20121023

Home Brewing Mead

Mead is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks. The Vikings and even the ancient Egyptians had a version of this honey-based beverage. If you've ever tried to buy it you probably know that it's expensive and not stocked in most regular stores.

Pescador, Eddie Current and I decided to go in on a 42lb bucket of clover honey from Honeyville Grain in Rancho Cucamonga. If you live near SoCal or Salt Lake City, Utah, it's worth checking out this store. Their selection is split evenly between bulk bags of exotic grains like spelt, amarinth, etc, staple foods of every description, and stuff for Mormon survivalists. They also have a good on-line store, although prices are cheaper if you walk in, as shipping is included for on-line orders.

We got the giant load of honey in, boiled up a few gallons of water with the turkey fryer, added about 2.5lbs of it per gallon, and skimmed off the junk. We also added Fermaid to give the yeasts some nutrients to chew on. We decided to split it into multiple batches, as it takes 6-18 months to ferment and age and we wanted to hedge our bets. Here's a look at what we got:


Mashing up 6lbs of blueberries and blackberries for batch #1. Oregon Fruit Products makes a nice line of canned pureed and whole fruit bits, perfect for brewing. We just mashed it up with a spatula and poured it in to the "fruit" batch. Be sure to remove the fruit peels and husks after a week or so to avoid off flavors.
 Pouring the cooled liquid into batch #2. Total potential alcohol is going to be 10-11%. We did 3 different yeasts - 2 Lavlin wine yeasts and an Ale yeast. The Wine yeasts should take it to higher alcohol content and/or a drier finished product.
Here is the setup for siphoning the liquid between glass carboys. I like the reinforced poly pressure tubing, used for restaurant ice machine and CO2 lines. The item in front is a specific gravity measurement device. This is how you know the sugar content and thus the potential alcohol to expect from each batch.



Recipes:
Various Mead Recipes
Basic Mead Brewing

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