Source: Russell Mast, Mead Digest #430,
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.
Ingredients: (for 1 gallon)
- ~3.5 lbs. clover honey
- 4-5 cups fresh sweet basil leaves, loosely packed, picked about a week earlier
- "the house yeast"
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.