making honeymead

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by WIPPdriver, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. WIPPdriver

    WIPPdriver Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I have a 6.5 gallon jug and a one way valve. I have a vial of sweet mead yeast. My wife has some unrefined sugar in the shape of a cone from Mexico. It has a strong mollases taste not unlike Briar Rabbit. Could this be used in making mead? The Mexican sugar makes great bread. My daughter uses it when making challah bread. I'm excited to start making mead. Does anyone have a simple recipe that does not require any exotic ingredients? TIA :)
     
  2. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    I think mead, by definition, is made from honey, not sugar. I don't know what you'd be making with what you've got, but I don't think it's going to be mead.
     

  3. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    3 lbs honey added to 2 qts of warm water. Heat the water and honey together on the stove to 180* to dissolve the honey completely and sterilize things. Pour into a larger container with enough cold water to make 1 gallon. When the mixture is down around room temperature, add your yeast. I ferment at room temperature.

    Adjust the recipe up or down depending on how much honey you have. That's the basic recipe I use, I add lemon juice, hops, berries, herbs, etc... to fiddle around, but the basic honey, water, yeast combo stays the same.

    I've never done mead with anything but honey, so I can't help you with the Mexican sugar. I just use that sugar on top of my oatmeal in the mornings.
     
  4. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Molassus is used to make rum.

    What kind of yeast do you use in the mead? Can I use the same kind I use in bread making?
     
  5. WIPPdriver

    WIPPdriver Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I understand that mead is made with honey, but I have seen some recipes with sugar added into the mix and was wondering about the mollasas sugar.
     
  6. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    You definately shouldn't need to add sugar. Depending on the type of yeast you use you can get a different sweetness/dryness as well as a higher alcohol content. I've been looking at making some mead since I found about 25 lbs of honey from the 2003 production. It's already packed in 1 lb plastic deli tubs and have crystalized a little so I can't sell them.

    Borrowed a winemaking book from a friend (already returned it but may borrow again) which had various recipes and information. I just haven't found the time to just do it! Need to borrow a carboy and valve from FIL.

    If you do make it, let us know how it turns out.

    Mike
     
  7. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    The yeast you use for bread will give you some really funky flavors if you use it for brewing, in my experience. I use champagne yeast for mead. You can find beer and wine yeasts at any store that sells homebrewing supplies.
     
  8. caryatid

    caryatid Well-Known Member

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    My hubby tried it once while making beer...and for giggles he and his buddies added banana extract. The end result tasted like banana bread.
    :eek:
     
  9. Old John

    Old John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi Y'all,

    Well-l-l-ll, i've been averaging about 30 to 40 gallons of Mead a year,
    since 1992.

    Mead is ALWAYS made with Honey and Water, with a Wine Yeast added
    to make it ferment. Sugar is NOT added to Mead. Even Unrefined Sugar.

    If you add fruit juice of most kinds to the Honey & water,
    it's called a Melomel.
    If you add grape juice to the Honey and water it's called Pyment.
    If you add Malt to the Honey and water it's called Brackett or Braggot.
    If you add Herbs and or spices to the Honey and water it's
    called Methligin.

    Now I'm going to give a "Simple Explanation."
    This is a very involved process, requiring sometimes several times to "Learn",
    to get it Right. I suggest you get a couple books and Study, before you
    start to Brew. It's the Most Fun of any Hobby I have.
    I also make 30 to 40 Gallons of Beer a year. Yup I have lots of Friends.
    But..........Here you go.

    In a 6.5 gallon carboy, you can use about 15# of Honey, which is
    5 quarts of Honey, to 4 & 1/2 gallons of Water.
    Pure Honey is always about 12# per gallon or 3# per quart.

    You also should add a couple tablespoons of strong tea and a tablespoon of
    lemon juice, to give the Mead character. And a little good yeast nutrient, available at your neighberhood brew-store.
    They are nearly always friendly Folks who like to encourage new brewers. It helps business.
    You also need nearly any Variety of Wine yeast. Bread yeast makes TERRIBLE Wine or Mead, or Beer. Beer yeast will work but will give the Mead a different Flavour. By all means buy a Wine Yeast. It's Worth it.

    3# of Honey to 1 gallon of water makes a nice, moderately strong Mead.
    You can make it stronger but, why?
    Now this will give you a "Dry Mead" because the yeast uses up all the Honey.
    The way to stabilize the Mead and stop the fermentation, is to add a product called "Sorbate" a food additive. It Kills fermentation abd allows you to sweeten the finished Mead with more Honey to sweeten it.

    It takes 6 to 10 weeks for a batch of Mead to finish fermenting and another
    month or so to settle out, or clarify.
    Then you "rack it into clean jugs and allow it to clarify for another month or so.
    After that it can probably be bottled. Drink in thirty Days.
    Have Fun.
     
  10. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

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    Old John,

    Do you know any good tricks (aside from pasturization) for forcing an active mead fermentation to stop? I've been brewing beer for about 8 or 9 years but this is only my 3rd batch of mead. Basically it tastes perfect right now and I don't want it to dry out any more.

    I started out with champagne yeast, but fermentation stuck way to soon so I made a new Red Star Premier Cuvee starter and pitched that. It did the trick and got things moving again but now enough is enough. I've tried putting the carboy out on the back porch all day in hopes that getting close to freezing would shock it but a day after bringing it inside it's going again. I'd hoped to make this batch sparkling, but I seem to be stuck between the threat of exploding bottles and a drier mead than I want to drink.

    Is there a form of sorbate that is available at grocery stores? I have no brew shop anywhere nearby. Barring sorbate, any other ideas would be much appreciated. I presume that the presence of sorbate in the mead would preclude my pitching a new bottling yeast for sparkling mead. A still mead is incredibly good compared to no mead at all, of course.

    -Jack



     
  11. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

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    The only use that a sugar like that really has in brewing would be as an adjunct in certain types of beer.

    I bet that half a cup of that in a batch of porter would be very good. You can get away with tossing all kinds of interesting things into porter. I used a cup of molasses, some hazelnut extract and 2 schezuan chili peppers once. After a couple months in the bottle it was great. I cannot share the name of this particular recipe in a family-friendly forum.

    -Jack



     
  12. Caleob K.

    Caleob K. Member

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    My wine making experience is pretty limited, but sugar is added to all sorts of the more exotic wine recipes, especially when the "main" ingredient has little to no sugar of its own. If you can hold on to the sugar for awhile, you can probably make some delicious dandelion wine. I would think that the unrefined sugar should impart quite a bit more flavor than the processed version usually used. That flavor might overpower the subtle dandelion - or it might compliment it - or the two might taste horrible together. Its a crap-shoot, but I think you have a chance to make something special and unique. if you do it, tell me how it goes. Last year's dandelion wine was a bust :no: and I haven't had the courage to try it again. Good luck!
     
  13. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for starting this thread.

    I was called to get rid of a bee hive in an old cottonwood tree a few weeks ago. I may have succeeded in rescuing the bees, and got about 4 gallons of honey as well. I plan to use 1 gallon for my first ever mead batch and save the rest for the bees.

    I was given a mead brewing book for Christmas and noticed that some mead is made by heating the honey and some is made cold. The wine shop owner told me he makes it cold because the honey has natural antibacterial qualities and heating destroys part of the flavor. Both he and the book suggest a lot longer fermentation time. The owner said to try it in 6 months, but it gets noticably better after a year.

    The honey is quite dark and full of flavor. I am going to try just a regular mead.
     
  14. Old John

    Old John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jack said:"Is there a form of sorbate that is available at grocery stores? I have no brew shop anywhere nearby. Barring sorbate, any other ideas would be much appreciated. I presume that the presence of sorbate in the mead would preclude my pitching a new bottling yeast for sparkling mead. A still mead is incredibly good compared to no mead at all, of course."

    Hi Jack, Gobug & Y'all,

    Sorbate will "KILL" Fermentation, period. And, it doesn't take much.
    Mead will NOT ferment after you add Sorbate.
    I don't know of anything else that's used.
    However, there are Many, Many, sources available for Brewers Supplies
    on-line. There is No reason not to have everything you need to BREW,
    anything you want to. No I will not recommend any place to buy.
    Everyone's experience with "Business" is different. Where I have great
    rapport & find good service, you might not.

    But..........FIRST is Information. Please don't plod blindly along.
    The Best Book, the Very Best Book, I can recommend is:
    Charley Papazian's, "New Complete Joy of Home Brewing".
    It is invaluable to the beginner, as well as the intermediate, or
    advanced Brewer. But, Here again. Your Experience might be completely
    different. I highly recommend the any of you who wants to Brew Beer
    or Mead, get a copy. It is mostly a Beer Book, but good info on Mead too.
    Next is the little orange, "Mead Makers Book", I think.
    I don't have it to-hand right now. Prob'ly it's upstairs.

    As for "Sterilizing Mead Must", before fermenting..........
    Yes, Honey is Naturally anti-bacterial. But, you lose a measure of that when you introduce the water. Honey, all by itself, will not ferment. It is 80%
    sugar, fructose I think.
    If you Boil it, the Honey, you lose all the aromatics, from the flowers that the bees visited. A Wild-flower honey gives an entirely different Mead than a
    Clover Honey. A Strong dark Honey will surely give you a disinctive Mead.

    Many Folks are "Allergic to Bisulphites, or Campden tablets that they suggest you add to your Brew.
    I have NOT used Campden or Bisulphites, in 10 years or more. I Don't boil my Honey. Bisulphites are the reason many Folks wake up with a headache after
    an evening drinking wine. Check the label, on commercial Wines.

    I "Sterilize" every jug, spoon, funnel, carboy, or anything else that will come
    into contact with my "Must"(pre-fermented Brew). I use plain old Clorox type
    bleach. But, you must RINSE thoroughly, afterward with pure clean hot water.
    Or, if you don't you'll get sort of a band-aid taste to your Brew.
    Cleanliness is the ONLY way to make Good Mead.
    The other thing is to get it mixed up and get it in the carboy. Get Yeast to it,
    and get it "Working" in a hurry. Use TWO kinds of Yeast, a pack of dry,
    Champagne yeast, and a pack of dry, Montrachet or Multi-purpose yeast, in the same batch. They work well together. I'm a lazy Brewer. I never use vials of
    wet-yeast. Always dry packs. Works for me.

    One other comment: Yes, you can use about "Any Kind of Sugar" in good strong
    Beer, like Porter, even small amounts of milk-sugar. As long as your "strange sugars" are less than 20% of the total. The rest being Good quality MALT Extract.
    Now Folks, Brewing is FUN. It is NOT something you Learn, OVERNIGHT.
    There is no substitute for experience and study.
    I've posted some Brewers tips. By all means Study, and Brew, Brew, BREW!
    Have Fun
     
  15. Old John

    Old John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi Y'all,

    I forgot to tell y'all yesterday, on Groundhog Day, I racked my Mead,
    out of the carboys, into 1 gallon jugs. I got 8 & 1/2 jugs, 4 made of
    WildFlower Honey, 4 made of Clover Honey, and a half mixed of the two.
    This was mixed & the Yeast pitched in it at Veteran's Day, which we
    in my Kindred celebrate as "The Feast of the Fallen Warriors", when we
    commemorate those Battle-slain for Faith, Folk, Family & Country.
    It's a "Heathen thing".

    It was pretty strong & dry Mead. So, to each 1 gallon jug, I added 12 oz.
    of Clover Honey to sweeten it & I stabilized each jug w/ a half teaspoon of
    Sorbate, to make sure it doesn't start fermenting again.
    Alcohol looked to be about 15 & 1/2 to 16%, which is strong enough.

    I set it aside for about 30 to 60 days, to mix & mellow. Then I'll add
    food-grade bentonite to clarify it. Let it sit for another 2 to 3 weeks,
    and rack again into Gallon jugs.
    After it sits for about another 30 days, I'll bottle it.
    After another 60 days in the bottle it'll be good to go.
    Oh, maybe by Mid-Summer or Independence Day, We'll try it.

    The thing is, you have to make enough, the year around that you
    never run short. It's a process as well as an event, hunnh.
    Are there any Pagan/Heathen Brewers out there, making all your
    own potables?
    We've done it since about 1990.
    Happy Brewing, Y'All.
    Have a good-un
     
  16. WIPPdriver

    WIPPdriver Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I finally started my honeymead today. Looking forward to drinking it about this time next year. :cool: :cool:

    WIPPdriver
     
  17. Old John

    Old John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi WIPPdriver,

    Congratulations! You know what I always say, M-M-M!
    Make-More-Mead!

    I set up two more 4 gallon batches Tuesday, one of plain Sweet Mead
    and one of Braggott, a Malt-Mead.
    For the Sweet mead I used 1 gallon of Honey to 3 gallons of Water.
    For the Braggott, I first boiled 2# of plain dark dry Malt extract in one
    gallon of my water, then I used a gallon of Honey & two mor gallons of
    water.
    I, the same day,started a 5 gallon batch of good Dark Porter, a strong Dark
    Ale. I'll be drinking that in about a month or so.

    Actually you could reasonably be drinking good Mead in about 8 or 9
    months.
    Great hobby! I drink a beer or two when I go out for dinner. But, I'd much rather be drinking & sharing my own homebrew, right there in the Great-room.
    Good luck, Good Brewing!
    Have a good-un.
     
  18. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

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    8 or 9 months? I've made excellent sweet mead in single gallon batches that was ready to drink in 6 weeks. It can be done. It was very, very good. Definitely on my top 10 list of all-time favorite things that I have drunk. I pitched champagne yeast and used 3 packets of boiled bread yeast as a DIY yeast nutrient to speed things up. This was just straight-up, unadorned mead with no fruit or spices or anything. Just me and the honey out there all alone.

    On the other hand, I've also got that 4 gallons of mead that was double-pitched with champagne yeast and then a Red Star cuvee that has been going since early December and still bubbles once a minute. I am never using a yeast with such high attenuation again! My only glass 5 gallon fermenter has been tied up for way too long.

    I'm making a ginger stout after work today. Meant to do it every night this week but ended up going to bed early and not getting around to it. Now I am in imminent danger of running out of homebrew so I no longer have a choice in the matter. I must not stoop to drinking store-bought beer.

    -Jack





     
  19. WIPPdriver

    WIPPdriver Well-Known Member

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    I have been watching the brew bubbling along with the kids. My son in particular likes to watch the water in the valve gurgle. I have it in the closet wrapped with a towel. I noticed yesterday that the mead was already starting to settle out. I'll be going to El Paso in a couple of months and when I do, I'll go to Juarez and get 2 or 3 more carboys so I can have a brew going perpetually.

    One question, when do I rack this batch the first time?

    TIA,
    Marlin
     
  20. cchapman84

    cchapman84 Well-Known Member

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    How much yeast do you use? I've been interested in making mead for awhile now and just stumbled upon this thread. If anyone could share their entire recipe I'd really appreciate it! Thanks!

    Cameron in VT