So once upon a time, I use to play with making mead. And when I say “play with” I really do mean it. I have this delightful inclination to go full on Lab Kid* when doing anything halfway arty. I can’t say halfway sciencey because we all know the difference between fvcking around and science is writing it down.
I was not writing it down in those days.
In that Fvck Around Phase I made some hella good mead. A few stands outs were a my plain sweet, a morat (mulberry mead), and a peach mead. My brewing process went as follow –
1.4 cup orange juice to start off a packet of Montrachet yeast
2.5 gallons of tap water (Lake Michigan for you aqua connoisseurs)
2.5 gallons of blackberry honey from the Great North Wests somewhere. I think from Glory Bee.
I’ll give a few of you a moment to wipe the coffee you just spit all over your screen. Yes. 2.5 gallons. We good? Okay – so I like mead sweet. Those of you with even the smallest bit of fermenting knowledge will not be surprised to hear it took me nearly two years for it to be drinkable. And I bet it could have gone longer, but as soon as I brought some bottles out to test drink, it went fast. Any notes I took – if I was even halfway that organized – had me do some math. I only remember this math on the alcohol content because I did it several times over, 100% certain I had totally fubar’ed my math and it just wasn’t humanly possible.
It was clocking in at 20%.
Okay, you really need to stop drinking when you’re reading my hilarious interludes. Get a fresh cup and come back.
This ridiculously high alcohol content is hilarious because I am a lightweight beyond compare. I bring shame upon my known-for-heavy-drinking ancestors with my two drink drunk. Alas.
My morat ran as follows –
Same juice set up, 3 gallon bucket, who knows how much honey, topped off with water.
No notes. Because I was full on mad scientist, which wasn’t really all that sciencey because no documentation. Who knows what my alcohol content was. But that got drunk as fast as the blackberry sweet.
Same juice set up
12 pounds of mashed peaches with skins ripped off (you can’t really peel peaches when they’re really ripe, just mutilate them)
Oh hey, look, I have some left over honey in this three gallon bucket. I have no idea how much honey is in there, lets just dump it all in and add some water and call it a day.
See? Very precise. Such Math. Much Science.
Even with my lightweightness, that had a kick. I had racked them into 16 oz Grolsch bottles I had saved for this project. Half way through one of them I had to lay on the floor and recover. Five years later it was still amazing. I only know this for it having shown up in a Mystery Brew Box (for having no label) where adventurous re-enactors would drink for a dollar donation. It was the hit of the evening.
And now we are here. I have a little black book now and am more sciencey than arty.
Raw honey and here we go! I know some of you are thinking – why is the water and honey separated? Are they supposed to be mixed?
Yeah. I guess so? I did this with my blackberry sweet. I’d have to roll the carboy every couple of weeks to agitate the top layer of honey as the yeast slowly ate its way down. I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason the yeast was able to accomplish this task, it gave it time to build up tolerance. Also I’m sure there’s some sort of very niche-trick of slow fermentation that impacts the final product something something wine snob goes here.
Weirdly, the water/honey was more homogenous until I poured in the o.j. with the nicely foaming yeast. Cleared it like oil and water. Fascinating. So now my yeasties beasties are going to slowly nibble from the top down.
I guess we’ll see what we get? In two years? It’s only three gallons, so maybe we’ll see in one year.
(scene opens in holiday wrecked dinning room, Carrot at table looking frazzled)
Husband: (enters from kitchen)
Me: (tense) We have to take Delta to the planitarium.
Delta: (grins) Mommy and I were talking about burn out.
Husband: (stares in WTF)
Me: (closes eyes, sighs) He was asking what “burn out” means and wanted to know why we haven’t invented limitless energy – his words, not mine – and I explained that everything burns out, even the sun which has already existed for millions of years and will burn out millions of years in the future. He’s now asking me astronomical questions I don’t have answers to.
Husband: (stirring tea) Huh.
Me: Y’know – I prepared for endless kid questions by learning why the sky is blue and as of yet, not a single one has asked that. But meanwhile, I’ve had to show them how to use a bookmark and how to work the pull-tab on a can.
Husband: (tries for stoicism, fails, begins to laugh)
Delta: You know, I can hear you mom. Why is the sky blue? (grin turns smug)
Me: (puts head down on desk)
Husband: I’ll put that down as a “Brought it on yourself.”
(scene opens in bathroom, bubble bath in progress)
Delta: When will Corona end?
Me: (taken aback) What? Uh…Oh, I don’t know honey. No one knows. It’s a mystery.
Delta: (agog) No one knows? In the whole wide world?
Me: Nope. Scientists are working on it.
Delta: Where did Corona come from?
Me: An animal. Sometimes people can get sick and give it to animals and animals can get sick and give it to people. It’s why we have to be careful when we cough and stay clean. Wash your hand! (lathers Delta’s head)
Delta: (laughs) Animals can’t cough!
Me: No, but they can spit on you! (pours water on Delta’s head)
Me: (reading Kindle) So. Beta. Did you brush your teeth this morning?
Beta: (shoveling cereal into his mouth) Yeah.
Me: (conversationally) With what?
Beta: (spidey senses tingling) …with…toothpaste?
Me: Oh yeah? Where’s your toothbrush?
Me: (affected mildness) Interesting. Because I’ve noticed that your toothbrush has been bone dry for a few days, so I brought it down stairs with me at 6 am this morning so I could prove to you that I know you for a liar. So. When you’re finished with breakfast, go do that. The reason you’re getting cavities is not because you’re not brushing well enough, you’re not brushing at all.
Beta: (mopey, drinks last of milk goes to brush teeth)
Me: (calls after him) Also! Your toothbrush is electric and makes noise! I can tell you didn’t brush your teeth if I didn’t hear it! Sound travels! SCIENCE!
Alpha: (thinking himself clever) Mom, if people evolved from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys?
Me: (shock) Did you just seriously ask me that question?
Alpha: (bravado wavers a bit) Yeah.
Me: (anticipatory stretch, cracks knuckles) I have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Sit down while I learn you good. Its been a while since I used the Anthro degree. (picks up pencil to sketch out hominid family tree)
Me: There. And that’s why, my little hairless ape, there are both monkeys and human beings. Before you decide this play this trick again, the same goes for dogs and wolves. Unless you’re dumb enough to think that pre-historic saber-toothed Bichon Frise roamed the earth hunting undersized mammoths.
Alpha: (slinks off to kitchen to do dishes)
Beta: What are we having for dinner?
Me: (cleaning down counter) Ribs.
Beta: (distressed) I don’t like ribs! I have all the ingredients for my quesadillas and I haven’t made them yet.
Me: (affronted) What do you mean you don’t like ribs? Its cow. Cow is steak. You like steak.
Beta: It has bones!
Me: Steak sometimes has bones in it! Think of it as steak on the cob! You can eat it with your hands!
Beta: (tilts head) Can you do that? Cook steak on the cob? Around the corn?
Me: (stops cold) I…don’t know. I suppose you could. Get some really thin steak, tenderize it, get a good rub, wrap it around the cob and then grill?
Beta: Like really thick bacon.
(both pause, re-considering life goals)
Beta: Yeah. Wow.
(music crescendos, fade to black, cut to car commercial)
Beta: Mom! Mom! Mom!
Me: (shuffles out of kitchen, clutching coffee)
Beta: I got a question for you!
Gamma: (giggles conspiratorially)
Me: Hit me.
Beta: (smugly) What came first? The chicken or the egg?
Me: (sips coffee) The egg.
Beta: (not expecting an answer) How do you figure?
Me: Dinosaurs laid eggs. Birds evolved from dinosaurs. Chickens are birds. (sips coffee)
Gamma: (changes the direction of her laughter)
Beta: Wow, mom. Way to ruin a good riddle.
Me: I live to serve. (shuffles back into the kitchen)
Beta: (spastic) Look! Look! Look! (pointing out window)
Alpha: (white knuckled, grits) Could you not?
Me: (calmly reading Kindle) Alpha, it’s okay. We’re not even turbulent.
Beta: Yeah, Alpha, not like we’re about to drop out of the sky in a flaming wreck.
Alpha: Seriously? Why would you say that?
Me: We’re in a tin can being thrown through the air, held aloft by the Laws of Physics.
Me: Math is magic.
Me: (enters, sees Gamma on the computer) Gamma? What are you doing?
Gamma: Watching videos of games! (Pouty lipped cartoon character on the screen, with lipstick choices)
Me: (flinches inwardly) How about you watch something a little more intellectually stimulating than putting fake make up on a fake person?
(mother leaves, back momentarily, sees Gamma typing)
Me: Now what are you watching?
Gamma: I’m trying to find Kurzgesagt. Is that okay?
Me: (pauses, impressed) That’s fine.
Gamma: (fresh from school) Mom! I have to make a machine for school tomorrow!
Me: Wha..? Why?
Gamma: I…(self aware pause) I didn’t finish it in class. Maybe draw it?
Me: Do you have to make or draw?
Gamma: (mental processing) …both? I need a machine that makes my life easier with snacks.
Me: (can’t even) With what? Snacks?
Gamma: Whatever we have in the house. Its a machine about snacks.
(scene cuts to cluttered dinning room)
Me: There. You have styrofoam cups, bendy straws, tape, scissors, and this aluminum tray you brought home from school. Have at.
Gamma: Whee!(proceeds to cut everything into confetti)
Me: Uh, what are you making?
Gamma: I’m just cutting.
Me: What about your snack machine?!?
Gamma: (surveys carnage) Oh. I forgot.