Those who have dabbled in beer or wine-making have already impressed their friends and family with the delicious beverages they have prepared. Despite the already impressive nature of homemade wine, you will eventually feel compelled to up the ante and create an even more exciting beverage. One way of doing this is to make a sparkling wine.
Mead is a honey-based wine that is easy to make it home. Altering your mead recipe to produce a sparkling variety is easy to do simply by adding one additional steps. Sparkling wines achieve their character by continuing the fermentation process right in the bottle. In the following recipe, that is exactly what happens. Excess gases produced as a result of the fermentation process build up in the mead, producing the desired sparkling effect.
Just as there are many ways to produce different types of sparkling wines, there are also many wines to produce sparkling meads. Many instructions provide very descriptive step-by-step processes, going into detail about the restrictions and guidelines necessary for everything from the yeast used, fermentation time, and even the number of times and ways to rotate the bottle as it ferments. While these instructions will surely produce a lovely bottle of sparkling mead, the following describes a no-fuss way to produce a beautiful and impressive bottle of this delicious beverage at home. Rather than complicated rotations or lengthened fermentation times, you will be able mix up and bottle your mead as you normally would and simply set it aside until you are ready to serve it.
The first step in creating your sparkling beverage is to follow your favorite mead recipe to produce a five gallon batch. Before bottling, stir two-thirds a cup of honey directly into the mead and stir gently. Once the honey has been thoroughly mixed into the mead, it is now time to bottle it. The extra honey in the mead will cause the extra fermentation necessary to produce the bubbles in your sparkling drink. Much like a champagne, your mead will “Pop!” when opened and pour forth a stream of tiny bubbles.
While the additional honey is the only major recipe change necessary to produce a sparkling mead, you will need to alter your bottling process, as well. Due to the extra gases produced in the secondary fermentation, a lot of pressure can build up within the bottle. As such, it is important to use a bottle that can stand up to this pressure. The best containers for a sparkling wine are champagne bottles, which are designed thicker and stronger for these higher pressure wines. For capping, it is also important to get champagne corks and hoods. Champagne corks are more reliable than those typically used for wine making, and the hoods add extra protection, insuring that your corks won’t be flying out of bottles as they ferment on the shelves. If these precautions are not taken, you could lose your mead or, much worse, injure yourself or someone else.
Although sparkling meads may seem like an intimidating next step in your wine-making journey, the above recipe is an easy first step in creating these delicious beverages at home. With one extra step and the proper bottling materials, you can simply adapt your favorite mead recipe into one that will dazzle your friends.