lock at around 19 days, but a 1 gallon batch at about 10 days is already slowed down to 1bub/18 secs. Has anyone else noticed this?

Ana, I made a 3 gallon batch of that same recipe! LOL


I've fond the same thing, and yes that is correct. With the one gallon you have a lot less sugar for the yeast to convert. You also probably put one batch of yeast in with the 1 gallon as you did with the 3 gallon. So the 1 gallon started with a lot more yeast in a smaller container. My 5 gallon carboys takes a month and a half to two months to stop bubbling. When you rack it it bubbles more for a day or so but that's generally the carbonation that's been dissolved into the mead.

Kathy in FL wrote:
Couple of books you all might be interested in:

Making Your Own Mead
43 Recipes for Homemade Honey Wines
by Bryan Acton and Peter Duncan

Making Unusual Wild Wines and Meads
125 Unusual Recipes Using Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, & More
by Pattie Vargas and Rich Gulling

My friend made the Strawberry Melomel and it was tasty.


Thanks for the different books, I want to try more flavored Meads, I made one about a year ago that was vanilla and cinnamon. I added way to much cinnamon and not enough vanilla. I put 2 cinnamon sticks in with 2 vanilla beans, let me just advice that for a 1 gallon batch 2 cinnamon sticks is WAY to many, I would start next time with a half a stick.

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:29 pm 
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Great thread!

I agree that making mead isn't very cost effective without a cheap honey source. I added pears and dates to my recipe. It turned out great!

For the best mead I've ever had, check out Winehaven in Minnesota. They have a honey wine that is out of this world. They might ship to your State!

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:37 pm 
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MUST... NOT... BUY!!!

http://store.homebrewheaven.com/54l-142 ... -p90.aspx#

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:00 pm 
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NamelessStain wrote:


:rofl:

Hubby is happy with his cheap-o plastic jug. I ain't spendin' a penny! :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:57 pm 
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Anianna wrote:
NamelessStain wrote:


:rofl:

Hubby is happy with his cheap-o plastic jug. I ain't spendin' a penny! :lol:



Where do you get your honey from? Due to costs, I can't make mead as cheap as I can buy it.

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AfleetAlex wrote:
Anianna wrote:
NamelessStain wrote:


:rofl:

Hubby is happy with his cheap-o plastic jug. I ain't spendin' a penny! :lol:



Where do you get your honey from? Due to costs, I can't make mead as cheap as I can buy it.


http://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/view ... 39&t=93950

:wink:

Also, if you're getting honey from a grocery store, it's very likely not honey at all, but honey-flavored syrup, which is technically illegal to call honey, but there is no enforcement. Get it directly from a beekeeper or not at all, imo.

Hubby and I don't even drink alcohol. We're just making it to know we can do it, really. We wouldn't do it at all if we didn't have our own honey.

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Anianna wrote:
AfleetAlex wrote:
Anianna wrote:
NamelessStain wrote:


:rofl:

Hubby is happy with his cheap-o plastic jug. I ain't spendin' a penny! :lol:



Where do you get your honey from? Due to costs, I can't make mead as cheap as I can buy it.


http://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/view ... 39&t=93950

:wink:

That totally makes sense. Keeping bees is a goal of mine, but I never thought of finding a bee keeper right now...

Thanks!

Also, if you're getting honey from a grocery store, it's very likely not honey at all, but honey-flavored syrup, which is technically illegal to call honey, but there is no enforcement. Get it directly from a beekeeper or not at all, imo.

Hubby and I don't even drink alcohol. We're just making it to know we can do it, really. We wouldn't do it at all if we didn't have our own honey.

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 Post subject: Re: Mead Making
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:51 pm 
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Anianna wrote:
Hubby and I don't even drink alcohol. We're just making it to know we can do it, really. We wouldn't do it at all if we didn't have our own honey.


I don't understand how you can have honey and not make mead by the barrel full and get hammered off of it. :rofl: :rofl:

Maybe it's just me :lol:

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Halfapint wrote:
Anianna wrote:
Hubby and I don't even drink alcohol. We're just making it to know we can do it, really. We wouldn't do it at all if we didn't have our own honey.


I don't understand how you can have honey and not make mead by the barrel full and get hammered off of it. :rofl: :rofl:

Maybe it's just me :lol:


I'm sure it's not just you, it's just not me. :rofl:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:47 pm 
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Anianna wrote:
Halfapint wrote:
Anianna wrote:
Hubby and I don't even drink alcohol. We're just making it to know we can do it, really. We wouldn't do it at all if we didn't have our own honey.


I don't understand how you can have honey and not make mead by the barrel full and get hammered off of it. :rofl: :rofl:

Maybe it's just me :lol:


I'm sure it's not just you, it's just not me. :rofl:


Fair enough! HAHA, I'll be racking the mead tomorrow, I'm thinking I'll do both tomorrow. So everyone will get to see the different states of Mead. I'm rethinking my idea of trying to condition the yeast, I've been doing that with my 5 gallon and it has gotten stronger. I wanted to try it in smaller batches but I used a yeast I haven't made mead with before so I think I just want to try it normal and see how it turns out.

Speaking of yeast. Yeast is a crazy crazy thing! I've been making my mead with different yeasts. I started with a "wet" yeast called rudesheimer (http://home-brewing.northernbrewer.com/brewbeer/Wyeast-4783-Rudesheimer-Yeast?gclid=CNmXl5TQ1cACFQ-DfgodmY4AVg). I really liked it, so far it's my favorite.

Another good yeast to use is a Champagne yeast, don't know the exact kind but it was at the home brew supply in a yellow packet.

This newest yeast I used was a wine yeast..... Unfortunately I lost the data on my phone which I was using to keep track of the Mead. I'll be going down to the local home brew supply store tomorrow to get another 3 gallon carboy, so I'll see if I can find the yeast.

So check back tomorrow for pictures of the racking process!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:06 am 
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AfleetAlex wrote:
Anianna wrote:
NamelessStain wrote:


:rofl:

Hubby is happy with his cheap-o plastic jug. I ain't spendin' a penny! :lol:



Where do you get your honey from? Due to costs, I can't make mead as cheap as I can buy it.


How much are you paying for mead?

I get my honey at Sam's Club right now since I'm new to making mead. Sue Bee is the brand they sell.

Just the cost of "consumables" to make 1 gallon of mead is (for me)
3# honey; about $9 (I buy 5# for $14)
wine yeast; $1.06 at local microbrew store (and if you do several gallons at a time, many websites say one packet per 3 gallons so you can split it between gallon containers; they also recommend if you are doing more than 5 gallons in a single batch, 1 packet per 5 gallon, but 1 per 3gallon is better.)
yeast energizer; $2 for a bottle that will work for several gallons
yeast nutrients; $2, again for multiple batches.
1 Gallon water, $1

So that's $15 and the leftover energizer and nutrients make the next batch $11.

And a gallon batch should make a minimum of 3L or 4 normal 750ml wine bottles. So that makes the first gallon come out to less the $4 a bottle, and the followup batches under $3/bottle :) You don't need all of the fancy gear to do the batch Ana is making above. Just add a balloon and a rubber band to the shopping list.

Keep posting pics Halfapint, I'm not much of a picture taker. Even when we had our MBOs, I had a chapter person post pics :)


Edit:
Last night I timed the bubbles again ... 1 every 26 seconds, I think I'll be racking these 2 this weekend. These are 2 experimental batchs. I used the basic dry mead recipe from storm the castle but to 1 jug I added 2 pasilla peppers and the other 2 ancho peppers. If they taste like crap, I just made cooking wines :)


Edit 2:
Current batches I have fermenting:
1) Orange clove mead (same one as Ana is making) - 3 Gallon, D47 yeast
2) Orange clove mead - 3 Gallon, 1116 yeast
3) Apple pie cyser - 3 gallon, whatever yeast was on the recipe
4) Dry Pasilla Pepper mead - 1 gallon, can't remember yeast
5) Dry Ancho Pepper mead - 1 gallon, can't remember yeast
6) Basic Sweet Mead - 1 gallon, can't remember yeast - friend came over wanting to see how I was doing it
7) Basic Sweet Mead - 1 gallon, can't remember yeast - friend came over wanting to see how I was doing it

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:50 pm 
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Nameless ... I've used that stuff from SAMs before for medicinal purposes and it is 100% honey.

I've also purchases from local honey sources available at flea markets and farmer's markets. There is some flavor difference depending on the grade honey you are using and what nectar the honey is made from. Friend made some mead from sage honey one time ... er, not for me. He also made some using buckwheat honey and again, not for me. I prefer a light melomel made with a flower blossom honey but it doesn't have to be orange blossom.

I can't/don't drink much ... because there is diabetes on both sides of the family and because of some stomach issues ... so what I make usually winds up being cooked into something or given as a gift. As a result my palate isn't real edumacated but if you like what you are using and the results I wouldn't worry about it.

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