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Mead brewing


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#1    trancelikestate

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 09:36 PM

I've been reading about norse mythology lately and got inspired to try my hand at making some homebrew Mead. I've found some sources online about the "how to" part of it but I was wondering if there was anyone on here who was into mead brewing? I wouldn't mind some hints and tips from some experienced brewers before I take a crack at it myself :D


#2    rashore

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 11:58 PM

I too am looking into mead making. For several reasons. I know several people that make good brews. What I write below is my interpretation of their advice. Not the same as giving tips, it would be great to have confirmations.

You have to have a LOT of honey. Your best bet is to go as local as you can with sourcing. Yes, it is worth it to drive out to the boonies to get it if you live in the city. Farmers markets and fares of various sorts are good places to check out.
Why is this measure worth it? In a lot of ways, because it is cheaper than ordering it online, or buying off the shelf. It also helps ensure that you know for sure that what you are getting in that jar really is 100% bee vomit suitable for making mead.

NO, do not try out wicked recipes for your first attempts. Go basic, and stick to the recipe. After a couple batches go well, then go onto more wicked brews. Apparently this works as much for trying out historical brews as well as modern ones.

Historical really means something. When it calls for a measure of raspberries, use a fresh measure of raspberries unless otherwise specified. If it says add a loaf of sugar, find out really what a loaf of sugar meant in that region at that time.

Use high quality PLASTIC carboys. Way lighter than the glass ones, more manageable. And can be treated with the same sanitation methods as glass. At this time, there are a couple of lines of plastic that are comparable to glass price wise too. And when ordering online at shops where weight matters with shipping, it can save you some bucks on shipping.

Use Grolsch bottles.


#3    WickedOne

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 02:37 AM

I'd just be happy to find a local place that sells my beloved Jadwiga mead from Poland. SIGH

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#4    rashore

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 05:30 PM

View PostWickedOne, on 23 January 2012 - 02:37 AM, said:

I'd just be happy to find a local place that sells my beloved Jadwiga mead from Poland. SIGH

Dunno where you are, but you can always contact the distributor and find out who has it the most locally, or perhaps even who sells it for online shipping.
I do know exactly what mead you are talking about, it's offered at a couple liquor stores in Chicago.. Which happens to be the main distribution location in the U.S. for the stuff.


#5    WickedOne

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 02:38 AM

View Postrashore, on 23 January 2012 - 05:30 PM, said:

Dunno where you are, but you can always contact the distributor and find out who has it the most locally, or perhaps even who sells it for online shipping.
I do know exactly what mead you are talking about, it's offered at a couple liquor stores in Chicago.. Which happens to be the main distribution location in the U.S. for the stuff.

On the rare occasion I do find a place willing to get it-- they want to tack on up to $20 on top of price. Same price were I to order it myself. It's like GOLD!

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dreamed before.

#6    Taun

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 04:00 PM

I have a good friend who brews his own brand of mead - nothing fancy, basic recipe and it tastes 100% better than the brand of mead at the local liquor store (only store in the city I have found that carries mead - and they only have one brand)...

For some reason his mead comes out as a 'sparkleing mead' - almost like champagne... he's not sure how it happened but it tastes really good...


#7    orangepeaceful79

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 06:09 PM

View PostTaun, on 24 January 2012 - 04:00 PM, said:

I have a good friend who brews his own brand of mead - nothing fancy, basic recipe and it tastes 100% better than the brand of mead at the local liquor store (only store in the city I have found that carries mead - and they only have one brand)...

For some reason his mead comes out as a 'sparkleing mead' - almost like champagne... he's not sure how it happened but it tastes really good...
His mead is sparkling likely because when he decides to bottle it, enough live yeast is left in the mead that it continues to eat the sugars and release CO2 which builds up in the mead the longer it is kept bottled.  Its a process called "bottle conditioning" and is used by fermented beverage makers of all kinds.  Many types of beer are bottle conditioned, as it gives an additional flavor element to the beer.


#8    Insanity

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 04:21 PM

Brewing mead is relatively easy, but you do need a lot of honey, typicaly 12lbs minimum for a 5 gallon batch.  That will usually produce a mead of close to 10% ABV.
I would suggest adding some yeast nutrients to the batch, it will quicken the fermentation process.  Yeasy need more then just sugars, and require nitrogen as well as amino and fatty acids, all of which is found in malted grains, but are lacking in honey.

Yeast nurtient is fairly inexpensive, and is really not much more ammonia phosphate, biotin and vitamins.  Without it, a mead fermentation can take months to complete sometimes, but with it can be completed in a week or so, depending on the amount of honey used.

Overall its really just mixing honey, water, and yeast nutrient to a large pot, bring to a boil for at least 30 minutes, chill it, transfer to fermentor and pitch yeast.

The first batch I did I used a champagne yeast, Red Star I think, but you can use wine yeast, ale or lager yeast.

I just brewed what is called a braggot, a mix of wort from malted grains and honey, no hops, just flavored with spices; nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves.  Interested to see how it turns out, should be ready end of October and the fall spices should fit in well.

Edited by Insanity, 28 September 2012 - 04:24 PM.

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