Transforming the Mundane into the Sublime – Part Two – The Fermentation

**Warning** It is illegal for persons under the age of 21 to make/possess alcohol in the United States and laws are different in other countries so: This is being posted for informational purposes only. If it is illegal for you to make or possess alcohol wherever you are, don't do it! I will not be held responsible for your lack of judgment. **Warning**

OK...you've had ample time to purchase your equipment and ingredients. Now onto the meat of the subject.

First, you will need to wash your hands in warm soapy water and rinse them very well.

Second, you'll need to sanitize all of the equipment we will be using today which will be:
One Gallon Glass Jug and Cap
Stopper and Water Airlock
Plastic Funnel
Wooden or Plastic Spoon
1 Quart Measuring Cup (Glass Preferred)
2 Quart Mixing Bowl
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife

Third, you will need to mark your 1 gallon jug in ¼ of gallon increments. You can use a black sharpie to mark the levels, but be careful, it will wash off with soap and water.

Fourth, you will need to wash your hands in warm soapy water and rinse them very well. (are you starting to see a pattern yet?)

Fifth, gather your ingredients as your equipment air dries. You will need:
3 ½ lbs Clover Honey
1 Large or 2 Small Oranges
25 Raisins
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Whole Clove
Ground Nutmeg
Ground Allspice
1 package Fleishmann's Bread Yeast (regular, not rapid rise unless you like honey volcanoes and sticky ceilings!)
1 Gallon Spring Water (I use water from my well, but if you are on city water, I recommend you get the bottled spring water, it has less undesirable stuff in it)

Sixth, you will need to wash your hands in warm soapy water and rinse them very well. (yes, again)

Seventh, into the jug, place the raisins, cinnamon stick, clove, and a pinch each of nutmeg and all spice. Cut the oranges into 8 or 10 sections and force them into the jug.

Eighth, wipe any OJ off of the jug and yet again, wash your hands in warm soapy water and rinse them very well.

Ninth, heat up 1 quart of the spring water in your microwave (about 1 minute) and pour it into the 2 quart mixing bowl. Pour at least ½ of the honey into the mixing bowl and stir until it dissolves. Pour the honey water into the jug, using the plastic funnel. Repeat again with the second half of the honey and another quart of water. Add cool water until you have filled the jug to within 4 inches of the top, no closer or you will have a mess on your hands later. Put a cap on the jug and wait until it cools to room temperature.

Finally, now that the liquid has cooled, with the cap still on, shake the jug non-stop for about 30 seconds to aerate the contents. Remove the cap from the jug and replace it, then shake it again nonstop for about 30 seconds. Remove the cap from the jug. Tear open the yeast packet and dump the contents into the jug. Give the jug a gentle swirl. Put the stopper and airlock (make sure you fill the airlock to the like with either water or vodka) on the jug and put it into a warm dark place in your kitchen. I cover mine with a large manila shipping envelope to keep out the light and put it on top of my refrigerator. Check on it every few days and in about 2 weeks and if the major foaming has stopped, top off the jug to within 1 inch of the stopper with the remaining spring water.

Now comes the hard part, waiting for the fermentation to complete. While you are waiting for that to finish (about 2 months), gather up 5 empty wine bottles (standard 750 ml size, you will also need corks and a hand corker) or eight 500 ml grolsch style bottles (I like these better for this drink, just my preference though).  You will also need a racking cane (I linked to my favorite one for small jugs, they make a larger version for 3 and 6 gallon fermentors) and tubing (also available at Maryland Homebrew, just call them and ask what size you should use).

Also, don't forget to check on the mead a couple times a week as it ferments to make sure you still see bubbles escaping the airlock and to keep the airlock filled to the proper level with water or vodka.

Next installment of this topic, we will talk about the bottling of this delicious nectar. Until then, keep safe and warm, and above all, enjoy life as much as you can.



Unexpected Change of Plans

Well, life threw me a curve last week through this week. The snow arrived early and I had to take my youngest son to the dentist to have two teeth pulled, so needless to say, no hike on that day. That was OK, I figured I'd just push the hike off until the weekend. No joy their either. My middle son came home last Wednesday with a fever and a cough, he was stuck out of school for two days, then we all caught it. By Saturday, my youngest son was in the throws of this horrible virus.

On Monday, my oldest son was out with it. Thank the gods that school was closed due to snow. School was two hours late on Tuesday and they all went, except for my youngest son, who was still having trouble getting rid of the fevers and now my daughter was showing signs of the nasty cough and runny nose as were my wife and I.

On Wednesday, school was closed again due to snow and that is when my daughter, my wife, and myself hit the bad part of this infection. My daughter couldn't keep any food down (to this point, she has only had a mild fever, if any at all) which is not good for a 10 month old, so we made a doctors appointment for her. I took her to the doctor and of course, there is nothing they can do or prescribe for her has she is so young. Just giver her pedialite a little at a time until she can keep that down and then start slowly with formula again. Nice...and what a good use of my $15.00 co-pay. They couldn't have just told me that on the phone!? I do as the doctor says and by Wednesday evening, my daughter is finally keeping food down again and we put her to bed.

The next day she is feeling even better, eating her “puffs” and drinking formula. At about three in the afternoon, I lay her down for a nap because she is just tired an fussy. At eight that night, I go in to get her up because she did not wake up for dinner. She is burning up! My wife takes her temperature, and it it over 104 degrees Fahrenheit! We give her some acetaminophen and a bottle of cold pedialite to try and bring down the fever. After two hours, there is no change, do I take her out of her nightgown and let her lay on me in just her diaper. After another hour, her fever is gone and she is feeling better. Needless to say, with all of us still recovering from this bug, no hiking or picture taking this weekend either, not even with the warmer temps. Hopefully, I can reschedule this for another weekend in the near future.

Well, that's all for now. Keep safe and warm until next time, and above all, enjoy life and your health as much as you can.