Messing about with mead

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by illingwd, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. illingwd

    illingwd Member

    Oct 14, 2017
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    I got my hands on a couple of jars of local honey and would like to have a go at making a "session" mead. Having listened to the recent BeerSmith podcast on the topic, it seems it is possible to make a lower abv mead in a similar timescale to beer, without the long aging process associated with stronger meads.

    I have a basic plan but not all of the necessary ingredients or experience. I'm planning to:

    - Make up a must at around 1.045 OG (4-5 litres)
    - Rehydrate the basic wine yeast I have with some nutrient (I have only beer nutrient to hand)
    - "Degas" by stirring the must every day or so for the first few days (is this necessary?)
    - Wait for fermentation to finish, after a week or so, at around 1.000
    - Rack to secondary, leaving the yeast behind, adding potassium sulphite to sterilise the mead and drive off oxygen
    - Add potassium sorbate the following day to stop fermentation
    - Cold crash for a week in the hopes this will clear up the mead (I have no clarifier)
    - Back sweeten to taste with honey (targeting 1.020)
    - Possibly dry hop (I have some spare Mosaic lying around)
    - Bottle still as I have no means of force carbonating

    Some questions:
    - The wine yeast I have is a cheap generic one from the local shop. Any idea what the optimum fermentation temp would be?
    - I don't have mead yeast nutrient - is this likely to be a problem for a low gravity mead? I'm not planning on adding nutrient when degassing as I only have beer yeast nutrient and figured it's less essential at lower gravities
    - Any experience of dry hopping mead - quantities, hop varieties?

    This is very much a kitchen cupboard experiment so I'm fully prepared for it not to work, but having tried a session mead recently I'm keen to have a go!
  2. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

    Jan 9, 2014
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    Wine yeast is usually 70F or so for ferment temp. I think you will be fine with beer yeast nutrient. I haven't made mead so I can't say for sure about that or dry hop rates. I would assume dry hop rates similar to what you would do for a pale ale.
  3. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2015
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    Loveland, CO
    I've only made a couple of meads so I'm by no means an expert but, you can use raisins as a yeast nutrient. As far as stirring a couple times a day? The podcasts I've listened to suggest it's to degas the o2 as it's harmful to the yeast causing off flavors. I never stirred the meads I've done, and maybe they would have been better. I have no clue.

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