My First Attempt at Making Mead

I love the color of the mead!
Spiced Mead

A Thought Turns into a Fun Hobby

This my not really have anything to with being a father or husband.  It is something I decided to experiment with.  Making mead, and other homebrews, is really turning into a fun hobby.   As a father and a husband, a man needs a hobby.

Last year I started making mead.  For those who don’t know what mead is, it’s essentially a wine made with honey instead of grapes.  My endeavor started out as just sort of a learning experience and experiment for myself.  Through this process, I myself and the whole family have learned a lot about wine, yeast, fermented beverages, and the whole science behind the process.

I started with this whole thing by looking for recipes on making my own root beer from scratch (still haven’t tried it yet). The recipes I had seen called for the use of a “ginger bug”, which I had no clue was.  So I had to look that up.  It’s basically a way of collecting and culturing yeast from the ginger and the air.  This in turn led me to reading about mead and how yeast would be cultured from the air, in a mixture of water and honey to produce a wine.

I had tried making my own ginger bug, for the root beer, and it was extremely easy. So as I read more about mead.  I found how simple it was and knew that this was something I could easily do.  All I needed was 3lbs of honey, water, a gallon wine jug, and my ginger bug. Easy.


A variety of my first meads

So I tried it

But I got impatient.  It can take a few months for mead to be ready drink. So in the meantime, I made some other batches using more preferred methods.  I purchased few airlocks and some champagne yeast through Amazon. And researched some more.

I had some dried hibiscus flowers and thought I might use them.  While my first batch was fermenting, I started a hibiscus mead.  While I was waiting for that one to ferment, I decided to make a cyser (mead made with apple cider in place of water).  Since I like to make things from scratch as much as possible, I bought a bunch of apple and made my own cider.  I thought cherry and apple go well together I added cherries.  I also figured that mulling spices would  create a warming effect and nice flavor.

Long story short

Three months later I had a several one gallon jugs of homemade wine ready to taste and bottle.  After months of research and testing other wines out there, learning about what to look for in tasting wines and what makes it good, I was finally ready to taste my own.  And let me tell you, not to toot my own horn, they were simply amazing. I have a bit of a biased opinion, since I did make it myself, but an artist is also his own worst critic.  While trying to grade myself harshly, all but the very first batch came out to be some of best wine I have ever had!!!

Multiple gallon jugs of mead

I was so pleased that I just had to make more!  This has definitely turned into a fun hobby. And my daughter now knows all about fermentation, yeast, carbon dioxide, and “yeast farts”, lol.

I just started making my own beer!!!

Ready and Waiting
Ready and Waiting

A Man Needs a Hobby

Being a father and a husband makes me happy.  My wife is wonderful, my daughter makes me laugh, and my son is the best I could ever ask for.  I am also a man.  I like to have hobbies, I like beer.  Why not make beer as a hobby? Women like men, fathers are usually men.  What’s more manly than making what you want from scratch? You want it? Go get it, make it with your hands, drink it, then go and pee on things.

I have always wondered about making my own beer, but never made the plunge.  I thought it was time consuming, seemed complicated, and never thought I had the patience.  Well, last summer I made my first mead (honey wine) using basically just a gallon wine jug, honey, and some yeast.  That got me started.

I Ordered a Kit and got Started

I had ordered a partial extract kit on Amazon.  It was an American Cream Ale from a company called Brewers Best.  I wanted to start with something fairly simple, yet hard to screw up.  I chose the Brewers Best because the kit came with all of the ingredients needed, and since I had a lot of the equipment I needed from making mead I was pretty much set.  The kit makes five gallons of beer and is ready to drink in as little as two or three weeks!

After receiving my beer ingredient kit, I got started.  The instructions were quite simple to follow and I already most of the equipment needed, so the whole process went fairly smoothly.  The only hitch was that I didn’t have a fermenting container big enough to hold five gallons.  So I ended up having to split into two 3 gallon buckets.  I added the yeast and waited.

Two Weeks Later

The yeast has done it’s thing. Eating the sugars and turning my mixture into a sweet smelling batch of beer.  Time to bottle and wait a bit more.  I had been saving bottles to reuse for this. BTW, peeling off labels sucks…really.  If any of you reading this has a good tip on how the remove these things, please let us all know.  Anyway, I had purchased some caps and bottle cap crimper (very affordable) on Amazon.  Since this an American Cream Ale, I went with bottle caps with the American Flag.  After bottling, wait another tow weeks…ugh, I hate waiting.

Getting Ready to Bottle
Getting Ready to Bottle
My Bottles, Ready to be Capped
My Bottles, Ready to be Capped
Capped and Ready
Capped and Ready
Ready and Waiting
Ready and Waiting

The Tasting!

After about a month of anticip……………….ation (10 points to whoever knows what movie that was from).  I finally get to taste.  Wow! To say that I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.  I fully expected this to taste like my regular go to cheap brand name beer.  At the bottom of my expectations was a Ice House or something that comes in a 40z.  At the top of my expectations was maybe somewhere along the lines of Sam Adams.

Well, not to disrespect good old Sam, this home made brew (that ended up costing about $5 per 6pack) far exceed my expectations.  It was smooth, creamy, not too sweet, not too bitter, just the right amount of hops flavor.  The perfect amount foam.  I would have been happy paying $5 for a glass of this beer at a micro brew.

This Brewers Best Kit is definitely something I would recommend trying if you have any interest in brewing your own.  I am definitely going to be doing some more of the this.