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.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

An Update on Homebrew

Over the weekend I decided it was time to bottle my second batch of mead, which was started all the way back in January. I didn't have a hydrometer when I first started so no gravity reading was taken, which means I won't know the alcohol level of this batch.

This batch was a really large one so I have four demijohns of it to process,three are unaltered and one has been sweetened with extra honey. The unaltered ones were all that I had time to do. I started by sterilizing the vessels that the mead would be going into, in this case I am using my earthenware demijohns for this; the two earthenware vessels hold the same as the three glass ones I'm transferring from. I also added a campden tablet to the mead before in the glass demijohns; this helps by killing off wild yeast and bad bacteria. When everything was sterile I started to transfer the mead into the stone vessels.

A campden tablet crushed ready to be added.

Once completed I put a rubber bung into the larger of the two and attempted to put a cork in the smaller one. I say attempted as the hole was slightly too large for the cork. I had picked up a tip from a friend to make corking easier, which was to soak the cork first to make it go in the hole easier. I thought that this could be why the cork was too small so I tried a dry cork and found this to be same. As I had no other corks at this stage I had to start getting inventive. I thought the most suitable thing to use would be beeswax. I quickly melted some wax and then poured it around the cork making it a complete seal. I'm not totally sure if it's worked so will check it again later and use more wax if needed.

The only thing to do now is wait. During the process I have tried to mead on several occasions and unfortunately it hasn't tasted too great, in fact it tasted pretty bland though ageing the mead is supposed to improve flavour. If after a year the taste is still poor then I will still drink it but use something to mix in it, possibly ginger ale. In the future when experimenting with recipes I will make smaller batches so not as much honey is used. I still have plenty of honey that my dad acquired for me so will keep using that rather than experimenting with my own honey!