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  • Archive for February, 2012

    Making Mead

    2012 - 02.13

    I’ve always wanted to make mead, a wine like beverage made from fermented honey. So the other night I got the ingredients together (basically just water, honey and yeast) and made a gallon. It will take at least 6 months of fermentation before it will be drinkable, and probably a year or so before it will be really tasty.

    Mead pre-dates beer and can be traced back 20,000 to 40,000 years. It’s a very simple process: you clean and sanitize everything, just like when you brew beer. You add 3 pounds of honey to about a gallon of water, and then add some mead yeast and activation powder. Then you shake it up, pop in the fermentation lock, and wait a month. Then you transfer the mead to a gallon jug and let it sit for at least 6 months (12-24 months preferred).

    Of course while we made the mead, we had to drink some too. So I got two different brands to taste. It tastes like a VERY sweet wine, and is quite delicious. I’ll update this post when we rack and bottle the mead in a few weeks. Since it takes so long, we’re going to make 2 more batches so this summer we’ll have a steady flow of good libations. Perhaps a chocolate or cherry mead next?

    •••••••••••••••• UPDATE ••••••••••••••••

    We finally bottled the mead, and now we wait. For at least a year. Here’s some shots of the bottling process. You’ve got to be sure everything that touches the mead is clean and sanitized, so we cleaned out the bottles, spoons, and hoses with One Step powder dissolved in warm water. Click any image for a larger version.

    Then we put the plastic bucket up on the table and syphoned out the mead into bottles down on the ground.

    This is the stuff you don’t want to drink. It’s the remains of the yeast that settles on the bottom during fermentation.

    I built a storage rack for beer about 15 years ago out of wood and pvc tubing. It keeps the beer/mead/cider stationary while the carbonation builds up until it’s ready to drink. A piece of canvas covers up the pvc tubing to keep the bottles out of the sunlight. Shhhhhh! We’re sleeping…see you in a year.