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Home Brewing Mead (General)

by dulan drift, Sunday, January 03, 2021, 11:40 (53 days ago)

Working towards an off-grid lifestyle, one of the essentials is grog.

Remembering that you were a master mead brewer, did you come across a particular website that had good instructions for a beginner?

Home Brewing Mead

by dan @, Sunday, January 03, 2021, 13:06 (52 days ago) @ dulan drift

Ahh, the joys of home brewing!

I went through my notes, and here is a site I found: http://homedistiller.org and http://www.homebrewtalk.com. There may be more links in the mess of notes below.

We started making our own yeast for baking because the stores ran out. For brewing (and baking), you can reused your yeast indefinitely as long as you keep it alive. I usually didn't do that just because it was easier to buy it at the time.

One thing you might also look into is distilling. If I had the space and time, I'd certainly brew again but also distill. You can buy distiller's yeast that will proof out at over 20%. Most yeast will die off at 12-14%. And distilling looks like a simple process. I mean, it has to be, right?

So I combined the notes I found and I'll paste them below. Wherever you see something that looks like this:

====== Mead ======
Created Tuesday 05 February 2013

--- that indicates the beginning of a new note. There are some recipes buried in there. I think I may have used the boil method a few times but also used the no boil method. Boiling 8 kilos of honey with a few gallons of water is a pain. Any recipes of mind in there are for five-gallon batches. That's enough mead to keep you in hangovers for a while!

EDIT: It says my message is too long. I'll split it into a couple more responses below. Here's the first bit:

========================================

====== Links ======
Created Saturday 09 February 2013

---------------------------
No chill brewing

http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/06/06/australian-no-chill-brewing-technique-tested/

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/No_Chill_Method
----------------------------
Mead Brandy http://homedistiller.org/sugar/wash-sugar/honey
Jacks recipe for Mead Brandy ...

I think this would be close to the ancestral roots of Krupnik (the honey sweetened vodka). First step: make mead
Per gallon (4L)
3 pounds of honey
one TEAspoon of yeast nutrient
one TABLEspoon of acid blend

For more on mead : http://consumer.lallemand.com/danstar-lalvin/InFerment/Mead.html

----------------------------

The biggest problem from fruit flies, other than being a bother around the
house, is that they carry the spores for vinegar. Your wine is most sensitive to
the vinegar organism when there is alcohol present and air is present.
It behooves a wine maker to keep fruit flies to a minimum to reduce inoculation

Found 130209 at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/meadmakers/message/2082

--------------------------------

Saw this at http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12015 regarding spotty fermentation:

Aerate this twice a day for the next three days and see where you are bubbler speed wise.

Your starter had way too much nutrient in it for the yeast, and that may actually have caused the starter to be less effective than it should be. Your starter also does not need to be going longer than 24 hours. Hold off on doing anything else to this for the next couple of days, and let the aeration work it's magic.

Give the must 5 grams of nutrient tomorrow evening, and keep aerating. Report back.

Hope this helps,

Home Brewing Mead

by dan @, Sunday, January 03, 2021, 13:06 (52 days ago) @ dan

More note:

====== Mead ======
Created Tuesday 05 February 2013

* Heat 12 liters of water to 70-80 - no boil
* Add at least 6-7 kilos of honey. Honey can be added before above temp reached
* Add fruits and spices, also can be added initially
* Add yeast nutrient (5 teaspoons?)
* Keep at 70-80 for 30 minutes
* Remove and cool to 23-25
* When must is almost cooled, start the yeast starter

Yeast starter
* Sanitize bowl for starter, and all instruments
* Use 15 grams of yeast, around 3 teaspoons
* Add a ladle of of must to bowl
* Add water to get to 23-25 degrees
* Add yeast, no stirring
* Cover for 15 minutes

Putting it all together
* Poor must into fermenter with all fruit
* Top off with water to 20L or so (leave about 2-3 inches in fermenter)
* Oxygenate
* Take OG
* Pitch yeast
* Airlock and test airlock

====== Mead130208 ======
Created Friday 08 February 2013

* 6K honey
* 6 medium sized Taiyuan oranges
* No cooking


* Soak oranges in water and baking soda
* Rinsed oranges
* Sprayed oranges with alcohol
* Filtered water into pot for convenience
* Added 6K of honey
* Strained into fermenter (oranges block funnel)
* Added hot water to pot to dissolve honey, poured over oranges
* Added oranges
* Pitched yeast
* 12 hours later, still no airlock bubbling, but I do see activity in the fermenter

------------------
130209
Though there was visible fermentation within hours, the airlock didn't start bubbling until 16 hours. The weather was cooling yesterday, getting under 20 at night, and as night falls and it gets colder, it's interesting to note the slowing in bubbling. It will be warmer over the next couple of days. Let's see what happens.

Fruitflies in the airlock. I read you can put some cotton in it and to frequently pour boiling water or chlorine in your drains. Boiling water sounds more pleasant. And probably more effective.
------------------
130210
Bubbling well.

---------------
130211
Aerated
-------------
130212
Aerated, added about 1tsp nutrient. Bubbling once every two seconds
------------
130324
Last of it bottled

Home Brewing Mead

by dan @, Sunday, January 03, 2021, 13:07 (52 days ago) @ dan

More notes:


====== Mead130401 ======
Created Monday 01 April 2013

* 6 kilos honey
* juice of 6 ripe oranges
* juice of two or three small lemons
* 3 tsp yeast
* 2 tsp nutrient - Decided to try adding less nutrient initially this time (2 tsp rather than the usual 5) with the idea being that I'll aerate over the next three days, adding nutrient

====== Mead130422 ======
Created Monday 22 April 2013

* 6 kilos honey
* five or six apples
* cup of raisins
* 3 tsp yeast
* 3 tsp nutrient

130426
It was clearly fermenting the last few days but not bubbling. I took the airlock off and I'm guessing it was somehow blocked

Been aerating daily.

====== Mead140328 ======
Created Sunday 30 March 2014

Two batches started

Luo4shen2 and honey (fake honey)
1 x 2 (o r 3) kilo bottle of luo4shen2 sugary mix
1 x 2 (or 3) kilo bottle of fake honey - Both of these came from Taimali bought in the import store
3 T yeast
5 T nutrient
FOUR WEEKS IN: Racked to secondary. Still way too sweet. One of the ingredients must have fake sugar or preservative. Good flavor, not enough alcohol and too sweet.

Black sugar and kumquat
1 x 1 kilo bottle liquid black sugar
Most of a 2 kilo bag of cheap light brown, big crystal sugar (could have used whole bag) (dissovled the sugar in warm water first)
4/5 bottle of kumquat juice
3 T yeast
3 T nutrient
Pretty week. I didn't fill the fermenter as full as usual.
NOTE: I pitched a little more yeast a day later. It may have been too warm when I orginally pitched.
THREE WEEKS IN: Bubbling strong for two weeks. Today I added two liters of 100% apple juice (Bios). Looking good.

====== Braggot130321 ======
Created Thursday 21 March 2013

* 3 kg honey
* 4.8 kg dark malt (WAY too thick) (8 jin, 1 jin = 0.6 kg)
* 5 tsp nutrient
* 3 tsp yeast
* no boil

Bubbling within 20 minutes. Stratified.

Next time, absolutely heat the malt to mix in a few quarts of water. Can even let it cool overnight and in the meantime get the honey started fermenting, then add the malt/water mixture the next day.

-------------

130324
Aerated the last couple of days. The malt layer on bottom is very slowly dissolving. Bubbling stopped by this morning after three days. It started bubbling again after aeration and 1tsp nutrient.

--------------

130329
Still bubbling a couple times a minute. Have been aerating every day. The malt is dissolving and looks like it will be completely dissolved within five days.

Home Brewing Mead

by dan @, Sunday, January 03, 2021, 13:21 (52 days ago) @ dan

A couple more thoughts -- I remember now that you don't boil the water/honey mix, just heat it. Also, I don't think the nutrient mentioned is absolutely required. I brewed beer many years ago before nutrients were a thing. You don't need them.

Also, you'll find that a lot of sites and people get very, very specific about ingredients, processes, and procedures. I tended to just throw stuff together and see what happened, and most of the time, it worked fine.

You want to avoid contamination by vinegar producing bacteria. The bad bacteria doesn't just make your brew taste like cheap salad dressing, it actually consumes your alcohol.

"Vinegar is the product of a two-stage fermentation. In the first stage, yeast convert sugars into ethanol anaerobically, while in the second ethanol is oxidized to acetic (ethanoic) acid aerobically by bacteria of the genera Acetobacter and Gluconobacter." Source

So as long as you don't get attacked by such bacteria, you'll get alcohol. I've broken most golden rules of brewing cleanliness and have never once had a bad batch. That doesn't mean it always tasted grand.

Finally, one more thought on distillation. One reason it attracts me, aside from creating vodka that is, is because you can make your booze using virtually any source of sugar. Sugar cane, potatoes, corn, rice, anything, because you're going to boil off the pure alcohol. Honey, malted barley, and grapes are generally expensive compared to potatoes and sugar.

Home Brewing Mead

by dulan drift, Sunday, January 03, 2021, 20:14 (52 days ago) @ dan

Wow! Thanks! I'm gonna go through all this and brew up a storm.

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