My First Mead

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My name is Christopher J. A. Saint Germain. I am a photojournalist for the Army National Guard. I have been in the active military for most of my adult life and never have had the chance to start brewing. I've never lived in one place long enough. The closest I've ever come was making a batch of Corn Whiskey when I was stationed in Korea.
A few days ago I was cleaning out the kitchen and I realized that I had a large jar of honey that has been sitting in the cupboard for a year. Now I know that honey never spoils. There are claims of honey coming from the pyramids that is still edible. I'd like a spot of that in my tea!
Anyhow, I had about five pounds of Fireweed Honey sitting unused in the kitchen. I don't really drink that much tea, so I considered what to do with the honey. I came across Joe's Ancient Orange Mead Recipe here: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f80/joes-ancient-orange-mead-49106/ and decided I'd like to give that a shot since I have finally settled into a home.
I live in Olympia Washington, and the nearest beer and wine supply is also a Hydroponics supply. The dreadlocked attendant behind the cash register was complaining about how everybody parks wherever the hell they please.
"Maybe they are sampling their yields," I chuckled to myself.
The attendant was quite helpful and sold me a 3 gallon glass carboy and some brewers yeast.
I can hear you saying that the JAOM Recipe calls for bread yeast. I've never been one to stand on tradition. In addition to the change in yeast, I also added Allspice, Anise Stars, two pounds of Turbinado Sugar and one lime. It's more of a science project than an attempt to recreate the same flavor that has already been done.

One word here, I went to Safeway to buy cinnamon and they were charging $10 for a small bottle of McCormicks Cinnamon Sticks. I went to the Mexican Supermercado down the street and they had bulk bags of spices for a dollar a bag. I'm going to start doing all of my shopping there from now on!

I did not boil the honey, but I did warm it and the sugar in water on the stove to make it easier to pour. I added two oranges, the spices and four small snack boxes of raisins to the carboy. I poured the honey/sugar mixture in, topped it with water, and gave it a good shake.

One hour later I figured the concoction was at roomtemperature. I added the yeast and waited for the explosion! None came. I figure that must be one difference between the brewers yeast and the bread yeast.
After fitting the airlock, I moved the carboy to a closet, where it now sits, happily bubbling away. I started the mead on the 28th of October. I'm hoping it clears by Christmas.

This payday, I'm going back to the hydroponics lab and getting some more goodies, so I can start experimenting with beer. My favorite is Vitus and I've seen a clone recipe on this forum. I can't experiment with anything else from the hydroponics lab, since I am still in the Army.

This forum has already proven to be an invaluable resource. I feel as if I know some of you already. Thank you for sharing your expertise.
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Thanks for the reply, CB. The mixture is still slowly perking away, and my closet smells very nice. I'll post an update and let you know how it turns out.
So, how did it turn out, it sounds amazing. If you want come on by house when it is done I have a kegerator that would love to serve that beer for us, LOL. Hope it turns or turned out great!!
John M.
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Hey guys, I bottled it on 16 December. I estimate it to be about 14 percent. It gives a nice mellow buzz. It tastes like straight orange peel, which I've heard will mellow over time, so I plan to save the first six bottles and open a new one every Christmas fit the next six years. The rest I will try every month to gauge how it is aging. The color is beautiful, and I've find that mixed with cranberry juice, it tastes just fine. John, where do you live? I could bring a bottle of hefe I brewed for you to sample.
No, boiling honey for mead is seriously frowned upon in the mead world. Honey has a lot of delicate flavours that tend to disappear when you boil it. Most mead makers will use campden tablets to serilize the must before starting the brew.
Mead is a honey wine, so it should be treated like a wine. I have never heard of boiling the grape juice for wine before. lol
You can boil it, but you will lose a lot of flavour in your mead. So a great mead is never boiled. The only exception to this is bochet mead, which uses carimalized/burnt honey.
Im new to mead as well, and ive done a lot of reading to get me going. I think you may need to track down some yeast nutrient as soon as you can Chris. From what i understand, mead must does not contain the maltose and micronutrients that yeast requires for its life cycle and proper booze production. Find some Fermax or something similar as soon as you can. Hopefully before primary is done. Cheers!
Good choice on settling in Olympia. I'm from Oly and after moving all over the state have finally settled here myself. Health crafts is OK, but Rocky Top Homebrew on the westside of Olympia is where its at. Owned and operated by the family of Dick's brewing, everyone that works there is extremely nice and helpful, and they have a much better selection. Definitely check it out if you haven't already. Congrats again on settling in Olympia. Best city in the country if you ask me :)
I've heard of bananas for nutrient without effecting flavor in other brews... would this not work for mead as well?
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@Handcraftedsince87 Thank you for the info, but I moved to South Korea 6 months ago. The mead is bottled and sitting in my storage unit in Washington, waiting for my return.
Boiling does reduce flavors. However, boiling the water then removing it from the heat, adding your Honey or sugars while stirring does work great and reduces the chance of flavor changes. Banana works great as a nutrient but does extend the clearing time. The raisins provide nutrients, and tannin. I like to make the mead, then flavor and spice post fermentation completion. it allows for your 5 gallon of mead to be broken into 5 one gallons for experimentation. once you find your flavor you can refine it. then brew the heck out of it. then to decide to go flat, or carbonated mead. then go through and evaluate what it is exactly... Mead, Melomel or whatever...