Got Mead?: Joe’s Ancient Orange Mead

This recipe by Joe Mattioli from the Got Mead? forums is the one usually recommended to any eager newbie asking what to make, and that’s because it gives you a tolerably tasty result in a fairly short time using only ingredients and supplies from your local grocery store. This process doesn’t teach you much, if anything, about things you will definitely need to know if you plan to get even slightly serious about mead as a hobby — flavour balance, nutrient management, sanitation, bottling practices, and so on — but it has a low barrier to entry in terms of cost, time, and equipment requirements.

You can find the original recipe here, where it was restored after the GotMead servers suffered a data loss. I’ve adapted it to suit my preferences for recordkeeping.

On November 3, 2016, I started a variation on this recipe. I used a wine yeast (Lalvin D-47 from my favourite local wine supply store, BosaGrape) and only the juice and zest from the specified orange. Since I have only Imperial gallon jugs on hand, which amount to 4.5 litres in volume, I scaled the recipe up. (Imperial gallons make for a decent batch size; you can get 12 half-bottles out of one.)

Disclaimer: I have personally never done this exact recipe before, because I already had some experience and supplies from winemaking when I moved on to mead, but dozens of people in meadmaking forums all over have reported that they have done it with mostly acceptable results. This recipe is intended to finish sweet, which will cover up any off flavours that might result from inexperienced handling, bitterness from the pith, or stressed yeast.

Print Recipe
Joe's Ancient Orange Mead
Prep Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 2 months
Servings
litres
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 2 months
Servings
litres
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Boil 1 litre water in a pot and dissolve honey in it, then pour mixture into your fermenting jug.
  2. Wash the orange and cut into about 1/8 pieces, then put pieces into jug.
  3. Add raisins, cinnamon, and clove to jug, then cap and shake well to mix and aerate.
  4. Top jug up with lukewarm water, then cap and shake to mix.
  5. Add yeast, then fit airlock to jug. You should see some foaming from the yeast within a couple of hours.
  6. Store jug in a dark place at a cozy room temperature and ignore it for 2 months.
  7. Check mead to see if it has visually cleared. If yes, siphon it off the sediment into clean bottles, and enjoy. If no, put the jug in a cool place and forget about it for a few more weeks.
Recipe Notes

You will need the following equipment: a jug that can hold 3.75 litres (one U.S. gallon), an airlock, and a food-grade hose for siphoning. If you buy a gallon jug of spring water, that works just fine as a fermenting jug.

You can improvise an airlock by putting a pinprick hole in a balloon and stretching that over the mouth of the jug, but that's not a reliable way to keep your mead from contamination. $5 on Amazon for an airlock and a drilled bung will go a long way toward peace of mind and success in your recipe.

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