Mead making

These are the instructions for the people who attended Royce's mead making demonstration. Thank you Royce for all the effort that you put into this day!

MEAD MAKING

INGREDIANCES

  • 1.75kg of honey
  • 1 sachet of all purpose wine yeast
  •  (This has to be activated before you put it into the diluted honey.)
  • 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient
  • 2 teaspoons of citric acid
  • ¼ teaspoon of tannic acid
  • 1 teaspoon of malic acid
  • Campden tablets to disinfect the honey
  • so it doesn’t go off in our warm weather.
  • Water

 

EQUIPMENT

  • 1-2 demijons or flagons
  • Plastic pipe about 1.5 metres to use to siphon the wine from the lees.
  • Rubber bung and air lock from the brewery shop
  • A large saucepan in which to dissolve your honey and water
  • A hot plate or BBQ to dissolve the honey and water
  • A piece of material to put over the top of the air lock to keep flies from getting into it.
  • Sometimes if you fill the demijohn too full the fermenting wine will bubble through the air lock and run down the sides of the demijohn so it needs to be in a place where a mess doesn’t matter, but the place it ferments in must not change in temperature much throughout the day/night.
  • Patience to wait until it is matured enough to drink.
  • A mortar and pestle or something in which to crush your campden tablets.

 

STEPS

  1. Dissolve honey in an equal volume of hot water.
  2. Pour directly into your sterilized demijohn of sterilized flagon.
  3. Allow to cool and then add all the other ingredients. Add the activated yeast.Give it a shake to mix it all together.
  4. Add enough cold water to make up to a volume of 5 litres
  5. Put an air lock into the demijohn or flagon and allow to ferment out.
  6. As it does sediment (lees) will fall to the bottom of the demijohn. Use a plastic pipe to siphon off the honey from these lees. The first time this is to be done is when the bubbles going through the air lock really slow down.
  7. Once you have siphoned off the mead crush up one and a half campden and dissolve them in a small amount of boiling water (avoid the vapour of these dissolved tablets). Pout this into the mead and replace the air lock.
  8. Leave it to continue fermenting out and siphon off the wine again whenever you see a lot of lees forming at the bottom of the flagon/demijohn. Each time you siphon it off you need to add the campden tablets.
  9. Once the wine is finally clear so you can see through it and no more lees form ( a couple of months) then you may bottle the wine. I often add 30 ml of sugar syrup to sweeten the mead. This syrup is made by dissolving 140gm of white sugar into 140ml of hot water.

You can either have two demijons or flagons  and siphon from one into the other or you can have just one and siphon the wine first into another container and then clean out the lees from the demijohn and then pour the wine back into the original demijohn /flagon.

The problem with just using one demijohn/flagon is that you stand the risk of adding a lot of oxygen the wine which isn’t good at this stage.

(When you make mead the smell of the warm honey actually attracts bees.)

The mead is then left in the bottle for a minimum of 2 years before drinking, 4 years is best.

 

ACTIVATING YOUR YEAST

  1. Pour some concentrated orange or other juice into a glass measuring jar.
  2. Pour in say ½ cup of tap water and add one tablespoon of white sugar. Mix it together.
  3. Heat it in a microwave until almost boiling.
  4. Put it into a room temperature water bath and drop on ice cubes to bring down the temperature to luke warm.
  5. Make sure you carefully splash water onto the measuring glass so it also cools down.
  6. Once the water is luke warm add the yeast and stir.
  7. Wait until the yeast froths onto the surface of the diluted juice.
  8. Pour the activated yeast into the demijohn.

MAKING SUGAR SYRUP TO SWEETEN THE MEAD.

  1. Measure out 120 grams of white sugar and place in a small saucepan on the stove.
  2. Pour in 120ml of water.
  3. Heat and stir until the sugar fully dissolves. Then take it off the stove.
  4. You may add 30ml of this sugar syrup per bottle to sweeten the mead.

MAKING THE MEAD SMOOTH

  • Add one teaspoon of glycerine syrup per bottle.

 

METHEGLIN

Metheglin is made by steeping herbs/spices in the wine. It’s up to you what herbs/spices you use and how much you use.

I’ve used cloves, all spice, cinnamon and crushed ginger.

Once you’ve steeped these herbs/spices in your wine and you have the strength of taste you desire then remove them and bottle the wine. It can then be drunk within about three months instead of years, but the longer you leave it the better it will become.

The best mead is made from the darkest, strongest tasting organic honey. The darker/stronger the honey is the longer it takes to mature, but the wait is worth it.

I call mead the nectar of the gods. The oldest bottle I’ve partaken of is about 5 years and I drank it from a port glass and that glass took half an hour to drink. When I opened the bottle the whole room smelt of honey.

Good mead has a long mouth feel and lingers. You don’t have to add sugar as there is enough sugar in the honey to make the alcohol.

Royce

Mirror Article


















Thanks go out to Sabrina for putting an article in the Mirror about the L2L meeting at Bill and Colleen's place.

I loved the "Anatomy of a wicking bed" drawing that she added to give the public some insight into one of the things that we are doing!

Greg Rutter

YSHS Farm Visit

Aprils Meeting

A special thanks to Charlie Platt’s for his guided tour of the YSHS training farm and aquaculture facility during april’s L2L meeting. The tour was highly informative and excited the imaginations of a lot of people. It certainly encouraged me to get working on patching up my old water tank so I can add some redclaw once the cold weather passes.

Charlie gave us a close up look of the the Redclaw growing operation and provided a lot of useful tips. 

I am currently looking out for where I can acquire some breeding stock of the Walkamin strain of redclaw that the CSIRO has developed through cross breeding trials. They apparently grow at a considerably faster rate then the standard varieties. 

We were shown how to separate the sexes and grade them for breeding. The female redclaw in berry are removed from the main tanks and placed in a small nursery tank that has a fine grill in it. When the young hatch out they fall through the grill so that the mother can't harm or eat the young. After all of the eggs are hatch the female redclaw is returned to the main tank until she goes into berry again.
The other main aquatic species that were grown out at YSHS is barramundi. 

These are a difficult fish to keep here as the water needs to be heated during winter to keep them alive. 

The school was using a spa heater for this purpose and had two separate tanks for growing out the Barra. 


One tank had a display population of large barramundi between 2 and 3 years old and another tank contained a large population of smaller fingerlings. 

The water is being recirculated through a commercial bio-filtration unit which removes the ammonia and contaminates before returning it to the fish tanks.

The fish had a large range to swim through but would school up and bubble the water at the slightest offering of food. 

Charlie also demonstrated the Barra's aggressive feeding action by dangling some pilchards into the adult barra's tank for some explosive entertainment.

We had a tour of the rest of the farm including the newly born piglets, chickens and other poultry, cattle and miniature horses.

There were also several bee hives on the property which produce honey for the school community.

A call is going out to anyone interested in hosting the next meeting on Sunday 20th of May at 10am. We are no longer going to worry  about alternating the locations between Yeppoon and Rockhampton but will just move around where ever someone has something that they would like to share with the rest of the group

Greg Rutter

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