Sunshine Dandelion Mead
Sunshine Dandelion Mead
It’s been fourteen years since I first picked up Stephen Buhner’s, Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation. His permitting ways allowed me to run out to the local beer store, spend $40, and start brewing (and haven’t looked back!). Though I don’t really make much beer anymore, I do make mead. Beer satisfies our need for quick results, mead begs for patience. I love the multi-step process and the year wait to satisfy the question, “how does it taste?” This weekend the yearlong wait for the answer to the dandelion mead question was answered, “D E L I C I O U S!” This labor-intensive mead is well worth the effort you, and hopefully some friends, put forth.
Technically this is not a mead since mead is just honey, yeast and water….How boring. The correct name for the loveliness is a Melomel (honey + fruit + yeast) or Methegin (honey + spices or herbs + yeast).
If you’re a beginner and nervous about brewing, I highly recommend purchasing Stephen’s book mentioned above. Two other books I’ve picked up, mostly for recipes, but have a good basic description of the process are: Making Wild Wines & Meads by Vargas and Gulling, and The Complete Meadmaker by Schramm. Or hey, come to my mead making workshop August 3rd. But if you’re ready to roll and have dandelions, here’s the recipe I use from M.M. Meleen’s Formulas of the Melissae.
For 3 Gallons
12-14 cups dandelion flowers with all green removed.
12 pounds Orange Blossom honey
Juice of 3 lemons
1.5-2 tsp triple brewed black tea
2 teaspoons bee pollen
6 oranges broken into segments, no peels
28 oz golden raisins rinsed and chopped
3 camden tablets for sulfating
wine yeast (Lalvin KV-1116)
- Remove all the green from dandelion flowers and make gigantic pile! Have lots of friends to help or plan on spending hours on this, most time consuming step.
- Add honey and almost boiled water to fermenter (food grade bucket) to increase volume to 3 gallons. Add flowers.
- Let cool and test with hydrometer if you do that sort of thing.
- Add lemon juice, black tea, bee pollen, oranges and raisins.
- Add Camden tablets for sulfating. This is the ONLY recipe I sulfite because of the wild yeast. (I do wild ferment other meads, but I’m not willing to risk all the effort I’ve made with the dandelions).
- Wait 24 hours to add your yeast.
- Carry on with the mead making process.