Life by Chocolate

Chocolate, white, milk, dark, in all its forms forms life. Chocolate truffles, caramels, and other confections are at the core of enjoyment. This is life by chocolate because death by chocolate is the wrong attitude.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Making Mead at LBC and other adventures

A lot of honey.

Well, gentle and gentile readers, I made mead today. No, not just a simple 5 gallon batch and howdy do, ma'am, but rather two different 5 gallon batches with the honey we use in the Bee's Knees bar. As a matter of fact, I used up all the honey that is for Bee's Knees. Well, almost all. I now need another 100 pail of honey as soon as possible. I've called my apiaries. I am going to have to get about 20 hives on this property somewhere in the back. That's right, I need to resurrect my beekeeping.

On Easter Sunday, Happy Eostre Bede, I went to visit my brother Johnny, of City Brewshop fame, and picked up another boatload of equipment. It's been a life long dream of mine to make mead. And now, because of my brother John and the wonderful help of my sweat wife Kim, I'm making two batches of mead. Huzzah!

Two more primary fermenters, with locks, etc, and two new glass secondary carboys, with locks etc. John gave me a great deal. I brought him my new toffee formulation with Pilsner Malt. Really good toffee. On sale soon.

Anyway, this wasn't a very sticky operation, though as you will see by the photos, a lot of water got on the floor. Just a typical brewing and fermenting operation. Now, instead of my kitchen smelling like hops, it smells like honey. Well, honey and chocolate and maybe lamb tangine and pizza.

So, how do you make mead? Well, it's simple. Sanitize everything as for brewing. You glop a lot of honey in a bucket,

17.8 pounds for the Sake Mead, a sweet mead, made with my special local honey and 12 lbs for my Dry Sparkling Mead. Unfortunately, I shorted this recipe by almost 1 pound but will make it up t tomorrow when I add in more nutrients and stir. Making this mead sparkling by bottle conditioning will be a challenge. Think Champagne. Think billions of pounds of pressure. Think explosion. I'm going to have to use Champagne bottles with special caps. Huzzah!

Glopping in honey in water and nutrients.

More glopping and water.

Taking gravity reads.

Add some warm water, nutrients, stir and then pitch the yeast in and cover.

Pitching the yeast.

Covering and praying this works. LOL. I had sanitized gloves and everything was clean and sanitized except for the honey though it's hard to culture anything in honey. I did pitch it a little warn, 79 F for the Sack Mead with Sweet Mead Yeast, which likes it warm, and 76 F for the dry mead, with the Champagne yeast, which does not like it warm. Other than that, I think we are on our way. A two week fermentation and then another 2 month secondary fermentation for the dry mead and a 3 month secondary fermentation for the Sack (Sweet) Mead.

Stay tuned folks for updates.

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Blogger Mark by Chocolate said...

A quick update. The Dry Mead is going like crazy but I think I pitched the Sack Mead a little hot, about 78F. The other I pitched at 76F. The Sack Mead yeast though, should like it hot. I think the ceiling is 75F. I may have shocked it. Or it could be the lid. I'm having major problems with the o-ring or grommet in the lid.

I put on my bear bucket lid to see if it'll build up positive pressure. Next time I put in nutrient, I'm going to take a gravity reading. I still need to add almost 12 oz to the dry mead. I'll do that tomorrow and take another gravity reading. I'm afraid I'm going to have to do special math to figure out the alcohol content. Partial differential equations at the least. LOL.

April 26, 2011 at 12:17 PM  

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