Having watched my grandfather making wine countless times as a youth, making mead was even more intuitive to me than brewing beer. Just take a sugar source, add it to clean/treated water, some yeast and flavoring, and you’re off to the races.
Having helped with a number of batches of wine, I figured I’d take a crack at making mead, as I had not yet tried it. So, we need a honey source. Luckily, there’s the Honeybee Center just an hour’s drive away, with all the local honey I could need, available in bulk. It gets very expensive trying to do this with the small 500mL containers available at grocery stores.
So, I have to empty it into the boiling pot…
A large santoku or kitchen knife really helps get that stubborn last 10% of the honey out of the container:
Now, I add the water to the stockpot. After heating it up to the point where the honey is fully dissolved in the water, I gather some spices:
And grind them up with my trusty mortar and pestle set:
And add the ground spices to a fine cheesecloth bag, and let it sit in the honey-water mixture for an hour as it cools. From there, it gets a rapid cooldown with an immersion cooler:
And finally, the yeast is added, and the product is sealed up in carboys.
I later converted the spare bedroom to a nano brewery, upgrading capacity from 8L to a whopping 100L. Needless to say, my friends were treated to several bottles each, as there was only room to store a small number of bottles, ironically.
Now for the tricky part: waiting. Most meads tend to be undrinkable until they are at least six months old, and a solid year is recommended at the least. So, the must (liquid before fermentation kicks in) is going to ferment for a year as it converts to mead. Finally, we syphon off the product into bottles (with a syphon starter, as starting it with your mouth is just disgusting and can cause the product to spoil):
And we have our final product. Skyrim fans rejoice! It actually tastes good too!
Amusingly enough, the most well received recipe was made with pineapple, juniper berries, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, orange peel, and black pepper. Who would’ve thought?