Saturday, July 07, 2007

More about "Barshack Ginger Mead".....

Ok, so I made some last weekend. Which means that as I couldn't be arsed (well I didn't have the time either) to check the specific gravity as mentioned in the recipe, it's time to rack it to a "carbouy" - well as anyone in the UK might be aware, the word carbouy is usually associated with the handling/carriage/movement of smaller quantities of chemicals - usually acids as they often had (historically speaking) be sold/moved/handled in glass containers from the 1 to 5 gallon size upwards - having never towed a "chemical" tanker, I don't know if they're still glass lined - anyway, I digress.

The "carbouy" that I've actually used is an old "bottled water" container (like the ones you see in offices). It's a 5 US Gallon/19 litre sized one. I'm unsure whether thats such a good idea as it's made of "polycarbonate" type plastic (and as it has a 44mm neck hole it's a bastard to get decent quality stoppers for it) and apparently the reason that the bottle manufacturers say not to use it for anything other than water is because polycarbonate plastics can take up the smell/odour of liquids and also sometimes stain - I think I should be OK as the previous liquid it held was water and the sterilising/cleaning agent I use has a very mild "bleachey" sort of smell that goes completely when I rinse the bottle after the sterilisation process.

The mix I made was 20 litres so that it would fill the "carbouy" and have enough room for the yeast lees to remain in the bottom - apparently the idea being that at the 1020 sg/7 days period the mix can be racked off. I'm not entirely sure of the point of this, because I made the mix in a 25 litre HDPE (High Density Poly Ethylene) brewing bucket, and as I wasn't sure, fitted a grommet and bubbler valve. Strangely enough, the bucket did show signs of fermentation (as it's supposed too), but the bubbler valve would only bubble if I put some pressure onto the lid - I'm guessing either the valve was blocked in someway, or the large air space above the liquid was taking too long to get up enough pressure to actually make the valve bubble.

Anyway, I racked it off this morning and almost as soon as I plugged the neck of the "carbouy" with a cork/valve, it started bubbling - telling me that it still had some way to go before the fermentation was complete - I can't remember, but I think the recipe said that I had to leave it to finish for a further 6 weeks before anything else is done i.e. bottling/re-racking etc.

I'm thinking that I might try to make some of it "sparkling" when it's time to bottle it - I suspect that that will mean the use of beer type bottles and "crown" caps (which do seem popular in the mead making world - I'm not sure if thats because of the smaller size than a 70/75cl wine bottle or what, but .........).

I did taste it, and it didn't seem as strong tasting as I'd thought it might be. Though whether thats because I should have exceeded the maximum suggested 6 oz's of ginger or used more honey or sugar ??? Whichever it was, it was quite reasonable tasting and I'm thinking that it would be nice to have as sparkling in the warmer weather.

Ah well, I'll have to wait until it's ready before I make my mind up.


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