Welcome to part 2 of this little how-to for mead. Lets continue from last part.
We have now made the actual must, and pitched the yeast….
Take a hydrometer, sterilize this with Starsan. Then measure the SG, specific Gravity ( sugar content) right after you have pitched the yeast.
I advice having a logbook for brewing, so you can document everything you do. This is invaluable in analyzing and learning later – whether everything succeeds or not.
Then you put the lid on your fermentation tank, and put it where you have planned it to stay for the next month or 2. I like to place it at around a meters height. it comes in handy for the SECONDARY stage.
Remember i mentioned you wanted oxygen in the must ? Now you don’t. Well- sort of. The first 48 hours after you pitched the yeast, you want to agitate the must. In other words, piss of the yeast. 2-3 times per day, th next 2 days, make sure to agitate the must , so that everything gets a swirl for about 2 minutes. This will make the yeast rock and scream, whilst at the same time release gases that you want out of the must. Just trust me on this one.
After the first 2 days, LEAVE THE MUST BE.
No – honestly, don’t
touch it. Simply forget it for 2-3 weeks. The mead will take care of itself. Make sure the seals of the fermentation bucket is nice and tight. You want air going out, not in. Check the airlock every day the first week, it might run out of water if the yeasts is having too much fun.
When you notice the airlock releasing only 1-2 bubbles per minute, then you can assume the fermentation is pretty much done.
Racking simply means to transfer the must from one container to another. Remember i advised to ferment at a meters height ?
This come in handy now. Open the fermentation container, and use the siphon to get your must from one tank to the other. For this step you can rack over to another plastic fermentation bucket if you have.Glass carboy is not required right yet.
Be careful NOT TO GET THE BOTTOM SLUDGE with you over in the new tank ( which you have cleaned and sterilized with Starsan of course.)
At this point i have measured the SG, or residual sugar, and know if the alcohol is in the range you want it to be or if you want it to ferment a bit more.
Assuming its where you want it to be, you now mix in the fermentation stopper.
This would require you to having to shake the mix vigorously several times a day, to release sulphur dioxide from the mix. After this, i back sweeten with CLEAR, filtered honey, if needed.
Place the airlock bak in and leave to rest a weeks time. Then add clarifying agent. Follow the description as its outlined on the package. this could take a few days or even a week.. Its a process …
After a week of absolute still sitting, the mead ( yeah , you can call it that now), is ready to rack to ageing.
I try as far as i can to do this in a glass carboy. Glass have zero chance of letting in air through the glass part itself.
Then comes the wait. The ageing process. This is something that cannot be rushed. I am a patient man, so providing the alcohol and sweetness levels are where they need to be, i can easily let it stay 6-9 months at this stage. This will also clarify the mead quite a bit more -if possible.
The bottling is the last step on this long and winding road. Use the siphon to transfer crystal clear mead, ready and aged, into cleaned and sterilized bottles. Whether or not these are screw-cap or natural cork – even beer bottle caps, is entirely your own choice. After this, you can either transfer the bottles to bottle storage , or if the flavor suits you, consume it with friends , families and anyone you want to impress the S**T out of …
I usually drink some, and store most another year …. divine….
And that, my friends .. is the process of making mead.. Enjoy !
Traditional mead : A fermented honey beverage made from approximately one to two pounds of honey, according to about 5 Liter of water most effective.
Dry mead could have little to no residual sweetness, but must still having detectable honey notes.
Semi-sweet mead should end medium-dry, with greater honey body, and a hint of sweetness within the finish.
Sweet mead, my favorite, has the best levels of residual sweetness and honey character.
Hydromel : weak or watered mead
Sack Mead : Mead that is made sweeter with the aid of the addition of twenty to twenty-five percentage more honey; a sauterne-like beverage.
Metheglin : Spiced mead; at the beginning spiced with a mixture of herbs but lately hops have become more famous.
Sack Metheglin : sweet spiced mead; traditionally much like vermouth.
Melomel, or Mulsum : Mead made with fruit juice.
Fruit mead, otherwise known as melomel, is basically a traditional mead with the addition of fruit.
Most common among the two meads are Cyser, a fruit mead with apples, and pyment, a fruit mead made with grapes.
Cyser : A melomel made with apple juice or cider; similar to a sherry wine.
pyment, or Clarre : A melomel made with grape juice; on occasion called honey-sweetened grape wine.
Hyppocras : Spiced pyment.
So – do you feel ready for your first recipie ? .. check out this one, the “Apple pie mead”