When we say that the Tipsy Hive was born out of the passion for honey ferments, we weren't kidding! Among many things, I enjoy trying new things and experimenting with recipes.
My first honey ferment was a honey garlic recipe where you clean the garlic- poke holes in it and submerge the cloves in honey for a month or two! But that was the easy part! Co2 is released when fermenting and the jars needed to be “burped” twice a day for the first 8-10 days and then just once a day until the gas didn’t build to the point of exploding! Just my kind of project! I loved it! I then fermented jalapenos - sweet bonnet peppers, lemons and ginger in honey and just this autumn I did a few jars of cranberry honey too!
While delighting in the success of the honey garlic, I caught wind of the word mead. I was intrigued by both the complexity of some recipes and yet the simplicity of the process! I started to ask around at work, what is it? What’s it taste like? How do you make it? I was so excited!! I wanted to develop a plan to present a new business venture to the owner and executives! My enthusiasm for creating and sharing was at it’s peek! Until a co-worker brought in a jar for me to taste….. It was awful! (no offense!) but soooo bad! I’m not one to shy away from a good stiff drink – but I couldn’t choke it down! It was at that moment I had wondered what the heck I was getting myself into! How was I going to share this “new to me mead” with everyone when I couldn’t even drink it myself?! “Here, try this. I can’t drink it, but I think you’ll like it!” Couldn’t do it. With a deep sigh of defeat- and before giving up completely, I wanted to make some myself– see why it’s so “jet fuel” like. If I could figure out the why then I could maybe tweak the recipe into something drinkable.
I was impulsive (and desperate) and started my brew with no equipment! (not recommended, but do-able!) I had 6 lbs of honey in a 5gal pail and a package of yeast. I put the yeast in a mug with hot water (I likely burnt the yeast). I warmed up a pot of water to make it easier to dissolve the honey. I added the water to the pail, mixed and mixed. Added the yeast, mixed again, and then sealed the lid onto the pail. No air lock - no vent… nothing. I was now burping a 5gal pail of honey water twice a day in fear of that exploding too! My morning routine while waiting for the kettle to boil was to go around and burp my jars of garlic and the pail of mead! Evenings on my way home I would say a little prayer that nothing exploded while I was at work! I’ve (knock on wood) only had one jar explode! I had forgotten to burp it one day and when I remembered and went to burp it it started to fizzle! I ran it outside and unfortunately lost half the jar of mead, but I managed to get it outside!
So long story, not so short- my first mead was amazing! Everyone loved it! It was on the drier side of things but quite lovely! Since then I have been adding flavours and making sweeter meads and talking to anyone who'll listen! I love introducing people to mead and I love talking to experienced mead makers and honey fermenters and picking their brains!
Join me on my journey to learn all there is to learn about mead making. I will take you along with me, sharing everything I learn on this blog and our facebook group, The Tipsy Hive. I hope you join us and learn something along the way!
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