Short Mead is a wonderful and very easy beverage to make. It is easier than beer, and a little simpler than wine. Unlike Great Mead, Short Mead has a lower alcohol volume, and you should keep it below about 11 % ABV as if you go too high fermentation will not be quick and simple as desired.
You can add any sensible flavouring you desire, and fresh or frozen fruit is a great option. This recipe suggests dried elderflower and frozen raspberry in modest amounts. Too much might make an overpowering flavour once the mead is dry and bottle carbonated.
To finish this mead, I recommend fermenting this Short Mead very dry and then adding 6.5 g of table sugar per litre before bottling in strong bottles. Sitting for 2 months to a year will produce delicious sparkling mead.
20 L Water, heat treated to 80 degrees celsius (To sanatise and remove chlorine);
3628g Honey approximately (This is 8 lbs, as honey is usually sold by the pound);
Yeast Nutrient 10 g or per directions;
B1 6 tablets or per directions;
Protofloc half tablet or per directions (Optional);
Sugar upto 2 kg (To achieve an SG of not more than 1.080);
Malic Acid 5g
Tartaric Acid 10g
Flavour Ingredients for Elderflower and Raspberry Short Mead
500 g Frozen Raspberries (More if desired);
Pectolase 0.5 g or per directions for fruit variants;
Dried Elderflower 25 g;
Vanilla Bean (Or a re-used Vanilla Bean.)
Heat treat the water to sanatise it and remove the chlorine. Alternatively add 2 g (About a half teaspoon) of Sodium Metabisulphite or 4 crushed Campden tablets to the water and wait 24 hours.
Add the honey, and rinse the jars with warm water to get all the honey out. You can use 3.5 to 4 kg as the specific gravity will be fine-tuned with sugar later.
Add the yeast nutrient, B1 and Protofloc (If you have some), and then add any flavour ingredients you desire, in this case the elderflower, raspberries and vanilla bean.
Now add the malic and tartaric acid and test, if desired, with a pH strip. The pH should be about 3.7 to 4.0 but definitely not lower than 3.0.
Now add between 1 to 2 kg of table sugar in increments and stir well each time (Especially if the mixture is cold) and measure the specific gravity with a hydrometer. Depending on the ABV you wish to achieve you may choose differing starting specific gravities, but I recommend remaining below 1.080 as above this value the mixture will ferment more like Great Mead, and may take a long time, whereas below 1.080 (About 11 – 12 % ABV) the fermentation should be much faster and the mead will mature in months, not years.
Keep the fermenting vessel at about 20 degrees celsius for three to five weeks and the fermentation should stop of its own accord. The specific gravity should be below 1.000, ideally 0.995 and there should be no bubbles in the airlock. Also the mead should start clearing by itself. If it is still fermenting you will need to wait longer.
When fermentation has completely stopped rack the mead and place in a cold place to clear. If it will not clear by itself try Sparkolloid or Bentonite.
When the mead is clear, add the priming sugar: table sugar at 6.5g per litre of yield should suffice, and immediately bottle in pressure-safe bottles, such as capped beer bottles, swing-top bottles or champagne bottles with corks wired on.
There is a small risk a bottle might explode under pressure so you will want to stack your bottles in a cold place where water damage will not result. Age there for at least a few months and try a bottle! The mead should be carbonated and drinkable then, but you may need to wait a year or possibly even two before it reaches its peak. Remember that the ABV of this short mead is relatively high so longer aging will benefit it.