101 Mead

Mead!  I don’t have anything in primary right now, and I need to fix that.  The plan is to blog about this batch from start to finish.  I’ll get the recipe and photos of this batch posted tomorrow, since it’s almost midnight and I’m not starting anything today.

There’s a few things I do for every batch now.  I keep logs, I name batches, and I identify carboys so my forgetful self doesn’t lose track of which mead went where.  Anywhere from 5-10 batches in various stages is normal around here.

About three years ago, I mixed up mead batches after I forgot which mead I had in which carboy.  After that, I started doing this:

Honey, blueberry, spiced meads.

And recording notes in 3 ring binder, with the date, ingredients, and specific carboy each batch is fermenting in.  I suggest writing down everything that seems even remotely useful.  I like keeping notes on types of honey, yeast, fruit/spices/etc, yeast food, OG and SG, racking, what it tastes like during different stages… everything, really.  It lets me keep track of what worked and what didn’t.

The batch for this blog series is  101 Mead.  I’m very original, the honey I’ll be using came from a farmer’s market off Route 101 in Washington.

I’m sure I could claim to be very clever about naming things, but the truth is that most of my meads wind up with names like July raspberry, Wasatch honey mead, Solstice killer bee honey (and I can’t wait to get that one in bottles, killer bee honey is amazing).

The honey for this batch is a blackberry honey, meaning the bees fed on blackberry nectar.  Honey is very important, especially if you’re making a traditional mead with no fruit or spices.  Honey runs the show in a traditional mead.

I got lucky and found blackberry honey in bulk, for 5 bucks a pound, at the farmer’s market.  The 101 batch will be 3 pounds of honey, one gallon of water, and Lalvin EC-1118 yeast.  Fair warning, because that yeast needs a lot of time to age out, actually drinking this batch is at least a year away.   That’s a year’s worth of blog posts though, so bonus!

I do want to experiment with a fast fermenting, short aging mead.  I’ll swing by Costco and the farmer’s market and see what they have for honey.  Until tomorrow!

Greetings from the PNW

Yes, I called it that.  Sue me.  Ha!

A few months ago, I packed up the dogs, the mead, and various fish and houseplants for a work move to western Washington.   Instead of snow six months a year… well, who am I kidding?  There’s some places out here that have snow year-round.  But we moved from 8,000 feet to near sea level, so I drive to see snow now instead of living in it.

This area has some choice hiking.

I found a stick!

Some seriously choice hiking.  I can get to mountains, beaches, forests with a couple hours of driving.  The Pacific Northwest is a friggin fantastic area of the country to live in.  Both the dogs think so too.

This is also one of the best areas for berries.  I’ve got plans to shift over to some berry meads:  blackberries (my house is full of them), huckleberries, salmonberries, raspberries.  Apples are everywhere too, and it’s proving easy to barter for them.  Some of the brewers and brew shops will rent cider presses, so it might be time to branch out a little.

And now, it’s time to get some mead started.  I have an empty 5 gallon from the hibiscus mead, and four more batches that are ready to bottle.  It turns out moving, with all the associated shenanigans that go with it, is good for your home  brewing.   My batch of coffee mead benefited from being left to sit for three months, and so did the blueberry and killer bee honey batches.

Time does solve problems!  With mead.