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puravida
01-02-2012, 05:25 AM
New to this forum so hi to everyone form sunny England!:D

I'm a half competent beer homebrewer but never turned my hand to mead. Normally brew pale ales and the occasional wheat beer.

My wife's sister is getting married in August to a chap who's parents are first generation Indian immigrants to the UK.

I thought I'd brew some mead for the wedding as a gift that took some inspiration from the Indian culinary culture.

Being new to mead, I have no idea how well this would work but thought about using a local english wildflower honey and adding the following spices:

cardamon
coriander
cinnamon
cloves
root ginger
chilli

Just in small quantities to give a subtle hint of indian aromas and flavours.

Also the wedding will be in August so it looks like I don't have much time to get this going. Can anyone recommend a solid recipe that will be well conditioned in time for the wedding?

Duracell
01-02-2012, 11:57 AM
I would say start the mead right away and leave the spices out. That will get you going towards a finished product and once you decide on the spice combination you can add them to secondary.

Not sure what yeast you have available to you but quantity of honey will be a big factor and how much mead you are making (total liters), yeast will be a factor in ABV yield as well as finished sweetness level.

Or maybe go for a "Joe's Ancient Orange" variant. Just sub in your spice list below and include the raisins and oranges. It's easy to get going and at 8 months will be just right to drink. And, probably most importantly, it's always a crowd pleaser.

A good place to start would be 3-3.5 lbs us(1.3-1.5kg) honey to 1 gallon us(3.75 ltr) water imo

Chevette Girl
01-02-2012, 12:18 PM
Welcome to the addiction- er, hobby! ;D Forever will it dominate your destiny...

Indian, huh? The last friend I had who married into an Indian family had something like 400 guests at his wedding, and says that was conservative, so if you want to be able to serve everyone, you'll need approximate guest numbers.

Were you planning this to be a dessert wine or a table wine? Estimating amounts will probably be much easier if it's to be a dessert wine. Also, I don't know how it is with British laws and regulations but for my own wedding here, we needed a liquor license for the party and the licensed bar had to shut down while my own wines were on the tables, and one of the venues we'd been looking at completely disallowed bringing in any kind of alcohol that wasn't purchased by them, and yet another venue wanted to charge us a $9/bottle corking fee to uncork the bottles of my own wines... so even before you get started, I'd suggest you talk to the bride and groom, this isn't the kind of thing that should be a surprise, and you might want them in on the taste testing as well.

If you don't mind it being quite sweet, I'd suggest making some JAO (Joe's Ancient Orange Mead). Try one batch to the letter, and then try with altered spicing, maybe use half a cinnamon stick, one clove and you'll have to see about the other spices, I've been working a little with coriander and cardamom myself but haven't figured out amounts... and a lemon can substitute for the orange, I've done this myself a few times. I don't think lemon or orange are widely consumed fruits in India but they're at least not unheard of... JAO takes about two months to finish so that gives you some time to work out a recipe, my own suggestion would be to start soon and do several one-gallon pilot batches with varying amounts of spicing (keep good notes!) so you can compare different spice levels to get the subtle hint you want without it overdoing it. I think I put 2 cardamom pods in a gallon last time and they were completely lost, I've got to taste that one and make sure though :)

Oh, and if you do beer already - one of the big differences between beer and mead that will make your life easier if you haven't read the whole forum is that you don't have to boil the crap out of everything. Mead is robust enough that it can handle a fair amount of adversity, and a lot of us find that heating honey can drive off a lot of the more subtle aromatics.

Hope this helps!

HunnyBunz
01-02-2012, 09:36 PM
I'm wanting to try a metheglin using similar spices so I'd like to hear what you finally end up doing and how it turns out.
Since I too am new to mead making any help I can get would be... helpful. :)
I think I'll leave out the chillis for now until I gain a little more experience - I don't want to experiment too much until I have a better idea what to expect.

Loadnabox
01-03-2012, 01:06 AM
Ditto to Chevette Girl and the JAO, though I would make it straight up now and not worry about modifications so that it has as much time as possible to age out before the wedding.

You get about 5 bottles per 1 US Gallon. Assuming 400 guests for a conservative Indian wedding (I agree this is accurate too for a smallish Indian wedding) This means you need 40 Gallons of Mead.

For 40 gallons of JAO you're looking at 140 Pounds of honey, or approximately 12 Gallons of Honey. You should look for a supplier that can provide that much ASAP, it's harder than you think.

Ditto again to CG checking with the bride and groom first as well. This is something that could cause them unexpected headaches which is the last thing needed when planning something this big. The best alternative if they don;t want it served is to give it away as party favors as the LEAVE the celebration. This will avoid most of the legal or financial issues that would be caused by opening it on site.

fatbloke
01-03-2012, 07:56 AM
Sunny England ? My arse !

If you look out the JAO recipe from the NewBee guide (yellow box on left of page), then either go for as close a to benchmark version as possible.

Obviously, you won't get the Fleischmanns yeast, but Allinsons or Hovis or similar will do the job. Plus don't bother messing about with the US to Imperial gallons thing. Make the quantities imperial, it works fine.

It's worth paying attention to Joes comments in respect of the spices, because he's spot on, the cloves are potent little buggers and over doing then will give you a result that pretty undrinkable.

If you wanted, you can vary the spices but go with spices normally associated with sweetness/sugars i.e. cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, possibly cardomom, or star arise. Just remember you can add more easily, but if you over did it, its virtually impossible to remove.

As others have said, if you're wanting to serve it at the do, then you want some numbers, as you'll get 5 to 5 and a half bottles from a gallon. Whereas if you're gonna present the couple with it, then just make 3 gallons, as thats enough for a case of 12 and have a few yourself.

And yes, you will need to get it going soon, as even with JAO you'll be cutting it close.......

If you put a region or county for your location on your profile, then you may get more local guidance etc.....

Guinlilly
01-03-2012, 10:40 AM
In the states here, but running into the problem with serving our own beer and mead (and my fiance is a pro-brewer!). I'm totally glad my Dad is chef and has connections to the county liquor boards and also the venue where we are probably going to be married. We aren't going to be able to serve our homebrewed beer (but in a roundabout way still serve beer J made, DFH FTW!), but with the addition of a nominal corking fee (those are the connections I'm talking about) we will be able to serve our mead. However, gifting our mead as favors has gotten a green light because it is a gift and will be brought home to be drunk.

Chevette Girl
01-03-2012, 12:18 PM
However, gifting our mead as favors has gotten a green light because it is a gift and will be brought home to be drunk.

Yeah, that was the suggestion of the place that wouldn't let us serve our own stuff at all.

TheAlchemist
01-08-2012, 01:28 PM
You could always do a HUGE batch of JAO, leaving out the spices, then add your proposed spices after the fruit has dropped and you're ready to rack...

Hmm...think I'll try this myself some day...that dang "To Do" list...