Now that the Maryland weather is cooling down, I can return my focus back to making meads again. During much of the summer, the 84 degree temperature inside doesn’t bode well for fermentation. Most yeasts prefer temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees. Lacking a way to control this, I tend to shelve the idea of making meads (unless they prefer high temperatures) and wait for the fall.
With the changing leaves, I have plans to start experimenting with local yeast capture. We have a few eastern red cedars on our property with mature berries covered in yeast blooms. I’m currently working to build a stir plate (plans at http://www.stirstarters.com/), with the intention to focus all winter on meadmaking with a local yeast. At the same time, inspired by places like Blue Dog Mead and Leaky Roof Meadery, I will focus on low alcohol by volume meads, ideally in the 5-8% abv range. I also want to try my hand at bochets, or caramelized honey meads.
I will spend part of the time updating you on my plans to turn my backyard into a local fruit paradise. Right now, we have blueberry, blackberry, chokeberry and huckleberry bushes, with two very young persimmon trees. Unfortunately none of these are old enough for any serious production. Combined with the wild raspberries growing in our creek, over time I hope to make meads from these fruits. I’ll have to fight my wife for who gets to use the fruit (she does love to bake), but hopefully in time I’ll have enough for us both to share.
I leave you with this recent article on the mead industry. If mead is a canvas, what would you like to paint with?