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

All Rise Up B, Chai, Dale

All Rise Up B 
(2.5 liter overflow batch of the quince bochet)
SG 1012 - dryer than the A batch
15% alcohol
Dry ish but very drinkable, quite wine-like, good! Try giving this to Ank

Chai
Made with Bengal tea
SG 1004
16% alcohol
Oof, you can definitely smell and taste the tea. It's quite sharp-peppery on the tongue. I don't think it's bad at all but a bit sweeter this is probably going to work better
 
Added yeast stop
Added ~500 gram forest honey

Dale
SG 1020
18% alcohol
Pomegranate. Yikes, this is a hit of sharp-hot-sourness on your tongue for the first taste. You can taste the pomegranate but this is very acidic and because of that (and the alcohol), harsh tasting.
 
Added yeast stop
Added ~200 gram forest honey - it was all I had in the house.

May need to consider blending this with something or try whatever acid-lowering things they have in the brewshop
 

Floral update

It's taken off and bubbling away well now. I was rightly warned that not all mold toxins can be killed by boiling, so I need to keep a very close eye on this batch and unless it's tasty enough to risk myself getting sick, just dump it along the line

Floral: DO NOT GIFT

Edit to add: Bob v S has offered the use of his destilling rig for this batch, as that should render the result definitely safe. I've been wanting to try destillation with mead but never wanted to sacrifice a whole batch to it, so this could be interesting

Whoa, it's a real one!

and infection, I mean.

It's a bit of a joke in the mead reddit that 9/10 things that people post as 'help, is this an infection?!' is nothing, but the yeast in Floral had trouble getting started and the elderberry flower syrup must not have been completely sterilised. I heated it up but did not boil it beforehand, so.

I removed the ick and am now boiling the must, and will then repitch with champagne yeast. All will be well.

My 20 ordered bottles arrived (I realised I didn't bottle a lot of my batches because cleaning labels off wine bottles is such a pain; a lot of times they're not glued but printed as stickers). I think I still have 2.5 liters of All Rise Up to bottle and Chai might also be ready, or should at least be racked. Maybe tomorrow. 


Floral - Elderberry Flower mead

This is on the edge of not being mead because there's a good deal of sugar in the syrup, but what the hell

Floral

2200 cl elderberry flower syrup, made by friend Adriana
1 kilo flower honey
port yeast
little bit of energiser

Starting gravity was 1140
Maybe repitch this with champagne yeast? IDK I want to experiment with that some

Edain - lemon mead

At the mead contest at Wasteland somebody had an amazing lemon mead. He'd gone through some super convoluted process with it (apparently it had been infected, they boiled it to sterilise it and boiled it down to a syrup, diluted it again and pitched it with champagne yeast?!)

That's clearly not repeatable but I figured I'd give lemon mead a go.

Edain
  • 2000 gr flower honey
  • 500 ml organic lemon juice (was gonna do 1 liter but figured it'd be too acidic for the yeast to work; might still be, we'll see)
  • Mead yeast, because that's what I had
  • Bit of yeast energiser to kick things off

Overnight update: we have liftoff! Nice steady bubbling

Mead adventure!

I went to Wasteland Weekend (Mojave Desert in California) and have brought a bottle of mead for my tribe for the past years. This year there was going to be a Mead Contest so I brought All Rise Up (Quince bochet) for the contest and Jove (apple mead) for the tribe.

I've never before had the opportunity to drink other people's homebrew mead, or share mine with experienced drinkers, so I was excited about it. I generally like my own meads, but it was fun to see how they weigh up against other people's mead. Which turned out to be pretty good, at least to my palate. I feel like my stuff balances flavours well; there were a bunch of things others were happy with that I would have considered too sweet or too acidic (notably coffee mead and Earl Grey mead - both smelled amazing but were too astringent. Good thing I got to taste them because beforehand I was considering bartering for bottles)

Sadly in the contest the judges were apparently looking for 'the most typical mead' and the prize went to a decent if to my taste over-sweet sack mead. Would've been good to know the brief beforehand; I figured plain was too plain for experienced mead drinkers and brought something to show off with. One of the judges told me he vehemently disagreed with the pick and really liked mine, and everybody I poured it to love it, so eh.

....Now what do I want to make for next year. Or rather, since it's unlikely anything that young will be good, what am I saving to bring. I was tempted to bring the Sage or Thyme honey mead for the contest and I think in hindsight that would have been a better choice, but next year there will be categories, so... 

tasting things

Quite Windy
"Was this made with a special honey?" I wondered. Nope. It's just a nice sweet sack mead with enough character to be interesting. Very accessible though, I think it tastes very much like non-mead drinkers expect mead to taste. This one's gonna make a good gift.

New: Dale

Dale
  • 1750 gr plain flower honey
  • 2 liter store bought pomegranate juice
  • ~o.5 L homepressed pomegranate juice (SO not worth the effort)
  • port yeast
  • yeast energiser

Starting gravity: 1135
Read about pomegranate mead and it sounded intriguing. I hope it still has some colour by the end of it.

New: Chai

Chai:
  • 1750 gr plain flower honey
  • 2.5 liters really strong Bengal chai (Celestials Bengal Spice: Cinnamon, roasted chicory, roasted carob, natural spice and vanilla flavors with other natural flavors, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cloves and nutmeg)
  • Mead/sweet wine yeast
  • Yeast activator 
  • Water to make up volume. 
Starting gravity: 1090
This tea is pretty sharp with the pepper and I'm hoping it'll give the mead an interesting kick.  Hopefully also a pretty dark colour.  I'm also going to try to make this one a little more semi-dry, since I've made so many really sweet ones lately. 

Drake - 2009

Been a while since I tried this one, but there was a small bottle handy upstairs. It was corked - and the cork had dried to shit, so I had to pour it through a filter.

This is very distinctly strawberry! It's not too noxiously sweet, the fruit profile is quite distinct, pretty great actually. Of course with the cork situation it's hard to give this away or serve at a party..

Vuvalini, All Rise Up


Vuvalini
Bochet with chai tea
SG 1022
alc 16%

Oh, this is INTERESTING. Kind of dark and spicy but not spices-spicy. Not sure if this is very accessible for novice mead drinkers (it's meant to be the one I take with me to Wasteland to share) but I am very happy with it

All Rise Up
Bochet with Quince
The 3 liter overflow batch: 0.995 & 13% alcohol - watered this one down a bit too much. The quince is VERY clear, but this is too dry for me. Added some honey and yeast stop.

The 10l batch: SG 1018 / 15%
This is great, very fruity and gentle. Very pleased with it.
Racked into two demis and added yeast stop