Back from Sussex….

…and planning new meads! My daughter and I just got back from visiting friends for a couple of days, and we’ve brough back with us blackberries, sloes and rosehips. These are all going to be used in melomels. I’m also … Continue reading

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What’s brewing in the Lab

Currently we have a lot of mead brewing in the Amazing Mead Alchemy Lab – 64 litres in total! Brewing: Bramble melomel, started 1st August (2L) Yule mead, started 2nd August (30L) Clover show mead (using D47 yeast), started 22nd … Continue reading

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Pyment, Hippocras and yeast varieties

Pyment is a form of melomel (fruit mead) in which the fruit concerned is grapes. Which variety of grape determines the type of pyment; as with wine, you have red, white and blush (or rosé) pyments. Pyment is a bit … Continue reading

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Types of Mead

At its heart, mead is simply honey, yeast and water; but mead can have a wide variety of flavours depending on the honey & yeast used, additives (also known as “adjuncts” or “gruits”) such as fruits used and the method … Continue reading

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Brewing equipment and ingredients

Mead-making is pretty straight-forward; you don’t really need much by way of specialist equipment, and what there is tends to be pretty cheap. When starting out, you can make small batches using the plastic milk carton method (see Quick ‘n’ … Continue reading

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Yule Mead

It may seem premature to be thinking about Christmas when we’re barely into August, but when when making mead one of the most important ingredients is patience – mead-making involves thinking in terms of months, and right now is the perfect time for starting a special mead for Christmas.

I made this mead last year as something of an experiment, and the resulting mead was described as “like drinking liquid Christmas pudding!” it was quite the hit, so this year I’m brewing six gallons of it.

Recipe: Yule Mead

For each gallon you will need:

  • 4 x 340g jars honey (99p a jar from tesco)
  • 1 x  jar mincemeat (the fruit kind, not actual meat! I used Tescos Finest, 411g for £1.96)
  • 2 tablespoons marmalade (any marmalade will do; I used Tesco Value marmalade, 27p a jar)
  • 15 teabags of any black tea (I used Tesco value teabags at 27p for 80 but you can use any black tea; last year I used Twinings Earl Grey)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon winemaking yeast (I use Vin Classe Super Wine yeast compound by Ballihoo).

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All the ingredients set out ready for brewing, with 4 demijohns already done.

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Brew a litre of strong tea using the 15 teabags in a large bowl; allow to steep for 5 minutes then remove the teabags.

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Stir in the honey, mincemeat, marmalade & spices until all the honey and marmalade has completely dissolved.

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Using a funnel, pour the mixture into a clean 5-litre (1 gallon) demijohn.

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Top up with cold water, add the yeast, then cap the demijohn and shake thoroughly to ensure all ingredients are completely blended and the mixure well aerated.

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Taking a sample to check initial specific gravity: dip a plastic tube/wine thief into the mead mix. Cap the end of the tube with your thumb and lift clear of the mead. Insert free end of the tube into measuring cylinder then lift your thumb off the end of the tube to release the sample.

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Measure the starting specific gravity with a hydrometer (see this post) and make a note; it should be around 1.110, depending on the sugar content of your mincemeat (this batch measures 1.116).

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Fit the bung and airlock, and there you go!

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And this is where the patience part comes in. Depending on the yeast used, it should be ready for filtering and racking in about 6-8 weeks, then bottling a month after that; take a final specific gravity reading at this point to determine final ABV. Then lay it down until it’s time to drink. This will make a pretty strong (depending on yeast used) but tasty brew; the batch I made last year reached a final ABV of 16.3%. I have one bottle of last year’s batch that I’ve saved for this year to compare to the new batch.

One 5-litre demijohn will yield 5 bottles; the total cost for all six demijohns of mead works out as just a little over £40, or about £1.35 a bottle in raw ingredients. An equivalent mead purchased from a specialist supplier would likely set you back about £12-£15 a bottle.

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What’s going on at Amazing Mead – a personal interlude

I’m afraid this blog has been sadly neglected these past months since last October; rather a case of life getting in the way of blogging, though the mead brewing carried on. The Yuletide Spiced Tea mead turned out a roaring … Continue reading

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