Update 2/8/2015: I have named this particular recipe “Demon’s Blood Mead.” The reason for this is because it comes out looking a really dark red/brown color. After you drink a couple glasses your inner demon will emerge. Drink with caution!
Demon’s Blood Mead
One of the biggest obstacles to starting out in Mead is that the cost of honey is kinda high. Woe is the home brewer who spends a bunch of money on materials, goes through the process of making the mead, waits a long time for it to ferment, only to have it taste poor.
A solution to this problem is going from the standard 5 gallon batch down to a 1 gallon batch. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to get into making mead, while at the same time making an absolutely delicious drink for yourself, this is something I’ve done before with good results.
All of the ingredients for this recipe can be bought at your local supermarket, but if you follow along the way I did it, it makes it pretty convenient.
Here’s the ingredient list:
-1 gallon of apple juice
–3 lbs of honey (I used Buckwheat, but Clover works great too)
–1 package of yeast (I used red star champagne, but if getting everything from the market go with the Fleischmann’s bread yeast)
–1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient
The origin of this recipe came when I was walking around Whole Foods Market one day and saw that they carry a gallon of apple juice in a jug that is exactly the same as the gallon jugs you would buy at a home brew shop.
So I figured why not create a spiced cyser? The gallon of apple juice that they sell is like 8 dollars, and a gallon jug at a home brew shop is around 10. Score! I went ahead and bought the apple juice and made my way over to the honey.
For this batch, I decided to experiment with Buckwheat honey. I have never used Buckwheat so I decided to give it a go with a 1 gallon batch first. They only sold Buckwheat in 1 lb containers so I bought 3 of them. If you don’t have access to Buckwheat, give Clover a try as it’s widely available in any supermarket.
-First things first, sanitize all of your equipment. As there isn’t that much to sanitize with this recipe, just make sure to have some on hand to sanitize what you need. Also, place the honey containers in warm water to loosen it up in order to have a better flowing pour.
-Take about half of the juice out and pour it into another container. A pitcher would work great in this case. This is done to give you enough room to fit the 3 lbs of honey.
-Take the honey and pour it into the gallon container of juice. Shake the gallon container with vigor in order to fully mix the honey and juice together and to aerate the must.
-Take the extra juice from the separate container and pour it back into the 1 gallon jug right up to the top, but not so close that the fermentation causes the must to go into the airlock. Use your best judgement in this regard.
-Place a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of nutmeg in the gallon jug and shake again. Feel free to experiment in this area, but I’ve always found that too little spice is better than too much.
-Get your yeast activated according the instructions on the package and pour into the gallon jug.
-Place an airlock in the opening of the gallon jug and place in a dark room temperature spot to complete fermentation. My original gravity was 1.138. It should look something like this:
-When fermentation is complete or close to it (Mine took about 2 weeks), siphon contents of you gallon jug to another gallon jug for aging. After about 2 months of aging in the secondary gallon jug, bottle your cyser. Drink when you feel appropriate. Personally I would wait a while before drinking, but I can never wait to have at least one bottle just to see how it tastes at that point.
That’s it folks! Enjoy!
Check me out on Twitter