Adding to the list of things I can blame on Skyrim, Kevin convinced me to help him make mead tonight. We watched a few videos and then mostly relied on this recipe: http://www.stormthecastle.com/mead/fast-cheap-mead-making.htm. It was one of the few recipes that made it sound okay to use regular active dry yeast. Otherwise we would have had to order special mead/wine yeast online, and our mead-making needs were too urgent for that.
The most annoying but necessary part of the whole process was sanitizing all of the equipment with bleach. Apparently the guideline is 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water, but who can keep track and since when did bleach ever hurt anybody? We used a glass carboy (new word!) and a giant bucket, so the bath tub had to get involved.
We started by mixing together about 1.5 gallons of spring water, 4.5 pounds of honey, one sliced orange, and some orange peels.
We added about 50 disgusting raisins* and then finally a half an ounce of active dry yeast that I first activated in warm water. The final amount of liquid was about 2 gallons.
After everything was combined, it had to be mixed pretty aggressively for aeration. This is definitely Kevin’s hand.
Once we mixed everything, we had to transfer it to a glass carboy with an airlock (or fermentation lock) that would allow the carbon dioxide to be released.
The transfer was taking so long that I could feel myself aging, so we got crafty with a nearby basket to avoid holding the carboy up the whole time.
We put some vodka in the airlock to prevent contamination (or something) and then placed the mead in its rightful place in the living room.
After about two weeks we’ll need to transfer the mead to smaller jugs and then let it sit and develop flavor over the course of several months. Right now it’s just blooping as bubbles are being produced, which will be fun to listen to until it starts driving us insane.
The whole process has been fun so far but I’m going to be devastated if I wait six months and end up with yeasty honey water. I’ll also be pretty upset if I poison my friends with it, but I’ll cross that manslaughter bridge when I get there. I’ll keep you posted.
*As some of you may already know, raisins are my arch-nemeses, as they ruin the flavor and texture of many things I love to eat. However, the recipe was very serious about including raisins to feed the yeast, so I gave in.