Sunday, February 21, 2016

Oak chips anyone ?

Doug kindly sent me this link for oak chips. It's a German based site, so some appears to be in English, but not all so you might need to do a bit of translating.

I haven't personally tried it, but when I take into account the excellent assistance and customer service I got when I used the Walter Lang GMBH site to get some honey I couldn't find any closer, I'd be happy to try the "oak chips site".......

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Glass V Plastic fermenters, containers etc etc.

There's long been questions about whether it's safe to use plastic instead of glass for fermentation.

Glass is the traditional choice, but it does come with a few caveats i.e. heavy, breakable, etc etc.

Plastic is a more modern material, but also seems to have it's issues. Damages easily, only certain types are "safe", you can't really use it for certain production techniques, some are air permeable, etc etc.....

I'll let you decide for yourself, but here's an interesting thought/idea/comment on it.....

http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/02/the-problem-with-bpa-free-alternatives-are-just-as-troubling/

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Interesting read.........

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

It's a bit of a "dry" read if you're not into making meads, but seems to contain some useful info about honey etc..........

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Thinking about flavours etc........

I spend much time reading, reading, reading....... Particularly at the forums and places on facebook that focus on meads (no surprise there).

So what's the issue ? Well, I might not be much of an expert, but some of the flavour combinations are absolutely fucking ridiculous.

For example, anything with chocolate. Why ? I hear you say........

If chocolate was such a good and easy material to use, it'd be in every fucking thing! It's marvellous when made into hard(ish) confectionery. Equally, it makes a wonderful, warming, winter evening drink. Mostly because it's got milk mixed with it or at least some sort of lower calorie non-dairy whitener......

Pure cocoa/chocolate powder is not a good flavouring element for everything. If you look at the sort of alcoholic drinks that do contain it, the ones that are successful are the ones that have a cream base.

Now I can't say for certain, but there do seem to be so many reasons to stick with the basics of flavour combinations, so as not to bother making anything slightly unusual.

Ok, I'm happy to admit that there are some strange ones out there, that have been proven to be successful despite being counter-intuitive, like chocolate and chilli or strawberry with black pepper, but these are exceptions not the rule. Most of them have been found or worked out by experts in the field, like chocolatiers and molecular gastronomists etc.

Not by use home booze makers.

Sure, there will be some flavours and tastes that are culturally localised, but outside that region the sort of combinations that nobody would normally consider.

Maybe the issue is what the wine/mead is made from ? Tomato wine ? Parsnip wine ? what the fuck are those. Tomato is great in cooking, but the flavour changes so much with primary fermentation (which is, after all, controlled rotting, so "it" changes to a different flavour), parsnip is just something that I don't like anyway, so I wouldn't eat it let alone ferment it.....

Of course, it's fair to say that if it's edible it's likely that it can be fermented. Equally that doesn't mean that it SHOULD be fermented.

As I said above, there are good reasons to use materials with a proven track record. Why bother using materials that produce stuff that tastes like puke!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Allergic to wine or sulphites in wine ?

Don't talk out of your fucking arse !

Read this and you'll understand what the likely problem could be......

And if you don't know who Tim Vandergrift is, look him up and you'll see why he knows his stuff.......

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Making Mead" by Roger Morse.

When my copy of this book first arrived, I "power read" the first part/intro section. Well written, with a few bits of info and sources that I hadn't come across before.

Puffed with enthusiasm, I posted an initial post.

I've since decided to delete that post. Not because I'm any less enthusiastic about making mead, for real or via the book.

Just that it was interesting to read, but much of the guidance is now quite dated. No less relevant, just that things have progressed since it was written. Better or maybe just more up to date ideas, materials, ingredients, methods etc.......

Ergo, I recommend it as a good book to have in a library of mead making books, but it's not the "be all, end all" book to have.

Worth getting a copy though. Some of his concepts/info about mead making are good to know, but if you keep up with current ideas, you'll follow why I prefer not to expound this older info.

Hey ho!, there is a more recent book to get. More recent than even the Great Ken Schramms, "The Compleat Meadmaker".

It's called The Complete Guide to Making Mead, by Steve Piatz.

I can't say whether it's worth getting, as I haven't got a copy yet, but on looking at Amazon, the 5 reviews at the time of checking, all give it 5 stars. So I'll be ordering myself a copy once I can get into bloody Amazon.........

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.........