A blog originally for keeping track of my hobby of being a Beekeeper which has evolved to include Home Brewing and even more recently to follow me and my families approach to "The Good Life". Eventually I hope to include baking recipes and stories of our flock of chickens also reporting on the success and failure at the allotments.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Mead!!!!

I have finally bottled my first batch of mead, the JAO. It produced approx 3.5 Litres. The recipe I followed doesn't mention adding anything to stop secondary fermentation, however I added a campden tablet prior to bottling just to make sure no further fermentation took place. I did this as I really don't want exploding bottles of mead; one reason being I've waited a long time for it but more important is I don't want to risk hurting anyone, especially my young daughter.

This picture shows the bottled product. These are 1 Litre bottles. The mead at this point is rather cloudy but I'm advised that it will clear if left a couple of months and the taste will be better. I'm not sure I will be able to wait this long as I have already opened one of these bottles!!

In these 2 glasses are the last bits to be syphoned out of the demijohn. It is cloudier than the bottled product as part of the sediment was sucked through the tube. It was still very tasty but had a slight off taste that my unrefined palate couldn't name, but I'm putting this down to the sediment as further drinking from the bottled product had a much nicer taste and cleared appearance. If I was to try to describe the taste of the bottled product I would say it was sweet but not overly sweet, with subtle orange flavour and a warming after taste. I will certainly be making more!

The hard part now is saving at least one bottle to allow to mature. It's recommended to leave at least 2 months but I'm not sure I'll be able to. As I consider this batch a success next time I may make a larger batch, that way I would have more chance of saving some to mature. Also when I finally get some bees and am harvesting my own honey, the mead produced should be better quality. At the moment I am still using bulk commercial honey.


While searching the net for more mead recepies I came across the following guide on High Wycombe Beekeepers Association website

2 lb. honey in 1 gal. gives S.G. 1.060, potential alcohol 7.8%.
3 lb. honey in 1 gal. gives S.G. 1.090, potential alcohol 12%.
4 lb. honey in 1 gal. gives S.G. 1.120, potential alcohol 16.3%.

Dry Mead: Starting S.G. 1.085-1.105. Finish S.G. 0.990-1.000.
Medium Mead: Starting S.G. 1.105-1.120. Finish S.G. 1.000-1.005.
Sweet Mead: Starting S.G. 1.120-1.130. Finish S.G. 1.005-1.015.

Using this bit of info I tried to work out roughly how much alcohol my second batch of mead would produce. I started off working in litres and kilograms so my first step was to convert to gallons and pounds.

Using google to convert:-

6kg > 13.2lbs
30L > 6.6 gal  (in my original post it says 25L but later I checked and it was closer to 30L)

This would give a 2:1 Honey:Water ratio and approx S.G. of 1.060, potential alcohol 7.8% which is much lower than I originaly thought. I should really have used upto twice as much honey in the mix. Due to this and the lack of activity over the last few days in the recently racked mead I will be doing a hydrometer test on it soon. If the gravity reading is 1.005 or less then I believe the fermentation will have stopped and the mead will be ready, even though slightly weaker than anticipated.