Author Topic: Started our first Mead - I mean, how hard can this be?  (Read 3656 times)

Offline DheereCrossing

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 65
  • Karma: 5
  • Who am I again?
    • OMG Leatherworks
Started our first Mead - I mean, how hard can this be?
« on: March 03, 2017, 12:07:49 PM »
After watching Jack and Michael's presentation last October on mead making, I showed my wife the video and we decided to try it out.

I started this last Sunday and it's now Friday.

I started a 1 gallon batch.  There's a homebrew shop in Richardson, TX near here and some Amazon ordering that got me the initial equipment.
For use right away:
1 gallon glass jug
jug stopper with an airlock
yeast
Fermax yeast nutrient
For first racking:
Racking cane siphon with tubing
2nd glass 1 gallon jug
For bottling:
Case of clear beer bottles and reusable stoppers.

I'll update with the yeast types when I can get back to see my notes.  One was a Red Star Cote des Blanc in a green packet and the other was a Lalvin T- something in a silver packet.  We're aiming for a sweeter mead and not so dry.

I decided on a 'Strawberry Lemonade' mead.  I used 8 oz. fresh strawberries - green tops removed and quartered to get them through the bottle neck, 8 oz. frozen strawberries thawed, the zest of 4 small lemons and the fruit from the same lemons (no rind)

3 pounds of honey - some light amber honey that I got from a catered Mexican lunch at work that was 'extra' for dipping sopapillas 2.5 lbs. and 8 oz. of honey that I got on the Barter Blanket last year.  I forgot who I got the honey from but I think it came from Tennessee (VERY good eating honey).

I put my filtered water through the coffee maker to heat it to 175 degrees, put the fruit in the jug, covered it with the hot water, and shook it up to pasteurize it.
Then the honey went in rinsed out the honey jars with the hot water.  Plugged the jug and shook it up to dissolve the honey.

Added cold filtered water to level it off and the temp went to 84 degrees.  Took a hygrometer reading (around 1110? if I remember right - I wrote it down), added the 1 rounded teaspoon of Fermax, and pitched the yeast.

Michael Joran said he used balloons instead of airlocks so help keep the 'essence' and the balloon pushes the air back in to the fermenter.  Well, let me tell you - I didn't leave enough head space and was also afraid of being able to get the hygrometer out of the jug if I left the level too low, -  that balloon I swear was ready to burst, and it was a good helium balloon too.  I used 2 balloons and let the air out of them each morning and before bedtime.  It bubbled over and I lost about a cup of liquid and fruit to the stupidity process - but if it was an airlock, I assume there would have been bigger problems.

The bulk of the fruit is still floating at the top but has turned white.  There is about 3/8" of sediment at the bottom and the jug has cleared about 1/2 way down from the top.  The bottom half is still cloudy.

I know the next step is to rack it in to the 2nd bottle but I'm undecided if I need to add more Fermax or anything else to the batch after the first racking - I think I've been reading to many forums and blogs.

I might have some ready to bring to the workshop at the end of the month but I'm told it gets better with age.

I may start a 2nd batch once the first racking is done and the fermenting jug is emptied again.

Offline CPT Morgan

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 879
  • Karma: 53
  • Don't Be Tolerant Today Dead Tomorrow
Re: Started our first Mead - I mean, how hard can this be?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2017, 06:01:27 PM »
For the longest time I was fascinated with mead, until I finally had the opportunity to try it.  BLECK! It was disgusting, way too sweet.   

Offline Cedar

  • ...just aDD water...
  • TSP Supreme Galactic Ant
  • ************
  • Posts: 28429
  • Karma: 1398
  • Dont wait for the storm to pass, dance in the rain
Re: Started our first Mead - I mean, how hard can this be?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2017, 06:08:29 PM »
WARNING.. WARNING... WARNING..

It will stop working on you.. and you think it is time to bottle it.. DO NOT DO THIS!! Let it sit for awhile longer.. weeks.. months.. as it can restart.. if it is bottled, it essentially becomes a bomb in a bottle. Just a heads up.

There are many kinds of 'mead'.  Like ALOT

the ones I have made

Melomel: Mead made with fruit added
Metheglin: A mead made with added spices - often considered to have medicinal traits. Some common spices are cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves
Sack Mead: A mead with a very high honey content. It has a high density and is often sweeter than typical meads.

and I made Chocolate Mead..

I think my fav is Metheglin, not that I drink it or make it that often.

Cedar

Offline David in MN

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2780
  • Karma: 213
Re: Started our first Mead - I mean, how hard can this be?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2017, 09:04:58 PM »
Age is your friend with mead. I can't explain it but I routinely do 2 years in bottle after a year secondary ferment. Even then it's about a 50/50 if people will like it because it is "weird". Right now I'm bottle aging a currant mead and drinking dry sparkling (although in all honesty right now I'm literally drinking a homebrewed hard cider).

Mead is a challenging ferment and it takes time and practice to get it right. It took me a few batches to get beer, wine, cider, and mead right. And mead was the toughest because of the aging. Go in aware.

Offline DheereCrossing

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 65
  • Karma: 5
  • Who am I again?
    • OMG Leatherworks
Re: Started our first Mead - I mean, how hard can this be?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2017, 08:14:43 AM »
All fantastic advice.  It's been 8 days and it hasn't changed appearance in the last few days.  The fruit is still floating and then about 1/2" of sediment.  It's a deep red color but still a bit cloudy.  I get about 1 bubble splorp every 5 minutes.  I'm getting antsy to rack it and measure the SG.

I started a second batch too.  My wife wanted an orange cinnamon almond mead.  It started on the ferment Saturday night with just the 3 lbs. of honey, 1lb of orange fruit and zest, 1tsp of Fermax, and 1 pkg. of Lalvin D-47 yeast.  I got an OSG of 1124 corrected for temp.  It's very hard to get a decent reading on that hygrometer so that may be a bit of a guess.
I'll add a cinnamon stick after the first racking, and then maybe a teaspoon of almond extract after the second.

Offline DheereCrossing

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 65
  • Karma: 5
  • Who am I again?
    • OMG Leatherworks
Re: Started our first Mead - I mean, how hard can this be?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2017, 08:17:26 AM »
I really liked some of the cider that people were sharing at the last TSP workshop, almost better than the meads, so I'm thinking about trying that out.  If I could remember who got me so tipsy, I'd ask for his recipe.