Need for Mead

It might be because its winter.  It might be because its Krampus time.  All I’m certain of is I have this craving/desire/need for mead.

Meads have a large range of styles.  There are wine styles and beer styles.  They can be sweet or dry.  Or anywhere in between any of these.  But the two things that mead requires is water and honey.  Lots of honey.

One of my friends had made a mead several months back.  He “accidentally” left it in the fermenter for about 2 months (we still aren’t exactly sure).  Come to find out, it is possible to brew a liquor style mead.  It didn’t really have the ABV to be considered a liquor, but it most certainly had the bite and the alcohol effects of a good liquor.

My loving brother has graciously supplied Alex and I with a very large container of honey.  Enough to make a few gallons of mead.  Unfortunately its been sitting there because I am lazy Alex and I differ on what we want our mead to be.

Alex really likes the mead from Cumberland Brews.  I prefer my mead to be a little sweeter and preferably with some flavor.  I would love to experiment with things like a ginger mead or even an orange mead, since I think oranges and honey are amazing together.  My only concern is that I’ll screw something up and it won’t turn out well and then I would have wasted all of that beautiful honey.  Obviously I’m just scared.

I’m planning on getting my butt in gear and brewing the mead anyway.  I have some time off work coming up due to the holidays so I should have some time in there for a brew day.  Anyone have a recipe?

Slacking

I’ve been slacking recently.

Alex and I have had 2 distinct brew days and I haven’t written a post about either one. I apologize for this. Both brews are happily in their fermenters. The Bagheera Chocolate Coffee Porter is in the secondary, while the Gumballhead clone (not named yet) is happily bubbling away in the primary.

I promise to post the recipes on their respective bottling days.  I think the wedding planning is just getting the best of me right now. We are in the home stretch and it seems to be taking more time than I thought it would.

Either way, here’s some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

 

Steeping the specialty grains
Steeping the specialty grains
Brother's shoulder & Fiance's hands
Brother’s shoulder & Fiance’s hands
ALL THE HOPS
ALL THE HOPS

Our Brews (so far)

Alex and I started home brewing as a way to have a hobby we could do together. It was also a nice way to experiment with styles of beer we like. I believe there is a definite theme in the brews we make.

Nada, my Rott mix.
My sweet girl

Our first beer was a black IPA. We ended up naming it Nada Black IPA, after my dog Nada, a rottweiler mix. I think the brew suited her personality as much as it did her coat color. It was very rich, mellow, and smooth. The hoppiness was apparent but didn’t wave it in your face. Even some of my non-IPA-liking friends enjoyed this beer. I think when we make this one again I’d like to play with the hop profile.

Ozzie, our very handsome fat cat
He’s double the trouble.

Ozzie’s Double IPA, named for Alex’s late cat Oswalt, is my favorite beer we’ve made so far. It was crisp and full of flavor. I love how the hops stand out so you can hear them sing… and yes hops sing. If it wasn’t for the fact that its over 8% abv I could drink it all night.

The next of our IPA series is the Duke’s Somethings A-RYE IPA. Before you ask, Duke is a fictional dog from the board game Arkham Horror. I had fallen in love with rye beers and wanted to try one for my own. This beer definitely satisfies my rye cravings. I loved brewing this beer, the whole house smelled of rye for a couple days. It ended up a bit over carbonated and the hop profile wasn’t as sharp as I wanted it. This brew is going to be repeated at some point in the future.

If you haven’t noticed the pattern yet, we love our animals. We also love IPAs. But as it stood we only had the two pets to name the beers after. So we had to start getting creative with the naming.

My brother (kinda) commissioned us to make a beer for him. Him and I went through his preferred types of brews and we decided that an Alt beer would be appropriate. I don’t want to say it was a complete disaster, but I felt embarrassed giving this beer to anyone. After the bottle conditioning period it was still too sweet, under-carbonated, the color too dark and the mouthfeel too heavy. I’m lucky I have an understanding brother that’s pretty much willing to drink any beer under the sun. Needless to say Alex and I deemed it appropriate to re-do that beer almost immediately. The grain bill got an overhaul to lighten it up and the yeast got special treatment.

The 2nd Alt beer is one of the beers that we decided to give as part of our wedding favors, we named it Standing at the Alt-Beer.  Of course I like to give people choices so Alex and I agreed that besides an Alt people would be able to palate a Belgian style beer.  Our Something Blue Belgian was born.  We were only able to taste a few of them, needing the majority for the wedding, but the ones we were able to taste were very worthy to be given as gifts.  I am very excited that my friends and family will be able to try our creations and I hope they enjoy them as much as we do.

Yummy, almost full glass of Duke's somethings a-rye ipa
Cheers