So I decided to make a mead. As with everything else, I'm never happy with using a previously tried recipe. I want to customize things to my purposes. In this case, I wanted a few things:
1. Drinkable (hopefully good, but at least drinkable) by Xmas.
2. Off-dry and sparkling
3. Relatively light on the ABV (around 9-10% so that guests can drink it like beer).
I had a look at several recipes and decided to merge a few ideas from other recipes with some of my own thoughts and this is what I came up with.
This is a 20L batch
I steeped 2 small cinnamon sticks and a split vanilla bean in some hot water until my kitchen smelled like some sort of cake.
I added 4kg of clover honey dissolved in warm water (clover honey to make a neutral mead base), cooled the lot and dumped it into the fermenter with the cinnamon and vanilla included.
Dumped in 5g of Lalvin EC-1118 (like I said, I'm hoping for drinkable by xmas) and some yeast nutrient, airlocked it and let it go on Friday evening.
OG was 1.082
This morning, SG is ~1.040. Honey flavour is starting to become muted and some nice dryness is creeping in. Vanilla "cakeyness" is still there and its nice. The cinnamon note is really being expressed in a big way, and I'm hoping it becomes muted a bit in the secondary.
The plan is to let this go until it's down to about 1.010 in the primary then rack to secondary and let it rest for several weeks with a couple split vanilla beans and a bunch of orange peel. Once it has fermented dry, I'm going to backsweeten with Makuna honey (for some nice caramel notes) to about 1.008 or so and bottle carb then stovetop pasteurize.
Does this all sound reasonable for the goals I am trying to achieve with this batch?