Brewed Mead, Cider, Melomel

So, as you know, I also have a blog for my adventures in fermentation. I’m considering dumping it, and just importing everything over into here, but I own the URL brewnewb.com so I might as well use it for a while anyway.

Regardless, I’m about to post a blog post over there, but there’s a lot of general life stuff going on in it anyway, so I figure I’ll post it here as well. I decided a while back that I’d like to brew cider. I also decided I wanted to brew mead. So I did both of those things last weekend.

The process was a lot of fun. Much different than brewing beer, and yet, much the same… One big difference, there’s no boil necessary for either, but I did heat things up a bit at first.

The cider is on the left there, one gallon of cider and 5lbs of table sugar, warming up. I put the other four gallons of cider into the carboy. Once the granulated sugar was disolved, I mixed it all together.

On the right is the mead… There’s three gallons of water in that pot, and15lbs of honey. I heated to about 180°F and let it sit there for about 15 mins. Then I mixed it with another two gallons of water in my fermentation bucket. Once it all came down to room temp, I pitched the yeast, and was bubbling shortly. I also used some yeast nutrients, for those of you who were wondering.

But the fun stuff had to do with a different brew I made. I made a single gallon of mead with some blackberries in it. Fruit mead is called melomel.

Now those of you who know what you’re looking at might be saying “Hey, that’s a little too full, you’re going to have problems.” Well, I put it in that green tub because I fully anticipated the possibility that it would bubble up and out of the air lock. I r smrt.

For those of you who don’t, you’re looking at a gallon of melomel in the making, blackberries floating on the top of honey and water, with little yeasty beasties floating around eating sugar.

What goes on here, is the yeast eat the sugars, and excrete alcohol. They also produce carbon dioxide, which bubbles up through that water air-lock on the top. That prevents oxygen from coming in which can oxidize the fermentation and create funny flavors, or “off flavors”. You don’t want that.

As it happens, I DID run into trouble. After a few hours, this is what it looked like:

This is a problem… As the yeast starts to eat and produce their by products, I ran outta room in the jug.

So, being the problem solver that I am, I took a straw, stuck it down through the blackberries, and into the mead, and sucked out about a cup. It tasted fantastic by the way… Slightly tingly, from the slight carbonation, sweet and berry… I can’t wait for this to finish… in a year…

Once again, i r smrt!

We went out to dinner the next night, and in our way home, we got a call from my mother in law saying that it exploded… Fortunately, it didn’t blow the glass bottle apart, but what happened was, the yeast went bananas, and blew the blackberry glop up into the airlock, which clogged. Then the pressure built, and long story short, I was cleaning blackberries off of the kitchen ceiling when I got home.

I’m sorta bummed that she cleaned up the floor before we got home, I would have liked to have taken some pictures of that…

Anyway, I managed to save the melomel, but most of the blackberries were gone, so I cut up some pears, and dumped in some orange juice for the yeast to eat… Should be tasty none the less.

Here are a couple more pictures I took during the process. I highly recommend this to anyone who is thinking about it! MUCH fun!

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2 thoughts on “Brewed Mead, Cider, Melomel

  1. A year? Wow! That’s a long time to wait. Not a project for someone with ADD like me! Although it does sound interesting… and experimentation would be fun, particulalry with flavors. I’m not a fan of beer – never drink the stuff, but a few sips here and there every once in awhile to confirm I’m not a fan.. – but fruity fermented stuff sounds interesting. Also appreciate the description regarding the process – like what’s really happening – since I’ve never bothered to ask to understand it before.

    Now where’s the real life stuff that’s supposed to be mixed in here? 😉

    P.S. I explode things (by accident) all the time. You were lucky she was nice enough to clean it up, despite the photographic loss… 😉

    • Huh. You know, you’re right, there was no real life anything in there… Except for perhaps the fact that I went to dinner…

      Try the cider first, only takes a few weeks to finish… Much quicker turn around time. I plan on doing a gallon or so of mead every couple months, so by the time I start being able to drink some, I get a fairly steady stream of it available.

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