If you’re looking to brew your first batch of mead and you take to the internet to find recipes, you will no doubt find a lot of people talking about Joe’s Ancient Orange Mead. That is what happened to me and I brewed a gallon batch of the stuff exactly according to the instructions. I won’t post the recipe because it’s not mine and it’s easy to find, but I will tell you about my experience.
This is a great first experiment in mead making. It would also be great to strip it down to all honey, water and yeast for your first time, though. JOAM stresses simplicity in process as opposed to simplicity in recipe. I normally tend to lean the other way in my own brewing. A lot of homebrewers are against simplicity in all it’s forms.
Anyway, this isn’t necessarily intended as a recipe for people dipping their toes in the brewing pool, but because it uses all ingredients from the grocery store, it works for that. What I take from the creator of this recipe, is that they want current brewers to understand historical brewing practices and realize that they may be overthinking things. I tend to agree, but I also tend to enjoy overthinking brewing, as you can probably tell by the fact that this my eighty-second blog post in as many days.
What’s more important is, of course how does the mead turn out? Well, it’s pretty good. I found that the cinnamon was a bit overpowering and the titular orange was lost. After significant bottle aging, though that corrected itself. Speaking of which, I do have a couple bottles of this left and hope to do some tasting notes at some point.
I would definitely recommend giving this recipe a try. It’s only a gallon and it is ready relatively quickly compared to what people think of for mead fermentation times. Everything you need is at the grocery store. You could get better honey, you could get better yeast, but thousands of years ago, people used what they had on hand. In modern society, it’s not easy to replicate that experience, getting your mead supplies from the grocery store instead of a specialty shop or the internet is not comparable, but I am comparing it anyway.
Even if you don’t use this recipe, consider making a one gallon batch of mead. It is quick and easy to prepare and if you already like to make beer, you’ll probably enjoy it.