A traditional, no frills, mead. Made from honey, water, and yeast… with some certain exceptions like FERMAID-O, black tea, and raisins for tannin. This will be brewed to be true to its ancient ancestors born in wineskins.
Basics are important.
My Blood Orange Mead’s flavors got complex and deep pretty quickly and, as a result, I decided I wanted to embrace what mead fundamentally is. I wanted to make a plain mead with as much careful attention as I’d give to my more complex meads. In a one gallon fermenter, I added 3lbs of Amazon brand boring wildflower honey. I tasted it before I added it to the fermenter and, while it definitely isn’t the unfiltered, raw Texas honey I’m used to, I found the flavor pretty good, nonetheless. I mixed 1 tsp of FERMAID-O into the still hot tea resulting from brewing 1 black tea bag in hot water for 5 minutes. The hot liquid helps dissolve the FERMAID-O into solution. I also finely chopped the raisins and added them to the Must along with the black tea and FERMAIN-O. Raisins aren’t nutrients. But they are a good source of tannins for a more interesting mouthfeel at the end.
I boiled 2 liters of water and mixed it with cold water to get about 110F hot water. I added this water to the honey in the fermenter to start melting it. At this point, the fermenter was just above 1/2 full, so I put the lid on, plugged the hole in the lid with my finger, and shook the contents vigorously to mix well. After about 60 seconds of shaking, I removed the lid and added more hot water until the fermenter was about 3/4 full. I put the lid back on and shook again for about 60 seconds. Then I added cold, filtered water until it was a full gallon and was just above the shoulder of the fermenter. Again, I put the lid on and shook the Must thoroughly to both well mix the honey and water as well as oxygenate the Must.
Afterwards, using the famous turkey baster method, I drew up a sample into a graduated cylinder and used my hy-break-ometer (hydrometer) to determine the beginning density was 1.120 Specific Gravity (SG). When considering the temperature of the Must, the actual SG will be around 1.127. I used a thermometer and measured the Must at 104F which is a bit warm, but not dangerous to yeast starting out. So, I pitched the whole packet of Lalvin D47 yeast. While the package says the contents is enough for 5 gallons, it doesn’t hurt to use the whole packet and I want the yeastie beasties to have a robust colony considering the very high possible ABV at the end. I added the requisite stickers to the fermenter with the appropriate information.
The Must was then put into the Temple of Fermentation and a “Hail, Odin!” issued proudly.