Thursday, July 12, 2012

Merry Mead

Good mead takes time. It isn't a lot of work, but you have to start with good ingredients (simple: honey, water, yeast) and find it a cool, relatively stable place to spend a few months. This is the first place I have had in LA that could meet that last requirement. My study/laboratory, on the first floor of the Northeast corner of the house, is sort of like a drafty wine last fall I brewed up a 3 gallon batch of mead and left it sitting there until last weekend.

Honey quality definitely matters - I haven't made friends with any local beekeepers here yet, and our local health food store got bought by Lassen's and stopped carrying bulk honey, so I used Trader Joe's Mesquite honey for this batch, along with White Labs sweet mead yeast.

My mead recipe comes from my SCA days. Purists only here - no spices, fruits, or additives. Those all help if your honey isn't great, but if you've got good honey, let it shine. 3-4 pounds of honey per gallon of water for a sweet mead.

Bottling is the fun part (in addition to drinking, of course). My bottle corker was one of the first big purchases I made when I got a "real job"...hated that job, but I still have the corker. It's 3 feet tall and definitely a commitment to make space for in the kitchen, but you have to have priorities, right?
Corks go here:
Then you pull the giant lever to squeeze the cork and push it in:
And celebrate!
I ran out of bottles with a little mead left in the carboy, so I filled up a couple of mason jars to stash in the fridge for later, then had a little taste to see if it was good yet (sometimes it has to age a while in the bottles before it's really good). Before I knew it I was lying on the floor, drinking directly from the bottle filler and mumbling about Valhalla. Good stuff, that mead.

Come to think of it, that bottle corker was just about the most satisfying $200 I've ever spent. When I think of all the money I frittered away from that high paying job, because I didn't have a clue about money, I really wish I had bought the cider press too...

1 comment:

  1. Lying on the floor, drinking directly from the bottle filler? How did you feel in the morning?

    You are truly a renaissance woman and would be a valuable member of any survivalist commune! A person who knows how to brew is worth their weight in MREs!