BVC - Re: BVC: Meade instructions for beginners (fwd)

Collectively Unconscious swarm at
Tue Feb 8 11:23:38 PST 2000

OK Here are my instructions on the making of mead...
When finished, you'll have a mead which is about as sweat
as a good leibfraumilch and about as strong as a good cherry or port.
The techniques are in the period with reasonable exceptions range, so
with a little documentation you can even get that warm fuzzy A&S glow

Mead - 5 gallons

What you need:

Honey. I recommend the absolute cheapest honey money can buy. I shoot for
$1/pount ($1/pint). Save the fancy stuff for the dinner table. Sam's
usually has good cheap honey. Govt. surplus works. Some bee keepers will
trade or sell in bulk. You'll need 18 pounds (pints) or 9 quarts or 2.25
gallons. (3.5 lbs/gallon of liquid)

yeast. I like champagne yeast. $.85 for 5 gallon packet. You can get it on
the internet or ask a local vintner.

syphon. If you like convenience, get the syphon at a vinting shop. The
stopper at the end and the stiff tube exactly the right length will solve
some headaches at racking time. Otherwise, clear water tubing can be had
at any hardware store.

water jug. Glass is preferred, but I have used plastic before with out any
difficulty. Ox has a line on glass in Tulsa. The problem with glass is it
can break. The problem with plastic is it can flavor things and it picks
up flavors.

Eventually you'll want a bottle brush to wash your bottle with.

A soup pot for boiling in. Not bare aluminum.

Rubber bands, a clean vegitable plastic bag, plastic wrap, a dark cool
place (where the smell of mead won't be a problem, ie not your closet).
A skimmer or spoon. 5 empty 1 gal. water jugs.


NOTE (some of these ideas are new - be flexable)

using a 2.5 gallon soup pot - 
Take 1 gallon water and bring to a boil and 7 lbs honey and stirring
constantly (or it will scortch on the bottom) bring back to a boil and
then reduce the fire to a simmer. White scum will raise (unless you've got
highly processed honey). Skim and discard scum while stirring. 

Be CAREFUL! boiling hot honey water can burn and stick. Don't go above a
simmer. Pour in the sink or bath tub. Get an extra set of hands to help.

Pour the skimmed honey water into a couple water jugs and set them aside
to cool. (if you bath tub is full of tap to about 3/4 the jug's hight they
will cool faster sitting there) Clean an empty honey container and pour
some of the honey water in there. When that is room tem, att the yeast to
it to get them started. Repeat the skimming and cooling until annd the
honey has benn processes. (Note: you actually want slightly less than 5
gallons to leave air space at the top of your container.

So you now have 5ish skimmed, cooled jugs of honey water and one honey jar
with some mucky looking stuff and maybe a bubble or two.

Pour the muck stuff in your 5 gal jug. Pour the honey water on top,
leaving a couple inches at the top. place a double layer of plastic wrap
on top and secure it with a rubber band. Place the unused vegitable bag
over that and secure it with a second rubber band below where the first
rubber band is. Place the whole bit on a towel you don't like and leave it
completely unmolested in your cool dark spot.

This next bit is where most people mess up.


Every so often, say once a month, you check it and see muddy tan liquid
bubbling away.

Wait and wait and wait. 

Oh my God! Its clear liquid sitting on top of a layer of mud. Six months
to a year have gone by. Much rejoicing! Syphon off the liquid (remember
those 1 gallon jugs from before?). Wash the jug. Have a taste. YUCK! Green
mead. Pour it all back in the jug ( or in glass 1 gallon jugs) and set it
right back to age. I recommend at least a year. Each year added will make
it better. My favorite currently is a batch from 1990.

Because it is still "alive" it will give a light silt over time. Just
decant the mead off occasionally.

Seems like that's about it. 

Let me know how it goes.


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