Beer Style: Open Category Mead (26C)
Recipe Type: other
Yield: 5 US gallons
This mead was started in August of 1994 and bottled in December of that year. At the first round of the AHA National Competition in May 1995, the judges (in Texas) did not recognize the orange blossom aroma and thought it was "yeasty." They scored it at 29 points. In June at the Mazer Cup Competition, the judges thought that the orange blossom aroma was excellent, but the mead needed more complexity. They gave it 36 points. At the New Mexico State Fair competition for wines and meads it received a gold medal and the best of show in the amateur division. The wine judges were impressed by the wonderful bouquet.
This is a very simple mead that get all of its character from the honey. This particular batch of honey had the best aroma of any orange blossom honey that I have ever experience. It is worthwhile to hunt out good smelling and good tasting honeys.
Initially, only six pounds of the honey was added to preboiled water and pasteurized at 150 F for 15 minutes with the yeast nutrient and hulls. After cooling with an immersion chiller, the yeast starter was added and air was pumped through the must for 25 minutes with an aquarium pump.
After one month the specific gravity dropped to 1.008, so the mead was racked and two more pounds of honey were added. After another five weeks, the gravity was 1.020, the pH was 3.2, and the acidity was 0.7% acid. This was too acidic, so I added the calcium carbonate. After another month, the numbers were 1.015, 3.7, and 0.6%. I then added the sodium benzoate to kill off the yeast and another half pound of honey. Three days later I added the sparkaloid and polyclar. Then one week later with a specific gravity of 1.019, I bottled straight from the carboy. I should have waited longer to add the clarifiers and even longer to bottle. Then I would have had less sediment in the bottle.
Source: Gordon Olson