HOW (0) MAKE MEAD, part2

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There are so many ways to make mead. I will explain the way I do it and include only the necessary steps to have a good product. I have never made a straight mead, but always add fruit and maybe spices.

Again: cleanliness and patience.

This formula will use a one gallon jug or carboy. The process is not hard. I am being as detailed as possible.

Obtain three pounds of honey. I get it during the summer from the local farmer’s market. The honey will likely be solid so start by putting the bottle in the sun or in a pot with hot water. Buy your yeast from a brew shop or online (see below).

Using a good size plastic tray or other large container (I use a large white plastic pot for making beer which has a spigot on the bottom) add two tablespoons of the cleaner to two gallons of tap water. One gallon and one tablespoon is likely enough if you are cleaning in a tray. Disassemble your air lock and place in the solution along with your large funnel and a large stainless spoon (if you will boil the must). Clean for at least two minutes. The funnel will need to be rotated so all surfaces get cleaned and this can be done by hands washed in regular soap. Then lay out all parts on a clean towel to dry. No rinsing.

I put about one half inch of the cleaning solution in the carboy and cover the opening with my clean palm and shake it up several times to coat the inside with the cleaner then drain.

The “must” is the combination of honey dissolved in tap water. Opinions vary, but I always add the honey to about a quart of hot water in a large cleaned steel pot (like one to cook spaghetti) and boil it for 10-15 minutes. This pasteurizes it. A proteinaceous debris will rise to the surface and needs to be scooped off with the spoon. Boil the must slowly and stay with it because if boiling too fast the must will overflow and cover your stove with sticky honey in an instant.

Next I fill the sink with about four inches of water and add all the ice cubes from the refrigerator and put the steel pan containing the must in it to cool to merely warm.

Next pour the must through the funnel into your carboy and add one Campden tablet (crushed if you like). Then add yeast nutrient. Read the directions on the package to find out how much is recommended.

If you plan to add fruit and spices now is the time. Apples and oranges need to be washed, cut in SMALL pieces and put in the carboy. I have lately been using unopened natural fruit juices without preservatives and will give a try to frozen concentrate.

Then add enough tap water to the carboy to take the fluid level to three inches from the top of the bottle, but no higher.

Fruit like cranberries and grapes should be washed then frozen in the refrigerator, thawed and added to the must. This is to break the skins so the juice can get out. Mashing them with a clean spoon is a good idea too.

Officially the Campden treated must should sit for 24 hours…yeah, no. I give it a few hours and proceed.

I usually put a full packet of yeast in a clean cup and add warm, not hot, tap water and mix it up and let it sit for 10 minutes or so before pouring into the must. Other people just pour it in from the package.

Don’t use bread yeast. It fades out at an alcohol content of about 8%. I use Lalvin EC-1118, Red Star Pasteur Champagne, or D-47 yeast. Which does not matter much.

Next put the assembled air lock in the carboy opening (don’t push it in to hard or the stopper may end up at the bottom of the bottle) and add enough water to it to cover the vents in the bottom of the center dome shaped part.

IMPORTANT: Just before or after adding the yeast swirl the carboy to dissolve air into it. I usually swirl for ~10 seconds 3 0r 4 times. The yeast must do aerobic metabolism to increase in mass before switching to anaerobic for fermentation to proceed.

Put the carboy in a safe place that is at room temperature.

Fermentation usually starts in 4-6 hours, but sometimes 24 or 48 hours.img_2821

 

 

 

 

 

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