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Mead Opinions


Michele

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Mead opinions - not to be confused with need opinions, lol. I am going to try and make some mead, despite the fact that we all know how well I (can't) cook.

 

I have no way to steralize everything, but will wash everything well. The receipe I have calls for some one gallon jugs and a few ballons. Nothing expensive or fancy. My question is - what bacterial or botchulism (sp) worries are there to making mead? My mother says she made wine for years in her landlady's cupboard in jugs and never steralized anything with no problems.

 

M

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Good Eats actually did an entire episode on "brewing" - apply that to mead and you're golden. Mostly it involves bleach, hot water, and a dishwasher.

 

The risks can be pretty serious if/when something goes wrong. Not limited to, but including, going blind from the wrong types of alcohol.

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Good Eats actually did an entire episode on "brewing" - apply that to mead and you're golden. Mostly it involves bleach, hot water, and a dishwasher.

 

The risks can be pretty serious if/when something goes wrong. Not limited to, but including, going blind from the wrong types of alcohol.

 

Oh joy, lol (I don't own a dishwasher or an oven)!

 

M

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I made my last batch of mead without special sterilizing equipment (just dawn and hot water) and I let it gather wild yeast from the air. I haven't heard of the concerns Scylla mentioned from any of the many friends of mine who brew mead and I have found mead extremely easy and forgiving to make--which isn't to say it can't hapen, but its hard to mess it up that bad. My mead is delicious and hasn't killed me. But it isn't that hard to sterilize your equipment and you can buy distilled sterilized water in jugs at the store. I suggest a splendid book on brewing called Wild Fermentation it takes a ton of the stress out of brewing and makes it fun and easy. Please do try yout baloon method, in my experience it works fine.

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I made my last batch of mead without special sterilizing equipment (just dawn and hot water) and I let it gather wild yeast from the air. I haven't heard of the concerns Scylla mentioned from any of the many friends of mine who brew mead and I have found mead extremely easy and forgiving to make--which isn't to say it can't hapen, but its hard to mess it up that bad. My mead is delicious and hasn't killed me. But it isn't that hard to sterilize your equipment and you can buy distilled sterilized water in jugs at the store. I suggest a splendid book on brewing called Wild Fermentation it takes a ton of the stress out of brewing and makes it fun and easy. Please do try yout baloon method, in my experience it works fine.

 

I did some googlin and it seems that methenaol (the stuff that kills you and makes you go blind (not referring to masturbation, lol!!)) happens when you try to distill, and I'm not going to be distilling, so per google there is little risk of methenol if you're just making mead, beer, or wine.

 

Yes - I am going to take the plunge and try the balloon - if it works I may consider investing some money in equipment, and one of the fellows at work has volunteered to "taste test" my results for me, lol.

 

 

Wild Fermentation - I will amazon it, thanks!

 

M

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I actually didn't even pay much attention to the amount of sterilisation during mine last summer. I don't own a dishwasher either, and I just cleaned everything as I would normal dishes, with hot water and fairy liquid. Now I wouldn't try making poitín or anything at this point which requires a fair amount of knowledge in order to escape the dangers of going blind, but you should be fine with mead. If anything, you'll know by the taste, and sometimes even then, you only have to give it a wee bit longer ;)

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I actually didn't even pay much attention to the amount of sterilisation during mine last summer. I don't own a dishwasher either, and I just cleaned everything as I would normal dishes, with hot water and fairy liquid.

 

Gotta ask, what is fairy liquid?

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I actually didn't even pay much attention to the amount of sterilisation during mine last summer. I don't own a dishwasher either, and I just cleaned everything as I would normal dishes, with hot water and fairy liquid. Now I wouldn't try making poitín or anything at this point which requires a fair amount of knowledge in order to escape the dangers of going blind, but you should be fine with mead. If anything, you'll know by the taste, and sometimes even then, you only have to give it a wee bit longer ;)

 

Well that is a relief to hear! The receipe calls for water and two one gallon jugs, so I was going to buy bottled water which I figure will already be in a steralized jug and just pour some out and replace it with the honey, fruit and other stuff!

 

M

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As long as they are glass jugs your good to go! I buy fancy cheap wine in glass jugs for 12 dollars or fancy apple juice for 8 dollars and use those jugs for mead.

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Michele, don't let the fear of sterilization keep you from a fun hobby with a rewarding payoff. I put off brewing for years because I got paranoid, and it's just not that big a deal.

 

It will help to have the bottled water, but it's possible- though unlikely- that enough bacteria could still live inside your washed out jugs.

You can use a weak concentration of bleach to rinse it out, if you want.. I use a sterilizer called Star San with my equip, but then I'm lucky enough to have a brewing supply store nearby. It's fairly cheap, and actually, you can get it from Amazon even, for under $10.

 

As to yeast, personally I would not rely on wild yeast if you want to lessen your chances of failure. But hell, you can use common Fleismanns yeast, avail from any supermarket. In fact, one of the Internet's most popular mead recipe actually calls for it. (Joe's Ancient Orange)

But even yeast is cheap, typically a dollar a packet, and amazon sells that too!

 

Here's a link on sterilization you may find useful:

http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=426&Itemid=14

And here's the recipe I mentioned.. it's absolutely delicious and stupid easy to make.

http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewrecipe&Itemid=459&recipe_id=118

 

Have at it, bottoms up.

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I love the orange receipe and it is very close to what I am going to try. The sanitization link makes me nervous, lol. I live in a caravan. Cat hair is my secret ingredient to all receipes. My prep-space is a piece of pine wood painted white and well-used for everything from cooking to cleaning nature finds to repotting plants. And the cats ALWAYS sit on it and watch me as I make things. I probably have the world's germiest kitchen, but on the bright side I am so full of antibodies I rarely get sick, lol.

 

M

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I love the orange receipe and it is very close to what I am going to try. The sanitization link makes me nervous, lol. I live in a caravan. Cat hair is my secret inM althoufhgredient to all receipes. My prep-space is a piece of pine wood painted white and well-used for everything from cooking to cleaning nature finds to repotting plants. And the cats ALWAYS sit on it and watch me as I make things. I probably have the world's germiest kitchen, but on the bright side I am so full of antibodies I rarely get sick, lol.

 

M

M although I have no excuse my mead creation area is much like yours. wPeople use all these sanitation a special strains of yeast because they can ger more predictable results. When I tried just plain mead, my first result got totally invaded by cat hair due to my sloppiness. But I tried again more carefully and gort a really good batch. I kinda left my fruit meads too long, I forgot about them, and got something sour. But my plain and herbal meads are great. i predict your experiments will be fun mostly tasty and successful.

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First gallon fermenting (hopefully) with balloon on top:

 

Ask ancestors to guide my hands and hope that one of them was an avid mead-maker. Melt honey into saucepan with water. Watch intently. Have giant moth start flying about the light over the saucepan. Panic and try to cover saucepan with hands. Doesn't work. Grab near-by coffee cup and try to catch moth in it. Spill some of the coffee into the melting honey. Become so intent on catching moth you forget the honey on the hotplate. Finally remember it and remove 3 seconds prior to boiling (moth safely caged under coffee-cup). Open up gallon of spring water and go water plants with it. Pour melted honey into empty gallon jug. Cut orange into 8ths and try to push into jug opening. Doesn't fit. Makes a bleeding mess. Get second back-up orange and chop it into bits. Push them into jug. Go check directions again. Fill with water. Add cinnamon, clove. Cover and shake for 5 minutes. Arms get tired, quit shaking after 2 mintues because arms are shaking more than the jug. Add one teaspoon of yeast. Notice it looks like termite droppings. Open second pack of yeast to double check that it is supposed to look like that. Wash balloon. Worry that now un-sterile water will get into jug. Wash second balloon and dry it. Worry that lint will get into jug. Take third balloon and just turn it inside out. Notice powder inside it and wonder if someone's coked up the ballons. Put balloon on jug. Remember that you forgot to poke holes in it. Grab the nearest knife and make a few slices in the balloon. Push whole lot very gingerly to back of counter. Grab a glass of wine and a smoke and sit watching it to see if it's going to do anything interesting.

 

M

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OMG - its been less than a half hour and the balloon's blowing up - right before my eyes. Shit. Is it safe to be sitting this close to that thing????

 

M

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First gallon fermenting (hopefully) with balloon on top:

 

Ask ancestors to guide my hands and hope that one of them was an avid mead-maker. Melt honey into saucepan with water. Watch intently. Have giant moth start flying about the light over the saucepan. Panic and try to cover saucepan with hands. Doesn't work. Grab near-by coffee cup and try to catch moth in it. Spill some of the coffee into the melting honey. Become so intent on catching moth you forget the honey on the hotplate. Finally remember it and remove 3 seconds prior to boiling (moth safely caged under coffee-cup). Open up gallon of spring water and go water plants with it. Pour melted honey into empty gallon jug. Cut orange into 8ths and try to push into jug opening. Doesn't fit. Makes a bleeding mess. Get second back-up orange and chop it into bits. Push them into jug. Go check directions again. Fill with water. Add cinnamon, clove. Cover and shake for 5 minutes. Arms get tired, quit shaking after 2 mintues because arms are shaking more than the jug. Add one teaspoon of yeast. Notice it looks like termite droppings. Open second pack of yeast to double check that it is supposed to look like that. Wash balloon. Worry that now un-sterile water will get into jug. Wash second balloon and dry it. Worry that lint will get into jug. Take third balloon and just turn it inside out. Notice powder inside it and wonder if someone's coked up the ballons. Put balloon on jug. Remember that you forgot to poke holes in it. Grab the nearest knife and make a few slices in the balloon. Push whole lot very gingerly to back of counter. Grab a glass of wine and a smoke and sit watching it to see if it's going to do anything interesting.

 

M

 

 

:roflhard: Reminded me of my adventures in the kitchen with soap making.

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Gotta ask, what is fairy liquid?

 

dear J.

Fairy Liquid is a dishwashing soap; It is very good! Best brand available here in the UK!

xo

H

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Woke up this morning. House still here. Nothings blown to bits. Balloon is looking very phallic and perky. Bubbles all the way to the top of the jug now. Ants all over the counter (musta not got up all the honey - I've given them the half-hour warning to cease and desist or I get out the windex). Love the colour of the stuff in the bottle (kinda matches the walls, actually). Was thinking of taking off the balloon and smelling it but everything says not to disturb it until it deflates.. oh hey, it might be fun to use a condom next time instead of a balloon!

 

M

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Made the second batch this morning. I followed the receipe for two gallons, but for some reason only came up with about 2 3rds gallon of must so added 2/3s more water to each gallon. So only about 3/4 lb of honey in each gallon. Will this still ferment and make the mead? I added raisins to help the yeast along just in case...

 

M

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Glad to hear it's working ou! Ain't it cool? Them little yeastie beasties are pure magic. Well after all, they make alcohol !! ;)

 

If you have the room at the top of the jug, M, you definitely must get some more honey in there. You're supposed to have about 3 1/2 lbs of honey per gallon jug. You're way way short at not even a full pound .

 

Essentially, the yeast feed on the sugars of the honey, and poop out alcohol. (Or pee, if you prefer..) If there isn't enough "food" for the yeast, they simply can't make more alcohol. And if the fermentation stalls, and the alcohol level is too low, it's an invite for all other kinds of nasties to invade your mix and start feeding on the fruit and yeast themselves. Ironcially, it's suicide for the yeast.. they not only eat all their food and then starve, but the byproduct they create (alcohol) is not healthy for them. Most die, but some can survive and actually be reused, in a pinch. I wouldn't recommend it though.

That's one cool thing about alcoholic beverages; if there's at least 4 or 5% ethanol alcohol or so (the more the better, a good mead should be about 12% to 14%), no hostile microbes/germs can survive in that environment, providing a safe drink. That's one reason the ancients were so fond of brews (other than getting drunk of course); unlike their local water supply, which was frequently tainted, a successfully brewed wine, mead, or beer was safe to drink.

 

BTW, I've also heard of distilled mead, making a very powerful concentrated drink. I don't think I'd care for it though, and besides, home distilling is still illegal in most, if not all, US states.

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I'm actually trying to find a low-alcohol tolerant yeast, lol. I am a rather light-weight drinker, althouh I enjoy wine. So I have to cut my wine to about a 3rd wine and 2/3rds club soda. This way I can have several glasses and not get drunk. So I am trying to make a mead that will be 7% alcohol or less (wine is usually 10 - 13 %) so I can enjoy a straight glass of mead and not have to cut it with club soda...

 

M

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Glad to hear it's working ou! Ain't it cool? Them little yeastie beasties are pure magic. Well after all, they make alcohol !! ;)

 

If you have the room at the top of the jug, M, you definitely must get some more honey in there. You're supposed to have about 3 1/2 lbs of honey per gallon jug. You're way way short at not even a full pound .

 

Essentially, the yeast feed on the sugars of the honey, and poop out alcohol. (Or pee, if you prefer..) If there isn't enough "food" for the yeast, they simply can't make more alcohol. And if the fermentation stalls, and the alcohol level is too low, it's an invite for all other kinds of nasties to invade your mix and start feeding on the fruit and yeast themselves. Ironcially, it's suicide for the yeast.. they not only eat all their food and then starve, but the byproduct they create (alcohol) is not healthy for them. Most die, but some can survive and actually be reused, in a pinch. I wouldn't recommend it though.

That's one cool thing about alcoholic beverages; if there's at least 4 or 5% ethanol alcohol or so (the more the better, a good mead should be about 12% to 14%), no hostile microbes/germs can survive in that environment, providing a safe drink. That's one reason the ancients were so fond of brews (other than getting drunk of course); unlike their local water supply, which was frequently tainted, a successfully brewed wine, mead, or beer was safe to drink.

 

BTW, I've also heard of distilled mead, making a very powerful concentrated drink. I don't think I'd care for it though, and besides, home distilling is still illegal in most, if not all, US states.

 

Well I opened the one that wasn't fermenting well (low honey) and it had blue cheese inside it, so I chucked it out. I opened his buddy which was fermenting well just in case, and he had something I couldn't recognize floating on top, so I chucked him out, too. The 1st allon I made is all frothed up to the top (the other two didn't froth) and he has the same amount of honey as the receipe called for, but I am tempted to peek. As I am using plastic jugs I can't see well into it, especially with all the foam. I see something dark against the edge, but it might be the cinnamon stick - I can't tell if it's brown or dark blue.

 

I am a bit disheartened, but I decided to bite the bullet and I blew 100 bucks on the necessary equipment and will make some more when it gets here. I am still hoping that first batch is okay. It does seem kinda nutso to have to super steralize everything to the nth degree, especially as I seriously doubt vikings had airlocks, star san, or hydrometers and they seemed to do okay. It might also be the florida heat... my house is about 85 degrees during the day. Mum said if its the heat I can make it at her house (she uses the AC all day so is an even 76 degrees).

 

One of the fellers at work told me they used to make this in jail (didn't ask what he'd been in there for) out of old shampoo bottles, fruit from lunch, and bread stuffed in for yeast and however many sugar packs they could nick. They never washed much less sanitized anything and he said it worked great. Sooooooo.... I am bummed but annoyingly persistent.

 

M

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