06 March 2010

Wassail! (errr, in about 6 months...)

Started a little something new today-


My first attempt- it's SUPER easy. One of my homebrewing buddies gave me the rundown:

-heat a half-gallon of water (preferably spring water, tap might be ok, definitely not distilled) to 160deg.
-add three pounds of honey (as close to "right out of the beehive and strained" as you can find)
-bring mixture to 160deg and let it sit there for 10 minutes. DO NOT BOIL!
-place this into an ice bath. Don't let any of the water in the bath into the pot (cover it). Bring the temp down to around 90 degrees.
-prepare yeast as directed on the package (you'll want a wine yeast or similar. I used EC1118)
-decant the honey/water mixture into your 1 gallon carboy (I am using an old gallon jug from cheap wine, a juice bottle would work too)
-add the yeast, add remainder of water to bring it up to the level of the neck of the bottle
-add fruit (raisins, in this case) to act as a yeast nutrient. Honey doesn't have a lot of what the yeast needs to work, and wine yeasts work slowly, making more time for foreign yeasts and O2 to get into the bottle. I used 10 small raisins.
-cap and shake the bottle
-remove cap, put a piece of plastic wrap over the bottle and wind a rubber band securely (not loosely, not tightly) around the neck of the bottle. This makes a cheapo "air lock"- the pressure generated by the yeast will "fart" out past the rubber band. Actual airlocks are preferred, and cheap. I just don't have a local homebrew store here- I ordered a couple from the place upstate that carries them- $1 a piece.

More details, and a pic, soon. I'm looking at about 2 weeks to rack this off the yeast cake into another carboy (gotta get busy drinkin' that cheap wine!), and 6 months til bottling.


Kurtis said...

FINALLY! I have found someone that knows something about creating a fine mead! I have been wanting to give it a go, but all I could find were people that were trying to sell me a bucketload of products that i really didnt have the space or money for, and they wouldn't help me with any real information. Any help that you can give would be helpful and GREATLY appreciated. I have been going through the archives of your blog and have decided to bookmark it, and I think it will be one of my new favorite sites. Keep up the good work.

JAFO said...

Well I don't know that I'm creating a fine mead, just yet...

it's only been in the fermenter for 2 1/2 months so far. Fermentation has slowed down a good bit- I've racked it into other carboys twice now.

I took pics.. and misplaced 'em. Duh.

I'm gonna start a pyment (mead, with other fruit) soon, and will take pics then.

You can make mead in an empty 1 gallon juice bottle, you don't need any specialized equipment. Mine's been sitting in the corner of the bathroom for the last couple months, as that's the coolest place in the house. There's an airlock, so there's no concerns of fecal coliform or other bacteria invading. Of course, racking is done in the kitchen!