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View Full Version : What inspired you to start brewing?



LittleMissDanii
04-20-2012, 12:10 AM
I have no clue if anyone has ever asked that before, but I'm curious as to what inspired you to start making mead. It would be really awesome if there was a little story behind it :p

Personally, I remember playing Skyrim (RPG for Xbox/PS3/PC for those who don't know), and I was doing a quest in the game where I had to frame this guy who owned a meadery by poisoning the mead he was going to be serving to a Commanding Officer. Since mead is EVERYWHERE in this game, I got curious and looked it up, and when I saw that it was made from honey, I began researching how to make it. I found out that it wasn't too difficult to do and quite rewarding in the end. After a few hours of researching, I decided that I wanted to start a new little hobby for myself by making mead. I'm usually the type of person who gets excited about something they really want to do, and then forgets about it the next day, but I actually stuck to this hobby, and found it to be really enjoyable! I can see myself doing this for nearly the rest of my life.

So everybody, what inspired you to make mead?

Chevette Girl
04-20-2012, 12:26 AM
Mead? Having tasted some homebrewed meads from a guy I used to know at a yearly pagan festival, and Moniack mead, I knew I liked it and wanted to make some if I could ever figure out how.

But I got my start in winemaking one year when I wanted to make something other than wild grape jelly with the year's bumper crop of wild grapes, so I carefully cold-juiced a load of them to preserve the natural yeast with the intention of giving it to my uncle who had been making wine for a while. He wasn't interested because it turned out, he'd never done anything that didn't come from a kit, so I decided to ferment it myself. I didn't add nearly enough sugar for the yeast to eat, tried to backsweeten without stabilizing, stained the kitchen ceiling when the removable cork popped a few days later... A friend at the time heard about my adventures and I guess some of her SCA friends suggested a book (Terry Garey's Joy of Home Winemaking) which she gave me for my birthday, and that was my bible pretty much till I found this place. I still refer to it for fruit proportions and their expected acidity/tannin levels. Eventually I bought myself a winemaking starter kit and a Raspberry Merlot kit to go with it (I was most disappointed to find out it had never actually seen a real raspberry but it did still taste pretty good), figured out how to do all the basics, then read up and corrected that first wild grape attempt and made something quite drinkable, and with the rest of the hot-juiced leftover concentrate I'd frozen after I made my batch of jelly, I made some pretty good wild grape wine. Haven't really looked back :)

And ever since, I've been looking at life in terms of, "Can I ferment that?" (only occasionally also considering, "SHOULD I ferment that?")

Echostatic
04-20-2012, 01:00 AM
I was at a bar with some friends when I noticed "mead" on the menu. It sounded interesting so I googled it (Redstone brand. Didn't buy any, it was out of my price range!) It sounded more interesting after googling, somehow I came across the JAO recipe on another forum's megathread and read every page. (And then read every page on THIS forum.) Then, I got what I needed and made a batch. Now our bar is full of mead carboys, and a carboy or two of wine occasionally.

HunnyBunz
04-20-2012, 04:40 AM
I have always been interested in the middle ages and mead plays a prominent role in ancient times. I really love good beer of all kinds, and had thought about getting into home brewing several years ago. But, I figured that with so many different beers readily available, why spend all the time, money, effort, etc. to make beer when I could just go and buy whatever kind I wanted.

Mead, however is not so readily available. I tasted my first mead at a renaissance faire a few years ago and I thought it just tasted like a semi-sweet wine. I just felt that real, authentic mead had to be different.
Then, last year my son bought a Star Trek cook book which had a mead recipe in it. That got me to thinking about making my own, and I started searching the internet for ideas. I found a variation of the JAO recipe and went for it. Then I discovered Gotmead and the rest is history - (modern, not ancient!)

New2mead
04-20-2012, 07:47 AM
For me, mead making is a fun hobby that has endless variations. I am not a big drinker, have avoided intoxication so far in my life, but have brewed several batches of mead that potentially could be used as cleaning solvent, but that tastes so much better! (est. abv 14%). The ability to add wild ingredients and still have it come out tasting great is a big draw for me. I also brew beer which also has similar variations.

Mead making requires patience, something I find I lack sometimes. Waiting months, sometimes years for a mead to condition properly is something I didn't think I'd be able to do. Yet somehow, for the most part, I've been able to do it. Experimenting with the yeast and sugar content is also very interesting, adjusting levels of this or that, like a mad scientist!

Mad scientist... Yeah, I like that.

Bob J
04-20-2012, 07:52 AM
I was attracted to the craft aspect of brewing...... Had made wine and beer for years and so had all the equipment so thought this would be a great way to expand my ability to experiment with a new range of tastes and experiences.... For me nothing beats having a party with my friends and bringing out something completely new and different..... Simply awesome!

fivecats
04-20-2012, 09:59 PM
Twenty-five years ago my ex's boss showed me how easy it was to make homebrew. I was floored. Good beer that easy? Seriously? I was hooked.

At a RenFest a few years ago my wife tried some of the mead they were serving and really liked it. So I decided to dust off the homebrew supplies and get busy again.

I made one batch last year, treating it as if it were beer (with the exception of boiling the must) and, much later, found this site as I was preparing my second mead.

skunkboy
04-20-2012, 10:04 PM
A couple of friends in the SCA new I was interested in mead, and practically forced me to participate when they made a couple of batches. After that I just kinda kept playing around and reading.

fivecats
04-20-2012, 10:09 PM
A couple of friends in the SCA new I was interested in mead, and practically forced me to participate when they made a couple of batches. After that I just kinda kept playing around and reading.

You mean my signature line is from someone whose cop-out answer to "Why do you brew mead?" comes down to "Peer pressure"?!

:eek:

skunkboy
04-20-2012, 10:21 PM
You mean my signature line is from someone whose cop-out answer to "Why do you brew mead?" comes down to "Peer pressure"?!

:eek:

Would you prefer beer pressure? hehe

So, its a cop out. I'm lazy, and that's a good thing with mead.

Chevette Girl
04-21-2012, 12:55 AM
So, its a cop out. I'm lazy, and that's a good thing with mead.

Aah, aah, around here we call it "benign neglect". ;D

LittleMissDanii
04-21-2012, 02:00 AM
To be quite honest, I've never tasted mead. Which probably sounds crazy to some, and I actually wanted to buy some to taste before my first batch was finished. My boyfriend convinced me otherwise, saying that it would ruin the surprise. I have no doubt that I won't like it since I love many different drinks. I've only been interested in mead making since the beginning of this year, but I've taken it quite seriously(well, not too seriously, I still have fun with the process). ;D

Andyox
04-21-2012, 07:08 AM
Hi,

I tried a bottle of Mead last year when we took the kids to Warwick Castle, quite liked it....thought no more of it.

Back then I was just stopping the hellish Oxford - London commute and happened to mention I was bailing from my city job to an acquaintance that I tended to sit next to (on the 1 day a year you can get a seat on a train to London at 7am !!!) and I really wanted to go back to my country life upbringing - ditch the city, grow some of my own food etc , and he said he was planning a similar thing, and had just started beekeeping...I mentioned my mead experience from the Castle and thought - hey, cheap honey...hmm mead how's that made - no previous brewing anything, check out my newbie questions *g*

I then googled, as one does and found gotmead, asked questions and now I have 8 gallons of mead bubbling / aging - a 2 month old JAO - my joint first mead -that is still bubbling once every few seconds (fruit nowhere near dropping I think, :)), a few traditional and a volcanic mad cherry of which I'll post questions about this weekend I think.

Alas, his bees all perished over Christmas due to the temperature and I believe a few rats or something, so I'm currently honey experimenting with supermarket stuff (waitrose/gails/rowes).

But on the plus, I 'gotmead' now - the brew and also the strange drawing power of brewing it :) - who needs tv when you can watch dive bombing raisins and the plop plop of bubbles in demijohns :)

I blame Warwick Castle :)

Andy

TheAlchemist
04-21-2012, 09:36 AM
Darkness Visible with Simon did it for me.<shrug>

skunkboy
04-21-2012, 11:43 AM
Darkness Visible with Simon did it for me.<shrug>

Interesting, I'd never heard of this... This stuff, yes? http://www.shamanicstudies.net/studien/artikel.asp?id=68&typ=Thema

caffeine211
04-21-2012, 02:44 PM
About a year and half ago me and my friends got pretty drunk and one of them asked me if I wanted to make mead... showed me this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mClSA1LZPIs) video. It sounded like a good idea at the time. I did some research and then we started our first batch about a month later. 6 gallons of disaster... then it turned into a problem solving situation. More and more research. Then more and more recipe creations.

Now I've got a 20 gal oak barrel and carboys everywhere...

Julian
04-21-2012, 06:51 PM
Several years ago (okay10+) a buddy of mine handed me a glass and said tried this, I made it last night, its called mead. (he fancied himself a viking type). His idea of "brewing mead" was adding everclear to honey with some spices....needless to say I wasn't impressed.

Years later I join the SCA and everyone is raving about some of our local mead makers so I thinks to my self that it CAN'T be the swill that my buddy gave me so when they held a class I tried it out.

The instructer, Bran (who I owe many thanks), gave us a sample of a Cyser, Melomel and Methaglin. The cyser was my favorite and I was hooked! The complex finish, the smoothness OMG I have gotta start making this.

I've been a cook for 20 years on and off and once I understood the variety of meads that can be created with the proper imagination, it was a natural fit.

Sprigg
04-21-2012, 06:59 PM
I took a British literature class in high school seven years ago, and while studying Beowulf, our teacher made a very big deal about how much she loved mead... I thought it sounded awesome, but eventually forgot. Then I got skyrim, and was reminded of the existence of this wonderful nectar of the gods, and now I'm hooked!

TheAlchemist
04-21-2012, 11:47 PM
Interesting, I'd never heard of this... This stuff, yes? http://www.shamanicstudies.net/studien/artikel.asp?id=68&typ=Thema

Yep. That's the ticket. Sacred Trust.

fivecats
04-22-2012, 12:08 AM
The instructer, Bran (who I owe many thanks), gave us a sample of a Cyser, Melomel and Methaglin. The cyser was my favorite and I was hooked!

Back in my day, he would have been referred to as a "pusher." :D

Glad to see you here among the collective Hive Mind. Any and all experiences and suggestions are welcome and needed!

LittleMissDanii
04-22-2012, 12:25 AM
I took a British literature class in high school seven years ago, and while studying Beowulf, our teacher made a very big deal about how much she loved mead... I thought it sounded awesome, but eventually forgot. Then I got skyrim, and was reminded of the existence of this wonderful nectar of the gods, and now I'm hooked!

Haha I had a feeling I wasn't the only person who got inspired by Skyrim. Of course mead is in Oblivion too, but I never thought about what mead really was until I decided to look it up that wonderful evening, and now I have an amazing new hobby!!

And people say video games are bad for you...;D

Wijnand
04-22-2012, 09:04 AM
The wedding of my best friend about a month ago reminded me how much I liked mead. Surprisingly enough my wife loved it too, while she normally doesn't like wine. I have always loved cooking and I've been meaning to start home-brewing for about the past year.
After finding the JAO recipe, I ordered some first equipment this weekend and can't wait for it to arrive and get started! :)

Wijnand
04-22-2012, 10:29 AM
The reason why my buddy's wedding reminded me I liked mead, is because they served mead instead of champagne. :)

PS/Offtopic: I can't seem to find the edit button for my posts...


The wedding of my best friend about a month ago reminded me how much I liked mead. Surprisingly enough my wife loved it too, while she normally doesn't like wine. I have always loved cooking and I've been meaning to start home-brewing for about the past year.
After finding the JAO recipe, I ordered some first equipment this weekend and can't wait for it to arrive and get started! :)

TAKeyser
04-22-2012, 12:29 PM
PS/Offtopic: I can't seem to find the edit button for my posts...

It disappears after an hour (or half hour), it is right next to the reply and quote buttons when you can still edit.

LittleMissDanii
04-22-2012, 01:14 PM
The wedding of my best friend about a month ago reminded me how much I liked mead. Surprisingly enough my wife loved it too, while she normally doesn't like wine. I have always loved cooking and I've been meaning to start home-brewing for about the past year.
After finding the JAO recipe, I ordered some first equipment this weekend and can't wait for it to arrive and get started! :)

Nice avatar pic! I just got that book in the mail, it shall be my mead bible and probably yours too;D
Good luck with you're first batch! Hope it goes well for you!!

Wijnand
04-22-2012, 03:33 PM
Nice avatar pic! I just got that book in the mail, it shall be my mead bible and probably yours too;D
Good luck with you're first batch! Hope it goes well for you!!

Thanks and good luck with your 1st batch too! :)

I'm about 1/3 through reading the book and I must say it is a very good read. It's starts out with a global overview and then breaks things down and provides some more in-depth theory. It also contains a couple of interesting recipes and a big list of ingredients and their properties.

Btw, Skyrim looks like a fun game to play, it's on my "want-to-play/buy-this-game" list, but first I need to find some time, I still have SSX, Dirt3 and Forza4 on xBox to finish and soon Diablo III on PC. :p

@TAKeyser: Found it! :) Weird that the edit button disappears after a while, but I guess there must be a reason for it.

Soyala_Amaya
04-22-2012, 10:06 PM
@TAKeyser: Found it! :) Weird that the edit button disappears after a while, but I guess there must be a reason for it.

It's too keep people going back and editing recipes or posts months later and no one noticing. It's better to keep a running log for ease of understanding.

JLindsey
04-23-2012, 12:12 AM
The still in "the Swamp" on MASH.
Even as a kid I some how found it fascinating that you could make your own booze.
Fast forward at least a couple of decades and I read a book called "101 things everyone could do back in the day" (or some such)...
It had an entry on making mead, the very old school way. Throw honey and water in a bucket, throw some cheese cloth over it and forget about for a few weeks.
My interest piqued once again, I did some Internet research and came across this wonderful site. There was no looking back. Now I have a regular supply of my own beer and mead and try to avoid spending too much $ on commercial products.

Oh, and I like to drink...;D

LittleMissDanii
04-23-2012, 01:24 AM
Thanks and good luck with your 1st batch too! :)

I'm about 1/3 through reading the book and I must say it is a very good read. It's starts out with a global overview and then breaks things down and provides some more in-depth theory. It also contains a couple of interesting recipes and a big list of ingredients and their properties.

Btw, Skyrim looks like a fun game to play, it's on my "want-to-play/buy-this-game" list, but first I need to find some time, I still have SSX, Dirt3 and Forza4 on xBox to finish and soon Diablo III on PC. :p

@TAKeyser: Found it! :) Weird that the edit button disappears after a while, but I guess there must be a reason for it.


I have yet to start reading the book because I'm so busy with college. Teachers just love to cram everything in during the last few weeks of the semester. And as for Skyrim, if you can play it on PC, I would definitely recommend it! That is, as long as your computer is capable of handling it. My boyfriend's computer can play the game on Max settings and let me tell you, the graphics look amazing!!!!!! I've played it through a few times on Xbox and it really is a lot of fun, but definitely play when you have LOADS of time to spare since it kind of takes up half of your life!! ;D

Wijnand
04-23-2012, 04:08 AM
I've played it through a few times on Xbox and it really is a lot of fun, but definitely play when you have LOADS of time to spare since it kind of takes up half of your life!! ;D

All good games take up at least half your life! :P

@Soyala_Amaya: Ah, Iguess that makes sense, sort of. I think it would be much easier to find the correct recipe at the top of the thread than to have to dig through a couple of pages. Anyway, I'm not here to discuss forum setting. ;)

TheAlchemist
04-23-2012, 11:44 AM
The still in "the Swamp" on MASH.
Even as a kid I some how found it fascinating that you could make your own booze.
Fast forward at least a couple of decades and I read a book called "101 things everyone could do back in the day" (or some such)...
...;D

Love this. MASH was great. Do you have a link for the 101 Things?

JLindsey
04-23-2012, 03:19 PM
Alchemist,
It is a book. It's actually called "Back in the Day:101 Things everyone used to know how to do.". By Michael Powell

Chevette Girl
04-23-2012, 04:16 PM
Alchemist,
It is a book. It's actually called "Back in the Day:101 Things everyone used to know how to do.". By Michael Powell

I think one of my more hippie friends has a quote from Michael Powell as his tagline, "Never eat anything you've seen advertised on TV" or something. And boy oh boy could we go off-topic on things nobody knows how to do anymore... but we don't use horses as our main travel anymore, so being able to drive or ride a horse has now been replaced with automobiles... And I may still know how to care for, train, handle and be transported by a horse, I know plenty of people who don't understand why their car might need an oil change. And there are so many things that are easier to buy than to make, the amount of work that goes into making a box of chocolate truffles or a batch of cookies is crazy when you consider you can just buy it for a couple bucks. The reason some of us still make things for ourselves is because we would rather spend the time than the money, and the reason others of us do it is because you just can't get what we want the way we want it. Chocolates and cookies with no chemical additive ingredients that can be altered for specific tastes or for dietary restrictions (try finding chocolates without soy lecithin if you're allergic to soy, for example, and finding gluten-free cookies with no milk or eggs? Good luck)... or fruit wines made with local produce... or meads.

Until the last couple of years, I had only ever seen two types of commercial mead, one was Moniack and the other was a bottle of some Honey Wine someone gave me after I'd learned what it was but before I got into making it myself, and I got into winemaking because I wanted to do something with all these awesome fruits that grow around here, and also make stuff I liked to drink and grapes just don't do it for me... and there's only one fruit winery I know of, out of the hundreds of grape wineries in this province.