Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Learning - Banana Mead

Two summers ago, I learned how to ride a motorcycle.

Last summer, I didn't formally learn anything.

This summer, I'm learning how to make mead and possibly beer.

Today, I started my first batch of mead.  It's going to be a sweet banana mead.  I've done a bunch of reading on the topic of mead making.  Perhaps too much.  I've also talked to and emailed several people about the process too.  It's not overly complicated.

I purchased a bunch of brewing supplies from Midwest Supplies.  The guys and girls there were super helpful had lots of good advice.  So, basically, here's what I did today:
  • Put everything together.  This was easy.  There were just a couple of things to screw together.  
  • Wash everything.
  • Sanitize everything.  This is different than washing.
  • Put 4 gallons of water in the fermenting bucket.
  • Put 1 gallon of water a pot on the stove.  Heat, don't boil.
  • Add 12 pounds of honey to the water on the stove. Dissolve.
  • Add dissolved honey/water mixture to the fermenting bucket.
  • Stir.
  • Add yeast nutrient.
  • Add yeast.
  • Stir.
  • Put cover on tightly.
  • Insert air lock.
  • Put in basement and wait.
So this blog is all about learning:  What did I learn?
  • Yeast like sugar, which honey has tons of, and turns sugar to alcohol.  
  • Sanitizing is key.  I can see how anything attached to any equipment could infect your mead mixture.
  • Mead takes a long time.  It will be at least September before I am able to taste the fruits of my labor.
  • I need a bigger kettle.  A 3 or 5 gallon kettle would have made it easier to make the honey dissolve without getting a gooey honey mixture all over the stove.  That would have brought my new hobby to a quick end with the wife.
  • The banana flavor comes in later, just before putting the mead in bottles or a keg.
I'll keep you updated with the fermentation and progress.

And a note for those who know brewing (and I clearly don't):
  • Minnesota Clove Honey
  • O.G. = 1.072
  • Midwest Melomel Kit, substituted whatever was in the kit for banana.

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