Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leap Year Mead

A post 4 years in the making.
A few years ago... well 4 to be more specific, some people over at Homebrewtalk.com got together and decided to do something special for leap year.

This nutty holiday just calls for something to be done in it’s honor, so we decided to make mead!

BigKahuna 2-29-2008
We have talked mead here on BKB before, and we will again, but perhaps none will ever be as charismatic as the one we have today. Not unlike people, this mead does not rely so much on depth of character or overall complexity for it’s charm. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. It’s fairly one sided and shallow... again, like most people. But also like most people, it’s got that certain something that makes it unique and and exciting.

The fact that a lot of people made this drink...all on the same day, is unique enough, but the recipe called for using the best honey YOU could get. For many of us, that meant artisan honey from local apiaries, but for some it meant clover honey from the grocery store. The honey I used was 12 pounds of local wildflower honey and 3 pounds of “Ambrosia” honey, also made in Colorado.

If I had it to do again, I’d have used Tupelo or Orange Blossom for this project, but I’m not unhappy with my choice. And again, I’ve got 4 years more experience in mead making since we made this batch of golden nectar.

My notes indicate that I fermented a must with a starting gravity of 1.100 with Pasteur yeast for three months. On June 7, this mead was racked for the first time, and had 10 split and scraped Madagascar vanilla beans added to it.

The honey concoction sat on those vanilla beans, extracting color, flavor and aroma for one month, and was racked again on July 6, 2008.

The mead was clear, and didn’t drop any lees after that, so it sat, right in the basement, in a glass carboy with an airlock that went dry only once, for four years.

Fast Forward through miserable winter blizzards, the tornado that came less than 100 yards from our house, three basement floods, our son’s first day of school, my wife and I BOTH quitting our jobs, purchasing a business and countless other life events that this mead has seen since it’s brew day, and we bottled it on January 27, 2012. Success that was 4 years in the making.

I would love to share the tasting notes with you from this post, but unlike SOME of the people who participated, I held true to the original orders that this mead was only to be drank on Leap Year Day.

So I can honestly say that with all of the time and effort that has gone into making this batch of mead, I have not tasted it.

I will share my secret with you all, because you are such great peeps. ***Dim Lights and add spooky smoke. And a cape. I was definitely wearing a cape.*** I made a sister batch. The next day, on March 1, I secretly made my way to the darkest corners of the Kahuna layer where I mixed identical ingredients and set the air lock. Yes folks, there was in fact, a second batch made.

Ok, turn the lights back on, that’s creeping me out.

Anyway, tomorrow is Leap Year. I will be opening a bottle of Leap Year Mead and tasting it for the first time. I suppose I could share with you the notes, just for posterity... It will, after all, be another 4 years before we open another bottle.


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