Number 9 (Orange Blossom Honey Mead)

Number 9 (Semi-Sweet Orange Blossom Honey Mead)

(5 gallons/19 L)
OG = 1.093  FG = 1.023
ABV = 9.0%

12 lbs. 9 oz. (5.7 kg) orange blossom honey
4 tsp. yeast nutrients
2 tsp. tartartic acid
2 tsp. malic acid
3 pkg. Lalvin D-47 yeast (dried yeast)

Step by Step
Heat 1 gallon (3.8 L) of water to about 130 °F (54 °C). Pour as much of your honey into a sanitized bucket as will pour on its own. Scoop hot water as needed into your honey container(s) to dissolve the rest of the honey. Use a (sanitized) flexible spatula to scrape the sides of the container(s). Use only as much of the hot water as you need to dissolve the remaining honey.

Slowly add filtered tap water to your bucket, stirring constantly with a sanitized spoon, until you reach 5 gallons (19 L). Stir in yeast nutrients. Put 5 oz. (150 mL) of water at 109 °F (43 °C) in a large (sanitized) measuring cup. Proof the dried yeast by adding it to this warm water and letting it sit 15 minutes. Aerate the must, pitch the yeast, seal the bucket and let sit at 70–80 °F (21-27 °C).

Let the mead ferment until the rate of fermentation slows greatly (at least two months). Add acids to a 5-gallon (19-L) carboy and rack mead on top of them. If the carboy is not full to the neck, boil some water for 15 minutes, cool it quickly (but without splashing or otherwise aerating) and top up carboy. You may also want to add one crushed Campden tablet if you top up. Let mead sit until fermentation is finished and mead clears completely. Bottle and serve cold.

Issue: November 2005

This mead is not as sweet (or alcoholic) as a sweet mead, but retains enough sweetness to round out the orange blossom honey’s characteristics. The Lalvin D-47 yeast is used by winemakers for fermenting dry or off-dry white wines. I used the “no heat” method described in Ken Schramm’s book, “The Compleat Meadmaker” (2003, Brewers Publications) and held my breath, but everything turned out fine. In the no heat method, you don’t heat the must, add sulfite or do anything to sanitize the must — you just mix up the honey and water and let ‘er rip. You can add more or less acid to suit your own taste.
– Chris Colby