Bottled: Pumpkin, Sweet Sweet Potato

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With the help of my two roommates, bottled the pumpkin mead (dry but with that really distinct pumpkin flavor…will be delicious!) and sweet sweet potato mead (so sweet! delicious! like you made frosting out of sweet potatoes and made it alcoholic). Final stats:

Pumpkin:

  • Started: 16 October 2011
  • First rack: 9 November 2011
  • Second rack: 20 Dec 2011
  • Bottled: 22 Jan 2011

Sweet Sweet Potato:

  • Started: 16 October 2011
  • First rack: 9 November 2011
  • Second rack: 20 December 2011
  • Bottled: 22 Jan 2011

Peach

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I haven’t updated about peach in a while–I think that is accurate as I haven’t done much with the peach in a while. I’ve tried to add my usual gelatin-based clarifier to get it really clear but even after at least a month it did not get as clear as I’ve been trying to get.

One thing I’m pretty happy with is that I set out to make two identical batches and I have ended up with two identical-tasting batches. I haven’t been compelled with the actual taste yet (the honey is potent, the peaches are not) but it will age nicely.

  • 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)
  • Bottled: 6 and 20 Dec 2011

Bottling cyser

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So with the help of two very eager neophyte roommates I got the 8 gallons or so of cyser bottled and they are just awesome! One is a bit sweeter than the other but they already taste great, and they clarified very quickly. Probably the fastest brew->bottle batch I’ve done yet. Stats:

  • Started: 18 September 2011 (yeast on 19 Sep 2011)
  • 1st rack: 4 October 2011 (added 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract)
  • Bottled: 2 November 2011

Bottling

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Bottled two batches of mead today! The Chai3 is more cardamom-y than the other two but still delicious. Sometimes, in a batch, I like the actual mead part. Sometimes I like the spices/additions. In this batch, I’m not so happy with the actual mead part but the spices/additions are just about right. As always, I’m going to give it time. Stats:

  • Started: 11 Aug 2011
  • First Rack: 1 Sep 2011
  • Bottled: 10 Oct 2011

And for the blackberry, the same applies. Delicious, of course, but I think it is still too dry.

  • Started: 11 Aug 2011
  • First Rack: 1 Sep 2011 (off of blackberries)
  • Bottled: 10 Oct 2011

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)

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)

Bottling Cyser

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So I just finished bottling the cyser (apple cider mead) and boy I wish I had gotten one of my friends to help like I usually do. Cuts the workload significantly. Oh well, still got it done. There was definitely more cruft (extra junk that had settled to the bottom) than any other batch of anything I’ve ever done…I imagine it was mostly the fibers and meat part from the apple cider.  It left me with much less mead than I expected (24 beer bottles and 6 wine bottles), but it is delicious and I will just have to let it wait to get better. It definitely isn’t perfect yet, especially right out of the carboy, but I’ve read that ciders take longer to age than straight meads or especially wine.  Here are some pictures of the extra junk at the bottom:

Cyser just before bottling

The very bottom junk in the cyser

 

 

 

And the final stats:

  • Started: 8 October 2010
  • 1st Rack: 24 October 2010
  • 2nd Rack: 21 November 2010
  • Bottled: 31 Dec 2010 (after potassium sorbate and gelatin-based clarifier)

 

Oh yeah, I did some stuff

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A little late on the posting, but I wanted to make sure that I logged some racking/bottling that I did.

1) On the 29th of July I racked the agave mead, backsweetening with about 2-3 lbs (about a 1/4 gallon) of clover honey.  Fermentation definitely restarted and I got to watch it in the carboy like I did in the old days before I got a bucket for primary fermentation

Stats:

  • Started: 16 May 2010, 8:27p
  • 1st rack: 29 July 2010 onto 2-3 lbs of clover honey

2) On the 7th of July I bottled the maple mead and it is truly amazing already, can’t wait to see what happens when I let it age for a year or so.  Not very bubbly, which would have been nice, but very sweet and kept a very strong maple flavor.

Stats:

  • Started: 8 March 2010, 9:00p
  • First rack: 5 April 2010, 9:53p
  • Second rack: 16 May 2010, 7:39p (with potassium sorbate)
  • Bottled: 7 July 2010, after using a clarifier

Strawberry Mead: bottled and waiting

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I got some new equipment for bottling (long time coming, really): a bottle filler, which is really a tiny spring-loaded spigot at the bottom of a tube, a clamp for the tube to stop the flow if necessary, and a clip that holds the racking cane to the side of the bucket/carboy.  It really helps out a lot to have these things–I tried to cheap out earlier on and not buy them, but the whole kit was maybe 10 bucks, so I was just trying to cut corners and it didn’t work out.  Anyway, all said bottling the strawberry mead was very easy.

The strawberry mead is a bit drier than I wanted, but I didn’t back-sweeten with any more honey, so I suppose that’s my own fault.  I kind of like them a bit dryer anyway, and the taste is delicious.  I am okay with leaving it for longer, though, and let it really ripen.  It has a beautiful golden-pink color.  Final stats:

  • Started: 6 January 2010
  • First rack: 25 January 2010 (onto strawberries, in carboy)
  • Second rack: 14 February 2010 (off of strawberries, in carboy)
  • Third rack: 5 April 2010 (starting to clarify, in fresh carboy)
  • Bottled: 8 May 2010 (after potassium sorbate to impede any living yeast and a clarifier)

Today’s work: Chai Mead

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Just a few notes about bottling the Chai Mead.  The clarifying agent worked very well (even though I forgot to warm up the second stage of it before I added it, whoops), and it tastes delicious.  Note: I would like to have had more chai flavor in it next time, so don’t hold back.

Cleaning the bottles took about an hour, which is normal.  The rest took about a half an hour–I’d like to bring my overall bottling time down since it is the most annoying and generally most time-consuming part of the process, but that’s something to work on in the future.  Bottle brush was very helpful.

A note about the new sanitizer: it seemed to create more bubbles than I am accustomed to with the iodine-based sanitizer.  These extra bubbles worried me, but the necessity for “air-drying” after you sanitize should, ideally, take care of them.  I don’t really know how thorough one must be about this air-drying, but I haven’t been able to discern yet any negative effects on my mead from not completely air-drying the bottles (or the equipment, for that matter).  To get rid of the bubbles when I was bottling, I rinsed most everything before I put the mead in it…anybody have any thoughts on the rinsing after sanitization?  I know it’s not generally approved, but it seemed preferable to me at the time.

Anyway, it is delicious.  Here’s the complete stats for the chai mead, and I will leave it alone for as long as possible before I start drinking it.

  • Started: 1 September 2009
  • Rack 1: 29 September 2009
  • Rack 2: 18 November 2009
  • Rack 3: 3 January 2010
  • Potassium Sorbate added: 8 February 2010
  • Bottled: 14 February 2010

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