After several months of planning and a trip to Cape York and the US getting in the way, we finally got around to making our first mead.
The process seems simple enough, mix honey and water, add yeast (and nutrient) and let it do it’s thing for a year or so.
However, the aim was to have something which will be drinkable next winter (about 8 months away) we we ended up deciding on doing 2 meads, a slightly weaker, drier one which should be ready by winter, and a stronger, sweeter one which might have to wait until next year.
Mead No. 1
For this one we went with a single, fairly neutral flavour honey called Goomboorian Gold raw honey. In in 5L of water we used 2kG of honey. This turned out a little stronger than planned at ~1.140 OG so we added some more water to bring it to 1.120, which should end up at ~10% alc.
There are some vastly differing opinions on the internet about whether you need to boil or pasteurise the honey for mead, or whether you can just add it straight to the fermentor. In the end we decided to go for a middle ground an heated it to ~60C for ~15mins. I have no idea if this is enough to be even remotely effective at killing off any wild yeast/bacteria, but we’ll find out in 9 months I guess…
Mead No. 2
For this one we aimed a little higher at ~15% alc and a bit more flavour with some more interesting honeys. We had a little leftover from the first mead, and to this added 1kG of “Mountain honey” from the mangrove mountains in NSW, ~250g of Leatherwood honey from Tasmania and ~500g of mystery dark honey from QLD. The gravity for this one is a little higher at ~1.045 and the colour is much darker.
The idea is that this one should come out a bit sweeter as the yeast can’t handle the higher alcohol content at the end of the ferment. It then doesn’t fully attenuate, leaving behind a bit of residual sweetness. But, this is obviously very dependent on the particular yeast used and since we’ve never made a mead before or had anything to do with wine yeasts we’ll just have to wait and see.
Comparison: The darker honey in mead No. 2 results in a much deeper colour. Flavour-wise, we’ll have to wait and see
Science bitches! Measuring the gravity.
We used a single 8g packet of SN9 wine yeast split between the 2 batches. It was rehydrated in some warm water and some premium harvest wine nutrient.
The finished product (or it will be in 9 months…)
Obviously, the most important part of a mead is the name – without a cringe-worthy pun-based name even the best tasting mead will leave you feeling unsatisfied. We’ve got some time until we need to lock it in but the forerunners at the moment are “I got what you mead” and “I mead you tonight, honey”. I think that with a bit of brainstorming over some homebrews we can improve on these quite a bit, we’ll keep you posted.
That’s all for now!