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I want to make mead, but lack any real equipment/skill. I have done "wine" and "mead" before, but only at the "hooch" level of quality and control. All I have access to is a siphon tube and ~2L plastic bottles. There is a store that sells brewing equipment, but I didn't think I cared much for clearing my wine or stopping the yeast from producing since I do not trust the products that well. This may be an argument from ignorance though so bear with me.

My idea was to:

  1. use 12oz of honey, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, 1/2 of orange and some orange zest.
  2. sanitize equipment(2L bottles) via antibacterial soap and/or rubbing alcohol. Let dry upside down, rinse several times.
  3. put ingredients into 2L bottle, fill 4/5ths the way full with water, shake to mix.
  4. add 1 packet of bread yeast, shake to mix.
  5. close cap until almost shut to allow for airflow for C02 out of the bottle.
  6. cover cap with rubber glove, tied at base to prevent contaminants from dust, and to allow for determination of fermentation via C02 production.
  7. wait 3 weeks, use sterilized siphon filter off from top of bottle my "mead", into new sterile container. Cap tight, refrigerate?
  8. enjoy????

I guess the only thing i am concerned about is caping the bottle tight after I re-bottle it, for if fermentation is still active, it could cause a bursting of the bottle. I could try and do SG readings with a hydrometer I have, but I feel given my lack of equipment( no graduated cylinder ), exposing my product to air to test multiple times would be folly and pointless. Should I attempt to degass in any way, and if so how would I given my lack of equipment/skill?

  • Just buy some no-rinse sanitiser and save a lot of hassle. – Mr. Boy Sep 14 '15 at 16:08
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    If you were just looking to make some simple, inexpensive mead without much equipment, you should look up the JAOM (Joe's Ancient Orange Mead). You will have much greater success starting out with a tried-and-true recipe designed specifically for beginners without much experience or equipment. You can even use a gallon water jug for a fermenter and a balloon for an airlock, if you want to. – valverij Sep 15 '15 at 14:02
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To safely bottle the mead, use a plastic soda bottle. These bottles seem to be very strong: I know you can play american-style football with one for a couple hours without a problem, until you open it. Then the soda will shoot out quite far. So you risk losing your mead it if becomes too pressurized. On the positive side, you can squeeze the bottle with your hand to estimate the pressure inside, and vent it excess pressure by loosening the cap.

Other suggestions:

  • Don't use soap to clean your equipment. Rubbing alcohol should be
    rinsed thoroughly: with very hot water, vodka or sanitizer, otherwise you are not sanitizing anything.

  • If your brewing shop sells wine yeast, use that instead of bread
    yeast. Don't use a whole packet, 1/10th of a packet should be enough.

  • Nothing needs to be degassed, any oxygen will be consumed by the
    yeast.

  • Don't bother using the hydrometer on a 2 liter batch, you'll have to throw away about 100ml just to take a measurement.

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    If a hydrometer can be found that will fit the neck of a 2L bottle I guess you could take a gravity reading from the "FV" directly (obviously you need to sterilise the hydrometer each time)? – Mr. Boy Sep 14 '15 at 16:06
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    And I guess de-gassing of the fermentation hasn't finished when you cap the bottle might be useful... not for safety but simply because he doesn't want a fizzy product. – Mr. Boy Sep 14 '15 at 16:07
  • "Nothing needs to be degassed, any oxygen will be consumed by the yeast." - While degassing is not completely necessary to produce a good mead, this statement is misleading. Degassing has nothing to do with removing oxygen, it's for removing the dissolved CO2. Since CO2 is acidic, it can cause drops in pH that can stress or stall the yeast. Getting rid of the the CO2 will also help it clear faster. – valverij Sep 15 '15 at 14:00
  • @valverij -removing CO2 is not a technique I've heard of for beer making, perhaps it's more popular for wine or mead? What method would you suggest? – Pepi Sep 16 '15 at 12:27
  • @Pepi - Yes, it's more of a wine technique, since wines are typically still and their yeasts are a little finicky. In one-gallon batches, you can just gently swirl the fermenter until it calms down (be careful, it foams up). In larger batches (3+ gallons), it's safer to use a degassing drill attachment. – valverij Sep 16 '15 at 13:50
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Yes, it should make a drinkable mead.

A drill is used in winemaking to degass in a carboy, but for a 2L bottle it might not be appropriate. So if you really want a still mead with no gas, you can shake your bottle lightly and twist the cap slowly until you hear some gas coming out. Do not open it completely, as it may overflow. Repeat a few times until no gas is coming out (basically the same way you would degas any soda). Personally, I like some gas in my mead, cider, and even white wine, so I don't have the trouble to degas it. The only thing I degas is red wine.

Also, I would recommend heating the honey a little (microwave or hot water bath), so it will pour more easily. Heating the water/honey solution is optional, but makes it easier to mix everything well together.

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