Saturday, July 28, 2007

Books and other bits of info

The two books I've bought too learn about this home brewing "lark", are C.J.J.Berrys' "First Steps in Winemaking" (ISBN 1-85486-139-5) and Ken Schramms' "The Compleat Meadmaker" (ISBN 0-937381-80-2).

As you can probably tell from the titles, the "First Steps in Winemaking" is more of a general "howto" type book. It gives various bits of advice about equipment, chemicals, etc etc and then is laid out in a diary sort of way, so that you are advised what wine is suitable for making in a given month, based on what fruit is likely to be available, when.

I've made the "dry" mead recipe and apple wine recipe from this. It seems quite a comprehensive book, though after my first effort at mead, I'm glad that I'd also got the Ken Schramm book as well. It explained a few things that might otherwise have lead me to believe that I'd screwed up. The main one being, that freshly brewed mead, can taste rather like "listerine" (a brand of mouth wash). I'm guessing that this is to do with the yeast/alcohol level achieved during the brewing. It then explains that this is why mead often has to be aged for 12 months plus.

Well to me, thats not a problem, as I have the brief burst of effort in making the brew, then I just "bung" it under the side table in the dining room until it's finished fermenting and hopefully cleared. Then I rack it off and leave it to age in bulk (which I understand is supposed to be better than ageing it in bottles - something about it being less susceptible to temperature fluctuation). Ha! in truth, I haven't actually bottled anything yet, but that isn't about to happen until I'm happy with how it tastes.

Pip pip!

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