First time making mead - small batches?

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First time making mead - small batches?

Postby Beer Bar0n » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:22 pm

Hello all,

I have been brewing beer for a little less than a year now, and have a few all - grain batches under my belt. I have a one gallon jug lying around empty and am thinking of trying to make a small batch of sweet mead. I have a guy that I buy local honey from, and am wondering if it would be worth it to try a small batch. I have some friends who are interested, as well. How much head space do you need in the fermentation vessel? Is it worth it to brew up a small batch and put it in a couple of one - gallon jugs? I was thinking of using four jugs for 3 gallons of mead and one vial of White Labs sweet mead yeast. I don't want to tie up my 5 gallon carboy for six months to a year if I can help it. How much honey would you all use for a 3 gallon batch? I was thinking about 9 pounds... I have read that adding yeast nutrient and citric acid is recommended. How much and when?

Any advice would be appreciated!
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Re: First time making mead - small batches?

Postby Yabodie » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:09 am

1 gallon batches are a great way to play with recipes, etc. Plus if it turns out to be crap you have not invested a lot of honey into it.

Use wine yeast, like K1V-1116, I think they are a better product than anything labeled "sweet" or "dry" mead yeasts. The yeasts do not determine the residual sweetness, you do.

So give this a shot...
Sanitize your equipment as you would for brewing.

5g K1V-1116
5g Fermaid K
Add the above to 50ml 100F tap water and let sit for about 15 minutes.

Add honey and water to get an OG of about 1.120 (all honey have different sugar concentrations so take an OG reading don't rely on lbs)
Puree a handful of un-sulfured raisins (adds nutrients for the yeast) and throw them in with the water and honey.

Shake the daylights out of the honey/water mixture (the Must) to aerate it. Make sure the cap is on the gallon jug.

Pitch the yeast, attach an airlock and forget about the jug for about 6 months.

When you can read a newspaper through the jug bottle the mead and enjoy. You should end up with a still, semi sweet, sack mead.
Life is too short to eat bad food or drink bad beer/wine/mead!!
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Re: First time making mead - small batches?

Postby Beer Bar0n » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:39 pm

Thanks Yabodie,

I told some friends about my plans, and they want to go in on a split batch - I was thinking that I could split 3 gallons in 4 one gallon jugs. (2 for me, 2 for them) If I buy 2 8g packets of K1V-1116 yeast that should be about right for pitching. I am planning on buying a few pounds of honey, figuring out the PPG (by measuring the gravity of 2 oz. by weight with water added to make 2 cups), and measuring out the honey by weight to get the 1.120 OG. I am planning to use whatever is left over to make a Honey Wheat Ale.
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Re: First time making mead - small batches?

Postby rookie » Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:19 am

Beer Bar0n wrote:Hello all,

I have been brewing beer for a little less than a year now, and have a few all - grain batches under my belt. I have a one gallon jug lying around empty and am thinking of trying to make a small batch of sweet mead. I have a guy that I buy local honey from, and am wondering if it would be worth it to try a small batch. I have some friends who are interested, as well. How much head space do you need in the fermentation vessel? Is it worth it to brew up a small batch and put it in a couple of one - gallon jugs? I was thinking of using four jugs for 3 gallons of mead and one vial of White Labs sweet mead yeast. I don't want to tie up my 5 gallon carboy for six months to a year if I can help it. How much honey would you all use for a 3 gallon batch? I was thinking about 9 pounds... I have read that adding yeast nutrient and citric acid is recommended. How much and when?

Any advice would be appreciated!



I would start out with the 5 gallon jug and then transfer to the 1 gallon jugs after 3 or 4 weeks, you don't have to leave mead in the same jug the whole time. Some mead makers suggest racking several times. Once the F.G is hit you can bottle and let it age.
I brewed a wheat braggot last year and bottled it when it hit F.G. and it was kind of hot tasting. I tried one last week and it has aged well.
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Re: First time making mead - small batches?

Postby Yabodie » Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:37 am

Beer Bar0n wrote:Thanks Yabodie,

I told some friends about my plans, and they want to go in on a split batch - I was thinking that I could split 3 gallons in 4 one gallon jugs. (2 for me, 2 for them) If I buy 2 8g packets of K1V-1116 yeast that should be about right for pitching. I am planning on buying a few pounds of honey, figuring out the PPG (by measuring the gravity of 2 oz. by weight with water added to make 2 cups), and measuring out the honey by weight to get the 1.120 OG. I am planning to use whatever is left over to make a Honey Wheat Ale.


One 8g packet will be enough. Rookie has a good idea to mix it all in the 5 gallon carboy, including the yeast. After fermentation is going gang busters then rack into your 1 gallon jugs. This way all 4 will be the same.

Also don't waste your time weighing out the honey. Just add it to the water and keep mixing it till you get your OG. Honestly the weight you use for this batch will not be the same for the next one. Use OG as your initial target, that is repeatable, weight is not.
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Re: First time making mead - small batches?

Postby Beer Bar0n » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:27 pm

My thinking for measuring out the honey by weight was I could get a one gallon bucket from a local supplier - about 12 pounds. I would use about 10 lbs of that for mead and have about 2 lbs left for beer. I have never used honey in beer before, but I made a great wheat ale with 1.5 lbs of DME and I think it would be better if I tried it again with 2 lbs of honey instead.
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Re: First time making mead - small batches?

Postby rookie » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:48 am

Beer Bar0n wrote:My thinking for measuring out the honey by weight was I could get a one gallon bucket from a local supplier - about 12 pounds. I would use about 10 lbs of that for mead and have about 2 lbs left for beer. I have never used honey in beer before, but I made a great wheat ale with 1.5 lbs of DME and I think it would be better if I tried it again with 2 lbs of honey instead.


Last year I brewed a wheat: ale O.G. 1.042. After primary I racked one gallon to a small carboy and added one pound of clover honey. It was a bit hot at first, but the one I tried last month was pretty good.
Steve,
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Re: First time making mead - small batches?

Postby Beer Bar0n » Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:32 am

rookie wrote:
Last year I brewed a wheat: ale O.G. 1.042. After primary I racked one gallon to a small carboy and added one pound of clover honey. It was a bit hot at first, but the one I tried last month was pretty good.


Wow! What was the gravity after adding the honey? What did it finish out at?
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Re: First time making mead - small batches?

Postby rookie » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:10 am

Beer Bar0n wrote:
rookie wrote:
Last year I brewed a wheat: ale O.G. 1.042. After primary I racked one gallon to a small carboy and added one pound of clover honey. It was a bit hot at first, but the one I tried last month was pretty good.


Wow! What was the gravity after adding the honey? What did it finish out at?


Didn't keep real good notes, but I figured it at around 9%
Steve,
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Re: First time making mead - small batches?

Postby pclemon » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:29 am

rookie wrote:
Beer Bar0n wrote:
rookie wrote:
Last year I brewed a wheat: ale O.G. 1.042. After primary I racked one gallon to a small carboy and added one pound of clover honey. It was a bit hot at first, but the one I tried last month was pretty good.


Wow! What was the gravity after adding the honey? What did it finish out at?


Didn't keep real good notes, but I figured it at around 9%



Honey is ~35-42 ppg (depending on what software/chart you look at). Which means that at 38, that one gallon of wheat would have been an OG of 1.08. Assuming 80%AA, ~8.5% ABV.... or like you said, close to 9%. :wink:
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