Upkeep

It was fun having a whole bunch of new batches going at the same time - the sounds of the airlocks were really nice. Like I had a jacuzzi in my living room :-D

Today I slightly belatedly added the thyme honey to Zaqar and the rosemary honey to Aella. Since there wasn't enough headroom, I combined their deplaced volume in a 1 liter bottle:

Diminutive - which I added a couple of spoons of yuzu marmelade to, a splash of yuzu juice, and a big spoon of the pine honey that has that surprising same-sensation-as-date-syrup flavour. Not for any real reason than that it was the only easily accessible jar of honey I had around, the rest of my current stash is in the bucket.

Bronwyn (5L)

Coffee bochet. Rather than reproducing the previous I thought I'd see how this works out with caramellised honey.
2.5 kilo honey cooked down to medium toasted.
Cold brew of 60 gr fancy coffee grounds. (possibly a bit on the strong side? figured I'd need to up it slightly to weigh up against the bochet flavour)
Mead yeast. 

Seems off to a good start.  No starting gravity because I'm a dope

Calliope (5L)

Cacao bochet. I'm also going to make a 20L batch plain cacao mead, but I wanted to give this a try. 
2.5 kilo honey cooked down to medium toasted
150 gr Dutch cacao
mead yeast

This is more likely 6 liter or even 6.5 - it's in a bucket now and I wanted to make sure I'd have enough volume left once it comes off the primary sludge. I'll leave it in the bucket for now to avoid gross foamy disaster, but it's blopping away enthusiastically

No starting gravity because I'm a dope

 

Given that the honey cooked down to about half volume I figure both of these will need serious backsweetening, potentially with more caramellised honey, but I can see about that later. 

New brewings

 I seem to have lapsed on actually naming batches - the lapsang and pinetips batches still don't have names. Lots of plans to start new things this week so I really should think of some.

New:

  • Zaqar 1750 gr honey / mead yeast / to be backsweetened with the ~450 gr thyme honey I've had standing around for the past century

  • Aella: 1500 gr honey / mead yeast / to be backsweetened with the 900 gr rosemary honey I've had standing around for the past century

  • Fennah II: 2000 gr honey / mead yeast / to be flavoured with fresh mint in secondary.  

Here's the rest of the planning list:


Bottlings

 Sess came to help and we bottled Quasi, Moragh II, Ode and the 5 gallon All Rise Up Again. Basement is very full now!

...I have a lot of room for new batches. Also, i found a place that sells cheap honey by the 20 kilo bucket. So.

Plans!

 Uh oh, I have joined a mead brewing discord and now I am full of ideas

- cacao mead. I've been meaning to make another one of these. Since it takes forever (though not as stupidly long since last time I did not backsweeten from the start) this will be the next 5 gallon batch. If I have to wait 2 years for a result I might as well make a lot of it. 

- ...but I also want to make a cacao bochet. Wait I have done that. It's June? I think it's June. Which still isn't very cacaoish because the nibs just didn't work out well

- and a cacao with bengal spice, since the cacao aspect of Tai turned out so underwhelming

- heather honey! gotta so something with those 4 kg very fancy honey. 

- buckwheat honey. It had such a wonderful molasses-syrupy flavour. 

- hibiscus

 


On the go:

Yaffe (Lapsang souchon)

Never got a name so I guess it's stuck with this now Yaffe

Fermented dry. Definitely smokey! really cool. About ~15% alcohol

Sweetened to SG 1026

I feel like this will need an acid to counterbalance all the tannins and sweet, but haven't decided yet if I just want to do an additive or use lemon juice or something else. 


Xanthe (Pine Tips Mead)

...still waiting on my dining room table to be racked. Suspect this will also need an acid.

Rackings

 Some of these have been standing on my dining room table forever, hoping they would clear. A friend came to work on his own meads and that got me to get a move on all of my backlog. 

New ambition is to REALLY fine my meads beyond 'looks pretty clear' - I hate thinking I'm bottling something that's clear and then finding a bunch of sediment in the bottles half a year later.

Ode

Apple-strawberry. Fresh-sweet. nice but could use some tannin.

added ~15ml mellow oak extract  

Even with the superklar 24hr fining this is still a little hazy. Flavourwise ready to bottle.


Moragh 2

(subtle) Coffee mead 

very sweet. I do get coffee. Not bad but not moorish

Fined and ready to bottle.  

Not sure what this lacks flavourwise. Tannin or acid? I could try oak...? ....salt?


Quasi

Lemon zest and thyme honey 

champagne yeast not a success. Good scent, not a great taste imo. not very lemony or thymey

added yeast stop, 20ml yuzu juice, 200gr thyme honey

Fined and ready to bottle 


MEDEdeling

Mack's Hack42 mead. This is very light in colour. 

Fined and ready to bottle, but waiting for Mack to come and do that.  


vercopa

10 liter blackberry mead 

starting sg 1130

sg 1000

...no notes, that's helpful. I assume I backsweetened this. Maybe even stopped it, who knows.


All Rise Up Again

5 gallon quince bochet

very acidic! Applestroop Taste is coming, sweetness good? still gassy

5 gallon

1026 sg

17%

Added stopper

Fining added, clearing. I was hoping to bottle this weekend but the clarity is very hard to assess in such a big vessel.  


Whaitiri

tea with ginger, lemongrass and Kawakawa.

Interesting flavours - I'm not getting the ginger, but it was definitely kind of grassy.

1004

~17%

Added 500 gr honey

new things!


Xanthe
100 gr scots pine tips
~1750 honey
port yeast
SG ~1100

Yaffe 
50 gr lapsang souchon tea
~1750 honey
port yeast
SG ~1100


More mead ideas

 I have dried pine tips that smell delicious and I think I'll make tea of that and then brew with it

I have dried hibiscus flowers

I am considering lapsang suchon tea mead

All Rise Up (Again) - update

 I actually did the degassing and feeding for this batch in the first weeks! It's much less scary in a bucket with some headroom, if I do that in a carboy I get a fountain. 

The batch has been ticking along and SG was at about 1008 this morning, which is definitely too dry and it's likely to still be fermenting a little. So after some calculations I caramellised  another 2 kilo of honey and mixed it in - we're now at 1030. That's usually about where I like it, but we'll see how that turns out. If it ferments off a bit more it may need more backsweetening. 

It can stay in the kitchen until I start tidying up before christmas, then hopefully it'll have dropped the worst of the lees and can go into the carboy

All Rise Up (Again)

 All Rise Up (Again)

In january 2017 on the day before the US inauguration we dreaded, bestie Sess and I made a mead and called it All Rise Up. A quince bochet. It turned out a lot better than all the political stuff. 

Now on the day before the 2020 US elections I am making that mead again. Maybe the yeasties will eat the stress and the dread and make something beautiful again. 

5 gallons. 

8 kilo well-caramellised cheap-ass Lidl honey
~16 liters quince juice, part from last year and part new
mead yeast. 

It's going to be living in the bucket on my tiny kitchen counter for a week or two until it's dropped a good deal of its sediment (bochet has a lot). I made a little extra to account for the loss.

Whaitiri

 Whaitiri (the personification of thunder)

A friend sent me a cheering care package from New Zealand and included a local tea, so I could brew with it. It was this tea with ginger, lemongrass and Kawakawa. 

2 kilos honey

mead yeast 

Mead plans

 I always mentally plan new batches and then when it comes to actually starting things, I'll have forgotten all over again. So. 

- 5 gallon with quince juice and caramellised honey. That quince bochet batch was a hit and I hope I can replicate it. I only have 10 liters of juice right now though. I either need to make up the difference with water, another juice, or I need to wait a couple of weeks for quinces to come into season and make another batch of juice.

- 2x a 10 liter batch with 2 kg plain honey and 2 kg of the heather honey

I could do this in the 5 gallon vessel but I have carelessly negative-pressured the airlock when I moved it, and I'm too scared to ruin this amazing honey

- a 5 liter batch with fig. Noon was nice but fermented slightly too dry, I think

- 5 liter plain for backsweetening with rosemary honey

- 5 liter plain for backsweetening with thyme honey

- 5 liter yuzu mead. I have a small amount of juice, and yuzu marmelade. The juice should go into primary (and then hope I can get the ferment started at all) and the marmelade later, in secondary, presumably. Or get some zest by that time. 

Newly bottled:

 I seriously need to make a new index list.


Uriel One - plain mead, semi-sweet

Uriel Two - Mead with lemon zest and fresh thyme

Ruby - blood orange. Semi-sweet

Tai - bengal spice and cacao. Dry-sweet

Seraph - date syrup mead. Dry-sweet

Paloma - raspberry mead. Champagne bottled. Maybe be fizzy in a while! May not, who knows, not me.

 Ruby Two 

VERY orangey and rosemaryey. Very nice. Hopefully will mellow down a touch.