So at this point, the grains were steeped in some apple juice, the rest of the apple juice was added to the brew bucket and the dry malt extract has been dissolved in it, and, the honey melted down and added to the brew bucket. The next step was to correct the starting specific gravity. I have a hydrometer, but forgot to photographic how to use it.
You are shooting for a 5 gallon batch, with a starting specific gravity of 1.12. After adding all the stuff, I was at 4.5 gallons and sp. gr. of 1.14. I added half a gallon of juice, and that brought me to 1.13 and right below 5 gallons. I added 8 to 10 ounces of water and I got it to 1.12.
Next you want to stir vigorously for 5 minutes to aerate. Then pitch the yeast. The recipe calls for Lalvin K1V1116, but the shop near me had a Wyeast 4021 which the shop owner recommended, and it has the activator in the pack. You pop the activator by smacking it in your palm and the bag will expand as the CO2 evolves from the yeast activity, letting you know you are good to go.http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee365/mphymel/Caramel%20Apple%20Mead/IMG_0790.jpghttp://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee365/mphymel/Caramel%20Apple%20Mead/IMG_0787.jpg
The last step was to stir a bit more, put on the lid, and set the air lock. I will be monitoring the gravity, and when it gets to 1.075 I will add 5g of Fermaid K, and again at a gravity of 1.035.
At 1.012, I will have to rack to a secondary fermentor and at that point add the vanilla beans, then a month later rack a second time, this time stabilizing the yeast and adding 1 lb of buckwheat honey for sweetening. It should age another 6 months after that.
Hopefully I meet with success, got my fingers crossed!