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I thought I'd start a mead thread. Mead is the historic beverage made by fermenting honey.

My wife and I brew mead, beer, and recently even tried our hands at wine.
Our favorite meads we've made are Clove Spice, Frankenberry (there's a story behind this one), and the ever popular (great starter) recipe Ancient Orange. Our most recent was a huckleberry mead, which turned out to be a pleasant sweet mead, but sadly, lacks the huckleberry flavor we hoped for.

Since this is the Recipes forum, I'll kick-off this topic with the Ancient Orange, a relatively easy-to-make mead that's a good intro for the new brewer, and a rule-breaker for the experienced brewer. We have pointed a few new brewers to this recipe and they have had great success.

I'll post more recipes when I get home and have some time.




Ancient Orange Mead (by Joe Mattioli)
1 gallon batch

3 1/2 lbs Clover or your choice honey or blend (will finish sweet)
1 Large orange (later cut in eights or smaller rind and all)
1 small handful of raisins (25 if you count but more or less ok)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole clove ( or 2 if you like - these are potent critters)
optional (a pinch of nutmeg and allspice )( very small )
1 teaspoon of Fleishmann’s bread yeast ( now don't get holy on me--- after all this is an ancient mead and that's all we had back then)
Balance water to one gallon

Process:
Use a clean 1 gallon carboy
Dissolve honey in some warm water and put in carboy
Wash orange well to remove any pesticides and slice in eights --add orange (you can push em through opening big boy -- rinds included -- its ok for this mead -- take my word for it -- ignore the experts)

Put in raisins, clove, cinnamon stick, any optional ingredients and fill to 3 inches from the top with cold water. ( need room for some foam -- you can top off with more water after the first few day frenzy)

Shake the heck out of the jug with top on, of course. This is your sophisticated aeration process.

When at room temperature in your kitchen, put in 1 teaspoon of bread yeast. ( No you don't have to rehydrate it first-- the ancients didn't even have that word in their vocabulary-- just put it in and give it a gentle swirl or not)(The yeast can fight for their own territory)

Install water airlock. Put in dark place. It will start working immediately or in an hour. (Don't use grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away in the 90's)( Wait 3 hours before you panic or call me) After major foaming stops in a few days add some water and then keep your hands off of it. (Don't shake it! Don't mess with them yeastees! Let them alone except its okay to open your cabinet to smell every once in a while.

Racking --- Don't you dare
additional feeding --- NO NO
More stirring or shaking -- Your not listening, don't touch

After 2 months and maybe a few days it will slow down to a stop and clear all by itself. (How about that) (You are not so important after all) Then you can put a hose in with a small cloth filter on the end into the clear part and siphon off the golden nectar. If you wait long enough even the oranges will sink to the bottom but I never waited that long. If it is clear it is ready. You don't need a cold basement. It does better in a kitchen in the dark. (Like in a cabinet) likes a little heat (70-80). If it didn't work out... you screwed up and didn't read my instructions (or used grandma's bread yeast she bought years before she passed away) . If it didn't work out then take up another hobby. Mead is not for you. It is too complicated.
If you were successful, which I am 99% certain you will be, then enjoy your mead. When you get ready to make different mead you will probably have to unlearn some of these practices I have taught you, but hey--- This recipe and procedure works with these ingredients so don't knock it. It was your first mead. It was my tenth. Sometimes, even the experts can forget all they know and make good ancient mead.
 

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Mead

We raise honey bees, and had A LOT of extra honey. Right now we have 3 batches going....can't wait to see how it turns out!
 

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Years ago some friends put their bees in a field of yubam (sp?) clover and got a honey that was much lighter in color than any other I've ever seen - a clear blond color. The mead we made from that honey tasted like a sweet, weak lemonade. One ice cold glass would knock you on your behind.
 

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I somewhat follow this recipe but I omit the spices. I use D-32 wine yeast, back sweeten it at 3 1/2 weeks (you can tell by the smell) and use only local orange blossom honey. I make a starter 24hrs prior with a little bit of the yeast and a nutrient.
 

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I'd like to try melomel (spelling?). I have brewed maybe 12 batches of beer. Have never tasted mead..........sounds good.
 

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For the life of me it's hard to find a good (or any) mead here in wine country of NY. Guess I'm gonna have to do it myself. Thanks for the recipe. I look forward to drinking this.
 

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odin traded an eye for mead and i know why. this stuff tastes great while it destroys you.
 
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