Short Mead

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Brewtrog
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Short Mead

Post: # 293914Post Brewtrog »

After bottling the first batch of cider, and putting another 5L of apple juice onto the lees (why waste the yeast?) I had another itch. The second 5L bottle of squash became free, and was dutifully turned into a second fermenter (anyone would think I planned ahead when I bought 2 airlocks :scratch: )

I was planning on making nettle beer with a jar of honey as the fermentable. Woke up to an overcast morning, didn't fancy trying to find enough nettles that were still young enough, so needed a new plan.
I had a jar of honey sat there, and I know mead usually uses a lot more honey than that, but usually mead takes far longer to brew than I would like (I don't know how long I'll be here, and don't want to try moving half fermented honey around).

Bit of googling later, apparently short mead tastes good, and ferments in about a week :iconbiggrin:

Nice simple recipe
1 jar (454g) honey
Water to a gallon
1 tsp yeast
ended up with an o.g. of 1.030, so should end up in the 2.5-3.5% range

So from having stopped homebrewing for a while, I now have my second gallon of cider and my first gallon of short mead both ready for bottling within the fortnight

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Re: Short Mead

Post: # 293915Post Green Aura »

We didn't have much success with our mead (beer style, not wine). It fermented beautifully and very actively but took ages and is still sweet now, several months on and has developed the oxidised taste we often get in our red wine attempts.

We used much more than one jar though. Three, if memory serves.
Maggie

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Re: Short Mead

Post: # 293916Post Brewtrog »

I find mead tends to stay sweet, as a guess there are non-fermentable sugars in there somewhere. This is a test of concept as much as anything. As I was looking if anyone said not to do it (my only real test of not to try a ferment is if several sources say it is a bad idea (e.g. tomato wine)) I found a really interesting idea in bochet, which is a mead made with honey that is caramalised before the brewing process. Depending how my 1 jar mead goes that may be next in line, although caramalising just one jar of honey may be fun

As for the oxidised taste, sounds like air is getting in somehow - do your airlocks get a chance to dry out at any point?

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Re: Short Mead

Post: # 293917Post Green Aura »

Brewtrog wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 10:44 pm
As for the oxidised taste, sounds like air is getting in somehow - do your airlocks get a chance to dry out at any point?
No, it was fine prior to bottling. I think we maybe should have used swing top bottles. OH used crown caps.

Honey is about 40% invert sugar, so I expected some sweetness, just not this much. We've worked out how to make it more or less drinkable, by making a "shandy" - mead and soda water.
Maggie

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Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Short Mead

Post: # 293918Post BernardSmith »

I routinely make mead and there is no reason why honey will not ferment brut dry if you know what you are doing.
1. The amount of honey to water can inhibit fermentation: you want a starting gravity of no more than about 1.100 or about 3 lbs of honey in water to make 1 (US) gallon. You can use less honey (1lb to make 1 gallon), but if more than about 3 lbs then you may need to feed the must with honey as the yeast consumes the sugars. If the must is too concentrated the yeast suffer from osmotic shock and simply cannot transport the syrup through their cell walls.
2. You need to select a yeast whose tolerance for alcohol is at least 14% ABV (see # 1 above). Many strains of yeast may not tolerate the sugar concentration or the amount of alcohol in solution your solution (must) can result in. Alcohol is a poison for yeast.
3. Honey is a nutrient desert for yeast so you need to add the minerals and nitrogen yeast need to repair cells and create the sterols they need to transport the sugars through cell walls. Nutrients can be lab manufactured or you can proof some baking yeast and then boil it to kill the yeast. Your wine yeast will happily cannibalize the dead cells. Alternatively, you might crush a multi-vitamin tablet and simply add that to the must.

It's a complete fallacy that mead is always "sweet". There may be a perception of sweetness because of the flavors we associate with honey - the floral flavors but you can ferment mead down below 1.000. That said, I have just bottled a short mead in less than 21 days from the time I mixed the honey in water. That mead, a blueberry honey mead with added blueberries is about 5% ABV. It's drier than bone and slightly carbonated (I bottled, in champagne bottles with champagne corks and wire cages) just before fermentation had ceased to capture some of the CO2 in the bottle.

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Re: Short Mead

Post: # 293944Post Brewtrog »

Update on the mead, just bottled it, it fermented dry (1.000 once I degassed the sample), giving about 3.9% abv. It is nearly flavourless, and certainly doesn't taste like mead. Either the honey was just rubbish, or there wouldn't be enough honey for decent mead no matter the quality. Probably just chalk it up to experience and have 2 gallons of cider on the go at any one time

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Re: Short Mead

Post: # 293947Post Green Aura »

Can't you add anything to it to flavour it? 3.9% abv isn't bad for a refreshing drink in the summer.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Short Mead

Post: # 293954Post Brewtrog »

Yeah, the "tester" pint had cordial added to it once I realised it had no flavour of its own. I wasn't about to pour away the stuff I've made, I just won't repeat the experiment until I'm back home and am not trying to ferment quickly, and then I may play "how little honey can make mead"

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Re: Short Mead

Post: # 293955Post Green Aura »

Has no one ever told you not to play with your food (and drink)? :tongue: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Short Mead

Post: # 293961Post Brewtrog »

The same people told me I had to grow up, but I realised that was a trap before it was too late :tongue:

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Re: Short Mead

Post: # 293962Post Green Aura »

Some of us have managed to avoid it for 60-odd years. :cheers: :lol:
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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