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Mead recipes and experience

Got a recipe for a nice black cherry burgundy? Got an opinion on a yeast that you just have to share? This is the place for you.

Postby Barry M » Tue Jun 19, 2007 9:10 pm

n1mbus and I were talking about Mead as he's been looking into all sorts of tasty lookig recipes over the past few weeks. I understand you need to leave it for a good six months to mature, so it'll be a long term experiment if we try it (but would be good for Crimbo!).

So, who in the community has made Mead? And has the Mead made you happy? :)
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Postby Les_Howarth » Wed Jun 20, 2007 1:59 am

Adeptus wrote:So, who in the community has made Mead? And has the Mead made you happy? :)

I had a few attempts at mead many years ago and remember a particularly good hypocras (spiced honey + grape juice). :)
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Postby Ichiban » Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:21 am

Hi Adeptus, I make mead and have two batches maturing for a friends wedding at the moment, a mixed berry ginger mead and a mead using Chablis grape.

Freedgull posted a message about mead somewhere though I can't find it now.

6 months would make a mead, but not a good mead. Drinkable, but not representative of the quality that can be achieved if given more time. 12 months minimum is what I aim for. Make it and forget about it. For long term storage, blast some CO2 into the carboy headspace to displace the oxygen which can cause oxidation/wet cardboard taste.

There are numerous mead articles on the web, must get round to doing one myself for this site.
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Postby Barry M » Wed Jun 20, 2007 10:01 am

INteresting. So if you are storing it in a carboy for up to 12 months, is that sealed, or with an airlock?
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Postby Ichiban » Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:40 am

Use an airlock on the carboy, and make sure that it doesn't eventually dry out leaving the mead exposed to the air. A stable temp doesn't hurt either I guess, away from light and vibration.

How is it possible that Freedgulls mead post and other memebers, including my own, subsequent messages were completely deleted? Is this possible to do?
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Postby Barry M » Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:49 am

Anything is possible. Was it before or after the move to this new site format? Was it in this forum (there was a lot orearranging prior and after the move)? I'd have to investigate and see if I have original backups from the old site to see if they have disappeared. Could also be an auto-pruning setting in the forum, but that's turned off as far as I am aware. Or it could be a dodgy search if the phpBB forum keywords table in the DB (which gets stupidly and inefficiently big) got truncated somehow.

But now I'm going way off topic :)
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Postby sbillings » Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:54 am

When I was doing fruit wines I used to age them in a demijohn, with a cork bung. Is there any reason why you couldn't do this with mead?
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Postby Ichiban » Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:56 am

Not to worry, I had posted nothing groundbreaking anyway. Mead is quite easy to make and the variations are limitless. If you can free up a carboy for the duration and don't mind paying €5 per lb. of pure Irish honey then the rewards are great. Makes for a great Christmas present too!!

Of course Sean, you could use a demijohn and bung with airlock. Since I age my mead for so long, I like to make big batches and so use a carboy. My next batch will be a 30 litre base mead that I will bulk age and then flavour, or split into batches then flavour. Who knows by then?!!

Using an expensive ingredient such as honey and the long aging times involved, it would be a terrible crime for me to become sloppy with my santising duties and so I'm extra careful, especially at the initial fermentation period.
Last edited by Ichiban on Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Barry M » Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:03 pm

We've no problem setting aside demi's for a long period. We have 6 at them moment (gave about 10 away since the beginning of the year!).

What about the choice of honey? We're not talking jars of Boyne Valley are we? :D

How long were you aging the fruit wine Séan?
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Postby sbillings » Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:16 pm

It was a long time ago and patience was a big problem, but I think I managed to age a black cherry burgundy for six months.
Fermentor: Nothing :(
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Serving: Ale (4.5% Vol.)
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Postby Ichiban » Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:21 pm

There are rumours that Boyne Valley mix their honey with water and suger to bulk it up. They control about 80% of the Irish honey market because of the relative cheap price. Irish honey consumers are obviously not that pushed that this is a far inferior product to what else is available. Of course other brands are guilty of the same crime, to a lesser degree maybe, but whos to know what the actuial quality is?

I recommend pure Irish honey available in various health food stores or at farmers markets such as the one In Dun Laoighre every Sunday. This sells at €5 per pound. A little expensive compared to other honeys but the honey season is very short in Ireland, hence the high price.

I buy my honey at the Dublin Beekeepers Association Honey Day held at the end of the season in September/October each year. I've done a beekeeping course with these guys in the past and can be guaranteed that this honey is 100% pure and unadulturated, barely pasteurised, full of flavour. Check their website for more details.

Tesco and Superquinn do a range of exciting sounding honey but again their quality is unknown. I guess if you like it then it can't be too bad! I made a great traditional mead with Tescos orange blossom honey in the past and it tasted great.
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Postby Les_Howarth » Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:31 pm

Adeptus wrote:What about the choice of honey? We're not talking jars of Boyne Valley are we? :D

According to the book I used for my mead it is best to avoid any honey that contains (or might contain) eucalyptus because it produces a horrible flavour when most of the sweetness is fermented away. I think it depends on what mead you are making. If it is 100% honey then it is probably best to use the best honey you can afford. However, if there is fruit juice and/or spices in the recipe then you can probably use a cheaper honey because of the masking effects of the other ingredients (rather analagous to pale malt variety in 100% pale malt pale ale vs. a stout recipe - they don't both need Maris Otter). However, my Hypocras used el cheapo blended honey and the end result was delicious so it may not be that critical.

I've recently bought the Compleat Meadmaker but haven't yet looked at it.
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Postby Wobbler » Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:49 pm

Making mead seems like a worthwhile project. The only thing is, that I've never tasted any. It would be terrible, if after making it, to discover I didn't like it. Is there anywhere in Dublin that seels mead? Thanks
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Postby Ichiban » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:11 am

Airport duty free shops and The Whiskey Shop on Dawson Street sell a mead from Clare, Bunratty Mead. However, this is not well regarded in the world of mead and is not officially a mead at all. It is a wine flavoured with honey which means they ferment a sugar solution then add back honey to taste. The sneaky pups...

When I first became interested in mead I bought a bottle of this mead and even after my first glass I knew I could do better. It's not good stuff. Sadly I haven't found any other brands in Ireland. I've bought bottles of mead in Belgium and in England and it tasted good, but I'd love to try some of the varieties available in the States

Mead is quite popular in Poland so if you know anyone visiting there they might bring you back some.
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Postby oblivious » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:32 am

Yea, its not the good, I would not be surprised it have a quick production time
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