Dry Honey Mead
This is another almost year long project. I think it’s about ready now but I started it back in December. I highly recommend the book I got the recipe out of; True Brews by Emma Christensen. You can get it here: http://www.amazon.com/True-Brews-Craft-Fermented-Kombucha/dp/1607743388/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435270595&sr=8-1&keywords=true+brews She actually tells you the specific gravities you are trying to reach and the appropriate alcohol levels. Other books I’ve used have been more fly by the seat of your pants, which is not something you need when embarking on a yearlong aging endeavor.
I used clover honey in mine and it came out tasting like a sweet, dry champagne. The quality of the honey you use and keeping everything sterile through the process will determine your success at this. I’m going to try this again with better quality honey since I’ve done my experimental batch with some bulk clover honey that you can buy at wine making supply stores. I got mine at Label Peelers for about $25 for a 5 lb bottle (you need 2.5 lbs for this recipe) but I’d like to try some local honey.
Equipment you’ll need:
a 2-5 gallon bucket
Starsan or other rinse-less sanitizer
1 air lock
large stock pot
pint canning jar
1 gallon jug or carboy with stopper/airlock
racking cane, siphon/hose
Ten 12 oz bottles or six 22 oz bottles and caps (makes about a gallon)
12 cups water
3 1/2 cups (2.5 lbs) honey
2 Campden tablets
1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
1 teaspoon acid blend
1/8 teaspoon tannin
2 1/2 Tablespoons honey
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons (1 packet) dry champagne yeast
1/8 teaspoon yeast nutrient
1. Sanitize a 2 gallon bucket, its lid, airlock and spoon to stir with. Anything you’re going to be using, sanitize it. Lay everything out on paper towels and avoid touching it once it’s sterile.
2. Bring 12 cups water to a simmer over medium high heat and stir in honey. Stir until just dissolved and remove from heat. Cool to room temperature.
3. Pour the honey water into the bucket. Measure your original gravity. You want a reading between 1.100-1.105. Crush 1 Campden tablet and stir it into the honey water. Snap on lid and airlock and let sit 24 hours while the tablet sanitizes the mead.
4. Prepare the yeast starter halfway through the 24 hour sanitation. Sanitize a pint canning jar and a spoon. Stir in 2 1/2 Tablespoons of honey into 1 cup of boiling water until dissolved. Cool to room temperature and add 2 teaspoons (1 packet) of yeast and 1/8 teaspoon yeast nutrient. Cover the top with plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Give it a shake and let it stand until the honey water is ready. It should be foamy.
5. Once honey is sterilized, pour in yeast starter mixture. Add 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient, 1 teaspoon acid blend and 1/8 teaspoon tannin. Stir vigorously to mix and aerate. Snap lid and airlock back on. You should see the airlock bubbling within 48 hours.
6. Let mead ferment for a week, giving it a little slosh everyday.
7. After a week, sanitize a gallon jug or carboy, stopper, racking cane, siphon hose and clamp. Transfer mead from the bucket to the gallon jug leaving the cloudy sediment in the bottom. Seal the jug up with the stopper and airlock and let sit in a cool dark place for a month.
8. The day before you’re ready to bottle, sanitize a stockpot, siphon, racking cane, etc. Siphon the mead into the stockpot. Crush the remaining Campden tablet and stir into the mead. Sanitize the gallon jug, stopper, airlock and siphon again. Put the mead back into jug for 24 hours before bottling.
9. To bottle the mead, sanitize all your bottles, their caps or corks, siphon, racking cane and hydrometer. Siphon 1/2 a cup of mead into the hydrometer and determine the final gravity. You want to get between 1.010-1.015. Siphon mead into bottles, cap and label.
10. Store the bottles in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks to a year. Longer is better. Serve chilled.