Sunset

Mead is not just for Renaissance Faire enthusiasts anymore.  It is also for One-Block dieters!  We have made the inaugural batch of honey wine to kick off Team Mead and we are hoping and praying that in a few months it will live up to the delicious draughts we tasted at Rabbit's Foot Meadery. 

Due to lack of space in the test kitchens and theentertaining kitchen, we decided to stir up our batch in Sunset’s new outdoorkitchen.  Incidentally, it was alsoabout 90 degrees and sunny outside.Maybe it was the heat or maybe thefact that it was a Friday and we were all looking ahead to the weekend,but we wandered astray from our “Initial Game Plan”.  Perhaps some would call our actions mistakes, but I preferto think of them as improvisations. Ideal Game plan for Day 1:

-Sterilize equipment with boiling water

-Combine honey and water until the must reaches a specific gravity of 1.075 using a hydrometer

-Add White Labs Pitchable Liquid Yeast to the must

-Stir for 5 minutes to aerate

-Cover with several layers of cheesecloth and let sit foranother 5 to 10 minutes.  This willallow further aeration while keeping out lots of particles and natural yeastsin the air

-Siphon into carboy leaving no more than 1 inch of room atthe top

-Seal with airlock

-Cover with blanket and store in warm, dry place (Sunsetprop room) for 10 Days

 Desired outcome:

-3 gallons of delicious mead.

 Actual outcome:

-5 gallons of what, thus far, smells like delicious mead.

 You may naturally wonder how 3 gallons miraculously turnedinto 5 gallons. The directions said, “use 5.76 lbs of honey per gallon ofwater".  That does not mean for a 3 gallon carboy you should use 17.28 lbs.(3 x 5.76 lbs.) of honey. Due to this error we ended up adding lots  of water inorder get the specific gravity to the desired level of 1.075 (to be honest wesettled for 1.080, which means our mead will have a higher alcohol content thanwe originally planned).  Hence, how3 gallons of mead turned into 5 gallons.We misread a few steps here and there, although I am hopeful that itwill turn out delicious. If you decided to brew your own, here are some helpfultips to prevent bumps along the way.

 Tips:

1.  Readdirections very carefully.  Perhapsread them 5-10 times.  Then readthem again in between each step.We were so excited when the must reached the appropriate specificgravity we nearly forgot to add the yeast (a key element of mead).

 2. In the end, specific gravity will be more important thanpoundage, so don’t worry so much about the weight of honey used.   And just so you know, you willprobably never need 17.28 lbs. honey for a household batch of mead.

 3.  Add honey towater versus water to honey to prevent wasting honey

 4.  Don't wear great high heels because they are likely to get covered in honey water

 5.  Don't makemead outside on a hot day because you will be miserable (the photos are a falserepresentation of how we felt that day)

 6.  If youdecide to do it outside be sure nothing falls into your mead (i.e. leaves orbugs).  We currently have amysterious brown fleck floating around our carboy, which may or may not havepotential for causing trouble (see video) 

The primary fermentation should be subsiding this week andwe will need to transfer the mead into a clean carboy.  We will also be able to take the firsttaste test.  Stay tuned forupdates.

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