• Alexis has picked up since the transfer - about 20 seconds interval now. So not dead, but slowed down a bit. Hopefully it'll pick up further.
  • Brynn about 3 seconds, fizzing away like crazy
  • Caelan about 4 seconds - and the berries have become a foaming mass that's sitting a lot higher than they did before the yeast beasties started doing their thing. Kind of fascinating to see.


The last stuff from the supply shop finally arrived; including the siphon.

Alexis had almost a cm of sediment on the bottom so after some practising the whole business with water a few times I transferred the batch to a new demi.
Not sure if I did good or if I should have waited longer - it was still bubbling fairly heavily (once about every 6 sec) and now in the new vessel it's slowed down almost to a halt. Is the yeast now going "Whoa, WTF?" and will it have bounced back by morning? Or have I killed it... fuckup or impatience - time will tell.


This is the nice Springbalsemien honey I still had. Should be a sweet sackmead, and in theory not much different from Alexis. The honey is different, but apart from that the only difference is that I made an overnight yeast starter for this one. Oh wait, and I didn't heat it. The book I'm reading (The Compleat Meadmaker by Ken Schramm) suggests that there is not usually a problem with that, and that unheated meads also taste better earlier. We'll see.
This honey was a little thicker than the one I used for Alexis, and seems to sink to the bottom a little. I have mixed and shaken well, but it's still seeming darker in the bottom half. Hope that doesn't affect things too much. Ah well.

Supermarket honey and 400 gr of frozen blueberries. I wanted fresh but they were prohibitly expensive, and I'm still way too much in the experimental stage to want to spend that amount of money on ingredients.

(remind me that I said that when I start talking about buying cool things like Eucalyptus and Heath honey..)

It got darker than I expected (I don't know, of course it did. must have had a brainfart) and I'm not sure if I like that it'll probably look more like normal wine - or grape juice - than mead. Will have to wait until I can taste it to judge if it's worth it. Raspberry and strawberry are apparently popular because they'll give a more subtle colour and taste effect. Since it's strawberry time I may start up one more batch - then I'll sit on my hands for a while and wait until I've got Alexis bottled before I start any more :-)

Now the eager staring at the waterlocks to detect any bubbling has started...

Bubble Brain

This is what it looked like this morning


Bit of an update... I am still waiting for the other plugs to close off a demijohn with a fermentation lock in it. The shop only sent me one and has been dragging its feet over sending me the rest. I'd been waiting for that to set up the next two batches.

Today however I drove down to Schaijk and bought the best part of an old hobbyist's brewing gear. He'd made wine about 25-20 years ago but never had much success (self identified as 'Fermentation kept stopping and I kept adding more yeast to make it go' !)
I got two 5 liter and 2 10 liter demi's, which brings me to a very nice capacity - I will probably only set up one 10l at a time and keep the other one for racking into. He had two very beautiful larger demi's - he thought 25 liter, but he thought the 10s were 15, so they were probably 15 or 20s. I was tempted but there's just no way I can physically handle that sort of weight.
Also got a bunch of old waterlocks (trying to get them clean now, which is a pain!) and corks and a corker. And we chatted a while. He gave me a good deal on the stuff and I offered that if he's ever near my hometown, he drop by and I'll give him a bottle.

Have made a yeast starter ("Brain in a bottle") to start off a new batch tomorrow. This'll be another normal mead, because I still have the very nice Springbalsemien honey.
I also bought some reasonable supermarket honey that wouldn't be dramatic if I ruined it, so with that I think I'll try one with fruit. Blueberries? Strawberries? There are just so many options. Maybe I'll do one with fresh mint leaves, that sounds like it could be interesting.

Patience, Padawan

Alexis did indeed start bubbling overnight, and has been happily glupping away ever since at about 5 seconds per bubble. It simply took until the morning for the yeast to recover from the shock, groggily ask "Where am I? What happened?" and start feasting on the sugar.

Patience is not my strongest point. I think it'll be the hardest part of mead brewing for me. It'll take around 2 months (give or take) until fermentation is finished and I can taste it for the first time; and more likely than not, it'll not be very nice then and will need further aging in the bottle to become tasty.
My usual style with doing anything new is to do a test, see how it turns out, then base further attempts on what I learned. But mead takes so long that that isn't really practical. So I am going to start a few more batches with different honeys, and just have to hope it doesn't come out as battery acid!


I started my first batch of mead today, and it's called Alexis. *
I had real trouble getting the yeast starter to get going and it never did so convincingly. Consequently after I've added it to the protomead and put it in a demijohn, it's unenthusiastic to say the least. As I write this I've had it standing for at least 5 hours (warm side of room temp and dark) and it's not bubbled once. There's not even a head on it apart from some leftover foam from funnelling it in. I hope it'll start overnight.

*) Why Alexis and not 1 or A?

1) "Yeast is a beast". So as far as I'm concerned, a batch is a living creature.
2) I need a way to refer to individual batches
3) I think numbers are boring
4) I just felt like it
5) there is no 5

The Start

I have a couple of friends who home-brew, but it had always sounded like a complicated and laborious thing, reserved for the sort of people who can follow a recipe to the letter. Me, I'm more of a "Bit of this and some of that" style cooker. And I always had the impression you needed an orchard full of fruit and a big cellar. Plus, all that to-do with yeast starters and racking and the right temperature seemed like a big fuss. Then there was the squashing of large amounts of fruit (which I'd have to buy, not having a garden) and the months of patience and the risk of ending up with something vile. All together it seemed like something I just shouldn't get in to.

But said friends kept insisting that homebrewing could be really simple, and that mead, my favourite drink, is both simple to brew and forgiving. And though it would be nice to have a cellar or something like that, mead fermentation doesn't mind daylight, so my north-windowsill would work fine.

So that was the start. I got some equipment, discovered that I live close to the National Dutch Beekeepers Organisation (which means an easy supply to high quality, well-priced honey) and decided to just give it a go. Am I going to end up with something tasty? Time will tell.