My First Brewing Experience – Batch 001

January 6, 2008 at 11:56 pm 1 comment

My first batch of homebrew was supposed to be a medium sweet show mead. The recipe was adapted from THE essential book on making mead: the compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schramm. This book is clear enough for beginners and has all the information you need for years of creative meadmaking. The recipe I adapted was the Medium-Sweet Orange Blossom mead described on page 30. However, I decided to make only a 3 gallon batch, seeing as this was my first adventure, and honey is expensive.


Here is the recipe I used to create F I R E M E A D :

9 lbs. Gulimette’s Busy Bees Cascade Fireweed Honey (from a small stand in Lynden, WA)
2.4 Gallons of water (filtered with a Brita pitcher)
1.2 tsp nutrient
0.6 tsp energizer
WYEAST 4184 (Sweet Mead Yeast) (Smack Pack)

The method I used is simply as follows:

  • The yeast smackpack was brought to room temperature and prepared per the instructions on the package.
  • The water and honey were heated to 155° & left for 10 minutes to pasteurize.
  • The must (honey and water) was then cooled to 80 degrees and the yeast was pitched after oxidizing the must (stirring it up vigorously)
  • This mix was then siphoned into a 2.8 gallon carboy to ferment.
  • OG (original gravity) was measured to be 1.110

I did have trouble getting this brew to ferment, I’m not sure why, but on March 11, the specific gravity had only dropped to 1.094, and so I decided to pitch more yeast. I chose Rad Star Pasteur Champagne yeast because it is good at unsticking stuck fermentations. I pitched two packets that had been rehydrated in 105º water. This did the trick as it began bubbling shortly after.

June 6, 2007

Mead was racked off of yeast into secondary fermenter. SG (specific Gravity) was found to be 1.022 (and was largely completed at this point. I was surprised that it stopped here considering that I added champagne yeast capable of up to 20% tolerance. But I was very satisfied, because I wanted a sweet mead anyway.

October 1, 2007

Mead was bottled with a FG of 1.020.

Tasting notes:

  • As a first attempt, this stuff is good.
  • with a couple of months in the bottle, it interestingly developed an effervescence. I suppose there was some dormant yeast that got kicked up during bottling.
  • The mead has a strong yeasty taste, probably associated with the fact that I left it in the primary for way too long (almost 3 months).

So this was my first mead experience (and the only one to date that is in the bottle). I was very happy to have it be the least bit drinkable, and it is much more than just that!

Some day I will add pictures to the site, but currently I have no camera. Damn airports.


Entry filed under: Batches. Tags: , , , , , , .

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