Beer Style: Metheglin (26A)
Recipe Type: other
Yield: 5 US gallons
I always like reading about (and drinking about!) new (to me) varieties of honey. If I were you, I would try to brew it with exactly the same recipes and procedures of another mead you made with a different honey, and then compare, and try to take maturity effects into account.
A rule of thumb I've read, but haven't thoroughly tested, is that darker honeys tend to be stronger in flavor and take longer to age to maturity. I have found that darker honeys are stronger in flavor. Tupelo tends to be pretty strongly flavored for it's light color, and matures rather quickly.
First, I boiled a few pints of water with the basil leaves, to make a tea. Leaving the leaves (pardon the pun) in the pot, I added the honey. The temp was right about 150F at that point, so I let it sit for a few minutes to pasteurize. I covered the pot, and put it in a sink filled with ice water. About 20 minutes later it had cooled to about 60F, and I transfered it to a 1-gallon jug which had the dregs from a dandelion wine in it. The dandelion wine was the fourth or fifth reculturing of a yeast I've been using for about a year now. It's a mix of Wyeast European Ale yeast and Wyeast Champagne yeast, probably pretty heavy on the Champagne at this point, due to alcohol levels. Possibly contaminated, but a sip of the dandelion wine told no such tale. (Though it was very immature, it didn't taste contaminated.) I topped it off with pre-boiled and partially cooled (could have done better, but it mixed in okay) water.
2 days later, it still hadn't started, and then I remembered that I had forgotten to aerate it. There was an airlock on the mead, so I wasn't terribly worried. I shook that jug mightily, aerating with vigor. It is now fermenting merrily, about 1 week later. I think this should probably be the last time I use that yeast.