- 10 lbs. clover honey. St. Paul farmers' market price was half that of the local homebrew store (a great place, BTW, but shopping around is good).
- 1/4 tsp. Irish moss
- 2 oz. dried ginger, broken up with mortar and pestle
- 1.5 tsp. gypsum
- 5 tsp. yeast nutrient. You don't need this when brewing beer with mostly malted barley. However, honey is basicly sugar, and, just like us, yeast needs more than sugar to live.
- 2 lbs. 9.5 oz. fresh peaches. That was the fruit we had handy.
- 1 oz. frozen Nugget hops, from our garden.
- Pasteur champagne yeast
- water to total 5.5 gallons
I boiled the honey, gypsum, irish moss, yeast nutrient, and ginger in 2 gallons of water for 20 minutes. At the end of the boil I poured this into my primary fermenter and then added the hops and peaches. I chilled this in our bathtub, filled with cold water. Thsen I added the rest of the recipe's cold water to the fermenter and the yeast. Initial gravity 1.065. Ferment for a week or so, then transfer to a secondary fermenter for another month or so, then bottle.
This has less honey per unit water than most mead recipes. The result is that all the sugar in the honey ferments. The result is a dry drink. The sweetness of most meads results because they start with so much honey that the yeast dies of alcohol poisoning before it can ferment all the sugar in the honey. In a recipe like this, the yeast is still alive, but dormant after finishing the available sugar. So when I bottle it I can add a little more sugar. The yeast wakes up and consumes this, producing Carbon Dioxide. Sealed in the bottle, the resulting carbonation produces a sparkling drink.
I have been making this in one form or another for over 1/4 century. I gave some to my father, who died in 1984. He said that it was the only drinkable mead he had had in his life. Knowing his scholarly discipline and his drinking habits, I am certain that he had a sufficient sample size before making such a statement :-)>