Its time for my first published mead recipie.
Apple Pie mead – the name alone brings water to your mouth. Unless you’re Isaac Newton- and have a weird fear for falling apples.
My first encounter with this absolutely amazing liquor was a few years ago when i befriended a polish brewer who i met at a viking market. ( did i mention im a viking reenactor? No horned helmets though )
The aroma rising from the bottle as he popped the cork was simply beyond heaven.
Fresh apple, cinnamon and vanilla, mixed with top quality honey. you just can’t beat it – impossible !!
So today i thought id share a little mead recipie on a mead simply called “Apple Cake Mead”.
2 Liter Autumn honey – preferably from a beefarm near apple orchards ( I’m a snob, i know … )
8 liter of fresh processed apple juice, with no preservatives.
1 cinnamon stick
1 Vanilla pod of good quality
1 package Yeast – I prefer Lalvin D47
1 portion of Yeast Nutrients.
As with all brewing, success lies not only in the mead recipie, but with the strict adherence to a clean and bacteria preventive environment.
Whatever container you’re using for this batch – make sure theres no nasties in it. Wash it, sterilize it, sanitize it. I always use Starsan.
This mead recipie calls for cold mixing of liquids and honey. If you heat up the apple juice, you run the risk of ruining the subtle nuances of flavors and scents, the characters that will decide wether the final character of this mead is good or fricckin great!!
Cook a cup of water and dissolve the yeast nutrient there – or as the instuctions of the yeast nutrient package describe.
So have at it – mix in 2 liter of honey in room temperature juice, and stirr til its all dissolved. Chances are the mix is now significantly darker than with only juice. Pour in the yeast nutrient as describe on its package.
And the smell of this complete mix, should make you want to drink it already 🙂 – but please don’t.
The funny thing about this mead recipie is that it COULD actually work without commercial yeast. If you have picked your own apples and made your own juice or nectar, theres already a nice amount of natural yeast in it. This would if so, become a wild-yeast mead. While this absolutely is the natural way to go, its running a risk.
Therefore, i will in this mead recipie – well all of them really, be using commercial yeast. The reason for this is that wild yeast could produce off-flavors we really DONT want.
The yeast starter is made as normal, with a cup or so of good water, a tiny bit of the yeast nutrient mixture, and some of the must ( the honey/apple mix). Rehydrate the yeast as per description on the package.
Over the next few hours – increase the amount of must in the starter, till its nicely close to the sweetness of the must, and the temperature is equal in starter and must as well.
As mentioned before – a good mead recipie make sure theres plenty oxygene in the must when you pitch the yeast. Stir, shake, or aerate with airstone/forced oxygene – its all good. Personally i have invested in a small aquarium pump and airstone (stainless steel – DONT do an aquarium stone). This allows me to force in oxygene in the must, and make sure my yeasties have the best possible environment to make their magic.
When all is don, the must is aerated, and the yeast is pitched, close it up and attach the airlock. If you DON’T know by now what an airlock is – read my first article 🙂
Don’t forget to use your hydrometer and note down your SG. This can and should help you later on to calculate target Alcohol, and residual sweetness.
From hereon out, the process is pretty much as described in my mead making- article from earlier.
The next few dyas you should degas the bew 2-3 times per day, to make sure oxygen does not ruin your brew. Co2, which the yeast expel along with alcohol is a-ok, but oxygen ? that could turn a great brew into great .. well.. vinegar….
As mentioned in part 2 of my first mead-making article ( the link is just over here ), i usually try to place my brew on a table or similar, so when racking time come, it just makes my life easier. When the must has dropped its bubbling to 1-2 bubbles per minute – this usually takes a few weeks- then its time to rack it into secondary.
As far as any mead recipies goes, this part is pretty standard for all.
Open the brew , siphon from brewing container into secondary brewing/Aging container.
With a small batch like this i like to clarify with dual method. I crash the yeasting of the mead recipie by moving the newly racked mead from its nice, comfy place, to a brutally cold and harsh climate – a fridge specifically for this purpose. IF you brew in cold winter months you can achieve the same result by setting the brew out in the cold. Try to have it cold, not frozen. I’ve never actually frozen a brew, so what if that happens ? No clue – i crash my brews controlled, in a refrigerator. I let the brew sit as cold as i can do it, for about a week. This cause the yeast cells to go dormant and fall to the bottom.
I then rack it again, and use clarifying agent in the brew, and again leave it in the refrigerator. This minimize my risks for contamination, and does wonders for clarifying.
It’s time for the long wait. This part always gets me down in a way. Im not that good with delayed gratification, yet if i want my mead recipies to be successful and “be all it can be” ( this quote freely stolen from the U.S Army recruiters), i need time to do its work. This brew can do with 6 months in a glass carboy. Then onto Bottle , and another 2-3 months there. Trust me, its so worth the time.
Well .. its time … to pop the cap, smell the magic and drink the true nectar of the gods. Enjoy !!