Adventures in Beekeeping: Mead Making

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 friends (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.

I should probably know better than to argue with a guy who sells alcohol for a living. Because he’s a good friend (who also delights in proving me wrong) he set up a tasting with Schramm’s Mead 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.

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I’m so lucky to have such awesome people in my life. (Who also don’t mind having a camera in their face occasionally, to take the pressure off me.) And who also will use their homebrewing skills to help me turn honey into alcohol. 

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.

15 Responses

  1. 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!

  2. 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… 😉

  3. 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.

  4. 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.
    🙂

  5. 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!

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