Wild Mead is a self published venture about making meads with alternative methods including lactic acid bacteria, brettanomyces, or even wild Saccharomyces.
There is a plethora of information on these practices applied to beer making, but some key differences when they are applied to mead making are near non-existent comparatively.
I've been brewing, and writing a lot about sour mead-making over the past 5 years, and felt that I've gathered enough information to share this information in the form of a book.
This book will be self published, so there are a few financial hurdles I have to overcome in order to proceed. Here is a detailed overview of where your money is going. I've already completed (most of the) written portion of the book, including research and experimentation. That portion is complete, so your support isn't going any brewing ventures.
I'm a Graphic Designer, so a nice professional layout is also something I'm thankfully able to cover with sweat equity.
Just because I'm self publishing this book, doesn't mean I'm looking to throw quality into the wind. I plan on using a large portion of your support to either curb or cover editing costs for the project. This is the largest block of spending. I want this book to be the best it can be, and that means spending money on editing.
The next largest portion of distribution is contributed to fulfilling the rewards for your support. Most of the rewards come with a physical copy of the book. There are also some other extra rewards you can earn with increased support. All of the rewards cost money to get to you, so it does need to be calculated into where the money is going.
I do plan on self distributing this book to homebrew shops, if they are interested, as well as selling on sites like Amazon. This means it needs an ISBN number and barcode. This cost doesn't scale with support, it's going to run about $100-$125. Any extra funds will go to helping get the word out about my book.
Kickstarter and credit card processing fees make up the final portion of where your support is going. This accounts for about 10% of the total amount raised.
As I previously stated, most of the content is already written and ready to go. I would say it's about 90% complete from a writing standpoint. Here is a brief overview of the information provided in the book.
The book includes the following, and more
- Introduction to meadmaking in general: While this section is not as comprehensive as book specifically about meadmaking as a whole, there is a portion in the beginning for newer meadmakers looking to break into sour fermentations early.
- Brettanomyces and Lactic Acid bacteria Characteristics: Learn how these microbes interact with one another. I also briefly touch on malo-lactic secondary ferments.
- Fermentation Management: Dig into fermentation management aspects of sour meadmaking. Things like temperature, nutrition and aeration are all a bit different in alternative fermentations.
- Yeast Selection: Here I cover more traditional yeast selections like beer or wine yeast. But as the title of the book suggests, the bulk of this is dedicated to alternative fermenters (the things doing the fermenting) like brettanomyces, pediococcus, lactobacillus.
- Multi-step fermentations in sour meads: Here I put it all together, and discuss things like lactobacillus starters, 2 stage fermentations (yeast, then brettanomyces etc.), blending, and solera aging.
Troubleshooting: What to do when this happens? Sometimes things just don't work the way they should. This section discusses how to handle unexpected circumstances.
After this point, the reader is able to develop their own sour fermentations in many ways, and know how to handle almost anything that comes their way.
- Alternative Souring Methods: There are a lot of ways to sour a mead. The previous chapters cover the most well-researched methods of doing so. This section is dedicated to more out of the box thinking.
- Bottling: It's time to talk about packaging and aging your newly minted sour meads.
- Sour Meads in the Community: Several months ago, I released a survey to meadmakers asking them about their experiences with sour meads to get their insights and questions on alternatively fermented meads. This area dissects and discusses a portion of that survey.
Interviews: I interviewed Jereme Zimmerman (Author of Make Mead Like a Viking) about his experience with wild fermentation.
I also interviewed Chris Herr of Gold Coast Mead, who runs the sour mead program there to discuss what was involved on the commercial side.
This section gives you 2 more methods for sour & wild fermentation.
- At Least 25 Recipes: 11 recipes are fermented with beer or wine yeast, and 14 recipes are for alternative fermentations.
- Quick Reference Area: Lastly, there is a quick reference and glossary area for fast access to refresher level information when you need an answer on the fly, and don't want to dig through the rest of the book.
I plan to release this for print only at the moment, but am open to E-Book availability further down the road. I have print vendors lined up, and have calculated the general cost for everything involved.
"On My Way" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Risks and challenges
There are certainly some challenges to overcome with this project. Without a team of editors, there is more room for error, and a stigma to overcome with a book being self published. Some of examples of that include;
— What credibility do I have without a publisher? —
I opted to not reach out to a publisher for this project. I had originally figured it would be too small of a market for a publisher to be interested. When I announced the project on Reddit, at the time, I had thought I was nearing the final stages, and was just about ready to move forward.
Since then I've done a lot more research, and experimentation in the subject. So at this point, I'd be submitting a nearly complete manuscript for approval.
As far as credibility is concerned, I've certainly written the most about sour meads between my blog (Hive Mind Mead) and articles published to HomebrewTalk.com.
My information, and process is well tested and has been put into practice by other homebrewers. Most reports I've seen have been those of success. I hope to expand the homebrewers having success with sour meads even further with this book.
— Will homebrew stores be interested in selling it? —
This might prove to be my largest hurdle, but won't make or break my project. Like I mentioned, I have no publisher, and it's a small niche within homebrewing. It will be up to me to convince shops that there is valuable information in my book despite the smaller market.
I'll be approaching this method in a few different ways, and it remains to be seen if these methods will work or not. I'm a designer, not a salesman.
— You didn't get a publisher, so it must not be good —
I don't think this is the case personally, but I'll have to battle this stigma at every turn. I'm working very hard to deliver a high quality product and spending money where it needs to be spent in order to make this book the best it can be.
- (30 days)