Let’s give a warm welcome to Team Mead

September 9, 2009 | By | Comments (5)

Mead is not just for Renaissance Faire enthusiasts anymore.  It is also for One-Block dieters!  We have made the inaugural batch of honey wine to kick off Team Mead and we are hoping and praying that in a few months it will live up to the delicious draughts we tasted at Rabbit’s Foot Meadery. 

Snapshot 2009-09-09 10-50-40 Due to lack of space in the test kitchens and the
entertaining kitchen, we decided to stir up our batch in Sunset’s new outdoor
.  Incidentally, it was also
about 90 degrees and sunny outside.
Maybe it was the heat or maybe the
fact that it was a Friday and we were all looking ahead to the weekend,
but we wandered astray from our “Initial Game Plan”.  Perhaps some would call our actions mistakes, but I prefer
to think of them as improvisations.

Ideal Game plan for Day 1:

-Sterilize equipment with boiling water

-Combine honey and water until the must reaches a specific gravity of 1.075 using a hydrometer

-Add White Labs Pitchable Liquid Yeast to the must

-Stir for 5 minutes to aerate

Snapshot 2009-09-09 10-51-18 -Cover with several layers of cheesecloth and let sit for
another 5 to 10 minutes.  This will
allow further aeration while keeping out lots of particles and natural yeasts
in the air

-Siphon into carboy leaving no more than 1 inch of room at
the top

-Seal with airlock

-Cover with blanket and store in warm, dry place (Sunset
prop room) for 10 Days

 Desired outcome:

-3 gallons of delicious mead.

 Actual outcome:

-5 gallons of what, thus far, smells like delicious mead.

 You may naturally wonder how 3 gallons miraculously turned
into 5 gallons. The directions said, “use 5.76 lbs of honey per gallon of
water”.  That does not mean for a 3 gallon carboy you should use 17.28 lbs.
(3 x 5.76 lbs.) of honey. Due to this error we ended up adding lots  of water in
order get the specific gravity to the desired level of 1.075 (to be honest we
settled for 1.080, which means our mead will have a higher alcohol content than
we originally planned).  Hence, how
3 gallons of mead turned into 5 gallons.
We misread a few steps here and there, although I am hopeful that it
will turn out delicious. If you decided to brew your own, here are some helpful
tips to prevent bumps along the way.

 Tips:Snapshot 2009-09-09 10-49-16

1.  Read
directions very carefully.  Perhaps
read them 5-10 times.  Then read
them again in between each step.
We were so excited when the must reached the appropriate specific
we nearly forgot to add the yeast (a key element of mead).

 2. In the end, specific gravity will be more important than
poundage, so don’t worry so much about the weight of honey used.   And just so you know, you will
probably never need 17.28 lbs. honey for a household batch of mead.

 3.  Add honey to
water versus water to honey to prevent wasting honey

 4.  Don’t wear great high heels because they are likely to get covered in honey water

 5.  Don’t make
mead outside on a hot day because you will be miserable (the photos are a false
representation of how we felt that day)

 6.  If you
decide to do it outside be sure nothing falls into your mead (i.e. leaves or
bugs).  We currently have a
mysterious brown fleck floating around our carboy, which may or may not have
potential for causing trouble (see video) 

The primary fermentation should be subsiding this week and
we will need to transfer the mead into a clean carboy.  We will also be able to take the first
taste test.  Stay tuned for


  1. Bruce

    The video shows no cap on the lock. I understand that the cap is the third piece of the “three piece lock.” It does help keep things from falling in.

    October 7, 2009 at 3:02 am
  2. Matt Bruce

    Facebook just showed me this. Fantastic. Hope all is well.


    September 16, 2009 at 1:35 am
  3. Sheila Schmitz

    That’s great, Brianne! I love the fleck’s cameo appearance. Does it have a name yet? Maybe Bela. Of the Flecktones.

    September 10, 2009 at 3:35 am
  4. Valerie Comer

    We made a batch of rhubarb mead last spring, and every time we rack it we’re impressed with how delicious it is 🙂 How much will get in bottles, you think? 😛

    September 9, 2009 at 10:24 pm
  5. Johanna

    The mystery brown fleck is hilarious.

    September 9, 2009 at 8:25 pm

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