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Mead Recipe

A brief history
Mead or honey wine is a fermented alcoholic beverage made of honey, water, and yeast. It has been theorized that it may have been the first fermented beverage ever consumed by man. For man was more likely to store honey than the juice of grapes therefore, making it more likely that it was the first liquid that was consumed after being fermented by wild yeasts. Although there have been mead vessels collected from many different time periods, mead is most commonly associated with the Vikings. Although they were consumers, it is important to know that the rest of Europe was drinking mead at this time alongside wine and ale. Meads cultural importance is evident by its position in literature. Its been consumed by the country men of Beowolf, Bilbo Baggins and his cohorts in The Hobbit, and even Harry Potter in The Half Blood Prince . Since its conception, mead has gone through many changes. More complex varieties such as metheglin(a herbal, spiced mead) and melomel(a fruit flavored mead) were developed. However, meads basic step for creation has remained the same fermentation of honey. By making mead yourself, without the aid of complex essences and brewing machinery, you are creating an ancient beverage that you can be assured will taste as very close to how it did thousands of years ago.

Definitions regarding mead making and homebrewing in general:

Mead-this is the fermented mixture of honey, water, and spices. It has an alcohol content of roughly 5-15%. Yeast Yeast is a micro-organism that produces ethyl alcohol. There is wild yeast in the air that will ferment compounds with sugar in it, but they are unpredictable(although there are a few breweries who only use wild yeast). You can buy yeast at the grocery store as bread yeast cheaply or you can buy yeast specifically for homebrewing online for a little higher price. Now lets go into a simplified scientific explanation behind the process a little bit. Basically, there are two ways of producing ATP or energy for most organisms. They are: a) cellular respiration b) fermentation. When oxygen is present, most organisms use cellular respiration (you are using it right now). When Oxygen is not present, fermentation takes place. When you run extensively your muscle cells do not get enough Oxygen, so they begin fermentation for energy. This fermentation, in humans, produces lactic acid. Now, when the tiny yeast cells do not have oxygen they use fermentation as well for energy. However, when they use fermentation, they consume sugar and produce: heat, CO2, and Ethyl Alcohol or drinking alcohol! Very useful, right? abv -Alcohol by volume. This is the amount of alcohol in the beverage in relation to amount of liquid. For reference, beer is usually between 3-5% abv, wine/mead is usually between 10-14% abv, hard liquors are usually 40-60% abv, and the notorious Everclear is 95% abv.

Fermentation-when used in brewing, it is referring to the stage when the yeast are consuming the sugar and actively fermenting the brew. During this stage, it is important that there is some form of escape for the Carbon Dioxide that builds up or you will have a big mess. Lees/sediment/dregs- This is the stuff at the bottom of the fermentation vessel that is slightly thicker than the rest of the liquid. It consists of honey sediment and dead yeast. It is removed by siphoning and filtering. Clearing -clearing is the process of letting the sediment settle to the bottom during fermentation so you have a clear liquid to place in your bottl

Airlock: Is a device that you place on top of your fermentation vessel. It contains water which the CO2 bubbles through. The idea is that carbon dioxide can escape from your brew, but outside air can not. I personally do not use one. It is a precaution to keep the brew from turning into vinegar(there are bacteria in the air that if they land in the brew will turn it to vinegar). Ive only had it happen once it doesnt happen often. You can just use small holes punched in the cap or not tighten the cap all the way to let the carbon dioxide out if you do not want to buy/make an airlock.

Now to actually making mead!

-3.5 pounds of honey(and kind will do) -Two teaspoons of lemon, lime, or orange juice. -20 raisins -A quarter teaspoon of cinnamon -One whole clove -A one gallon pot -A funnel -Some coffee filters -Two one gallon milk jugs

Step 1. Pour ten cups of water into your one gallon pot. Add all of your ingredients(honey and spices) into the water-filled pot. Turn the stove on warm and gently stir the mixture. You want to dissolve everything together. After it is all dissolved together, funnel it into your one gallon milk jug. Step 2. Now fill the rest of the jug up with warm water, but leave an inch of space at the top. Now let the mixture reach room temperature(60-80 degrees Farenheit). Once it is at room temperature, shake the jug. This is to aerate the mixture. After the mixture has been shaken, move to step three. Step 3. Pour in one teaspoon of yeast. Put the cap back on. Poke a few holes in the cap. Now place this jug in a warm, dark place. The fermentation will generate a little heat so you can wrap a towel around the jug to keep light out and keep it warm. Gently swirl the jug

every day for one week. Step 4. Pour in a half teaspoon of yeast. Put the cap back on and place it back in the warm, dark place. Let it sit completely undisturbed for ten days. Step 5. It should now be done fermenting. If it is still bubbling a lot, you can wait a little longer for it to finish fermenting. When it is done fermenting, place the entire jug in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The cool temperature will insure that all the yeast are dead. Now filter/siphon the mead into another sterile gallon jug being careful to leave all the dregs on the bottom. Leave the newly filled gallon jug to sit for a few days while any sediment that got through settles on the bottom. Step 6. Now filter/siphon through coffee filters into bottles or into a jug again if the mead is not clear enough. You can repeat this process as much as you want until no sediment is left. Once the mead is in the bottles, it is ready to drink! Congratulations on making your first mead!