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Discussion in 'Amon Amarth' started by Gorlith, Apr 25, 2007.
I just started brewing recently.
Mead making or beer brewing? I do neither, but there's a few folk about who make some reputedly excellent mead. (I only say reputedly as I've never gotten to sample any myself )
I do mead, so do Sleipnir and Runesinger. My hubby does beer. Somehow I never seem to get to taste either...
I thought about it, but I had to make a budget choice between meadmaking and a better anvil, and the anvil won. But there is a homebrewing place near my work with all the stuff I need, so maybe a bit later this year, I will give it a shot.
I gave it a first try in fall last year. Used 3kg honey, 7l water, 1l applejuice. As yeast strain (hope that's the correct translation) I chose Burgundy. When I tried the mead after app. 4 month it tasted a little sour, so I added some honey to each bottle. It was quite drinkable but nothing special, made me pretty drunk though .-)
I will soon start a second try. This time I will use 4kg honey on 5-6l of water and a Port yeast strain. What have you folks tried so far?
This thread has already officially made me Thirsty™.
well i brew beer, sofar I've made 2 irish reds and now a stout, the stout is still fermenting so i dont know how it came out but the reds came out pretty good. I think im going to give mead brewing a try later this summer. or more likely winter so me and anglorfin can celebrate snow with it.
Dude, 4 mos is nothing. Leave it a bit longer next time before you add stuff to it. The longer it sits, the better, but a minimum of 12 weeks is required for it to not be too green to drink. Also, you've to watch with adding things to the bottle, cuz you can re-start fermentation and explode the bottles. Interesting party trick, but also a form of alcohol abuse...
Well, I just fill 1-2 bottles from time to time, the rest remains in fermentation. I was aware of the explosion thing, since I used a condom as stopper first (my gf broke the one made of glass before). Seeing how this thing was blown up by fermentation put me on alert in time How long do you usually wait before you try it and what honey:water ratio do you use?
It pretty much depends on what I'm making. I find it more difficult to do things that are high in vitamin c, like, let's say raspberries or cranberries, since it can make the yeast stop doing it's thing. Then you have to add tanin (I use tea bags for that). I've used a glas stopper, and I usually leave the mead in the vat until it stops bubbling. Then you should wait a while, a minimum of 12 weeks, like I said. Mind you, what you're doing is more historically accurate if that's what you're aiming for! The Norse brewed in open vats, and started the fermentation the same way you do - by saving some of the old stock. They also re-used the old ingredients to make one or more consecutive batches. The first batch would be stronger than the consecutive ones, and that is the mead that was saved for special occasions, like blot and sumbelfeasts.
Post your recipies, folks! I tried to do it once, but I only got "mjäsk" or whatever that stuff's called.
I have a mead making thread on another board I post on so I will just cut and paste from that if no one has any objections. I also have pictures of the process so if anyone wants me to put them up, just say so. Oh, and T???? the blackberry is coming out fan-tastic!!!!!, this is going to rival my Red Raspberry
for a 5gal. batch(standard size)
1- Notebook for keeping anal retentive records of EVERY step of the process. I go so far as to record the lot #'s of the fruit,honey and water I use along with detailing every single solitary step I do from start to bottling.
1- food grade plastic fermentation bucket.
1- food grade fermentation bucket lid.(it has a hole in it with a rubber gasket for the insertion of the airlock)
1- "lobster pot" or other large cooking pot
1- spoon/ladle/brewers paddle.
1-gal of bleach(unscented)/C-Brite or any other food grade sanitizer.
If anyone has a brewing supply store near them they can be purchased there or you can go online and find them, it's relatively simple.
Simple Sack (Sweet) Mead
3-4 gals. Spring Water-spring water is the best, tap water has too much crap in it and distilled water isn't a good choice either.
15-20lbs honey.- again, either a wholesale food distributor or online if you can, buying it from the supermarket will kill you cost wise. I get it by the case from a resturant supply house and each case has six 5lb. jugs. I am paying about $1.31 per/lb. I know Costco is about $2 cheaper a case(if you have one near you) but the closest one to me isn't as close as the place I get it from.
Yeast- I use either Red Star Cotes de Blancs(a slow fermenter which will bring out the floral and fruity characteristics in fruit meads and is very good to use in plain honey mead as well). You can also use Lavlin EC-1118, Red Star Premier Cuvee, Lalvin D47, Lallamand K1-V116, or Wyeast Mead, Sweet. If you are going to use dry yeast(in a foil packet) follow the instructions on the packet in regards to rejuvenating it and bringing out of its dormancy. if you are going to use liquid yeast, follow same said directions.*
The first thing you want to do is sanitize ALL your equipment, bucket,lid,airlock parts, spoon/ladle/paddle and anything else that is going to come in contact with your must.(the water/honey mixture before anything else is added)
I personally put 2-4oz. of bleach into the bucket and stick it in the tub, filling it with mad ass hot water to the top and let it sit for 15-20min. I do the same for the lid,airlock parts,spoon/ladle/paddle by placing 2oz. bleach in the kitchen sink and filling with same mad ass hot water and letting sit for same amount of time as listed above.
Once the equipment is sanitized, I typically rinse it 1-2 times with hot water and let air dry.
Preparation of your must
1- Unscrew the lids to the honey, keeping them on loosely and stick them in the sink of hot water to help make it less viscous( dont worry about the bleach, as long as you dry the bottles off before you add it to the water as not to contaminate it)
2- Add 2 1/2-3gals. Spring Water to the pot, slowly heating it, remember DO NOT BOIL!!!! you just want it hot enough for the honey to go into solution. Once the honey is liquified a little better add desired(I use 15lbs to start...see note below) honey to the water, mixing it as you add it. When bottle is "empty" put lid back on tightly and either place back in hot water or add a little spring water to it, sloshing the hell out of it to get ALL residual honey out and add to pot. Once that is done, you can add the 4th gallon directly to the bucket, after using a little to rinse out the pot.
3- Once the water/honey solution is done, you can then add it to the bucket, pouring carefully as not to turn your floor into a giant glue trap.
4- Place spring water in airlock up to line, place top cap on airlock and put lid on bucket...does not have to be tight...and place airlock in hole in lid. Once your must has cooled to room temperature...usually overnight...you can then remove the lid, pitch the yeast*, place lid tightly back on bucket and let it ferment.
Primary fermentation will usually start withing 24 hours, you can tell by the bubbling of the water in the airlock which is strictly for keeping impurities out of your must while allowing the gases building up during fermentation to escape and not blowing the top off your bucket.
I know some brewers who take specific gravity readings, use clarifying agents (Pectic Enzymes) to give their mead a better clarity, yeast nutrients and so on. I personally do it the way described above and the results have been very good so far.
Your mead should sit in the fermentation bucket no more than 4 weeks from the date you pitch the yeast. Once the 4 weeks is 'up" it is time to rack your mead.
All you are doing when you rack is taking the mead off of the dead yeast that has settled at the bottom of your fermentation bucket and transferring it to another container. You will need the following equipment when you rack your mead.
1- glass carboy(fancy name for a water cooler water jug)
1- rubber stopper
1- airlock(use the one from your primary fermentor)
1- bottle filler and hose( the hose and bottle filler make it MUCH easier to transfer the mead from the bucket to the carboy)
Before you rack, you must once again sanitize your equipment. I put 2oz. bleach in the sink, filling it halfway with...you guessed it...mad ass hot water, placing the rubber stopper, airlock parts(disassembled), hose and disassembled bottle filler(basically a plastic pipe with a spring loaded tip) in the sink. I put 2-4oz. bleach in the carboy, filling it 1/2 way with mad ass hot water. sloshing it around a bit and letting stand 10-15 min. After it has stood for 10-15min. I put in sink UPSIDE down so top half of carboy can be sanitized and the water in the sink prevents it from leaking out and let stand another 10-15min.
Once all equipment is sanitized I let air dry.
Place your fermentation bucket on kitchen table,counter or anyplace else that is a few feet higher than your carboy.
Attach the bottle filler to the racking hose, place the hose in the bucket...starting from the TOP down...and either suck on the end of the bottle filler to siphon it out or you can fill the hose with spring water and do it that way. I personally suck it out, heck, if my ancestors did it that way it's good enough for me.
Insert the bottle filler into the carboy, gently applying downward pressure so the spring loaded tip is oushed in and the mead should begin gravity feeding into your carboy. You have to make sure you keep an eye on where the other end of the hose is in your mead at all times so as not to start drawing air as air in mead will begin to oxidize it, and thats a bad thing. Also keep an eye on the level in your carboy as your filling it while at the same time watching the bucket because you do not want to draw through the hose the dead yeast that is on the bottom of your fermentation bucket, as you get close to the bottom it may be necesary to tilt the bucket forward to get all of the mead you can out while at the same time not adding the goo sitting at the bottom.
I mentioned keeping an eye on the carboy as your filling...I am sure you can guess why, remember the glue trap I mentioned earlier?...if you have a friend to help you, by all means employ them....
Once the mead is racked over to the carboy..leaving a few inches breathing room...place the rubber stopper in the top, inserting the airlock into the center of the stopper and away you go. You want to keep your mead in a cool dry place...this goes for your primary fermentation as well...After it is racked the remaining yeast will continue to ferment your mead until they have all died off. Preperation of your must Note: As stated above, I use 15lbs to start,my kinsman Greg uses 12-15lbs. and after he racks the first time, he tastes and adds more honey as he feels it, usually 3lbs after primary racking and another 3 after secondary racking, his sweet mead is sweet as can be..
Once your mead is racked keep an eye on it, after all signs of fermentation have stopped,you can either rack again to another carboy...to let it age a bit if you so choose to...or you can bottle it. Bottling usually happens 2 weeks after ALL signs of fermentation have ceased as mentioned above.
1-Corks and a corker
1- bottle filler
Once you are ready to bottle you need to sanitize your bottles, hose and bottle filler. By now you should know what and how much to use but since it is so important I will go over again. 2-4oz. bleach, mad ass hot water,sink,bottles,hose,disassembled bottle filler.
The bottles are a P.I.T.A. to clean, I just stick them in the sink, filling them as best I can without scalding the hell out of my hands, rinsing them in the tub or aomeplace else and letting them air dry. Your 5gal. batch will yield about 2 cases worth of mead. Once your bottles are dry you can remove the airlock/stopper, insert the hose...starting from the top,working your way down...and siphon into the bottles, leaving room for the cork...I usually leave an 1"-1 1/2" or so. Make sure you boil your corks to soften them up or they are a bitch to get in the bottle, once you fill the bottles to their desired height, cork them and leave them upright for awhile as to let any trapped gases escape.
Let the mead age for a bit and after a few months you can uncork it and enjoy!!!
I will let this stand and answer any questions or comments anyone has before I go on to making a melomel(fruit mead)
I hope everyone not only enjoys this thread but hopefully we can all share in the fruits...no pun intended...of our labor with each other.
EDIT TO ADD: Once you rack over your primary from the fermentation bucket to the carboy, you can either sweeten it with more honey if you so choose or you can add a little more water...usually 1/2gal. or so to it due to what you will be losing from what will be left on the bottom of the bucket. It will dilute the mead just enough to possibly lower the percentage of suger if the yeast is having a hard time replicating and could jump start the process of turning the sugar into alcohol...gotta love trial and error.
Pictures!! What is everyone's setup? And what does the finished product look/taste like?
Do I sense an AA brewers' convention in the future?
Really? I have shitloads of blackberries out back and nothing to make with them....
Ok...see pics...tastes awesome.......................
I figured I would take some pictures of the equipment needed.
Bottle Drying Tree
Disassembled Bottle Filler
Different type of airlock in primary fermentor bucket lid
My DethBerry brewed 12/29/06
The DethBerry that is currently fermenting is going to be racked to a carboy the weekend of the 27th. I will take and post pics as I do it but for now I will post a few from the Red Raspberry that was done a few months back.
More to follow if all are still interested...............
I brew beer, so far no mead by myself.
Been breweing for some 3 years and made 46 brews so far.
Won a few awards, so I seem to make beer rather well, I like to think so anyway.
Friend of mine made mead a long while back, last summer we tried a couple of different ones that's been stored for 10+ years, amazing stuff.
Just found me a honey "supplier" willing to trade honey for home brewed beers, so will try my first mead come fall.
Teach us how to brew beer then! Let's bring Systembolaget down!!!
Thanks for the detailed information Sleipnir, but is it really neccessary to use all that bleach? Why does it have to be so clean?
It's hard to imagine why it needs to be so clean if say, 1 minute impurity were to enter the bucket. But since you are working with cultures of fungus it's very important because of the time factor. The longer it has to sit the further away an impurity will take the intended outcome.
Impurities of this sort affect taste and also (in a great enough quantity) the degree of hangover afterwards.
Btw, cool pics Sleipnir. Gorlith has a very similar setup. Do you do it all in your kitchen?