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View Full Version : What a splendid surprise!! Accidental 'Katrina' mead!!



Cargirl
09-22-2006, 09:21 PM
Don't know if anyone remembers when I mentioned that I had planned to buy honey for my mead from my daughter's boyfriend's grandfather, a beekeeper in Mississippi who unfortunately lost his skeps and bees and everything he owned when the hurricanes came through this time last year. He's a mature man who, sadly but understandably, decided not to restart the beekeeping.

Last summer before we knew anything about hurricanes coming this way, David (boyfriend) brought me a quart mason jar of this fabulous, dark amber wildflower honey. He told me that he had mentioned to his grandpa that I was going to try my hand at meadmaking and his grandpa had agreed to sell me some larger amounts later on when he had more. He supplied some health food stores and a couple of small grocery stores and didn't have much right then. I was delighted with my quart and stored it safely on top of my microwave. :tard:

Since then, I've been consuming my favorite tupelo honey and frankly, nearly forgot about this wildflower honey. Tonight, we had 'breakfast for supper' and had sausage with waffles. Well, there was no honey in the house but I remembered the wildflower honey. Elder Child opened the mason jar. She took a deep breath of the fragrance of it. She said, "Mom, this smells like my dorm."

Gentles, in the year that this honey has been sitting on top of my microwave sealed in this mason jar (apparently with a high enough moisture level to allow for fermentation!!), I believe I may have inadvertently made my first mead!

Now, I doubt it'll win any awards especially since it still greatly resembles honey, but how can I describe this exquisite substance!?

It has an alcohol smell, but its not bread-like. It is as exquisite and sweet and rich-tasting as anything I've ever put in my mouth, and it doesn't taste like anything I've ever tasted before. (True confession: I've never tasted mead.) It has a slightly tangy taste, but the honey-ness is still quite evident. The original honey struck me as acid-y and strong, but this has no acidness, only that nice gentle tang and that really rich taste.

This quart of honey, after the storms had passed, had become precious to me. The bees were no more, and the beekeeper while safe, had decided not to keep bees anymore. I had made up my mind that I would put it aside and save it for just the right occasion. Then, I forgot it completely. After the storms, David told me that by some quirk of fate, my quart was the last bit of his grandfather's honey left on this earth.

When I took that first mouthful, something changed in me, in my soul. You would've had to have been in this area of the world to truly understand what those hurricanes did to us. Not one of us is the same as we were before. Nothing will ever be the same down here.

My friends, the hurricanes destroyed the bees, but the last quart of honey became mead. By itself.

Being a Christian sort of gal, I'm thanking God for small miracles. :angel11:

I hope its safe to eat! :tongue1:

Leonora
09-22-2006, 09:36 PM
Cargirl,

Wonderful story, thank you for sharing it with us!



I understand about the last of a honey. My story is not quite so tragic, though! Bears came through and took out the bees and hives. The bears scattered the hives over almost an acre. It was quite the carnage.

But the folks are busy getting their winery up and running and decided to not rebuild the bees. Really sad. The other beekeeper in our area is about 100 years old. I worry about him and what will happen when he goes.

The honey is amazing. The bees were kept on a couple of acres of fruit trees, grapes, and herbs in the valley east of us. Deep rich complex, yum. Luckily I have 120 more pounds still to use up! My local brew club dubbed it "bearbreak honey"!

Enjoy,

Leonora

lostnbronx
09-23-2006, 01:29 AM
Sweet stories both! (Get it? Sweet? Cuz they're honey stories? Get it? It's a joke! Get it?)

What great news, Cargirl, to have had a spontaneous fermentation that tastes so good! I'm not a Christian-minded man, but I know a rarity when I hear it.

Congrats!

-David

Cargirl
09-23-2006, 05:25 PM
Sweet stories both! (Get it? Sweet? Cuz they're honey stories? Get it? It's a joke! Get it?)...
-David


Ha! Yep, 'sweet' honey stories they are, lostnbronx. :cheers:

Cargirl
09-23-2006, 05:28 PM
...Luckily I have 120 more pounds still to use up! My local brew club dubbed it "bearbreak honey"!...


Wow--you are lucky. I'd be in heaven if I had that much of this Mississippi honey. :angel5:

What all do you have in process with it right now?

Leonora
09-24-2006, 12:57 AM
...Luckily I have 120 more pounds still to use up! My local brew club dubbed it "bearbreak honey"!...


Wow--you are lucky. I'd be in heaven if I had that much of this Mississippi honey. :angel5:

What all do you have in process with it right now?


Thanks for asking! *grin*

The first 60 lbs went into:

6 gallons of step fermented peach mel White Wine yeast
5 gallons of traditional 1118 yeast? a bunch of numbers
- split into a blend of 1 gallon of peach and 2 gallons of traditional and added plums
- rest of traditional I added 8 lbs of raspberries and some D47 to finish out, had to backsweeten and it's almost ready to bulk age
- rest of the peach I added a bunch of spices and some vanilla bean, still flavoring/tinkering, may have to back sweeten
6 gallons of a chamomile mint methaglin that is bulk aging D47 yeast

Plans for a few of the next 60 lbs:
I have a packet of montrechet that I may start tomorrow as a traditional. I have this idea of toasting aniseseed and trying that as a flavor. Should make a nice digestive in any case.

Going to do something with the KV1 yeast as well. Not sure what. Something to boost the immune system - various roots and such. Still mulling (get it, mulling....)

What's in your carboys?! *grin*

Leonora

Cargirl
09-24-2006, 01:52 AM
...I have this idea of toasting aniseseed and trying that as a flavor. Should make a nice digestive in any case.
...
What's in your carboys?! *grin*

Leonora



Ha! Are you kidding?? I've cooked up enough yeast in bread to cover my great state of Alabama, but I've got one nice gallon of JAO about halfway finished and that's my whole meadmaking history. Except for the accidental Katrina mead quart. :blob9:

That digestive sounds divine, BTW. I'd love to make a good hypocras with aniseseed one of these days. :toothy10: