mead

For those making mead and related drinks
ron

mead

Post by ron » Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:21 pm

MEAD
1 gallon batch
3 1/2 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
Process:
Use a clean 1 gallon carboy
Dissolve honey in some warm water and put in carboy
Wash orange well to remove any pesticides and slice in eights --add orange (you can push em through opening big boy -- rinds included -- its ok for this mead -- take my word for it -- ignore the experts)
Put in raisins, clove, cinnamon stick, any optional ingredients and fill to 3 inches from the top with cold water. (need room for some foam -- you can top off with more water after the first few days frenzy)
Shake the heck out of the jug with top on, of course. This is your sophisticated aeration process.
When at room temperature in your kitchen, put in 1 teaspoon of bread yeast. ( No you don't have to rehydrate it first-- the ancients didn't even have that word in their vocabulary-- just put it in and give it a gentle swirl or not)(The yeast can fight for their own territory)
Install water airlock. Put in dark place. It will start working immediately or in an hour. (Don't use grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away in the 90's - wait 3 hours before you panic or call me) After major foaming stops in a few days add some water and then keep your hands off of it. (Don't shake it! Don't mess with them yeastees! Let them alone except it’s okay to open your cabinet to smell every once in a while.
Racking --- Don't you dare
additional feeding --- NO NO
More stirring or shaking -- Your not listening, don't touch
After 2 months and maybe a few days it will slow down to a stop and clear all by itself. (How about that, you are not so important after all) Then you can put a hose in with a small cloth filter on the end into the clear part and siphon off the golden nectar. If you wait long enough even the oranges will sink to the bottom but I never waited that long. If it is clear it is ready. You don't need a cold basement. It does better in a kitchen in the dark. (Like in a cabinet), likes a little heat (70-80). If it didn't work out... you screwed up and didn't read my instructions (or used grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away) . If it didn't work out then take up another hobby. Mead is not for you. It is too complicated.
If you were successful, which I am 99% certain you will be, then enjoy your mead. When you get ready to make different mead you will probably have to unlearn some of these practices I have taught you, but hey--- This recipe and procedure works with these ingredients so don't knock it. It was your first mead. It was my tenth. Sometimes, even the experts can forget all they know and make good ancient mead.
And there you have it. You have made your first Mead. Now come the steps that must be followed to make a good, and eventually a great Mead.

Just sampling my first attempt at mead as above, bottled about 6 months ago.
Lovely. Well worth trying, just used Tescos budget honey.

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Re: mead

Post by oldbloke » Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:56 pm

Joe's ancient spiced orange mead, or something like that.
First one I made, I thought it was OK, a guest really liked it, the missus wasn't keen, so it got stuck in the back of the garage to mature.
Had a litre of so of it since, improved with age.
The 2 litres left are nearly a year on from bottling now, really ought to try them again.
I used Lalvin ED1118 champagne yeast though

Old Speckled Ben

Re: mead

Post by Old Speckled Ben » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:46 am

Started this recipe off, yesterday

Had a cheeky look this morning and it's bubbling away.....not as ferociously as I would have expected, but it's still going

Now to give it a few days before I top it off and leave it while August lol

Mitchamitri1

Re: mead

Post by Mitchamitri1 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:40 am

I have made t6wo lots of Joe Mattilis spiced and both have been great BUT remember that the better your honey the better your mead.

Old Speckled Ben

Re: mead

Post by Old Speckled Ben » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:27 am

Imagine using Manuka Honey lol

It would cost about £45 a gallon to make lol

fatbloke

Re: mead

Post by fatbloke » Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:43 am

Old Speckled Ben wrote:Imagine using Manuka Honey lol

It would cost about £45 a gallon to make lol
It's worth remembering, that the price of the honey doesn't dictate the quality of it. Manuka is expensive because of the hippy attributes its alleged to have for "health benefits". Hence the higher the "manuka factor" the more expensive.

Quality, IMO, is about how good it tastes, but also how little the processing it's had. If it's raw i.e. unfiltered, with dead bees, hive debris and other particulates, then it's probably worth it's weight, as it's easily just mixed up with water and then run through a sanitised fine cloth of some sort, too remove the debris, though you could still just make the batch as anything like that will either sink/settle out, or float and can be skimmed or just screened out. Or maybe it's been filtered, but I try to find out whether that's the case, or whether it's been "cold pressed" (the better of the two IMO).

The lack of processing will have retained all the aromatics and subtle flavouring elements, that can get lost with heating (whether that's for "pasteurisation", or just to help it being filtered). The same applies to the use of champagne yeasts. They tend to blow the aromatics and so on, straight out the airlock.

Not only that, but they would often take the batch dry - which isn't good for JAO, because it's the retained sweetness that masks most, or all of any "pithy bitterness" from the orange pith. So it's not a good, dry recipe.

It would seem that any kind of changes to the original recipe would be considered "voiding the warranty", yet it's often necessary. Maybe you can't get straight clover or orange blossom honey, or as the suggested bread yeast is a US brand, you may have to get Allinsons, or even just a supermarkets own brand.

IMO, straight, cheapest supermarket honey works fine, as there's enough other flavourings from the orange and spices that are at, or come to the front of the flavour. I also make my batches to 1 imp gallon (4.55 litres), and not 1 US gallon (3.78 litres). It still comes out fine.

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Re: mead

Post by oldbloke » Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:37 pm

fatbloke wrote: Not only that, but they would often take the batch dry - which isn't good for JAO, because it's the retained sweetness that masks most, or all of any "pithy bitterness" from the orange pith. So it's not a good, dry recipe.
Ah, that explains a lot.

fatbloke

Re: mead

Post by fatbloke » Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:34 am

oldbloke wrote:
fatbloke wrote: Not only that, but they would often take the batch dry - which isn't good for JAO, because it's the retained sweetness that masks most, or all of any "pithy bitterness" from the orange pith. So it's not a good, dry recipe.
Ah, that explains a lot.
Equally, theory would dictate, that if you made a batch and it came out dry, then if it's stabilised (sulphite and sorbate), it could be back sweetened with honey - I'd suggest something like 1.010 to 1.020. After all, a benchmark batch would come out sweet, probably a bit too sweet for some, so back sweetening to that sort of level (sweeten it a bit at a time, until the desired taste is achieved) would bring it back to somewhere close to how it should come out and then just clear, bottle and age or just clear and bulk age.

Old Speckled Ben

Re: mead

Post by Old Speckled Ben » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:00 pm

Well, it's nearly killing me, but I've managed tot to 'mess' with my mead since it went in the loft

There's 2 weeks to go until I can open the DJ

Just been it he loft and had a peek under the towel covering it up and, to my surprise, I found that all the orange segments and all but one of the raisins has sunk to the bottom

I'm going to take that as a very good sign

Let's see if I can hold on for another two weeks lol

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Cully
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Re: mead

Post by Cully » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:23 am

Caveat: I used bread yeast in the Ancient orange mead, as per the recipe and it was utter shite. Tasted of Buiscuits even a year later :(
Nothing's forgotten, nothings EVER forgotten...

Mitchamitri1

Re: mead

Post by Mitchamitri1 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:33 pm

Joe mattiolis ancient spiced is simply wonderful.

fatbloke

Re: mead

Post by fatbloke » Sun Aug 19, 2012 7:53 pm

Cully wrote:Caveat: I used bread yeast in the Ancient orange mead, as per the recipe and it was utter shite. Tasted of Buiscuits even a year later :(
Which suggests that something else was wrong with your batch. It's not yeast that makes biscuits taste like biscuits, it's the flour.

So I'm thinking that something else went awry.

In any case, it's mead, so just leave it in the bottle for even longer. There's anecdotal evidence that suggests meads will continue to improve for about 8 years or so, before hitting a plateau......

The usual complaint is that it finishes too sweet. I just cheat a little and make my batches to 1 imp gallon instead of 1 US gallon. That reduces the sweetness a little bit.

Mitchamitri1

Re: mead

Post by Mitchamitri1 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 8:55 pm

Agree with fatbloke - yeast doesnt taste of biscuits unless its a bit off. Looking at my batches I have used allinsons bread yeast from a tine and a mixture of tescos own and rowse honey.

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Re: mead

Post by Hank_Marvin » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:59 pm

Set two gallons of this going last night, activity within an hour of yeast going in and very rapid when I woke up this morning. Going to do 1 gallon of his grape pyment tonight for something drinkable much sooner then the spiced orange.

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Re: mead

Post by oldbloke » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:44 pm

Cully wrote:Caveat: I used bread yeast in the Ancient orange mead, as per the recipe and it was utter shite. Tasted of Buiscuits even a year later :(
I like biscuits!

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