I bought this kit from homebrewheaven.com before I joined this group. I was hoping you could review the recipe and the instructions and offer any advice. This is my first attempt at making mead.
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Homebrew Heaven's Nectar of the Gods Mead Kit
This Mead Ingredient Kit makes 5 gallons of divine mead, the "Nectar of the Gods". This is equivalent to about twenty-five standard wine bottles (each bottle being a "fifth", or about 26 oz.. That's about 750 ml for you Canadians). Only the finest ingredients are chosen and used in the making of this kit. Should you have any questions regarding this kit, Homebrew Heaven of Everett, WA will be happy to help you out. Our phone number is (425) 355-8865 (local), or (800) 850-2739 if you are calling from out if town.
Nectar of the Gods Mead is designed to be a "still", or un-carbonated mead. This is the traditional way that mead is made and served. Great mead is made with patience and thoroughly enjoyed. The honey flavor is prominent with tones of vanilla, fruit and luscious smoothness when properly aged. Nectar of the Gods Mead can be made either sweet, or dry, as you prefer. Either way, mead is a rare treat.
This Kit Contains
1 Container of Premium Pacific NW Honey (11.5 lbs. in all!)
1 Package of Homebrew Heaven's Mead Blend (Secret Stuff Maynard)
2 Packages of Wine Yeast - 10g minimum
1 Package of Campden Tablets (a sterilizing sulphite)
1 Package of Potassium Sorbate (a stabilizer)
1 Package of 2-part Wine Finings (a clarifier)
Equipment and Sanitation
It is necessary to assure that EVERYTHING that comes in contact with your mead mixture after dissolving the honey, is sanitary. By this, we mean free from bacteria and other wild yeasts. Your brewpot, spoon and wort chiller (if using one), as well as your fermentor, carboy, airlock & stopper, etc., should be sanitized thoroughly. We recommend an iodine-based product called Iodophor for this purpose. We also recommend that your fermentation be done in a sealed container with an airlock affixed to it (closed fermentation) to avoid airborne bacteria. A sealed 6-gallon (or larger), food-grade bucket works great as a fermentor. If you add water to the fermentor after the boil, it's usually OK not to boil it, but if you want to be absolutely certain of avoiding bacteria, you can boil it ahead of time (be sure to cool it before using).
Always sanitize your siphon equipment (bottle filler, racking cane and tubing) and bottles prior to bottling your mead. Bacteria infetions are rare, but most originate from the siphon equipment.
1. Put about 2 gallons of hot tap water in your primary fermentor. Empty the container of honey into the hot water and stir well. You want to completely suspend the honey in the water. Don't leave it sticking to the bottom of the fermentor. Now add enough hot tap water into your fermentor to bring the volume up to about 5.5 gallons and stir well again.
2. Next, add the package of Homebrew Heaven's Mead Blend to the mixture and stir vigorously. Mead Blend adds the nutrients and acids necessary for a good fermentation and well-balanced mead.
3. At this point, you should check the temperature of the mixture. It is necessary for the water/honey mixture to be between 60 deg. F - 72 deg. F, before adding the yeast. When you reach the proper temperature you should take a "starting gravity" reading (approx. 1.084 - 1.090), using your hydrometer and test jar. Record the actual reading you get.
4. Follow the instructions on the back of the yeast packet to re-hydrate your yeast and then add to the honey/water mixture, stirring well again.
Note: If you use too hot of water to re-hydrate your yeast, it will kill it off and your meadd will not ferment. So be careful.
5. Seal up your fermentorand attach the airlock. The mead needs to be kept at about room temperature for the first 8 - 36 hours (depending on temperature, freshness of the yeast, etc.) of the process until fermentation gets going. Mead ferments VERY SLOWLY compared to beers. You must be patient and let the yeast do their job for awhile.
6. Now you should raise the temperature of your mead to about 78 deg. F - 80 deg. F and leave it there for the duration. In about a week or two, the fermentation activity will slow down considerably, or stop altogether.
7. At this point, siphon off the mead into a glass carboy leaving all the "crud" behind in the bucket. Attach an airlock to the carboy and try to be patient again. In about 2 - 3 more weeks, there should be no more fermentation activity. At that time, follow the directions on the package of 2-part Wine Clarifier, stirring well as directed. you should see your mead clear noticeably soon after. Allow 2 more weeks for settling to occur.
8. Before bottling, is the time to take an "ending gravity" reading (approx. 0.998 - 1.003), using your hydrometer and test jar. After taking a reading, siphon your clear mead into another container to prepare for bottling. Once again, leave all the "crud" behind. At this point crush to 5 campden tablets and dissolve into 1 cup of hot tap water. After being thoroughly dissolved, stir into the bucket of water/honey mixture (this will sterilize your must and help prevent any bacterial infection from establishing itself) along with the package of Potassium Sorbate (a stabilizer that prevents any remaining "live" yeast from becoming active again).
9. Now comes the FUN PART! - you should taste some of the mead to see if it is sweet enough for your taste. You can expect mead to be quite dry at this point. If you prefer sweeter mead, you can add either some table sugar, or honey to get the desired sweetness. Add a little at at time though and taste again until you are happy. Don't worry about a little harshness to the mead. This will diminish with proper aging.
10. To bottle, siphon your clear mead into sterilized bottles and cork, as you would wine. Now comes the hard part...trying to let the mead age. Allow at least 2 - 3 months for the flavors to "merge", and then enjoy some. Mead will continue to get better for years if you can wait. We like to take a portion of each batch and hide it away. That way you will have a continuous supply of delicious Nectar of the Gods Mead!
We sincerly hope you have enjoyed your Nectar of the Gods Mead kit. Let us know what you think!!!
9109 Evergreen Way
Everett, WA 98204