Saturday, May 2, 2015

Joe's Ancient Orange Mead

I generally do not make promises I cannot keep. Even if it takes a little over 2 years to follow through on it, I'll still manage follow through. Yep, today I finally got around to starting a batch of mead. For those that do not know, mead is a fermented beverage made from honey. Think of it as a honey wine.
5 lbs of Kirkland Honey
I needed a fastpass for the checkout line today
Using the classic recipe for Joe's Ancient Orange Mead, I set out to acquire all the supplies necessary to make my 1 gallon batch. The most important being 3.5lbs of honey. I can thank Costco for making that so cheap. (If this comes out good, I'll look to using locally sourced honey.) The other ingredients came from a "safe" store. (The only thing I did not get were the cloves. I can add one in later)

Homebrewing in the new house
Homebrewing magic in the new kitchen
To start things off, I filled up a small pot with some warm water to make the honey less viscous. Otherwise, I'd be waiting hours for it to pour out of the container. I had my kettle boiling up about 1 gallon worth of water to get the honey dissolved.

I brought out my fancy drug kitchen scale to measure out the 3.5 lbs of honey needed to make this batch spectacular. From my misdoings, I ended up going over by 0.1 lbs. Nothing wrong with too much honey, as long as the sweetness in the end doesn't make it undrinkable.

Being fly will get you honeys
Sophisticated way of measuring out the honey
In hindsight, I should have added some water to my carboy before pouring in the honey. It took a good deal of vigorous shaking to dissolve all the honey. At least this step aerated it appropriately!

Mead time
Now the honey is dissolved!
After dissolving all the honey, I tossed in all of the raisins and cinnamon. The orange was a bit of a challenge since my orange slices were too thick to go down the neck of my carboy. A little butchering got the job done without too much pulp going everywhere (lie).
How thick I'd slice my oranges if I only brought 1 to feed the youth soccer team during half time
Orange crush
A little water to top it up and a teaspoon of bread yeast (yes, bread yeast!), and this mead is ready to go! According to the recipe, this thing should be done and ready to bottle in exactly 2 months from now (July 2). I must resist the temptation of pouring out the batch and drinking it now because it's so tasty in it's current state.

The OG on this was way up there at 1.125. From what I read, this yeast should not be able to ferment past 1.030, so the target ABV will be around 13%. But we won't know until July....

What would have happened if the Vikings discovered meth
I should have written "Meth (Not mead)" to keep
any wandering Vikings from pillaging my hoard

3 1/2 lbs Clover or your choice honey or blend (will finish sweet)
1 Large orange
1 small handful of raisins
1 stick of cinnamon
1 whole clove
1 teaspoon of Fleishmann’s bread yeast
Balance water to one gallon

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