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Author Topic: Making Mead  (Read 5154 times)
Greg Peck
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« on: December 24, 2008, 09:53:11 PM »

I was going to try my hand at making some mead. The question I have is it is necessary to either boil the honey with water as many recipes call for or use the Campden tabs. I dont want to boil and I dont have any Campden tabs. I am planing on making a very basic mead. Thanks
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asprince
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2008, 10:08:50 PM »

Greg, one upon a time I made wine from a simple recipe.

In a one gallon jar:
One quart of fruit
One quart of sugar
One package of yeast
Top off with water
Cover top of jar with cheese cloth
Place in a cool dark area
After 4 weeks, siphon off liquid
Let sit for two additional weeks
Siphon again
Bottle and enjoy.

My favorite was apple. I wonder if the sugar could be replaced with honey?

Steve 
 
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Big John
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« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2008, 06:30:22 AM »

Greg, I have made hundreds of gallons of wine over the years (no mead) and have never boiled anything, I guess I am lucky in this area their is a liquor store close to me that have all the supplies you need, I would assume that you could find the campden tabs. and all the supplies you need in a lot of different liquor stores?
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« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2008, 07:20:31 AM »

Boiling is unnecessary and kills some of the flavor of the honey.  I've made some mead, probably only about 20 gallons though.  www.gotmead.com is an awesome resource.  I'm pretty sure there is another discussion about mead making here on the forums and if not, we talked about it in vent and I got the 2 confused, hehe.
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fermentedhiker
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« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2008, 09:00:08 AM »

Honey contains some complex proteins which can inhibit fermentation.  Boiling and skimming off the dross makes it more likely that you'll have a complete and successful fermentation.  It does as was mentioned earlier reduce and potentially remove entirely all the delicate floral characters from the honey.  Because of this i'm not in favor of boiling.  I prefer to add a high quality yeast nutrient to help ensure that they can get the job done in spite of the potential difficulty getting honey based recipes to ferment completely.

Campden tablet(metabisulfite) is used as anti fungal/bacterial treatment.  It is a natural biproduct of the fermentation process, although not in the concentrations created by additions by the winemaker.  Typically you use it prior to fermentation to kill off any wild yeasts, bacteria or fungi.  I don't use it in the initial phase of any of my recipes, as I have found it necessary for me.  The problem for you in not using it will be post fermentation.  Most meads are finished somewhat sweet and as with most sweet wines you need a way to keep the yeast from restarting fermentation because of the residual sugar.  That is a major reason to use metabisulfite post fermentation.  When the wine gets to where you want it you add the campden tabs to kill off the yeast and other bugs.  If you don't add sulfites you risk having exploding bottles at some date in the future when conditions occur that make the yeast happy enough to start working again.

This hasn't been a problem for me because I prefer dry/semi dry so my wines don't have enough residual sugar to cause any problems.  Hope this hels.
Adam
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Greg Peck
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« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2008, 09:36:23 AM »

Big John..So you dont boil and you dont use the Campden tabs Is that correct?

Fermentedhiker .. Are you saying that you dont boil or use Campden tabs to start with but you use the tabs in the end to stop the yeast?
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BjornBee
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« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2008, 09:57:32 AM »

Greg,
There is a wine store over in Lemoyne, called Scotzin Brothers. (In the yellow pages under winemaking).

It would be a good investment to get a book called "The Compleat Meadmaker" by Ken Schramm.

I have used both cold and hot methods. With just starting out, and probably clean carboys and equipment, both will work with little risk. Wine making is rather easy, but losing one batch can get costly. I do not use tablets as I want to not use those items if at all possible. But cleanliness is the key and proper technique.

Take Care.
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fermentedhiker
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« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2008, 10:11:27 AM »

essentially yes I don't bother to boil even though it makes it more likely that I will have some difficulty getting the must to ferment completely.  I personally don't use campden tablet post fermentation either, but it's due to the fact that I ferment all my wines to dryness and so there isn't any residual sugar left for the yeast to restart working with.  If I decided to make a sweet wine/mead I would have to make up my mind as to whether or not  to add it.  You can alternately ferment your must to dryness and then use a wine finisher to add sweetness back that uses a sweetener that is unusable by yeast.

I agree with Bjornbee, a good book such as the one he recommending is a worthwhile investment.  I found that winemaking is a lot like beekeeping; in that you'll find as many ways to do it as there are people doing it.  I've found using 1 gallon jugs to run multiple batches at the same time helpful.  You can try something different with each batch and if you one doesn't work out you haven't lost your entire investment.  Then once you find a recipe(s) you enjoy go ahead and make a 6 gallon batch so you'll have enough for your own use and gifts for friends. Smiley
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Greg Peck
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2008, 03:08:31 PM »

I decided not to boil the honey but I did use the campden tabs. I mixed up a 2.5 gal batch this after noon. I used for a recipe

6 pounds honey
1 table spoon yeast energizer
3 table spoons acid blend
1 teaspoon wine tannin
3 Campden tabs
and I will probably use Lalvin d47 yeast but that is not until tomorrow.

I did not add the yeast energizer yet I figured I would add it when I add the yeast. Is that a good idea or not.

I hope it works. I will let you all know in a year or 2 Smiley
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fermentedhiker
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2008, 03:27:46 PM »

I don't know as there is any benefit to waiting to add the yeast energizer, but by the same token it won't hurt anything either.  I'm sure it will be fine.  I haven't personally used that strain of yeast but I have good experience with others from Lavlin.  The key to success now will be temperature control and keeping it clean for the next couple of years.  A hobby for the patient to be sure Smiley.  Enjoy it, it's addictive.

Adam
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Greg Peck
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« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2008, 03:57:30 PM »

fermentedhiker I also have Lalvin K1-v1116, 71B-1122, EC-1118 and Red star Montrachet. Would you suggest one of those rather then the D-47? Or maybe I should ask, have you had good success with any of those?
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Big John
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2008, 07:55:42 AM »

Greg , I will not boil anything and will use 1 campden tab. per gal. at the very beginning of fermentation with all my ingredients when it is mixed together. I will ferment for about 6 to 8 days strain ingredients and put in carboys until fermentation is finished about 4 months, rack wine after 3 weeks and again after 3 months. I like kind of a dry wine which I make, but before bottling you can sweeten wine to taste with 2:1 sugar and add wine-art stabilizer tablets to prevent renewed fermentation.
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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2008, 08:26:08 AM »

fermentedhiker I also have Lalvin K1-v1116, 71B-1122, EC-1118 and Red star Montrachet. Would you suggest one of those rather then the D-47? Or maybe I should ask, have you had good success with any of those?

Greg, I have used the Montrachet, K1-V116 and the EC-1118. Each of those yeast are tailored or can be used, for specific end products. As example, Montrachet is specific to dry wines. EC -118 is a good one for a higher alcohol content wine, yet at sweeter levels.

Regardless of what yeast you use, it has to do with the sugar content, and the starting gravities. Which is why many start with proven recipes, and build or tailor a recipe further after getting the base down. You may not have a problem with mold and other issues, but sometimes nothing seems to goes together and you get something that is really not all that good to drink.

Freelancing into a complete new recipe, is a great thing. But if it does not work out, you should know why. And this is easier to work out AFTER you have completed some batched successfully first.
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fermentedhiker
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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2008, 08:47:48 AM »

I have had the best results in my own recipes with ec-1118 mostly because of it's willingness to soldier through and ferment to completion even when I pushing the must for higher alcohol content in the final product.  It's fairly neutral though and so won't add much character to your wine beyond what you choose in your recipe.  This is either a negative or a positive depending on what you want/are making.  D-47 sounds like a good choice for meadmaking.  I would try it with the d-47 and keep the k1-v1116 handy if you get a stuck fermentation.  Each yeast has its own qualities that it brings to the table.  Everything from production of foam,compact less, H2s to its extraction of fruit esters, phenols and other compounds to its ability to ferment over differing temperatures and must nutrient/acid/sugar levels  and even how high an alcohol content they are known to survive to.  Use the manufacturers descriptions as a rough guide when picking which yeast has the qualities you desire in your wine/mead.  Of the yeasts you listed D47 is the only one that specifically mentions mead.  That certainly doesn't mean the others won't work or even produce delicious results just that they either haven't been officially endorsed for it.  The best thing to do is make multiple batches and use the exact same recipe except for the yeast used and compare the results.

It got so bad my kitchen started looking like a chem lab, so I had to build a real wine bench in the basement Smiley

"The ICV D-47 is a low-foaming quick fermenter that settles well, forming a compact lees at the end of fermentation. This strain tolerates fermentation temperatures ranging from 10° to 30°C (50° to 86°F) and enhances mouthfeel due to complex carbohydrates. Malolactic fermentation proceeds well in wine made with ICV D-47.

This strain is recommended for making wines from white varieties such as Chardonnay and Rosé. It is also an excellent choice for producing mead, however be sure to supplement with yeast nutrients, especially usable nitrogen"
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limyw
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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2008, 10:46:56 AM »

since honey itself contains many yeast so if no yeast is added, it would still ferment and finally get wine right?
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lyw
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« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2008, 10:58:38 AM »

since honey itself contains many yeast so if no yeast is added, it would still ferment and finally get wine right?

Yes, but the natural yeast is not selected for alcohol production, so it could die before producing the desired amount of fermentation and it could cause unusual and undesirable flavors during fermentation. It also may not be aggressive enough to outcompete any bacteria that could be present, and they would definitely impart bad flavors.
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fermentedhiker
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« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2008, 12:38:27 PM »

using feral yeast is always a gamble.  You may get a batch that has more spores of some unknown bacteria than it does of yeast and the yeast gets out competed and you end up with a random foul concoction that's only good for telling stories about. Smiley  Or you could end up with a viable yeast that just doesn't do the job right.  Either quitting fermentation too soon or generating off flavors or undesireable qualities in you wine/mead.  The wineries that tout using feral/wild fermentation are somewhat misleading.  Their wineries have been making wine for decades maybe centuries even and through that process have become saturated with strains of well adapted yeasts.  If you tried the exact same process in a location that hadn't been used for that purpose it is doubtful you would get anything close to the same results.  There is an old saying that goes something like "good yeast occurs in wineries"  not even close to an exact quote mind you, but you get the idea.  That is why most wineries introduce specific strains both to impart the desired character on their wine that the selected strain is good for, but also to be able to introduce it in such a quantity that it will out compete all the other organisms wanting to have a go at your must.  That being said if you can afford to loose the batch and want to experiment with "wild" fermentation........go for it.  If it fails you'll be out some time and the cost of your ingredients, but you'll learn something for your trouble.
Adam
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Greg Peck
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« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2008, 03:08:16 PM »

Ok I put the yeast in and the nutrients. I went with the K1-V1116 due to its wider temp range and higher alcohol tolerance. A few more questions

I rehydrated the yeast as it says to do on the package but I used city tap water which has chlorine in it. I guess I got excited and forgot to use the spring water I had bought. Will the little bit of chlorine kill the yeast?

I have the mead in the basement which stays about 67 degrees. Should I try to keep it warmer then that or is that good? Up stairs we keep it around 72 but during the day it goes down to the mid 60s.

Thanks for all the input so far. 
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« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2008, 05:29:19 PM »

  HEY IRWIN!!! Tell them how delicious the mead was that I sent you!!! grin
 (This was a secret but I just cant keep secrets!!)
your friend,
john
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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2008, 05:42:33 PM »

 Hmmm... waiting a couple of years?
 I could die from old age instead of liver disease if I waited that long!
 I'm gonna look up the book that nate showed us before i make my next batch!

your friend,
john
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