Push Button Paradise
Mon, 17 Oct 2005
A major deadline just passed, and I'm more-or-less intact. More on that later. Now it's time to celebrate, with some homemade mead.
I got the following recipe from the local home-brew shop, on a printed piece of paper bearing no markings that it came from the internets at all. I later found the thing on a customary Yahoo! search. It allows for reproduction, so I'm posting it here, in case I lose the paper (oops, already happened) while at the same time the gotmead site or my local connection goes down. Here it is:
Ancient Orange Mead
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
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 -- You're 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.
My only change, out of necessity, was to use smaller Clementine oranges. For water, I used bottled Fiji, which tastes absolutely wonderful by itself. In my warmish dark closet, it took just over five weeks to clear up, and it finished with a lovely orange color. I'm really bad at tasting/drinking alcohol, but I'd say it has quite a bite to it. It's lightly sweet, with a definite orange taste. The cloves and other spices are detectable, just barely. Sitting in the bottles in my fridge, I guess it will "mellow" out more over the next few months.
Also apparently, this recipe breaks lots of conventional rules about making honey wine, but all the wrongs together add up to a right. Yum! -m