Brewing Mead

First thing after finishing my DP, I joined the Brewer’s Guild.  I studied up on current local law, found out there are even competitions in the area.  Now I’m just a beginner, so anything smelling of competition is way in the future and my focus right now is the Clergy program after all.  But brewing has definitely been on my “to do” list and I have been waiting on the end of summer as I plan on “racking” in the cool garage, or perhaps in my den where I can keep the temperature cooler than the rest of the house.

For my first batch I went with a recipe that seems pretty popular and easy, Orange Clove Mead.  (Recipe can be found here: The Joy of Mead. All containers and utensils were sanitized first with a bleach solution (1 tablespoon bleach to a gallon of water to sanitize the equipment.  I purchased 12 lbs. of honey, warmed them up in their containers in pots of water on the stove and then combined them with water filtered through a Britta.  I divided this into three milk jugs.   The recipe called for 3lbs per gallon but I wanted sweeter mead so went with 4lbs each.

To each jug I added a peeled and wedged Valencia orange, 25 raisins (the raisins are not added for flavor, they are to feed the yeast), 1 whole clove, 1 whole cinnamon stick, a pinch of allspice and a pinch of nutmeg.  I topped off with more filtered water and when each jug cooled to room temperature, I added to each gallon jug a package of Fleischmann’s Yeast.  Capping them off, I shook each one for 3-5 minutes to get it all a final mix and to give it more oxygen.  Then I took the caps off and pulled balloons over the tops, pin-holed each and secured them with rubber bands.

Now I just watch them for 2-3 weeks until the fermentation process quits gassing up the balloons and leaves them limp, after which I will pour them into other containers (either new sanitized jugs or I might purchase a carboy) leaving the fruit behind so it will clarify quicker.  This step is called “racking” and the honey-wine will age for several months, so since this is September, I expect to be trying it for taste perhaps in time for Imbolc, or at the latest, Beltane.

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~ by Spider Lily on September 26, 2010.

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