I put "successful" in quotes, because technically it is my second batch, and technically it isn't done yet. The true first batch was a disaster as I failed to sanitize any of my equipment, and used straight tap water to re-hydrate my yeast, which killed it. I let it rot on the counter for two weeks without a single bubble of fermentation before tossing it out. Shameful waste of honey...
So the second batch has been a 180 degree difference. I used RODI water (my wife is a fish keeper and has the filter mounted conveniently on the wall) and on top of that I boiled it! Maybe that was overkill, but I didn't want to waste any more of my precious honey. In addition I used a Campden in the original must. After 24 hours I added the yeast (again, RODI water, then boiled, then chilled in the fridge down to just over room temp to re-hydrate). In two days it was bubbling happily. It's been two weeks now, and it continues to bubble nicely. I used Lalvin 71B 1122 yeast for sweeter wines. I just looked up the tolerances on it and here is the link: http://www.lalvinyeast.com/strains.asp#. I may be in for a surprise on my alcohol content!
I can't help myself, as I find it so entertaining. I go in and swirl the carboy every now and then just to release CO2 faster and make it bubble faster for a few seconds. At that time, I can actually feel a breeze coming out of the bottle as CO2 rushes through the airlock, and across my nose. Oh, my nose you ask? That's because I can't get over the smell! It smells just like sour apple to me, which is amazing! I guess maybe that is coming from the malic acid. It smells nothing like the honey that I used, which has a very smooth but not bitter taste (I believe primarily Chinese Tallow honey). If the mead tastes anything like it smells I'm going to be drunk for about a week, and then subsequently be out of mead!
I just thought I would share my story as it is (I hope) a good one. Just like everything else that I have experienced in beekeeping so far, it's another fascinating and enjoyable aspect. I am looking forward to adding it to my toolbox to further integrate my beekeeping hobby! I just went and stocked up on more equipment so I can get a few more batches brewing. If anyone has what they believe are really great recipes, I'd love if you would share. I'd like to try some with fruit additions, or the use of concentrates to add more flavor. I have a wicked sweet tooth!