College Cookbook: Baby steps into brewing

As the oldest libation in the world, mead is a sweet and delicious form of alcohol that’s fairly easy to make yourself.

Also known as honey wine, mead is simply fermented honey, water and yeast. Add flavors to your mead like oranges, vanilla, cinnamon or anything your heart desires. Once fruit has been added to the mead, it is known as a melomel.

All of the equipment needed for this can be found in town at Arctic Brewing Supply, or online.

This recipe fills about two growlers. If you don’t have a growler, you can get one at the brewing supply, from any brewery in town or from Fred Meyer.

You will need two rubber stoppers and two plastic airlocks to go on your growler. These are cheap and can be bought at Arctic Brewing Supply. You’ll also need a thermometer, funnel, brewing sanitizer and a stock pot.

Ingredients:

1/2 a gallon non-chlorinated water

2-3 pounds of honey — Arctic Brewing Supply has a few different kinds of honey on tap

Berries or fruit of any kind, fresh or frozen, about a cup

One orange

A handful of raisins

One package of champagne yeast (found at Arctic Brewing Supply)

Directions:

1. Follow the instructions on the brewing sanitizer (I used one step) and use it to disinfect everything that you will be using, including your funnel, pot, jugs, airlocks, rubber stoppers and stir spoon. This makes sure that bacteria won’t contaminate your mead while it’s fermenting.

2. In your pot, heat the water until it gets warm but is not boiling. Once the water is warm, add the honey and stir it in until it dissolves. Take off heat.

3. Take your flavorings and put them into your growlers.

4. Carefully pour the honey water mixture into the growlers using a funnel. You’ll want to leave at least five inches of head space.

5. Once the mixture is in the growler, cap it and shake it up for several minutes.

6. Now you have what is called “must.” This is the mead mixture before the yeast is added. Once your must is shaken and ready, you’ll want to make sure the temperature of it is under 90 degrees. Anything over this will kill the yeast.

7. Once the must is at an appropriate temperature, you can add the yeast. Distribute the packet evenly between the two growlers and shake them for several minutes to combine the yeast.

8. Put a little bit of water into the airlock and stick into the rubber stopper. Then stick the rubber stopper into the mouth of the growler until sealed. The airlock allows gasses from fermentation to escape.

9. You’ll want to keep your growlers in a dark place with a consistent temperature. A closet would work well. Within the first 12-24 hours you will start to see the yeast do its job and the mead will be bubbly.

10. After about six weeks of fermenting the mead is ready to be bottled or aged. Mead, like wine, can be aged. If you’re ready to drink your mead, it’s wise to bottle a little bit of it and store for a longer period of time to see how aging affects it.