Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ha ha! It's arrived.........

I've read many mentions about this book. Mostly from American members of various forums and facebook pages/groups I frequent.

I thought it would be a "bigger" book, but it's about the same size as Ashton & Duncans "Making Mead" book (which is from the same range of books that produced the venerable "First Steps in Wine Making" by CJJ Berry).

Dunno yet whether it'll turn out to be more or less informative, or whether it will just draw the same conclusions etc. I expect it to have at least some different info, as Roger Morse, seems, so far anyway, to be presenting his information toward an American audience.

No surprise there.

Don't know whether it was ever sold directly in the UK, or whether it just gets here these days as mail order from the US.........

Either way, while skipping the first, introductory section (not really interested in the historical stuff) the first "pearl of wisdom" has jumped out.

That is, in the answer to the "newbie" question I've seen a number of times, of "How much honey do I need to use ?", Morse sort of answers it by quoting from the 17th century writings of Sir Kenelme Digby (who is thought to have been one of the earliest people who actuall wrote, or at least diarised how some of the meads known then, were actually made - there are quite a few of his bits of info floating around the web).

Anyway, it seems that 1 part honey to 3 parts water is a good starting place. So in US parlance, 1 quart honey and 3 quarts water. Which is a reasonable approximation to 3lb of honey made up to 1 gallon with water.

Someone might jump on that and say about the difference between the US gallon and the Imperial gallon (the imperial gallon being 20% larger). Yes, well I did say it was a reasonable approximation.

Obviously, if the weights are the same i.e. an ounce by US standard and an ounce by UK/Imperial standard, the greater liquid volume would make for a weaker/lower gravity mix when made to imperial measures.

In any eventuality, it gives new mead makers somewhere to start. Maybe mix 3lb of honey and make that up to 3.78 litres/1 US gallon, and then measure the gravity, which will give us a target gravity reading to make it up to 1 imperial gallon, and then having to add a small increment of further honey. Would that be 3 and a half pounds of honey to the UK gallon or more ? Dunno off the top of my head.

It gets a bit more "headache inducing" when you actually delve into places like Gotmead forums, or facebook mead making pages, only to learn that the international nature of the internet mean you get others who make to metric.

In that case, a handy guide quantity to start with is 1.5kg honey, then made up to 5 litres with water.

None of this is "set in stone" shit. Just something that I've noticed in the book, which has prompted some thought on my part, that I figured worthy of mention......

I'll post about anything else that comes to mind as it does.

Monday, August 25, 2014

More easily understood nutrient info

Grapestompers provide this guide/info about nutrients. It's quite a nice, straight forward, explaination.

I've included it in the links on the right too........

Sunday, August 03, 2014

An interesting read......

Got this link from one of the Facebook groups I read. Some of it I knew, some not.

It mainly focuses on the US wine industry, and I generally don't enjoy American or other "New World" wines. Not to say I didn't enjoy the read........

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-things-winemakers-wont-tell-you-2014-07-31?pagenumber=1

A satisfying afternoon

Cabernet sauvignon pressed, juice racked etc. 1 x 11 litre carbohydrates and 1x 1 imperial gallon DJ.

The other 3 x 11 litre carboys are the Primitivo, Merlot and Shiraz. The 1 & half gallon DJ's are the excess from the racking of the P, M and S. I expect another drop of sediment from them, as the 3 x 11 litre carboys were carefully racked, whereas the blended bits are from closest to the lees.

I don't know if you can see from the picture that the sediment in the cab is dropping out already.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

D21, a good yeast for meads, but it seems the search for "Maury" yeast goes on.........

Some years ago, the late Brother Adam (of Buckfast Abbey, bee breeding and mead making fame) wrote of using "Maury" yeast.

Somewhere along the lines, this fabled "Maury" yeast became unavailable to him for use in his mead making (should be noted, as far as I can find out, he never made meads for public sale, only for consumption by members of the Abbey), so he changed to using the "Montpellier strain". This was confirmed for me, after I'd emailed the Abbey, and they (well, the apiaries manager) responded that he'd looked through Brother Adams personal papers.

It seems that he was using Gervin varietal "E". As far as I can ascertain, that is the same strain as Lalvin K1-V1116.

Some further researching led me to Lalvin D21. Which seemed to, maybe, have been isolated by Lallemand a few years after the death of Brother Adam, but a few of my contacts had seen it mentioned, maybe even advertised, as a "Maury" yeast.

Ok, I was happy with what I could find out so far.

Now this morning, I'm digging around and it seems that Lallemand have now been a bit more specific, and I find this about D21..........

Lalvin ICV-D21 was isolated in 1999 from Pic Saint Loup Languedoc “terroir” during a special regional program run by the Institut Coopératif du Vin (ICV)’s Natural Micro-Flora Observatory and Conservatory. Lalvin ICV-D21 was selected for fermenting red wines with stable color, intense fore-mouth, mid-palate tannin structure, and fresh aftertaste. Unlike most wine yeasts, Lalvin ICV-D21 contributes both higher acidity perception and positive polyphenol reactive polysaccharides. Strong interactions of the polysaccharides with the floral and fruity volatile compounds (β-ionone, ethyl hexanoate) contribute to a more stable aromatic profile in the mouth. These attributes avoid the development of cooked jam and burning-alcohol sensations in highly mature and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. During fermentation, Lalvin ICV-D21 produces very few sulfides and it is also noted for its good fermentation performance even under high temperature and low nutrient conditions. It allows for the expression of fruit from the grapes while reducing the potential for herbaceous characters in Cabernet sauvignon. When blended with wines fermented with Lalvin ICV-D254 and Lalvin ICV-D80, Lalvin ICV-D21 brings fresher, sustained intense fruit and lively sensations beginning in the fore-mouth and carrying through to the aftertaste. Lalvin ICV-D21 is also used in very ripe white grapes, barrel-fermented to develop fresh fruit aromas, volume and acidity which compliments wines fermented with Enoferm ICV-D47 in blends. Rosé wines fermented with Lalvin ICV-D21 have enhanced red fruit, fore-mouth volume and balance, making it the perfect blending complement to Rosé wines fermented with Lalvin ICV-GRE.

It appears that D21 isn't "Maury" after all. Pic Saint Loup is directly north of Montpellier, whereas Maury is west, closer to the Pyrennees, in the Perpignan area.

Seems that despite the plethora of information being available about the Maury AOC region and the published stuff about Brother Adams mead making, whether we'll truely ever find the yeast he originally used, is becoming less likely..........

D21 itself does make a good mead, and I now understand why it seems to share many of the characteristics of K1-V1116......

Not disappointed per se, just a little deflated that my earlier researching has proven erroneous.........

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Frozen Grapes......

So, last weekend, Brian needed to crash so he could attend a one day course locally on the monday.

He was kind enough to deliver my frozen grapes, that I got from him last harvest (they're Italian grown, various nationality varieties).

We were having some building work done, so rather than get fresh grapes from Grapefest, I opted for frozen (which is better in a way, as he gets a wider range of varieties), and he kindly allowed me to leave them in his freezer.

Don't know whether you can make out from my scrawl on the bucket lids, but Merlot, Cabernet (can't remember which type), Shiraz and Primitivo (the small bucket is a Rhubarb and Apple honey must - melocyser ?).

I've inoculated the grapes with BDX, again, Brian got some for last years harvest (it's only available in commercial size packs unless I mail ordered from somewhere like Morewine).

I got the grapes defrosted and transferred to the fermenter buckets. I rehydrated the yeast using Go-Ferm and pitched once it looked good.

I then left them to do their thing and there was healthy signs of ferment within 24 hours.

After I'd pitched the yeast, I realised I didn't have enough airlocks, and I like to use a pectic enzyme in fruit based batches, so I did an "emergency supplies" run down to the home brew shop, for new airlocks, some rohapect and a few other bits.

The rohapect was added about 5 teaspoons per bucket.

Once the ferment was underway, I remembered the info from the Lalvin Yeast List and that apparently it's "medium" nutrient requirements. So I just mixed in 1 tablespoon of FermaidK the first time I'd "punched the cap down".

So at the moment, it's just a case of letting the ferment do it's thing, punching down the cap at least once daily and keeping an eye on it, just in case I need to add any more nutrient i.e. if there's any sign of problems like H2S (hydrogen sulphide/rotten egg stink) telling me that the yeast might be a bit stressed.

I recall stuff that others do/did for their fresh grapefest grapes, but I want to keep my meddling to a minimum. The 2012 fresh grapes, were made into a "fresh grape pyment", by me adding loads of honey, until the yeast pooped out. I haven't tasted it yet, but I should check it out, as the 18 or so gallons of it, has some mold in the open side of the airlock and while I've dropped a half campden tablet in each lock, caution might be necessary for me to clean it out etc.......

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Yeast Nutrition.........

Not gonna go on about this, there's many ways you can actually provide nutrients etc for ferments, whether it's meads or wine batches.

I'm just gonna cheat a little and post a link to a post by Deezil, from the winemakingtalk forums.........

http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/f86/yeast-nutrients-39655/

It's easier than me trying to re-write it into my language......

Oh, and there's more about it in the top link to your right. Except that is a linked article by the excellent and very knowledgeable Ken Schramm (yes, the bloke who wrote "The Compleat Meadmaker" book).........

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Flavour Combo's........

Just been reading (and posting) at a thread over at Gotmead about somebody trying to come up with a flavour of mead that reflects some of the local stuff.

Well that idea is laudable. Yet IMO, needs a lot of consideration from many angles.

For example, what is the base flavour idea taken from ? How does the idea translate from other products ? Can it be added to an acceptable level and at what stage in the making process ? Does the flavour have a track record for being used in other products of a similar type ? Is there the possibility of "cultural acceptance" or will it bring other stuff to mind ? Etc etc......

Is it from fruit ? spices ? herbs ?

If fruit, then what else is made using it ? Will possible consumers like it and/or think it a good idea ?

What sort of quantity will be needed ? Will you be able to get the flavour into the recipe easily or will it add a massive complexity to the making that is hard to control/manage ?

Will other products that use that flavour help it's acceptance to new consumers of your batch/recipe or is it likely you'll end up repeating the phrase "well, I like it" ?

It's very easy to focus on a flavour because you like it, but then the difficulty of how to incorporate it into a batch to provide a suitable level can be an entirely different matter......

Chocolate is a good example. Western society understands it if its presented in its usual sweetened form, often mixed in with some sort of cream/milk/dairy element, but other forms of it can be vvv hard to translate.

It's found in liqueurs often but they are usually of a creamy nature and equally often contain some sort of complimentary spirit/liquor type taste. Plus they're routinely quite sweet.

Whereas, beers say, that contain "chocolate notes" are a much harder sell.....

Some herbal flavours can present aroma that makes the consumer think of toilet or bathroom cleaning products - whether that's to do with the actual flavour or whether its because thats how its been marketed at us, I don't know.

I recently read of someone using Basil, was it like a tincture to make an extract type thing or in a mead as a methyglin ? Can't remember, but suffice to say, Basil conjures up thoughts of wonderful Italian inspired tomato sauce recipes etc...... so maybe needs more thought/consideration.......

Fruits are much easier generally, but they too, can have some difficulties. Do you want a fermented change in the taste similar to the comparison of grape juice to wine ? Just with the idea and/or aroma of the original fruit ? Or are you aiming at a more "fruit cordial" type taste ? say something like a blueberry or cranberry juice that has some hint of honey and an alcoholic kick to it ?

These are all very valid points for consideration. Without that level of thought you are, IMO, condemned to making batches of mediocre tasting brew of limited merit and nothing to recommend to others.........

TTFN.......

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Another link......

I make no assumption as to the quality or age of the linked info......

http://collection1.libraries.psu.edu/utils/getfile/collection/honeyboard/id/221/filename/189.pdf

Another link from the same forum post........

http://collection1.libraries.psu.edu/utils/getfile/collection/honeyboard/id/187/filename/205.pdf

Links to various info......

Gonna try and start using this like a memo pad, so when I find any handy or what I think might be interesting info, I'll post it as a link here

Starting with this......

http://www.beesource.com/resources/usda/honey-composition-and-properties/