Moragh - coffee mead (!)

Last year at Wasteland Weekend I tried an apparently rather popular coffee mead, and to me it was undrinkable - waaayyy too heavy on the coffee/bitter and also to my tastes really sour. I can't stand black coffee so I suppose I was never going to enjoy a strong black coffee mead.

It did intrigue me though! So here's an attempt at a subtle version.  A hint of coffee rather than a punch of coffee.

MORAGH (2 liter)
Coffee cold-brewed from two pads of mocca
750 gr honey
mead yeast
yeast activator

Kearney

I made the two Kearney batches into one, since I had a 5l carboy free. Measured it while I was at it.

SG: 1032 (bang on where I like it for sweetness)
Alc: ~12%

It didn't taste half bad, the spice tea is distinct, but it's still very yeasty and 'working'. I added 250 gr honey because it's going to ferment a little further than it is now so I'd have to backsweeten anyway.

Mead ideas to try:

- Blueberry juice. Like, a LOT of it. I just finished a bottle of Yngvi and that had no colour at all.  Shame
- Dates. They sell them at Odin
- Rosehip. I even ordered dried rosehip at some point.
- Speculaas spices. This could be a thing
- coffee mead. Come on, I gotta try. Just go easy on the coffee so it's a flavour suggestion, not a kick in the face

Lane

Lane - the 2.8 demijohn
1 kilo honey (lidl)
Steeped tea of 8 bags of ginger-hibiscus-apple tea
The new brand mead yeast (Mangrove Jack's) - then standard brand sherry/mead yeast.
Yeast activator
little bit of pecto-enzyme 1

I'm beginning to think that Mangrove Jack's yeast just isn't much good, that was the stuff I couldn't get the Kearney batch started on either and it wasn't doing anything in the starter I made to prep for this batch. Added the sherry yeast and they can battle it out in there.
Was curious what that tea would do and this demijohn was standing empty in my kitchen. Hibiscus should give a nice colour.


I put Edain (lemon) and Dale (pomegranate) in the fridge to cold crash. Dale has been clearing slowly but Edain is still hazy as hell, so I hope this will help.

Kearney(s)

Could NOT get this batch to start. Not with a warm bath, not with port yeast. The tannins of the tea making it hard for the yeast to get foothold? Gravity too high? I split it out over the two 2-liter jugs I have, adding about half a liter of water to each. Then it took another half-day and some more yeast before they're finally blooping away.

Kearney

Note to self: the size of this brown-glass carboy is, for reasons I do not understand, approx 2.8 liters

Kearney (~2.7 liters)

8 bags of Bengal tea (a known success) steeped to the max
1 kilo honey
mead yeast

to be put on cacao nibs in secondary

Idris, June

Racked the big batches.

IDRIS
Bochet with apple juice.
I was concerned I had made this too sweet, but it fermented out to 1012 SG (a touch too dry for my tastes) and 14% alcohol. Racked and added 500 gr honey. It's bubbling again now, so we'll see where that leaves us. I guess I could stabilise it? 14% is plenty so maybe I should.

JUNE
Bochet with cacao nibs
This had been in a bucket so far and still bubbling very actively. It's now in a demijohn.
Added 550 gram cacao nibs - toasted them first for about 20 minutes in a 150c oven. Really made the smell come up. Nibs are much, much less messy than cacao powder (which takes a century to clear out) so I just have to hope the taste transfers as well.
SG 1090, with alcohol at 9% - this still has a good distance to go.


I've ordered a 19 liter carboy. 19! That's kinda crazy. What the hell should I put in it? I feel like with a batch that big maybe it should be something simple and reliable and I can split it out and flavour it in secondary.

Or maybe I should do that Bengal Chai + cacao nibs idea I fever-dreamed up. Spicy peppery chocolate. That should be good, right? Right. Maybe I should test that theory in a 3 liter demi first.

19 liter! That's gonna take a fucking fortune in honey


June - Chocolate mead!

I remembered how nice Ehle (eventually) turned out and figured I should make a new batch so I'd have new chocolate mead in oh, 5 years or so. Adding the cacao right at the start made a huge mess last time (bubbles not popping but making a gross yeasty chocolate mousse that came right up through the airlock) so this time the plan is to let the primary fermentation slow down and only then add the cacao.

It's a 10 liter batch so the must is in a bucket right now and I can get the first sediment from the caramellisation out when I transfer to the demijohn and add the cacao.

JUNE
  • 4 kilo lidl  honey - caramellised medium dark
  • 5 gr mead yeast
  • teaspoon of energiser
To be added:
  • 200 gram Dutch cacao

Chalk!

Apparently you can use a type of chalk powder to knock some acid out of wine, so I'm trying that with the pomegranate and lemon meads. also added some bentonite hoping to clear it. I have in the past bottled things before they were perfectly clear (or rather, they seemed clear, and then dropped sediment in the bottle) so I'm hoping to be more thorough about that in the future.

Hild, Idris

Hild
5 liter bochet, maple syrup to be added later
2 kg honey caramellised to fairly dark brown
Port yeast [note: added sherry yeast the next day because it wasn't starting up and I was concerned about it going bad]

Idris
10 liter bochet with homemade apple juice
2.5 kilo honey caramellised to fairly dark brown
8 liter apple juice
~1.5 liter water
Mead yeast

Little concerned I made this one too sugar-heavy for the yeast to kick off, just like with Gaia, but the yeast was also really old, so probably the first step if it won't start should be ordering fresh yeast

An online tip to remember - if the caramel taste isn't sufficient by the time it's finished secondary, apparently toasted raisins or dates can help a lot. 

Racking

Dale (pomegranate)
SG 1036
Alcohol 21% ?!
The vanilla balanced it out a bit, but it's still pretty fresh. Maybe some time will mellow it? I put the vanilla beans back in.
Added gelatin to clear it - never worked with gelatin for fining before, so curious how that will work. If it does work, this can be bottled next time. 

Edain (Lemon)
SG 1030
Alcohol 19%
Wonderful lemon scent now, the zest did a lot of work there. The taste is good, but again, pretty fresh. I put the vanilla beans back in.
Also added gelatin

Floral (elderberry flower syrup)
This is the one that got infected and I have earmarked for destillation - I do not want to taste it since there is some small risk it would make me sick.
Smell is quite strongly floral. Very fizzy, too much to get a SG reading. Alcohol reading said 10%, which seems low.
Added gelatin.


Gaia

Warming up Gaia in a waterbath seemed to get the fermentation going again a little, but not workable to keep it warm that way. It's now wrapped in a heat pad but probably at 1050 but 19%! not going to ferment much more. Added the dryest mead I could find in my storage - Shattered Spankerboom - and I think it's picking up a little. Let's see if we can get this to a drinkable rocket fuel state.

Chai, Dale, Edain, Gaia

Chai
Mead with Bengal Spice tea
SG 1030
Alc 17%

Ohh! Backsweetening was just what this needed. It's a well-rounded, medium sweet with a peppery backtone. Very nice and interesting but not a 'stunt mead'. Bottled this.

Dale
Pomegranate mead.
SG 1034
Alc 19%
Slight backsweetening has improved the taste a bit, but it's still very acidic in a way that further sweetening won't balance out. I had planned to bottle this but have added 3 vanilla pods instead. It was suggested to me that oak extract would help balance it, but I've run out - the pod of a vanilla bean might take on that job though. Let's hope so.

Edain
Lemon mead
SG ~1030
Alcohol 15%
Has the yeasty smell of fermentation-in-progress, but is probably well along the way to being finished. On the acidic side, which is to be expected of lemon. I don't taste the lemon though. Hmm. Added two vanilla pods hoping to counter the acidity a bit, and then we'll see. Maybe some zest after all?

Gaia
Apple mead
SG ~1050
Alc 19%
Oof. This is obviously Not Done but the alcohol percentage has to be pushing it even for the champagne yeast. I added back a bit of the yeast cake and gave it some new champagne yeast. It seems to still be alive, so we'll have to see how this goes.

Bathing

Gaia didn't start fermenting overnight, so I put it in a warm bath today to help the yeast get started


It's bubbling now.. or rather, foaming! Foam was pushing out through the airlock so I gave it a blow-off tube until it calms down

Gaia

Gaia

1800 gr supermarket honey
~4 liter homemade applejuice
Champagne yeast
yeast energiser

I think I want to make this a harvest mead, with spices in secondary