Im going to be making two 3 gallon batches of Spring Meadow Hive Mead (one sweet and one dry). My goal with these meads is to not only capture the pleasure of a Spring walk through a blossoming meadow but also to make a mead that is very nutritious/healthy/medicinal. Here is the basic recipe Ive come up with so far:
10.5 lbs honey for the sweet mead and 7.5 lbs honey for the dry mead
Wyeast 4184 liquid yeast starter for the sweet mead and Wyeast 4632 liquid yeast starter for the dry mead
2oz Bee Pollen each
2oz Propolis each
2oz Royal Jelly each
3 vanilla beans each
1 tsp (about 6 grams) dried Green Tea leaves each
1 tsp (about 6 grams) dried Oolong Tea leaves each
1 tsp (about 6 grams) dried Earl Grey Tea leaves each
1 Tbsp (about 18 grams) dried jasmine flowers each
1 Tbsp (about 18 grams) dried honeysuckle flowers each
1 Tbsp (about 18 grams) dried chamomile flowers each
Here are my questions:
Bee Products: I adapted this to an article I read where the person quite successfully replaced the yeast nutrient/energizer with about 5 Tbsp (2oz) of Bee Pollen per gallon of mead. This works out to about 6oz of Bee Pollen for each of my 3 gallon batches so I divided it into three equal parts Pollen, Propolis, & Royal Jelly (2oz of each). Any thoughts about the quantity? Do you think I should put it all in the initial fermentation or save half (or less?) of it to add after I rack it for the first time?
Tea: From what Ive read about 1 teabag per gallon is suggested. Do I have enough (or too much)? Should I use different quantities for the sweet mead vs. the dry mead? In addition to adding the brewed tea I was also going to put the used tea leaves into a cotton muslin tea bag and let it soak in the fermenting mead as well. After racking the first time should I retrieve the bag of tea leaves and put it back into the mead? What would the pros and cons be of doing this?
Flowers: Im not looking for an overpowering floral quality but something that will serve as a light counterbalance to the heavier earthy richness of the bee products and the green bitter tang of the teas. Do I have enough (or too much)? Should I do them like the tea where I brew a tea out of them and then add the used blossoms to the mead in a tea bag? Should I add all of the flowers at the beginning or reserve half (or less?) of them to add after the first racking so that their flavors come to the foreground a little more?
Yeast: The yeasts I have (Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead & Wyeast 4632 Dry Mead) are what the manager of the brew shop suggested. Do you have any idea about how much alcohol content I can expect in each 3 gallon batch using these yeasts? I was thinking about finishing off the dry mead with a fermentation using Lalvin K1V-1116 to boost the alcohol content. What do you think? Any suggestions?
Bottling: I was thinking about bottling half of each batch as sparkling mead and the other half as still mead. Any thoughts?
Any other thoughts or suggestions?
P.S. I also posted this under "Mead".