The Blueberry Mead I did last year was really yummy, and blueberries are abundant here. So of course I wanted to do another one this year. As it happened, the Auburn Mead Workshop coincided with blueberry season. This year I found a quart of wild blueberries at my local farm stand, at a very reasonable price. So of course I used them.
I wanted to use chaga again, since chaga works so well with berry meads. I did a 2 gallon chaga decoction, and then when I turned off the heat I added a sumac drupe and several handfuls of nettle leaf. I let these ingredients infuse for about an hour, strained the tea, and let it cool down overnight.
I took the tea to the workshop, brought up to about a 19% alcohol potential using my all-time favorite honey, Tony’s Raspberry Honey. I pitched the yeast, and before long I had a yummy carboy full of a deeply colored must:
Looking forward to this one again….. all the berry meads from last year were fantastic.
10 Sept 2011: I just racked this mead, and it clocks in at 4% alcohol potential. This means it’s a sweet melomel with 15% alcohol. Taste is good…. it’s still young of course so aging will benefit it greatly, but it’s already quite drinkable. Nice color too, will be even better when it settles out!
I’m happy to announce that I’ll be offering a Lore And Craft Of Mead Workshop in Auburn, ME on Tuesday, July 26th at 6pm. The workshop will include a small mead tasting of a few brews I’ve done, a talk about the lore and value of mead, and a demonstration of how to make your first batch of mead. Registration for the class is $30, and includes a copy of The Lore And Craft Of Mead eBook.
If there are any questions, or specific requests for what the class should cover, please contact us! I’m very much looking forward to sharing the magic of mead with Lewiston/Auburn people! Space is limited, so register now!
The Mead Workshop in Manchester, NH was a smashing success! Thanks again to our host, KO Bisson, and to Michael Fairbrother from Moonlight Meadery for supporting the event. The evening had a fantastic vibe to it, and there are several new meadmakers in the world.
As part of the event, I demonstrated how to make a batch of mead. Strawberries are in season now, and last year’s Strawberry Mead was fantastic, so I wanted to do another batch. I followed basically the same recipe as last year, with the following modifications:
I made a more complex tea. I started with a chaga decoction as I did last year, but when I removed the heat I then infused a sumac drupe (rather than the lemons) and 2 handfuls of strawberry leaves. I let the drupe and the leaves sit for an hour, removed them, and then let the tea cool down before straining to remove any last little bits. Strawberry leaf tea is one of my wife’s favorites, she harvests the leaves out of our yard. Plain strawberry tea definitely tastes like strawberries, so this should add another layer of flavor.
I added enough honey to get to an 18% alcohol potential. I wasn’t doing hydrometer readings much at this point last year.
Also, I remember last year was much hotter than this year, and the initial blast of fermentation built up pressure and this batch exploded all over! Quite a mess to clean up in the morning.
This year’s batch also survived a 2 hour car trip home after the workshop. If anything this will only help oxidize the must more, which in the early stage of fermentation is a good thing.
Now, 2 days afterward, it’s bubbling away nicely:
If it’s anything like last year’s, this will be incredibly refreshing later in the summer as we move into fall.
UPDATE: 15 August
I racked this mead tonight. It was already starting to clear, so I actually jumped it ahead of the Spruce Tip Mead, which is still quite cloudy (I expected this…. last year’s Spruce Mead is still cloudy). It tastes delightful! Not as sweet as last years, with 3% remaining alcohol potential. The ABV therefore is 15%. This is already quite good, and should get even better!
The color isn’t as vibrant as last year’s Strawberry Mead…. this could be because of the strawberries, or perhaps I didn’t use as many strawberries this year as I did last year.