Howdy, folks. I thought I'd post a note here introducing myself.

A couple years ago, I was introduced to a wonderful blackberry mead that my friend's father produced for her wedding. It was used in the toast, and small bottles were handed out as party favors. Truly delicious, and he was excited to describe to me how it took him 3 years to perfect the recipe and produce enough for the festivities. Since then, I've been interested to try making it myself.

Today, at the Pittsburgh Ren fest, a merchant was selling supplies for making mead. He specialized in honeys produced locally, and had a cyser on hand for sampling. That sealed it! I bought an airlock, siphon hose, sterilizer tablets, yeast, and yeast starter along with a couple lbs of a mild local honey. I don't have any of the other necessary supplies yet, but I've spent the past few hours doing some reading (I'll have to let this info digest before I dive in again...this is all new to me). I do have my neighbor (who is a restaurant consultant) looking into tracking down some cheap or free 1 gallon carboys for me. I do have a large enamel pot already (that I have used for making large batches of chili or pasta sauce, or for boiling whole chickens). I may, however, just buy one of those huge stainless turkey fryer pots to use specifically for mead.

Now, I'm trying also to decide on a recipe to use for my first batch. I've read a bit about the Joe's Ancient Orange recipe, which looks tasty...but it's not easy to get excellent quality oranges here, so I'm leery. I do, however, have access to absolutely excellent supplies of apples and apple cider grown and produced locally, so I'm considering something using apples, instead. There's a local winery that uses apples from this particular orchard in their wines, which are also delicious. Would it be better to use cored, peeled, and mashed apples or to use the cider produced from said apples? I was told today that the cyser I tasted used apples themselves, but I've seen suggestions posted here that using juice or cider imparts more apple flavor. I'm unsure which to try. So many options for a beginner!