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LisaMC

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Yeah I’ve heard 35-40c is good, my first brew I did to just below 60c before I knew any higher and that will kill any wild yeast but it’s come out delicious
You see I was thinking 25c max, as the hive wouldn’t get any higher than that in the uk really would it, unless they (the bees) have a way of creating more heat somehow? Just speculating, really haven’t a clue. And will probably need a pick axe to get it out of the jar! 😬
 

Cwrw666

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I always use Tesco Finest orange blossom honey when I'm making honey beers. It's got a really strong zingy orange taste to it. I expect it would make a good mead though it's a bit pricey.
 

johncrobinson

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Hi Lisa
Here we come to a bit of a problem.Honey bugs are kept in check by the extreme osmotic pressure caused by the high sugar content.

When diluted to wine strengths aforesaid bugs are let off the leash so to speak. (esp acetobacter).
Many mead makers counter this by the heavy use of sulphite or by boiling the honey,Sometimes going so far as to make a braggot.

I prefer to pastuerise the honey rather than boil/sulphite.
I think i have explained this before but if not,Here we go,We heat the honey water mix to 80c and hold for 15mins then cool and add to demijohn.
The honey although sanitised is now vulnerable to infection and needs to be got under ferment asap.

Raw honey as sold is a good natural food. But the situation changes somewhat when making mead from it.

If i might quote from star wars "Once you start down the dark path forever will it dominate your destiny"
Which in winemaking terms means once you get ONE batch go to vinegar then you will need to take EXTRA caution in the future as acetobacter will now be established in your local environment.
Dont go there.!!!
 

LisaMC

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Hi Lisa
Here we come to a bit of a problem.Honey bugs are kept in check by the extreme osmotic pressure caused by the high sugar content.

When diluted to wine strengths aforesaid bugs are let off the leash so to speak. (esp acetobacter).
Many mead makers counter this by the heavy use of sulphite or by boiling the honey,Sometimes going so far as to make a braggot.

I prefer to pastuerise the honey rather than boil/sulphite.
I think i have explained this before but if not,Here we go,We heat the honey water mix to 80c and hold for 15mins then cool and add to demijohn.
The honey although sanitised is now vulnerable to infection and needs to be got under ferment asap.

Raw honey as sold is a good natural food. But the situation changes somewhat when making mead from it.

If i might quote from star wars "Once you start down the dark path forever will it dominate your destiny"
Which in winemaking terms means once you get ONE batch go to vinegar then you will need to take EXTRA caution in the future as acetobacter will now be established in your local environment.
Dont go there.!!!
omg I didn’t realise it was so complicated! 😲
 

johncrobinson

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Dont panic just make sure there is NO vinegar bacteria in your brewing chain.

If like me you eschew the use of chemicals in making of our brews.
DO BE AWARE THERE IS A PRICE TO PAY.
That price is extra attention to hygiene simple as.

You might get away with slack practices for weeks/months but when it catches up you can end up in bother.

I should of said make sure there is no opportunity for vinegar bacteria in your brewing chain.

All other problems are in fact quite minor by comparison.
 

LisaMC

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Dont panic just make sure there is NO vinegar bacteria in your brewing chain.

If like me you eschew the use of chemicals in making of our brews.
DO BE AWARE THERE IS A PRICE TO PAY.
That price is extra attention to hygiene simple as.

You might get away with slack practices for weeks/months but when it catches up you can end up in bother.

I should of said make sure there is no opportunity for vinegar bacteria in your brewing chain.

All other problems are in fact quite minor by comparison.
sanitation not a problem, I’m OCD about it! I’ve even bought a red bucket of sanitisation like they have on CS Mead! 😂😂😂 (but mine is green)

148C37CC-7141-4663-95D7-9FB764DB1759.jpeg
 

DocAnna

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Hi Lisa

Lovely to find another mead maker here on the forum 😀, I'm no expert by any means but I have made mead a few times over the years and the last batch I packaged up and gave to relatives for Christmas. In terms of honey, the rawest most untreated is your ideal and please don't boil the honey whatever the recipes tell you. Raw honey has a very low bacterial count and is inherently bacteriastatic - ie prevents further growth of bacteria in it's raw state. I've been using local honey which has had just the first filter done - removes dead bees and large debris only and is warmed only to allow it to pass the filter. I haven't used them but the best place I found that would sell raw honey in bulk is Organic Wildflower Honey | Buy Organic Wildflower Honey Online

For me some of the big differences between making mead and anything else is using the choice of yeast to control the degree of sweetness in the final product. It is very very difficult to back sweeten mead without it refermenting so you need to plan how sweet you'd like it to be and the alcohol tolerance of your yeast. Many of the flavours will change over time too, I personally prefer to go for light flavours that let the flavour of the honey shine. If you are going for a strongly flavoured/fruited/spiced mead then the choice of honey is much less of an issue.

Whatever honey you use or mead you make, I hope you enjoy it, and don't worry about complexity. Mead making can be super technical or you can go back to basics Make Mead Like a Viking: Traditional Techniques for Brewing Natural, Wild-Fermented, Honey-Based Wines and Beers: Amazon.co.uk: Jereme Zimmerman: 9781603585989: Books

Feel free to pm if you're looking for any references or source info on mead 😃

Anna
 

LisaMC

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Hi Lisa

Lovely to find another mead maker here on the forum 😀, I'm no expert by any means but I have made mead a few times over the years and the last batch I packaged up and gave to relatives for Christmas. In terms of honey, the rawest most untreated is your ideal and please don't boil the honey whatever the recipes tell you. Raw honey has a very low bacterial count and is inherently bacteriastatic - ie prevents further growth of bacteria in it's raw state. I've been using local honey which has had just the first filter done - removes dead bees and large debris only and is warmed only to allow it to pass the filter. I haven't used them but the best place I found that would sell raw honey in bulk is Organic Wildflower Honey | Buy Organic Wildflower Honey Online

For me some of the big differences between making mead and anything else is using the choice of yeast to control the degree of sweetness in the final product. It is very very difficult to back sweeten mead without it refermenting so you need to plan how sweet you'd like it to be and the alcohol tolerance of your yeast. Many of the flavours will change over time too, I personally prefer to go for light flavours that let the flavour of the honey shine. If you are going for a strongly flavoured/fruited/spiced mead then the choice of honey is much less of an issue.

Whatever honey you use or mead you make, I hope you enjoy it, and don't worry about complexity. Mead making can be super technical or you can go back to basics Make Mead Like a Viking: Traditional Techniques for Brewing Natural, Wild-Fermented, Honey-Based Wines and Beers: Amazon.co.uk: Jereme Zimmerman: 9781603585989: Books

Feel free to pm if you're looking for any references or source info on mead 😃

Anna
Thank you Anna, will certainly remember you if I need any help, and thanks for the book references. 😊

Also I don't think following recipes is any fun because someone has already done the work for you and I want to do it myself! Control freak over here, but then I can have it exactly how I want it! clapa

I'm using cheap honey at the moment until I get the hang of it, but I will gradually progress onto the good stuff when I think I'm good enough. 😁
 

An Ankoù

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I make a 3 to 5 gallon batch every few years and for some reason still work in imperial measurements. I use 3lb of ordinary cheap honey per gallon of water with an orange and a lemon and the zest. I bring the mixture to the boil and just before boiling I cut the heat, cover and let it cool naturally before adding a very healthy dose of nutrient and pitching the yeast. I then feed the mead which means I pour in a new pot of honey when airlock activity has stopped. I repeat this until activity fails to restart and then consider it done.
If I were using expensive honey, I'd use it at the feeding stage as this honey doesn't get heated, while the initial batch will have the more delicate flavours driven off by heating it.
However I'm far too much of a tight **** to waste good beer money on single-field orange blossom honey or whatever.
I love mead, but rarely think to drink it.
 

LisaMC

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I make a 3 to 5 gallon batch every few years and for some reason still work in imperial measurements. I use 3lb of ordinary cheap honey per gallon of water with an orange and a lemon and the zest. I bring the mixture to the boil and just before boiling I cut the heat, cover and let it cool naturally before adding a very healthy dose of nutrient and pitching the yeast. I then feed the mead which means I pour in a new pot of honey when airlock activity has stopped. I repeat this until activity fails to restart and then consider it done.
If I were using expensive honey, I'd use it at the feeding stage as this honey doesn't get heated, while the initial batch will have the more delicate flavours driven off by heating it.
However I'm far too much of a tight **** to waste good beer money on single-field orange blossom honey or whatever.
I love mead, but rarely think to drink it.
Great tip about step-feeding with the dearer stuff, didn't think of that! 😇 Bet you need a pick-axe to get it out the jar though and about a thousand years of mixing to incorporate it ha ha! I suppose a better idea would be for me to steal a bit of brew and try to mix the honey with that, instead of mistakenly oxygenating the whole thing.
 

An Ankoù

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Great tip about step-feeding with the dearer stuff, didn't think of that! 😇 Bet you need a pick-axe to get it out the jar though and about a thousand years of mixing to incorporate it ha ha! I suppose a better idea would be for me to steal a bit of brew and try to mix the honey with that, instead of mistakenly oxygenating the whole thing.
Hah, I see your point, but no. I always use runny honey and keep it in a warm place before pouring it into a pan and mixing it with the warm water I've used to rinse the jar with. So yes, you need to reserve some headspace in carboy to allow for topping up. So I suppose I end up with a runny mixture of 50/50 honey and water and it gets poured in. I never worry about ensuring an even mix as the fermentation seems to take care of that. On the other hand, I think your idea of using some of the brew for mixing is probably a better idea. Mead-making isn't a quick process, my last lot took nearly a year from starting to bottling with only a single racking after the first flush of fermentation.
 

LisaMC

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Random question guys. I have bought some cheap honey to make a test mead (Morrison’s pure clear honey). As soon as it hit the water it turned grey and then went black over the next few mins. I was hoping for a golden looking brew but now it’s dark and horrid. What went wrong? I’m flummoxed!! 😶
 

johncrobinson

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Well your demijohn looks black enough. most mead's tend to be on the pale side.
In all my years never seen honey go that colour

Except when cooked for making bragot or treacle.
 

LisaMC

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Well your demijohn looks black enough. most mead's tend to be on the pale side.
In all my years never seen honey go that colour

Except when cooked for making bragot or treacle.
It’s literally just honey and fresh rosemary, with a tiny bit of tannin and a bit of lemon juice. perhaps it’s on the turn! 😂 only just bought it though a few days ago, and I bought 11 of them so I could make a few things! When I made the sultana and ginger mead a few weeks ago I used this, and it turned out great. How weird. The mystery remains unsolved. Ugh. I am going to be making a peach and scotch bonnet mead next week so I will make sure the water is as cool as I can and hope it doesn’t do it again. It’ll ruin it if it goes that colour.
 

johncrobinson

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Dont see a problem with that schedule lisa.
But how your honey has gone black i have no idea
 

DocAnna

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Random question guys. I have bought some cheap honey to make a test mead (Morrison’s pure clear honey). As soon as it hit the water it turned grey and then went black over the next few mins. I was hoping for a golden looking brew but now it’s dark and horrid. What went wrong? I’m flummoxed!! 😶
Hi, sorry for the late reply, it's been a working weekend for me! The speed of change of colour like this in minutes could only happen with a pH change that has caused a colour change or catalytic change in one of the components of the honey. Minutes is too fast for oxidation of that amount of liquid, bacterial contamination or for dispersion of any flavour chemicals from your additives. Temperature seems unlikely as well since high temperature generally increases the clarity of honey. It's not going to be heat causing caramelisation either as that requires 160 C.

My suspicion is the lemon juice affecting the pH that has triggered the change. Either way I'd be surprised if the colour remained following fermentation.

Anna
 

LisaMC

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Hi, sorry for the late reply, it's been a working weekend for me! The speed of change of colour like this in minutes could only happen with a pH change that has caused a colour change or catalytic change in one of the components of the honey. Minutes is too fast for oxidation of that amount of liquid, bacterial contamination or for dispersion of any flavour chemicals from your additives. Temperature seems unlikely as well since high temperature generally increases the clarity of honey. It's not going to be heat causing caramelisation either as that requires 160 C.

My suspicion is the lemon juice affecting the pH that has triggered the change. Either way I'd be surprised if the colour remained following fermentation.

Anna
Great, thank you Anna! 🙏
 
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