With a mixed berry mead madly fermenting in my basement, my mind focused on a few other mead ideas. The first one involves black currants and tart cherries, but the one I wanted to put fingertip to keyboard first was one that found the beautiful balance of grapes and honey.
That combination, my friends, is known as a Pyment. Many of the pyment recipes I found online and in books were made with white grape juice. I wondered how one made with red grape juice would turn out, especially if it was aged on oak for a few months before it was bottled.
So here is my idea for a tasty red pyment mead recipe. It calls for some canned grape juice concentrate which should be easy to find at your local homebrew shop. If not, you can find them online. They are convenient and cheaper to buy than the whole wine kits.
Batch Size: 5 gallons
2 cans of Alexander’s Premium Burgundy grape juice concentrate
12 pounds (1 gallon) of any variety honey you can get your hands on
Enough spring water to bring the total must to 5 gallons – buy 4 to be sure
2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
2 teaspoons of yeast energizer
2 packets of Red Star Pasteur Red yeast
1 package of oak cubes
Combine the concentrate and the honey in your fermentor. Pour in the water to bring the total to the 5 gallon mark.
Follow the staggered yeast nutrient/energizer procedure. You can add in a half teaspoon of yeast energizer and a half teaspoon of the yeast nutrient before you pitch your yeast.
Then, uh, pitch your yeast.
After that, you will need to mark time and follow this schedule:
Add .5 teaspoon yeast energizer and .5 teaspoon of the yeast nutrient 24 hours after fermentation begins
Add .5 teaspoon yeast energizer and .5 teaspoon of the yeast nutrient 48 hours after fermentation begins
Add .5 teaspoon yeast energizer and .5 teaspoon of the yeast nutrient after 30% of the sugar has been depleted
After primary fermentation is over, rack to another cleaned and sanitized carboy and introduce the oak cubes. I like to steam my oak cubes for 15 minutes before I put them in the carboy.
How long you age it on the oak is up to you. I think I am going to go for a long time on the oak to see how much flavor I can get out of the cubes. Once the flavor is to your liking, bottle and serve to your wine snob friends.