Topping up Mead.

Discussion in 'Coffee, Kombucha & Mead Forum' started by Hellz Bellz, Oct 26, 2017.

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  1. Oct 26, 2017 #1

    Hellz Bellz

    Hellz Bellz

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    Hi all,

    I fancy making a 1 gallon batch of Mead but have never done it before. I have made loads of wine so sort of know what i'm doing.

    Normally with wine I only fill up to below the shoulder of my 1 gallon DJ so it doesn't escape through the air lock. I then top up with water once the early fermentation dies down.

    What do you do with Mead? I've read it goes mental at first.

    Cheers :thumb:
     
  2. Oct 26, 2017 #2

    Ajhutch

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    I’ve made a few batches. My preferred method is to start it in a bucket and transfer it to a DJ after a few weeks when the vigorous fermentation is over. So I don’t need to top up, but there’s no reason I can think of why you couldn’t do that if you want to start in a DJ. All that said, I’ve not had particularly frothy fermentations in my meads anyway.
     
  3. Oct 26, 2017 #3

    Zephyr259

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    I've topped up one or two but they were my first attempts and the fruited ones failed due to some weird awful bitterness appearing and the traditional one is like 18% as I got told to use a champagne yeast when I didn't know better. It seems to have survived being topped up but it's hard to tell through all the alcohol and too much acid.

    As far as I'm aware there's no issue in topping up a DJ like with wine.
     
  4. Oct 27, 2017 #4

    Hellz Bellz

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    Thanks guys. I am quite limited to space and try to keep things as simple as possible. What is the best thing to top up with? Water?
     
  5. Oct 27, 2017 #5

    GerritT

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    Depends how you started. If you started as a sweet show mead and want to end as a half sweet: use water. If the other way around: top up with honey.

    What recipe are you planning to use? Have you tried JOAM?
     
  6. Oct 27, 2017 #6

    Zephyr259

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    Yeah, I topped up with water but having read a bit more on wine I see it's often a sugar solution made up to the original gravity of the must that's used. I'd probably do that in future, but obviously with honey, if needed but I intend to do primary in 5 or 10 L buckets then transfer to a demijohn for maturing.

    Reading up on mead is a bit weird online, I find that mead forums/groups come across a bit technical (pompous?) due to the acronyms and calling their methods "protocols" but they can make good mead without having to let it age for a year so it must work. Apparently, staggering the nutrients over the first few days makes a huge difference. I've not tested it yet as my last 2 meads were only 7% so didn't see the need.

    Good luck, quite a few experienced and more relaxed mead makers (mazers? sounds so daft) on here for advice.
     
  7. Oct 28, 2017 #7

    Hellz Bellz

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    Agreed. I think some people like to make it complicated to confuse plebs like me. However, I like to keep things as simple as possible. My goal is to make tasty brews with limited space and effort, otherwise I wouldn't bother (but that's just me). I have read somewhere that someone topped up with some honey dissolved in water like you said GerritT. Thanks for the advice guys. I will have a go and see what happens. I think I will do a straight mead to start.

    My WOW is amazing BTW. Sorry for bragging but I need to tell someone :lol:
     
  8. Oct 28, 2017 #8

    Hellz Bellz

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    I have read the JOAM and it looks like a good starting point. I think I will start with a straight mead. I was thinking something like this:

    4 jars of honey (I like to keep costs down so probably value honey)
    Lemon juice
    Not sure what yeast yet.

    In all the recipes I've seen no one uses tannin. So will leave that out.
     
  9. Oct 28, 2017 #9

    GerritT

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    Some good recipes are here: https://www.reddit.com/r/mead/wiki/recipes
    And Schramm's book is excellent. Though heating the honey is not something I'd do.
     
  10. Oct 28, 2017 #10

    GerritT

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  11. Oct 28, 2017 #11

    BeerCat

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    Good advice. Tannin is not necessary. The crossmyloof recipe uses a chopped apple, juice of a lemon and a handfull of raisins although really that's not a Mead anymore. Makes a good mead with their yeast and clears fairly quickly but finishes semi sweet. I like to use a high alcohol yeast (gv4 or lalvin) and ferment it to dry around 14 ABV then sweeten with water and honey when it clears. Nutrient feeding really helps as well and i shake the crap out of it and agitate daily for first week.
     
  12. Oct 28, 2017 #12

    Zephyr259

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    From experience I'd drop the lemon, my first batch had an acid blend in it but it finished drier than expected so was way too sour, acidity can be adjusted at bottling time. That batch also stalled out really early (1.090) probably due to the acid. Most recipes I see now add a small amount of potassium bicarbonate to buffer the pH, otherwise it tends to drop too low and stall the yeast.

    If you want a decent and quick test batch then I'd recommend the following.

    3 jar tesco finest orange blossom honey dissolved in water and topped up to 5 L should give approximately 1.060, 1 tsp nutrient, I use Tronozymol because it's got more in it than the generic nutrient which is just nitrogen. Then I've fermented with Lalvin D47 and Safale S-04, the former went to 1.000 and I carbonated it, the latter got stabilised at 1.004 because I wanted a little sweetness and a still wine, would have been fine left to go dry.

    I think I added tannin to the 2nd but not the first, there is a mouthfeel to the 2nd but I'm not sure it's needed.

    Having tried using cheap honey I'd recommend getting nicer stuff. The finest honey is £2.99 up here and it leaves a lovely sweet, floral/orange flavour which was totally missing with the cheaper generic honey.
     
  13. Oct 28, 2017 #13

    Hellz Bellz

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    Thanks for all the input people. Really helpful. I will have a go. I tend not to go into the technical stuff so will keep it as simple as I can and will report back. Cheers.
     
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