Thanks Dave. Thats more info then i could have wished for!
I think i would like to have a go at a braggot to start jsut to have a go at it and try it within a shorter period of time and from there give a pyment or cyser a go.
No problem Jino. As far as I am concerned, the more meadmakers in Oz the better.
That's a good plan. Learn from the quick stuff then move to the longer ones. Melomels are usualy the easiest to move up to. Cysers (honey and apple juice - essentialy a fortified cider) are just as easy as a melomel but pyments (grape juice and honey) can be tricky as they have all the issues of meadmaking plus all the issues involved in making good wine.
I have had a browse at the Making Mead book (kinda have a soft copy of it but ssshhh) and there is a recipe for a Ale Mead which uses a brewers yeast. Is that more of a braggot?
In general, a braggot (first documented as being made by monks on an island off Ireland in about 1250 BTW) is an ale where between 20 and 50% of the fermentables come from honey. It should be more a beer than a mead. my last braggot was at the top end of the scale at 50/50 and it is possibly a little lacking in malt flavour. I'll drop back down to around 40% for next time. Anything less than around 20% honey won't get enough honey flavour. Most "Honey Beers" use a tiny amount of hoeny and just manage a little honey aroma).
My recipe is at home but from memory it was 50/50 malt and honey with the malt being 10% wheat malt. About 35 IBU using POR with a little cascade at the end for flavour/aroma. The cascade is a bit much so I'll use somethign a bit more subtle next time. I fermented with WLP001 because that was all my LHBS had at the time. Most of my previous braggots used one of the brittish yeasts though I am thinking that some of ther German/Belgan wheat yeasts might be nice.
If the book you are refering to is the Acton and Duncan one then their mead ale is a bit disappointing. Honey ferments out absolutely dry so you end up with a thin dry beer with no head retention. I have jigged that recipe a little and added some crystal to body it up a bit but I prefer the style of the braggot. Historicaly speaking ale mead was probably a small (small = meadmaking term for weak) mead bittered with whatever herbs were around.
Have you ever tried making a show mead? I don't know if i could make something and then leave it for 10 years! But i'm sure it would be awesome after such an ageing.
Yep. i've done a couple. I don't do them much though as it is a long time to wait and by the time they are at their best you have drunk almost all of them in sampling. I have bought a lot of show mead though from Mt Vincent meadery (now sadly closed) which was the only decent meadery in the country. The best I ever had was their 92 white box which I drank the last ever bottle of last year.
What do you age it in? I was going to ferment in a 1 gallon glass carboy and then rack for aging but what should i rack it to? Another 1 gal carboy? Also what do you bottle in? Do you use wine bottles? I have some in a "half bottle" i think they are called. I guess that would be the best way.
To be honest I usually rack into another 1 gal carboy. I should really get something smaller to rack into. You can get 3 cal carboys apparently that would do nicely. The alternative is food grade plastic and squeeze the headspace out. Having said that though I tend not to bulk age for long. I usually bottle as soon as it has cleared and let it age in the bottle.
I usually bottle into wine bottles but I am starting a collection of half bottles for a rather nice fortified cyser I will be bottling as soon as it clears.