Archive for the ‘Mead’ Category

Vanilla Chai Mead

Posted: May 2, 2011 in Mead

Vanilla Chai Mead (1 gallon)
Brazilian Pepper Mead Base
1 3″ Cassia Stick
1 Whole Clove
0.05 oz Star Anise (crushed)
5 Whole White Peppercorns (crushed)
2 Cardamom Pods (split down center)
5 Whole Allspice (crushed)
* 1 Mexican Vanilla Bean
– Sliced down center, scraped, and quartered.
Ceylon Tea (Amount to be determined later)

* = Only 1 gallon made with Mexican Vanilla Bean out of two.

OG = 1.116
FG = ?
ABV = ?

05/02/11 – Racked to two 1 gallon secondaries.  Both were the same except one of the gallons was made with Mexican Vanilla Bean.  Will add Ceylon tea at a later date.


Mexican Hot Chocolate Mead

Posted: May 2, 2011 in Mead

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mead (1 gallon)
Brazilian Pepper Base Mead
1 Mexican Vanilla Bean
– Sliced down the center, scraped, and quartered.  All added to secondary.
4 oz Cacao Nibs
1 Thick 3″ Stick of Cassia
*0.4 oz of Whole Nutmeg – halved
Ancho Chilis
– Amount to be determined at later date.  Will add after spicing is done.

* = Made 2 gallons of Mexican Hot Chocolate Mead.  Only added nutmeg to 1 gallon.

OG = 1.116
FG = ?
ABV = ?

05/02/11 – Racked to secondary from the Brazilian Pepper Mead.  Only added nutmeg to 1 gallon.  I will add chilis at a later date once spicing is done.  I might add them slowly to get the desired effect as well.

Apple Pear Cyser

Posted: April 17, 2011 in Mead

Apple Pear Cyser (1 gallon)
2 qts Trader Joe’s Pear Cinnamon Cider (NO preservatives)
1.4 qts Trader Joe’s Gravenstein Apple Juice (NO preservatives)
1.6 lbs Orange Blossom Honey (Gruwell Apiaries)
.2 lbs Brown Sugar
.1 lbs Raisins
.1 lbs Chopped Dates
1 Cinnamon Stick
.2 oz Whole Mace
1 Packet (5g) Lalvin 71-B
1 tsp yeast Energizer
.5 tsp yeast nutrient
.5 tsp DAP

OG = 1.105 (1.101 without raisins and dates)
FG = 1.006
ABV = 13.0%

04/17/11 – I adapted this from Ken Schramm’s Fall’s Bounty Cyser and changed a couple ingredients.  I may add more mace and/or cinnamon and maybe clove at a later date.  I didn’t want to overdo anything in the primary and figured I could always add more.  This should finish fairly dry, and depending on how it tastes, I may backsweeten it a little bit after fermentation is complete.  I still want to come up with a squirrel related name for this guy, but my mind is drawing blanks for the moment.

04/20/11 – Fermenting like a mother.  Had to change the airlock multiple times because it kept filling with yeasties.  I think it’s under control now.  Next time I won’t brew a cyser like this in a 1 gallon jug.

06/07/11 – Racked to secondary.  Delicious.  Slight tartness from apple, smells like honey and apples, perfectly sweet.  Cinnamon and mace are a little strong in the aftertaste, but this will dissipate over time.  Nice body.

Brazilian Pepper Mead

Posted: April 2, 2011 in Mead

Brazilian Pepper Mead (4 gallons)
12 lbs Brazilian Pepper Honey
0.5 tsp Wyeast Wine Nutrient
2.5 tsp Yeast Energizer
2 tsp DAP
1L Yeast Starter WLP727 Steinberg (Lot: 1727TL3873 / Exp 06/04/11)

OG = 1.116
FG = ?
ABV = ?

03/20/11 – Made 4 gallons of this today.  Added 12 lbs of honey and then added enough water to reach a SG of 1.113-1.117.  Used a German Riesling strain that is supposedly good for metheglins.  I’m going to split this up into four 1 gallon batches and add different spices to each one.  I’m going to make a Chai mead and a Mexican Hot Chocolate mead with two of the gallons.

04/13/11 – Gravity read 1.022

04/20/11 – Gravity read 1.012.  Read this can be a slower fermenting yeast.  I’m expecting it to ferment a little drier than it is right now.  Racked to secondary container.  Will rack into a Chai mead and Ancho Chile Mexican Hot Chocolate mead after it clears some more.

05/02/11 – Did not take gravity read.  Racked to 4 separate gallon fermenters.  See Mexican Hot Chocolate Mead and Chai Mead for further entries.

Dry* Orange Blossom Mead (*Edit)

Posted: February 12, 2011 in Mead

Dry* Orange Blossom Mead (*edit)
3-3.25 lbs Raw Orange Blossom Honey (Gruwell Apiary)
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
1/2 tsp Yeast Energizer
1 packet Lalvin 71-b-1122

Primary in basement @62-63ºF ambient temp.

OG = 1.114
FG = 1.001
ABV = 14.9%

02/12/11 – Got this recipe right out of “The Compleat Meadmaker” to try as my first “real” mead (real meaning made with actual yeast nutrient and such, unlike the JOAM recipe I made).  I want an FG somewhere in the medium range (1.005-1.012).  The alcohol tolerance for 71-b is 14%.  To achieve my that final gravity, I added enough honey (just over 3 lbs) to have an original gravity of 1.114.  When the yeast poop out around 14% ABV, my final gravity should be about 1.008.  I should be left with a fairly enjoyable mead with just enough residual sweetness.

After reading The Compleat Meadmaker, I have decided to forgo any heating of the must unless directly necessary.  Heating, even to the 150ºF, can severely affect the aroma and flavor of the honey in a negative manner.  I also don’t want to presulfite my must unless directly necessary (I may use some post fermentation if I need to).  According to Ken Schramm, honey has many natural preservative properties that protect it from random infection by rogue bacteria and wild yeast.  As long as an adequate amount of yeast are pitched with proper amounts of yeast nutrient/energizer, and the meadmaker has properly sanitized everything they’re working with and practices aseptic techniques, there should be little worry, if any, about the must becoming infected due to lack of heating.

I also purchased a pH meter to help me in my meadmaking.  Most yeast prefer a range between 3.7-4.0 pH.  This is a basic recipe that assumes the pH will be ok, so I didn’t screw around with my pH meter and take a reading.  I have to calibrate it, and honestly, was too lazy to figure it out.  I will use it when I work with different yeast strains and unfamiliar types of honey.  I will be documenting the pH and anything I add to the must to adjust it.

I also used store bought spring water as the base water for my mead.  At less than $2 a gallon, I’d rather just buy water that I know is chlorine/chloramine free than sit there and treat my water with Campden tablets and other types of water salts.

Mead does not form a krausen like beer, instead, it foams when fermentation begins (and when the must is heated if you do that).  I’m hoping the foam won’t be too much of an issue to primary in a one gallon jug.  I read online that unless adding fruit or using a honey like meadowfoam, one need not worry as long as they don’t put more than a gallon in their jug.  Mine went about a centimeter above the gallon mark where the neck starts to thin, so hopefully it’s ok.  Some people also add less than a gallon and proceed to top it off with water after initial foaming occurs.  The downside to this is that I would not be able to obtain an accurate original gravity reading, but could probably end up in the ballpark using this method.

Also, I capped the gallon with a screw on cap and shook the living hell out of it for 5 mins to oxygenate the must.

I’m going to follow a lot of these general practices that I’ve outlined in this entry, so I will not be spelling out each step every single time I post a recipe, only the good stuff.  And, most importantly, the wonderful tasting notes that follow.

03/05/11 – Came out much drier than expected at this point, but very pleasant all the same.  I’ve never tasted a dry mead before, and the honey lends an excellent character that tricks your brain into thinking it’s a little sweeter than it is.  Can see how nicely my future metheglins are going to turn out.

Joe’s Ancient Orange Spiced Mead (JOAM) – (1 gallon batch)
3.5 lbs Clover or your choice honey or blend (will finish sweet)
1 Large orange (later cut in eights or smaller rind and all)
1 small handful of raisins (25 if you count but more or less ok)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole clove ( or 2 if you like – these are potent critters)
optional (a pinch of nutmeg and allspice )( very small )
1 teaspoon of Fleishmann’s bread yeast ( now don’t get holy on me— after all this is an ancient mead and that’s all we had back then)
Balance water to one gallon

Here’s a link to the process from the original post I got this from.  JOAM

OG = 1.134
FG = 1.019
ABV = 15.2%

11/30/10 – Was researching mead and decided to make this on a whim.  Most meads require adding yeast nutrient and other yeast energizers and stuff, racking at certain points, skimming the top, etc.  It’s basically a more complicated process…usually.  This recipe defies all modern convention and makes mead with bread yeast that you just let sit until it’s ready to be bottled.  I got all my ingredients from the grocery store, so if this sounds like something you’re interested in, besides the airlock and sanitizer (which you can get from any homebrew store), YOU can make this in your home.  Yes, you, who’s never brewed anything before!

This mead should be ready in 2-4 months at the earliest.  It should be drinkable then and get even better as it nears the year point.  So I whipped up 2 gallons of this and have it happily sitting in my room at about 74ºF, and that’s where it will sit for the next few months or so before I bottle it.

01/02/10 – Looks like the yeast is finally starting to drop out and settle on the bottom (about 1.5 inches or so).  Still gonna let this sit another month before doing anything with it.  I know the original post says to just bottle straight from the fermenter, but my brewing experience might secondary this guy for another couple weeks after that to further clear it up.

02/05/10 – I moved this down to my basement the other day because I was planning on bottling very soon.  It was nice and clear.  Problem is, in the process of moving it, the yeast got a little disturbed.  So I’m going to rack it to a secondary for a little bit until it clears up.  It came out to 15.2% alcohol.  It has a little bite to it, but pleasantly warm.  The spices all meld together amazingly.  It’s like drinking a fall/winter potpourri of cinnamon, clove, orange, and honey.  If this is what nice spiced mead tastes like, I’m in trouble when I start brewing a lot more of this (My 36 pounds of honey should be coming in this week).  I can’t believe it will only get better with age too.

02/12/11 – 1 week later and the top 1.5-2″ of the mead has cleared since I moved it in the basement.  I’m tempted to cold crash it, but am scared the bread yeast will get disturbed if I move it again after.  Looks like I’m going to be letting this sit for another month or so before bottling.  Hopefully I have enough other carboys for all my other random batches of beer.