Tuesday, August 7, 2012

First Mead

I have never had a mead before so after a bit of research I decided to try and make one.  I wanted to make a traditional "show" mead.  A show mead  is purely honey water and yeast with no other flavoring.  Having never tasted mead in my life I wanted to know what a true mead tasted like but my research showed that most people making mead are adding some other flavorings to it.  This made me a bit weary about making a full five gallons of "show" mead as it may be an acquired taste.  I at least wanted to make something that was drinkable so I decided to do a full five gallon batch and then split into two secondaries.  One three gallon carboy would remain a "show" mead while the other would get oak cubes apples and a vanilla bean.  Here is the recipe as I remember it...

First Mead

10 lbs local wild flower Honey
2.5 lbs local raspberry honey
1.5 lbs orange blossom honey

Lavin 47-D (wine yeast)

OG 1.100
FG 0.998
ABV ~14%

heated 2 gallons of water to 120f. removed from heat and stir in all the honey slowly, make sure it is all dissolved in the water. 

Add 2 gallons of refrigerated water to the fermenter, top off with must (honey water mixture), stir with sanitized spoon to fully incorporate

Temperature of the must should be at or near pitching temperature, Add 1/2 recommended amount of yeast nutrient and energizer (listed on each bottle not sure the exact amounts off the top of my head)

Pitch yeast, close and attach airlock
1 month primary at 68f
2 months secondary or until clear at 68f
6 months bottle age at 66f

Mead is more like wine to make as I found out.  Making it is far easier than beer but you need to babysit the fermentation more, adding additional yeast nutrient and energizer as well as degassing .  I  added additional yeast nutrient and energizer at 24 hours and 3 days into fermentation, using 1/4 the recommended amount both times

Status and Results
Mead Bottled

Like I stated earlier I split this batch in the secondary.  The portion with the apples oak and vanilla cleared much faster and I was able to bottle that at the 3 month mark and sneak a taste.  It is pretty dry which I like and was expecting from the FG.  It actually tasted allot like a sauvignon blanc but with a bit of a honey and olive aftertaste.  I think it is pretty good and since it is not even close to mature yet it should get much better.  The "show" mead is still in the carboy having been racked a few more times and is still a bit cloudy.  I have moved this to the fridge in hopes of cold crashing it to try and clear it up.  Right now it is about four month old and still waiting on it to clear so I can bottle.  I will keep you updated and I am looking for a side by side taste test in a few months.

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