Any homebrewers?

I just got a new batch of mead brewing the other day.

10lb honey (mostly clover and blueberry blossom honey)
~5lb frozen blueberries - most of which I picked myself last summer
2 whole bourbon vanilla beans from the Seychelles Is. in the Indian Ocean
Lalvin RC-212 yeast (I read that because this strain is good for red wines, it also works well with other dark fruits like blueberries)
OG is 1.141, which means there's a theoretical alcohol content of 20%, but because it's so high, the reality is that the more realistic final alcohol content will be closer to 16%, or the maximum for the particular strain of yeast I'm using. This also means that there will be some residual sweetness left over from unfermented sugars.

I'm brewing in a 6.5gal fermenter, and I filled it to about the 5gal mark. The volume will drop somewhat because some of the volume of the sugars is getting converted to CO2 gas.

The fermentation was cranking away within hours of pitching the yeast, so it seems things are off to a healthy start. RC-212 is a nutrient-hog of a strain of yeast, so I need to keep on top of nutrient supplementation. I started off with some nutrient supplementation, and today (day 2), I added some more. I might have to add some more in a couple of days, too, just to be on the safe side. Stressed yeast cells will foul a brew in no time. My first mead got flushed because of that.

In the end, though, I suspect it will yield me somewhere between 16-20 bottles (750ml wine bottles). It will probably require a year or more of aging to achieve the best flavor, so I guess I better get to work on a wine cellar.


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  • yeah, honey wine. it's worth playing around with homebrewing. it's one of those old-time skills everybody in the country used to do, but few people learn anymore.

    start small - my first two batches were 1gal batches. the first went bad, but it was a small batch and so I didn't have a ton of money into it. the second batch was stupid easy (and cheap) since it used simple grocery store ingredients - even used bread yeast. it wasn't the best recipe, but it was successful and it was drinkable. I'm taking what I learned there and have applied it to this new batch.

    the most important part is cleanliness, though. for my last batch, I bleached EVERYTHING - but bleach can impart funny flavors if you don't wash it off well. this time I got "PBW" (powdered brewery wash) which is easier to work with and obviously made for brewing.

    I have a few friends who homebrew, also. a couple started batches of beer this weekend.

    making beer is a bit different from wines, though. it's certainly more complicated if you're starting off with raw grains, though starting out you can take a shortcut and skip that part with the right ingredients. with most types of wine, you just toss your sugar source(s) into your fermenter, add yeast (and maybe some nutrient depending), put an airlock on it and let 'er rip. I heard an old-timer technique where they just put a balloon on the fermenter and when the balloon deflated, it was done. doesn't get much easier than that.

    you can get crazy complicated with adding spices, aging in oak barrels, making it carbonated (the natural way, even), and all these things. I have to say that bottling in wine bottles is probably going to be a lot less time consuming than using beer bottles for large batches. :-D
  • I just racked my mead into secondary this weekend and tasted a sample. mmmm, it's quite yummy and it's not even aged yet! I'm going to have to exercise some serious self-control to avoid drinking it before it's had several months or more of aging. I'm very surprised, though, that it fermented totally dry. no residual sweetness whatsoever - the yeast cells fermented to a higher level of alcohol than expected. The strain I used is expected to ferment to 14-16% and I measured the alcohol content more like 19%. It's pretty potent, but it's got a wonderful purple-blue color to it from the blueberries and as it ages, I expect more of the blueberry and vanilla flavors to come out.
  • CareyCarey Community Member
    I've got some IPA brewing. I'm going to try a recipe for a S'more flavored beer and make a raspberry beer for my wife. Hopefully this turns out better than my last batch, which was all trub.

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