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chicagobrew 03-28-2011 11:18 PM

Need Recipe Suggestion - Ready by Christmas
I've got quite a few all-grain beer batches under the belt and was thinking about trying my hand at a mead. I'm a complete noob in this arena. I'd like to give some bottles away for Christmas and wondered if anyone had some recipe suggestions for me. What could I make that would be ready in 8.5 months? What's your favorite type? I'll listen to anything.

Yooper 03-28-2011 11:26 PM

The ONLY thing I can think of that might be ready for Christmas this year is "Joe's Ancient Orange Mead". It's relatively quick and pretty good. The recipe is in my recipe pull down, but it's not my recipe!

deb_rn 03-29-2011 12:11 AM

Even Ancient Orange needs a lot of time to settle.
I would go with wine as a first try and not mead... that's just me. Mead needs a little more tending and time than wine.

Try a quick wine from Welch's White Grape/Raspberry. When you backsweeten... add a can for flavor as well... undiluted, then sugar to taste.


Hethen57 03-29-2011 04:34 PM

I have made about 6 different recipes and they all pretty much taste like crap the first year (not really crap, but not really good either)...yes, they are drinkable and give you a buzz, but I wouldn't serve them to company unless you either stop the fermentation short of "dry" or sorbate and backsweeten to taste. My "No Age Sweet Mead" (recipe from Joe of JAO fame on GotMead) was probably the most drinkable within the first year, but it is fairly sweet and tastes like a desert wine. Next time I will ferment just a little drier and it may be perfect.

chicagobrew 03-29-2011 04:45 PM

Well, it looks like the consensus is that it won't be ready for this Christmas. Oh well, looks like everyone is getting beer again and mead the next year. I'm still going to get started now as I just found out that my sister-in-laws parents run an apiary and I have a delivery of 15lbs of raw wildflower honey coming to me on Sunday.

I've searched the recipe forums and see a lot of good stuff out there. Since I've now got about 20 months, I'm thinking I would like to make a really good traditional mead - probably semi-sweet. Anyone got a really good recipe or does it just come down to ingredient quality and mead making skills with this type?

I'm trolling all of these mead forums for as much info as I can get. I'm also going to pick up a copy of the complete meadmaker later this week. I'm still pretty clueless, though. Anyone have some good suggestions for nutrients and schedule, and yeast selection? I've got plenty of DAP and Wyeast beer nutrient on hand from brewing and my local homebrew store is well stocked if I need anything else.

I really appreciate the help.

Hethen57 03-29-2011 05:10 PM

All of my recipes sounded great when I picked them, MapleMead, Oskar's Blueberry Mead, Orange Spice Metheglin, Crazy Good Mead, Cyser, Grape Mead, etc. I wish I could tell you which one would come out the best but I am still waiting...after one year they are all kind of dry with a harsh alcohol taste. I lost patience and started brewing beer (which I believe I now make better than what I can buy in the store) while my mead ages....I'm still not convinced that it is a good use of time or honey and would love to hear of a success story of a really great recipe.

Fathand 03-29-2011 08:52 PM

Man I am kinda surprised by all the responds.

I agree a Mead is better with age but I have made a semi-sweet traditional and a batch of JAOM that I split between 5 guys at work and both batches (5 gallons batches) where consumed within a month.

The JAOM was handed out after only about 5 months after it was brewed and it was pretty damn good. Still a little bit of harsh alcohol taste but that did stop my co-workers from enjoying it.

If you have access to good honey at a great price I suggest you get a batch together and hand it out this Christmas. You can always suggest that they allow the Mead to age.

Hethen57 03-29-2011 09:13 PM

I need to buy a commercial mead to see what I am shooting for then....maybe mine is great. My frame of reference is good wine and great beer. I will say that my daughter took some of my bottles of mead to college and she said her friends thought I should go into the winemaking business, so maybe it depends who your audience is....haha.

chicagobrew 03-29-2011 10:02 PM


I'm definitely going to get some going this weekend. My sister-in-law's family runs a honey business up in your neck of the woods (Bloomfield Hills) and she's going to get me 15lbs. this weekend. If it's ready or near ready at Christmas I'll give some out. If it needs another year of aging they'll all be getting beer again. They win either way.

LightningInABottle 03-30-2011 04:39 PM

I have seen the honey bears from Bloomfield Hills and wondered where the hives were. Do they own some land near Cranbrook? I graduated from Lahser and grew up in the area. Just curious as to where the hives are located.

Oh I did a Blood Orange Mead that was similar to a MAOM. I used OB honey, mulling spices and blood orange juice. It was very drinkable in 3 months time. It did have some hotness to it which completely disapeared in one years time. You could get one done by xmass, it will be tasty, but not as perfect as it could be. I started it in mid Feb of last year. Racked it once. Bottled it in May. Sampled it over the summer. Left it alone untill Roger Waters came through town and broke it out then. It was a big hit, but had some burn still. I tasted it this Feb and all the burn was gone. I used 71b for yeast and it fermented at a constant 57 degrees f. I think fermenting at such a low temp was helpful in keeping the hotness down.

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