Samhain Mead

Samhain Mead

If magic were real, it would be contained in a bottle of this mead. Brewed on Halloween of 2011, this batch of semi-sweet metheglin contains all the delicious alcohol, spices and magic that you could ever want on Halloween. Sure it entirely lacks any grain but who are we kidding, there is no way that I would pass up a chance to ramble on about mead.

A good mead is an old mead, there is little you can do to avoid that reality. I have made my share of quick meads that have been enjoyed thoroughly by one and all but nothing helps a well made mead more than patience.

The Idea was to make my first batch of truly patient mead. I had some acerglyn (maple mead) for a year now but it was a risky, trouble ridden experiment that only happen to be tasty by luck. To achieve this goal I would have to make an investment in some honey, pick an adjunct, a proper yeast and a good place to hide 5 gallons of it. Halloween was approaching and I sure do love pumpkin... You can figure out the rest.

Target Style
Semi-sweet, metheglin
16% @ 5 gallons

Perfect 6 Gallon Glass Carboy for this Mead

16 lbs clover honey (or Wildflower!)
12 lbs Sugar Pumpkin
1 lb clover honey (to be added to secondary)
Lalvin D-47 Yeast
Fresh Ground Cinnamon, Allspice, Cloves & Nutmeg
3 Cinnamon Sticks
*Recipe calculated with BeerSmith 2.0 - The best brewing software around*

Get all your ingredients and save at:
MoreBeer! Absolutely Everything!

Three days ahead of time you will need to make a proper starter. The methods are similar to those I outlined here however we will use honey instead of DME and will refrain from boiling. Mix 4 parts warm water with 1 part honey. Add some yeast nutrient along with the yeast and place it on your stir plate. If you have not built one yet, make sure to shake that sucker every hour you can manage

Sprinkle quartered sugar pumpkins with spices and roast at 400F for at least 90 minutes or until soft and caramelized. Scoop out the meat and add it to your sanitized bucket, discard rinds.

Mix honey and water in a container you can shake, I use a sanitized one gallon glass jug, with a ratio of about 2 pounds of honey and half a gallon of warm water. I use this method to ensure extreme oxygenation and proper mixture of the water and honey. Use this method until you have added all 16 pounds of honey; top off to 6 gallons with cool water. The reason we want six gallons is so that when we transfer to secondary, inevitably with less volume, it will leave litte to no head space in the carboy. Once the mixture is below 80F (it most likely already is) pitch your entire starter and place the bucket in a dark place at around 62F for a month.
I prefer to not boil my honey (or debate about the benefits) because it sounds like a better idea and is less work.

The Treatment
This mead was treated right, make sure to treat yours right too! After just about 30 days of primary fermentation (do not believe the 14 day limit!), rack your golden nectar into a 5 gallon carboy on top of 1 pound of honey and 3 cinnamon sticks. At this point my gravity reading was 1.000, too dry for me, hence the addition of one more pound of honey. Fortunately it did not ferment too much and left me with just the right amount of sweetness.

After two more months I transferred the mead to tertiary (never do this with beer, waste of time) and allowed it to clear. The mead was bottled on October 13th 2012 and I will enjoy the first bottle of it tonight while I watch A Nightmare Before Christmas!

Cheers and happy  hauntings