This week in an effort to clean the inside of the house (yes, that is that ugly C-word again), we decided to muck out the wine cellar. Besides finding a vintage sink, ancient Stella glasses, and a bottle of holy water from Lourdes, we dug up a pretty nice space. And, since our been making stuff was already close we decided to give making mead a shot (don’t mind the mess in our kitchen, we’re still living out of boxes, do have a look at that ceiling – love it!). I found a recipe online that we followed:
1 package of Red Star "Premier Cuvee" yeast
4 pounds of clover honey = 1.82 kg
1 gallon of spring water = 3.79 l
8 ounces of Black berries - Frozen = 226 gr
1 whole clove
inch and a quarter ( 1 1/4 ) long section of a vanilla bean. Split length-wise.
First set your black berries out so that they have enough time to thaw. I try to pick out the darkest of the berries at this point. I use about half a pound for this recipe. This amount gives the mead a wonderful dark red colour and just enough taste of Blackberry to make it special. Once they have thawed crush them in a bowl and set aside.
Pour about one third of a gallon of spring water into a pot. Gently heat the water on the stove to about 90 degrees (= 30 Celsius) ( a candy thermometer is very helpful here ) and add your honey, being sure to keep stirring evenly so the honey doesn't get burned and the mixture becomes homogenous. Remove from the stove and stir for another minute, adding spring water until you have used about a half of your gallon jug. Let this sit to cool to room temperature.
Using a funnel, pour your honey and water from the pot into a 1 gallon carboy. Pour in enough of the remaining spring water so there is about an inch left until the gallon mark. Now you can add the yeast and the nutrient. Shake for about 4 minutes and add blackberries. Shake for at least another minute so that all of the ingredients are mixed and the batch has an even dark red colour.
Let this ferment for 2-3 weeks. Siphon into a clean 1 gallon carboy leaving behind as much sediment as you can.
Take your section of vanilla bean after it has been prepared and place it into a muslin tea bag. Steam the bag and place into the mead. After 4-5 days check the taste of the mead. If there is enough of a vanilla flavour remove the tea bag. Repeat this process with the clove. I like to leave it in until there is just a hint of clove. [from here]
In stead of blackberries we used a frozen ‘forest fruit’ mixture from the Colruyt. So far it’s bubbling away nicely in our wince cellar.. waiting for lots of other bubbling friends to join him.