Monday, January 24, 2011
No reason to talk bummer stuff all the time, how about Mead? It's making a come-back and we ought to get in on the market. I can be quite potent, up to 18 percent alcohol with the right yeast, yet aged three years can be nearly a refined as a merlot. My experience has been more on the beer making side, where you make a boiled wort and add 1 part of honey for about 2 parts of water if you can find and afford that much honey ... with the beer method you can extend the honey further by using some barley malt syrup. I wouldn't go less than a gallon of honey in 5 gallons of hooch.
The batch I last made was before moving to SPI but it would be cool to do that again - a real crowd pleaser. It was 1.25 gallons of honey topped off to 5 gallons with filtered rainwater, a handful of white crystal malt in the grain bag, and a half pound or more dose of light malt syrup. I didn't use mead yeast but more a Belgian one that would get about 10% ABV. Folks it's enough to get you schnockered don't laugh.
After being sure that the fermentation doesn't explode and then the fermentation is done, into a second carboy as a clarifier stage, a very important step. The mead must sit in total darkness for at least two weeks before bottling. We used table large wine bottles for our stash. At three years it is in its prime, but it is passable after at least one month setting in a closet and good at 9 months.
True mead is good at many temperatures from near freezing to quite warm, and should never have any cloying sweetness to it (unlike most honey beer on the market). It should be very crisp and clear, never cloudy, like a champagne but not nearly as bubbly. The beehive honey dictates the aftertaste, which can be grassy clover to musky mesquite flower. Using local honey also has the benefit of making you used to the local pollen, so as to reduce allergies. Good mead is hard to find but even though expensive, is well worth the effort.