Monday, January 2, 2012

Story of the Four Meads

Over the past few months, I have acquired two batches of honey, both of which I brewed mead.  The first batch I procured in October and the second in December.  This was my first attempt of making mead, honey wine.

My first attempt I was able to evade disaster.  Two quarts jars of honey was given to me by my college lab mate Kaitlin.  I spent the past summer learning how to tend bees, and the honey was my reward.  Tending bees is quite easy, given the proper equipment.  In fact, this spring, I will be starting my own hive. 

On the stove, I thoroughly mixed a quart jar of honey with 1 gallon of water in a pot.  I repeated this a second time, because i wanted two different batches of mead to taste against one another.  I boiled the honey water for approximately 15 minutes to kill any wild yeast or bacteria.  To the second batch, I added 2 cloves and 1 cinnamon stick.  After the boil I was able to remove the clove and cinnamon and then transferred the honey water to 4 separate 0.5 gallon growlers (that I have bought over the past 5 years from various breweries).

The cooling process is where I ran into problems.   I previously filled up my sink with water and added ice into it.  When I transferred my last growler into the sink, forgetting that the glass is not Pyrex, I heard it crack.  I immediately removed the other 3 growlers and put them into the freezer.  I recovered around half of the honey water from the cracked growler, boiled it, and put it into the other growlers.  So I have a clove and cinnamon meads and 2 blends.  Once it was cooled I added Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead Yeast.  I am set to bottle this mead in March.

A month ago received 14 pounds of crystallized honey.  To liquefy the honey, I heated my brew kettle with aboot a gallon of water to approximately 150°F and emerged the container that had the crystallized honey in it.  It took around 90 minuted to completely liquefy the honey.  After the honey was liquefied, I transferred 12 pounds of the honey into 6 gallons of water.  The other 2 pounds was given as a gift.  I thoroughly stirred the honey into the water and boiled it for 15 minutes.  At this point I was able to cool it with my immersion cooler.  I transferred 5 gallons of the honey water into a sanitized fermenter and pitched WLP720 Sweet Mead Yeast that I made a starter for.  The other gallon I split evenly between two 0.5 gallon and added WLP500 Trappist Ale Yeast and to the other WLP565 Saison Yeast.  These 3 meads should be able to bottle in May.

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