Sunday, July 13, 2014
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
I'm just gonna cheat a little and post a link to a post by Deezil, from the winemakingtalk forums.........
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
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.........
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Another link from the same forum post........
Starting with this......