Went into a wine making shop today to price out some equipment and ended up in a nice little chat with the proprietor over the making of mead. I ended up buying a hydrometer, some siphoning hose, some Potassium Metabisulphite and he threw in some potassium sorbate and bentonite for free. He also said that if I buy my bottles from him he'll loan me a corker for free. I also got no end of tips from the man. I very much recommend Somerset Fine Wines and Gifts for all your wine making needs.
Now for details on the toys I bought:
Hydrometer: this handy little device floats in the must to tell you how much sugar is still in the solution. The reason this is important to know is that if you take a reading before you pitch the yeast you can calculate the amount of alcohol in your mead. I did not do this, but that's ok, according to Dwight (the proprietor of Somerset) if I stop fermentation at 1010-1015 I'll end up with a nice sweet meed with a guesstimated alcohol content of around 9-10% give or take. Not a strong mead, but a nice sweet desert mead (oops I should be saying cyser).
Potassium Metabisulphite: shockes the yeast and prevents the yeast from fermenting. Also acts as a good disinfectant for sanatizing.
Potassium Sorbate: coats the yeast and prevents the yeast from being able to reproduce ensuring that fermentation cannot start again later.
Bentonite: Clarifier. Bentonite will take the cloudiness away from the mead.