How to Make Mead - Demo Day - SATURDAY MARCH, 20 Time: 10:00 AM

Ron Sheetz

Barley Legal Member
The honey from the bulk buy is moving along nicely. I used 16#lbs of the Raspberry in a traditional, which I started first and it's finished and ageing in secondary now. With the Blueberry (14#), I mixed in 2 cups of the Maple syrup and blanched some pecans, all of which went into primary 10 days ago. It's working through nicely at about 65% attenuation as of this morning. I'll be adding more maple syrup in secondary to back sweeten and favor to taste. Both are 5 gallon batches.
 

Matt Brazell

Barley Legal Member
The honey from the bulk buy is moving along nicely. I used 16#lbs of the Raspberry in a traditional, which I started first and it's finished and ageing in secondary now. With the Blueberry (14#), I mixed in 2 cups of the Maple syrup and blanched some pecans, all of which went into primary 10 days ago. It's working through nicely at about 65% attenuation as of this morning. I'll be adding more maple syrup in secondary to back sweeten and favor to taste. Both are 5 gallon batches.
Are secondaries always necessary for mead or is it similar to beer in that a secondary is unnecessary? Thoughts on bulk conditioning vs bottle conditioning?

Thanks
 

Ron Sheetz

Barley Legal Member
Yes, you'll always want to rack to a secondary vessel with meads. The reason is, once fermentation is complete, you want to rack over to get the mead off the yeast lees. They've done their job and are tapped out at this point. This will also help with the clearing process. Conditioning can go either way. I prefer to bulk age as long as I can. The things that usually trigger me to bottle is how good the mead is tasting, and my patients as well as how much older meads I have. As this is your first batch, you'll be eager to drink and share as I always am :) , so if you like it, you can bottle it. If your willing to wait longer, bulk aging is the better way to go.
 

Frank Hiller Sr

Competitions Coordinator - 2018 Brewer of the Year
Ron, what is your time frame for bulk aging? I remember the bottles you shared with us on the bus trip, they were as clear as could be, and no sediment on the bottom!
 

Ron Sheetz

Barley Legal Member
Ron, what is your time frame for bulk aging? I remember the bottles you shared with us on the bus trip, they were as clear as could be, and no sediment on the bottom!
Hi Frank! I typically bulk age for 3-4 months. Again, that always depends on how low my stock is and how thirsty I am. :) As I'm making more more now, I'm bulk aging for 5 months. Longer will always be better. I use Super-Kleer a few weeks into secondary. This will require a 2nd racking when the Super-Kleer has done it's job. To help prevent oxidation, I'm tossing in about 1.5g of K-meta each time I rack. Then, when I bottle, I'm using a Enol-Matic with a tandem filter of either .1 or .4 microns. Those bottles you saw were before I had the Enol-Matic which was kinda expensive. For them I bottled though the cheaper Buon Vino Mini Jet.
 
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Josh Atzert

Barley Legal Member
So I started fermentation over the weekend and went with a smaller batch(1gal). Using the Blueberry, D47 and Fermaid O. I picked up a bubbler(online) and an O2 can from the Depot to give the yeast a good start. They've been very active for the first 36 hrs. I did my 24 hour nutrient add, but when it comes to aeration should I do it daily through the first week? Or less frequently? Should I just stirr in? Or can I bubble O2 to move the yeast back up? The fermenter is a food grade bucket. Thx.

Sent from my SM-G781U using Tapatalk
 

Ron Sheetz

Barley Legal Member
So I started fermentation over the weekend and went with a smaller batch(1gal). Using the Blueberry, D47 and Fermaid O. I picked up a bubbler(online) and an O2 can from the Depot to give the yeast a good start. They've been very active for the first 36 hrs. I did my 24 hour nutrient add, but when it comes to aeration should I do it daily through the first week? Or less frequently? Should I just stirr in? Or can I bubble O2 to move the yeast back up? The fermenter is a food grade bucket. Thx.

Sent from my SM-G781U using Tapatalk
Hi Josh, Glad to hear you got things rolling along! There's a few key points here. Aeration via O2 Is something I only do twice a day for the first 2 days. I'll let the Hillers comment if they do it more than that. You'll get some additional aeration when adding your 48,72, and 1/3 nutrient additions. At this point I'd refer to it as de-gassing rather than aeration. Remember that 02 is your friend at the start, but as the fermentation nears completion, and especially when racking and aging, aeration from 02 can cause oxidation, which is not your friend. Once you get past the final nutrient add, light stirring to push off some C02 and keep the yeast in equally distributed is all that you need. By day 10 I'm only lightly stirring daily to achieve this.
 

Josh Atzert

Barley Legal Member
Hi Josh, Glad to hear you got things rolling along! There's a few key points here. Aeration via O2 Is something I only do twice a day for the first 2 days. I'll let the Hillers comment if they do it more than that. You'll get some additional aeration when adding your 48,72, and 1/3 nutrient additions. At this point I'd refer to it as de-gassing rather than aeration. Remember that 02 is your friend at the start, but as the fermentation nears completion, and especially when racking and aging, aeration from 02 can cause oxidation, which is not your friend. Once you get past the final nutrient add, light stirring to push off some C02 and keep the yeast in equally distributed is all that you need. By day 10 I'm only lightly stirring daily to achieve this.
This is exactly what I was hoping to understand. Thank you.
 

John Pursglove

Barley Legal Member
My session mead is now probably done fermenting. Gravity is below 1.000 I bottomed out my test jar around .999. I guess I need a bigger test jar. Assuming this is done. Does this mean it's time to rack into a smaller vessel?

I made 5 gallons and was looking to split this into a couple batches and add different stuff to each. So I will probably add ginger and lemon to one and maybe orange and vanilla to the other. Any tips on doing so from the experts?
 

Ron Sheetz

Barley Legal Member
My session mead is now probably done fermenting. Gravity is below 1.000 I bottomed out my test jar around .999. I guess I need a bigger test jar. Assuming this is done. Does this mean it's time to rack into a smaller vessel?

I made 5 gallons and was looking to split this into a couple batches and add different stuff to each. So I will probably add ginger and lemon to one and maybe orange and vanilla to the other. Any tips on doing so from the experts?
Hi John! At.999, your definitely done! Now your at that fine tuning phase and since you want to split the 5 gals, here's what I'd recommend. You do want to stabilize at this point as well.
Rack the full 5 gallons into a 5 gal carboy. Do you know the abv and ph at this point? That will help determine the amount of potassium metabisulfite (k-Meta) for stabilizing. I can help you with this if you provide me the numbers. Since it's certainly dry at .999, you won't need any k-sorbate. I'd add the k-meta in your current fermenter, wait 24 hrs, then rack to the new carboys being careful to not still things up. The idea is to leave the dead yeast hulls on the bottom and not transfer them over to the new vessels. Once racked, taste! You can back sweeten (add more honey if desired) and add your other desired flavors to each at this point. From there, it's just a matter of aging and tasting. If you like it, bottle it! I know with my first meads, I wanted drink them right off. That's ok, there'll be other batches and you can work on aging as you make more!
 

John Pursglove

Barley Legal Member
Hi John! At.999, your definitely done! Now your at that fine tuning phase and since you want to split the 5 gals, here's what I'd recommend. You do want to stabilize at this point as well.
Rack the full 5 gallons into a 5 gal carboy. Do you know the abv and ph at this point? That will help determine the amount of potassium metabisulfite (k-Meta) for stabilizing. I can help you with this if you provide me the numbers. Since it's certainly dry at .999, you won't need any k-sorbate. I'd add the k-meta in your current fermenter, wait 24 hrs, then rack to the new carboys being careful to not still things up. The idea is to leave the dead yeast hulls on the bottom and not transfer them over to the new vessels. Once racked, taste! You can back sweeten (add more honey if desired) and add your other desired flavors to each at this point. From there, it's just a matter of aging and tasting. If you like it, bottle it! I know with my first meads, I wanted drink them right off. That's ok, there'll be other batches and you can work on aging as you make more!
Hi Ron. First I would like to say thank you for answering all of our questions. This will become a great resource for meadmaking. The ABV is at 8.1% I will check the PH in a little while. I have a 5 gallon carboy and a 3 gallon carboy. I need to have very little headspace is the idea, right? I would surely like to back sweeten. I tried it when I took my gravity sample and it was really dry. So here are a few questions.:

If I add fruit or fruit juice to one and I've already stabilized I am assuming I would not want to back sweeten with honey as well as it will get too sweet.

Are there guidelines for adding fruit? Like say 1#/gallon?
 

Ron Sheetz

Barley Legal Member
Hi Ron. First I would like to say thank you for answering all of our questions. This will become a great resource for meadmaking. The ABV is at 8.1% I will check the PH in a little while. I have a 5 gallon carboy and a 3 gallon carboy. I need to have very little headspace is the idea, right? I would surely like to back sweeten. I tried it when I took my gravity sample and it was really dry. So here are a few questions.:

If I add fruit or fruit juice to one and I've already stabilized I am assuming I would not want to back sweeten with honey as well as it will get too sweet.

Are there guidelines for adding fruit? Like say 1#/gallon?
Go slow with your additions tasting often. Let each settle in for day before tasting. You can fill any excess headspace with C02.
 

John Pursglove

Barley Legal Member
Hi Ron. I am measuring a PH of about 3 FG 0.995 taste is very dry. 8.1% I have 5 gallons of mead. I have K meta in the powder form.

Another question after adding Kmeta and stabilizing in primary let that sit for a day or two can I rack onto some honey to back sweeten without stirring?
 

Frank Hiller Sr

Competitions Coordinator - 2018 Brewer of the Year
Hi Frank! I typically bulk age for 3-4 months. Again, that always depends on how low my stock is and how thirsty I am. :) As I'm making more more now, I'm bulk aging for 5 months. Longer will always be better. I use Super-Kleer a few weeks into secondary. This will require a 2nd racking when the Super-Kleer has done it's job. To help prevent oxidation, I'm tossing in about 1.5g of K-meta each time I rack. Then, when I bottle, I'm using a Enol-Matic with a tandem filter of either .1 or .4 microns. Those bottles you saw were before I had the Enol-Matic which was kinda expensive. For them I bottled though the cheaper Buon Vino Mini Jet.
Hi Ron! I have a Mini Jet also, it does work, but tends to leak. I hate losing drops while trying to filter, but it is what it is. I looked at the Enol-Matic, looks nice, I especially like the reusable filters.
 

Frank Hiller Sr

Competitions Coordinator - 2018 Brewer of the Year
Hi Ron. I am measuring a PH of about 3 FG 0.995 taste is very dry. 8.1% I have 5 gallons of mead. I have K meta in the powder form.

Another question after adding Kmeta and stabilizing in primary let that sit for a day or two can I rack onto some honey to back sweeten without stirring?
Hi John, I have always stirred it to get the honey mixed in. I have heard it will assimilate into the mead eventually on it's own, but I dont have the patience. Kudos to Ron for going slow on the additions. When you get it where you want it, take a gravity reading for future reference. I think you will be surprized how a little change (say 10 gravity points) will change the mead.
 

John Pursglove

Barley Legal Member
Hi John, I have always stirred it to get the honey mixed in. I have heard it will assimilate into the mead eventually on it's own, but I dont have the patience. Kudos to Ron for going slow on the additions. When you get it where you want it, take a gravity reading for future reference. I think you will be surprized how a little change (say 10 gravity points) will change the mead.
Hi Frank. Thank you. So another question to raise gravity how much honey to add say 10 points to 5 gallons.
 

John Pursglove

Barley Legal Member
So i Googled and found honey is 35 ppp so divided by 5 gallons = 7 points added per pound. I'm not looking for a super sweet mead so I will probably add about a pound after I stabilize the mead. Can I just rack off say a gallon of finished mead into my secondary carboy and dissolve the honey in that and then rack the rest over so it doesn't get oxidized while stirring?
 
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Ron Sheetz

Barley Legal Member
Hi Ron. I am measuring a PH of about 3 FG 0.995 taste is very dry. 8.1% I have 5 gallons of mead. I have K meta in the powder form.

Another question after adding Kmeta and stabilizing in primary let that sit for a day or two can I rack onto some honey to back sweeten without stirring?
See this for your additions. Since you want to back sweeten a bit go with 1g k-sorbate too. Let it sit for a day before racking, then add your honey. The second chart is a good recommendation in the amount. 1.020 is considered semi-sweet.
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