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Mead-Making with Aubrey Yarbrough

Posted by Hannah Safford on May 17, 2011 at 1:13 PM

This is a belated post that I should have gotten to a month ago when we actually made the mead (anagram, btw...), but I'm getting to it now that we have an update on how our mead is progressing.

We had a great turn-out for our mead-making event: some 20 people showed up to the 2-Dickinson co-op to hear local farmer, brewer, and BEE team friend Aubrey Yarbrough talk about mead-making and brewing in general.

For those of you who don't know, mead is wine made from honey rather than grape juice. Aubrey taught us that basically, you can make alcohol from anything--all you have to do is heat it up, mix it with some water, add yeast and a starter nutrient (often a heat-killed solution of other yeast), and then let it sit as the yeast first grow on the starter nutrient, then digest the sugar molecules in your base into alcohol. The product of this process is also responsible for the carbonation in beer--brewers often add a little extra yeast at the very end of the fermentation process to make sure the final product is fully carbonated.

After a month, our mead has finally stopped fermenting. Aubrey strained out the spent yeast cells and transferred the mead from the primary fermentation vessel to a secondary container. She took a taste along the way and reported that the mead was:

"Sharp and a little acidic, but the lingering aftertaste was smooth honey!"

We'll be bottling in the fall. Go to our photos page for pictures of the mead-making that are up now, and keep checking back for pictures of the mead as it looks now and once we bottle in the fall!

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11:19 PM on July 14, 2011 
That mead will take at least a year before it's drinkable. It may well take 3-4 years until it peaks.