Author Topic: Homebrew Mead  (Read 8999 times)

seanc0x0

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Homebrew Mead
« on: July 24, 2015, 06:51:36 PM »
In the general forum post  on booze expenses, I mentioned making mead to save money (thread: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/how-much-do-you-spend-on-beer-booze-wine/). A few of y'all asked about my recipes, so here's a few I'm currently doing.

General notes:

I like to keep the sugars low, as I prefer dry meads to sweet or semi-sweet meads. I try to stay below 1.090 specific gavity.  I've done a few up as high as 1.110, which other makers seem to prefer, but it always seems to end up sickly sweet to me.

Most meads take a good year or so to reach peak drinkability. I usually bulk age as it means the product at the end is consistent in every bottle (at least at time of bottling, it usually doesn't last long enough to age differently, though!). The exception is the quick traditional. I think using the filtered liquid honey helps with this, as there's not a lot going on with pollen and such that can make the product more volatile and in need of aging to reach peak drinkability.  I use the quick recipe to keep me in mead and then branch out with the experimental stuff that takes longer.

Some of the other things I've made:

Wild Blueberry melomel - dry as heck and incredibly good! Wish I'd made more than 3 gal.

Bochet - Cook the honey before adding it to the must. The honey caramelizes and turns a lovely dark-red or brown. Definitely tastes caramel-y. I used a lot of honey in this and it ended up quite sweet. Good desert wine, and a very popular gift.

Cinnamon Metheglin - Add a cinnamon stick to the primary, otherwise it's a traditional (same recipe as the quick below, but with expensive honey). Quite good, want to try other spices.

Anyway, here's some recipes:

Traditional (quick):

This one is a really basic recipe that doesn't result in the top-shelf mead I like to give away, but makes a solid product that's easy to drink and takes almost no effort. It's also quick compared to most meads. Last batch was done in about 3 months.

Makes 5 gal.

6 kg Costco liquid honey
Lalvin EC-1118 champagne yease
3 tsp Diammonium Phosphate (DAP)
2 tsp Yeast Energizer (I use WineKitz brand, not sure if it's available outside of Canada)
Water to 5 gallons.
Mix well to incorporate honey then pitch the yeast.
Starting Specific Gravity (SG): 1.080
Ending SG: 0.998
ABV (approx): 12%

Rhubarb:

The colour on this one is amazing! Can't wait to try it, it's still in secondary.

Makes 3 gal:

3kg wildflower honey
10 lbs Rhubarb
1.5tsp pectic enzyme
3 Campden tablets
2 tsp yeast energizer
.75 tsp grape tannin
Lalvin EC-1118 yeast.
Water to 3 gal
Starting SG 1.074 (want it dry, so not too much sugar)

Mix honey, water, and rhubarb  in primary fermenter (bucket highly recommended).
Crush the campden tablets then add to the bucket. Leave overnight.
In the morning add the pectic enzyme.  Leave 24h.
Next day, pitch the yeast. After a week or so, rack into secondary, leaving behind the rhubarb (makes good compost!)
Leave in secondary until it starts to clear, then rack again. Bulk age until clear.

Cherry:

This one is my latest experiment. It's still in the primary, so I've no idea how it'll turn out, but here's hoping it's good!

Makes 1 gal

Ingredients:
1 pail of cherries (was a 7kg honey pail), boiled down to juice and strained (don't have a juicer, would recommend that route instead).
Water to 1 gal.
.5 tsp pectic enzyme
.5 tsp energizer
.5 tsp DAP
1/8 tsp grape tannin
2 campden tablets
Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast

Mix everything except the yeast. Leave overnight. In the morning pitch the yeast.  I recommend using a bucket for the primary. I thought with the juice I didn't need to, but it still bubbled out of the airlock.

Starting SG 1.084


Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2015, 07:21:51 PM »
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this up and share your experience and the specific recipes.

Do you do staggered nutrient/energizer addition, or just toss it all in with the yeast?

Also, in general do you mind the melomels to be easier to get a nice result with than a straight honey mead?

Thanks again!

Bob W

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2015, 07:30:59 PM »
Super thanks.   Any web site suggestions?  Does this taste more like wine or beer?

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2015, 07:39:49 PM »
I notice you don't ferment your mead in the skull of a vanquished enemy. Can you comment on how this effects the taste, if at all?

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2015, 09:47:39 PM »
I notice you don't ferment your mead in the skull of a vanquished enemy. Can you comment on how this effects the taste, if at all?

Relevant.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2015, 11:13:12 PM »
I notice you don't ferment your mead in the skull of a vanquished enemy. Can you comment on how this effects the taste, if at all?

Relevant.

As relevant as that was, I don't see any harm with mead dripping down one's face due to a faulty, yet earned, vessel.

#NoobRaiders
« Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 11:14:47 PM by Kriegsspiel »

Migrator Soul

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2015, 05:29:23 AM »
I'm interested in giving this a try, however I also have no home brew experience. Would you mind making a step by step "how to brew awesome mead for dummies" thread? I realize I could find how to do it online in various places, but I find Mustachian explainations are usually more thorough and detailed.

seanc0x0

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2015, 10:20:30 AM »
I notice you don't ferment your mead in the skull of a vanquished enemy. Can you comment on how this effects the taste, if at all?

No, but I am considering buying a proper drinking horn.  Haven't gotten around to it though, since they're expensive and pretty infrequent use. Cool though :)

I'm interested in giving this a try, however I also have no home brew experience. Would you mind making a step by step "how to brew awesome mead for dummies" thread? I realize I could find how to do it online in various places, but I find Mustachian explainations are usually more thorough and detailed.

That's a pretty big task. I'll see what I can do when I have some time, but it's the weekend so it'll probably have to wait until I'm at work. ;)

Super thanks.   Any web site suggestions?  Does this taste more like wine or beer?

Gotmead is pretty good. Also the /r/mead sub on Reddit is quite helpful.

As for the taste, this stuff is more like wine. If you're a beer fan, you can try a braggot, which is like a beer where most of the fermentable sugar is provided by honey.  I've never made one, though. Some others make hydromels, which are lower alcohol (beer level) meads, and they usually bottle them in beer bottles rather than wine bottles. I've not managed to find one for sale anywhere though, so again, no idea how it compares.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this up and share your experience and the specific recipes.

Do you do staggered nutrient/energizer addition, or just toss it all in with the yeast?

Also, in general do you mind the melomels to be easier to get a nice result with than a straight honey mead?

Thanks again!

No problem!  I usually just add the nutrients at the start. I'm kind of lazy so it's better to do it all at once.  If I had more time I'd get more creative and experimental.

The melomels are usually easier to keep the fermentation going, probably because the yeast gets additional nutrients from the fruit. They also often take longer to age until they become drinkable. My baseline on a melomel is 1 year, and the blueberry I made was improving right up until we ran out 2 years after bottling. Wish I'd made more.  When I drank the bit left over at the end of bottling, though, whooo.. rocket fuel!

My fave so far is the blueberry, which finished super dry, but others say the bochet I just finished was the best. Too sweet for me though.

Bonus:  My first batch of bochet (this was 1gal, test for the second batch):  http://imgur.com/gR25Vq1

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2015, 11:08:14 AM »
I'm interested in giving this a try, however I also have no home brew experience. Would you mind making a step by step "how to brew awesome mead for dummies" thread? I realize I could find how to do it online in various places, but I find Mustachian explainations are usually more thorough and detailed.

That's a pretty big task. I'll see what I can do when I have some time, but it's the weekend so it'll probably have to wait until I'm at work. ;)
@Migrator Soul, I mean this in the nicest possible way, because I don't think you know what's involved with that ask - that's actually a rather HUGE task. Like, you're kinda asking Sean to write a booklet. :) Homebrewing in general is one of those things that just takes a lot more work to explain than it does to do, or show. If you are interested in learning, there are a lot of existing resources.

The Kitchn does a step-by-step beer brewing course by email for free that's quite good and goes into a lot of the things you'd need for brewing anything - cider, beer, mead, wine, etc. More info: http://www.thekitchn.com/collection/beerschool-521

Here's a good visual step by step tutorial on mead specifically: http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/make-mead-1-brewing-the-must.htm

I usually just add the nutrients at the start. I'm kind of lazy so it's better to do it all at once.  If I had more time I'd get more creative and experimental.

The melomels are usually easier to keep the fermentation going, probably because the yeast gets additional nutrients from the fruit. They also often take longer to age until they become drinkable. My baseline on a melomel is 1 year, and the blueberry I made was improving right up until we ran out 2 years after bottling. Wish I'd made more.  When I drank the bit left over at the end of bottling, though, whooo.. rocket fuel!

Thanks, that's really helpful. I hear consistently that the key to mead is time. I don't even blink at 12 months for a fruit wine, but mead tests my "return on investment" patience. Thanks for the info - I think I will try a melomel with some of the crazy berries in my garden. I've got a plum honey cider I'm working right now. I guess maybe that might even be mead derivative. Isn't this stuff fun? :)

igthebold

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2015, 01:09:08 PM »
I recently bottled my first batch of mead. It is pretty dry, at 12 lbs/5 kg of honey for a 5 gallon batch. I'm very happy with it. When Erica says that the key is time, I have to think that she's right. It was about 6 months from initial prep to bottling (compare with 1.5 months for bottle-conditioned beer). Even after 6 months it hadn't clarified yet, so we used Chitosan, which worked like magic to make it nice and clear in a couple days.

In the end, it was $50 for Tupelo Honey from a beekeeping friend of mine, $6 for good yeast, $4 for Chitosan. Works out to about $2.40 a bottle. Less than TJ's wine, unless you count time. You don't have to spend so much on honey, though. Costco honey will be significantly cheaper, and I'll probably use that for recipes that have other ingredients in them, e.g. spices.

I have a strawberry mead in secondary fermentation right now.. can't wait for that one. Well, I can, because I have to.

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2015, 05:49:53 PM »
Mostly posting to follow... but I have a dumb question as well...

I've long wanted to try making mead... and long wanted to try my hand at beekeeping at the same time.  But I can't honestly say I have tried mead I like.  It *sounds* good.  But the only ones I have tried are sort of sicklingly sweet.  Around here the liquor stores don't even have it.  I went to a very large liquor store in a large city (100 miles away from home) hoping to find a selection/recommendation.  They had 4.  They didn't know anything about any of them. 

So I ask: what's a reasonably priced, tasty, dryish mead I can mail order?

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2015, 07:29:19 AM »
I'm interested in giving this a try, however I also have no home brew experience. Would you mind making a step by step "how to brew awesome mead for dummies" thread? I realize I could find how to do it online in various places, but I find Mustachian explainations are usually more thorough and detailed.

That's a pretty big task. I'll see what I can do when I have some time, but it's the weekend so it'll probably have to wait until I'm at work. ;)
@Migrator Soul, I mean this in the nicest possible way, because I don't think you know what's involved with that ask - that's actually a rather HUGE task. Like, you're kinda asking Sean to write a booklet. :) Homebrewing in general is one of those things that just takes a lot more work to explain than it does to do, or show. If you are interested in learning, there are a lot of existing resources.

The Kitchn does a step-by-step beer brewing course by email for free that's quite good and goes into a lot of the things you'd need for brewing anything - cider, beer, mead, wine, etc. More info: http://www.thekitchn.com/collection/beerschool-521

Here's a good visual step by step tutorial on mead specifically: http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/make-mead-1-brewing-the-must.htm

I usually just add the nutrients at the start. I'm kind of lazy so it's better to do it all at once.  If I had more time I'd get more creative and experimental.

The melomels are usually easier to keep the fermentation going, probably because the yeast gets additional nutrients from the fruit. They also often take longer to age until they become drinkable. My baseline on a melomel is 1 year, and the blueberry I made was improving right up until we ran out 2 years after bottling. Wish I'd made more.  When I drank the bit left over at the end of bottling, though, whooo.. rocket fuel!

Thanks, that's really helpful. I hear consistently that the key to mead is time. I don't even blink at 12 months for a fruit wine, but mead tests my "return on investment" patience. Thanks for the info - I think I will try a melomel with some of the crazy berries in my garden. I've got a plum honey cider I'm working right now. I guess maybe that might even be mead derivative. Isn't this stuff fun? :)

Hehe no worries, I know what I asked was rather encompassing. Thanks for the resources, I've been reading more on it :)

regulator

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2015, 06:02:04 PM »
Mostly posting to follow... but I have a dumb question as well...

I've long wanted to try making mead... and long wanted to try my hand at beekeeping at the same time.  But I can't honestly say I have tried mead I like.  It *sounds* good.  But the only ones I have tried are sort of sicklingly sweet.  Around here the liquor stores don't even have it.  I went to a very large liquor store in a large city (100 miles away from home) hoping to find a selection/recommendation.  They had 4.  They didn't know anything about any of them. 

So I ask: what's a reasonably priced, tasty, dryish mead I can mail order?

I have enjoyed Redstone's meads.

seanc0x0

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2015, 10:59:41 AM »
Mostly posting to follow... but I have a dumb question as well...

I've long wanted to try making mead... and long wanted to try my hand at beekeeping at the same time.  But I can't honestly say I have tried mead I like.  It *sounds* good.  But the only ones I have tried are sort of sicklingly sweet.  Around here the liquor stores don't even have it.  I went to a very large liquor store in a large city (100 miles away from home) hoping to find a selection/recommendation.  They had 4.  They didn't know anything about any of them. 

So I ask: what's a reasonably priced, tasty, dryish mead I can mail order?

Most of the meads I've found at liquor stores seem to subscribe to the 'It's made of honey, it has to be super sweet' idea that many people have when I tell them I make mead. I suppose that's the meaderies catering to the expectations of their clients, but I really don't care for it either. That's a big part of why I started making my own.

I'm not really in a position to recommend anything available in the States, as most of the US meads we don't get up here. Hopefully others will be able to provide suggestions.

I did get an opportunity to try some meads at a meadery in Vernon, BC the other day which we visited while we are on vacation. Picked up a few bottles. I also picked up a big tub of raspberry blossom honey to try out when I get back! :)

ajones

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2015, 10:57:44 PM »
I'm a little late to the topic, but wanted to throw my 2 cents in. I'm an avid fan of MMM, and have been following along for quite a while. A friend pointed me to this forum post, and thought I should chime in. I'm new to the forum so play nice. Literally, this is my first post :)

Before I go any further, I want to say that mead will definitely extend the time it takes to reach FIRE. It is not a cheap hobby, and of the homebrewing options, it will be the one to set you back the most. I speak this from experience, having just spent $583 on honey today to be shared with a few friends. That being said, if you like honey and want to try your hand at making mead, give it a go. It is definitely cheaper to make than to buy, where bottles generally set you back as much as an expensive wine.

I'm interested in giving this a try, however I also have no home brew experience. Would you mind making a step by step "how to brew awesome mead for dummies" thread? I realize I could find how to do it online in various places, but I find Mustachian explainations are usually more thorough and detailed.

I run the MeadMakr Podcast with my brother-in-law, and we've put together a few items that might fit the bill concerning a quick "how-to" on making mead. Specifically, we have started writing the MeadMakr Guide to lay out the basics of what you absolutely need to know to make mead. If you want the audio version, listen to episodes 2, 2b, 3 and 4 for the same content.

Part I of the Guide answers the question, What is Mead? It goes through mead's history and the different types of mead you may hear about (melomel = mead with fruit, pyment = mead with grapes, metheglin = mead with spices, etc).

Part II describes the equipment you would need to start in the hobby. Some of it isn't absolutely necessary to just play around making mead, but if you get serious you'll want to invest in good equipment. For instance, a hydrometer (or refractometer) is absolutely necessary when it comes to replicating batches as the sugar content in honey and fruit varies year to year and harvest to harvest. And temperature control is an absolute must to make great meads.

Part III is then an in depth guide to making a traditional mead. It foregoes the general option to make a traditional mead with 3 lbs honey per gallon, and instead helps you build a recipe based on what you want out of the mead (sweetness level, abv, and batch size).

So I ask: what's a reasonably priced, tasty, dryish mead I can mail order?

Check out the past Mazer Cup Commercial Competition winners to get an idea of what commercial  meads are good. If you have a general location, I may be able to point you further for something that might not be on the list.

I'll try to remember to poke around here for the next month or so in case more questions pop up. I'm happy to answer, and I may even throw them into our next Q&A podcast episode :)

seanc0x0

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2015, 08:28:54 AM »
I'm a little late to the topic, but wanted to throw my 2 cents in. I'm an avid fan of MMM, and have been following along for quite a while. A friend pointed me to this forum post, and thought I should chime in. I'm new to the forum so play nice. Literally, this is my first post :)

Before I go any further, I want to say that mead will definitely extend the time it takes to reach FIRE. It is not a cheap hobby, and of the homebrewing options, it will be the one to set you back the most. I speak this from experience, having just spent $583 on honey today to be shared with a few friends. That being said, if you like honey and want to try your hand at making mead, give it a go. It is definitely cheaper to make than to buy, where bottles generally set you back as much as an expensive wine.

Hi and thanks for showing up!  Welcome to the forum!

I'm just a guy who likes to make mead, not a hardcore hobbyist,  but I do have to take exception to your characterization that mead making will definitely extend the time to FIRE. 

For me, mead has done the opposite. Before I got into mead/wine making, I used to buy my alcohol at the store. Now this may be different where you live, but around here, the cheapest you're going to get a bottle of wine is about $9 at one of our insanely regulated liquor stores. You also probably won't want to drink it. :)

Since I've gotten into DIY alcohol production, I've cut that to $1.50 to $3.00 depending on what I'm making.  I actually drink less than I did, but enjoy it more, so the savings are pretty significant! I don't get the most expensive varietal honey, mostly using locally sourced wildflower since I can get it for $45 for 7kg. That's enough to make ~6 gal of very dry mead, around 12% ABV, just the way I like it. That works out to about $1.5 per bottle. Adding spices, fruit, etc. will bump up the cost, of course.  I also did pick up some raspberry honey while on vacation for $70, but still I'm running about $250 for my years' production. Pre MMM, I could spend that in a couple  months!

Of course, as a hobby, mead can get really expensive. If you get sufficient enjoyment to justify the cost, then by all means, but it's also possible to keep it pretty inexpensive. Much like any hobby, there's no upper limit to what you can spend! 

less4success

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2015, 08:35:37 AM »
Sorry if this was already mentioned but: don't skimp on the honey!

The difference in taste of the final product is unbelievable when comparing mead made with cheapo Kroger honey vs. raw honey straight from a beekeeper. Just to be clear: don't even bother with Kroger honey since it might turn you off of mead entirely.

seanc0x0

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2015, 08:39:00 AM »
Sorry if this was already mentioned but: don't skimp on the honey!

The difference in taste of the final product is unbelievable when comparing mead made with cheapo Kroger honey vs. raw honey straight from a beekeeper. Just to be clear: don't even bother with Kroger honey since it might turn you off of mead entirely.

Very good point!   The honey is to mead as the grape is to wine.

My honey is locally sourced wildflower honey mostly, and it makes a mighty fine traditional!  Plus, it's actually cheaper than getting the little pots of who-knows-what at the grocery store. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/science/honey-laundering-the-sour-side-of-natures-golden-sweetener/article562759/?page=all

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2015, 09:26:28 AM »
Comment to Follow. I am looking forward to trying this in the future.

regulator

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2015, 09:49:04 AM »
I don't have the patience to wait for mead, so I mostly do honey beers and braggots.  Much quicker cycle time and cheaper.  Since my hives started producing this year I am perfecting my gold-colored honey beer recipe.  Yummy.

less4success

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2015, 11:56:28 AM »
My honey is locally sourced wildflower honey mostly, and it makes a mighty fine traditional!  Plus, it's actually cheaper than getting the little pots of who-knows-what at the grocery store. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/science/honey-laundering-the-sour-side-of-natures-golden-sweetener/article562759/?page=all

Thanks for the link! Who knew that honey-laundering was a thing?

I think I'll be switching all of my honey purchases (even for non-mead applications) to USA only now. What a world...

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2015, 07:44:58 PM »
My honey is locally sourced wildflower honey mostly, and it makes a mighty fine traditional!  Plus, it's actually cheaper than getting the little pots of who-knows-what at the grocery store. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/science/honey-laundering-the-sour-side-of-natures-golden-sweetener/article562759/?page=all

Thanks for the link! Who knew that honey-laundering was a thing?

I think I'll be switching all of my honey purchases (even for non-mead applications) to USA only now. What a world...


A great book on the subject is "The Beekeepers Lament".

I intend to learn to make mead starting next year, when I hope to harvest 3-4 hives....if I can dig the one under the shed porch out.

And learn more...

ajones

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2015, 06:28:58 PM »
I'm just a guy who likes to make mead, not a hardcore hobbyist,  but I do have to take exception to your characterization that mead making will definitely extend the time to FIRE. 

For me, mead has done the opposite. Before I got into mead/wine making, I used to buy my alcohol at the store. Now this may be different where you live, but around here, the cheapest you're going to get a bottle of wine is about $9 at one of our insanely regulated liquor stores. You also probably won't want to drink it. :)

Since I've gotten into DIY alcohol production, I've cut that to $1.50 to $3.00 depending on what I'm making.  I actually drink less than I did, but enjoy it more, so the savings are pretty significant!

There is truth to this. When comparing to what you buy (or drink in a bar), making mead will still be cheaper than buying wine (maybe not beer) on a per bottle cost. I should be encouraging more people, not less, to make it and drink it haha!

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2015, 02:09:50 PM »
Posting to follow. We raised bees when I was a kid, did about 2000# a year with a Spring and Fall harvest. Mostly clover in the Spring and buckwheat in the fall. The meads we made were not great and it was abandoned in favor of spending more time on open-ferment dandelion wine. I appreciate the recipes for dry mead.

For basic homebrewing step-by-step, I like www.howtobrew.com

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2015, 07:26:02 AM »
For those "just trying to make a mead" question, my general recipe is 4 1/2 gallons of Apple juice, 1 gallon of honey(3 qts probably pretty good too if your are really opposed to anything g sweet), use a high alcohol tolerant yeast like a dry mead or champagne etc. one week before brew day(more like 20 min for mead) make a yeast starter with a quart of Apple juice and yeast. Brew day-slowly add honey to Apple juice, add 1 tsp of yeast nutrient at beginning and twice afterward every 24 hrs. Let sit 1 month rack to secondary. Let sit at least another 6 months. Stronger meads are drinkable sooner btw. I have enjoyed some after just 3 months but that was a very strong sweet one. Be sure to pick a guide or read a basic chapter in home brewing to understand the basics of sanitation, brewing and terminology.

EDIT: for those wondering about taste. Something between a desert wine and the halls of Valhalla.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2015, 07:30:37 AM by hoping2retire35 »

dragoncar

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2015, 02:28:08 AM »
Anyone have a recommendation for a good mead to buy, so I can see if I even like this stuff before I try to make it myself?  I mean it sounds fun but honey is expensive yo

hoping2retire35

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2015, 07:40:48 AM »
Anyone have a recommendation for a good mead to buy, so I can see if I even like this stuff before I try to make it myself?  I mean it sounds fun but honey is expensive yo

The few commercial meads I've tried have been semi sweet and mid strength, like wine with an off flavor. If you want to try mead you need to make it.
for a cheaper recipe, buy a gallon of apple juice pour out almost a quart worthand pour in a quart, maybe a little less, of honey. shake vigorously until you cannot see the honey settle. add a dry wine yeast, the yeast itself is dried. shake some more. add a air lock and follow normal fermenting directions


EDIT: this should only cost ~$17 for yeast, juice, honey, and some yeast nutrient if you can get that small amount, sanitizer is insignificant and air lock can be reused. So barely more than you would pay for 1/5 gallon bottle of mead and you get a whole gallon by doing this.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 07:59:36 AM by hoping2retire35 »

Le Dérisoire

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2015, 08:42:17 PM »
8 years ago, my brother and I actually posted a (very bad) video on youtube on how to brew mead. It's still there...

It ended up tasting pretty bad, mostly because we used a champagne yeast that converted too much sugar. I suggest using a yeast that will leave a good amount of residual sugar, even if you like it dry. Perhaps the Wyeast dedicated mead yeasts are good?

hoping2retire35

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2015, 11:42:26 AM »
8 years ago, my brother and I actually posted a (very bad) video on youtube on how to brew mead. It's still there...

It ended up tasting pretty bad, mostly because we used a champagne yeast that converted too much sugar. I suggest using a yeast that will leave a good amount of residual sugar, even if you like it dry. Perhaps the Wyeast dedicated mead yeasts are good?

just add more honey, makes it stronger and sweeter ;)

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #29 on: December 14, 2015, 02:49:26 PM »
I've been away from the forum for the last month and a half or so, but glad to see this is still generating interest!

8 years ago, my brother and I actually posted a (very bad) video on youtube on how to brew mead. It's still there...

It ended up tasting pretty bad, mostly because we used a champagne yeast that converted too much sugar. I suggest using a yeast that will leave a good amount of residual sugar, even if you like it dry. Perhaps the Wyeast dedicated mead yeasts are good?

just add more honey, makes it stronger and sweeter ;)

I usually use a fairly low gravity (for mead) of around 1.080-1.090 and usually use EC-1118, which is a very high alcohol tolerance yeast, which makes a really dry product. It does not taste bad, but then again that's how I like it and preference is a pretty huge part of the way it turns out.

If you like it strong and sweet, I'd do a step-feeding. Start out with gravity around 1.080 to 1.100 and then when the gravity drops below about 1.060 to 1.050, add more honey. It makes figuring out what your total alcohol percentages are a bit trickier as the math gets much more complex, but there are calculators for that.  Some people have been able to get up to about 18% doing that! I usually don't bother, though, as my go-to recipe is in the 12% range and that's enough that if I polish off a bottle I'm pretty well hammered, and more would just be a waste. :)

Anyone have a recommendation for a good mead to buy, so I can see if I even like this stuff before I try to make it myself?  I mean it sounds fun but honey is expensive yo

There has been a blossoming of good mead in the last few years, so you no longer need to make it yourself if you're interested in trying good mead. The trick is that I'm Canadian and craft alcohol tends to be very regional.  I've heard good things about B.Nektar, Moonlight Meadery, and a few others that should be available pretty widely in the States, but other than that I can't offer much guidance.  My favourite is Fallentimber Meadery, which I'm not sure you can get outside of Canada. They have a really good traditional, and their hopped mead is a really nice low-alcohol beverage if you like hoppy beers.


There is truth to this. When comparing to what you buy (or drink in a bar), making mead will still be cheaper than buying wine (maybe not beer) on a per bottle cost. I should be encouraging more people, not less, to make it and drink it haha!

If you're going to drink, you might as well maximize your spending on booze. If it can also provide an interesting and enjoyable hobby at the same time, well sounds like a win-win to me!  Not to mention the barter opportunities you get once you start doing this. I've scored some pretty good deals on trade!

hoping2retire35

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Re: Homebrew Mead
« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2015, 10:15:19 AM »
mead usually comes out to $1 per 12oz bottle and by alcohol content that is 3-4 light beers; so $0.25-0.3 per "drink", way cheaper than anything you can buy(and way better tasting).

I think another key to making good strong mead is combining a stressed yeast with high sweetness. Makes it seem 'distinctive'.