I really enjoy the refreshing quality of short dry meads. When I was in Nova Scotia early in 2017 I went to a farmers market where a farmer was selling honey and said that she only kept a few lives on their wild blue berry, wild cherry, and apple farm. I bought a 6 pound bucket and make this wonderful traditional short mead. I bottled some as is and split the batch and did five variations. This included a gallon each of 1 pound of whole frozen blackberries and currents in secondary. I also made a mojito mead, a dry hopped mead with 1oz each of Amarillo and Cascade, and a lemon basil mead. I only made a half-gallon of the basil and mojito meads, so four 12 oz bottles. The berry meads were jammy/ fruit skin flavor that overpowered the delightful honey character. They also needed acid, and I found myself adding acid blend to the glass to brighten them up. This was not what I was looking for and I won’t do fruit in secondary again for short meads. The metheglin’s on the other hand were amazing! For both the basil lemon and mint lime meads, the herbal flavors and citric acids accentuated the honey character. Here is the recipe for the traditional short mead and the basil lemon metheglin variation.
Traditional Short, 7.5%, US-05, 5 gallons, June 24th, 2017
- 4 gallons of water, spring water with the following profile:
- 5 gallon glass carboy
- Rehydrated 12g US-05 in 8.5g of Go-ferm (Contributed 54 YAN)
- Feed starter for 1 hour
- 6 lbs of wild flower honey from Nova Scotia, wild blue berry, wild cherry, and apple.
- 1 lbs of Hogan’s golden honey
- 1 liter of filtered tap water in starter
- Tar. FG-0.998
- Act. FG- 0.994
TANSM Nutrient Protocol:
- The MeadMakr BatchBuildr for total recommended YAN (112.5)
- 3 g Fermaid-K (Contributed 16 YAN)
- 3.8 g DAP (Contributed 41 YAN)
- 8.5 g Go-ferm (Contributed 58 YAN)
- Total acutal YAN: 115
- +18h – degassed, .5g Fermaid-K, foamed over but had sanitized before
- +24h – degassed, 1 g Fermaid-K, 1.5 g of DAP, foamed over but had sanitized before
- +36h – degassed, 1 g Fermaid-K, 1.5 g of DAP, no foam over – gravity read 1.039
- +48h – degassed, 0.5 g Fermaid-K, 0.8 g of DAP, foam over but had sanitized
- +3 days – degassed, foamed up but not over.
- +4 days – degassed, foamed up but not over. 1.022 tasted amazing!! Sweet was balanced. Not too yeasty. Smelled of sweet honey, cherry, apple
- +3 weeks – degassed, no big foam up. Still quite hazy. 0.994!! Clean but really dry.
- +3.5 weeks – Transferred to secondary. Got five gallons. Filled two in 1.9 liter glass mason jar with dregs.
- +3.75 week – Added juice of one lemon and four basil sprigs to the 1.9 liter glass mason jar. Sprayed the basil leaves with star-san, gave them a good spanking.
- +3.75 weeks+24 hours – removed basil which as all brown and gross.
- +4 weeks – added clarifier
- +6 weeks – Bottled 4x 375 ml at 2.5 vol using table sugar
- +7 weeks – Tasted bottled traditional and most of the ale yeast flavour is gone. Little honey coming through, thin and watery.
- +9 weeks – Traditional tastes great. Fruity and light, but still not fully carbonated.
Won silver at the Winnipeg 2017 Pro/ Am Brew Challenge (at three months). Rated 40/50 and 45/50 by the two judges. Scoresheets.
In retrospect, should have added a tad more lemon juice and some rind. Either that or some citric acid, just to help it pop a bit more. The mead finished with a really low gravity, 0.994, so even though I gave it 2.5 volume, the mead only slightly carbonated and I suspect it conked out around 0.998. I would of preferred using honey to prime next time. It would also be more accessible if I was to backsweeten with a sweet mead to say 1.002, to appease those who are dry snobs. Sometimes its hard to tell how to finish a short mead at bottling, since I expect to get more acid from the carbonation. Now, I almost always add some citric or acid blend to my short meads to help them pop a bit.