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Straight-up Mead

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 11 October 2017 at 10:42
The batch of "Joe's Ancient Orange Mead" that I started a few weeks ago seems to be going well:

http://www.baitshopboyz.com/joe-mattiolis-ancient-orange-mead_topic25726.html

So, I started a batch of plain, ol' mead tonight; no fruits, no extras...just honey.

It is a 1-gallon batch of mead with 3 pounds of clover honey, spring water and Lalvin D47 yeast, which is reputed to be very good for mead. I also added 1 teaspoon each of yeast nutrient and yeast energizer (available at any home-brew supply store, or on Amazon). If I would have thought of it, I would have staggered the addition of the nutrient and energizer; but I didn't, so we will just have to hope that Odin was looking over my shoulder and that things will turn out alright.

It was a very easy procedure, which is outlined with photos here:

http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/brew-1-gallon-of-honey-wine-mead.htm

It was so easy that it seems like it took less time to do it than it will to read about it, but here is what I did:

To make this mead, I warmed the honey in a sink of hot water, to make it easy to pour. While the honey was warming in the sink, I put about 2 cups of water in the bottom of my fermenter, added the nutrient and energizer, then agitated and shook it around in order to dissolve them. I then heated another 2 cups of water in the microwave. While the water was heating, I poured the honey into the fermenter through a large funnel. When the honey containers were empty, I put a little of the heated water in each; shook them to capture any residual honey, then poured them through the funnel. I then ran the last of the heated water down the funnel in order to catch any honey that might be clinging to the sides. I capped the fermenter, shook and agitated it for a few minutes to aerate and completely dissolve the honey, then added the last of the water to just a hair over a gallon. I then capped the fermenter and shook/agitated it again. Finally, I pitched the yeast and shook/agitated the fermenter for a final 5 minutes before fitting the airlock.

I did experience one potential glitch in making this mead. My fermenter has a sticky thermometer on it, and in the poor light of the room I was in, I thought that the temperature read 68 when I pitched the yeast. Unfortunately, once the yeast was pitched and agitated, I discovered to my dismay that the thermometer was actually reading 79. It cooled fairly quickly, but I did worry for a while. I looked in the back of my refrigerator and discovered another package of D47, but it expired a year or so ago. I almost pitched it anyway in desperation, but then I did notice the first tentative signs of fermentation in the fermenter as the yeast was beginning to build a bubbly cap. Watching for a while longer, it did indeed appear that the cap was continuing to build, so I will leave it alone and let it go.

That's all I have for now, but there will be more as it happens, etc. & c....

Ron
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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 October 2017 at 11:59
A slight update on this:

I've been checking on my mead each evening, and it looks as though it is fermenting normally and with no issues; the air-lock is chugging along, the fermentation in the mead itself is actively visible and as far as I can tell, things are going quite well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GarethM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 October 2017 at 01:31
Watch out for the hangover Ron, it can be quite dangerous stuff (especially if you start "quaffing" it) ;)
Gareth
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 October 2017 at 10:13
Good advice, Gareth - I'll be sure to exercise appropriate caution ~

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 March 2018 at 10:28
I bottled this first batch of mead on Monday evening, 26 February. I am ashamed to admit that I did let it sit on the yeast longer than intended, and failed to rack it before bottling. I should have racked it at least once between when I started it and now; twice might even have been better.

The good news is that I didn't damage it too much. There is a whiff of an off-smell in it that will hopefully go away, but that is most likely wishful thinking. Beneath that bit of off-aroma is something really nice, that makes up for it; it's like the essence of honey, with a little something extra.

The colour is absolutely, unequivocally beautiful, a sunny, magical gold that one can read the fine print of a contract through. I could probably stare at that all day long.

The taste? Well, it is very young, still - at least by mead standards (or so I hear). Having said that, I like it already. It is hard for me to describe, so I won't try; however, the honey itself came through much, much better than I thought it would, and there is something at the back end that really is nice. A person could drink a lot of this before realizing that s/he should have stopped a while ago.

I was able to get 5 bottles, but one was from the bottom just above the yeast cake, so I split that with my father and #2 son. The other four will sit for at least a couple of months before I try another one; after that, I intend to hold onto the remaining three bottles at least until winter.

I should probably get my second batch started, and soon....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gunhaus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 March 2018 at 12:24
Yep - time to start another for sure! I do a number of meads, and have been trading ideas with Bernard on the other forum about quick meads/short meads of late. On a pretty straight up mead like the one you just did, might i suggest adding a half a whole clove, a cinnamon stick, a couple allspice berries, a small chunk of nutmeg (1/8 or so) and a couple black pepper corns. Put them in right at the onset with everything else. I then like to rack the first time at 14-21 days. After that, I probably won't even look at it again for 2-3 months. Then i may rack again, or may bottle at that point depending on clarity and how i feel about it all. By that time the honey usually shows through, and the spice is just a subtle hint in the back ground you can't quite finger. Another 3-6 months in the bottle and it really starts to get fine. 

I love playing with mead - partly because it is one of those beverages i don;t take "too seriously" I like to play around with it a bit and there is so much you can do with the "base". As you just discovered , it can be a good bit more forgiving that many would like us to think! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 March 2018 at 12:44
Those sound like some good additions, John - like you say, just a hint of something in the background that keeps you interested. ~

I am about ready to bottle a batch of the "Joe's Ancient Orange Mead," possibly this weekend. I made it about the same time as this; but as you know, the yeast called for with that one has a flocculation issue, so I've been cold-crashing in the hopes that it will stay tamed long enough to bottle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gunhaus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 March 2018 at 17:19
Oh heck, it'll come out fine! I do a redneck cyser with evil ole bread yeasties all the time, and it always ends up plenty clear, and tasty. 
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