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Mead: Tips for a Predictable Fermentation By: Harold Gulbransen. Mead : Honey Wine : Ambrosia Nectar of the Gods. BJCP website defines various types of mead http ://www.bjcp.org/stylecenter.html. Melomel [fruit ] Cyser [apples ] Pyment [ melomel using grapes ]

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mead tips for a predictable fermentation by harold gulbransen

Mead: Tips for a Predictable FermentationBy: Harold Gulbransen

Mead : Honey Wine : Ambrosia Nectar of the Gods

bjcp website defines various types of mead http www bjcp org stylecenter html
BJCP website defines various types of mead http://www.bjcp.org/stylecenter.html
  • Melomel [fruit]
  • Cyser[apples]
  • Pyment[melomel using grapes]
  • Metheglin[herbs &spices]
  • Braggotor Bracket [malted grains]
when entering a mead in competition one must specify
When entering a Mead in competition one MUST specify:
  • Strengths – Sack, Standard or Hydromel
  • Sweetness – dry, semi-sweet, sweet
  • Carbonation – still, petillant, sparkling
mead tasting 1
Mead Tasting #1
  • 1/3 = Buckwheat Honey Mead w/ fresh ginger [1 oz.]
    • 28.6 Brix [1.115 OG] – approx 16 lbs. of Honey
    • 3.5 gallons water
    • 3 tsp nutrient, 2 tsp energizer 2 tsp DAP
    • Red Star Pasteur Red – 20 gms
    • Brewed on July 8, 2006 – finished 1.018
  • 2/3 = Buckwheat Honey Mead w/ dried Lavender [30 gms]
    • 25 Brix [1.100 OG]
    • 4 gallons water
    • Brewed December 3 2006
making mead 5 gallons
Making Mead [5 gallons]
  • “Must” = Honey + Water [carbon filtered or bottled] + Nutrients + Oxygen + Yeast
  • Equipment – similar to extract brewing plus a “mix stir” for agitating must
  • Heat or No-Heat [All equipment must be sanitized carefully]
yeasts my favorites are
Yeastsmy favorites are:
  • Lalvin71B-1122 (Narbonne)
  • Red Star Pasteur Red (Davis 904)
  • Red Star Montrachet
  • Red Star Cote des Blanc (Davis 750)
  • LalvinRhone 4600 (Cote du Rhone)
  • LalvinRC212 (Burgundy)
day 0
Day 0
  • 4 gallons water [chlorine free]
  • 15 – 18 lbs of Honey [semi-sweet / sweet mead] approx 1.120 – 1.140 OG [dissolve using “mix-stir” and an electric drill]
  • Nutrients – provide a source of free amino nitrogen [FAN], carbon, phosphate & sulfate
    • 1 gm DAP [diammonium phosphate] =1/4tsp
    • 0.5 gm Fermaid K [Lallemand’s micronutrient blend] = 1/8 tsp
  • Oxygenate thoroughly
  • 2 pkgs [10 gms] Yeast rehydrated [104 F water + 12.5 gms of Go-Ferm]
    • Go-Ferm by Lallemand is an organic nutrient, dosed @1.25 gms of Go-Ferm/gm of yeast
  • pH – keep this above 3.8 [preferably 4.0 – 4.2]
day 1
Day 1
  • Stir mead with “mix-stir”
  • Check pH
day 2 4 6
Day 2, 4 & 6
  • Stir mead with “mix-stir”
  • Add 0.5 gms DAP & 0.25 gmsFermaid K
  • Check pH – if too low, buffer with KOH or CaCO3 [add 0.5 tsp at a time and check pH again]
day 3 5 7
Day 3, 5 & 7
  • Stir mead with “mix-stir”
  • Check pH
mead tasting 2
Mead Tasting #2
  • Miller’s Wildflower Honey
    • 28 Brix – no heat technique
    • 1 dried Chipotle
    • 1 gm Szechuan Green Pepper
    • 1.5 gms Chinese Chilis [2 peppers]
    • Brewed April 4, 2009
  • On May 1, 2009 – 0.999 – racked
  • On May 30, 2010 – racked sweetend w/ 14 oz honey & added 1 oz toasted French Oak
  • Fined on July 24, 2010 - Sparkaloid
adding fruit or spices
Adding Fruit &/or Spices
  • If adding fruit, consider adding a day or two after must is actively fermenting [checking pH as fruit can be acidic]
  • Spices can be added anytime [e.g. Day 0, then taste after 6 months and add more if needed – less is more!!]
acid balancing
Acid Balancing
  • When fermentation is complete, rack and after 6- 12 months, perform an acid balance test.
  • Acid Balancing Kits can be purchased at Homebrew stores and require some “titration skills”
  • I prefer to balance my meads to slightly lower than dessert wines [sweeter]
joanne told me i had to talk about my screw ups
JoAnne told Me I had to talk about my screw-ups!!
  • Don’t add acid to the “must”, it can drop the pH too much causing the fermentation to stop
  • Don’t add too much honey [> 1.170] as the mead will finish too sweet. 100 gravity points is about max.
  • Mild berries often disappoint [e.g. strawberries, blueberries]
  • Chipotle Chilis is TOO much – Really!!
  • Adding too much nutrient results in a minerally flavor
  • If it’s not great in 12 months – WAIT
changes that made my meads better
Changes that made my Meads Better
  • Carbonating a sweet mead – carbonic acid balances the sweetness
  • Subtle use of spices
  • Use Honey w/ character [Citrus, Buckwheat, Macadamia, Tupelo] Wildflower is boring
  • Acid Balancing after 12 months
slide16

Special Thanks to Kris England [St. Paul Homebrewers] for an excellent Mead presentation at the 2008 AHA conference in Cincinnati 