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)

Racking

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Tonight I racked Lemon Ginger#2 and Cranberry, both are perfect! I’m working on this two-batch-at-a-time thing. Since I’ve made the processes more efficient, I can stand to do two batches at the same time. I think I can get more consistency and to better comparisons by doing it. Stats:

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!)

Cranberry (I don’t know the exact date of the first rack, whoops):

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

And in REALLY bad news land, I broke my first carboy when I dropped it on the ground. Luckily I was about to rinse it out so it was empty, but may be a reason to start fully converting to plastic Better Bottle bottles, which I had already been considering. We’ll see how the Better Bottles do before I commit.

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.

Lemon Ginger update

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So I racked the Lemon Ginger #2 mead today and it tastes GOOD. A little light on the ginger at first and I think the lemon predominates, but I’m not going to mess with it. My roommate is happy that I’ve made a spicier/drier mead again (makes up for the POM#2 that is delicious but very sweet). I think it tastes remarkably like the first batch of Lemon Ginger mead I made, which I’m very happy about–at this point I’m more happy with consistency than with raw tastiness (cause let’s face it, it all tastes delicious). Stats for the record:

  • 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)

On a minor note, while I had the sanitizing stuff out I went ahead and stirred up the cranberry mead. It had stopped bubbling almost entirely which worries me so early in the process. At the same time, it was going really fast at the start and the taste when I was finished stirring was pretty great, so I’m not worried about a stuck fermentation or anything. Just a little surprised that it had stopped relatively quickly (11 days after start).

 

Lemon Ginger Issues

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So the bubbling didn’t start after 48 hours so I gave it a raucous stirring 2 days after. Still no fermentation, I let it go for a few more days (1 week in fact) without any bubbling. There was evidence of a little CO2 coming off, but not enough once every minute or two–i.e., my attention span. I added 5 tsp of the yeast nutrient (as I expected I would) on the 24th and let it go for a few more days: still no activity. Or so I thought.

Yesterday (Saturday the 26th) I take matters into my own hands and decide to re-start with more yeast, which I prepare according to the package. I go to lift up the lid and realize that I didn’t actually re-secure the lid on the bucket, so it was really just resting on top. Hopefully it remained hermetic, that seal is still pretty secure I imagine, but more importantly I realize that fermentation probably had started back when I added the nutrient, but who knows. I added the yeast anyway, gave it a rigorous stir, and now it is bubbling happily.

Stats, for the record:

  • Started: 16 Feb 2011
  • Re-started: 26 Feb 2011 (with 1 more packet Red Star champagne yeast and yeast nutrient)

If life gives you lemons

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Make mead. Nuff said, I’m re-trying the lemon ginger that was I think my second batch of mead I ever made and my first 5 gallon batch. I’m erring on the side of less of the flavor-y stuff this time around (as with all of my second generation meads), but I may end up adding some more in the secondary to give it a bit more flavor. Recipe:

  • 1 gallon (approx 12 lbs) Bee Well wildflower honey
  • rind and juice from 2 lemons
  • 3oz candied ginger
  • 1 packet Red Star champagne yeast
  • water up to 5gallons

Just realized that I didn’t add any yeast nutrient. I guess we’ll see how it goes and add some with another packet of yeast if the fermentation gets stuck. Stats:

  • Started: 16 Feb 2011