I have been promising this for the entire time this blog has been around, so here we go:
First off, we bottled the cider we made from Noble Orchards pressed cider located in Paradise California, down the road from our residence (sorry I don’t have FaceBook so I dunno what this site looks like). These guys have awesome selection, great prices, and I can roll my Bronson down there to pick up whatever I want in 10 minutes.
So, my friend Kevin and I spent 6 hours last night making 8 gallons of various Meades. Meade (sometimes spelled MEAD) is a viking creation, and mixed with my long-forgotten background, the tattoos I’ve acquired, and the fact that I love biking and the hand-in-hand of drinking….shit I just like brewing, riding, and enjoying the products of both…..no point in misleading you guys for the sake of literary license.
The recipes I use are amalgamations of various recipes, accreted for the purpose of getting what we have on hand into mixtures that the largest amount of my friends will enjoy. A couple recipes:
“Ale has too often been praised by poets. The longer you drink, the less sense your mind makes of things.” –Ancient Viking Hávamál Proverb
Halfdan’s Viking Mead Recipe
Mead (Honey Wine) – 5 gallon recipe
8-10 lbs pure raw honey (for light, delicate Mead)
(or) 12-13 “ “ “ ” (for medium sweet Mead)
(or) 15-16 “ “ “ ” (for very sweet or alcoholic Mead)
4-5 gallons purified spring water (not distilled)
3 tsp. yeast nutrient (or 5 tablets)
1 tsp. acid blend (combination malic/citric acid)
5-7 oz. sliced fresh ginger root (1 finger’s length)
1/4 tsp. fresh rosemary (optional, as desired)
5-6 whole cloves (optional, as desired)
1-2 vanilla beans (optional, as desired)
cinnamon/nutmeg (optional, as desired)
lime/orange peels (optional, as desired)
crushed fruit (peaches, strawberries, grapes, etc.)
1 tsp. Irish Moss (to clarify Mead)
1/2 tsp. clear gelatin (to clarify Mead)
1 spotted newt’s tail (optional, as desired 🙂
1 packet yeast (champagne or ale yeast)
Heat spring water 10-15 minutes till boiling. Stir in honey, yeast nutrients, acid blend, and spices (rosemary, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, lemon peel). Boil for another 10-15 minutes, (overcooking removes too much honey flavor), skimming off foam as needed (2 to 3 times during last 15 minutes). After 15 minutes, add Irish Moss or clear gelatin to clarify. After last skimming, turn off heat, add crushed fruit, and let steep 15-30 minutes while allowing mead to cool and clarify. After mead begins to clear, strain off fruit with hand skimmer and pour mead through strainer funnel into 5 gallon glass carboy jug.
Let cool to room temperature about 24 hours. After 24 hours, warm up 1 cup of mead in microwave, stir in 1 packet “Red Star” Champagne, Montrechet, or Epernet yeast (or Ale yeast in order to make mead ale), and let sit for 5-15 minutes to allow yeast to begin to work. Add this mead/yeast mixture to carboy jug and swirl around to aerate, thereby adding oxygen to mead/yeast mixture.
Place run-off tube in stopper of bottle, with other end of tube in large bowl or bottle to capture “blow-off” froth. Let mead sit undisturbed 7 days in cool, dark area. After initial violent fermenting slows down and mead begins to settle, rack off (siphon off) good mead into clean sterilized jug, leaving all sediment in bottom of first jug. Attach airlock to this secondary carboy. After 4-6 months, mead will clear. During this time, if more sediment forms on bottom, good mead can be racked off again to another clean sterilized jug.
When bottling, in order to add carbonation, add either 1/4 tsp. white table sugar per 12 oz bottle, or stir in 1/2 to 1 lb raw honey per 5 gallons mead (by first dissolving honey with a small amount of mead or pure water in microwave).
This is a variation of my first original recipe, which was really well received – so good, in fact, that I have another batch aging now. It’s on the expensive side for my brews, but unusual, subtle, and delicious. Makes 1 gallon.
1/2 gal Pomegranate Juice (No Preservatives)
2 1/2 pounds Honey
Water to make 1 gal
1 tsp Gypsum
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
1 tsp Irish Moss
2 bags Rooibos Tea
1 bag Black Tea
1/2 package Champagne Yeast
Put all liquids, honey, gypsum, nutrient, and irish moss into your brewpot and boil for 15 minutes, skimming the foam off the top periodically. Add all teabags and continue boiling for another 5 minutes, then remove the tea. Remove from heat and cool to 70-80 degrees, then pitch the yeast. Ferment for 6 months or until clear (whichever is longer), racking every 2 months, then bottle and let age for a year, if you can wait that long. I couldn’t.
—-Between the great advice in these two recipes, and what my venerable father taught me about the art of brewing with delicate flavors I have never had a batch go bad or be un-drinkable (or even marginal that only the best of friends will hang and drink).
So pictures tell the best story – PLEASE ask if you have questions about any part of the process. A lot of the captions tell enough, but I want anyone wandering here for the brewing art to be able to make this happen in the closet. SHARE THE LOVE!
Don’t get yourself down. Life happens on it’s own accord and community is just a handshake, an offer, and a smile away:
Tonight we make OKTOBERFEST!!!!!! My father’s 1996 2nd-place winning creation. I challenge you to bring me a better beer. Neither of us would regret it!