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Adventures in Beekeeping: Mead Making

February 17, 2016 | 15 Comments | Uncategorized
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With the two hives I established this year I got about 3 gallons of honey and 20+ containers of cut-comb, which as far as I can tell is unheard of for new beekeepers. And I jarred a lot of it…

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But at the end of the season I still had a gallon of honey sitting in a bucket that I hadn’t done anything with.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of “sweet” drinks. All the red wine you see in my pictures is fairly dry and I’ve slowly switched from wheat beers to things that are more hoppy… sweet just isn’t my thing. So when one of my fantastically bearded ex-boyfriends (the one that owns a bar) kept insisting that I use my leftover gallon of honey to make mead I was like yeah, yeah, yeah, not my thing…

Ha.

Doesn’t even matter that we’re not dating anymore, the man still delights in proving me wrong. So he set up a tasting with Schramm’s Mead, which happened to be when the film crew was at the farm, so we took a small break from building stuff to learn things like, according to this taste-wheel, honey can have the flavor of, say, cat pee…

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Not even joking. That’s a real thing honey can taste like, along with other fun flavors like “barnyard” and “sweaty”. Yay, honey?

I don’t even know… bees are still amazing. I’m also super grateful to Schramm’s Mead for answering all of my questions about honey and mead and giving me a copy of this book written and signed by their founder Ken Schramm…

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So awesome. Also loved the part where Roberto made Jesse walk up to his bar several times and “smile sexy”….

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Hahahaha. I can’t even type that shit with a straight face.

I’m so lucky to have had such awesome men in my life, and luckier that we can be friends after the “this isn’t going to work long-term” conversation, which, let’s be honest, is kind of inevitable with me. (And I don’t mean that in a negative way. I’m incredibly happy for all my fantastic ex-boyfriends, especially when they find wonderful women to be a part of their lives who are way better for them than I could have been. I hope that comes across as genuine, because it is. Men I date are no different than the other friends I welcome in to my life, all of whom are amazing, and I want every single one of them to find their own happiness, whatever it maybe.) Relationships aside, I’m super grateful that Jesse insisted I make mead out of my honey, and even more grateful for my neighbors/homebrewing friends who helped with the actual processing of the honey…

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We decided to make a raspberry mead, so we boiled a gallon of honey along with some water and about 4-5 pounds of raspberries, then poured it into a glass carboy and added some yeast (and maybe a few other secret ingredients that I can’t remember because it was after midnight)…

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It’s going to ferment in this state for a month, then we’re going to strain it and give it another 3 months to get fully ripe, and then we’re going to taste-test it sometime in May.

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This is obviously my first time with something like this, but I’m hoping to learn enough so that in coming years I can use the berries and fruit from my garden along with my own honey (and water straight from the well) to make something that truly captures the taste of the farm…

In the meantime, expect the final verdict (aka tasting) sometime in May.

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    Comments

  • Lucy


    Can’t wait to hear about the Mead-tasting. It will be epic I’m sure.

  • Anne


    “…..to make something that truly captures the taste of the farm……” Not to mention the alcohol content, WooHooHic!

  • Kathi


    Love Schramm’s…seriously if you’re going to start drinking or making mead…they’re the benchmark. Can’t wait to read how yours turns out!

  • Michele


    After reading this entry, I’ve decided that we should reevaluate our priorities at our new cabin this spring… Establishing our bee hives just got bumped up… ;)

  • Meg


    While you are patiently awaiting the spring tasting of your fabulous-looking concoction, I suggest you come to Vermont – we have a smorgasbord of hoppy brews for your sipping pleasure from our many microbreweries.

  • Jack


    Cat pee tasting honey wine…I never could imagine and glad I didn’t have to literally come up with the wheel first hand. Possibly if it’s steeped too long it has a bit of a litter box smell/taste. Never the less, it sounds interesting and fun and can’t wait to hear how it turns out.
    :)

  • Dennis


    Mead looks set to be the next whiskey, especially with press like this: http://gizmodo.com/the-drink-of-viking-warlords-could-help-fight-disease-1759503055

  • Sarah @ The Ugly Duckling House


    Are you taking reservations for the mead tasting weekend? Put me down for 2. Ha!

    • Kit


      Come on up anytime! (No promises on if the mead as actually good though.)

  • Jessica


    The time frame for making mead seems to vary so much! Do you anticipate it being completely done in May or just being able to taste it then? We wanted to try some to have at our wedding in September alongside the other drink options, but were told that there’s no way mead would be ready by then. Either way, I’m eager to start my own soon! I’m a huge fan (years of renaissance faire visits got me hooked – those beestings!). Can’t wait to hear how yours comes out!

  • Nine Dark Moons


    wow, fascinating! another use for honey i never knew about. here’s hoping it tastes more like “raspberry” and less like “cat pee”.

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  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from Sweet Savannah (House Tour) – Robert Neagle's Blog
    Tuesday, 8 March, 2016

    […] Technically, I suppose I could have gorged myself on the natural honey offered at Savannah Bee Company, but I was too busy looking over all of their products. Cute shop if you ever want to just discover how many things you really can make from something that comes out of a bee’s “special stomachs” (Kit, I know you’d probably correct me if I said it was “bee vomit”… and no, I did not try the mead.). […]

  • Trackback from Better-Worse-Soaked: A Kitchen Update | Old World Stone And Garden
    Friday, 1 April, 2016

    […] those are two of my awesome friends–you may have seen them around this website helping me brew mead, or build garden boxes, or dressed up like superheroes, or having the most beautiful wedding in a […]

  • Trackback from Adventures in Beekeeping: Mead Tasting | Old World Stone And Garden
    Tuesday, 12 April, 2016

    […] mead we brewed (with most of the “brewing” happening back in January) used about a 1/2 gallon of honey and 3-4 pounds of raspberries. (This year I’m planning to […]

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