Oh? Well, thanks for asking. Yes the tasting did go well. Not all of our guests were able to come to dinner, what with illness and all. We’ll have to re-invite them later, and soon. But we still had a great time.
The Apple wine went over especially-well with my wife, who loved the “unplanned” carbonation much more than I. It was quite sweet, and even I can say the flavor was good. The other guests were split over which they thought was better – the Mar grape or the braggot. Though the Mar grape we opened was even better than the bottle my wife and I originally tasted when it first matured, I still find the braggot positively alluring.
I think the Pomegranate and Dried Cranberry Liquor was possibly an even greater hit though, as was the Muscadine Liquor. Both were made by mixing fruit, sugar and Stolichnaya in proper quantities. A little pricey, so this year I plan to try with a vodka that is a little cheaper…
Well, that out of the way, I decided it was high time to start the sweet show mead I had prepared for, before the work week gets off to its usual busy pace. I still have the ingredients to start another batch of braggot, as well (as mentioned before, this time without hops, just to see). Hopefully I’ll have some time Tuesday as some activities grind to a halt during the summer. Maybe.
So I got right to it. 18 lbs of honey (15.5 of Orange Blossom honey, 2.5 of an unmarked honey). Somewhere between 3.5 and 4G of water to make up 5G of must. I used some of that water (heated in the microwave) to clean out the honey jars fully. That seemed to work fairly well. I only heated the water a little – nowhere near boiling. After stirring to mix thoroughly, I checked the SG. The recipe I am using suggests an SG of between 1.120 and 1.135 based on the amount of honey. Mine settled at 1.130, so I am right in the ballpark.
To the must I added 2 tsp each of yeast energizer and yeast nutrient. I then added 1/4 tsp of potassium metabisulfite to sanitize the must. And now we wait the 24 hours suggested before adding the yeast (I will be using Lalvin D-47).
So what am I expecting at the end? Here is the description preceding the recipe in The Compleat Meadmaker:
Sweet meads are generally still, as the yeast will knock itself out trying to deal with all that sugar. Bottle carbonation is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. This recipe will yield a very sweet dessert mead, with distinct honey character and profound legs. Its color will be a pretty reflection on the original honey, and the aroma will cling to the glass even after it is empty. Excellent served with a fruit and cheese platter.
Sounds good to me!
It seemed reasonable to drink something as I researched, heated water, etc. so I pulled out the remainder of the bottle of braggot from the other night. A good choice.
Here are some pictures of the process: