Last week I wrote about all the tools I will be using during my mead experiment. Now it's time to talk about the ingredients. There are some things besides honey that are needed to brew a good mead and I want to explain what else goes into the finished product and why it's necessary.
Honey And Other Things
Most of the ingredients in the mead recipe I'm going to use are pretty inexpensive. They are also pretty easy to acquire since everything can be ordered online nowadays.
When making mead you obviously need honey. Without honey, whatever you are making is no mead. I got 2.5kg of forest honey from a local beekeeper. Even though some recipes say you don't really need a good honey, I like to spend a little bit more to make sure my honey is made locally and is something I would eat too. Honey provides the main flavor of your mead, so why use something that doesn't taste as good as it possibly could?
Apple Juice, Shredded Apple and Water
The apple juice and the shredded apple have a number of important jobs to do. They provide some acidity, tannins, vitamins, nutrients and trub. In essence they help the yeast do its job and increase the quality of your mead.
Usually you could substitute the water in this recipe for more apple juice and adjust the acid and other ingredients a bit. Some people claim that the mead tastes too much like apple afterwards, so I guess using water and malic acid is some kind of compromise. I'm going to find out whether this actually tastes good.
To brew mead you need some kind of acid. Why? Because acid balances the sweetness. The same principle is used in reverse when making wine from grapes that lack sweetness and sugar is added.
The second important part the acid plays is in protecting the mead during fermentation. The acid prevents bacteria from spreading when there is no alcohol in the unfinished mead. So the yeast can do its job and the mixture stays free from bacteria.
There are actually different acids you could use. The usual are citric acid, malic acid and lactic acid. They influence the taste of the final product, so it all depends on what you are trying to achieve. Malic acid is a bit fresher than citric acid, while lactic acid is often preferred due to more stability during fermentation and a softer taste.
Basically lecithin is used to provide the yeast with food. There are specialised mixtures to provide nutrients for yeast you can get in brewing shops, but some lecithin also does the job. Besides brewing you could also use it in baking whenever yeast is involved.
Somebody has to turn sugar into alcohol and that somebody is yeast. There are different yeasts you can use and they influence the taste of the finished product. For my experiment I'm using a yeast intended to make Burgundy, but any yeast for heavy wines like Sherry or Port will do fine.
Make Some Mead Next Time
Those were all the ingredients I will use in my recipe and I was able to order all of them, except the honey, via Amazon. All the brewing ingredients weren't that expensive, although some were only available in ridiculous amounts compared to what I need for making my mead. But as things like lecithin and malic acid can be easily stored that shouldn't be a problem.
Next time I'm finally starting my mead, so I'm hoping all goes well. It should be pretty simple as long as everything is sterilized and cleaned correctly. Then the waiting begins. Follow me on my mead journey via Twitter or subscribing. If you have any ideas or questions feel free to leave a comment.
Title image via pixabay.
Other images also via pixabay.