Re: Re: Making a BHP mead

Home Forums General Discussion Making a BHP mead Re: Re: Making a BHP mead

#19377

JamesS
Participant

Jamie's description of mead is just about done.Next is:According to Tickner Edwardes, to make Mead the people would crush honeycombs and steep them in water. This was a pain!  I typically use only honey and not honeycomb, but I wanted to make it more historically accurate, so about a third of my honey material was from the comb.  It's not hard to crush, but it does get everywhere!  Even taking a couple of simple pictures got honey all over my phone, from my hands and just from being all over.  I very much recommend that, unless you're having an Anglo Saxon mead making party, you just get honey without the comb.(Note: I'll give a more recipe oriented set of directions later.)While I was smashing the comb, I had the water on the stove heating up.  Once the water came to a nice roiling boil, I took it off the burner and added the smashed up honey comb and the honey.  All you have to do is stir in the honey until it's combined nicely with the hot water.  Since we're using modern plastic or glass containers, a way to get all of the honey out is to ladle a bit of the hot honey water into the container, close it up, and shake, then pour back into the pot.  Be careful to only use a little hot water, though, and don't close the container completely, as the heat will cause a bit of a vacuum, and when you open the bottle, you'll get a rush of air and a pop that can cause hot honey water to splash over you and the stove if you aren't careful.  I was told glass can also explode; I haven't seen it, but I don't want to,either.Modern addition: stir in the yeast energizer as soon as the water is taken off the burner before you add the honey.Then strain the liquid and let it stand. Not entirely accurate.  You have to let the must cool down before adding the yeast.  (Must is to mead as wort is to beer.)  Let the honey-water mixture cool down to around 75 degrees (F) before adding the yeast.  If it's too hot, it'll mess it up and if it's too cool you won't get any activity.  But yes, once it cools, you can strain, add the yeast (by pouring it in or using a nearby branch; I liked my compromise of using an appropriate modern yeast, where I soaked a sanitized wooden spoon for a bit, and then pitched the yeast and stirred with said spoon), and then let it stand.Straining the comb out was also a pain in the backside.  I probably should have bought a strainer, as getting the comb out of my syphon took a bit of time.  Hot water works wonders, but again, using the comb made it much more difficult.The longer they left it, the stronger it got.  True to the point that as long as there is yeast activity, it will get stronger.  Once the yeast is done consuming the sugars, it won't get any more stronger.  That's the nice thing about a sweet mead yeast strain -- it will handle the additional sugars.  However, I always use a little more volume than the yeast can handle, so it doesn't convert all the sugars and my sweet mead is even a little sweeter.I will say, though, that the longer is sits the better it gets.  My first batch of mead was made four years ago and I'm down to my last few bottles of it.  It's gotten nothing but more outstanding as time has went on.  I tried it first at six months and it was only decent.  At one year it was good.  At year two and on, it is fantastic.  Now sometimes pure honey would be used, or herbs such as sweet gale would be added for flavor, but in general that’s all they had to do to make Mead.Wonderfully true.  A good spiced mead (officially known as a metheglin) adds some nice complexities.  I love my sweet mead without any extras, but also adore my holiday mead.  I used some cinnamon, vanilla, and orange peal to make a Saturnalia mead and have had rave reviews.  Last Halloween (my favorite holiday), I decided to make a Hallowme'ad, which is a medium mead with pumpkin spices, much like they use to make pumpkin beers, along with some actual pumpkin.  I haven't opened it yet, waiting for Halloween to give it a year.  You can add these spices at the same time you add the honey, to the water, but you can also let it seep in the fermentation container (carboy) for a period of time, with longer times giving more of that flavor to the mead.By the way, sweet gale wasn't just used as a flavor.  They considered it medicinal.Below, the pictures are for the honey comb, the boiling water, and the mixture after adding the honey (and honey comb).

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