Continuous Fermentation

Sometimes, it seems like beer brewers have all the fun. Brewmasters get to play with grinders, fires, whirlpools, steam jacketed boilers, counter-flow chillers, and a whole lot more. 

Meadmakers? We get a big bucket and maybe a paint whip, and that is it. Or so it would seem…

First, for an intro, you can check out our article on Contraptions for brewing. Once you’ve acquired your box full of odd devices, however, it’s time to think about your brew system…

Homebrewers who go off the deep end often end up building themselves extremely expensive, very complicated, utterly cool systems like this:

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Brew System of Iowa Homebrewer Mark Nauman
Meadmakers tend to think that they’re limited to a bucket and maybe a carboy. Really, how hard is it to make mead? Well, to think about it another way, brewers have to invest a couple hundred bucks just to get started, then another couple hundred to step up to All Grain brewing, then another couple thousand to automate their brew system. Meadmakers can start with a $40 purchase and then the sky is the limit.

Meadmaking can be as easy or as complicated as you like. From automated honey warmers to high-powered mixers to jacketed fermentation vessels, the home meadmaker can really go nuts with automation, but for the big jump, you really need to go continuous fermentation. Basically, this is where you slowly add honey and water at one end of your system and mead trickles out the other.

Our friends over at Maine Mead Works just happen to have a fine continuous fermentation system:
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Continuous Fermentation at Maine Mead Works
Pretty spiffy, right?  While it may seem out of the league of the average mead maker, it is certainly not impossible to do at home. We’ll be discussing it in a future article, in case you’d like to try your hand at it. If you absolutely can’t wait to build your own system, check out this lengthy article (it’s about beer, but easily adapted). And, if you already have your own CF system, comment below and tell us how you like it. Or, better yet, send us a picture and we’ll post it on our Facebook page.

Keep it complicated, fellow Meadiacs.

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