Joe’s Quick Grape Mead

Time for another batch of mead.  This time, I decided to do a one gallon batch of Joe’s Quick Grape Mead.  If the recipe holds true, this  mead should be ready in about five weeks!  The mead itself will ferment out dry since I’m using the Lalvin EC-1118, which is a champagne yeast.  Once primary fermentation is complete, I am going to stabilize and backsweeten.   I do plan on cutting the amount for sweetening to 3 oz of honey and 3 oz of grape juice.  I want to add just a little bit of sweetness.

2 pounds clover honey, 64 oz Welch’s Grape Juice with Vitamin C added


Here’s the recipe that I used.  The recipe called for an ounce of buckwheat honey, but I did not have any on hand.  So I just added an extra ounce of clover honey.

2 pounds Clover Honey

2 ounces Buckwheat Honey (I just put an extra ounce of clover in since that is what I have on hand.

1/8 tsp of pectic enzyme (I did not use as the juice is already clear, and the author added a comment saying probably not necessary)

64 oz Welch’s Grape Juice with Vitamin C added

Balance water needed to make total volume 1 gallon

Lalvin EC-1118 Yeast


3 oz clover honey, 3 oz Welch’s Grape Juice, 1/2 tsp sorbate, crushed campden tablet

The Starting Gravity came out to about 1.10.  Now to wait two weeks before I check on it. I can’t wait to see how it comes out!

SG about 1.10

Until next time, Happy Brewing/Mead Making!


Orange Blossom Traditional Mead

Last Saturday, I got my first ever batch of mead under way.  I’ve always been intrigued by mead.  In the marketplace, it’s not really all that common.  There’s a local meadery where I live called Misty Mountain Meadworks.  The proprietor is also a member of our homebrew club, Shenandoah Valley Homebrewers Guild (yes, he also home brews beer!). He did a presentation at one of our meetings and brought samples for all of us to try.   After my first sip, I was hooked.  I have to try to make this!

Mead is a very simplistic beverage.  After all, it’s just honey, water and yeast.  When you start to do some reading on the subject, it can get pretty intimidating.  Mead fermentations can seem to take forever with honey’s complex sugars.  As long as you give the yeast the tools that it needs (nutrients), they will do their job.  I’m in no rush whatsoever, as I am viewing this as my long term project.

15 pounds of Orange Blossom Honey

I purchased my honey from Dutch Gold Honey in Lancaster, PA.  The price wasn’t bad ($60 shipping included), and I got my shipment pretty quick since I’m only a couple states away in Virginia.  For this traditional mead, I used 15 pounds of Orange Blossom Honey, and 4 gallons of filtered water. For the yeast nutrients, I used 2 tsp of yeast nutrient and 1 tsp of yeast energizer. The yeast that I used was Lalvin 71b-1122.  The whole process of getting it into the bucket was simple, it just involved a lot of stirring! I used the no-heat method, as I wanted to preserve as much of the aroma of the honey as possible.  I did have the help of a cordless drill and a wine degassing wand to make the job a little easier. 🙂  For the nutrient and energizer, I measured them out and weighed it on a scale.  I divided the combo into four additions.  I added the first addition to the must before pitching the yeast, and then another addition each day after stirring for the other three additions.

Rehydrated Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast

After all this stirring in the bucket I took a gravity reading with the hydrometer, and it came out to 1.103.  This is officially the highest gravity thing that I have ever made! It should come out to about 13% alcohol by volume. I’m going to let it sit in the bucket for about a month before I start to take gravity readings to see how it is progressing.

Gravity reading of the must

Until next time, happy brewing and mead making!

Edit: It has been brought to my attention that I am reading my hydrometer incorrectly.  The SG is actually 1.112. I don’t usually brew/make anything that has this high of a starting gravity!

11th Hour Coffee Stout

On New Year’s Eve, I had a new experience in brewing.  I brewed outside by lantern light! My four day weekend mainly involved watching our daughter Zoe, while my wife slaved away working at her job. After my wife got home in the late afternoon, it was go time for my last brew session of 2012! Near the end of my mash I had to break out the Coleman lantern, because it got dark! I was a little nervous about how the brew day would go once it got dark.  Well, I have to say that it was fun! The whole process went pretty smoothly, and I was done and cleaned up by 8:30pm. I thought a fitting name for this brew would be “11th Hour Coffee Stout”.


11th Hour Coffee Stout


5.25 Gallons into Fermenter

Boil Time: 60 minutes

SG: 1.052

IBUs: 27.7

Color: 29 SRM


8.5 lbs Pale Malt (2 row)

1.0 lbs Crystal 80L

0.5 lbs Chocolate Malt

0.25 lbs Black Patent Malt

0.25 lbs Roasted Barley

0.75 oz Northern Brewer

WLP004 Irish Ale Yeast made with a 1 liter starter

1.00 qt cold steeped coffee added at bottling


Mash In with 16.13 qt of water at 163.7F and Mashed at 154F for 60 minutes

Batch Sparged with 5.4 gallons of water at 175F

Starting Gravity into fermenter: 1.052 for a brewhouse efficiency of 67.7%


The tough part for me will be deciding what kind of coffee to use! Right now, I’m thinking of going with a Sumatra, or an Espresso blend. What do you think?


Until next time, Happy Brewing!