(That’s old English for What Ho Chums).
We always tend to think of mead as being a part of ‘Merry Olde England’ – Anglo-Saxons, Robin Hood, ‘Good Queen Bess’ and other things like that from England’s glorious past but apparently that’s not quite how it was. Mead is in fact the world’s oldest alcoholic drink – going back 40,000 years to early African bushmen, with wine being a mere 6000 years old. About 35,000 years ago those African Johnnies got a bit fed up being chased up hill and down dale by lions and decided to find somewhere a bit safer to live so they had a wander around the Med. They spread out across Europe and Mesopotamia, spreading their mead as they went.
Now, I thought I’d make some, after-all, how hard can it be? People running around stark bollock naked 40,00 years ago could do it, so I should be able to breeze it.
Well, I soon found out when I googled some recipes – there’s thousands,form nearly every region of the world. It was all a bit confusing, there’s dry, semi-dry, sweet, very sweet, fruit, herb, spiced the list is endless; so I thought I’d make my own recipe up based on what’s called a melomel mead, that is a mead made with fruit.
Most recipes called for between 8 – 18 lbs of honey. I thought I would make it using local Kent honey and looked up some local apiaries and found one that was quite close. unfortunately it was £8 a jar for the honey, which made that idea a non-starter, although I did buy a jar. So it was off to the Swan for a pint and to ponder what to do. Now on the way home I had to pop into the Co-Op and on the shelves was honey for £1.75, a bit of a no-brainer then.
Here’s a list of the ingredients.
8lbs of honey.
First the honey was poured into the fermentor with some warm water added and stirred, then topped up to the 23 l mark with cold water.Lemon juice was added to help regulate the acidity and also the raisins were added, to help give a bit more sugar for the yeast.
Then a gravity reading was taken.
While this was being done, the yeast was started in a cup of hot water at 40f which is a lot hotter than normal.
The yeast nutrient was also started.
Me wee yeasties go made for this stuff.
It was all added to the fermentor.
This was covered and allowed to ferment for two weeks. Then it was transferred to a glass car-boy.
Now all that’s needed is to leave to continue fermenting for eight months then bottle it.