View Full Version : High Alcohol Content Mead and a good starter flavor?

11-15-2008, 05:36 PM
Hi, I am new to this site.

I'm ordering two (or maybe three) one gallon jugs to start my mead experience.

I want one to be a sort of liqeuer or harder drink (economical reasons for this) another to be a good dry semi-sweet mead, and a third too be a more full thick sweet dessertish mead.

I searched the forums and came up with several good recipes but I wanted some peoples opinions, also.

Thanks a lot!

11-15-2008, 06:33 PM
Hi rhitz291 and Welcome to the GotMead? Mean (but friendly) Green Machine!

A few questions first: What kind of fermentation experience do you have? Have you made mead before? Have you made wine before? Have you made beer before? While mead fermentation does share some similarities to wine and beer production, it is a different beast. Some things transfer, others don't. Mead has it's own unique quirks.

If you are new to making mead, try starting with Joe's Ancient Orange. It's a guaranteed win for the first time mead maker IF you follow the directions. No variations! It falls into the semi-sweet category and there is an entire thread (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6885)dedicated to it. You can follow other peoples experiences with it there.

Building high gravity/high alcohol meads can be tricky. Proper attention must be paid to the details like yeast handling, pH, temperature, aeration, nutrient additions, etc. when you tackle big meads. Big meads also take a lot of time to age and mellow.

Start small (the JAO comes out around 10-12%). After you have things down, then look at building a bigger one.

A good first start is to read the NewBee Guide. It's in the Site Menu to the left of your screen. You might also peruse the Brewlog forum for some ideas on how to manage your fermentation.

If that whets your whistle, then think about becoming a Patron. It's a cheap way to become a master mead maker!

11-17-2008, 07:55 PM
I actually have no fermenting experience!

I was researching the various areas of brewing/distilling and mead/wine seemed the most user friendly.

Thanks a lot for the Ancient Orange recipe! I'll do that one first.

I'll also go read the guide now, but thank you very much.


11-17-2008, 08:04 PM

Mead and wine making ARE user friendly. But like everything else, there are "gotchas" to watch out for. I think after you try a JAO you'll be amazed at how easy it is and you'll be hooked!

Good luck,

11-17-2008, 10:00 PM
Be prepared, mead takes patience... lots of it. Even though Joe's Ancient Orange is often said to be drinkable fairly quick, it is much better with 6 months to a year of aging before being consumed (like most meads). After a couple of rackings you will only have a couple of wine bottles to show for your effort from a one gallon batch. My advice to most newbees would be to pick up a couple of 3 gallon carboys for small batches (you always need an empty one to rack into) instead of One Gallon Jugs. That way when your finished with your rackings and aging you'll have 10 to 12 wine bottles worth. When it takes a year or more for mead to go from merely drinkable to Awesome you are going to wish you'd made a bigger batch. You'll also have a chance to experience first hand how aging affects mead. Bigger batches also tend to be more forgiving of mistakes and are more stable for aging.

I started out with 6 gallon batches, it soon turned out that sharing with family and friends (small circle of each) I went through 6 gallons very quickly. I'm now making 15 to 20 gallon batches along with smaller 6.5 gallon speciality batches, and I'm making them more often.

If you are set on One Gallon Batches here's what I'd do for your liqueur batch. Try an Acerglyn, very full bodied and tastes like an expensive fine liqueur, especially after aging for a year or two.

What You'll Need ~
3 lbs of honey (wildflower works well as it adds to the complexity)
2 pks of Lalvin DV10 preferred (http://morewinemaking.com/view_product/6281/103218/Dry_Wine_Yeast_-_DV10_8_g) yeast (or Lalvin EC-1118 (http://morewinemaking.com/view_product/16461/103218/Dry_Wine_Yeast_-_EC-1118_8_g))
GoFerm (http://morewinemaking.com/view_product/15479/103219/Go-Ferm_10_g) recommended
Fermaid K (http://morewinemaking.com/view_product/15482/103219/Fermaid_K_8_g) recommended
8 to 10 oz of Maple Syrup

To Keep things simple
Follow the directions for rehydrating the yeast with GoFerm.
Mix the honey with slightly less than one gallon of water (you'll need room for the Maple syrup in a couple of days)
and 1/4 tsp of Fermaid K and mix well.
Add the rehydrated yeast and mix well.
Oxygenate/Stir Vigorously twice daily for 3 days.
on the 3rd day add the Maple Syrup and another 1/4 tsp of Fermaid K during your last Oxygenation/Stirring.
Let ferment to completion and settle. Then rack off lees into another One gallon glass jug. Cap and let age for as long as you can stand. If you get more lees or sediment at the bottom after a month or three of aging you may have to rack a second time, after doing so continue to let it age. At one year it should be delicious, at two years it should be the most incredible liqueur you've ever had.

Jered Talbot

11-18-2008, 06:50 PM

Thank you guys for the advice.

I'm thinking I'll have to start with a three, for the same reasons you stated. It's a tad more pricey but I have a distinct feeling that it'll pay off in the long run!

I am gonna save that liqueur recipe. That sounds delicious, maple syrup (genius!).

Do you guys have any other beginning recipes like the JAO one? I'd like to have two fermenting at once so that if I get impatient after a couple of months I have something to satiate myself while the other is still aging, ;D.

11-18-2008, 09:27 PM
My Suggestion for a fairly foolproof mead, use the above recipe for the Acerglyn, using any type of honey you fancy, without the addition of maple syrup. This should result in a dry mead. If you want it semi-sweet ~ in place of the Maple Syrup add 1/2 lbs to 3/4 lbs of honey.

Jered Talbot

11-18-2008, 09:35 PM
I feel lame for askin' but how big is the recipe you gave for?

Like I said, I'll either do a couple one gallons, or maybe a 3 or 5 gallon (like you guys suggested).

And can it scale upwards or downwards evenly?

11-18-2008, 09:44 PM
The Above was for a one Gallon Batch.