There have been so many amazing things about having bees on the farm, and this one is definitely going toward the top of the list…
That was the beginning of the taste-test of the first batch of mead I made (by “made” I mean “watched my experienced friends make”, obv.) Mead is basically honey-wine, but depending on how you brew it you can make something that’s more (or in my case, less) sweet, and you can bottle and carbonate like beer if you want. Our first mead-making adventure was a total shot in the dark, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect.
The 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 freeze raspberries from my own bushes to use.) After brewing it sat fermenting under the desk in my closet for about 9 weeks, until Sunday afternoon when we did this…
Yes, in the middle of my torn-apart kitchen.
Also, none of this equipment belongs to me. My friend Chris is an awesome brewer and he brought over a keg and a “beer gun” to use to fill the bottles.
I decided to use some fancy bottles (but didn’t have enough of them, so we also filled 4 wine bottles I had sitting around, and a couple of quart-sized mason jars on top of it.)
This was the Moment of Truth…
I’ve had some cloyingly sweet mead and I hated it, but guys… this was amazing. Super dry (no sweetness at all) with hints of raspberry and a tart finish. We may have “tasted” a whole bottle… or two. I couldn’t have asked for anything better, and I’m so proud that this came from my bees.
Unfortunately we didn’t write the recipe down, but I’m confident I’ll be able to replicate it in coming years. And once the fruit trees start producing we may be able to have peach and pear versions as well.
And, in even more exciting bee news… I’m adding two new hives to the one that made it through summer (and hoping to maybe catch a swarm and make it 4 this year.) The new bees should be here at the end of April, in just a few short weeks. Having hives on the farm has been such a fascinating and enriching part of the last year, I can’t wait to get started again this Spring!