A blog originally for keeping track of my hobby of being a Beekeeper which has evolved to include Home Brewing and even more recently to follow me and my families approach to "The Good Life". Eventually I hope to include baking recipes and stories of our flock of chickens also reporting on the success and failure at the allotments.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Homebrewing Gifts from Grandad

I visited my Grandad the other day as he had told my Dad he had a demijohn or 2 that I could have. When I got there he started bringing all sorts of pieces of equipment out of a plastic bag plus had 4 Demijohns lined up behind his chair ready for me to take.

 In the image you can see a 2 gallon and 1 gallon earthenware Demijohn, these are really heavy but look excellent, they really don't make them like they used to! In front of them are 2 glass Demijohns that I believe used to be cider bottles, these are also 1 gallon. Between the 2 glass Demijohns there is a couple of lengths of tubing that are used to syphon mead/wine out of the Demijohn and in to bottles. To the front of the picture there is a variety of bits of equipment. There's a wooden corking machine, several bungs, a bag of labels, a bag of corks and 4 boxes of aluminum foil caps for adding a professional touch to the finished bottled product! If you look carefully on the red boxed equipment on some of them you can see they have a very old Boots logo on them and also on has a pre decimalisation price sticker on, though this isn't visible in picture. This shows how old some of this equipment is but all still perfectly usable if I sterilise it well. There was also a receipt in the bag that showed what I believe is last time my Grandad bought equipment and this is from 1990!

A couple of days later he brought me a bottle of his last wine he made that is from around this time, so over 20 years old, and in my opinion it was very tasty though my better half was a bit dubious. We think it is Sloe wine made from Sloe berries (obviously). He has told me he has a couple more Demijohns I can have but these still have wine in them from one of his relatives that was made before he was born, so the content of that will be at least 86 years old! I'm not sure how nice they'll be but I may have a small glass then leave it 24 hours to see if I get ill and if not then I'll drink it!

Update on current Meads

My first batch of Mead, the Jao, is very nearly ready. I find myself checking it every couple of days and each time the liquid looks slightly clearer, I reckon another week and it'll be ready to bottle. My second batch is still active but has really slowed down. Now I have all the extra demijohns I am in a good position to start racking it and then I'll get a better idea of how its going, as the container its in at the moment isn't see through.

Update on Beekeeping

Not much to say at the moment but I am now a member of BBKA and have received my welcome pack. This means I now have the liability cover needed to keep Bees in my Dad's allotment. I have also received details of the course I will be attending in May/June.

Update on Allotment

Again not much to say here. I have not heard anything back from a couple of members of my group to get my allotment so have requested these members be removed, which will put me back to needing 2 members. Finding another 1 member isn't going to be a problem but finding the second could be. I will have to put another appeal for members on Facebook. My Dad will let me use part of his allotment for growing but I would rather have my own within walking distance


  1. What is "Jao" ? Lyn

  2. Jao is the name of the first mead I am making. It stands for "Joe's Ancient Orange" I found it while browsing a forum and the link to the recipe is in one of my earlier posts my first attempt at mead