Mead?

For those making mead and related drinks
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Uncle Joshua

Mead?

Post by Uncle Joshua » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:01 pm

I was having a chat with my son in law about mead today. We have both heard of it but never tasted it. I'm already brewing beer as a gift for him at Christmas but now fancy brewing 23l of mead too.

Has anyone got a recipe and directions?

bazza

Re: Mead?

Post by bazza » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:57 pm

Are you looking for a dry mead or something sweeter? It's essentially just honey, water, and yeast along with some yeast nutrient to help the yeast along. How much honey you use and which yeast determines if it's dry or sweet.

Bezland

Re: Mead?

Post by Bezland » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:36 am

I don't know if it's any use, but mead also caught my interest over the weekend and in my reading I stumbled accross www.gotmead.com No idea if any of the information is any good as I've never made mead before, but it did entertain me for a while and could be a good starting point.

danbrew

Re: Mead?

Post by danbrew » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:31 pm

Joe matollis ancient orange mead has something of a following and is ready for drinking quite early by all accounts. True mead, honey, water, yeast nutrient and maybe a bit if acid takes a good 6 months to a year before its anything like drinkable...

Stating the obvious perhaps, but unless you really like honey I wouldn't bother. I made 6 bottles about 2 years ago, tried a bottle about a year ago and the other 5 are still under the kitchen cupboard! It doesn't seem so different to mixing vodka, honey and water - which would be ready a damn site sooner!

Uncle Joshua

Re: Mead?

Post by Uncle Joshua » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:02 pm

It can't be that bad, can it? monks used to love it.

I was after something to pass around at Chrismas that was traditional but people would enjoy.

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Re: Mead?

Post by oldbloke » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:22 am

Until we managed to get ships to the West Indies, there really wasn't much sugar available here at sensible prices, except for honey. That's why mead was so common in Ye Olden Tymes. Sugar beet wasn't used to make sugar from until after we started importing cane sugar, it was just used as animal feed.

If you're going to make mead, as far as I can make out you either need to use an expensive honey that has some flavour, or a cheaper one and add some flavour some other way. I did a melomel with a load of cheap honey and a couple of pounds of mixed berries, which is rather nice now it's had about 6 months maturing. Maybe more common is a bit of citrus for flavour and nutrient, and some spices. Loads of recipes all over the net, but gotmead.com seems to be a bit of a nexus.

Personally I'm of the opinion that mead should be still and as strong as possible, like a weak liquer, but others prefer sparkling and/or around 8%. It's up to you.

danbrew

Re: Mead?

Post by danbrew » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:43 pm

Uncle Joshua wrote:It can't be that bad, can it? monks used to love it.

I was after something to pass around at Chrismas that was traditional but people would enjoy.
It's not bad if you like honey, but personally I can take it or leave it. There'd be no harm in doing a gallon ,
nothing ventured nothing gained... But if it's something for Christmas your after i'd go for Joe's ancient orange which Google will find for you, it originates from the gotmead site.

Alternatively, try Google ohbeary's spiced apple wine which is a great Christmas drink... Defo get that started now for crimbo though.

If you can't find it I can post a link when I get to a pc...

bazza

Re: Mead?

Post by bazza » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:27 pm

If you don't like just straight mead, you can go with cysers (apple juice and honey), pyments (grape juice and honey), metheglins (spiced meads), or melomels (fruit meads), or even a braggot (malt and honey). There are a wide variety of options for working with honey!

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seymour
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Re: Mead?

Post by seymour » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:08 pm

Honey is very expensive, and several pounds per gallon are required, so you'll probably only want to make a 3 gallon batch at most. I promise you, if you combine a bunch of honey, a bottle of IKEA lingonberry concentrate, a small cup of tea, and champagne yeast, your holiday guests will be singing your praises for years to come.

Caddarn

Re: Mead?

Post by Caddarn » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:25 pm

Seymour,

those ingredients sound great, do you have a recipe/method for it?

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Re: Mead?

Post by seymour » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:52 pm

Caddarn wrote:Seymour,

those ingredients sound great, do you have a recipe/method for it?
Somewhere I do, I'll have to dig around, as it was a long time ago. Mine was a little more elaborate than that, but not much. I called it Seymour Nordic Melomel because it contained assorted Scandinavian berries and I was aiming for a highly alcoholic Viking drink. It was a definite crowd pleaser from the beginning, as you can imagine. Who wouldn't love something that tastes like honey-sweetened cranberry juice with a sneaky alcoholic warmth? It came out almost 9% alcohol, but you'd never know it 'til you fell on your ass. As with all mead/melomel it kept getting better and better. Miraculously, I was disciplined enough to age a few bottles. Last summer I shared the last one at four years old, and the guys still talk about it being the greatest thing they ever tasted. I don't know about that, my Rhodomel (15.5% ABV) was pretty good, too :)

Caddarn

Re: Mead?

Post by Caddarn » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:17 pm

It sounds awesome! I've made the Joe's Ancient Orange and it's aging at the moment. I've tried a few commercial brands here in the UK, Moniack Castle being my favourite followed by Lindesfarne and I definitely prefer sweet over dry.

I'd very much appreciate if you'd post the recipe if you come across it.

fatbloke

Re: Mead?

Post by fatbloke » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:49 am

seymour wrote:Honey is very expensive, and several pounds per gallon are required, so you'll probably only want to make a 3 gallon batch at most. I promise you, if you combine a bunch of honey, a bottle of IKEA lingonberry concentrate, a small cup of tea, and champagne yeast, your holiday guests will be singing your praises for years to come.
Another suggestion would be not to use champagne yeast.

It blows far too much of the aromatics and finer flavour volatiles straight out the air lock.

A lot of HBS, when asked, suggest it, I'm presuming because they know bog all about making meads and use the presumption that any amount of fermentable sugars would need it.....

Wrong.

I stick with Lalvin yeasts because they publish more comprehensive data than any other producer. Which makes it easier to work out likely results, nutrition levels, etc etc.

K1-V1116 is a good yeast for traditional type meads. As is D47 but you may need to keep the fermentation temp down to 70F/21C as its known to produces fusels above that. 71B makes excellent meads and is good if theres any fruit element but batches that are made with it need to be racked off the lees within about 2 months or so of ferment completion as its not a good yeast for sur lie/batonage ageing.....

I generally use about 3 to 3.5lb honey per gallon so my batches start at the 1.100-1.110 sort of area.

If you like strong and sweet, then making it as a sack mead might be the thing. You can work out the likely amount of honey for 18 % but start the batch much lower and as long as the nutrition is good, step feed the extra honey until the batch poops out and the yeast won't ferment any further. Just that the stronger it is, the longer the ageing generally.

Back sweetening, acid addition, tannin additions, secondary/tertiary fruit additions can all be used to mask the often hideous flavours that are young meads.

I generally use fruit in the 3lb per gallon area and half goes into primary and the rest into secondary. Fruit batches (except JAO) are started in buckets as it easy as hell to get excess foaming/foam eruption especially if the fermenter has a built in fountain jet/nozel like a DJ/carbouy.....

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