Orange Blossom Mead Update

Yesterday, I decided to check on the progress of my Orange Blossom Mead that’s in primary. So far, I am about three weeks into primary fermentation.  I was not disappointed in what I found.  I took a hydrometer reading and it came out to 1.004, down from 1.103.  I would say that primary fermentation is about done! I will take a couple more readings next week just to be sure.

Hydrometer Reading of 1.004

I also decided to take a little taste of the sample (the best part of the process).  I was expecting to get pure rocket fuel.  I was very pleasantly surprised with the taste! I didn’t get any of that rocket fuel that can happen with meads after primary fermentation.  I think that the staggered nutrient additions helped with that.  It was dry, but not too dry, and very flavorful! I’m very happy with the progress so far!  Next weekend it should be ready to rack over to secondary.

Until next time, happy brewing/mead making!

Joe’s Quick Grape Mead

Time for another batch of mead.  This time, I decided to do a one gallon batch of Joe’s Quick Grape Mead.  If the recipe holds true, this  mead should be ready in about five weeks!  The mead itself will ferment out dry since I’m using the Lalvin EC-1118, which is a champagne yeast.  Once primary fermentation is complete, I am going to stabilize and backsweeten.   I do plan on cutting the amount for sweetening to 3 oz of honey and 3 oz of grape juice.  I want to add just a little bit of sweetness.

2 pounds clover honey, 64 oz Welch’s Grape Juice with Vitamin C added

 

Here’s the recipe that I used.  The recipe called for an ounce of buckwheat honey, but I did not have any on hand.  So I just added an extra ounce of clover honey.

2 pounds Clover Honey

2 ounces Buckwheat Honey (I just put an extra ounce of clover in since that is what I have on hand.

1/8 tsp of pectic enzyme (I did not use as the juice is already clear, and the author added a comment saying probably not necessary)

64 oz Welch’s Grape Juice with Vitamin C added

Balance water needed to make total volume 1 gallon

Lalvin EC-1118 Yeast

Backsweetening:

3 oz clover honey, 3 oz Welch’s Grape Juice, 1/2 tsp sorbate, crushed campden tablet

The Starting Gravity came out to about 1.10.  Now to wait two weeks before I check on it. I can’t wait to see how it comes out!

SG about 1.10

Until next time, Happy Brewing/Mead Making!

 

Orange Blossom Traditional Mead

Last Saturday, I got my first ever batch of mead under way.  I’ve always been intrigued by mead.  In the marketplace, it’s not really all that common.  There’s a local meadery where I live called Misty Mountain Meadworks.  The proprietor is also a member of our homebrew club, Shenandoah Valley Homebrewers Guild (yes, he also home brews beer!). He did a presentation at one of our meetings and brought samples for all of us to try.   After my first sip, I was hooked.  I have to try to make this!

Mead is a very simplistic beverage.  After all, it’s just honey, water and yeast.  When you start to do some reading on the subject, it can get pretty intimidating.  Mead fermentations can seem to take forever with honey’s complex sugars.  As long as you give the yeast the tools that it needs (nutrients), they will do their job.  I’m in no rush whatsoever, as I am viewing this as my long term project.

15 pounds of Orange Blossom Honey

I purchased my honey from Dutch Gold Honey in Lancaster, PA.  The price wasn’t bad ($60 shipping included), and I got my shipment pretty quick since I’m only a couple states away in Virginia.  For this traditional mead, I used 15 pounds of Orange Blossom Honey, and 4 gallons of filtered water. For the yeast nutrients, I used 2 tsp of yeast nutrient and 1 tsp of yeast energizer. The yeast that I used was Lalvin 71b-1122.  The whole process of getting it into the bucket was simple, it just involved a lot of stirring! I used the no-heat method, as I wanted to preserve as much of the aroma of the honey as possible.  I did have the help of a cordless drill and a wine degassing wand to make the job a little easier. 🙂  For the nutrient and energizer, I measured them out and weighed it on a scale.  I divided the combo into four additions.  I added the first addition to the must before pitching the yeast, and then another addition each day after stirring for the other three additions.

Rehydrated Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast

After all this stirring in the bucket I took a gravity reading with the hydrometer, and it came out to 1.103.  This is officially the highest gravity thing that I have ever made! It should come out to about 13% alcohol by volume. I’m going to let it sit in the bucket for about a month before I start to take gravity readings to see how it is progressing.

Gravity reading of the must

Until next time, happy brewing and mead making!

Edit: It has been brought to my attention that I am reading my hydrometer incorrectly.  The SG is actually 1.112. I don’t usually brew/make anything that has this high of a starting gravity!