2018 Metheglin (Mead)

September 2018 – For non-mead makers, metheglin is mead (honey wine) flavored with spices. I haven’t made this since 1998 … but have no good reason for not doing it.

I loved the last bottle of the 1998 that I opened in 2008. I just couldn’t get around to starting another batch. I suspect I’ll do another batch next spring or summer — the only way to have enough to age is to make more than I can reasonably drink.

2018 Metheglin (Mead)

Ingredients:

Fruit 15 lbs Kirkland Clover Honey
Nutrient 6 tsp
Energizer 3 tsp
Grape Tannin 1-1/2 tsp
Acid 2 lemons, halved, squeezed by hand, rind in fermenter
Yeast Mangrove Jack’s M05 Mead Yeast
Flavorings 6 cinnamon sticks, 12 whole cloves, 12 whole allspice
Fining Agents Kieselsol, chitosan
Sulphite 1/4 tsp per racking after fermentation completed.
Sorbate 1-1/4 tsp at bottling time

Method:

Put 3 gallons hot tap water in primary fermenter. Stirred 15 lbs honey into hot water. Used additional hot water to rinse the honey containers. Filled with cold tap water to 6 gallons.

Initial temperature was 106 F. Cooled to 84 F using cold water bath and fan.

Added nutrient, energizer, tannin, and lemon. Stirred to mix in.

Put flavorings in hops bag and tied shut. Wrapped in paper towels and crushed gently with hammer. Added to fermenter.

Sprinkled yeast on top.

08/23/2018
SG 1.089
Seemed stuck, added 3 tsp yeast nutrient, 1 tsp yeast energizer. Removed lemon rind and flavor pack. 08/31/2018
SG 1.045
Extra nutrient and energizer did the trick. Racked into carboy. 09/05/2018
SG 1.008
Racked, added kieselsol, stirred 2 minutes. Added chitosan, stirred 2 minutes. 09/22/2018
SG 0.998
Mead cleared nicely. Racked. 10/13/2018
SG 0.996
Racked. Added 1/4 tsp sulfite and 1-1/4 tsp sorbate.

Sweeetened with 3/4 cup sugar. Bottled.

11/18/2018
SG 1.003

Notes:

Yield 27.5 bottles
Alcohol 12.6%
Residual Sugar 0.8%
Winemaking Notes I’ve read that while honey is the “perfect food” for humans, it’s not for yeast. Low-alcohol mead can be made without it, but it appears that higher alcohol meads require yeast nutrient and energizer.
I typically use bentonite for fining early on, then let the wine clear naturally. The mead was hazy … so I decided to try the kieselsol/chitosan that used in all the kits. It worked like a champ! It was definitely worth the $2.25 I spent on it.
11/11/2018 My elder son and I sampled a bit from a top-up bottle this morning while bottling the nut brown ale. This is already pleasing, although a year in the bottle will produce major changes. We both noted the cloves flavor is good, but the cinnamon is lacking. Next time I will double the number of cinnamon sticks.
11/18/2018 My elder son and I bottled today. We poured a glass of mead as a control for tasting, then sweetened with 1/2 cup sugar, stirring vigorously to ensure it mixed well. I snagged a few ounces with a wine thief and compared to the base wine. The taste was good, definitely an improvement on the dry.

Then we added 1/4 cup sugar, stirred, and tasted again. Definitely better taste, but I thought it needed more. Eric argued that the sugar diminished the taste of the cloves, which is a bit sharp in the control. We tasted both again and I decided I agreed with him. Yeah, an additional 1/4 cup sugar might have mellowed it a bit more, but the taste of the cloves was muted by the sugar. So we bottled with 3/4 cup back sweetening sugar.

Time will tell how this works out.

Bryan

Long time wine and beer making ....