I forgot to add nutrient to my must when I put it in my carboy the other day (first time brewing mead). I fear I won't be able to get to my homebrew store before it's too late, so I'm wondering if I can create nutrient at home. Is this possible?
you can boil half a sachet of yeast and add that to the must. It provides many of the trace elements needed by the yeast, but I'm not sure how much nitrogen it provides, which is the key nutrient required in mead.
If the mead is not very strong, you can in fact successfully ferment without nutrient, just pitch 50% extra yeast.
Also keep in mind that mead long predates yeast nutrients. The old Greek formula went something like:
Put three parts water and one part honey in an amphora in the sun for a few days. Enjoy.
That must have been some sweet, syrupy mead. However, the point is that if you can't get the yeast nutrients, you can always try brewing mead without them.
FWIW I have always brewed a very rustic mead--- no degassing, no yeast nutrients, just yeast, honey, water, (4:1 btw, so drier than the early Greek varieties), and optionally some additional things to flavor it. This has always worked well for me. I have been brewing mead now for about 20 years and never found the need to do this. So keep in mind that you are brewing an old beverage which was simpler in times gone by, and so failures of process are very gracefully handled. My advice is don't sweat it too much.
A type of yeast nutrient that I use when I am making hard apple cider uses raisins.
Get about 100g of raisins in a saucepan with water that covers them by an inch. Bring them to the boil then simmer them. While simmering mash then to a paste and make a raisin tea.
Let it cool and add it to your brew. Make sure the raisins are all natural with no sulphites etc. This idea was from CraigTube
This works for my ciders so I don't see why it wont work for you.
When I make Mead I use brown sugar about 2 table spoons in 10 Liters of honey water mix. I also put light malt into the mix at about 3 parts honey to 1 of Malt. Works well every time. I was looking for natural nutrients and the brown sugar and malt are doing the trick. You can put in more brown sugar if you want.
The following recipe will give you something similar to commercial nutrient mixes:
- 40g of Di-Ammonium Phosphate
- 747g of Ammonium Sulphate
- 2g of Thiamine
- 1g of Potassium Tartrate
- 10g of Bentonite
The result will be a mixture of approximately 800g of Nutrients, of which you only need to add 3 to 5 grams per 20 lt fermentation.
Recipe taken from here and discussed in more detail here. It should be pretty easy to source the ingredients, although I can only find 150g packets of potassium tartrate so there will be some wastage. I haven't tried this personally, but I plan on trying it for my next brew since I can't find ready-made yeast nutrient here in Vietnam.