she’s asleep, ferment something!

daddy drinks because I cryThats what I thought last friday when I was home taking care of a child who was just sick enough not to go to daycare. When the little angel took her afternoon nap I remembered that there was a bucket of 5kg of honey waiting to be turned into mead. “Perfect, it should be just enough time!” It was close but I was finishing the cleanup when I heard her cry out to be freed from her crib.

Mead is not one of my favorite drinks but I do find it interesting enough to make a batch every year or two. Thankfully my mother in law really seems to like what I have made so far. Sweet meads are definitely not my thing so all I have made are dry meads. The nice thing about mead is that you can very easily and quickly make it at home. Just grab some honey, mix with water and pitch some yeast. The bad thing about mead is that it generally needs to age for at least 6 months before you want to drink it (a year is better). My last batch of mead still needs to be bottled after aging for almost 2 years (post coming on that soon I hope). It was tasting very nice last time I drew a sample off of it.

15 liters of Sleep Like a Baby Mead (temporary name):

OG 1.108
expected ABV 14.5% (if the yeast plays along)

5kg of mystery honey (lost the info but it seemed like wildflower honey)
edit: I found my info and apparently it is Linden blossom honey
11 liters of water in total
3g Wyeast yeast nutrient
1 packet of properly re-hydrated dried Kitzinger Bordeaux yeast

crystallized honeyProcess: In a large pot I combined 4 liters of water with the 5kg of honey. This brought the volume up to 8 liters. On the stove, the mixture was brought up to 70-75 celsius (158-167F). Since this batch of Honey had been sitting quite a while it had all crystallized so it took a while to dissolve. After it was dissolved I added the yeast nutrient and let the brew sit at 70-75 for about a half an hour. There is a big debate in the Mead making world whether or not you should boil your mead or make it cold, so I go in the middle and try to hit pasteurization temps. Hot enough and long enough to kill most spoilage critters but not hot enough to drive off too many aroma compounds. The pot was then stuck in the sink with cold water to try to cool it down a bit. While that was cooling I put an additional 7 liters of cold water into my fermentation vessel. Once I added the must, or honey-water, to the vessel the temperature was right around ideal yeast pitching temp. Pitch yeast, shake it a bit, set aside and clean up.

This will be the strongest mead I have made yet. All the others have been in the 1.080 OG range and ended nice and dry, around 0.996 FG. This one may end up just a touch sweeter, but if it does become super dry I won’t be disappointed. This mead will also be the first time I will use some oak in a mead, which I will add when I rack it over in about a month.

If you’ve never brewed up a mead it may be worth a try. In under two hours you can whip up a batch and have the kitchen all cleaned up.

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