Today is mead making day. I’ve wanted to make mead for a while but the price of honey has always been a deterrent. Yesterday I found 15 pounds of honey for a good price, so I bought it and came home to look up some mead recipes. The first mead I am making today is one that I have seen all over the internet, and it is touted as a fool-proof, delicious mead perfect for beginners. The most common name it was referred to by was Joe’s Ancient Orange Spice Mead, or JAO. Making a 2 gallon batch of this, using 7 of the 15 pounds of honey I bought.
Placed my honey in a warm water bath for about 10 minutes to get it to flow more easily. I then dissolved 7 pounds of honey in about half a gallon of warm water. I poured this equally into two 1-gallon carboys. I then added 25 raisins, 1 cinammon stick, 1 clove, and about one-sixteenth of a teaspoon of nutmeg and allspice to each carboy. I washed the oranges and cut them into 16 pieces each, and then added 1 cut up orange to each carboy (rind included). I then added enough water to each carboy to fill it to about 3 inches from the top.
At this point I put a lid on each carboy and shook them for a couple minutes each. This is meant to aerate the mead and provide good oxygen for the yeast to start working. After aeration I added 1 teaspoon of bread yeast to each carboy. This is the first brewing I have done with bread yeast, but that is what the “ancient” recipe calls for and I think it will turn out fine. I know Brian made all of his wines in Tanzania exclusively with bread yeast. The carboys were then sealed with airlocks and placed in a dark spot in my brew room to start primary fermentation.
After this point, the instructions I found said to not touch to the mead. No racking, no additional yeast nutrient, no stirring or shaking. Just let it sit and let the yeast do their job. It should be ready in 2 to 3 months for bottling, which is very quick compared to other mead recipes I’ve looked at. It should give me a nice mead to taste at the beginning of fall.
6-5-11: Put into primary carboys. OG measured at 1.134, giving it an alcohol potential of 20 %ABV (though I doubt the yeast will ferment all the sugars, expecting a sweet finish). Within a couple hours there was visible activity in the airlock, the yeast obviously likes the honey and got to work fast.
8-24-11: Racked the mead to a bottling bucket and strained it through a muslin bag to try and get some of the yeast particles filtered out. Measured the FG at 1.046, giving the mead a strength of 13.75 %ABV. Bottled into 18 12-ounce bottles.