Mead!

While we’ve tasted the Ethopian honey wine known as Tej, we’ve never had mead, so we decided to cook up a batch. It’s way too early to tell if we have a tasty beverage or a gallon of home brewed Listerine–it will be many months before the stuff is drinkable. But we thought we’d note how we made it, based on a recipe in Ken Schramm’s book The Compleat Meadmaker.

We downsized the recipe from five gallons to one gallon, figuring that we’ll experiment with a few different small batches rather than taking a chance on one big batch. Here’s how we did it after first sanitizing everything with Idophor sanitizer:

1. Boil 1/5th of a gallon of water (we used bottled water since our tap water is a bit on the heavy side).

2. Add one teaspoon of Fermax (this is a yeast nutrient available at home brew shops).

3. Take the water off the heat and add 3 pounds of honey (we used orange blossom honey) to make what is called the “must”.

4. Add 3/5ths of a gallon of refrigerated water to cool the must.

5. Pitch in the yeast once the must has cooled below 80ยบ F. We used a wine yeast called Lalvin 71B-1122 which we also picked up at our local home brew shop. We rehydrated the yeast according to the directions on the package, letting it sit for 15 minutes before we tossed it in the must.

6. We put the must in a used one gallon apple cider bottle and fitted it with a fermentation lock.

Mr. Doug Harvey gifted us with an old hydrometer (used to measure the density of a liquid) which we used to take a reading of 15% on our finished must. When fermentation is complete we’ll take another reading. The difference between the two readings will be the percentage of alcohol in our mead.

A big disclaimer here. We don’t know how well this recipe works, but we’ll let you all know. In the meantime, for those dying to get started, the National Honey Board has some free mead making instructions here (pdf).

Lastly, in our search for mead information, we kept coming across ads for chain mail and peasant pants, and figured out that for some reason mead seems to be unfairly associated with Renaissance fairs. This gives us an excuse to conclude this post with an image from the Texas Renaissance fair:

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7 Comments

  1. It’s an image that was floating around the internets last year that stuck in my memory. Sadly the Texas Centaur’s site is no longer working, but you can see more images here if you dare: http://jimsmash.blogspot.com/2007/03/texas-centaur.html

    And no, nobody is in the back of the costume. For more centaur questions I refer you to this video: http://www.bestofyoutube.com/video.asp?videoid=194

    And by the way, fermentation expert Paul, from the Petaluma Urban Homestead, dropped by the casa this weekend and noted that I should have filled the carboy higher. Paul makes a killer hard cider, so we’re taking his advice!

  2. Hey, just stumbled across your first mead recipe, and thought I’d warn you that it will likely make a very dry, quite plain, mead. If you’re not too discouraged to try again (not that it’ll be bad, necessarily), I’d be happy to share my starter recipe with you. Oh, and thanks for the precious centaur image! I may need a drink now…(andlittlefishes@gmail…)

  3. In regards to the Centaur His name is Larry Collins from the Houston area. He does have a myspace at http://www.mspace.com/texascentaur

    No there is no one in the rear of that costume, Yes he is that tall, and if you are lucky enough to be around when no children are, you may catch a glimpse of his stallion self in all his glory!

    Yes he made that himself, it is one of several different attempts, yet after “Jack Ass” came to TRF he had to replace the previous version due to their nearly killing him with a running mount! Rebar broke and stabbed him in the kidney. Yes if you are light enough you may actually “ride him” but only when he is in that outfit otherwise his wife has to give permission.

    Any other questions I may be able to help with?? Pleased to help.

    Thank you for posting the photo of “Kiron the Centaur” We are always happy to see photos of him online.

  4. oops.. sorry for not giving a name in the previous post. It is Zelena Barbarian Queen of Zorna Wife of Carnage and Mother of Ziera Princess of Vaalast. My friends just call me “Z”

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