Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mead Making- The First Parts

My husband and I have enjoyed home brewed mead for a long time, and have often admired the brewing skills that have been cultivated  by some of our friends. My passion for this honey based libation finally spilled over into an ambition to try brewing a batch of our own mead at home.

After a lot of research and looking over various recipes, we settled on a method that seemed the easiest for a first time go. I downloaded an e-book at The Joy of Mead called The Easy Guide to Making Mead Sucessfully. The hubby and I read over the pages very carefully, decided this was something we could do, and set about gathering up the ingredients.

Since mead is a honey based beverage, I decided I needed to get a hold of the best honey possible. To do this, I ventured out to the madhouse that is the Saturday Portland Farmer's Market in Deering Oaks Park. Wading through the masses, I finally found Tom's near the end of the row. I have purchasesd Tom's honey at the farmer's market before and new it was high quiality, raw, and best of all, local. I bought the largest jar they offered, holding about 7 cups of wildflower honey.

Next stop was Maine Brewing Supply to get a few of the more technical pieces we needed. The gentleman behind the counter was fantastic and helped me gather up gallon jugs, airlocks, wine yeast, sanitizer and siphon hose. I was really pleased with how affordable these items were. I will definetely be visiting this shop for our future brewing adventures.

With the addition of an orange, some raisins and distilled water from the grocery store, we were ready to roll. My husband manned the pot as he warmed up the honey and water, and I got the wine yeast started.
The wine yeast was suspisiously slow, not nearly as active as bread yeast, so I fretted over it. When the honey mixture was cool enough and in the jug with the fruit, I tipped the small bowl of sluggish yeast down the funnel with extreme misgivings. We capped the jug off with an airlock, and according to the directions, if we did everything right, within a few hours we'd see bubbles in the airlock. If not, we had problems.

We put the jug in the basement in a safe dry and cool location and tried to stay away from it for a few hours. When the hubby finally went to check it, he raced back up the stairs to let me know there were bubbles, and things looked good. I guess the yeast was fine after all.

It's now been almost two weeks and the jug continues to show signs of happy, bubbly activity, and we are reassured that this batch should make it to full-fledged mead over the comming months. In a few more weeks we get to drain of the sludge and re-jug it to continue it's fermentation for another couple months. This is a very time consuming science project, but hopefully it will yeild tasty results.

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