Recently I had the pleasure of learning the time honored method of making mead using mostly just the honey Tim harvested from the bees.
It starts with honey.
Honey that, in this case, has been melted down since it had crystalized.
Then you add some natural spring water collected by hand:
(Excuse our messy home!)
Then you add some yeast
Tim did tell me that back when Vikings made mead the yeast most often came from the tools they used to stir the mead. There weren't exactly cleaning things to our standards back then.
Now we have pre measured packets that allow us to get the best results possible.
After the yeast is added, then it's time to mix it.
Not an easy task with a five gallon glass carboy
And then we mix some more
And for a fun change of pace, we mix
Once the yeast is pretty well mixed, we get to test for the potential alcohol level
So, with this batch, we had the potential for mead that was around 15% alcohol. When you factored in how long it would sit, (And Tim did some fun math here,) By the end we should have mead that was anywhere between 10-12% alcohol by volume.
Now we cork it and toss on a vapor lock to let the gases escape, and keep any little bugs out
After that the mead was carefully placed downstairs in our hvac room to sit and ferment.
During this process the natural sugars in the honey will be converted into alcohol. The longer we let it sit and ferment, the higher the proof will be when we finish.
If we pull it too soon, then it will resemble honey water more than mead.
If we let it go too long, we get honey vinegar.
It took a long time to get all the mead made and ready to sit and ferment.
We deiced to try adding some different flavors, included orange, apple, and sparkling cider.
It was exciting to learn about the mead, not just how to make it, which is super cool, but also about the history of it and how the science of it has evolved over the many thousands of years
Hopefully we'll be posting an update soon talking about all the tasty mead we made!