mead

For those making mead and related drinks
Mitchamitri1

Re: mead

Post by Mitchamitri1 » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:35 pm

joes ancient spiced mead - have made it twice to the recipe and it has been beautiful. even my wife appreciates it, but i would bottle it in 500ml with crown caps as its difficult to get through a750ml in one go.

Hank_Marvin
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Re: mead

Post by Hank_Marvin » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:45 am

Yeah I will be putting it in grolsch bottles.


Made his quick grape mead last night, so have 3g of mead brewing.

fatbloke

Re: mead

Post by fatbloke » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:38 am

Well done all who're giving it a go.

Meads, IMO, are a good place for experimentation. There's as many, if not more, variables than there is with wine. The honey, the yeast, even the water. Plus if using something to flavour with, fruit in primary, fruit in secondary. Sweetened after it's finished, left dry, etc etc etc......

They're good to experiment with, because there are no real standards. After all, the few ancient/archaic recipes kicking around are not detailed enough to be able to mirror them. They didn't have enough knowledge about what the differences in flavours meant, or where exactly they came from. They didn't have knowledge of yeast strains etc. Plus recipes that mention heating the must etc, were probably more about making the water element safe, because of the same reasons why we used to drink "small beer", rather than water. So older recipes hark back to when this was a pretty standard proceedure.

Joes Ancient Orange just happens to be a nice, simple recipe/technique, because pretty much all the ingredients can be obtained from the local supermarket, plus it's a mix, pitch and forget type method, with a relatively predictable outcome.

Sure, if you look over at Gotmead, you'll see some comments from Oskaar, that Joe would probably consider any change, however small, to be "breaking the warranty". Yet as we can't get the Fleischmanns yeast here, I've used Allinsons, Co-op own brand and a few others, all working out fine. Plus, I made my first one to "1 gallon" automatically, and of course, that was an Imperial gallon, not a US one. So it wasn't quite as sweet as some of the commentary you'd read about it - 20% more, yet with the same amount of honey, spices, fruit etc. That also came out good.

The base method is handy too know, as you can vary the fruit type, spices, etc if you want and it seems that people have achieved good results that way too....... 8) :D

lakeslad

Re: mead

Post by lakeslad » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:55 pm

1 gallon Carboy is this an American vessel?, sorry about the daft question, what would i use here in the uk?



[quote="ron"]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.[/quote]

oldbloke
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Re: mead

Post by oldbloke » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:33 pm

lakeslad wrote:1 gallon Carboy is this an American vessel?, sorry about the daft question, what would i use here in the uk?
Use a 1 gallon demijohn. OK our gallon is bigger than theirs but scale up - 25% extra of everything.

lakeslad

Re: mead

Post by lakeslad » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:24 pm

many thanks oldbloke.


lee

fatbloke

Re: mead

Post by fatbloke » Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:30 am

Or you can just stick to the weights and measures as per the recipe, but then make it to 4.55 litres/1 imp gallon. It still comes out good, just not quite as sweet as if you make it to the exact recipe and to 1 US gallon which is 3.78 litres......

Ben711200

Re: mead

Post by Ben711200 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:37 pm

What an infuriating writing style! Definitely a recipe for me to try soon though. Good to see so many having success with it.

Newt Dundee

Re: mead

Post by Newt Dundee » Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:03 pm

OK, proper uneducated and Newbie question....

3 1/2 lbs of Clover... we're not talking the butter here are we?

Sorry, ignorant question, but someone asked me if I could make them some mead and seen as I have a couple of DJ's sat doing nothing this seems simple enough for even an idiot like me to follow!

Any help appreciated, regardless of how much you would like to take the P

Newt.

oldbloke
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Re: mead

Post by oldbloke » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:00 pm

Clover honey.
Or, basically, any honey that actually has a flavour.

Which isn't cheap, which is why I now prefer to do melomels (fruit-flavoured meads) - you can use any old honey coz the flavour is from the fruit.

Newt Dundee

Re: mead

Post by Newt Dundee » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:08 pm

oldbloke wrote:Clover honey.
Or, basically, any honey that actually has a flavour.

Which isn't cheap, which is why I now prefer to do melomels (fruit-flavoured meads) - you can use any old honey coz the flavour is from the fruit.
Ah, so this is a Melomel, which means basically any old honey will do. I might be giving this a bash at the weekend.

Thank you.

oldbloke
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Re: mead

Post by oldbloke » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:27 am

Not really - in the Joe's recipe the citric is just there for essential acidity and the spicing is pretty mild and doesn't count against it being a simple mead. With a melomel the fruit is very much more upfront.

EoinMag

Re: mead

Post by EoinMag » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:37 am

The set honey from Lidl is not a bad honey, definitely one that warrants a few JAOM experiments in any case.

fatbloke

Re: mead

Post by fatbloke » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:51 am

oldbloke wrote:Not really - in the Joe's recipe the citric is just there for essential acidity and the spicing is pretty mild and doesn't count against it being a simple mead. With a melomel the fruit is very much more upfront.
Hum? Honey is acidic enough to provide the appropriate environment for the yeast. The orange and it's citric acid element are more about flavour than acidity. The whole idea of the recipe seems to be balance. If you make any drastic changes, then that's when you experience problems e.g. changing to wine yeast, which often ferments dry giving focus on the orange pith bitterness - hence it's not a good dry recipe or adding too many cloves, making it taste like some sort of cough syrup, again, a mistake.

Most of the more definitive naming of mead types are still generalisations i.e. JAO could be described as a melomel, or a methyglin. Yet a cyser or a pyment is also possibly just a melomel, but someone obviously thought it a good idea to be more specific.

As for the level of fruitiness in a brew, it's dependant on A) how much fruit is used and B) where the fruit is used in the recipe. Too little fruit in primary and you will lose most of the fruit flavour and a fair amount of any colour pigment - primary fermentation, especially the early stages, tend to blow too much of the aromatics and some of the flavouring elements straight out the airlock (the retention ability often being yeast type related i.e. some yeasts are better than others at this, and I don't like using champagne yeasts at all, as they seem to be the worst at this trait). Too much fruit in primary and you will keep more of the flavour and pigment, but you get high levels of lees and still end up with a flavour different from the original fruit i.e. a fermented taste.

Whereas, I prefer to use most of my fruit in secondary/tertiary, because (especially if the batch has been stabilised first) you retain more of the fruit flavour and colour. After all, we would make batches with fruit etc because we like the taste of the original fruit, so what's the point of not trying to keep at least some of the original flavour in the batch ?

Don't forget, while there is some generalisation with mead making techniques and various recommended ones for use with meads, these have mainly been discovered by trial and error. The greatest changes being brought about by the use of forums, website and the internet in general. And it's logical extension of the speed of communication i.e. the results of our efforts and findings.......
EoinMag wrote:The set honey from Lidl is not a bad honey, definitely one that warrants a few JAOM experiments in any case.
No, indeed you're correct, in fact all of their honeys (set or runny) are not bad honeys at all, but it's more blended for eating, hence it's use in melomels, methyglins, etc where the aim is to have a more fruity or spiced flavour at the forefront, is good. I've done a couple of traditionals with it too, but they came out unremarkable. Pleasant enough, but not outstanding, indicatative of a fair amount of processing (heating, filtration and blending).

oldbloke
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Re: mead

Post by oldbloke » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:36 am

fatbloke wrote:
oldbloke wrote:Not really - in the Joe's recipe the citric is just there for essential acidity and the spicing is pretty mild and doesn't count against it being a simple mead. With a melomel the fruit is very much more upfront.
Hum? Honey is acidic enough to provide the appropriate environment for the yeast. The orange and it's citric acid element are more about flavour than acidity.
I was meaning the balance of acidity in the final taste, not just to keep the yeast happy.
Like, Joe's recipe has an orange in it but it doesn't really taste of oranges, whereas with a melomel I expect to be able to identify the fruit used (or at least try)

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