Archive for experience

Mead Making-Learning How

Posted in Cooking, Experience, Fun and interesting, Ritual with tags , , on December 27, 2011 by theredlass

I would like to add, before anyone reads the rest, that I am in the beginning process of learning how to make my own mead. What comes below is not the words of an expert, but the comment of someone delving into the experience for the first time. I strongly advise doing your own research before taking me at mine and learning about the history.

Furthermore, I would DEARLY love to see what other people have done to create this golden delicacy, your recipes, advise and suggestions. I will promise to include photos when I start on my first batch!

Ah mead! What is there in this world greater than the sweet sharp flavor of honey wine! More than just an alcoholic beverage, it is a staple of modern pagan culture. You’d be hard pressed to find an experienced witch or pagan who does not brew, rock and share their own bottles. Recipes are held as dear as spells and rituals within the grimoire. It is found at most pagan summits, festivals and at no few coven gatherings.

The brewing of mead has been called an art form. It’s creation is sacred and magical, not to mention a ton of fun! It has been known in multiple locals but is most widely attributed to the Norse Vikings. Though the method has changed greatly from the early “sextarius of rainwater and pound of honey”, there is a long and fruitful history of brewing. Mead was a way of producing alcohol in places where grapes would not grow and (until taxation) was a tradable good.

Mead also plays a strong role in mythology. The Mead of Suttungr (Norse origin), was said to turn whoever drank it into a scholar, due to the fact that it has been made from the blood of the near omniscient Kvasir. Dionysus, (Greek god of wine) was said to have great festivals and cult rituals (Dionysian Mysteries) in which everyone became so drunk they turned mad and lost all manner of self control or civility. The Lacandon people (Mayan) believed the brewing and drinking of the mead was a way of communicating and becoming one with their gods. The Finnish Walpurgis Night (coinciding with Midsummer) is considered a good night to brew sima (mead) as it has connections with The Wild Hunt in Norse mythos.

There are a variety of meads, usually named according to the region and ingredients used. It is easy enough to research them yourself, so I won’t go into it here.

The best way to experience mead is to make it yourself! Materials can be expensive to come by, but the easiest way to get everything is to buy a wine makers kit. A good one comes with everything you will need expect the water, honey, fruit, campaign yeast and bottles. It is easiest to start with about a gallon batch as larger batches can be difficult to store and get more expensive. All recipes are for that amount.

Mead Recipe

Tools

Time

Purpose

Instructions

-1 gallon spring water-1 lbs. honey-large spoon

-stainless steel pot

-hydrometer

-wine/champaign yeast

-1 cup room temperature water

-syphon tube

-2 glass/plastic jugs

-cool dark place

-airlock

-cork

-funnel

-Initial Preparation: 2 hours
-First Fermentation: 1 Month-Racking: 1 hour- Secondary Fermentation: 1 month-6 weeks

-Aging: 6-9 months

-to create a basic mead mixture from which any amount of flavors and or spices can be mixed or one that can be drunk straight -put the stainless steel pot on the stove and heat a ½  gallon of water to simmer (not boiling) slowly-put in 1 lb. of honey and mix till dissolved-while that heats, get ½ cup of water (room temperature) and drop in yeast and gently stir it to activate

-let it sit for about 15 mins.

-let the mixture cool on the stove and make sure to skim off the foam that forms at the top. Allow to cool to room temperature. This mixture is called the must.

-Once it has cooled, pour it into your jug.

-At this point you can start adding ingredients into mix to create different flavors. Recipes are included for ideas down below.

-Pour in the rest of the room temperature water till it hits the top of the body before the shoulder. (Image below)

-stopped the bottle and shake it with a firm motion for about 10 minuets. It should start bubbling.

-Pit the yeast (pour it in) using the funnel. Cork the jug again and gently stir it around.

-Fill your airlock half full with water and plug it firmly into a cork with a hole in it. Place it tightly into the jugs neck.

-Within a day or two the airlock should start bubbling actively. Store in a cool, dark place.

ONE MONTH LATER

-You will need a second plastic/ glass jug and your syphon tube.

-Start syphoning the liquid over into the new jug gently, leaving behind the dead yeast (or sediment) at the bottom. Any ingredients you mixed in before to soak should be left behind as well and cleaned out later.

-Check your airlock, perhaps add a bit more water if it needs it, and transfer it over to the new jug.

-Allow the mead to age for at LEAST another month. Watch for the airlock to cease bubbling entirely. Wait two weeks after this and then you can begin racking.

-At this point you can transfer the mead to bottles or let it age in the jug. You can even start the tasting process and smell it to get a sensation and to make sure everything went well.

-Most people suggest racking the mead for 6 months to a year before it is ‘drinkable’.

Advertisements

Learning Your Lesson

Posted in Experience, Life with tags , , on July 29, 2011 by theredlass

“Know thyself.”
-Greek

“When I’m trusting and being myself… everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously.”
– Shakti Gawain

“I don’t want to be a passenger in my own life.”
-Diane Ackerman

“If you spend your life changing for others, pretty soon there will be nothing of you left.”
-Me

These are words I have always taken to heart. Because of this I have often been accused of being immature, unreasonable, and even childish. Everyone has told me this from family members, to teachers to even my soulmate. And to certain degree this is true. I am outspoken, blunt, sarcastic and often uncompromising in who I am. I have always had a lot of attitude and a tendency to speak before I think. My personality is very extroverted and I dress and style myself accordingly. I very much see myself as a  ‘take me as I am’ sort of person. This is not always acceptable to everyone and it has given me no small degree of trouble.

So when I was told this from the people I work with in a job I care a great deal about and wish to stay in, I decided that maybe people are right. Maybe I could stand to rework myself a bit and reconsider the way I face the world. I stood down, kept my mouth shut and tried to let others lead the way while I followed quietly, allowing myself to be molded into the shape the others felt I should be.

And then I got fired for doing exactly that.

Or rather for not doing it well enough to suffice.

So frankly, fuck it. If I am going to be disregarded and looked down upon regardless of my attitude, I’m going to continue to be exactly who I am and to hell with anyone else!