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n00b+62 lbs honey+Mead book ::help::

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Pawn

Guest
Guest
Hi everyone,
Great forum, I have been lurking for quite some time, I am a home brewer, my wife and I have only tasted one mead (Chouchen by Warenghem), we liked it but maybe a bit sweeter than need be, what category would this mead fit? sweet or semi-sweet?

I have been reading "the complete meadmaker" and I plan to ferment 4, 5 gal batches of mead, one each of cyser, sweet, medium sweet, and dry.

As I am new to this I would appreciate your input, there are a lot of recipes floating around and maybe you folks can point me towards some fairly basic recipes and links to any info that you believe would help me get these first batches going.

The Honey I am going to use is strawberry blossom from our family farm (raw un-pasteurized), I don't seem to be able to find any info on this particular honey.

I was also considering aging the mead in cornies after it clears, any input?

Any help will be greatly appreciated...John

Thanks Oskaar for recommending this forum and the book "The complete meadmaker"
 

Rathpig

NewBee
Registered Member
Jul 9, 2005
41
0
0
I find that varietal honey deserves a traditional still mead. honey, water, yeast.
 

hedgehog

NewBee
Registered Member
Jan 8, 2005
258
0
0
43
Just my two cents worth,
No insults intended, but I would definately hold off on the cyser. I agree with rathpig that a good varietal, especially one as rare as strawberry, should be saved for either a traditional mead, or a carefully planned melomel. So my personal thought is to try the cyser with some other honey(clover perhaps). The dry/sweet/semi-sweet sounds very promising with such an interesting honey as strawberry.
For recipes, if you have Ken Schramm's book, the traditional dry/semi/sweet show mead recipes seem to be a basic recipe.
I personally use a similar recipe as a base and manipulate it from there. Although I use either 71B or D-47 as my yeasts of choice, since I have yet to find any steinberger. Measuring honey by weight is difficult and sometimes, unreliable, so your hydrometer will be a good friend when you are figuring out if you have enough honey for a sweet or semi-sweet mead.
As for the corny kegs, you should bug Oskaar some more, since he claims to use them quite often. I know nothing about them, and consider myself doing ok if I can recognize one.
You mention you are a home brewer, would you mind telling us if that means wine, beer, or something else? It might help the future advice.
more rambling, hopefully with something usefull in it,
hedgehog
 
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Pawn

Guest
Guest
Rathpig said:
I find that varietal honey deserves a traditional still mead. honey, water, yeast.
Hi Rathpig,
In that single sentence you caused me 45 mins of reading so far, and I am to the word varietal :)
I sure do appreciate your help and although you probably couldn’t tell from my noobish terminology in my opening post, I really do want to try to make something basic that highlights the character of our local honey for the sheer experience and also possibly the bragging rights, lol.
I hope you will all check in on this thread from time to time and help steer me in the right direction.

hedgehog said:
Just my two cents worth,
No insults intended, but I would definately hold off on the cyser. I agree with rathpig that a good varietal, especially one as rare as strawberry, should be saved for either a traditional mead, or a carefully planned melomel. So my personal thought is to try the cyser with some other honey(clover perhaps). The dry/sweet/semi-sweet sounds very promising with such an interesting honey as strawberry.
For recipes, if you have Ken Schramm's book, the traditional dry/semi/sweet show mead recipes seem to be a basic recipe...
Hi hedgehog,
No insult taken, I totally agree, understand I know very little at this point and am not yet even capable of knowing what questions I should be asking, your reply is also most helpful.
I really want to incorporate flavors from our fruit at the farm, and the melomel sounds very intriguing as we have several 4 lb containers full of sliced frozen strawberries from this very crop, the planning I will have to work on :-\
we will forget about the cyser this go around and replace it with strawberry melomel!?

One reason I am a little antsy is due to what I have read about the importance of using as fresh of honey as possible, the bee keeper is gathering my honey this week so I’m a bit excited (the enthusiasm of a child).
The recipes in Ken Schramm's book look great to me, by your validating them you have put my mind to rest, I will begin to focus on the process and I’m sure I will have more questions.

I am a beer home brewer, and I have an extra 8, 5 gal kegs I bought specifically for aging strong ales, cider, and hopefully mead.
Cheers...John
 

Miriam

Senior Member
Lifetime GotMead Patron
Feb 2, 2005
643
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0
65
John,

Strawberry honey sounds so rare and divine that at least for the first batch, I would use it only as a show mead, as Hedgehog suggested. Honey, water, yeast.
That way you get to know the honey and can plan future melomels or variations with its particular character in mind.

Miriam
 
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Pawn

Guest
Guest
Hello Miriam,
thanks for the words of encouragement, I havent been able to find any info on strawberry blossom honey so I guess I will just have to see for myself.

My Daughter (a true Mead lover) will be getting married at the farm next yr, I plan to have her taste these meads, and at the wedding I will take a picture of her and her new husband against the mountain background (outside wedding) and make labels for all the bottles with exception of the one they will be taking with them when they leave on there honeymoon, so they will have some anniversary bottles in the years to come.

I have read many of your post and am most appreciative of your, and others sharing experiences, BTW I will be pitching the yeast 09-03-2005 the new moon ;)

Thanks...John
 
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Pawn

Guest
Guest
Hello Norskersword, I recalled reading several posts about nutrients, but your reminder sent me back to reading and this time it soaked in. ;D

What about PH?

Heres my list of Ingredients so far

Honey - varietal
Water -maybe use water from the spring at the farm (boil to kill the wigglers)

Stuff Im making a list to order!

Lalvin 71B-1122 -for the dry show mead? (recipe suggest's Steinberger)
Lalvin D-47 -for the sweet/mediumsweet show mead (as per recipe)

Fermaid K -energizer
DAP -nutrient

PH test strips 3-6 -will these do the trick, or do I need a PH probe?

I cant see where there is much differance between using the brewing ingredient suppliers lime flower (Ca03) or just opening a 80 lb bag at the farm and filling up a zip lock, other than we pay 5.00 for 80 lbs and the brewing ingredient suppliers
are asking 5.00 a lb, is there a differance other than there lime is probably sifted?

Primary blowoff.
will I be able to use 5 gal carboys?
I have 1, 6.5 gal, and 4, 5 gal carboys

I did find steinberger yeast

http://www.dwinesupplies.com/id32_m.htm

A rather large quantity, and the only documentation I was able to find on the web so far was in German :-\

Thanks for the help and encouragement folks, did I miss anything?
Cheers...John
 

byathread

NewBee
Registered Member
Mar 8, 2005
644
0
0
Boulder County, CO
Personally I haven't worried about pH and have yet to run into any problems, but I may pickup a pH meter at some point. IMHO 71B is an excellent choice for a dry mead as it won't leave the mead bone dry as champagne yeasts will.

I got Steinberg yeast in small quantities from http://www.thebeveregepeople.com. I believe it too should leave a very a dry mead just off-dry (which I prefer), though I have yet to use it.

I have used 5g carboys for 5g batches successfully by reserving 1/2-3/4 gal of the must in the fridge (or a separate 1 gal carboy fermenting next to it) and topping up over the course of primary. Do this very carefully (expecially if adding raw [unfermented] sugars to an active primary). Anyway, I've used this technique with success and relative ease. Haven't yet had the need for a blowoff tube as I normally do primary in a 6.5.

Also consider aerating the must a couple times per day the first 48-72 hours. This will keep the yeasts quite happy and fermentation will proceed quickly.

Enjoy!
Kirk
 

quirky

NewBee
Registered Member
Aug 6, 2005
18
0
0
Pawn -
I am wondering if you would like to sell some of that honey?
Suzette
 
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Pawn

Guest
Guest
byathread said:
Personally I haven't worried about pH and have yet to run into any problems, but I may pickup a pH meter at some point. IMHO 71B is an excellent choice for a dry mead as it won't leave the mead bone dry as champagne yeasts will.

I got Steinberg yeast in small quantities from http://www.thebeveregepeople.com. I believe it too should leave a very a dry mead just off-dry (which I prefer), though I have yet to use it.
Hello Kirk,
I’m thinking I will be doing some one gallon test batches this winter so I’m going to go ahead and get a pH meter as it may also help to improve my beer brewing, besides it will give me another toy to play with while I wait for my ferments to mature. ;)

Thanks for the link, I see that still looks to be a rather large quantity of Steinberg, I’m not sure that I would use it soon enough, if you or anyone else in this forum wouldn’t mind parting with a couple batches worth of this yeast I would be glad to mail some cash and a stamped self addressed envelope:)
I will stick with the 71B (tentatively), and look forward to some Steinberg test batches.

If I feel I need to make any adjustments to the pH I will be sure to post here before I do anything else!

I have used 5g carboys for 5g batches successfully by reserving 1/2-3/4 gal of the must in the fridge (or a separate 1 gal carboy fermenting next to it) and topping up over the course of primary. Do this very carefully (expecially if adding raw [unfermented] sugars to an active primary). Anyway, I've used this technique with success and relative ease. Haven't yet had the need for a blowoff tube as I normally do primary in a 6.5.
That is the answer I was hoping for, I was most worried about wasting mead out the BBO tube, sounds like I can just shoulder up for the primary.
I’m thinking I will brew a small (volume) must for top off and use the excess for a gallon test batch, that way I will end up with at least one test batch (probably cyser's) for each 5 gallon batch, the idea of fermenting a gallon for top off is also a good one :-\ it will be nice to be able to reserve the 6.5 carboy for beer.


Also consider aerating the must a couple times per day the first 48-72 hours. This will keep the yeasts quite happy and fermentation will proceed quickly.

Enjoy!
Kirk
I’m glad you mentioned that, I normally re-aerate my beers but was curious about the length of time mead could be aerated without troubles, I will wrestle around with it AM/PM for the first 3 days, thanks you have all been a big help, I’m confident enough to place an order for the list in my above post.
I will keep you all posted, I will be keeping a good log ( all the data) and while I know show mead is no mystery to most of you I will post the logs of these 3 varietal batches just for the n00bs like me. ;D

Thanks people and best to you all...John

::edit:: quirky has posted while I was writing this novel ;D

quirky said:
Pawn -
I am wondering if you would like to sell some of that honey?
Suzette
Hi Suzette, I am purchasing this honey from our farms pollinator/beekeeper "Jerry Tate"
Here is a link to his webhttp://www.tateshoneyfarm.com/ you will find his email address there (he is fairly prompt with his replies)
Im sure he would be happy to do business with you (he’s really a great guy), and I’m pretty sure he will have more of this strawberry blossom honey, in fact I would be willing to bet I will only use half of the honey from our farm, and there is another strawberry grower not more than 2 miles from us, as far as I know Mr. Tate takes care of all the farms in our area (Mead, Wa).
Let me know if Jerry is not able to help you, or if you need less than 5 gallons I will probably have some left over and although I have test batches planned I would not be opposed to using a different variety, Feel free to let Jerry know you were referred by John at Siemers Farm LLC, I’m sure he will give you a great deal regardless, let me know if I can be of any more help
Cheers...John
 
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Pawn

Guest
Guest
Ive decided to start three 1 gallon batches of Joe's ancient orange http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,600.0.html

This way I will get a sample of what a mead ferment looks like in advance, hopefully this will take a little stress out of these 5 gallon show mead batches I plan to pitch on 09-03-05, I will be using clover honey, can't wait to taste the "Joe's ancient orange".
Cheers...John
 
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Pawn

Guest
Guest
byathread said:
John,

Sorry, here's a specific link to a small pkg of Steinberg from the Beverage People. Just 10g so it should be enough for 2x5g batches and a bargain at $2 bucks.

http://store.thebeveragepeople.com/pgi-PRODUCTSPEC?WY29

Cheers,
Kirk
Thanks Kirk, no need to be sorry I probably looked right at it without realizing (identified as WY29) I ordered up two packets, so I will have an unopened spare. ;)

Joe's Ancient orange went well, I found I only had enough honey for 2 batches, I dont have a scale at the house so I went by the hydrometer readings, ended up with a original gravity of 1.135 (before adding orange etc...) with 3 inches of headspace, one batch has half a cinnamon stick and one clove, the other is per recipe with ALL the spices,
we buy red star "basic yeast" in bulk so thats what I used rather than the fleischmann's, the two jugs are bubbling away, thanks Joe, Im sure we will enjoy this mead, Cheers...John
 

byathread

NewBee
Registered Member
Mar 8, 2005
644
0
0
Boulder County, CO
I believe shipping was the same cost when I ordered about $25 worth of assorted yeasts and other light items.

With large orders I go with Morebeer.com as they give free shipping when the order total is $50+.
 

Fortuna_Wolf

NewBee
Registered Member
Oct 24, 2004
186
0
0
What? more beer gives free shipping over 50 dollars? I could have ordered 5 dollars of junk and saved 10 dollars in shipping? ARGH!
 

memento

NewBee
Registered Member
Aug 3, 2005
379
1
0
49
www.flickr.com
And apparently Midwest Supplies also has free shipping over $50. I didn't know this until I made a purchase yesterday. $51. And they initially said $9 shipping, but when it was all done they dropped it. It could have been an error, but since it's an automated system, I think that they do it that way.
 
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Pawn

Guest
Guest
Heh, I was more just kicking myself, they had a comment box and I should have typed in and asked them to simply toss the packets in a envelope, I believe all post offices are air conditioned so the yeast would probably fair better than if it was shipped UPS/FedX.

Heck I can't be angry at them, I will just email before ordering next time, and maybe they will figure out they need to have a bit more sophisticated shopping cart system if they want the web business hassle free;)

Point is I will have stienberger yeast and didnt have to buy a truckload. 8)

I get 99% of my beer ingredients/equipment from morebeer.com, not only is the shipping free for orders above 49.00 but them people really treat me right.

I think it would be great if we had a thread just for posting all these great places to purchase brewing supplies.

BTW, I have been mulling it over and am thinking I may only try one (5 gal)batch of the show mead just to see how things go first, because I don't know if I could live with myself having 20 gals of (MY FIRST) mead go bad. :eek:

the 2 gals of Joe's ancient orange is definately going to pull through, lol, even with a 3" headspace I had to bring it down to 66f the other night to keep it from exploding, it seems to be in its (and my) comfort zone at 70f so I will respect that. :)

Cheers...John
 
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Pawn

Guest
Guest
Hey my bucket of honey arrived the other day ;D
Due to the fact Im really not to experienced with this, I overlooked one important thing, the strawberry field is near a pumpkin field, so in reality I have 5 gallons of strawberry/pumpkin/wildflower honey ???

Its tasty and amber color, Im hoping it will store for a while in 1 gallon plastic malt extract containers, Im planning on breaking it into one gallon containers tomorow.

The steinberg yeast (used in the dry show mead recipe) is supposed to tolerate down to 50f temperature, I am wondering if 55 to 65f (fruit room temp) will be ok for the primary or should I try to keep it near 70f?

The anxiety got to me so I brewed 20 gallons of beer in the last week, lol, I plan on starting these mead brews Sept 3rd, wish me luck, Cheers...John
 
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