Its day 2 for this one gallon basil/mead vinegar test and looking good. The foam and bubbling air lock indicate fermentation is happening. The color is due to the purple/red basil “Red Freddy”. I boiled a handful in 3/4 gallon of water and the color was a deep purple. I added 2 cups of local honey and mixed it well, then added water. The specific gravity was 1.050 which is similar to a beer and about half the sugar of wine before fermentation. In about three weeks I expect to have mead that is about 6% alcohol.
I used a 1/2 teaspoon of yeast nutrient and Lalvin 47 wine yeast. Some wine yeasts produce a gasoline like flavor with honey, but Lalvin 47 and 71 are recommended by mead makers. I expect the color to continue to fade into a lighter pink. After three weeks or a few days after the airlock stops bubbling, I’ll check the specific gravity and do a taste test. If the SG is about 1.00, I’ll add raw vinegar culture and make most of the brew into vinegar.
But in the interest of science, I’ll make 3 or 4 bottles of naturally carbonated mead. Adding a half teaspoon of sugar to each sanitized 12 ounce bottle and capping it will produce carbonation. The bottles will rest at room temperature for 5 days and the yeast will consume the sugar and produce carbonation and a little sediment. Then I’ll put them in the fridge. Carbonation and chilling makes beverages more appealing. It may turn out tolerable or could even be pleasantly refreshing.