Simple Strawberry Recipes

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So those two simple meads I just posted about are going to eventually turn into strawberry meads using strawberries freshly plucked from Beechwood Farms in Traveler’s Rest SC. Read that other post about some complications during the startup, but I don’t think there will be any terrible consequences in the long run. It all goes to alcohol eventually, right?!

Sweet Strawberry recipe:

  • 1 gallon+1 qt+1/2 qt wildflower honey (from Bee Well), approx. 15 lbs
  • water up to 4.5 gallons (to leave space for the strawberries in secondary
  • 1 packet Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast (4184), second packet added 5 days later

And stats:

  • Started: 15 May 2011
  • More yeast: 20 May 2011

Dry Strawberry recipe:

  • 1 gallon+1 qt+1/2 qt wildflower honey (from Bee Well), approx. 15 lbs
  • water up to 4.5 gallons (to leave space for the strawberries in secondary
  • 1 packet Wyeast Dry Mead yeast (4632), second packet added 5 days later, EC-1118 added one week later

And stats:

  • Started: 15 May 2011
  • More yeast: 20 May 2011 (another packet 4632)
  • More yeast: 22 May 2011 (EC-1118)

Two “Simple” meads

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Okay, so I bought 5 gallons of honey for summer projects. I’m working on doing two batches at a time and also upping the sugar content to make the meads sweeter, so the investment in about $200 of honey is worth it. Plus, I have at least one lead on a couple getting wedded to whom I might be able to sell my mead, so there’s potential for profit here. I also bought something like 3 gallons worth of strawberries to make two batches of strawberry mead. They are now sliced and frozen, waiting for secondary.

Now! As an effort to streamline my process I had this brilliant idea to make a very simple mead. The operative word there is “simple”; however, it is rarely that way. I wanted to put in 15 lbs of honey, water up to 4.5 gallons (leaving space for the strawberries in the secondary), one packet of wyeast sweet mead (4184) yeast, stir it all up and let it go. Pretty simple recipe for new brewers. However, I didn’t get fermentation. So I stirred it up on the 3rd day. Nothing. 5th day, added another packet of yeast, and now we’re cooking! I think my first batch of yeast was dead..it’s been getting warmer and sometimes the trip from Thomas Creek back home involves a stop at the grocery store or elsewhere and the yeast may get too warm in those packets.

The twin batch, using the same amount of honey and water but instead wyeast dry mead yeast (4632), wasn’t bubbling. Then I stirred it, still no bubbling. Added another packet of dry mead yeast (as with the other), still no bubbling. Don’t know what’s up, maybe it’s a stuck fermentation. Sweet mead is going fine, so I add a packet of EC-1118, a champagne yeast good for re-starting stuck fermentations. Any guesses at the result? Still no bubbles. Curious! At this point, I start to fault equipment, which I should have done earlier. I’m working on switching from 3-piece airlocks:

To s-shaped airlocks:

And I think one of the s airlocks I got was faulty. The 3-piecer I put on it last night is bubbling once every 15 seconds or so, which is not as fast as I’d like, but it’s definitely fermenting. Stats and recipes in the next post.

Two down, two still going

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So in the effort to speed my brewing process, I bottled two meads tonight–the cranberry and the lemon-ginger#2. I neutralized the yeast and then clarified them simultaneously this week and bottled them, one right after the other. The cranberry is tart, as it should be–not sweet, but not too dry either. The lemon-ginger tastes remarkably similar to the first generation L-G, which is a good thing. As my roommates suggested on the last tasting, I think both would work well with a little Sprite or Tonic Water to make a spritzer–taking a little off the strength of the alcohol and adding a little bubbly sweetness. Anyway, all the bottling and tasting has made me drunk. I’ll post these final stats and call it a night!:

Cranberry:

  • Started: 10 March 2011
  • Racked: 30 Mar 2011 (?)
  • Racked: 25 Apr 2011 (perfect!)
  • Bottled: 14 May 2011

LG#2:

  • Started: 16 Feb 2011
  • Re-started: 26 Feb 2011 (with 1 more packet Red Star champagne yeast and yeast nutrient)
  • Racked: 21 Mar 2011 (no issues)
  • Racked: 25 Apr 2011 (perfect!)
  • Bottled: 14 May 2011

(note: got two orangey meads on the way, and expect a post about starting 4 batches (that’s right, FOUR!) tomorrow)

Two oranges

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So I’m currently racking the two orange batches, first the Just Orange batch (made with EC-1118 yeast), which is still more dry than I want. I’ve been playing around with different meads, but sampling this one it still has the slightly-too-dry overly-alcoholy aftertaste of the Blueberry Mead. So I don’t think it is precisely the yeast (although that still plays a part, I’m sure). I’m thinking it might be the amount of honey (I’m consistently starting with 1gal=12lbs of honey) since I could certainly be adding more. The only strict guidance I’ve gotten about how much honey was way back in my first batches when I read that 10lbs yields a “drier” mead and 15lbs yields a “sweeter” mead. Not precise enough I don’t think. So I added 1qt of honey before I racked it and we’ll see how it goes. Stats:

  • Started: 29 March 2011
  • 1st Rack: 3 May 2011

The 3rd gen mead is not as dark or meaty as the first generation, nor as dry as the 2nd, but is still dry (equally as Just Orange). So I added another quart of honey before racking it, stirring profusely. I’m pretty sure the fermentation is still active by the number of excited bubbles that came up and foamed at the surface–just a curiosity of the second yeast (D-47) generating more bubbles, and possibly the raisins providing a better fermenting environment for the yeast. Definitely a bigger fan of D47 than E1118. Stats:

  • Started: 29 March 2011
  • 1st Rack: 3 May 2011