Mead making questions.

Discussion in 'Meads' started by G259, Apr 7, 2019.

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  1. Apr 7, 2019 #1

    G259

    G259

    G259

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    I'm new to mead making, but make wine. I have mostly done wine from 100% store bought juice (read: Juicy Juice), but have done strawberry, and a white grape/ginger mix. Can this be done with mead, and do I just replace honey for sugar, to get it to a specific SG? Should the SG be higher with mead, or the same (comparable)?

    I don't even know what to expect it to taste like, so I'm not sure of what fruit to use. I have apple juice, I have heard of using that, but also have apple/pear, a fruit punch. I even have dragon fruit juice, the can lists mangosteen juice in the ingredients. I haven't had either of them before, so I'll save that for a fun 1 gal. batch of wine.
     
  2. Apr 8, 2019 #2

    tradowsk

    tradowsk

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    Mead is very similar to wine with one major exception: you have to add nutrients during fermentation since honey doesn't have much beyond sugar to feed the yeast with. I use Fermaid-O. But otherwise, meadmaking and winemaking are the same process.

    What you want to make is a melomel which is mead made with fruit. You want to be careful that you don't cover up the honey flavors with too much juice, otherwise you just have an expensive country wine.

    If you don't have a recipe to follow, what you can do is just ferment the honey, then when you rack to secondary add some fruit juice in steps. It will still ferment but you will have much more control over the mead-fruit ratio. Alternatively, you can also use a juice concentrate to backsweeten the mead at the end.
     
  3. Apr 8, 2019 #3

    G259

    G259

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    I usually add Fermax yeast nutrient to my wine, if that's the nutrient that will help. Thanks that's helpful, I think I'll just ferment the honey in water, and then see what it tastes like. I read that people add some juice concentrate afterward, I think I'll try that.
     
  4. Apr 8, 2019 #4

    G259

    G259

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    I bought some Greek honey pretty cheaply, 10 pounds for less than $25. I figured that I could make a 3 gallon batch.
     
  5. Apr 8, 2019 #5

    tradowsk

    tradowsk

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    As a rough guide, 2.5lb honey per gallon will get you about 11% ABV based on my last batch. So with 10lb for 3 gallons you'll probably be around 13-14% ABV if it goes dry, plus whatever sugar gets fermented from the juice you add later. So I would go by SG instead of the amount of honey/gallon, I usually shoot for 1.080-1.090 for fruit wines. Especially with mead, higher ABV will need either more backsweetening or more aging time to mellow out.

    What would be cool to do is make 3 one-gallon batches and do them each differently: 1 traditional mead, 1 with apple/pear, and the last with the dragon fruit (which sounds very interesting). Just an example, but that way you have a variety of different bottles instead of 15-20 of all the same thing.
     
  6. Apr 8, 2019 #6

    G259

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    Good idea on the 3 - 1 gallon batches. I could make 3 gallons of traditional mead, then split it up 3 ways, and add other juices to 2.
    Depending on the sediment level of the honey, I could have 1 full gallon of traditional, then 'top up' with the other juices for a variety, or do you think that there would be too little juice to impart any real flavor. I have heard of using juice concentrates, that's a possibility. I use the Carlo Rossi 4L jug wine vessels instead of 1 gallon jugs. OK, a low grade wine, but I got a carboy out of the deal!
    Everything I read (before), said to shoot for 3lb./gallon. I suppose that depends on the sugar level of the honey. I was a little surprised to see that the two different labels of honey that I have, has differing levels of sugar. One has 17g/tbs., the other 14.8g, the bulk (8lb.) of my honey is of the 17g variety. I had planned to go by SG anyway.
     
  7. Apr 9, 2019 #7

    BernardSmith

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    Not everyone will agree but in my opinion , if you have never made a mead before the only effective way to learn is to start by making what is called a traditional mead and that is a mead made with only water, honey, yeast and nutrients. If you start by making melomels (adding fruits) or metheglyns (adding spices or herbs), any defects can be masked and so you never learn how to make a really good naked mead where there is no place to hide flaws behind and nothing to mask faults. If the honey you bought can take center stage because it is flavor rich then I would experiment by making a serious of small batches one after the other rather than one large batch so that you can see how yeast and nutrient and temperature and acidity and volume of honey etc can all affect the final product.
     
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  8. Apr 9, 2019 #8

    Trick

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    That is exactly what I thought. I started my first 1 gal mead batch with honey only a week ago. Staggered nutrient addition at 1/3 2/3 break. K1-V1116 yeast, 1 kg honey with some raisons. Fermenting at low temperature 16°C to see how it goes. Still in primary. In the first week, I aerated the must once a day. That sounds like something different from the wine making.
    After this batch. I am planning a cyser and then something else.
    I found Gotmead podcast is a good resource. Lots of technical details. Highly recommended for mead maker.
    It is a fun to expand wine making experience.
     
  9. Apr 9, 2019 #9

    Stew Anderson

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    Here is a basic formula for a 1 gallon carboy:

    *1730 g Salimo wildflower honey
    *125 g brown sugar or maple syrup
    *Strained juice of 4 limes/lemons/oranges
    *1 whole orange peel from juiced orange
    *6 g coriander seeds
    *Water to make 1 gallon. Boil then added the juice, peel and coriander then cool to 40C. Add the honey and brown sugar; stir to dissolve.)
    *Filter through a fine mesh filter and decant into a 1 gallon sanitized carboy. Check SG and pH.

    *5 g packet of Primiere Rouge yeast
    *10 g Fermax nutrient. (Note: added 10 g each day for 3 days during the primary)
    *Dissolve the above in some of the must and add the the original carboy. Then slowly add the filtered must back into the original carboy. Shake vigorously. and insert the air lock.
    *When the primary is complete,~ 1 week, let stand another week then siphon into a 1gallon sanitized carboy. Be careful not to disturb the sediment
    *Let stand another week, add calcium bentonite to clarify. Put in the refrigerator during the clarifying process. (Note: for 1 gallon, vigorously-disperse 4.6 g Ca+2 Bentonite in 64 ml of 60C water.Let stand for 1-2 hours until adequately hydrated)
    *Let stand for 2 months at +5C.
    *Move carboy to at room temp environment. Syphon into a sanitized 1 gallon carboy. Do not disturb the sediment.
    *Let stand a RT until any gassing has subsided. Check SG and pH.
    *Decant into clear 375 ml bottles, label and refrigerate.
    Note: I took several bottles and fortified one with rum and one with brandy. The starting ABV was 14.4% and targeted 18% using the Pearson Square calculation. Also back-sweetened with 5% honey and added 2 twists of lemon and orange peel.

    Good luck!!!

    Stew
     
  10. Apr 10, 2019 #10

    tradowsk

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    My first mead batch was a gallon of traditional and a gallon of lime, both made with the same honey but different yeasts. What techniques/practices make a great traditional mead may not make a great melomel. Traditional is all about bringing out the honey flavors while a melomel is a lot more about balance and complementary flavors. Since you have experience with winemaking, moving to mead shouldn't be too big of a leap (I did it).

    But if you do decide to use that dragon fruit juice, let me know how it turns out! It sounds really interesting
     
  11. Apr 10, 2019 #11

    BeeMad

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    I started out making mead before trying wine. I've spent a lot of time on Gotmead and listened to the podcasts, but this batch builder really helped with the nuts and bolts. https://www.meadmakr.com/batch-buildr/
     
  12. Apr 17, 2019 at 4:44 PM #12

    G259

    G259

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    I thought the start was a little strange, it felt like it was struggling with something, then overcame it. With wine I usually see good activity within a day, but this took 2 1/2 days. I kept stirring it twice a day, and the cap kept getting bigger, so I'm going to assume that it was just the yeast reproducing. I started with 1/2 of a packet of EC-1118, day 2 had just a little cap, so I dumped the rest of the pack in. Day 3 the cap was bigger, and when I stirred it up, the airlock activity took off running in about 3 minutes! I should mention, I did add nutrient in the beginning, and more when I added extra yeast, so maybe that's it.
     
  13. Apr 17, 2019 at 5:36 PM #13

    BernardSmith

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    Not sure where the idea comes from that if one pack of yeast is good for between one gallon and five then you only need to use a part of the one pack if you are planning on making a single gallon. Labs don't say that X grams of yeast should be pitched for each gallon of must (or more accurately they suggest the number of billion cells that should be pitched for every liter of must) and one pack is the minimum needed for one gallon at a reasonable pH , sufficient O2, adequate nitrogen and a moderate gravity of say 1.090, but even then unless your re-hydration protocol is good you are probably losing about about 1/3 to 1/2 of the cells when you pitch, so viability is already challenged. For what they cost I would say that the very minimum you want to pitch is a whole pack of yeast. Don't spoil the the honey (many $$$) for the pennies a pack of yeast costs. That is what the British call being penny wise but pound foolish.
     
  14. Apr 17, 2019 at 11:46 PM #14

    G259

    G259

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    I have done it before with 1 gallon wine batches, and it was ok, but you have a good point. It wasn't about the cost ($1.00?), it was more that it was my last packet of EC-1118, a just in case thing. Still going pretty good this evening though.
     
  15. Apr 18, 2019 at 1:18 AM #15

    tradowsk

    tradowsk

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    If you have to use a half packet for whatever reason, I would make a starter with warm water, GoFerm, and sugar/honey and let that sit overnight to make sure it gets going well before you pitch it. You also may want to look into D47 or 71B yeasts that are more suited to meads. Still, can't go wrong with 1118
     
  16. Apr 18, 2019 at 2:27 AM #16

    G259

    G259

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    I bought a packet of D47 and KV-1116, I saw those recommended for melomels (also another 1118).
     
  17. Apr 18, 2019 at 2:34 AM #17

    G259

    G259

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    I took a quick sniff while stirring, to see if I detected any off odors (no), and afterward I said to myself "caramel?".
     
  18. Apr 18, 2019 at 3:03 AM #18

    tradowsk

    tradowsk

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    That's what makes meadmaking fun! So many options to play with
     

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