Two new meads! (21 February 2005, 10.03 pm)
Me and my sister made two new meads today: a Chocolate Mead, using 500 g of cocoa powder, and a ginger metheglyn, using about 50 g of freshly grated ginger. After the primary ferment, we’ll put in some nectarines from Emilly’s tree into the ginger metheglyn to make what I’m calling a nectarine–ginger methomel. We tried to use Ken Schramm’s no heat method, which involves no heat at all, but our honey was crystalised (we bought 30 kg of clover honey from a place in Mooroduc called Pure Peninsula Honey), so we had to decrystalise it, which needed heat.
We also bought an extra demijohn, a 25 L one, so we can start two 20 L batches at once, and move the 34 L one into the 25 L demijohn and the 25 L batch into a 20 L one. We have the chocolate mead in the 25 L demij., and the ginger meth in the 34 L demij. (You want to start with extra headspace so that what head that forms has a place to exist rather than trying to bubble out the top, but in the secondary, you want to minimise the headspace—and definitely minimise the surface area—so you use one that just fits your batch. Much of the extra 5 L in the 25 L-as-secondary will be taken up by nectarines.)
Chocolate meads typically take a full year before they’re drinkable, so we aren’t expecting much from it till then, but apparently once they’re done they’re damn good. Ours has a density of 12.1° Baumé (°Bé), which means we can expect around 12 per cent alcohol by volume.
Emilly really likes ginger, and apparently ginger and peach goes well together; peaches and nectarines are very similar, and Emilly has a nectarine tree, so we decided we’d make a ginger/peach methomel. Ours has a density of around 12.4°Bé. When we put the nectarines in, it’ll probably stuff around with our calculations, but around 12 per cent is probably a good bet.
We finished putting these together around five o’clock; by around ten o’clock, they both had nice heads on them—particularly the chocolate mead. It was also bubbling at about once every six or so seconds, so it’s got off to a flying start, but the ginger meth wasn’t bubbling yet. Must’ve done something, tho, if it had a head. Our first mead never really got one.
While checking out the meads this evening, which we’ve left under the house like last time, we were visited upon by a cute white kitten (stray). The kitten appeared to like the mead; or perhaps it just liked the fact I was patting it and scratching its head in the way all kittens like, but it did show an interest in these big things, and sniffed around them from the convenient vantage point offered by my lap. White Kitten, therefore, is the name that will appear on our labels.
Our first mead, tho, hasn’t begun clearing yet, so no drinking yet! Maybe in a month, or maybe in six: I’m only guessing.
Finally, we’ve decided next time we’re making two meads, we’ll probably invite some friends around who want to learn. Obviously this won’t be for at least a month, and probably more like two unless someone has a 25 or 30 L demijohn spare.
Update: A couple of days later, the Ginger meth had begun bubbling slowly but lost its head, whereas the chocolate mead was bubbling madly (> 1/sec) and its head had subsided to a relatively large mass of very fine bubbles.