It’s been cold this week. Maine gets cold in the winter, but this past week has been like nothing I’ve seen in a long time, in terms of the number of cold days in a row. We haven’t seen 20 degrees Fahrenheit in nearly a week, and the lows have been in the negative double-digits.
Clearly it’s time to hibernate, and a hibernation mead is in order. This will be (for now) a plain mead, though I am definitely thinking about trying my first spiced mead. I began with basically the same recipe as Mad Trad D from the Mad Trad Trial: chaga and sumac with my basic mead recipe. This is a nice, rich decoction:
Once I cooled it down to blood temperature, I added enough honey to get to a 16% initial alcohol potential:
After I pitched the yeast, I was left with a beautiful brown must:
There will be more to this story…. spicing. Hmmm……
UPDATE: May 15, 2013
Much to my surprise, this mead has already mostly cleared. So I racked it today, as well as adding a spice packet to it. I thought a lot about what spices to add, and decided to emulate a chai spice (hence the modified name of Chaibernation Mead… heh heh). Specifically, I added a vanilla bean, a cinnamon stick, a few mace husks, cardamom seeds, black peppercorns, and dried red peppercorns:
Then I chopped them all up:
And lastly, put them into a sealable teabag (sealed with an iron):
I also took a hydrometer reading after I racked it, it is presently 2.5% alcohol potential, which means this is a semisweet mead at 13.5% alcohol. With the spicing mixture it should be great:
Next step: check the flavor profile on this starting in a couple of days. I don’t want the spice to be overwhelming.
UPDATE: May 23
The spices have been steeping for a week, and wow! Delicious thus far, but I want to let it go another week to let the spice flavor grow a bit stronger and settle in. This is gonna be a good one!
UPDATE: May 31
Tasted it again tonight, and it is perfect! Ready for bottling, which I will hopefully accomplish this weekend. Wow, this is really good! Will get even better when it ages…..