20 Lbs of Honey - planning multiple batches of Meas

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jgmann67

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My son has shown an interest in mead making. So we’re going to do a father-son in the wine room, making a variety of meads. I’m thinking three, no more than 4 recipes. Depends on the ratio of honey to spring water I need to make a 10-11% abv mead.

So far, we’ve talked about just a plain mead; a blackberry; a maple; and an orange spiced mead.

I always get the best advice from the people on this forum. So, I’m hoping for tips on best practices and favorite recipes.

Thank you in advance.
 

BernardSmith

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There are no "best practices" though there may be good ones... And one good one is to be sure to use a heavy dose of nutrients when fermenting honey. It's likely the yeast will eat through the sugars in the honey even if you don't add nutrients but it can take the yeast months to finish their work and can take the mead a very long time to be pleasantly drinkable. Honey has no nutritional content as far as yeast are concerned.

The other issue you might want to consider is whether with a mead other than a traditional (using honey as the sole source of sugars) is what kind of balance are you looking for between the honey and the fruit? two and a half pounds of honey per gallon will give you and ABV of about 11%. Fruit juice will contain about a pound of sugar per gallon and so will give you an additional 5% ABV. Cut the honey in half and you won't get much flavor from the honey. Double the batch size by using a gallon of juice and a gallon of honey must might be one way around this question.

Another thing to think about is that some varietals of honey can take center stage without any problem - Tupelo is a classic example. Meadowfoam is another but orange blossom can hold its own too and there are many others but clover or wild flower - in my opinion - are spear carriers and not operatic tenors or sopranos. Your call, of course.
Good luck!
 

jgmann67

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Another thing to think about is that some varietals of honey can take center stage without any problem - Tupelo is a classic example. Meadowfoam is another but orange blossom can hold its own too and there are many others but clover or wild flower - in my opinion - are spear carriers and not operatic tenors or sopranos. Your call, of course.
Good luck!
The honey is wildflower and is pretty dark and tasty.Got it from a local bee keeper. Guess we’ll find out.
 

Rice_Guy

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I look at mead as a food system which does better if there is balance of flavors, ,,,
as a result I will try an ingredient or mix out in a white wine or in this case flavor profile the ingredient in a clean background like Chaucers Mead
So far, we’ve talked about just a plain mead; a blackberry; a maple; and an orange spiced mead.
I always get the best advice from the people on this forum. So, I’m hoping for tips on best practices and favorite recipes.
 

winemaker81

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You might also try metheglin (mead with spices). My last one was cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.
 

CDrew

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Does your son make beer? That's the place to start. Because in the end, you can make great beer. I made beer for 10 years and it's fun and awesome. But if you brew once a month, it's just too much to drink. And you don't feel good about tossing it out.

Mead. I made many meads. Even kept the bees, harvested the honey, tried variants, never thought it was good. And will not make another. That's just me, but I never got there with mead. I liked keeping bees though and just gave away my last hive a year ago-20 years after my last mead attempt. But mead seemed like something that you were supposed to like, that actually wasn't that good.

In the end, making wine is more satisfactory. Get him headed that direction. Maybe mead will be the gateway drug. Have fun, Nice to share with your son.
 

tradowsk

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How about some citrus?

My favorite was lime: 3lbs wildflower honey, zest and juice of 1 lime in primary. Ferment dry, rack, and add zest and juice of another lime to secondary. You can adjust acidity with some acid blend or more lime juice as needed. I backsweetened with more honey to 1.016.

Same basic recipe above I've done with lemons and orange to good results. Citrus is a nice complement to honey that adds intrigue without overtaking.
 

jgmann67

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We started 3 weeks ago with a maple spice mead (his call). And, we made two gallons. It has a potential ABV of about 12.5% from what I recall. I checked yesterday and the SG is down to about 1.01.

it smells wonderful. I’m going to give it another week or two and then rack to a clean vessel.

He would like to try a coffee mead next. After that, we’ll do a blackberry mead. And, just a straight up mead to finish.
 

Ty520

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For coffee mead, rack onto 1 1/3 pounds course ground coffee (per gallon) for 24 hours in secondary, then pull the coffee; also sit on a vanilla bean for a month. you'll definitely need to backsweeten a coffee mead to 1030 or higher - dry coffee mead is no bueno.

for blackberry, i would use 4 pounds blackberries per gallon (up to 6 for a heavy-bodied wine) - mostly mashed up in primary (IMHO, berries and stone fruits are best in primary). make sure you use pectic enzyme. vanilla in secondary also works really well w/ blackberry.

if you're still wanting to do maple, I'd do 50/50 maple syrup to honey and shoot for a 1020 or higher FG - maple tends to go really dry and taste nutty and woodsy, and needs sweetness to boost the flavors into something palatable and pleasant.. I would also oak it and sit on vanilla

(in case you cant tell, I like vanilla)
 

jgmann67

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For coffee mead, rack onto 1 1/3 pounds course ground coffee (per gallon) for 24 hours in secondary, then pull the coffee; also sit on a vanilla bean for a month. you'll definitely need to backsweeten a coffee mead to 1030 or higher - dry coffee mead is no bueno.

for blackberry, i would use 4 pounds blackberries per gallon (up to 6 for a heavy-bodied wine) - mostly mashed up in primary (IMHO, berries and stone fruits are best in primary). make sure you use pectic enzyme. vanilla in secondary also works really well w/ blackberry.

if you're still wanting to do maple, I'd do 50/50 maple syrup to honey and shoot for a 1020 or higher FG - maple tends to go really dry and taste nutty and woodsy, and needs sweetness to boost the flavors into something palatable and pleasant.. I would also oak it and sit on vanilla

(in case you cant tell, I like vanilla)
I do too. Thank you for these suggestions.
 

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