As can be seen from my recipe for Quick ‘n’ Easy Orange Mead, mead making doesn’t need to involve large amounts of special ingredients or complicated equipment. But there’s an even quicker and easier way to make a fruit mead – using jam! This method has been used by many people over the years; a friend has told me of his abiding memories of the rows of demijohns in his grandmother’s larder in the 60s of fruit meads brewed using jam. Apparently balloons back then weren’t quite as durable as the ones we have now – so she used condoms instead! Given that modern condoms are usually treated with a spermicide, I’d advise using balloons for your mead instead. 😉
Quick ‘n’ Easy Bramble Mead
1 jar seedless bramble jelly/conserve
2 jars honey
1 teaspoon yeast
Warm water to 2L
Empty clean 4-pint milk carton
Add all the ingredients to the milk carton. Screw on the cap and shake thoroughly for a count of 20. Remove cap, pierce balloon with needle 2 or 3 times, stretch balloon over the mouth of the carton then leave in a warm place for 5-6 weeks.
And that’s it! That’s all there is to it. You can experiment with other jams & conserves, and it’s very easy to scale up the amounts to make more. To give you an idea of strength, I started off a batch of this on the 26th October, and the starting specific gravity was 1.120; I took a sample today and it’s dropped to 1.060, which means it has an ABV of about 8.15% at the moment. There are various additives you can get to stop yeast action; if I were of a mind to, I could add one to the mead now, stir in a little bentonite (a form of fine clay that aids clarification – it bonds to the proteins in the yeast, and as it’s a mineral it’s a perfectly vegan-friendly fining for home brewing), then filter & bottle it for a pretty good table-wine-strength mead that would be drinkable after a couple of months in the bottle. I prefer not to use too many additives apart from the bentonite however, so I’ll be just racking this in the usual way in about a week and bottling when the yeast dies off naturally.