Yesterday afternoon I, Jeremy James Moreau, had an epiphany: I should make mead! Specifically Joe’s Ancient Orange Mead.
For those of you unsure as to what exactly mead is.
Mead also called honey wine, is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by fermenting a solution of honey and water. It may also be produced by fermenting a solution of water and honey with grain mash, which is strained after fermentation. Depending on local traditions and specific recipes, it may be flavored with spices, fruit, or hops (which produce a bitter, beer-like flavor). The alcoholic content of mead may range from about 8% ABV to 18%. It may be still, carbonated, or naturally sparkling, and it may be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.
Mead is known from many sources of ancient history throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, although archaeological evidence of it is ambiguous. Its origins are lost in prehistory. “It can be regarded as the ancestor of all fermented drinks,” Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat has observed, “antedating the cultivation of the soil.”
I found a recipe online for Joe Mattioli’s Ancient Orange and Spice Mead (JAOM). Vic and I went to Kuhn’s Market and purchased the ingredients we needed: 8 pounds of honey, 3 oranges, and a box of raisins. We already had the Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg at home.
Upon arriving at home we all went for a walk in the little alley behind our house. Vic is doing very well walking, climbing and running.
Walking on Mascot Way.
As Jenn was baking her bread, I sanitized a five gallon carboy and poured the honey in, using hot water to get all of the honey from the bottles. I then cut the oranges into 12 sections each and pushed each slice into the bottle.
Next I poured 1/2 of the box of raisins in and added 3 tsp of ground cinnamon, 1 tsp of ground nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp of ground cloves. I then added cold water to the three gallon mark and shook the daylights out of the whole mixture.
The recipe said to let the stuff get to room temperature before adding the yeast. I don’t have one of those thermometers that stick to the side of my carboy, so I sanitized my meat thermometer and using tongs gently lowered the tip into the liquid. It read 70.8° F. I could now add my packet of regular old Fleischman’s Bread yeast but for one little problem: my thermometer was bobbing around in my potential mead! After 10 minutes of failed ideas and attempts, I let Jenny try. She also failed, but in her failing I had a stroke of genius. I would bend the end of my bottle brush 90º, catch the tip, and lift it straight out. Of course, I let Jenn get the satisfaction of ‘fixing my mistake.’
So, crisis averted, I added the yeast, put the bung in, and shook it like my mama taught me.
A whole lotta shakin' goin' on!
All that was left to do was attach an airlock and wait for the Yeastie Boys to do their thing. This mead should ferment for 2 months and clear on its own, at which point it is bottled and aged for six months. So the 15 bottles of JAOM should be ready for Christmas time!
Total ingredients cost: $39.52
Yield: 3 Gallons, Approx. 15 750ml bottles
Time involved: 15 minutes. (if you don’t drop the thermometer into the mead!)
Cost per bottle: $2.63
So there it is. My first blog and my first mead. Cool.