Mead in drums

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Tom

Mead in drums

Unread post by Tom » April 21st, 2005, 2:18 pm

Allen, I was reviewing the diary, March 26 2000, for your post on making mead in drums, however, I now notice you don't mention what you used for a fermentation lock. What did you do for this?
Tom

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Allen Dick
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Re: Mead in drums

Unread post by Allen Dick » September 5th, 2014, 3:48 am

Sorry to be slow replying.

A sheet of plastic is fine for a fermentation lock.
Make sure you use a plastic liner or a plastic juice drum.
Metal drums may misbehave unless protected from the product.

From http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/2000/diary031500.htm
Mead Recipe
2/3 Drum Chlorinated Water
2 X 60 lbs honey -- liquefied and pasteurized
~300 ml (~one cup) acid blend
~400 ml dibasic Ammonium Phosphate yeast nutrient
(consumed by the yeast during fermentation)
3 tbsp sodium metabisulphite (kills competing wild yeasts)
10 pkgs Lalvin EC-1118 Champagne Yeast
Let the water sit a few days for the chlorine to leave
Add liquefied honey and metabisulphite to water, stir, leave until chlorine dissipates (several days) and temperature is stable at room temp. Add the rest of the ingredients, following the yeast instructions carefully (if you like).

Wait until the activity ends and the yeasts settle out. The mead should taste somewhat grapefruity and no longer sweet. Siphon into sterile jugs or a secondary and leave loosely stoppered. When clear, filter.

For my purposes, melting the honey pasteurizes it well enough for brewing. 125° F for four hours or 145° F for 30 minutes is sufficient to pasteurize milk, and those conditions definitely assure melted honey

See also http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/incl/9b1.htm#Mead
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
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Countryboy
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Re: Mead in drums

Unread post by Countryboy » September 5th, 2016, 2:55 pm

How long do you recommend letting mead age before drinking? I've read that it improves after aging 6 months.

I don't drink alcohol, but I have been tossing up the idea of making mead to sell, as a way to diversify. There are local wineries that will make wine for you in 5 gallon batches, bottle it up, and make a label for you for less than $6 a bottle. (and they are supplying all the ingredients at that price.) Even if I supply the honey, I think I can make a profit on $6 bottles of mead. Online prices for mead are often $12-$20 a bottle.

The way the law looks to me, if I have a winery make wine for me under my brand name, I can have stores/restaurants sell my mead for me if I buy a $25 permit. I have a few locations I think I could sell mead at. (One store that sells my honey has a big section of locally made wines and craft beers.)

I can give out bottles to landowners with their yard rent too.

Has anyone else ever gotten into selling mead? How long do you let it age for the best flavor? I know some homebrewers of mead have said it can be a little rough right when you bottle it, but it gets a lot smoother after 6 months of aging.
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio

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Re: Mead in drums

Unread post by Allen Dick » September 5th, 2016, 3:12 pm

A month or two is all it takes for the recipe I listed above. That makes a dry high alcohol wine that is very drinkable. Filtering and/or settling are more important than aging for this mead.

Your Brewery will probably have their own ideas though. Be warned, however that many of the meads on the market in my opinion are quite undrinkable because they are made from inferior honey, are way too sweet, or not really meads because they include fruits and vegetables and things.
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Re: Mead in drums

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » September 5th, 2016, 8:56 pm

The stronger the mead, the longer it takes to be 'drinkable'.

Although Allen may not call it a mead, I make a strawberry/raspberry gingermead that has gotten rave reviews. It takes twelve months to lose the 'rocket-fuel' taste, and about 18 months to be good. That's after bottling, it's a few weeks in the primary, then racked to secondary to clarify for two or three months. It's good for about ten years in the bottle, after that it starts to decline.

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Re: Mead in drums

Unread post by Jiminycric » September 6th, 2016, 6:27 pm

I know I have been looking into getting into mead making, but need to increase my bee hives/honey production. I'm certainly following,


Jiminycric
- Jiminycric
Strathmore, Alberta

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JackGrimshaw
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Re: Mead in drums

Unread post by JackGrimshaw » September 18th, 2016, 7:17 am

Yikes,sounds like a recipe for disaster.Or rocket fuel.
You could go full circle,build a still and use the results for mite washing.
Even at wholesale prices,120 lbs honey is an expensive experiment.Start small.
Go here and click on "mead making" for a quick read.

http://yeastwhisperer.com/Photos_Links_and_Info.php

Or buy Ken Shramm "Compleat meadmaker".
Go to BS and read the mead forum. Just keep your BS filter on.

re: aging.
Old crap still tastes like crap.
I've made some raspberry meads(melomel) that tasted delightful at 2 mos(think Beaujolais Nouveau)

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Re: Mead in drums

Unread post by Allen Dick » September 18th, 2016, 8:01 am

The mead recipe in the diary is a pure honey mead and if made properly with quality ingredients, in an inert container and with due attention to cleanliness will provide a product that is quite drinkable in a month or two. There are a few tricks to brewing good wine and clarifying the end product is probably one of the most important and also the most difficult for some.

Quantities can be scaled up or down without any issues. I have made as little as one gallon. Temperature control could be an issue in warm regions. I always made it in my basement where the temperature never exceeded 70 degrees F.
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Re: Mead in drums

Unread post by JackGrimshaw » September 19th, 2016, 7:10 am

Not doubting your mead making skills,Allen.
Just saying that in meadmaking,like beekeeping,a little knowledge beforehand will give a greater chance of success.You can't just gather the ingredients,toss them in a box(or carboy) and expect good results.

Maybe Aaron still has a few bottles of the good stuff hanging around.(and not the stuff he forgot about in his living room!)

Jack

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Re: Mead in drums

Unread post by Allen Dick » September 19th, 2016, 8:32 am

Maybe. I'll be at his place in a few hours. We'll see.
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Re: Mead in drums

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » September 20th, 2016, 6:36 am

Allen Dick wrote:The mead recipe in the diary is a pure honey mead and if made properly with quality ingredients, in an inert container and with due attention to cleanliness will provide a product that is quite drinkable in a month or two. There are a few tricks to brewing good wine and clarifying the end product is probably one of the most important and also the most difficult for some.

Quantities can be scaled up or down without any issues. I have made as little as one gallon. Temperature control could be an issue in warm regions. I always made it in my basement where the temperature never exceeded 70 degrees F.
Temperature issues partly depend on the particular yeast you are using and the flavor profile you are shooting for, especially for the primary ferment. Some yeasts are good for warmer temps, others not so much. I usually shoot for a temp around 68*(F) but even as high as 75* has produced good results. A little cooler for secondary/clearing, and around 50* for aging after bottling.

I do beer (ale), wine and mead...although a purist would call my mead a melomel/metheglin. Now I'm getting the urge to make a pure mead...and I have about 50lbs of very old honey that needs something to do, and an empty carboy...

My fastest ale reached perfection at around 6 weeks...but only about half made it that long :lol:

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Re: Mead in drums

Unread post by Allen Dick » September 20th, 2016, 6:48 am

A mead is only as good as the ingredients and the care taken in selecting the water and brewing environment. Old honey can be just fine but if it has an off-taste, so will the mead.

Many people think brewing is a good way to use up crappy honey and as a result make crappy mead.

As with everything, garbage in, garbage out.

My favourite yeast is Lalvin EC1118. It is an attenuating champagne yeast that gives a very clean tasting product with high alcohol content.

If you like sweet wines, I recommend making a dry mead and adding sweetness after it completes and then stabilizing it.

Do not neglect adding what seems like a lot of yeast nutrient or you will be waiting forever for the fermentation to complete. One reason people add fruit and other junk is that honey lacks sufficient nutrients to support yeasts long enough to use up all the sugars.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
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