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!