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Mead Glorious Mead!
Beginners luck, or disaster waiting to happen?
After much umming and aahhhring I have finally taken the plunge and put a tentative toe into the weird and wonderful world of home brewing.
I have to admit that I do not have the first idea as to what I am doing. With that in mind I researched the subject thoroughly via the much fabled information super-highway (remember that term? Or am I showing my age?). With page upon page of recipes, advice, instructions and a whole load of confusing sciencey stuff, I decided to ditch it all and go freestyle.
When searching for recipes, I was confronted with a veritable cornucopia of options. I fancied the idea of an organic fruit wine so I looked into these first. I was, quite frankly bewildered by the sheer amount of choice. The list of those on offer was exhaustive, and I will not even begin to list them here. It was further confused by the many recipes that told me that I had to add second and sometimes third fruits in order to achieve 'balance'. My head was spinning. What was I to do? Their was only one thing I could do. I reverted to a purely medicinal sniffter.
Whilst supping upon my mass produced pint of supermarket cider, I had what alcoholics sometimes refer to as a moment of clarity!
I recalled a web page that talked about Mead. A honey based wine that, according to what I had read, was the oldest known alcoholic brew, dating back many thousands of years. Well, I wanted to do some basic brewing, this sounded good enough for me.
I did not waste a minute more. I hot-footed it down to the local market and bought a great big bucket with a lid on. I made straight for the supermarket, where I spent 11 quid on the cheapest honey I could find. Once I got it home, I heated the honey and then mixed it all up in the bucket with 15 litres of water, some yeast that was found at the back of the cupboard and half a cup of orange juice. Then, as I waited for the magical mead to ferment, I read a little more. I realised it would take many months, a lot of work and some specialist equipment (demijohns, campden tablets etc) for me to achieve my dream of drinking my home brew mead.
I was not down-hearted for long. Once I had checked my brew and seen it start to ferment and bubble I was once again enthused. I even added a couple of bags of spice that I found in the cupboard, a remant of a failed attempt at mulling my own wine last christmas. This has in fact given the brew a much more pungent and aromatic aroma.
So thats as far I have got so far. I hope to update you all with the results of this experiment in the fullness of time. If I live to tell the tale, that is.
I have just transferred my mead from the big bucket into four demijohns (yes I know the photo looks like three demijohns, but trust me one of them is hiding).
The half-brewed concoction was none too pleasent on the hooter, I did however have a sneaky sip or two and I am quietly confident that this little brew has potential! I really could taste the afore mentioned spices, and it was not as sweet as I expected. As you can see from the pics, it is very very cloudy, but I have been assured this is merely part of the process.
I have however, in the last couple of hours developed a most disconcerting habit. Much to the consternation of the rest of the househould, I have been staring intently at the air locks atop of the demijohns, fascinated by the bubbles popping up. Sad I know, not too sure why I confessed that to be honest : )