Trying and failing to fail

Published 7:01 am Saturday, April 18, 2020

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I’m really sorry guys. I tried. I honest to goodness tried.

The mead experiment is going well.

You may remember a while back when I first told you about my latest machinations that could go horribly wrong.

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You already know how wrong my garden can go, so when I announced the mead experiment you were all probably waiting for the next column where I could tell you all that I now have sticky alcohol all over my dining room floor.

Well, except for you reader 42. You’re just a good person all around and wish nothing but the best for me. The rest of you though … I’m watching you.

Over time, I’ve gradually purchased the items I would need to start my homebrewing experience.

I mixed my first gallon batch around three weeks ago, initially starting the process with an open ferment in a three-gallon crock. It’s really quite simple, because I’m using a wild ferment where the only yeast used in the process is the wild yeast in the honey itself and other wild sources. Simple sources like the wild yeast found on raspberry leaves.

You wouldn’t think it would be that easy, especially considering my past accomplishments of record screw-ups. I’ve really reached professional standards in my span of 46 years.

The next batch was a three-gallon mix of a few more ingredients, which was brave considering I really only had a passing idea of the taste. That taste was really, really sweet, but I threw caution to the wind and mixed it right up. That batch will sit around for six months before bottling, racking a second time after three months.

The book I’m following as a guide suggests I wait a year, but this is also an examination of my own patience and as many of you know, I have very little of that so … baby steps.

As disappointingly easy as this seems to all of you, I don’t want to completely mislead you and let you think this went off without it’s issues. It didn’t.

A good amount of the first one-gallon bunch did end up on the floor when I was transferring from crock to carboy. Apparently, my eye for measurements was a tad off and I tried to get about a gallon and a half into a gallon carboy.

This realization made itself known at the first moment I felt my sock getting wet. Observationally, I should have been able to see that the mead was flowing from the carboy, but I didn’t and suddenly I had wet socks.

I also, apparently, didn’t clean it up well enough as later in the evening I felt the floor grow stickier and stickier, punctuated by Buster choosing not to walk in that particular area and walking in every other area with unsure footsteps while simultaneously shooting me a mix of being unsure with a healthy amount of blame.

I can’t blame him of course. You walk in an area that you are fairly familiar with and suddenly it’s sticky.

But really, that’s all that went wrong. Believe me, I feel your disappointment and in some ways share it. For me, my paranoid nature doesn’t allow for projects that go off without a trip, leaving me in a constant state of “what am I missing?”

And so far — nothing. I am a little worried about the end project, but that’s just the unknown, and the unknown is scary.

Overall, the idea of homebrewing has been fun, if not a little messy. Anybody who has worked with honey knows that there is no way you’re coming out of it without sticky fingers.

It’s been an experiment and so far so good, but never fear dear readers. You’ve all been with me long enough to know there’s plenty of time to screw something up.