Various movements

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Did a couple things over the last weekend that I’d like to log:

1) Bottled the POM#2 on Thursday the 21st.  It is super-cinnamony, so I am going to re-name it “Cinnamon Mead” (after some deliberation : ) and cross my fingers that the cinnamon mellows out just a little bit as it ages.  It is still young.  Anyway, this time I didn’t forget to add the Potassium Sorbate and the clarifier, so no problems like the Agave Mead.  Stats:

  • Started: 18 June 2010
  • 1st Rack: 5 August 2010 onto 2 lbs clover honey
  • 2nd Rack: 27 September 2010 onto 9 long sticks of cinnamon
  • Bottled: 21 October 2010 after adding KSO4 on 17 Oct and gelatin-based clarifier on 19 Oct

2) Racked the Thanksgiving Mead #2, trying to eliminate all the extra spice bits–mostly successfully.  It was tough, the pieces of allspice and clove are getting stuck in my racking tubes.  I need the little cap that goes at the end of the tube that is made to do it anyway, but I think I have thrown away or lost them because I didn’t think I would need them.  I am dumb sometimes.  Anyway, with some forcing, it worked.  Tastes delicious, sweet and the spices are not too strong–exactly what I was trying to fix from the last time I made it!  Stats:

  • Started: 1 September 2010
  • 1st Rack: 27 September 2010 into carboy
  • 2nd Rack: 22 Oct 2010, without spices into carboy

3) Racked the cyser for the first time.  It gave me trouble with the cloves and raisins, too, but again I got it to work.  Hopefully we’ll see some secondary fermentation with the added O2 and mixing up.  Tastes…like it has promise.  Not great yet, but this process is supposed to take some time, and it’s really only 2.5 weeks old or something.  The purple starthistle mead (which, by the way, was started about 4 days before the cyser) was actually popping pretty good in spite of being older than the cyser, so I let it be.  The cyser was almost totally dead (no bubbles within a minute, at least).  Stats:

  • Started: 8 October 2010
  • 1st Rack: 24 October 2010
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“Mead”ia!

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Okay, I don’t want to overload all of the mead-ia (that’s a terrible pun I just thought of, and you can blame the mead) in one post, but I did take some video and pictures of my mead in progress and I thought I’d go ahead and post the pictures so you can see it a little how it works. Note, this post is also the first post to have media in it, so bear with me as I get used to how wordpress handles it. My next post should hopefully have some youtube videos.

First, a picture of the Thanksgiving Mead #2:A carboy full of 5 gallons of Thanksgiving Mead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second, a picture of the POM#2, which (see previous post! -ED) actually tastes very cinnamon-y: A 5-gallon carboy of Plain Old Mead, second attempt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(PS: note the dinosaur poster which is in my basement and I’ve owned since I was maybe 8 years old)

Little things

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Part 1

So the agave mead went all a-splody on me…in other words, I opened a bottle of the agave mead that I bottled a month or so ago (zounds! just did a search and I never recorded on here: September 21st) and it started foaming over a LOT and got all over my pretty hardwood floors.  Good thing I have an “accidents” tag on here.  What happened was that I failed to add both the Potassium Sorbate (the yeast-neutralizer) and the clarifier (a gelatin-based thing that makes it look all clear) because in my naivete I assumed (yes, ass-u-me-d) that since it looked clear and the airlock wasn’t popping that it was fine to bottle regardless.  I won’t make that mistake again!

The solution was to take a bunch of it (read: 9 bottles) to a party that I went to and promo my mead as much as possible.  It went fast and delicious…it was old enough (pushing 7 months) and a delicious recipe anyway so it worked.  It was served chilled in place of the white wine and was amazing–just bubbly enough, not too sweet, unique flavor.  I want to try it again but not fail at the preservation step because I am very curious what it would have tasted like a year from now.

Part 2

With that in mind, I added potassium sorbate to the POM#2 yesterday to neuter the yeast and today I stirred it a bit and added the clarifier.  I do not want it to end up like the Agave Mead: thoroughly enjoyed, but before its time.  Unfortunately I think I overdosed on the cinnamon (i.e., I snuck a little for myself and tasted it) but it is still really tasty.  I think the Tulip Poplar flavor will come through regardless so the idea of keeping it simple still applies…it’s just not technically a POM anymore.  I think I’ll still call it that for simplicity. 

Cyser

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So I got some apple cider from Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock, NC to the tune of 5 gallons worth ($35, approximately) and 4 lbs (two quarts-ish) of whatever honey from the grocery store and set off to try to make my first cyser, to uncertain results. 

First, the cider is unpasteurized–props to the orchard for freshness, but adds another step for me.  So I boiled 5 gallons of cider, adding a handful of raisins, some cinnamon and cloves, and a couple cups of brown sugar (can’t fault going for more sweetness).  SINCE I had to pasteurize it myself, I then had to let it sit to cool down to at least 100 deg F or so so it wouldn’t kill the yeast. 

Anyway I used the Wyeast Sweet Mead 4184 strain and am hoping that it won’t cause any problems: it’s been a while since I’ve used it (Orange Cinnamon Mead) and that one turned out way funkier than I thought.  Also used 5 tsps of Fermax yeast nutrient Morning after, only one bubble approximately every 50 seconds, so I stirred the dickens out of it and we’ll see whether I get any more action today when I get home from school.  Sometimes it takes more than overnight for fermentation to really get going so I’ll be patient (I just really don’t want this to screw up). 

Recipe!

  • 5 gallons of apple cider, boiled
  • large handful of raisins (approx 2 cups)
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • 2 lbs honey
  • 10 large cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 cup of cloves
  • 5 tsps Fermax
  • 1 packet Wyeast 4184 added after cooling

Purple Starthistle

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It sounds fancy, and it probably is, but I bought some Purple Starthistle honey from Blue Ridge Honey in Lakemont, GA, which I’m now considering my local honey distributor since Bee Well Honey Farms stopped selling bulk honey (or at least have restricted it to seasonally).  I decided to keep it dry and I’m using Wyeast strain 4632 for this batch to try out something a little new.  I’m afraid I’m going to be a little low on the honey, but we shall see.  I still have another 2 lbs of honey to add if it is not sweet enough at the first rack.

Recipe:

  • 1 gallon (approximately 12 lbs) purple starthistle honey
  • handful of raisins
  • water up to 5 gallons
  • 1 packet Wyeast 4632 (“Dry Mead”)

And stats:

  • Started: 4 October 2010