I know, I know, I'm working on my BJCP Challenge, but I couldn't pass up and excuse to try something different. This one came in the form of Mead Day 2011 on August 6th. I have only tried to make one mead in the past, but it didn't turn out that well since it was allowed to be exposed to a bit too much oxygen, and ended up well, oxidizing, also I was using store bought honey which does not have a track record for producing great mead. Instead of just trying to wing it again, I decided I better go the safe route and I picked up The Compleat Meadmaker : Home Production of Honey Wine From Your First Batch to Award-winning Fruit and Herb Variations by Ken Schramm. Although I didn't make it through the whole book by the time this mead day came around, I made it through most of the important basic parts.
I basically used the Medium Sweet Orange Blossom Mead on page 25, but I adjusted it for the honey that I bought on eBeeHoney.com, 12 lbs of raw wild flower honey, and I decided to go for the no heat method since I did not want to lose any of the honey aromas. eBeeHoney seems like an excellent source for my mead honeys, they have reasonable prices, have quite the variety of honeys and are relatively close, so shipping costs are not too unreasonable.
Here's the recipe that I used since when I taste and review this recipe, it may be at least six months from now.
1 Gallon of Wildflower Honey (12 lbs)
4 Gallons of Filtered Water
2 Tbsp Yeast Nutrient
1 Tbsp Yeast Energizer
2 Packets Lavalin K1-V1116 - INRA - Montpellier
Using the no heat method, I just mixed all of these things together in one of my fermentation buckets and hooked up my aquarium pump to it. I'm going to let the pump keep going until Sunday afternoon since in many places I have read that it is advantageous to continually aerate the must for a couple days after pitching. After primary and secondary have been completed, I plan on racking the mead onto toasted French oak chips for a week or so in order to infuse some of the vanillins and tannins from the wood and give the mead much more depth.
Although this was a fun departure from my strict brewing schedule I'm quite excited to get back to my BJCP challenge. Next up, Vienna Lager...
Primary: German Pilsner, Wildflower Mead
Secondary: Lite American Lager, Ginger Ale
Total for 2011: 65 Gallons