Cyser #1 Sunday, Sep 23 2007 

Started September 19, 2007

4 cups of honey (fireweed honey in this case, though it is probably mixed with blackberry)

1 gallon apple cider

1/2 a campden tablet (the cider was pasteurized)

1 tsp of acid blend

1 tsp of yeast nutrient

a package of Lalvin EC-118 yeast

Created starter with yeast and tap water. Over the next two hours, I added a quarter cup of the must (honey and cider mix) every 15 minutes. I wasn’t very precise about the timing or the amounts, for the record.

Meanwhile, I heated the honey and 1/4 of the cider in a pot on the stove, just to make it easier to pour the honey. And to make it let go of the measuring cup.

I put the rest of the cider into a three gallon carboy. I then poured hot honey and cider into the cold stuff. And then I stirred in the campden tablet (crushed and dissolved in some water and then in cider), the yeast nutrient and the acid blend.

After two hours, the yeast starter went in. I loosely covered the opening of the carboy and let it sit on the kitchen counter where the temperature is about 68 – 70 most of the time (usually around 20 Celsius).

I’ll pop an airlock on it today, I think. It may be a disaster leaving that much airspace (almost two gallons), but this is really the primary fermentation and the yeast needs some oxygen. The closed carboy won’t fit in the kitchen, so it’ll be heading down to the basement which is quite a bit cooler and where the fermentation will likely take at least a month more).

I figure I’ll let it go until it clears quite a bit (the cider is quite thick) and then rack it into the gallon jug as a secondary.

Mead! Sunday, Sep 23 2007 

I haven’t had much time for gaming recently, but I have been making mead.  And it seems appropriate to talk about mead in conjunction with Brettonia.  (Most of my Warhammer figs are Brettonian and I’ve got a 2000 point Warmaster Bretonnia force.)

Mead is fermented honey.  It can be like wine or beer and has been enjoying a renaissance in the last15 years or so.  Since I keep bees, I have access to honey.  Last year was my first year, so the bees got to keep all the excess but I still got a 30 lb pail of the sweet stuff from a beekeeping friend.

We only managed to eat about 12 pounds over the winter and so the rest went into about 7 gallons of mead.

There are a lot of mead-related sites out there on the Web, but finding recipes was harder than I expected.  Lots of contradictory advice.  And you just don’t know if the site owner shares you taste.  So, I experimented.

So far, the results are pretty awful.  But I also keep losing my notes, so I am going to record my recipes here.  Hopefully, with age the mead will improve and I’ll be glad that I kept the recipes.