Redstone Meadery's Vanilla Bean / Cinnamon Stick Mead
5 gallon/19 L, honey and spices;
OG = 1.102; FG = 1.012; ABV = 12%
8 lbs. (3.6 kg) alfalfa honey
4 lbs (1.8 kg) wildflower honey
1 tbsp. yeast nutrient or 1 tbsp. extra light malt extract
3-4 whole vanilla beans
3–4 cinnamon sticks
Red Star Montrachet yeast
Step by Step:
Bring 4 gallons (15 L) of water up to 180 °F (82 °C) in your kettle and then add 12 pounds (5.4 kg) of honey.
Cover for 20 to 30 minutes at around 150 to 160 °F (66–71 °C). Now is a good time to start your yeast. For mead, I like to use dry yeast. Take a few packets of Montrachet yeast. Mix with a tablespoon of extra light malt extract. Stir vigorously so as to introduce oxygen.
Primary fermentation most likely will take three to four months. Try to keep the fermentation temperature between 70 and 78 °F (21–26 °C) if possible. After primary, transfer to a 5-gallon (19 L) carboy that already has the vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks in it. Just toss the cinnamon sticks in whole. Cut the vanilla beans into thirds before adding. The vanilla beans in particular need the alcohol in the mead to help extract the flavor. Let it sit for three months or so. Transfer off the spices. Keep racking until you are pleased with the clarity of the mead. Bottle still (without bottling sugar).