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Thread: Mead Recipes

  1. #1
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    I thought I'd start a new topic to concentrate the ideas here, rather than one topic per recipe. Here's the one I tried last fall which worked GREAT.

    about 4-5 lbs of honey (not measured accurately)
    add enough water to make less than a gallon
    Bring to a boil with fresh rosemary, a large bunch--say about a dozen stems with leaves
    the rosemary helps in skimming off the wax that comes out other recipes I tried were very hard to skim the wax)
    Boil only long enough to skim wax foam
    Once it's skimmed, turn off the heat.
    At room temp in bottle, add yeast nutrient, pitched wine yeast.

    Once bubbling stopped, added a teaspoon of wine clarifier, kept in glass for another two weeks before bottling. It already tasted fantastic at bottling.

    FWIW: some other mead I made was a little weak, perhaps 2-2.5 lbs honey/gallon and a few ounces of hops, and adding one sprig of rosemary per bottle at bottling time was enough to make it better, but the stronger mead without any hops is definitely better yet.

    Final note: figs do NOT make a good melomel.

  2. #2
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    Is this for a 1 gallon batch? What yeast did you use?

  3. #3
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    Here's my current favorite:

    6 lbs frozen raspberries
    7-8 lbs light honey
    4 gallons distilled or soft spring water
    1/2 tsp lactic acid (88% solution)
    1 teaspoon irish moss powder
    1-2 oz coursely grated fresh ginger
    2 oz whole crushed corriander
    1 33 oz bottle of Marco Polo Raspberry syrup (from Croatia/Serbia contains only cane sugar and raspberry juice)

    Montrochet (1 package) Lalvin 1118 (1/2 package)

    Preboil 1 gal of water and allow to cool overnight in refrigerator

    Bring 3 additional gals of water to a boil with the spices and acid. Add honey with the heat off. Stir well. Dilute the moss with wine or cold water, add and turn the heat back on until the liquid just starts to boil again. Skimming is optional but helpful. Place frozen raspberries into primary and pour boiling liquid on top. Once the fruit is completely thawed, add the additional gal of preboiled water. Rack to glass secondary after 10 days (5 gal) and top off with raspberry syrup. Sample at 1 month. Adjust sweetness with honey at this point. Bottle with 1 cup of cornsugar after 3 months. Store in a cool place to avoid explosions (very high carbonation level). This recipe was modified from the "Joy of Homebrewing"

    [size="1"][ March 09, 2006, 10:37 AM: Message edited by: Aspera ][/size]

  4. #4
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    It is normally not a good idea to boil honey, whether it is mixed with water or not. The reaon is because it will break down the complex sugars that add some of the flavor to Mead. Once honey boils these sugars are broken down into much more simple sugars, water, and oxygen. Although boiling has been used for quite some time, and does still work well I would try putting the mead in the preheated (125 - 150 F) oven in a pot large enough to hold it (or the honey with equal portions o water to honey, and any fruits or spices that are to be boiled in) for half an hour to an hour.

    This is of course a personnel taste oppinion so take it as you will. an these two recepies look rather good thanks for th posting.

  5. #5
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    I've made many dozens of batches of meads using every method imaginable (including natural cold whole comb fermentation) and I prefer short boils or high temp pastuerization. A short boil improves the dramatically improves clarity and has no effect on the flavor unless you desire a "natural" fermentation with bacteria.

  6. #6
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    I'm guessing it's a difference between a dry and a sweet mead then because of the few batches i have made (all sweet, still learning how to make a dry mead) the one i boiled, although there was more clarity it wasn't as flavourful, but that was possably due to something else aswell.

  7. #7
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    Boiling will precipitate proteinaceous matter, thus clarifying the mead, especially if the mazer skims the scum during the boil. It also, however, drives off some of the more volatile aromatic compounds and can detract from complexity (think "my house smells like honey because those smells are not in the must anymore but in the air"). Good mead is made in many ways.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  8. #8
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    Perhaps, but its always seemed to me that the fermentation process drives off most of those compounds when carbon dioxide is evolved by the fermentation process.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mead Recipes

    Quote Originally Posted by Aspera View Post
    I've made many dozens of batches of meads using every method imaginable (including natural cold whole comb fermentation) and I prefer short boils or high temp pastuerization. A short boil improves the dramatically improves clarity and has no effect on the flavor unless you desire a "natural" fermentation with bacteria.
    I would really like to find out more about your natural cold whole comb fermentation. please, oh please!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Mead Recipes

    I guess when I pour warm water onto drained cappings and repeat until I get the specific gravity I want it is not whol comb fermentation but it makes good mead out of fine aromatic unheated honey. I suppose if someone wanted to scratch cappings and put in a comb and let the natural yeasts take care of things or more likely those from my wine yeast saturated house, you would have a romantic if unmeasured and controlled fermentation. Some good meads can be made that way and I have tasted real swill made that way. I prefer a measured approach with as few unknowns as possible. If you want boiled honey, just use the melter honey that is already ruined anyway. I have ten gallons of fantastic chokecherry bochetomel made with the blackened stuff you can't sell.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Mead Recipes

    My main reasons for asking about whole comb fermentation are:
    1. I'm lazy and impatient, i.e. I don't want to wait for the honey to drain out or spin it out.
    2. I've heard that the pollen is great yeast nutrient, this would negate the need to purchase chemical nutrients.
    3. I want to use TBHs and from what I have read they get larva, honey, pollen, etc. all mixed up anyway. and you can't spin them...
    4. I have read that staggered nutrient additions is the way to go with mead. Having the pollen and honey slowly released from the comb as the honey dissolves sound like a great way to accomplish this. (see reason 1).

    I do plan to use good yeast, Lalvin KIV-1116 to be exact, this should prevent any unacceptable yeasts from giving uncontrolled outcomes.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Mead Recipes

    A good recipe-making method is to keep notes on the honey, the water (test it!), and to put the same 5- or 6-gallon mix into 1 gallon bottles. Start by varying the yeast in each 1-gallon bottle, D-47, 1116, Montrachet, etc., so you learn what the yeast does.

    Next batch, stick with a favorite yeast, then get the honey-to-yeast ratio fine-tuned.

    Next batch, keep the pounds honey, grams of yeast, and pounds of water stable, then vary the spices (if making a metheglin), or the amount of fruits (if making a melomel, cyser, etc.), or other flavoring elements. The amounts of total sugar will have to be accounted or run another batch to adjust for additional sugars.

    Bottling your meads (melomels, metheglins, etc.) for aging keeps your carboys available for the next batch.

    The one-gallon bottles save a lot of money over carboys ( I'm a beginner using 3 carboys and 25 one gallon bottles) in allowing systematic approach. If you are skilled at very accurate measurement and keep meticulous notes, you can even get away with mason jars if you happen to have lots of them, which many beekeepers do.

    I do start each effort with a recipe, and vary the amounts in each step in order to get a repeatable, fine-tuned recipe. So far, it is quite surprising how much one can improve on an old recipe that "almost" hits the nail on the head.

    While making mead is not always an exact science, a really accurate scale or balance is a big help, and I use a small, electronic Ohaus digital scale as well. Smaller batches require more accurate weighing of ingredients to get consistent results, but the advantage is in the ability to fine-tune your recipes on the cheap. The more and better your controls (like a water test kit), the easier it is to repeat a good batch. Get help with the mathematics of scaling if you are intimidated by it. Mathematicians usually love practical challenges, especially if they taste good!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Mead Recipes

    [Just buying Ken Schramms excellant book, The Compleat Meadmaker is a lot faster and cheaper. You can make really good mead right away if you can follow directions. I can,t and still have made some really good ones. I just cant drink it or give it away fast enough to justify many batches.lotUOTE=kilocharlie;1138349]A good recipe-making method is to keep notes on the honey, the water (test it!), and to put the same 5- or 6-gallon mix into 1 gallon bottles. Start by varying the yeast in each 1-gallon bottle, D-47, 1116, Montrachet, etc., so you learn what the yeast does.

    Next batch, stick with a favorite yeast, then get the honey-to-yeast ratio fine-tuned.

    Next batch, keep the pounds honey, grams of yeast, and pounds of water stable, then vary the spices (if making a metheglin), or the amount of fruits (if making a melomel, cyser, etc.), or other flavoring elements. The amounts of total sugar will have to be accounted or run another batch to adjust for additional sugars.

    Bottling your meads (melomels, metheglins, etc.) for aging keeps your carboys available for the next batch.

    The one-gallon bottles save a lot of money over carboys ( I'm a beginner using 3 carboys and 25 one gallon bottles) in allowing systematic approach. If you are skilled at very accurate measurement and keep meticulous notes, you can even get away with mason jars if you happen to have lots of them, which many beekeepers do.

    I do start each effort with a recipe, and vary the amounts in each step in order to get a repeatable, fine-tuned recipe. So far, it is quite surprising how much one can improve on an old recipe that "almost" hits the nail on the head.

    While making mead is not always an exact science, a really accurate scale or balance is a big help, and I use a small, electronic Ohaus digital scale as well. Smaller batches require more accurate weighing of ingredients to get consistent results, but the advantage is in the ability to fine-tune your recipes on the cheap. The more and better your controls (like a water test kit), the easier it is to repeat a good batch. Get help with the mathematics of scaling if you are intimidated by it. Mathematicians usually love practical challenges, especially if they taste good![/QUOTE]

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Mead Recipes

    Quote Originally Posted by CHopper View Post
    My main reasons for asking about whole comb fermentation are...
    I am doing it in most natural (to me) way. First, since I am foundationless, I crush and strain my honey. The leftovers are some honey and crushed wax - this is a material for my mead. I just mix honey-wax with cold boiled water in the pot, so water just cover the wax. I add a cube (1 in) of the pollen honeycomb I keep in freezer. Mix everything and let it sit for a few days to start natural fermentation. Periodically mix. When fermentation on its way (obvious) - I filter the mixture and transfer the liquid in 1 gal bottles for fermentation (I am small scale). I measure the density and adjust it if necessary (d=1.120). Instead water airlock, I am using fresh condom with tiny hole (needle) at the tip - this is how my grandfather teach me to make a grape vine. Natural fermentation is slow - it takes 1-3 months to complete the process. I rack the mixture 1-2 times when fermentation slows down (condom is not firm). Once fermentation over (condom caput), I let it sit for 2-3 weeks and pour the liquid into Perigrino 0.75l bottles. Let it sit for a few months. Remove from precipitate a few times. I adjust sweetness and alcohol content by mixing different batches. It is ready to drink within 1 year. Good luck with your mead!
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Mead Recipes

    Vance - Thanks for the book recommendation, I'm getting the hint that Ken's book is probably the best available. The recipes abound - and I printed Ben Brewcat's basic introduction sticky article and laminated it.

    Basically, I recommend starting with a recipe and fine-tuning it. Many old recipes are not that specific, assume you already know how to make wines, etc., so this is the reason I posted the method. It would be great if most recipes said to "add honey in small amounts, dissolving it thoroughly, until the starting specific gravity is 1.120", or something like that!

    But most are published in pounds, and how accurate is your scale? Most people don't know their's. If you are mixing in small batches like one gallon, errors are much greater in percentage than in larger batches.

    Using a magnifying glass when reading your hydrometer and your scale is a good idea, and getting a large thermometer is another.

    True, some recipes are more forgiving than others, but some are not that forgiving, resulting in cork rockets and other undesirable outcomes if errors are large and batches are small.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Mead Recipes

    That is what potassium sorbate is for.

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