Twenty pounds of honey

That’s how much honey went into our first batch of mead.

Mead is N’s project.  He did all the research, settling on a method that’s pretty close to the medieval way, which as far as I could figure relied on raisins for the yeast.  We kept the raisins in for flavor but also used champagne yeast, which allows for a higher alcohol content, and aimed for a 4 pounds per gallon ratio that should, fingers crossed, yield a mead that’s not too sweet but not overly dry.

First N boiled the raisins in cheesecloth until soft in that huge aluminum pot that we salvaged somewhere.  It takes a long time to boil that much liquid, by the way.

Then the raisins got mashed.

I don’t really like raisins, by the way.  I don’t hate them, but there’s just something about their taste and texture that screams “But you could be eating something else, something better!”  And I’m definitely not on Team Raisin Bread.  But during a recent house cleanout the guys found a bottle of homebrewed plum liquor, and it tastes like a delicious version of raisins.  I guess I’m saying that between that and mead, through alcohol’s power, there might be hope for me and raisins after all.

The raisin juice goes into the hot water, followed by 20 pounds of honey, followed by enough additional water to make five gallons.  How did we know how much to add?  Before the whole process kicked off, we filled the pot with five gallons of water and scratched a line on the inside of the pot with a nail.

That’s what 20 pounds of honey looks like, if you were wondering.  We got it from a local guy.  Support your local bees!

Sidebar: pardon the special effects on these photos, but putting you through 890256 poorly lit nighttime interior photos without the help of faux cross processing was more than I could bear.  But this way my kitchen looks more like it belongs on Hippy Kitchens, which is an unbearably inspirational blog.

The honey + raisin juice + water mixture boils till it starts forming foam, and N has to sit there and skim it off until it stops forming.  Perhaps the pot boils over several times.  I really couldn’t say.

Add some yeast and bang, you have mead!  Really though you have hot yeasty sugar water that has to sit in a fermenting bucket and then gets to ferment more in bottles.  We’ll be able to try it in about three months, but allegedly it gets better with age so we’ll probably end up drinking most of it after at least six months.

Home brewing is really painful for those of us who are into instant gratification.

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