Mead, the gift from the Gods

Mead Recipe by Warwick

“MOTHER”

This recipe is the “Mother” of every great batch I make.

 Ingredients:

  • 3kg Honey. (I buy raw honey for the natural wild yeast, but shop honey is ok (3kg = roughly 7lbs)
  • Juice of 6 Lemons/Limes, or Lemonade citrus fruits.
  • 1 oz. White Wine Brewer’s Yeast
  • Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, All-spice, and Cardamom.
  • Fresh Ginger.
  • Brewers Tannin.

Equipment:

  • 5lt Glass Demijohn.
  • Bung with hole.
  • Airlock for bung.
  • Clean Cloth for straining brew through.
  • Pots and Household utensils as directed at workshop.
  • Heat-pad for winter brewing.
  • Length of clear syphoning hose, to suit.
  • Clean bottles for storing.

General information:

  •  Sterilize your Demijohn, Airlock, and bottles, etc well, rinse thoroughly to remove all, detergents. I personally only use hot water when I set up. Particularly as I make sure I clean all of my gear straight after use. You can use fresh spices, but pre-ground spices are still very good. The ginger needs be fresh to bring out the right flavour. The citrus juice may have been frozen and stored, depending on availability at time of year.       
  • Pour the honey and 2l of water into a pot large enough to safely bring to the boil, when it just starts to bubble, turn the heat down and begin to simmer.
  •  Add your spices and ground ginger to the pot, be careful to only add the barest pinch of tannin, too much tannin can make your mead bitter. Allow mixture to simmer foe between 45 and 60 minutes.
  • Then allow it to cool enough to make pouring a safe activity. Stain your fluid through a clean wet cloth to remove larger pieces of rubbish. I use a ‘Bonds’ singlet Lol!! (One I have never worn) Once at room temp, you can add your yeast, mixing it thoroughly. Then pour you Mead mix into your now sterilized Demijohn, at this point if you need to add extra water to fill the Demijohn. Put the bung with the hole in gently pushing your half-filled air-lock in after.   
  • Chose a place within your home or shed that your brew can stay and be relatively warm, about 18 to 22 degrees Celsius. It will need to stand for at least 30 days, to allow for correct fermentation. During that time, the solids will settle at the bottom of your demijohn, try not to stir them up too often. During winter, do not place your full demijohn onto a heat pad for the first 48 hours, if you do, you will almost certainly kill both your added yeast, and the natural wild yeast in your raw honey. After 48 hours of natural brewing, if it is winter, I use a small heat pad to kick my brew along.
  • Put the heat pad on an old towel, if it is straight on a bench, you may lose heat from underneath, I then wrap my in another old towel to keep the heat in. After 30 days plus. Check if your brew is still producing a lot of gas, (This is not the tavern of the ‘Brown Eyed Barking Frog) if so hold off bottling for a week by week check. When syphoning be careful not to draw silt from the bottom up. Bottle into clean bottles of your choice, label with the date, and the bottle number (I give my brews a name, date, and bottle number) eg: 13/7/13 No; 1. This style of Mead is best left to age for at least 6 months, and after that you may drink it and think kindly of the nice, kind, caring human who taught you this recipe. 

Variations

Blood Moon

Ingredients:

  • 2 kg of Honey. (Or 4.5 pounds)
  • Pinch of Tannin.
  • 1 kg (Or 2.25 Pounds) of pitted fresh or frozen Cherries. Put the Cherries into a blender with 1 cup of water and blend.
  • Boiled water to create a 5 Liter batch.
  • 1 level teaspoon of yeast.
  1. Put Honey and 2 liters of water into a large pan, bring to boil. Then add the Cherries and tannin, bring back to boiling, and then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 10 mins, and set aside to cool. When cooled, strain the thick pulp from the liquid. (In fact I ate this pulp LOL) Leave the finer pulp as it will create the colour you are after (LOL) Now, pour the liquid into a glass demijohn, adding water to create the 5 liters you want, when the liquid is at room temp, add the yeast, making sure it is well mixed. I put the clip down lid on my demijohn and shake carefully. Put bung and airlock in, and let sit for around 30 days, or when all activity has stopped.
  2. After all activity has stopped, stain as much of the remaining pulp and sediment from the mead, and pour the liquid into a clean demijohn. Leave for at least 1 week, and then carefully syphon of the awesome red mead avoiding the remaining sediment in the bottom.
  3. I add at least 2 glace cherries to each bottle. Something to fight over when you drink this mead LOL!!!
  4. Leave for at least 6 months, chill and enjoy!!!!!

 Purple Haze

  •  1kg of honey to the original recipe, including all the spices.
  • Prepare and simmer as above.
  • When cooled down increase the liquid quantity to 10 Liters, and pour into a brewing unit with airlock.
  • Process as above, and allow it to sit for 30 days, before bottling.
  • Sit in a dark cupboard for 6 months.
  • Chill before drinking.

Forbidden Kiss

 

  • As per ‘Purple Haze’ but increase the honey content to 2kg, do exactly the same, and you will get a slightly sweeter tipple.

 Lemon Twist

  •  Although not a Mead, ‘Lemon Twist’ is an interesting brew.
  • To 5lt of water, blend the juice and seed free pulp of 6 lemons, (or citrus fruit of your choice, if you want to make it taste of your favourite fruit)
  • 1 small bottle of Almond essence
  • 1 kg of white sugar.
  • Castor sugar can be used as it will dissolve faster.
  • Bring to the boil, and simmer for 40 minutes.
  • Allow to cool before pouring into a demijohn, and adding Brewer’s yeast.
  • Let sit for 30 days before bottling, and storing for 6 months, again before chilling and drinking at your leisure. “Lemon Twist’ does not require Tannin.

Tips

 

  1. Cleaning Bottles: I clean my empty bottles by pasteurizing them. I fill them with clean water, and place them into a large pot adding water to ¾’s of the pot, placing it on the stove and heating to 65 Deg C for 10 minutes. I do not use commercial cleaners, or disinfectants. I allow them to dry in the air, or sunlight, storing them in crates in clean cupboards.
  2. Bottles: I suggest you chose a style of glass bottle that you can source regularly. I use second-hand white wine bottles. 750ml bottles seem to work best for me. And you can see, admire and enjoy the colour of your mead when you check it. Dark coloured bottles are ok, but you cannot check the colour of a batch without decanting the contents. It is also a good idea to have a supply of smaller “Test’ bottles’ say 100 to 200 ml bottles. These you can open and taste economically at around the 4 to 5 month mark to make sure you batch is progressing how you want it too. I do not use Grolsch bottles for 2 reasons. Firstly, as they are dark green you cannot check the colour of your mead, secondly I do not trust the clip down tops on that style of bottle. They can lose the tight seal you want to protect your mead, and if a bottle happens to fall over, it can in fact leak precious Mead.
  3. Demijohns: Glass versus plastic brewing demijohns, I do not use plastic brewing demijohns, as I believe they can affect the sugar in the honey, and the plastic will retain some taste from each batch. Therefor the risk of cross contamination is real. And a resulting bad taste in subsequent batches.

Problems

  1. Heat Pads: DO NOT USE HEAT PADS IN TH FIRST 48 HOURS, IF YOU DO YOU WILL KILL BOTH THE NATURAL & INTRODUCED YEAST
  2. Overactive Airlock: Should your ‘Airlock’ become overactive, simply flush it out regularly, while standing the entire demijohn in a bucket of warm water. This will prevent too much mess, and ants getting into the airlock. It may take several days for it to settle, do not be too concerned, as this will happen even to the best of brewers.  PS; another trick to stop ants, or insects getting into your airlock, is to put cotton wool, or tissue paper into it blocking it from entry, but not stopping gas being released.
WHill

A writer with a very varied background. Eldest son, and third child in a family  of eight children. He was born in far North Queensland, Australia, in the historical gold-mining town of  Charters Towers. As a child he traveled extensively across Australia, having three sisters born in its  western most state, and the remainder born up and down his home state of Queensland. In fact he attended over 24 schools in his childhood, and crossed the country from east coast to west  and back, so many times as a child he gave up counting. As an adult he worked in the mining industry,  the Public Service and in Private Enterprise. He refuses to admit to any Tertiary Education, but is a  qualified Nursery Industry worker, with over twenty years behind him. Warwick is proud to make it  clear to both his readers and his critics, that he follows the old Scandinavian Pre-Christian beliefs,  happily referring to his chosen faith as ‘Fjorn Sid’ or the ‘Old Path’ and having found his teachers and  mentors as a sixteen year old, Warwick has never looked back. Over many years, Warwick has also been an avid Dark-Age and Medieval Re-enactor. Loving both the  period we now call the ‘Viking Period’ and the High Medieval period of the Fourteenth Century. Having a  particular love of Denmark, her king of the period Valdemar IV Attadage, his children, and the people,  faiths and history of both Lithuania, and Norway. Warwick currently works within the pro-environmental industry, in his home community of Caboolture, Queensland Australia. His life is guided by his faith, and his great loves, his friends, and his love of Honey Mead. A mead he makes according to his secret recipe. Now using his love of language, history and his faith, Warwick has taken to a ‘Sea Change’ in his career path, and has written several novels. All reflect his love of history, his faith, and a desire to entertain his readers in manner that may shock many. Believing history is now bound by the Omni presence of the Victorian, Judo-Christian values, it is his desire, no his wish to bring a more honest, more brutal reality to the reader.

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