I recently opened my 4th bucket of honey to make some more mead. This is my 4th bucket which makes over $500 spent in honey. Yikes.
That being said, I think it's probably not my most expensive hobby by any means. I suppose my horse is the most expensive with SCA coming in next. And that $500 has been spread over time, I opened the first bucket in November of 2005 so that's not so bad.
But it did sort give me pause. I rarely drink at home as I have to drink alone (my husband does not drink). But when folks visit, I like to offer a glass or two. It makes good gifts and ways to bribe folks (If you do X, I'll give you a bottle of mead. It is amazing how well it works!) And it goes to contests. And I have a number of cases set back to age.
There is such alchemy in the ageing process. It always blows me away. When I bottled the peach mead I made and tinkered with for 6 months trying to get it to actually taste something of peach and finally gave up and bottled it as I wanted the carboy to brew something less frustrating. Then 4 months after bottling, I opened a bottle and the scent of peaches just about blew my socks off. Haven't opened a bottle recently, but the last time I opened one, when the mead was about 15 months old it still hadn't settled in. It was good, it was peachy, but the various things that I had done to tinker with it (spices, vanilla, grape/peach concentrate, more peaches, etc!) were still banging heads.
So I started a batch of plum/rhubarb/oak mead a few weeks ago. I made the promise to myself to leave it alone. To move with deliberation rather than impulsively messing about. To trust the process.
Wow. Not an easy thing to do. I wanted a really sweet mead, so I did use some yeast-i-cide chemicals after transferring the mead off the fruit. Plums are notorious for having long perking wild yeasts on their skins so I decided, better safe than sorry. I tasted it today. It is very sweet and a lovely red color with a fruit essence and a huge honey flavor. I have another big bag of frozen ripe plums in the freezer that are in a holding pattern for now. I could pitch them back with this current batch to amp up the flavor and make it more clearly PLUM in flavor. Or I can make another batch in the future with plums or plums and prickly pear fruit, or almost any thing else.
So I am waiting until the fullness of time to decide. Who used to talk about that? The fullness of time ... hmm, might have to poke around to find that out.
[ed note: it's in the Bible]
Until then, I am going to make an all juice mead. I bought organic juices of: apple, blueberry, and pear to mix with some honey and make magic. I am thinking that it will be for the Holiday season with a bit of luck. But no worries if it's not done, I have plenty available. I still have a couple of bottles of the first mead I made.
You know, I started out this journey as another way to make herbs easy and pleasurable to take. But I keep getting seduced into making another fruit mead by offers of free fruit! And now I am watching the prickly pear cactus fruit darken red and delicious. And I need to pick that fruit. If nothing else to keep the seeds from making even more cactus on our lands. I tried the fruit last year. It has a lush tropical flavor that is a blend of many different fruits and nothing distinctively itself. And such a red color! I have been pondering the spines. I hear that some people singe the outside of the fruit to burn the tiny tiny tiny spines off. I also imagine that they would fall out of suspension. I can also filter the mead after it is done. Which is what I think I will end up doing. But for now, I need to get out and get some picked and frozen. Although I have to admit that the idea of a bit of smoke in the mead sounds lovely.
It's nice to have a hobby that I can play at and never have to worry about having to sell. When you sell things, you have to worry about packaging and consistancy. Now, I just play and have fun!
So come on over soon and I'll open a bottle!