Jack's Apricot Vanilla Mead

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AkTom

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This is a recipe from homebrewtalk.com . My favorite mead, or at least right up there.

Jack's Apricot Vanilla Mead
This is a really simple, but delicious Mead I came up with a couple of months ago. It's pretty drinkable right after it clears, and makes a great dessert style wine. Here's the recipe as I made it:

3 lbs. Wild Mountain Honey (Wild Mountain is a brand. Not sure what varietal. Wildflower, I would assume?)
1 cup Quartered Dried Apricots
½ Vanilla Bean (Split in half)
1 tbsp. Fleishmann’s Bread Yeast (activated in shot glass with sugar and water)
Water to fill to 1 gal.

-Just combine everything, and shake it up really well.

O.G. 1.100

When it started out (first 10 days or so), I popped off the cap to smell it, and man, it smelled like crap. I was thinking I'd have to throw it out, but I let it keep going. Eventually, it began to clear, and smell better, so I transferred it to secondary. It cleared further, and I took a sample. I was blown away at how good it was. I let it go for about another week in secondary, and bottled it (didn't degas it, but would likely be a good idea to avoid bottle bombs in case fermentation decides to kick back up). Get's better every time I taste it (the smell is significantly improved as well).

My Girlfriend is a pretty picky wine drinker, and she absolutely loves this stuff, so do I. I've got a new batch going, the only difference being that I used a full vanilla bean per gallon, added yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, and I used Lalvin D47 (Which I imagine is going to make it much drier, so I'll likely need to backsweeten). We'll see how that turns out.




I have made this several times, it has turned out great in any number of variations . I just bottled up 3 quarts this afternoon. Great thick mouth feel taste really good for 4 month old mead. Quite drinkable. It will be better in 2 more months. I have aner 3 quart carboy to bottle. I "dry hopped" it with a cup of apricots. I'll try to get it bottled in the next couple of days.


2 cups instead of 1 for the fruit.
I use 2 tablespoons of real vanilla instead of a bean.

Some variations... Craisins, mangoes (dried), blue berry , logan berry (fresh) was really good.

I know some people shudder at the thought of bread yeast... For those of you who do, I apologize. Before you throw me into the briar patch, oh please don't throw me into the briar patch, all I ask is you try it once. If you don't like it, no problem. Send me the rest of the batch and I will evaluate it for you...
The only gallon I didn't really care for was dried cherries. I'm not sure why, it was probably the bread yeast ;-)
I use Kirkland honey.
Let me know if you try it. I have a coworker who now follows this and loves it.
Cheers
 

BernardSmith

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Sounds really interesting , though I am not sure I would use the bread yeast - do you know what the typical final gravity is when you bottle this? Is this sparkling after a month or so in the bottle (because it was still fermenting as you bottled it?). I suspect it is the vanilla that gives this its star quality..
 

AkTom

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OG is typically 1.100, FG about 1.030. No sparkling. I've thought about trying to do a carbed batch but it's good still.
 

AkTom

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I am a 3 hour drive to my "local" home brew store. I will pick up some mead yeast next time I'm up there.
 

BernardSmith

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Not sure what is so special about "mead yeast" . You might use a wine yeast or even a beer yeast. I think you choose the yeast that best suits the conditions you are fermenting in and best enhances the flavors you want to emphasize and masks the flavors you don't while laying down the bases for mouthfeel that you want to achieve. If that is bread yeast then stick with it. But if you want to experiment with other yeasts you can certainly buy them online so they are as far away as your computer or your mailbox... And shipping - whatever that might be is certainly less expensive than a 360 - 400 mile drive there and back...
 

wineforfun

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@AkTom All the variations you speak of sound good, and a few quite interesting. For the most part, yours are all variations of JAOM, which usually turn out pretty good.
 

Quicksilver

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I have a bag of dried apricots I've been wanting to throw into a primary. I've heard though that the preservatives in dried fruit can cause issues with fermentation. Maybe that was the smelly part?

Can anyone advise: Should I be able to do this with regular old sams choice dried fruit?
 

wineforfun

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See if there is any potassium sorbate in them, that may cause you fermentation issues.
 

Quicksilver

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Yes there is. Is there a way to overcome that? Someone gave me this bag and my first thought was, o I can ferment that!
 

wineforfun

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I have only fermented fruit with sorbate already in them once. I used EC-1118 and it took off. I have others have had problems when using "sorbated" fruit.
I would give it a go and see what happens.
 

Mismost

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Yes there is. Is there a way to overcome that? Someone gave me this bag and my first thought was, o I can ferment that!
I have used dried apricots in a Pinot Gris and in a Chardonnay...both times I soaked in warm water, rinsed, and soaked again...chopped , bagged and added to the must. No problems.

Planning a JAOM myself....bread yeast and all.:h
 

Quicksilver

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Thanks all! I'm not a mead fan but my son is. He's a soldier, about to deploy for 9 months, so I want to make a few different meads to have ready for his welcome home next year. I'll definitely add this one to the list.
 
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