Making a Traditional Mead

I find it’s important to continue to make traditionals every once in a while in the land of crazy combinations in regards to mead-making. A traditional is mead in its truest and most honest form. There are no berries or spices to hide behind. It’s a true measure of how far you’ve come in making it.

Sometimes the draw to use a crazy ingredient or a blend of such; can be very hard to resist. However if you just make one or two traditionals every once in a while. You can really gauge where you’re at, and be able to look back on where you’ve been (Can be a pretty scary place).
The Honey

Honey selection in traditionals clearly plays a bigger role than in a mead with other ingredients, as those added ingredients will serve to help boost the character of your mead. But this is where making a traditional gets to be fun. You really get to focus on the characteristics of the honey and nobody ever said you had to use only one varietal (however it seems to be a norm). Don’t be afraid to blend different varieties of honey into a single batch. And remember that the honey might not taste like from the plant form which it came (example: raspberry honey doesn’t taste strongly of raspberries).

3 Honey Traditional

Mead using three different types of honey.

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To begin, sanitize all your equipment. I used the no heat method and added the three honeys and stirred them in my water until dissolved. I then added half a tsp of nutrient. I’ll add the rest for the 1/3 sugar break.

2 days

The yeast has ended its aerobic and lag phases and fermentation has begun. I’ll aerate daily for three days and add the remaining nutrient.

2 Months

Fermentation has been done a long time. As per usual, Cotes De Blancs (Red Star) has left some residual sweetness in the traditional. I say in traditionals since that my experience with it in cysers has been quite different. The Citrus notes from the Orange Blossom and Cranberry have really dominated over the clovers subtleness. It will be interesting how it evolves over the next few months before bottling time. It’s not very clear at this point, but it’s still quite young.

3.5 Months

I started cold crashing this to help move it along in the clearing process. It’s definitely starting to get there. This should be a real beautiful mead when its all said and done.

5 Months

Still no real sign of clearing. It may be due to the raw nature of the honey I used. It was quite thick with wax and probably some bee parts. I’ve decided that this mead (good as it is now) will benefit form some added oak complexity. I’m adding .25oz/gal of Medium Toast French Oak.

3 honey traditional mead5.5 Months

I added Bentonite, and left for Thanksgiving vacation. Upon returning home, this mead was beautifully clear. The taste is really nice. I think the three honeys melded well together. None are really standing out in flavor and the oak flavor is just a nice supporting note. It is now bottled into two 750ml wine bottles and four 12oz beer bottles.

10 Months

This has aged very nicely. I just finished one of my 12oz bottles that I had opened some time ago. It’s so much smoother and I think after another 6 months you’d guess there isn’t much alcohol at all.

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