Mead making

These are the instructions for the people who attended Royce's mead making demonstration. Thank you Royce for all the effort that you put into this day!

MEAD MAKING

INGREDIANCES

  • 1.75kg of honey
  • 1 sachet of all purpose wine yeast
  •  (This has to be activated before you put it into the diluted honey.)
  • 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient
  • 2 teaspoons of citric acid
  • ¼ teaspoon of tannic acid
  • 1 teaspoon of malic acid
  • Campden tablets to disinfect the honey
  • so it doesn’t go off in our warm weather.
  • Water

 

EQUIPMENT

  • 1-2 demijons or flagons
  • Plastic pipe about 1.5 metres to use to siphon the wine from the lees.
  • Rubber bung and air lock from the brewery shop
  • A large saucepan in which to dissolve your honey and water
  • A hot plate or BBQ to dissolve the honey and water
  • A piece of material to put over the top of the air lock to keep flies from getting into it.
  • Sometimes if you fill the demijohn too full the fermenting wine will bubble through the air lock and run down the sides of the demijohn so it needs to be in a place where a mess doesn’t matter, but the place it ferments in must not change in temperature much throughout the day/night.
  • Patience to wait until it is matured enough to drink.
  • A mortar and pestle or something in which to crush your campden tablets.

 

STEPS

  1. Dissolve honey in an equal volume of hot water.
  2. Pour directly into your sterilized demijohn of sterilized flagon.
  3. Allow to cool and then add all the other ingredients. Add the activated yeast.Give it a shake to mix it all together.
  4. Add enough cold water to make up to a volume of 5 litres
  5. Put an air lock into the demijohn or flagon and allow to ferment out.
  6. As it does sediment (lees) will fall to the bottom of the demijohn. Use a plastic pipe to siphon off the honey from these lees. The first time this is to be done is when the bubbles going through the air lock really slow down.
  7. Once you have siphoned off the mead crush up one and a half campden and dissolve them in a small amount of boiling water (avoid the vapour of these dissolved tablets). Pout this into the mead and replace the air lock.
  8. Leave it to continue fermenting out and siphon off the wine again whenever you see a lot of lees forming at the bottom of the flagon/demijohn. Each time you siphon it off you need to add the campden tablets.
  9. Once the wine is finally clear so you can see through it and no more lees form ( a couple of months) then you may bottle the wine. I often add 30 ml of sugar syrup to sweeten the mead. This syrup is made by dissolving 140gm of white sugar into 140ml of hot water.

You can either have two demijons or flagons  and siphon from one into the other or you can have just one and siphon the wine first into another container and then clean out the lees from the demijohn and then pour the wine back into the original demijohn /flagon.

The problem with just using one demijohn/flagon is that you stand the risk of adding a lot of oxygen the wine which isn’t good at this stage.

(When you make mead the smell of the warm honey actually attracts bees.)

The mead is then left in the bottle for a minimum of 2 years before drinking, 4 years is best.

 

ACTIVATING YOUR YEAST

  1. Pour some concentrated orange or other juice into a glass measuring jar.
  2. Pour in say ½ cup of tap water and add one tablespoon of white sugar. Mix it together.
  3. Heat it in a microwave until almost boiling.
  4. Put it into a room temperature water bath and drop on ice cubes to bring down the temperature to luke warm.
  5. Make sure you carefully splash water onto the measuring glass so it also cools down.
  6. Once the water is luke warm add the yeast and stir.
  7. Wait until the yeast froths onto the surface of the diluted juice.
  8. Pour the activated yeast into the demijohn.

MAKING SUGAR SYRUP TO SWEETEN THE MEAD.

  1. Measure out 120 grams of white sugar and place in a small saucepan on the stove.
  2. Pour in 120ml of water.
  3. Heat and stir until the sugar fully dissolves. Then take it off the stove.
  4. You may add 30ml of this sugar syrup per bottle to sweeten the mead.

MAKING THE MEAD SMOOTH

  • Add one teaspoon of glycerine syrup per bottle.

 

METHEGLIN

Metheglin is made by steeping herbs/spices in the wine. It’s up to you what herbs/spices you use and how much you use.

I’ve used cloves, all spice, cinnamon and crushed ginger.

Once you’ve steeped these herbs/spices in your wine and you have the strength of taste you desire then remove them and bottle the wine. It can then be drunk within about three months instead of years, but the longer you leave it the better it will become.

The best mead is made from the darkest, strongest tasting organic honey. The darker/stronger the honey is the longer it takes to mature, but the wait is worth it.

I call mead the nectar of the gods. The oldest bottle I’ve partaken of is about 5 years and I drank it from a port glass and that glass took half an hour to drink. When I opened the bottle the whole room smelt of honey.

Good mead has a long mouth feel and lingers. You don’t have to add sugar as there is enough sugar in the honey to make the alcohol.

Royce

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