Top Ten Things I Learned About Brewing Mead

Talk about home brewing here, mead, beer, wine, cider, etc.
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ExpatBeekeeper
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Location: Richmond, VA

Top Ten Things I Learned About Brewing Mead

Postby ExpatBeekeeper » Wed May 20, 2015 2:57 pm

I started to keep bees because I couldn't afford to keep on buying the honey for my other hobby, brewing mead. These are the top 10 most important things I learned early on. Hope someone else getting started with mead finds them useful.

  1. You're not in control the yeast are!
  2. Yeast can't read the packet they came in. They know nothing, nor do they give a hoot about your expectations!
  3. Learn about Yeast Starters, they are awesome; you owe it to your sanity to use one if you're new to this stuff! Pitching billions of extra healthy yeasties will only improve your chances of success.
  4. Like beekeeping, there are lots of great theories from a lot of smart people about the best way to make mead. Read them and choose the ones that work best for you, in your environment and go with it.
  5. Know everything you can about your yeast and nasty surprises will be minimised. Pay particular attention to Alcohol Tolerance and Optimal Fermentation Temperatures; don't set yourself up for failure before you start. There's absolutely no point in choosing a yeast that is ideal for 60f - 65f, if you're brewing mead in Florida in the summer time (unless you're prepared for a huge AC bill, or will be brewing in a fridge); if in doubt please see list item 4.
  6. Unless you have a local brew shop within a few miles, plan ahead; If you need to adjust the pH on your brew, there's nothing worse than having to wait a week for the nutrient / acid blend / alkaliser to arrive in the mail, while your mead gently weeps, and your yeasties die a prolonged and agonising acidy death.
  7. Hydrometers are very necessary and very fragile. They can also be quite inexpensive… buy two or more of them… if in doubt see list item 6
  8. Keep meticulous records if you wish to get assistance when things aren't going as expected. There are very few mysteries that are unsolvable with a mead, if you have good records of your process, and the ability to measure the right things about your brew, it will be far easier for people to help
  9. Champagne Yeast is almost never the right answer, to just about any question you have about yeasts when making mead.
  10. Have Fun and don't take it too seriously.... unlike beer and wine, Mead making is 50% technical and 50% art!!
Beekeeper, Meadmaker, Teaboy, and Gopher. Richmond, VA

Nate K
Freshman Beekeeper
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Top Ten Things I Learned About Brewing Mead

Postby Nate K » Wed May 20, 2015 3:32 pm

I cant wait to start making mead. Its been in the back of my head since before beekeeping. Will surely get into it.. Who knows when though.

Thanks for the great checklist.
What's good for the beekeeper, isn't always what's best for the bees.
http://Mylibertyhomestead.com

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Solomon
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Re: Top Ten Things I Learned About Brewing Mead

Postby Solomon » Wed May 20, 2015 7:06 pm

I made a pretty big batch once, still have some of it. Need to drink it I guess. Don't even have time to do that anymore.
Solomon Parker, Treatment-Free 14 years, ~24 colony baseline
Treatment-Free Beekeeping Podcast - Parkerbees.com - Treatment-Free Beekeepers Facebook Group

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TheCompound
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Location: Humboldt, SD

Re: Top Ten Things I Learned About Brewing Mead

Postby TheCompound » Wed May 20, 2015 8:56 pm

Thanks for the advice. I'm a long time home brewer, but have yet to try a batch of mead. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before I give it a go. Please feel free to post a favorite recipe/method.

~David


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