Dealing with crystallization

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So I had about 2 gallons worth of honey that had crystallized in the 5 gallon bucket that I had bought it in. I had left it too long without using it and I think I accidentally didn’t seal the bucket itself enough to keep the moisture from getting in. So, knowing that it is still good honey and not knowing what else to do with it, I decided to make a batch (two actually) with honey that had been boiled first, much like beer is always brewed. It is a fairly common, though much debated, practice whose pros and cons are most scientifically investigated in this double blind taste test. Summarizing a very useful and informative post, essentially boiling will take away aroma but give you body and flavor.

So here’s to giving it a try. A normal plain mead recipe, one batch made with D47, one with EC1118 (because that’s all I have left in my yeast storehouse), with all that delicious honey brought to a rolling boil before being added to the bucket, cooled, and yeast pitched.

  • 1gallon honey (approx. 10 lbs, did not very precisely measure this)
  • water up to 5 gallons
  • 1 tsp irish moss
  • 5tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1 batch with 1 packet D47 yeast, 1 batch with 1 packet EC1118 yeast

If the method works out without completely failing, then I may be adding strawberries in the secondary for these two batches to be my strawberry mead of this season. If boiling does lower the aroma but increase the body and flavor, that would work really perfectly with the strawberries bringing in their aroma in the secondary but enjoying the flavor and body of the boiled honey.

Stats:

  • Started: 29 May 2012

Yeast notes

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Just wanted to post about some yeast websites that I’ve been looking at for future reference. I’ve read some mead recipes using “Montrachet” yeast and I hadn’t heard of it before, so I searched for it using Google.

First useful site is at Grape Stomper.  I use Lalvin yeasts frequently, so its breakdown (a list of recommended strains and characteristics of each) for some of the different varieties is helpful. It also gives a short description of each strain which is helpful. Not for mead specifically, but you know…in general.

Second is the discussion in this HomeBrew Talk thread about the right yeast for a cider. If you remember my cyser, I used a Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast (that has worked out very tastily!), but their comments on the Montrachet yeast leads me to respect it perhaps over a champagne yeast. But maybe something else entirely? I think I’m reading too much about non-mead yeasts. Just some thoughts.

Some notes on yeast

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I’ve become much more interested in yeast varieties recently, prompted by my desire to become better at the finer points of wine/beer brewing.  I’ve found this site has a pretty good explanation of Lalvin-brand yeasts, one of which I’ve gotten from Thomas Creek recently (K1-V1116):

http://www.lallemandwine.us/products/yeast_strains.php

Another good site with some general explanations of a variety of wine yeasts is here:

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/strains.asp

Lastly, in my research I found that the name given to the primary genus of most yeast strains is “saccharomyces”, which comes from the Greek words for sugar (sacchar) and fungus (myces).  I may begin calling yeast “sugar fungus” from now on.