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 How to make basic mead

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Vypra
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PostSubject: How to make basic mead   Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:31 pm

After some chat about mead making on facebook, i decided to share my basic mead making technique.

Before you start, you will need to acquire (note, you can do this quite cheaply if you shop around and aren't afraid to get 2nd hand stuff):

Sterelising liquid/ tablets.

A plastic bucket with a lid (depending on the amount of mead you want to make at any one time, you can use anything with a capicity from 5 litres, to 25 litres).

At least one demi john (i use two ...you'll see why later) with an airlock.

Some plastic tubing (with a tap on the end if you prefer).

A large plastic funnel.

Runny honey (ideally not australian honey as most of this is made from eucalyptus pollen which apparently gives the mead a slightly odd taste).

Wine Yeast

Yeast nutrient

Citric acid or any citrus fruit (i usually use oranges).

Several empty bottles (wine or beer bottles that you have empited yourself are fine for this...just remember to keep the caps! Smile ).

So, once you have all the equipment and ingredients, you're ready to begin. The following makes about 1 gallon (roughly 4.5 litres) of mead.

Step 1: following the instructions on the packaging, carefully sterilise the plastic bucket and lid - you really don't want any unwelcome bacteria contaminating your brew!

Step 2: in a clean cup, put about 150ml of warm water and dissolve a teaspoon of sugar into it (this is known as a yeast starter and helps kick off the fermentation). When the sugar is dissolved, and making sure the water is only just warm to your hand, add about half a teaspoon of your wine yeast.

Step 3: while your yeast starts to react with the sugar, boil 4 litres of water and pour about 3 and a half litres into your clean bucket. Pour 4 jars of honey into the hot water ( i usually use orange blosson honey where possible but choose which every type you prefer), which is very roughly, 1.4kg of honey in total. Using the remaining 0.5litre of water (which should have cooled a bit by now) rinse out the jars to get out as much of the honey as you can, then stir with a clean wooden or plastic spoon (not metal!) until the honey is dissolved.

Step 4: Add the juice from 4 oranges (you can squeeze them by hand if you don't have a juicer...or if, like me, you just find it more fun Wink ).

Note: if you're not using citrus fruit, add a teaspoon of citric acid at this point.

Step 5: add a teaspoon of yeast nutrient and your yeast starter (which should now have a nice fluffly layer of yeast floating in the water ) to the mixture and stir well. Press the lid on and move to a warm place and leave for 2 weeks, stirring occaisionally with your -very- clean spoon.

Step 6: by this time, you should be getting the smell of fermentation and the liquid in your bucket should be quite frothy. Pour the liquid from the bucket, into the 1st demi john through the sterilised funnel (if you only have one demi-john, you can simply leave it in the bucket for another few weeks, just remeber to keep lifting the lid or the pressure from the gasses released during fermentation will pop it off!) then place the empty air-lock securely in the neck of th bottle and leave in a warm, dark place for about 2 months.

Step 7: After 2 months, fermentation should be slowing down and a there will be a layer of dead yeast and such at the bottom of your demi john. Place the full demi john on a sideboard/ table and the empty one below it on, for example, a chair. Using your sterilised tubing (or siphon), suck through the liquid. At this point (and this is why i prefer to do it this way) you should get a small taste of the raw mead which will give you a rough idea of how it will turn out. Now you place your thumb over the end of the tube in your mouth (or turn the tap if you have one), then release it into the 2nd demi john. Gravity will do the rest Smile. Once you've transferred over as much of thre liquid as you can get, place the airlock in the top of this demi john, only this time, partially fill it with water. You should see the pressure from the fermantation gasses start to bubble slowly through. You can now return your mead to the warm dark place for upto 6 months or until you no longer see any sign of fermentation.

Note: if you decided to leave the mead fermenting in the bucket, you will need to filter the liquid through muslin or someother material to prevent the sediment all going into your demi john when you pour it through the funnel.

Step 8: once you're happy your mead is ready, sterilise enough bottles to hold the mead you've made, then siphon the liquid over as we did in step 7 (this time you get a taste of your finished product - yummy Very Happy ) and this is where having a tap on the emd of your tubing makes this a little less messy Wink Once you're done, cap and label your bottles and your mead will be ready to drink when you are.

Note: many people leave aside a couple of bottles to mature as mead really does improve in flavour over time Smile

And that's all there is to it Smile

Please note: Check your country's laws on making alcohol before you do this! In the UK, you can make as much undstilled alcohol (ie: anything not classed as a spirit!) as you like as long as you don't sell it! (giving it away is perfectly acceptable as far as i am aware Smile ).

Also, please drink responsibly and do not encourage those not permitted by your country's laws to drink!



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Snicka

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PostSubject: Re: How to make basic mead   Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:21 pm

Mmmm, this sounds tasty. I don't think I'll ever make it, but who knows...
I find it funny that you emphasised that it must not be, of all, australian honey... Very Happy I guess you had some bad experience with that?
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PostSubject: Re: How to make basic mead   Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:30 pm

Mead is quite tasty, actually. My brother does it quite alot, so I could probably aquire a swedish text for this as well. Probably not exactly the same, since my brother does it in a slightly diffrent way, and quite alot more of it as well.

But if you can try it, do try and make it. The first try is rarely tasty, since you need to experiment abit to get the best out of it.

But good luck to everyone that will try it!
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PostSubject: Re: How to make basic mead   Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:48 pm

Snicka wrote:
Mmmm, this sounds tasty. I don't think I'll ever make it, but who knows...
I find it funny that you emphasised that it must not be, of all, australian honey... Very Happy I guess you had some bad experience with that?

Actually, i haven't tried, i was just strongly adivsed against using it myself. apparently the majority of honey bees in austrailia get their pollen from eucalyptus which supposedly give the honey an antiseptic kinda taste which seems to come out quite strongly when you make mead from it.

If anybody has any experience of whether this is true or not, please feel free to correct me Smile

Ofc, the more local your honey the better, not only does it support youe country's bee-keepers, but it saves food miles Smile

As a result, i try to use british or at least european honey Smile




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PostSubject: Re: How to make basic mead   Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:53 pm

And Deomora is right, there's loads of variations on how to make mead, and people tend to come up with new things all the time that work for them. I was quite lucky as my 1st batch was fairly decent and i've since moved on to adding some of my home-grown fruit to the brew at the right time of year. Smile

edit: also, the reason i don't tend to make too much at a time is that i'd soon run out of space to store it Wink

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PostSubject: Re: How to make basic mead   Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:01 pm

Vypra wrote:
Snicka wrote:
Mmmm, this sounds tasty. I don't think I'll ever make it, but who knows...
I find it funny that you emphasised that it must not be, of all, australian honey... Very Happy I guess you had some bad experience with that?

Actually, i haven't tried, i was just strongly adivsed against using it myself. apparently the majority of honey bees in austrailia get their pollen from eucalyptus which supposedly give the honey an antiseptic kinda taste which seems to come out quite strongly when you make mead from it.

If anybody has any experience of whether this is true or not, please feel free to correct me Smile

Ofc, the more local your honey the better, not only does it support youe country's bee-keepers, but it saves food miles Smile

As a result, i try to use british or at least european honey Smile

I mainly found it amusing because at least in Hungary it is highly unlikely that the honey you find in the store is imported from Australia. But yes, I can imagine that the local honeybees pick the most common flower they can find, and that is eucalyptus. And I can imagine that it tastes exactly like the medicine containing eucalyptus...
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PostSubject: Re: How to make basic mead   Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:01 pm

heh, well we are clearly spoilt here in the UK. Even in the smaller supermarkets you can easily find australian, mexican, spanish, hungarian, british and european blended honey on the shelf together Smile

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PostSubject: Re: How to make basic mead   Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:30 pm

Indeed. I already heard complaints about the poor selection in Hungarian supermarkets from a visitor from Sweden... we are not spoiled with imported products.
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