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Help Gonzo

African Bronze Honey - 50% off for GotMead members

Talon

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It's not recommended as the stoneware is pourous and will harbor items that could potentially add off tastes to your mead.
 

Pewter_of_Deodar

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Sep 23, 2004
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Gonzo,

You could brew one gallon batches of mead with the following:

1 glass gallon jug (left over from cider season)
1 stopper for jug (~$1)
1 bubble trap (~$1)
3 lb. jar of honey (~$6?)
1 packet of 71B-1122 yeast ($0.70)
A small package of raisins without preservatives (~$0.50)

Sterilize the jug, stopper, and trap by soaking in almost boiling water (removes need for bleach) for 30 minutes. Boil additional tap water to remove chlorine and impurities (removes need for bottled water). Pour the honey into the jug using the boiled water to loosen it up. Add raisins. Add hot water to the curve in the jug, seal with lid, set aside for 24 hours to allow to cool to room temperature. Add the yeast, close with lid and shake vigorously, remove lid, install trap, set in dark place for a month. Using this, you will make a straight mead that is roughly 13 percent alcohol.

When it stops fermenting, you can carefully pour it into another container while not disturbing the yeast and sediment but I would recommend getting a racking cane and tubing so you are not forced to leave as much behind.

The yeast, stopper, trap, racking cane, tubing, and even jug are available from Leeners or several other places online. But this is about as cheaply as you can do it and it will net you about four 750 mL bottles...

Good luck,
Pewter
 

Oskaar

Got Mead Partner
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Hey Gonzo,

What kind of mead did you have in mind, and what is your goal? That is, you probably have an idea of how you want your mead to taste, and what to compare it to as a benchmark. Have you tasted commercial mead, or did someone you know, something you read, etc. give you the bug to start a batch?

Let us know. The recipe above will yield a nice, light and fruity mead in a very reasonable amount of time, depending on the type of honey you use.

Cheers,

Oskaar
 

David Baldwin

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Jun 29, 2004
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Gonzo,

Greetings and welcome!

Here is a list of the type of equipment I use to make 3.5 gallon batches of mead and the approximate costs.

My Basic kit started out with:
1 graduated 5 gallon bucket with padded handle and lid $7.00 from Lowes
1 glass carboy 3.5 gallon $12.50 from www.makeyourownwine.com
1 cheap turkey baster - $1.00 local dollar store.
1 hydrometer and test jar $8.50
1 Airlock and 1 Drilled Stopper $1.70
1 Carboy Brush $5.00

I got a racking cane and bottling wand from a friend who gave up on brewing. I paid him in a bottle of Joe's Ancient Orange/Spice recipe ;D

I've turned my beer drinking friends on to beers with the flip tops. They get a better beer, and I get the bottles - they also get an occasional bottle of mead as an incentive.

My equipment list grows with each batch I make, but this is what I used to get started.

The measuring cups, thermometer etc that I needed to make my first batch were filched... er...ah...borrowed from my wife's kitchen ;D

Good luck and enjoy!

David
 

Gonzo

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www.zedswetpaint.com
Guys!
Thank you for your support and interest in helping me.

I'm aiming for a fruit mead, possibly blueberry.
We have a local commercail honey farm in town but I do not know the offical name that they've branded thier flavor. We also have one of the purest natural spring water creeks in the world, Big Spring Water or Blue Water Works.

I'm guessing that plastic carboy's are frowned apon.
What is the difference with different yeasts.

Where does the plastic bucked come into play in the sequence of brewing mead?

My wife works at a resturant/bar. What are the best wine bottles to get? Whish I could get the Groulsh beer bottles but they quit carring them.

What about corking? Any suggestions?

Cya

spawner
 

jab

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Mar 15, 2004
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Welcome Gonzo!

Plastic carboys are fine in certain situations. I wouldn't say they are frowned on but there are definately things to consider.

First, plastic is porous. It lets oxygen into your brew which is good at first and bad later. That is where the plastic bucket comes in. Many (most?) people use the plastic bucket for a primary fermenter. This stage is usually fairly short (in mead years), about 3-6 weeks. They then move the must to glass. You could in this situation use a plastic carboy for the primary.

The second thing to consider is that plastic (even the buckets) tends to get scratched and pitted. These areas are very hard (read virtually impossible) to clean. When you can get it clean guess what moves in? All the nasty beasties that will turn your mead into honey vinegar or worse.

Do some people use plastic all the way through? Sure. Will anyone eat you alive for doing it? No. But in the long run I think the little extra spent on a glass carboy for the secondary will be money well spent.

As for wine bottles I don't have much experience there as I use swing-top bottles. The type of bottle depends on what you are making. If you are making a still mead then 'any old bottle will do', but if you are making a 'sparkling' mead then you will want to use the heavier champagne bottles that can withstand the pressure.

Another thing to note is that light damages mead (and wine and beer for that matter) so you will also want to use 'dark' bottles like amber or green.

Hope that helps.
 

CosmicCharlie

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Nov 15, 2004
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What about corking? Any suggestions?
I am a lazy, lazy man. Corks are great, but I just cap them like beers. Capper and caps are readily available on-line and at your local brewing supply shop.
 

Oskaar

Got Mead Partner
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Dec 26, 2004
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I'm with Charlie on the capping. I've had meads for over ten yeast that I capped with no loss whatsoever. Also, without going into the whole "cork vs. screw-cap" subject, corking is something that is better left until you have run a few batches of mead, and have had some practice racking and bottling.

A note about water. Pure water is great for drinking, but the trace elements and minerals in well water and come city water actually make it better for meadmaking. It all falls under the heading of nutrients and minerals in the process.

Cheers,

Oskaar
 

Norskersword

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May 19, 2004
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That's what I do. I also go to resteraunts that serve wine and ask for their old wine bottles. It's great if you don't mind scrubbing the labels off.

Try morebeer.com if you want a set. You can get any kind of bottle you want there.
 

jab

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Mar 15, 2004
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Gonzo said:
so you reuse beer bottles then?
That's what I do. As I have stated elsewhere on this board I drink Grolsch. Not because I think it is that great of a beer, it isn't bad but there are much better, but because I can buy a case of Grolsch for the same price I can buy EZ-Cap swing tops at my local brew shop. It's like getting the beer for free.
 

Oskaar

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I use the 22 oz beer bottles, and American sparkling wine bottles and cap them.

Cheers,

Oskaar
 

Gonzo

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Oskaar said:
1 glass gallon jug (left over from cider season)
1 stopper for jug (~$1)
1 bubble trap (~$1)
3 lb. jar of honey (~$6?)
1 packet of 71B-1122 yeast ($0.70)
A small package of raisins without preservatives (~$0.50)


The recipe above will yield a nice, light and fruity mead in a very reasonable amount of time, depending on the type of honey you use.

Cheers,

Oskaar
So it's safe to say that after a month it's good to go? Is that just this specific recipe? I've read that there are 2 fermentation stages in some batches. And a better mead or wine comes with time. If you can handle waiting a year or 2 or even 5. :p
 

jab

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What do you mean by 'good to go'? Ready to drink? Probably not. Not that you couldn't drink it then but I would be willing to bet it wouldn't taste all that great.

There are recipes that get done, meaning ready to drink, fairly quickly. One that comes to mind is Joes Acient Orange which can be found at:

http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,600.msg3709.html#msg3709

I would take a look at the recipes forum or use the search tool. There are a few more recipes floating around that will take a relatively short amount of time.

Most meads do go through 2 'fermentation' stanges. You will have the primary fermentation when most of the alcohol is produced. Once that is done or slows down a great deal people usually rack off the lees for secondary fermentation/aging. At this stage the yeast will finish up (if they haven't already) and the aging process begins. How long should you age? That is a matter of personal opinion. Some people age a very short time and then bottle. Some people age for six months, some a year before bottling. Some people 'bulk' age in the carboy, then bottle and bottle age for another period of time.

You are correct in that most meads will benefit from aging and it is generally said the longer the better.
 

Pewter_of_Deodar

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I guess that I would recommend the Ancient Orange, Clove, and Cinnamon Mead as well if you are in a hurry to drink something.

I just bottled a little of my first batch of this type of mead. I would pass on a couple of observations. It produces good mead but I believe that other recipes using the more standard practices will make better mead. I will warn you that the recipe defies a lot of meadmaking "standards" such as leaving seeds, piths, and peels in the must for long periods of time.

However, the second point is that it is relatively smooth and drinkable after 2 months which is a big benefit since this is NOT the case with most other recipes. Most meads require a minimum of 6 to 8 months to age properly.

The biggest plus of the Ancient Orange mead is that it is idiot proof with simple methods and a simple recipe and is perfect for a beginner. I shoved 6 oranges, honey, and yeast into a 6 gallon carboy to make mine. I will likely try the same recipe again with a slight modification of squeezing the juice (but not using the remainder) of an additional 6 oranges into the must to slightly increase the orange flavor of the end product. I do believe you will be happy with the resulting mead, especially for your first effort.

Good luck,
Pewter
 

Gonzo

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You guys are awesome....
I have a lot of interests, post on quite a few forums.
Quick replys here, to the point and helpful.

Thanks,

joe/spawner
 

Talon

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It's because we're all dedicated as much to the site as we are to making mead. *grins*
 

Oskaar

Got Mead Partner
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Gonzo, whichever mead you choose to make just be patient, and it will turn out well. Other things to be aware of are temperature, sanitation, and the types of additives you're going to use. Also using high quality ingredients really makes a difference (just like in pizza! LOL) in the final product.

Pewter, I think I asked this before in one of the threads where you mentioned that you're learning from master brewers in the sca (society for creative anacrhonism) ((hope I got that right)), can you tell us what constitutes a master brewer and how they earn their designation please. I know it differs from kingdom to kingdom, but it would be nice to know what the requisites are for your kingdom.

Talon, yup, that's fer shure!

Oskaar
 
African Bronze Honey - 50% off for GotMead members