I stepped outside my comfort zone this morning and did a 1 gallon batch of….mead. So what is mead, well, Wikipedia says:
Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, and frequently fruits, spices, grains or hops. The alcoholic content of mead may range from about 8% ABV to more than 20%. The defining characteristic of mead is that the majority of the beverage’s ferment-able sugar is derived from honey. It may be still, carbonated or naturally sparkling, and it may be dry, semi-sweet or sweet.
I brewed a 1 gallon batch, using 3lbs of honey, zested orange peel and the squeezed juice from one orange, a cinnamon stick, and clove. I used Wyeast 4184 (for wine and sweet mead). This one should turn out to be pretty sweet based on the amount of honey and type of yeast, but not so much so that it fits into the dessert category. The sweetness should be balanced by the potency of the one clove and cinnamon. This should ferment for about a month, and then I’ll throw it into secondary and let it age another couple months (the exercise of patience is one of the hardest parts of home brewing).
Of course, I got the recipe over at HomeBrewTalk in their Mead recipe section, and if you’ve never brewed anything before, you can brew this with everything you can get from the grocery store, except of course the yeast, yeast nutrient, and yeast energizer, which you can order online (from Norther Brewer). There is another recipe (almost exactly the same), but using bread yeast, which would make this an easy brew for anyone to start out with!
If you have any interest in brewing this and need some help, feel free to contact me, otherwise I’ll let you know how the tasting goes in a few months.