This beer recipe is featured in the January/February 2015 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy digital archive and other exclusive member benefits!
Ken Schramm created this deliciously spiced mead recipe and proves that patience really is a virtue, at least when it comes to aging mead!
This is a medium-to-sweet, still metheglin (spiced mead) with several years of aging potential. It will have layers of complexity and will evolve subtly in its character and expression of spices as it matures.
Winter Spiced Mead | Christmas/Winter Specialty Spiced Beer
- 20 lb. (9.07 kg) honey (raspberry, orange, or blackberry blossom recommended)
- 5+ gal. (19 L) water (bottled spring water is best)
- 7 g (1.4 tsp.) ground cinnamon
- 7 g (1.4 tsp.) ground nutmeg
- 7 g (1.4 tsp.) ground, dried ginger (optional)
- 1 g (0.2 tsp.) ground cloves (optional)
- 1 small vanilla bean
- 15 g (3 tsp.) rehydrated yeast (Lalvin 71B-1122 or Wyeast 1056 recommended)
- End of lag phase (8–12 hours after pitch):
- 4 g (0.8 tsp.) diammonium phosphate (DAP)
- 3 g (0.6 tsp.) Fermaid K
- Every day for 3 more days, add:
- 2 g (0.4 tsp.) DAP
- 2 g (0.4 tsp.) Fermaid K
Combine all ingredients, mix, and aerate thoroughly with a kitchen mixer or immersion blender. Creating about 1 quart more than 5 gallons of must will allow you to completely fill your secondary 5-gallon carboy while leaving behind all of the lees. Stir vigorously with each addition to de-gas the mead. Transfer to secondary when fermentation has completed (21–28 days, may be slightly longer for 1056 yeast). Age 6–12 months. If the mead has not cleared completely, you can fine with Sparkolloid per manufacturer’s instructions. One more racking will help minimize sediment in your finished bottles. Bottle only after all signs of fermentation activity have ceased.