The Meadery

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Gillean
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The Meadery

Postby Gillean » 18 Aug 2016, 03:38

Good Evening, All! I have recently taken an interest in mead making. Any tips or suggestions are greatly appreciated

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ShadowCat
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Re: The Meadery

Postby ShadowCat » 18 Aug 2016, 07:15

:tiphat: :gulp:

I've posted my basic recipe on an Eistedfodd years ago. Here it is:

Four Seasons Mead

Because one can never have enough (recipes for) mead. I use a basic mead recipe and adapt it according to the seasons. I'll first give the basic recipe and then the seasonal adaptations. Once you get the idea, you can start experimenting on your own.

For every batch of mead you need:

- a fermenting bottle or vat large enough for your batch
- an airlock
- clean empty bottles, you can reuse glass bottles with new corks, beer bottles with a bracelock ("Grolsch-bottles") or clean reused plastic bottles. I often use empty bottled water bottles
- ideally a good desinfectant for all materials (I use chemoxi pro, because it desolves completely in water and leaves no chemical residue)
- cooking pot, strainer, measuring cup, wooden spoon (your standard kitchen equipment)
- if you've never made alcoholic beverages before, I recommend reading up on it online or in a book before you start, so you have a basic idea of what should and should not be happening. In that case, scale the first batch down, because honey is expensive and it would be a shame to ruin a big batch before you get the hang of it.

Ingredients:

4 liters (preferably filtered) drinking water
0,4 liter fruit juice according to season or taste*
1,2 kg honey according to season or taste*
other flavourings according to season or taste*
sufficient yeast for the batch (if using dry bakers yeast use about 1 tablespoon/1 small packet, otherwise use the instructions coming with the yeast. I've used champagneyeast and special mead-yeast with good results, but bakersyeast will do, it might leave a bit more of a yeasty flavour that's not bad at all)

Basic recipe:

1. Bring water to a slow boil.
2. Add the honey.
3. Add fruit juice.
4. Stir until dissolved.
5. Bring to a slow boil once more.
6. Cover and and cool to lukewarm.
7. Take a cup out of the main batch.
8. Dissolve yeast in cup of warmish virgin mead.
9. Transfer main batch to fermenting vessel.
10. Ad dissolved yeastmixture.
11. Stir.
12. Close with airlock.
13. Let it bubble away for a while*.
14. When done, taste-test and decant into bottles.
15. Store and/or drink.

Seasonal adaptations:

Bubbly springmead

This mead is drunken young, while it's still in it's fermenting stage. It's bubbly and fresh (but with a bit of a kick, so beware, because you can get mightily drunk on it), a bit like sparkling cider or winecoolers.
To the boiling water (step 1) add:
a cup of dried roses suitable for consumption
a pod of vanilla
rind of an organic lemon
juice of a lemon
and boil it for 15 minuted, strain, and then procede to step 2.
For honey, use a light, neutral honey, like acacia.
In step 3 the juice will be (preferably homemade) applejuice, but feel free to ad a bit of strawberryjuice if you want a pink delight.
Let it ferment for a few days in step 13, and bottle it while the fermentation is not yet complete. Use pressureproof bottles (flexible plastic sodabottles would be best), fill them, leaving a bit of room, then squeeze them so there's no air above the mead. Close, let stand for a few days. The forming CO2 will fill out the bottle, making it round and firm again and then dissolving in the mead, carbonizing it. Check the pressure and if needed, let out a bit of gass (out of the bottles that is) so they don't explode. If started april first, it will be ready by beltane.


Flowery midsummermead

To the boiling water (step 1) add:
2 densely packed cups of fresh elderflowers
a handful of the first roses of the season
a handful of the the first lavenderflowers of the season
half a cup of dandylionflowers (only the yellow petals)
a pinch of saffron
rind of an organic lemon
juice of a lemon
and boil it for 15 minuted, strain, and then procede to step 2.
For honey, use 300 grams of lavenderhoney and acaciahoney for the rest.
In step 3 the juice will be (preferably homemade) applejuice, but feel free to ad a bit of strawberryjuice if you want a pink delight. (So basically the same as with the springmead)

An interesting thing to do is to ferment the batch a few days, take out about half and bottle it as described for the springmead. Let the rest ferment longer and bottle it when fermentation is complete, so it becomes a more mature, still, mead for the later summer, when autumn is around the corner. Starting in the middle of may, you have bubbly mead at midsummer and mature mead for the rest of the summer.

Autumnal mead

To the boiling water (step 1) add:
a pod of vanilla
a pinch of saffron
a stick of cinnamon
rind of an organic lemon
juice of a lemon
and boil it for 15 minuted, strain, and then procede to step 2.
Use a strong honey, like heatherhoney.
In step 3 the juice will be about 50/50 apple and pearjuice (preferably homemade).
Let it ferment for completely. This is a great mead for keeping around a few years, as the flavour will deepen if stored correctly. Made in early summer, it will be drinkable by mabon.


Wintery mead, may be mulled

To the boiling water (step 1) add:
a pod of vanilla
a pinch of saffron
a stick of cinnamon
a few allspice
a few juniperberries
a bit of nutmeg
a few cloves
rind of an organic lemon
juice of a lemon
and boil it for 15 minuted, strain, and then procede to step 2.
Use any honey you like, since the spices may overpower a delicate honeyflavour.
In step 3 the juice will be about 50/50 apple and pearjuice (preferably homemade).
If you want to go crazy, ad a handful of oakchips to the fermenting vessel to get an oak-matured effect. If you already have a real oak fermenting vat, more power to you. Be careful though that the oak doesn't get to strong.
Let it ferment for completely. This is a great mead for keeping around a few years, as the flavour will deepen if stored correctly. Make ahead at any time of the year, since it has to mature. Great for a mulled mead, ad some sliced satsuma's or tangerines when heating.
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winterfire
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Re: The Meadery

Postby winterfire » 18 Aug 2016, 11:13

Those sound lovely ShadowCat! I used a basic recipe for my first attempt, from Judith Glover's 'Drink your own Garden' (recently re-issued I believe). People say use the best honey you can get, but I could only afford the cheap stuff, it cleared really well though. I used half a mug of black tea instead of grape tannin. Halfway through it was very dry so I added some syrup (with caution!). Started it at the end of November last year, bottled March 1st, patiently awaiting Samhain!
Yes, have a look on the internet or buy a book if you haven't done wine making before. Fortunately I had my hubby on hand for advice and for the tricky business of racking & bottling.
All the best Gillean!


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