15 August 2008

Mead Making

Tonight Eli and I bottled the first batch of mead. This mead was made with honey from a local beekeeper that we got at the Farmer's Market in Winona. I do not drink alcohol so I do not really know myself, but others in my household think it tastes good.

This batch was made sort of willy-nilly. I did read the meadmaker book, but I did not have any special equipment for doing it other than the carboy and the fermentation lock. I did not even have a thermometer. I guess I was really lucky that it made at all. It took DAYS for it to start fermenting, and it was not very vigorous when it did start. There was maybe a bubble every 15 seconds. We worried that we were going to end up with honey vinegar, or something like that.

A week or so ago I stopped by the Wine & Beer Making Supply store just north of Rochester on Hwy 52. I bought a polycarbonate carboy, another fermentation lock, a racking tube and hose, a floating thermometer, a hydrometer and testing tube, some stabilizer, and some yeast energizer (or maybe it was nutrient - don't remember and the box is in the other room).

Abelisto and I picked up 12 pounds raw honey at the food co-op. I started a second batch of mead with part of it last weekend when I moved the first batch to the secondary fermentation carboy (the rest of the honey went to the roofers in appreciation of taking such good care not to drop old shingles on the bee hives). I really did not need to move the first batch into a secondary fermentation carboy, it was absolutely done with the fermenting, but it did help clarify it. Anyway, the second batch of mead was bubbling away about 4 hours after I mixed it up. The bubbles were rising through the fermentation lock at about 1 bubble every 2.5 to 3 seconds this time. I took specific gravity and temperature measurements and am keeping better records with this batch. 

It will be interesting to see how it comes out.

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