melomel/mead first try

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melomel/mead first try

Postby fishnbeer » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:50 pm

hey guys been brewin beer for bout 2 years now. done a few experiments with beers: adding 1 to 3 pounds of honey in some IPAs/porters and really really like the effect honey has on beer. ive tried a few different meads (i am currently limited to what is on hand at BEVMO :oops: ) and just love them all.

so i got an empty 5gal carboy, 8 pounds of honey and a couple months to spare. i have in mind a peach mead, but need a few questions answered first.....

-is 8 pounds enough? recipes i have read call for up to 15 lbs....

-is "re-racking" a mead a good idea? i envisioned a 2 week primary, then re-rack and add peaches

-yeast: any specific strain to aid in the sweet/peachy flavor?

this is all i can think of at the moment. im sure when i wake up tomorrow ill have a laundry list of questions
thanks guys
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Re: melomel/mead first try

Postby docmckee » Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:34 am

Adding 8 lbs to five gallons will result in a final product of about 5% ABV. Think of honey as being just a little more fermentable than LME. You also have to take into consideration sugars coming from your fruits. This is a much more difficult process since fruits will not immediately give up all their sugars to solution. I would add 5 pounds of light brown sugar. The sugar and honey will give you a OG of 1.102 and an ABV of 10.1%. I think this is a minimum safe alcohol level for stability and storage. The peaches will give you a spike in sugar and thus alcohol, but I don’t know of any way to accurately tell unless you juice your peaches first and get an accurate gravity reading for the peach must. I would just consider them a flavor addition and brew it up.

I would add the peaches in the primary, all chopped up in a steeping bag. Two weeks sounds about right. With fruit additions, you will have to rack it a couple of times at least.

Wyeast has a sweet mead yeast that is supposed to leave some residual sugars behind. I'd try that. A reisling yeast may also be nice, it tends to leave a fruity nose.
Regards,

Doc
Janitor, http://www.thezymurgyguide.com

Caveat: The above post is likely the product of homebrew fueled wild speculation and most likely has no basis in fact.
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Re: melomel/mead first try

Postby thetooth » Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:45 am

All good advice from docmckee.

For simple meads where I want to experiment with honey varietals or yeasts, I use a 3lb per gallon rule of thumb. So, if I had 8 lbs to make a peach mead, I'd make a 3 gallon batch, assuming the peaches will basically cover the missing pound of honey. If you are looking for a more sweet product, make it a 2 gallon batch.

If I might suggest a book, the Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Shramm (http://www.amazon.com/Compleat-Meadmaker-Production-Award-winning-Variations/dp/0937381802/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1300812269&sr=8-1) is a fantastic resource.
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Re: melomel/mead first try

Postby fishnbeer » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:16 am

well i decided im going to need more honey. my reasoning is if im gonna do this and take up a carboy i might as well do the whole 5 gallons instead of 2 or 3.

as for adding peaches in, i didnt think about it until last night but the hole on the carboy is pretty small. i could probably cram chopped peaches into there, but gettting them out....??

i may decide to buy a carboy specifically for this. not sure if there are ones on the market with a wider mouth. a much wider mouth

as for the yeast, i have never bought wine yeast. does it only come dry/in packets? and would it be a good idea to do a starter like with beer? make a starter using LME?
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Re: melomel/mead first try

Postby thetooth » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:36 am

I've only bought wine yeast in packets, and those have quite a few viable cells, making a starter unnecessary. If you are uncertain, just buy two packets... they are cheap.

I do all of my mead/wine primary fermentations in buckets. Actually, to be honest, I've moved to using food-grade 10 gallon trash cans. I don't transfer to carboys until the fermentation is complete. So, in your case, I would ferment the mead in a bucket until primary fermentation slows down. Then I'd add the peaches to the primary as it slowed down. When that fermentation is complete, I'd transfer to a carboy.
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