First batch of mead

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First batch of mead

Postby Oddwookiee » Sat May 05, 2012 2:59 am

As I mentioned earlier, I was going to make a stab at making mead, and here's my first attempt at it. I did 2 5-gallon batches to test out a couple different honey verieties, yeast strains and suppliers. I'm pretty happy with the results. Now it's just a matter of patience. Of course, since I'm a hopeless tinkerer, I made melomels too.

Ignore the background, I'm using the spare room as a fermenting area with a couple blankets around the bottles to keep them about 76F and covered from light.


Image
From left to right orange-clove, key lime, lime-jalapeno, control pure mead & cherry.

Image
L-R control, control, pineapple, ginger & vanilla bean.[[/img]
Last edited by Oddwookiee on Sat May 05, 2012 3:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Oddwookiee » Sat May 05, 2012 3:00 am

Egads, big pics. Sorry!
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Postby vagreys » Sat May 05, 2012 5:08 am

I'd be interested in seeing your recipes. A Chile-Lime mead took best of show at nationals some years back.

Citrus meads are difficult and the flavor profiles can be surprising vs what one expects. Pineapple is very tricky, too, not only due to its acidity but also due to enzymes in the fruit.

Good luck with your experiments!
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Postby Oddwookiee » Sat May 05, 2012 11:19 pm

I mixed 2 batches on the same day, just washed down and resterilized the area and all the equipment between both batches to keep them as separate as possible. I don't boil the honey, just heat it to get it out of the containers.

For both batches the procedure was the same: I heated a pot of bottled water on the stove to 190 F and warmed the honey in hot tap water in the kitchen sink to make it pour out of the containers, then ladled in some water from the pot to dissolve the honey left in the containers. I added water to reach the 5 gallons, stirred for 5 minutes to aerate then added the raisins for additional yeast food. I pitched both too hot, but I have 2 dogs (kept outside during all this, but still) and didn't want 2 open buckets of must cooling for any longer than absolutely necessary. Both batches fermented for 10 days before I racked & added fruit. I left all the fruit on the kitchen counter to ripen for a week, then cut up & froze until racking.

A:
15# honey (generic bulk honey from a fruit company in town here)
Bottled water to 5 gallons (my city water has flouride & chlorine, I think)
White Labs WLP 720 yeast
20 raisins
1/2 teaspoon Wyeast wine nutrient
Pitched at 87F

Vanilla: 2 whole vanilla bean pods, split lengthwise.
Ginger: a thumb of ginger as big around as my index & middle fingers together and about 5" long, peeled & sliced.
Pineapple: 1/2 pineapple, peeled & chopped.

B:
15# clover honey
1 Wyeast 4184 smack pack
Bottled water to 5 gallons
20 raisins
1/2 teaspoons Wyeast wine nutrient
Pitched at 80F

Lime-Jalapeno: 6 whole limes, quartered. 3 whole jalapenos including seeds, sliced.
Cherry- 8 oz pitted dark cherries.
Orange-Clove: 1 medium Navel orange including peel, sliced, 6 whole cloves.
Key Lime: 1/2 lb key limes, quartered.
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Postby vagreys » Sun May 06, 2012 2:30 am

I'm going to be very interested to see how these turn out! I did some test batches for White Labs when they were selecting mead yeasts, and they performed very well.
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Postby mitchamus » Sun May 06, 2012 11:15 pm

wow - that's a busy day!

the problem with making Meade is patience!

leaving it in the bottle for 12months minimum is the hard part...

(I managed to only save 1 bottle for that long :D)
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Postby captain wassname » Mon May 07, 2012 1:26 pm

Tell me: I made a batch 2 years ago threw a load of it after 6 months coz it was harsh opened up a bottle a couple of months ago and it was good.Sick as an ocean going parrot.

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Postby DiggingDogFarm » Mon May 07, 2012 2:01 pm

Good deal!

I started beekeeping when I was 15, I've been making mead almost as long.:shock: LOL


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Postby Oddwookiee » Mon May 07, 2012 3:44 pm

It's been interesting making this up, that's a fact. I've been drinking mead as long as I've been legally able to buy it, so waiting is going to be hard. I'm enough of a geek that watching the differences in fermentation are pretty entertaining right now- the cherry threw up a huge cap in the first six hours and I've had to take the airlock off & clean it out once already. Just going to the back room and watching the bubbles stream up the sides of the jugs is interesting.

Oddly enough, the pineapple is running a close second to the cherry in yeast activity. It was excellently ripe when i froze it, so it must be a sugar amusement park in there right now. The two lime meads have an interesting difference- both are about equally active, but the key lime has a dense, solid cap, while the jalapeno-lime has a very tall, loose cap with big bubbles. The vanilla bean has lost all the actual seeds from the pods and they're suspended in the bottom of the cap. I would have thought they'd drop to the bottom, but I guess the amount of gas that grabs the seeds is enough to lift them.

Science that'll warm your nose, I can get into this :D Even better, my girlfriend knows someone who has a 5-gallon bucket of honey sitting sealed in their garage. He's willing to barter it for smoked pork chops and bacon. Coming soon: more fruit mead and metheglins!
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Postby Massimo Maddaloni » Mon May 07, 2012 5:43 pm

67F (=24C) is very high. Your mead will likely have a strong solvent taste regardless of the strain of yeast you'll be fermenting with.
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Postby DiggingDogFarm » Mon May 07, 2012 6:48 pm

I think you mean 24 c = about 75 or 76 F

The optimum fermentation temp for the yeasts mentioned is in the 65-75 F degree range.


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Postby Oddwookiee » Mon May 07, 2012 7:08 pm

White labs recommends 70-75 F (21.1-23.8 C) for their yeast, Wyeast says 65-75 (18.3-23.8 C). I've been wrapping a couple blankets round the bottles at night and letting them stand alone in the day to keep it right about 71F (21.6 C) all the time.
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Postby Massimo Maddaloni » Mon May 07, 2012 8:47 pm

Yeah, sorry, I was confusing/confused with the Farenheit/Centigrade thing.
You are working outside the very outer edge of the higher range. Besides, Gewurtztraminer (for which WLP720 is recommended) tastes exactly my wife's nail polish.
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Postby Big Guy » Wed May 09, 2012 12:42 am

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here is my latest batch,Its been bulk aging for a year, I'll bottle it soon. :D
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