Saturday, April 16, 2011

First batch, easy and cheap

It's official, my first batch of Mead is fermenting!  I was a bit surprised to be honest.  I just knew that I screwed something up somewhere along the line and that it wasn't going to ferment, at all.  It didn't help that after I got everything mixed together, plugged, and my airlock inserted that I sat there and watched the water moving into the wrong chamber.  I decided not to freak out about it and just see what happens and after going to dinner and returning, the air pressure was now going the right direction and I sat and watched a bubble push its way through and not so silently cheered.

This is my first ever attempt at trying to brew anything and I have absolutely no idea how well it's going to turn out in the end but hey! it's fermenting right? That's a first step at least.  For those that want to know, the whole setup cost me around $28.00.  Everything except the distilled water I purchased from a local store called American Brewmaster.

In total I purchased:
  • 2 1 gallon glass carboy jugs
  • 1 Lalvin D47 dry yeast
  • 1 #3 drilled stopper
  • 1 S type airlock
  • 1 8oz package of One Step
  • 1 lb of orange blossom honey
  • 1 screw cap (to keep the dust out of my empty jug
This is roughly half a gallon of must so I'm hoping the 1 lb of honey will make it sweet enough but only time will tell I guess.  In searching around I found a super simple recipe that I mostly followed from Storm The Castle.  Unfortanutely I didn't have any oranges, or raisins, so I substituted around a tsp of lemon juice and around 2 1/2 tbsp of light brown sugar.  Again, I have no clue how this is going to turn out but I have my fingers crossed that it's going to come out tasting at least 80% like mead and 20% like rocket fuel.

For those interested here is the quick run-down on the process I followed.

#1 - SANITIZE EVERYTHING.... Seriously, my sink has never looked so clean, ever.  I scrubbed the kitchen sink down with just a little bit of dish detergent and then washed it out really, really good.  Then I plugged it up and made a batch of One Step to sanitize the sink and anything that would be coming in contact with the must or yeast.

#2 - Started the yeast activation.  Heated a little bit of water, mixed it together with the D47 yeast, agitated it a little bit to make sure that some of the yeast was getting to the water, and then set a timer for 15 minutes (package instructions).

#3 - Made the must.  Poured the 1lb of honey, 1/2 gallon of distilled water, 2 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar, 1 tsp lemon juice into a 1 gallon glass jug.  Threw the lid on and began mixing and aerating.  Proceeded to shake the jug for 5 minutes.

#4 - Pitched the yeast into the must.  Gave it a little swirl to try and make sure the yeast was distributed into the must.

#5 - Plug with stopper and airlock, wrap in towel.

That was basically it.  In the future I'll probably go into a bit more detail on some of these steps and I'll definitely make sure to let everyone know how this concoction tastes when it's done fermenting in a few weeks.  Now I just have to hope that the fermentation continues like it's supposed to and it doesn't wind up just dying off.

For now, Be Well Readers!

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