View Full Version : A Mead Tale

10-02-2004, 11:11 PM
I once knew a man who lived in a small house who started one batch of mead each day. It wasn't long before this man had so many batches and bottles of mead accumulated that he had to start moving out furniture to make more room. As the years past and his obsession with his mead moved into the closets and kitchen and childrens rooms, life became unbearable for his wife. As a result, she divorced him and moved out with the children. Saddened but not discouraged he continued his pursuit.

His bad fortunate turned out to be his gain. His wife leaving gave the man even more room and his mead making continued to prosper and fill every available space of the house. When finally, there was room for no more, he decided it was necessary to drink some of what he had made to make more space. This continued for some time. One day the man awoke from a hangover he had from his now regular habit of trying to drink enough mead to make room for his new daily addition. He awoke to a major revelation. Drinking the mead as fast as he was making it was just not physically possible for him to continue. That day he went out and immediately purchased a larger house.

Years later while talking with the man and hearing of his losing his wife and children and continued problems with space and having to purchase larger and bigger houses, I asked why he didn't just stop making more. After all, he had enough to drink to last for more than a lifetime.

He looked me straight in the eye as if he had pondered this solution in the past and arose with a wisdom far transcending such a simple perception and responded simply, "Life is too short not to make Mead"

Enjoy your hobby,

10-03-2004, 01:31 AM

I am insulted. Why in the world are you making fun of me like that? *huge grin*

I need to tell my mead story, a true one by the way, for the amusement of those already trapped in the addiction of our hobby and as a warning to others of what to expect when you too become addicted to the fine art of mead-making...

I went to Pennsic a little over a year ago and was adopted into a camp named De Londres. While not intending to insult anyone here, the two Barons of House De Londres are 2 of the top mead-makers in the world, if not the two finest. But I was ruined because House De Londres had three or four types of mead ON TAP for the entire week of War (Pennsic War). The 8 year old, aged on oak, Lingonberry mead I had that day was the best alcoholic beverage I had ever had (including all of the French wines, the mixed rum drinks, the cordials, etc.). So I leave War and return to Iowa, while the rest of De Londres returns to New York. No chance to brew (or drink) with them until next Pennsic because of the distances... *sigh*

A month later, I begin attending the local SCA meetings here, begin meeting new people, and begin discussing my interests in mead. Eventually, I am at a house in a nearby community, sewing garb to wear to an event, being aided by the lady of the house. The man of the house emerges from downstairs and asks me if I'd like to see his mead-making set-up. Well, do ducks like to swim? Will it get me away from this sewing machine? ;D

I descended the stairs into his basement and my jaw hit the floor. In front of me were 3 plastic primaries with happily bubbling traps. I turned the corner and began counting carboys. I believe there were 23 or 24 more setting filled on tables around the room. Boxes of bottles and corks and a corker and a press chemicals and racking canes and you name it... The ENTIRE basement was dedicated to mead-making except for the washing machine, drier, and a shower stall with a detachable shower head that also served as a sanitizing facility....

This couple fits the story of the man in your tale since they have honey in shelves in the bedroom closet. The basement is full of fermenters and carboys. And finally they are building a new, bigger home with a big basement and an additional "wine cellar" to facilitate his hobby.

Finally, this is not a condemnation of the person. I am rapidly following in his footsteps, having just ordered 18 carboys of my own. I too am beginning to look for space I can annex away from the family to use for mead-making. So I believe that your story applies to all of us to some degree, just not to such excess?

(The next post is the true story of how this basement came to be so very full...)

10-03-2004, 01:56 AM
My friend found a good place to buy honey. In fact, he could get specialty honeys (Orange Blossom, Buckwheat, Blueberry, etc.) for less cost per gallon than he would pay at the local bulk grocery store for the plain stuff. The only catch was that he had to order 4 gallons at a time. So my friend decided he wanted to make a certain number of batches of mead within the next year and ordered a suitable amount of honey to do so...

But wait! If he could get this specialty honey at this low a price, he certainly could sell it to other meadmakers in the SCA at the same price as the generic stuff, making himself a small profit and making the other meadmakers very happy. So he almost tripled the order. It arrived and he carted it off to the largest SCA event in the midwest and sold not a drop....

All told, he had purchased something around 1100 pounds of honey (100 gallons) for slightly over $2000.
*cha-ching* (cash register sound)

So being a practical man, my friend decided that he would not let the honey go to waste. So he bought enough fermenters to do enough batches in the year and a half that his yeast and honey would be optimum. His original system was 3 primaries (7.5 gal.), 6 secondaries (6.5 gal.), 12 tertiaries (6 gal), and 24 finals (5 gal). So off went the order for the pallet of carboys. But no... wait... we need bottles too. At least enough to cover HALF the batches we will make. Add 70 cases of bottles...

Rumor has it that that order to Leeners was for about $2500

But we cannot brew and squeeze fruit and rack and clean and bottle and cork and... without all the right equipment.

That order was another $1000 or slightly more...

My friend's wife, who I at times affectionately have called the "Sewing Nazi" also deserves an award for sainthood for tolerating all of this since these purchases were all racked up in a period of a few months!

Now with me... I'll get there eventually... but only at a few hundred dollars at a whack...

Like I hinted at earlier... for every one of us... it is merely a matter of degree, not whether we are addicted to mead-making or not...


Vicky Rowe
10-19-2004, 09:18 AM
::sigh:: I used to have at any given time 8-10 batches of mead brewing and would show up at ren faires with 3-5 gallons of mead to share around, but then the website took over my life! I haven't started a new batch in months, and what with my traveling life now coming to an end (anybody need a web designer? I'm fresh out of work!), I'll be home and hope to start over with the 5 gallons of honey and 3 gallons for friend-batches (I get a couple bottles for each batch folks have me make, they buy the materials).

So, with any luck, come mid-November, when I cease traveling for the forseeable future, I'll get to make mead again! (Right after I re-organize the basement so I have more room, the hubby is protesting my taking up the whole kitchen.......)

Vicky - on her 3rd-to-the-last trip for Southern Software.....and looking for website work