Making mead

I thought today I would shift gears a little and write about making mead.

Some of you may know that I have been making mead for over two years now.  I started off with a one gallon batch; used three pounds of honey, 12 cups of water and a packet of yeast.  After about two months, I used one campden tablet (releases sulfur into solution, which killers bacteria… and not yeast)… I had to drink most of it quickly, as I stated above, campden tablets do not kill yeast, and the fermentation continued once the bottles were corked, and the CO2 build up popped all of the corks out of the bottles.  The mead wasn’t bad, but I really didn’t know much of anything about what yeast like to eat (other then sugar) and what all was involved.

The next batch was a full 5.5 gallons.  I had read up more on what I was supposed to be doing and figured I would up my game.  4 gallons of water and 15 pounds of honey.  One large orange and four oz of dried elderberries.  I let this one ferment for about two months before I racked (the term rack, racked or to rack, is a brewing/winemaking term that means to transfer) it into secondary fermentation, where it stayed for another two months, I was going to make damn sure that the fermentation was complete.  This “melomel” or honey wine with fruit has been the best thus far.

Since I had gotten into making beer, I have not made any wine in the past 9 months.  I figured it was a good time to start something that would eventually be able to start filling the 60+ wine bottles I have saved and are taking up space.  So two weeks ago, I started a new batch of mead (this one will be a cross between a methaglin, spiced honey wine and a melomel)

I started with a little more then 4 gallons of water, 12.5 pounds of honey and an orange from the tree in the back yard.  I heated the water, to help the honey dissolve into solution, to 170 degrees for about 20 minutes.  I then took the pot out to my porch (it was raining outside) to help the must cool.  Once the must was cooled to about 68 degrees (yeast’s happy place) I tossed in my yeast.  I had two half used packets of yeast, so I tossed them both in.  One was Pasteur Champagne yeast, the other was Lavlin D47.  All of this is in a 6.5 gallon glass carboy.  The OG (original gravity or the measure of amount of sugar in solution) was 1.097, with this yeast, I imagine the final gravity will be in the 1.007 range, which should give me a beverage that is approximately 12.5% ABV.

Once the primary fermentation is complete, I am guessing it will take about six to eight weeks, I will rack into a secondary fermenter, in this case a 5 gallon carboy.  I have a couple vanilla beans that I will split and drop in, to extract the essence in the vanilla beans, a higher level of alcohol is helpful.  I will also add two or three cinnamon sticks.  I will let the metha-mel mead do it’s thing in secondary for about three months and then I will bottle.  I should get approximately 24 750 ml bottles from this batch.  I plan to age these for at least another 6 months, if not a year before I start drinking or giving away as gifts.

So that is just about it.  That is my most recent recipe for mead.  Eventually I will share with you some of my other recipes as well as some of my beer recipes.

Have a wonderful weekend!