My first attempt at MEAD

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ffemt128

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I started a gallon batch of Joe Mattioli's Ancient Orange Mead using the recipe in the recipe section here tonight. I didn't have raisins so I added some cranberry, cherry, blueberry dried fruit in it's place(they are pretty tasty). I purchased the honey from Costco, forget the brand off the top of my head, it was a 5 lb jar and it was around $11-$12 dollars I believe. Its made in Lancaster, PA.

My initial sg was 1.148-1.152 which I thought was very high but I checked it twice to make sure. It's sitting on the kitchen counter until I move it to the closet tomorrow. I wanted to make sure the yeast didn't foam up too much before I put it away for the next two months like the recipe states to do.

Does anyone have an idea what sg this will ferment down to using baking yeast as the recipe calls for?

I'm looking forward to trying this and if it turns out okay we may try some different variations of it.
 

Wade E

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Did you use the whole 5 lbs of honey? How much fruit did you use? Thats awfully high an sg and will end up super sweet! You will end up with an sg of around 1.055!!!!!!!! You will need to doubel the water and add a little more honey and fruit to even this out making it a 2 gallon batch now.
 

Julie

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Hi ffemt128

How big of a batch did you make? I have made this a couple of times and I used 3 #s of honey per gallon.

Also, are you sure you read your hydrometer right? That does seem awfully high. I didn't bother with taking any readings when I did the JAO because of all the fruit I had in it so maybe it is suppose to be like that. I made two the original way and two with Rasbberry and Blackberries. All four were sweet but not sickening sweet.

Julie
 

ffemt128

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I made a gallon batch and used about 3 1/2 lbs of honey. After adding 2 small oranges and the small quantiy of other fruit I added a little more than 1/2 gallon of total water. Honey took up less than or about a quart of the gallon jar.
 

Julie

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That is probably where I was at with the water. Did you fill it up to the neck? The first I did this and it foamed out of the bottle. I then only filled to the curve of the bottle waited until the fermenting started to slow down and then added water up into the neck.

I am going to have to open up a bottle of the Blackberry/Raspberry and do a hydrometer reading. I'll let you know what it is, this will at least give you a ballpark of where your mead should end up at.

Julie
 

ffemt128

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Julie,

I filled it to about 3-3 1/2 inches from the top. It actually foamed up into the airlock a bit sometime last night then subsided. I filled up to within an inch of the bung with water today and re-checked the sg. The sg reading today was ~1.144 so I'm fairly confident in the readings yesterday.

I used the Joe Mattioli's Ancient Orange Mead recipe from here using the baking yeast. I may have a bit more fruit based on 2 small oranges vs 1 large but can't see where that would decrease my total amount of water all that much.

I placed it in my closet this afternoon and will check on it periodically. Looking forward to seeing what your reading ended up.
 

Julie

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Hi Doug,

Well I totally agree with your initial readings. I opened up my Black&Blue Mead and the reading was 1.100! I would say your initial reading was right on. Also, I just open this bottle and there was fizz and I like it better with fizz. It is VERY sweet tasting.

Here was my recipe

6-04-09 - added 3# honey (I got mind from Walmart), 12 oz. of Blackberries, 4 oz. of Red Raspberries, 1 lemon (instead of oranges I didn't want an orange flavor with the berries) 30 white raspberries (I used white because that was what I had in the house) and I used a hold packet of Fleishman's yeast. Racked on 8/31/09 and bottled on 9/21/09

Hope this helps, and please post how yours turns out and if you liked it or not.

Julie
 
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i'm going to agree with wade here. you need to add some water or this is going to be like syrup. even a 1.030 is really high for sg's of a finished wine.
 

ffemt128

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I figured I would post an update since this was my first batch of mead. O started this on 1/2/2010. Mead has been residing in the upstairs bedroom since about day 3, I have the most stable temps there. Temperature in the room averages 72-74 degrees due to being upstairs. Mead still appears to have some fine fermentation going on, bubble about every 20-30 seconds. Nice layer of sediment on bottom of gallon jug and visible signs of the oranges breaking down due to sugars fermenting from meat of the orange. The upper most part of the mead where the fruit is appears almost clear with lower portions still dark in color. I think this will clear nicely. Looking forward to watching the progress of this.
 

ffemt128

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23 Days into the Mead. Here's what it looks like.


I can't wait to give it a try.
 

ffemt128

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Okay, I sho0uld have followed Wade's advice, even though I did follow the recipe as was written. My starting sg was 1.148-1.152 (very high) with 3 1/2 lbs of the honey I used. I just checked my SG now and it is coming in right around 1.042. It is super sweet. While this may be good if mixed with OJ and maybe some Wink.

What can be done at this point to salvage this? Is it too late to mix back in with another batch of something in hopes of having something drinkable without tasting like syrup?

The recipe states it's drinkable at 2 months which will be eom and I will wait to see how it tastes then, but I'm open for options to consider.
 

Wade E

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If you havent added ant sorbate then you can turn this into a bigger batch. I forget what size this started off as but I would modify this to fit into the next bigger carboy so if its a 1 gallon batch now maybe start another 2 gallon batch with a much lower starting gravity and once it gets going good slowly add this into that to ferment with it or you could keep them seperate until they are both done and use this wine to sweeten the other batch when combined.
 

ffemt128

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If you havent added ant sorbate then you can turn this into a bigger batch. I forget what size this started off as but I would modify this to fit into the next bigger carboy so if its a 1 gallon batch now maybe start another 2 gallon batch with a much lower starting gravity and once it gets going good slowly add this into that to ferment with it or you could keep them seperate until they are both done and use this wine to sweeten the other batch when combined.
Thanks, that sounds like a plan. It initally started as a 1 gallon batch.
 

Julie

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Thanks, that sounds like a plan. It initally started as a 1 gallon batch.
Hi Doug,

Use wine yeast instead of the bread yeast. I have made three batches of this stuff and they all were very sweet.
 

Wade E

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I did so with wine yeast and it actually came out very dry and tasted nasty. I think this isn 1 batch that Bakers yeast is the ideal yeast but you have to follow the instructions to a "T" otherwise the sg will get to high and you end up too sweet.
 

ffemt128

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Next time I'm at Costco I'll pick up another 5 lb of honey and start a 2 gallon batch to mix this in with. Maybe go for a change here and miz some berries in. I haven't added any Kmeta or sorbates to stabilize so as previoulsy stated I should be able to combine.
 

ffemt128

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I decided against making another batch of this for now after my wife tasted the mead and she said it wasn't to bad as is. I bottled the JOAM Mead today and I ended up with 4 - 750 ml bottles of it. Even though the starting sg was 1.15 and the ending was 1.044 it is very tasty. Sweeter than I would have liked but you can definately taste the orange in it. I will make this again, probably try a variation with berries but it won't have the starting sg this one did. Maybe go with 2.5 lbs of honey per gallon and see where that gets me.
 

ffemt128

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Glad it turned out not half bad.
I was afraid it was going to be "nasty sweet" but all in all it's not tooo bad. It is very sweet but not to the point where it's not tolerable. ABV is likely around 14.5-15% which surprised me with the baking yeast. I will definately make another batch, maybe a 2 gallon batch using the 5 lbs of honey.

Any thoughts on that for a batch? Should I go with the fleichman's yeast again or use a wine yeast?
 

Wade E

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that is pretty high for a bakers yeast and luckily it did get that far or you would have had a nasty sweet wine. I wouldnt expect that high ofen though and believe you got lucky that it fermented that far. Im not suore great at figuring out what that would leave for an sg with the 5 lbs of honey so would go into our general wine making area/Calcs. and helpful tools where there is a calc for that.
 
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