TONS of work, touched it all tonight

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Thanks to the help of one of my friends, I got a lot of work done tonight. Direct to the work:

Racked both peaches, stats:

  • Started: 10 Jul 2011
  • First Rack: 30 Jul 2011 (onto 10lbs of peaches, pureed and sanitized)
  • Second Rack: 1 Sep 2011 (off of peaches and yeast, mostly)

Racked blackberry off the blackberries. The blackberry taste is just barely there, need to use more next time. Stats:

  • Started: 11 Aug 2011
  • First Rack: 1 Sep 2011 (off of blackberries)

Racked Chai#3 off of the spices and yeast. Has all the right flavors, the cardamom is coming through more strongly in a delicious way! Stats:

  • Started: 11 Aug 2011
  • First Rack: 1 Sep 2011

Also added clarifiers to the blueberry and the thyme mead. So they’re set to bottle after Labor Day weekend. So excited–it is all delicious! I have tried each of these meads tonight so I am a little drunk!

 

 

Racking “True Blue”

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Racked the blueberry mead and GOOD GRAVY it is delicious. My previous blueberry cyser is aging well but the taste of blueberry is not obvious enough–a friend who tasted it last Friday couldn’t even tell from an initial taste that it was supposed to be blueberry. But this current blueberry batch has gotten all the blueberry flavor it needs. The color is a dark purple and it tastes deeply of blueberries. I may try to get more local blueberries and do another batch of this before the summer is completely over. Stats:

  • Started: 14 June 2011
  • First rack: 7 Jul 2011 (onto 7lbs of blueberries, approximately 1gallon+1/2qt of blueberries)
  • Second rack: 11 Aug 2011 (off of blueberries)

Racking

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I racked all three batches of mead I currently have going last Thursday. Both strawberry meads have aged nicely and have a very similar taste regardless of the yeast issues I had earlier. I racked them off the strawberries, just like the previous batch of strawberry mead and now I just have to wait for it to clarify. The blueberry mead (now unfortunately only one batch) I racked onto the actual blueberries and it has taken on a deep purple delicious-looking color, I am very excited about it. Stats:

Stats, Sweet Strawberry:

  • Started: 15 May 2011
  • More yeast: 20 May 2011
  • Rack onto Strawberries: 13 Jun 2011
  • Rack off of Strawberries: 7 Jul 2011

Stats, Dry Strawberry:

  • Started: 15 May 2011
  • More yeast: 20 May 2011 (another packet 4632)
  • More yeast: 22 May 2011 (EC-1118)
  • Rack onto Strawberries: 13 Jun 2011
  • Rack off of Strawberries: 7 Jul 2011

Stats, Blueberry:

  • Started: 14 June 2011
  • First rack: 7 Jul 2011 (onto 7lbs of blueberries, approximately 1gallon+1/2qt of blueberries)

Leak

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So one of my brewing buckets has a leak in it, at the faucet at the bottom. Which means that this afternoon I went down to check on my two buckets blueberry-to-be mead and one of them was in a gently-drying puddle on the floor. An unfortunate accident but you have to move on. Lesson to learn: make sure that the valves at the bottom of my brewing buckets have been sealed as tightly as possible, and keep an eye on any possibility for leaking. I could probably do a better job of monitoring the mead (daily at least?) if a leak does start I can salvage as much of it as possible. I think this leak happened pretty fast, I’d been keeping a pretty good eye on these already.

If possible I can start using the brew buckets without a spigot on the bottom, too, unless necessary. The added convenience may not be worth it if those valves start losing confidence after a year or so. In short anything that might cause me to lose an entire batch of mead needs to be avoided if at all possible, and here it is possible I think. Brew buckets are cheap.

Blueberry? Peach?

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Started two batches of mead today in preparation for a batch of probably blueberry mead. I’m going to pick a buttload of blueberries when they start coming out (probably in the next couple weeks) and do the same thing I did with the Simple Strawberry batches. Both batches use the same exact recipe and I intend to keep it that way in the future, aiming still for consistency. Recipe:

  • 1 gallon+1 qt Bee Well wildflower honey (from the 5 gallon tub!), approx. 14 lbs
  • Water up to 4.5 gallongs
  • 5tsp Fermax yeast nutrient
  • 1 packet Lalvin D47 yeast

As always, stirred it all up and let ‘er rip. Stats:

  • Started: 14 June 2011

Bottling process, blueberry

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So I took some video of the equipment I use and how I prepare for the bottling stage of the process. Check it out here:

Moreoever I got a good video of how the actual siphoning works and the hands-free process that I use to get the mead going. It’s pretty nifty all things considered:

The bottling was done on April 11th, so for the record here are the final stats for blueberry mead:

  • Started 13 Jan 2011
  • Racked 13 Feb 2011 + 1oz blueberry flavoring + 1lb wildflower honey
  • Racked 10 Mar 2011
  • Bottled 11 Apr 2011 + 1lb wildflower honey (dissolved in warm water first) (Potassium Sorbate was used to neutralize the yeast and gelatin-based clarifier)

Photos of the new meadery

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So here’s some pictures of the new setup for brewing in my basement. More organized, less stuff sitting around taking up space, and more room to brew!

shelves

 

 

 

Here’s the new shelving, so I’ve moved all the brewing much closer to the sink. Still not sure about that fridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

horde

 

 

 

And here’s the whole horde of mead that I have stored for posterity and possible nuclear attack. Note the 55-gallon drum, currently empty (hopefully not for long!)

 

 

 

 

 

blueberry label

 

 

 

And last here are the labels designed by my younger sister who is pretty awesome. Going on the blueberry mead, which is soon to be bottled!

Video

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Trying to include a video here from my youtube page featuring three meads. I’ll let it speak for itself:

 

And if that doesn’t work, link to it here.

Tasting

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So I did a couple little things today and started a new batch. My first post here will highlight some tasting that I was able to do.

First, I’m adding Potassium Sorbate to the Chai Mead to kill off the yeast and I’m adding the gelatin-based clarifier on the same day for the sake of convenience. I want to see if it still works effectively or if somehow the clarifier and the sorbate somehow cancel each other out. The chai mead has a very bubbly, sweet taste to it, but somehow deep as well. We’ll see how it develops as I bottle it in the next few days.

Second, I racked the blueberry mead (got a vid, will post later)…it is tasting DEElicious. Got some off-tastes to it (typical for mead that is still in development), but the blueberry is present and not too strong, the mead is sweet but not too sweet. Got rid of almost all the cruft at the bottom during the rack. This is going to be some sweet mead. Stats:

  • Started 13 Jan 2011
  • Racked 13 Feb 2011 + 1oz blueberry flavoring + 1lb wildflower honey
  • Racked 10 Mar 2011

Various updates, pictures

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Two deliciously uneventful racks happened over the last couple weeks, both the chai mead #2 and the blueberry mead.

The Chai mead is very sweet and the chai doesn’t overpower it too much. Morgan doesn’t like the sweetness of it (and honestly, I think it is a bit too sweet as well), but it is still great. I like to have a variety and most of my meads turn out on the drier side anyway. The yeast makes a difference–this batch tastes remarkably similar (and has a similar sparkle) to the Orange-Cinnamon mead I made quite a long time ago. As of today (16 Feb) there is already a lot of clarifying going on. Stats for Chai #2:

  • Started: 21 December 2010chai mead #2
  • First Rack: 31 January 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blueberry mead got 1oz of blueberry extract and about a pound of honey added to it to increase the sweetness a bit and the blueberriness some. There is a lot of cruft hanging around, but that is similar to the apple cider, I think. I will definitely be racking it out of the extra fibers and stuff on the next rack. Stats:

  • Started 13 Jan 2011blueberry mead
  • Racked 13 Feb 2011 + 1oz blueberry flavoring + 1lb wildflower honey

 

 

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