A Tiger Barn Cattery Wine Recipe

The reality is that honey isn't cheap, but if you can make a country wine then you can make a mead. You'll just be pasturising the honey in water rather than adding several pounds of sugar … and you save a lot of time picking fruit!

2.5 Lbs of Honey dissolved in 2.5 pints of water
1 tsp citric acid or juice of one Lemon
Ugandan Fair Trade Vanilla Beans, split & scraped
2 tsp of TronOzymol
Lalvin 71B-1122 Yeast
Crushed campden tablets

When all the ingredients are in only add as much honey water as you need to reach an SG of say 1.080 - 1.085 and that will almost guarantee a dry ferment at 12%.


Next year we'll be keeping our own bees, but for now our local beekeeper who keeps his cats here donated 20 Lbs to the cause in exchange for a bottle from every batch. I've always loved meads and this was the right time to experiment … Little did I know then, but from now on it turned out that I'd just be concentrating on meads and port style wines.

A Hippocrass is named after the father of medicine to include vanilla & herb meads. It's just like the Roman Pyment is the name given to a wine fermented with grapes and honey and a Cyser is the name given to fermented apple juice with cherries. It's a similar naming convention to say an Acerglyn, which would use Maple syrup (Acer is a Maple tree) instead of honey and say a Metheglyn which would be fermented with Honey and spices.

This mead is fermented honey water with vanilla. I was desperate to make this work for a couple of reasons … In British texts, mead is known as The Honeymoon Drink and in Roman texts Uganda's Rewenzori mountains were known as the Mountains of the Moon. It should have been easy but it took a lot of racking to clear, the vanilla was quite weakened, but it was viscous and clean. After the last rack I added some chardonnay to top it up back to the gallon because I didn't want to water it down or add more honey and risk it sweetening too much so I used it as a happy medium … it took over 18 months to bottle and it could be a HipPycrasment now!


Friday 11th October 2012

Honey Water (2.5 Lbs of Honey dissolved in 2.5 pints of boiled water, pasteurized and skimmed)

3 tsp citric acid
2 tsp of TronOzymol
Lalvin 71B-1122

SG 1.160 + (Off the scale)
Ferment for 5 days stirring daily

Monday 14th October
SG: 1.130 (Drop of 30)

Tuesday 15th October

All meads will need adjusting after the mix to be the equivalent of a 90-100 drop (12 - 13.5%)
The remainder needs to drop to 1.020 and then be transferred to the demijohn with an airlock like wine.


Tuesday 15th October

2 Ugandan Fair Trade Vanilla Beans, split & scraped (Ndali Estate in the shadow of Uganda’s Mountains of the Moon (Rwenzori))
Pasturised pods in 1 pint of water for 30 mins

Add 1tsp pectic enzyme
A cup of tea
Made up to 1 gallon with 3 pints of fermenting honey mead

Rwenzori Vanilla Pyment or Hippocras (depending on whose historic texts you believe!)
SG: 1.070 (Drop of 30)

Thursday 18th October
SG: 1.040 (Drop of 30)

Friday 19th October
SG: 1.020 (Drop of 20)

Poured into demijohn
Topped up with boiled water
SG: 1.020


18th January 2013
1st Rack
Added Campden tablet
SG: 0.995 (Drop of 25)
30 + 30 + 20 + 25 /7.4 = 14%


Saturday 31st August
2nd Rack
SG: 0.992 (Drop of 3)
30 + 30 + 20 + 25 + 3 /7.4 = 14.6%

This isn't clearing, so it's Bentonite time!


Friday 7th February
3rd Rack to remove mead off the clay leas.
SG: 1.002 (Drop of 3)
30 + 30 + 20 + 25 + 3 /7.4 = 14.6%


Thursday 15th February 2014
4th Rack removing the last leas

Added Campden tablet
Added Stabilizer
Topped up with a Chardonnay

SG: 1.004 (Increase of 2)
30 + 30 + 20 + 25 + 3 - 2 /7.4 = 14.5%


SG: 1.004 Dry

Dry: 0.990 – 1.006 
Medium: 1.006 – 1.012
 Sweet: 1.012 – 1.020 
Dessert: 1.020+

Bottle Saturday 17th May 2014

5x for us, 1 for Chris the beekeeper