How did I forget to finish this!! Well March was quite a busy month for me with Easter Basket Challenge so this kind of slipped my mind. But let’s go back a couple months to mid February….
After about 7 weeks I noticed that the mead was very, very slow and not super active. Over that time, it went through a lot and I caught myself staring at it with so much joy watching the bubbles go and loving my yeast babies. The first few weeks were the most active with noticeable bubbles inside the jug. After about 3-4 weeks it slowed down but still had a consistent bubble and the airlock had a little glug every 10-15 seconds. The air lock had this beautiful honey yeast smell to it that I could not stop going back to sniff. I loved the smell and knew it was doing its thing and would be delicious.
Once I noticed the glug was super slow and happening about every 30 seconds I figured it would be close to calling it done and moving to bottling. By this point it was about 6-7 weeks and I just waited for a good day to finally open this baby up. Before I got to that though I needed to prep and make sure I had what I needed.
Many other home brewers online talk about using a siphon to remove the brew. The bottom has a bunch of sediment that is the remaining of the dead yeast cells and can have a little more bitter of a flavor so most try to avoid that. I did have a tube that I could use and I went back and forth on what I should do. In the end I came to “this is my first batch I want to make it easy and simple”. Maybe next time I will try siphoning but if they could pour this and drink thousands of years ago, I could do that in 2021.
With clean bottles in hand and a funnel to pour, I was ready. I used a half gallon cider bottle from a family friend owned cider company back in California along with a couple flip top bottles I use all the time for kombucha. I filled them up and with the last little bit of sediment mixture I poured into a small bottle just to see how bad it would be.
With everything bottled up it was time for the aging. This step isn’t 100% necessary but, like wine, aging will make it taste better. I did take a little sample to try and let other’s in the house try. It tasted just like a honey white wine with a slight sweetness. I could not wait to try it after it ages. At this point though the bottles moved to a shelf to wait and wait, and wait.
Now let’s speed back up to today, almost two months later. I think I may have to break down and pop a bottle soon and enjoy this batch, especially after starting a new batch. Speaking of popped bottle though, funny story and good reminder of burping any air tight bottles. One morning, I was getting ready to go to the farmer’s market and was coming down the stairs when I heard an explosion or something pop. Since the yeast is still active in the bottles, the small one with the sediment kind of exploded. Luckily nothing but the bottle broke and the other bottles are fine, BUT MAKE SURE TO BURP BOTTLES. This is my first bottle to break, I’m sure it will happen again in my life with all the ferments I make, but it was kind of funny to me. I had to clean up the mess before going to the market and the floor was a bit sticky until I cleaned it a few times. Good story to tell now that it is over.
This has been such a great learning experience and I’m so happy to have starting doing this at home. From practicing ancient processes, learning how to infuse into new batches, and of course those mistakes along the way. I also have learned a bit about cider brewing as well and since I have the set up for that maybe I’ll have to try something else in the fall when the apples come into season…
For now I’m going to find a reason to open a bottle, watch my new batch go, and figure out what I should do for the next batch of mead. First things first, get more honey. Luckily it is spring and the hives should be flowing soon!