It’s been a long day and you desperately need a drink. Wine just doesn’t refresh, and beer is getting old. If there was only another alternative that was delicious, crisp, and refreshing. Fortunately for you, this alternative exists… you just have to make it. This drink is what I like to call “Nordic Summer Hopped Mead.” It has all of the hopped and bubbly deliciousness of an IPA, but it also contains the exciting but delicate flavors and aromas of mead. The alcohol for this recipe is between 4 in 5 percent by volume, but if you would like a little more kick just add a little more honey. Also, since you make it yourself, you can tweak the recipe to your liking in order to make your new favorite beverage, so let’s get started.
Before you start, you are going to need a few materials:
- A Four Quart Pot
- 1 Gallon Glass Carboy (Fermentation Vessel)
- Beer Bottles
- Bottle Caps
- Bottle Capper
- Siphon Hose
- One Step Sanitizer (optional)
This may seem like a lot at first, but is almost all reusable, so you are set for future boozy endeavors.
And you are also going to need some ingredients:
- Cascade Pellet Hops – 2/3oz.
- One Pound of Honey
- Water (Filtered)
- Lalvin D-47 Yeast or Ale Yeast
- One Small Box of Raisins
Once you compile everything you need, you are ready to begin.
1)Freeze about a quart of ice.
2)Bring half a gallon of filtered water to a boil.
3)Measure out about a third ounce of the hops.
4)Create a pouch of cheesecloth and trap the hops inside. This will make a sort of hop teabag that will minimize the mess.
5)Drop the teabag into water for fifteen minutes.
6)After the 15 minutes is up, take the teabag out of the water and remove from the eye.
7)Add the ice to the water.
8)Warm a teacup with about an ounce of water in it until it is in between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit and pitch about ½ the pouch of yeast into the teacup.
9)When the water reaches a level that is warm but not boiling, pour the honey into the water and stir vigorously.
10)From this point on, it is necessary that everything that the honey-water comes into contact with is properly sanitized. Immersing in boiling water will sanitize, but using One Step sanitizer is easier. Different sanitizers have different specifications, but those should be in the instructions.
11)When the water/hop/honey mixture is cooled to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, begin spooning a spoonful of the water into the teacup of yeast at a time. This will inoculate the yeast to the sugars and prevent from shock.
12)After spooning several spoonfuls of the mix into the yeast over the course of a few minutes, add the yeast to the pot of honey-water.
13)After the yeast is added to the honey-water, you are ready to transfer into your fermentation vessel by siphon (or pouring if you are careful).
14)Add the box of raisins into the fermentation vessel to act as a yeast nutrient.
15)Fill remaining space in the fermentation vessel with filtered water, only leaving about an inch of space at the top of the bottle.
16)Add the airlock with water in it to the fermentation vessel.
17)Place in a dark corner until it stops bubbling. (It should take about a month, but it depends on a number of factors, so it could take more or less time. Also, hops and sunlight do not go well together.)
18)After a couple of weeks of fermenting, it is time to dry hop. This will add hop flavor without the bitterness to the final product. Empty a teabag of its contents and fill with about 1/3 ounce of hops.
19)Add the teabag to the fermentation vessel.
20)After the mead stops bubbling, it is time to rack by siphoning into another vessel. This should leave the sediment at the bottom. Also, remove the hop teabag at this point.
21)After the sediment has been removed from the fermentation vessel, siphon the mead back into the fermentation vessel and place the airlock back onto it.
22)Repeat this process over the course of a few days until almost all of the sediment is removed.
23)It is almost time for bottling, but first you must prime the mead in order for it to become carbonated. Do this by adding 3.5 teaspoons of honey to the mead and shaking vigorously.
24)Bottle the mead into beer bottles.
25)Set in a dark corner for a couple of weeks and let the yeast do its magic.
26)Move to refrigerator.
After you do this, your patience will be rewarded when you crack open one of these delicious cold ones and impress all of your friends.
As you can see, there are many places in this recipe that you could add your own flare. I believe that is the beauty of home brewing. There are a million different possibilities, and I hope that you find the one that suits your tastes perfectly.