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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Mead Lovers Community's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
12:00 pm
I'm new, bring on the hazing
I just wanted to wave my hand and say hello. I'm new to LJ and this community, but not at all new to mead-brewing. I started about 25 years ago and now brew ten to fifteen small batches a year, all different. My style is all-natural; no sulfites or additives, and every batch brew until it decides it's done. Right now I have in process a Rose-hip, Rose-hip Sumac, Cyser, and Strawberry Rhubarb. Next weekend I will probably start a Vanilla mead based on one I did last year that was surprisingly great. I just skimmed the most recent topics here, and think I'm going to enjoy this.

I'm holding a small peer-judged event next month for the first time, and am really looking forward to that as a learning experience. I'll report back how it goes. I expect about a dozen people with one or two entries per person, plus a blind bottle-swap for fun.

Current Mood: pleased
Friday, January 21st, 2011
2:51 pm
Mead making demo in Brooklyn
On Sunday January 23rd at 1pm, there will be an introductory mead making demo at Foodshed Market farmer's market, The Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn.

Current Mood: The bizzy bizzy Braufrau!
Friday, November 26th, 2010
11:33 am
Question about quick meads

In the online recipes I've found, they all say to refrigerate after two weeks, and keep in the fridge for 2 weeks. Does this mean that I can take it out of the fridge (and leave it out) afterwards, or is there a chance the yeasties will reactivate and make my bottles pop?

If the quick meads need to remain refrigerated, how long can they be out before they must either be stashed in the fridge once more or be consumed? I'm looking at 12th Night gifting, here, probably about 6-10 hours unrefrigerated, in total, including transit to/from the party, and sitting around at the party.

Thursday, March 18th, 2010
1:31 pm
Beekeeping is now legal in NYC
Today, Just Food celebrates the successful conclusion of our campaign to legalize beekeeping in New York City!!

This morning, the NYC Board of Health voted in favor of lifting the ban on beekeeping in Health Code Article 161, which previously rendered beekeeping illegal. Today's vote is an important victory for all of those who support bees, beekeepers, urban agriculture and a greener, healthier and more sustainable New York City.

Just Food launched our city-wide campaign to legalize beekeeping in New York City in 2008 and has since been working with a coalition of beekeepers, gardeners and community members to encourage the NYC Department of Health to lift its beekeeping ban (read archive of our beekeeping campaign below).

Just Food would like to thank the NYC Beekeeping Meetup Group, NYC Beekeeper's Association, Gotham City Honey Co-Op, our 2009 Pollinator Week Committee, individual beekeepers and supporters, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, former City Councilman David Yassky, and the NYC Department of Health for their collaborative spirit and vital role in making today's ruling possible.

More info here.

Aquilina of the Sea Cliffs

Current Mood: busy
Saturday, February 20th, 2010
8:07 pm
Liquid Gold!
I just racked four gallons of mead into secondary that was the very first batch in my four years of mead-making that I've ever made from non-commerical honey and I'm knocked over by the difference!

I'm a first year "bee-haver" and the gallon, or so, of honey that I used here came form a friend who let's me watch over is shoulder when he tends his four hives that he's kept for the last three years. This stuff, as he maintains, was nothing more than sugar water (un-medicated bee feed) cured in the comb after being "harvested" by the workers directly from the top-feeder, and was so deemed sub-par. What he noticed at the time of the honey extraction (I was there) was that this was much lighter and thinner than what he calls honey. I can't tell whether it's that or the very sought after first spring honey flow, which is just about the only other option other than "unknown floral origin".

I'm sure that those of you who brew your own mead do so because you are very sensitive to the difference that doing anything yourself makes in the quality of the finished product. The DIY advantage somes as no surprise to those of us who have dabbled, and yet I'm completely bowled over! I'm only making this post to encourage anyone who brews mead, drinks mead, gardens, or even reads this community, and has ever had an inclination to keep honeybees, even if it's a simple top bar hive that sits ignored in the corner of your garden for the rest of the year, do it!
Monday, February 15th, 2010
9:23 pm
Fav. Low Gravity Meads
I'm finding, consistently, that low gravity (say, 8-12 lbs per 5 gallons) with limited fruit added are my favorite meads. I make a great faux-rose with real fruit, and light sparkling wine on draft.

I'm looking for other low-(er)-gravity meads and ideas. I have a large base-mead coming together and Id like to bottle in a spectrum of meads. Just now added pomegranate to a mead to make a light sparkler, a new fruit for me to experiment (12 ounces in 2 gallons of 10% or so alcohol mead...) In particular I'd like to explore more herbs and such that are not obvious but subtle, of course B)

Ideas?  What has worked for you?
Thursday, January 21st, 2010
11:57 am
Crazy Beekeepers to Try Hand at Meadmaking

   Hey all. Sorry to bother you with the most basic of mead questions, but I have well, basic mead questions. Namely, I've brewed several batches of beer before and would like to try my hand at mead. There seem to be countless recipes of different combinations of herbs and things out there, I'm a bit overwhelmed. I know shitall about herbs being as I'm not a cook (I can grill a mean hotdog but I doubt that would be very good in mead).

   We're a beekeeping company, and we have a lot of downtime in the winter (since bees mostly hole up till spring), so we typically get up to some projects and shinanigans every winter. So we have and know honey. We presently have mostly orange honey, but could get other varieties through exchanges with other beekeepers.

   I'm the head beekeeper but I have a crazy boss who is a bit seat of the pants about things. He keeps saying he wants to do a "traditional" mead which in his mind is "just honey, water, and yeast," no matter how many times I tell him that from what I've read it's more traditional to include fruits or herbs and more complicated to try to get away with said "show mead." Also he's convinced there's some specialized yeast packet from a company that comes with the required nutrients as well.. something about "cracking it like an egg?" He might be off his rocker I don't know.
   I'm thinking we might do 10 gallons, five in a 5gal carboy and then five smaller batches in one gallon jugs. This will allow us to try six different recipes (and he can try his damn "traditional" recipe) and hopefully ensure that we (probably) can't fuck up all six.

   So yes, comments on any of the above and/or general beginning advice would be appreciated and in particular if you could share one to six of your most foolproof yet good recipes I would be very appreciative!

Sunday, December 13th, 2009
12:05 am
How do you ship your homebrew?
First, a legal note: the USPS rules that make alcohol a pain in the butt to send through the mail have an interesting loophole for homebrewers: only alcohol that is taxable under chapter 51 of the IRS code counts. Brewing for personal or family use and not for sale is exempt from taxation (see section 5053(e) for beer and section 5042 for wine) and thus from this classification as "restricted matter". So, that being said... how do you ship your homebrew?

I recently paid someone to build me some crates out of plywood for about forty dollars each. They look great but aren't quite right -- there's too much headroom for shipping purposes so I had to stuff a washcloth in as padding. I shipped a crate of water (not real homebrew, too risky for a test!) from the east coast to the west via UPS. It cost me almost sixty dollars and took a week but it arrived safe and sound. I haven't yet tried the USPS but I imagine it'll be comparable in cost if not time as well. Anyone else?

Current Mood: good
Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
10:10 pm
After bottling problems *again*
Urgh. I bottled my B batch on the 6th of this month, after it had been stable for ages - and now there are flakes in the bottles and the one bottle I opened had a bit of pressure. Aaaargh!

I'm not 100% sure if I added potassium sorbate to this lot (didn't write it down if I did). This is my most promising batch so far, so I want to be careful with it. What's the best option?

1) open, add PS, close, wait, transfer to new bottles in a week or so
2) open, transfer to new bottles
3) put in fridge, transfer to new bottles later
4) put in fridge for a while, pretend the sediment doesn't bother me
5) something else?
Saturday, November 7th, 2009
11:04 am
Ok so I'm experimenting. I'm trying to make a short mead. Theere is plenty of historical evidence that the wine-style meads were not tradtional and are a modern contrivance.

Furthermore, I'm tired of waiting for it to finish and bottle condition to be drinkable.

I'm using a dried  English Ale Yeast. I was too foolish to keep the package or take note of the brand and strain as I should have. I pitched in a bit of the wort/must in a jar and poured it into my primary. The primary has been covered in my closet for a week with an average temperature of about 75 degrees F.

Today, I sanitized my secondary and tools and got to work racking it. Once I racked it and put the bubbler on it...NO BUBBLES!!!

There is an obvious pressure difference when I put the airlock on but no bubbling at all. When I put my previous "traditonal" meads into the secondary there was a lot of action.

Oh my OG reading was 1.40 today the gravity was 1.83. That isn't much change.

The yeast seems as dead as Michael Jackson. Any idea how to proceed. Oh as a side note the wort/must tastes great but it's still cloyingly sweet which says to me that not enough fermentation has taken place.

Could I repitch and just add it to the secondary as is? I was planning on bottling in beer bottles and carbonating like beer with  priming sugar. Could I have killed the yeast. More information: I sterilized with bleach since I was out of metabisulfate.  1/4 cup per gallon but I did rinse everything before adding the wort to the primary and the secondary.


x-posted to homebrewing.
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
4:32 pm

So, I'm guessing that if the show mead tastes like vinegar at 4 months, it's likely a Bad Batch™...? I was prepped for something Not Quite Mead, but I once I could decypher what was on my tongue, I couldn't spit it out fast enough.

Thankfully, the blueberry melomel tastes like it's coming along quite nicely.

Current Mood: surprised

Sunday, September 20th, 2009
3:12 pm
$1 for 3 lb. clover honey.

Good price?

I bought 5 jars.

Current Mood: curious
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
11:28 pm
Have any of you participated in brewing competitions? Ever considered it?

I found an extensive list of contests nationwide (and some in Australia, it looks like).

In the last couple of months I have entered three meads in two different competitions- one won its category, and one got third. The other didn't place. It seems like the mead categories tend to get many fewer entries than the beers. The entry fees for each contest were $5, and winning was a pretty great feeling.

If you've competed, how did you do? Would you do it again? Is there anything you've learned after entering a competition?

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009
2:51 pm
John Barleycorn brewing contest
Greetings unto all potential contestants for the Barleycorn Brewing Contest! Once again the extremely transient Gratuitous Lily Guild (get it, heehee) offers an evaluation of the efforts of the Kingdom brewers for encouragement in their craft, the betterment of their fame and the entertainment of the populace!

There will be prizes offered for all categories: beer, wine, mead, cordial, non-alcoholic and best of show. Contestants are expected to be over 21 if entering an alcoholic category, as are those judging those categories. You may download the entry form here.

Please do not enter more than three entries total, as largesse is appreciated around the night fires but not in the middle of the day by even the most stalwart of our doughty judges. ;-7 Also in the spirit of fairness, if you or your significant other are judging a category please do not enter anything in that category.

As this is an SCA competition, it is not a blind taste test. Presentation is part of your entry, thus labels, pretty and/or period looking bottles are encouraged. Please try to document your entries. Efforts to remain true to historical accuracy are excellent, but your work does not have to be period so long as it is created for the enjoyment of yourself, the populace, and the art of brewing. If you wish to keep your recipe and process secret, that is fine although you will lose points; but all ingredients MUST be listed so as to prevent allergic reactions among the judges. If your entry does not list all ingredients it will NOT be judged.

I am not, repeat, NOT a judge-level member of the InterKingdom Brewer's Guild, but I am using their form and following their judging guidelines - because they're there. :)

All beer and mead will be classified using the 2004 version of the Beer Judge Certification Program Style Guidelines. You can take a look at them here.

As always, we need judges!!! Please contact me directly if you want to judge. This year we will make a vague attempt to judge categories at specific times, so that people wishing to judge a particular category will be able to schedule their participation around the other Barleycorn activities.

Entries must be received by noon. Tentative judging schedule: 12pm: beer; 1pm: mead; 2pm: wine; 3pm: cordial; 4pm: non-alcoholic and best of show.

Kindly forward to other local SCA lists and blogs as is appropriate.

Best of luck to all,

Aquilina of the Sea Cliffs

Current Mood: busy
Friday, August 28th, 2009
5:39 pm
Ohshi-- fermentation where you don't want it.
Like, in the bottle. Not good!

Unhappy moment today as a loud POP! was heard from the wooden chest where the bottles live, and pink mead started to pour over the floor. One of the bottles of my C batch (blueberry melomel) had spat out its cork and emptied out. Damn! Besides it being a shame to lose 0.75l of what promised to become nice mead, I am now also worried about the rest of the batch. I transferred the other bottles to the fridge to cool down until I know what to do, but that isn't going to work long term.

The batch was completely stable for 2 or 3 weeks, then has Kalium Sorbate added, left for another week, showed no signs of life in any way, and was then bottled. The D batch got the same treatment.

I have no cool space to store the bottles. I live in a shared apartment so there just isn't space. They're at room temp - which is reasonably warm at the moment as it's warm outside. (odd though that it spat now, and not a few days ago when it was way warmer. Good though as I was on holiday and wouldn't have found it until days later)

What do I do? Open them all up? Add more Kalium Sorbate? The cork that got spat was pretty crappy, I wonder if that may have contributed. Anyway, halp!

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009
2:00 pm
A favor?
I've lost contact with my old honey supplier, Noffsinger/Templar Honey in Wisconsin. I'm in Chicago, and will happily drive anywhere within a day-trip radius to buy honey in bulk. Does anyone know of a good supplier? I'm needing clover, orange blossom, and apple blossom if possible. Anything else would be a bonus!

Thanks in advance!
12:15 pm
Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast
I've tried it three times, and I've never had it actually start once pitched. Prior to trying it, I've just used Champagne or Montrachet in an orange-juice and yeast nutrient starter, then pitched once it's bubbly. I'm following the instructions on the package for the Wyeast starter, but each time, even after a week, nothing. I feel bad mixing the yeasts to get it started, but each time this is what I've had to do.

Does anyone have similar tales? Am I doing something wrong? I do a heated must, and use sealed buckets for primary before racking to secondary. Wyeast sweet mead yeast is the only thing I've ever had a problem with.
Sunday, August 9th, 2009
6:03 pm
Port yeast for mead?
It's time to order new yeast, and apart from Doux yeast (which is what I've used so far) my attention was drawn by port yeast. Has anyone used this successfully with mead and what were the results? I love port and I like sweet meads, so was just wondering how port yeast and honey would work out.
Saturday, August 1st, 2009
12:02 pm
Thanks for the assurances, everybody! We Seattlites aren't used to triple-digit weather. The melomel looks happy and healthy.
Thursday, July 30th, 2009
10:54 pm
high-temp fermentation
So... I rather unfortunately started a batch of blackberry melomel the day before the heatwave hit (temperatures inside the house are 85-92 degrees). Other than trying to keep it in a cooler room, any suggestions on how to treat it? It smells fine and is fermenting normally.
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