Saturday, June 21, 2008

Making Dry Honey Mead - Recipe and Procedure

I'm running out of dry honey mead from my 2002 batch, so it's time to start up another. This time, I'm planning for 5 gallons, with a base of desert mesquite honey from the southwest U.S. and Mexico.

Here's the recipe for 5 gallons:
Honey - 10 pounds Mesquite wildflower honey, Trader Joe variety
Black tea - three cups, brewed strong (for tannins)
Acid blend - one tablespoon citric acid, two tablespoons tartaric acid
Yeast - ICV D254 Yeast (I considered Cote des Blancs yeast, but I saw an encouraging report of D254 use here )
Yeast starter - Go-Ferm, one teaspoon
Yeast nutrient - Fermaid-K, one teaspoon on the second day, second teaspoon the fourth day of fermentation, third teaspoon 1/3 way through fermentation

Day One: I heated a gallon of water to approx 150 degrees F, stirring while adding honey, then heating to 160 degrees F while stirring for an additional 10 minutes. Cooled this mixture. Added to 5 gallon carboy with black tea, acid blend and water to almost fill. Starting brix is 20 degrees.

Started yeast with 8 ounces of mixture from carboy, combined with Go-Ferm, then added yeast. Once yeast was well underway, I added yeast to carboy.

Day Two: First Fermaid-K teaspoon added next morning. Splash racked the mead once to add oxygen. Allowed fermentation to get underway at warm room temperature.

Day Four: Brix dropped 2 degrees. Added second Fermaid-K teaspoon. Moved carboy to cooler basement temperature for continued fermentation.

Day Seven: Added last Fermaid-K teaspoon.

Allowed fermentation to continue in cool temperatures til complete (about five weeks). I racked the clear liquid to another carboy, discarding the remaining yeast sludge. This clear liquid was topped with a heated and cooled 50/50 water/honey mix to bring effective starting brix up to about 21 degrees.

This will be left to complete fermentation again, then racked and allowed to sit for one month.

Then, one more racking with 1/4 teaspoon of potassium metasulphite added for preservation.

Aging in carboys will be allowed to proceed for approximately 12 months before bottling.

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