Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Latest in the "home brew" saga (02/01)

So, I've just been through checking the brews that "seemed" to be stuck.

The canned strawberry was showing a gravity reading of 1.050 so I had to presume that that was definitely stuck.

To try and sort this, I'd put some yeast nutrient in it yesterday - to see if that'd kick it into life, and no that didn't seem to make any difference. So I've taken the last pack I had of Lalvin EC-1118 champagne yeast, rehydrated it and while it was "mashing" (15 minutes max in water thats between 40 and 43 degrees C) I took about half a pint of the stuck must/wine and mixed that with half a pint of water (at about the 40 degrees C mark). Then after the yeast had had it's 15 minutes, I added it to the must/wine and water mix. I quickly made up some "honey water" from the couple of bits of honey I had left in a couple of jars, I then placed the newly innoculated water/wine/yeast mix into a cleaned/sterilised demi-john and finally added a little of the honey water. I have to wait for about 24 hours to see if it will start to ferment, if so, I can then add another pint of the original stuck must/wine, wait and see. If that's ok then I'll add another pint. If it's still ok after the third pint I'll put the rest of the stuck wine into it and put it away to finish fermenting out.

The Winter mead recipe wasn't as bad, inasfaras, it was a 3 gallon batch that had been split into 3 X 1 gallon demi-john jars, one of them measured a gravity of 1.010, the second about 1.015 and the third about 1.025 which compared to the canned strawberry isn't nearly as bad - I'm presuming that it might have been the cold that we had before crimbo that must have knocked out the yeast - a guess!

Any way, I've taken a pint of the highest reading one, mixed it with a pint of water, rehydrated a packet of Redstar Champagne yeast (same as for the EC-1118 mentioned above) and then mixed it together - I've used more of that, because I intend to mix all 3 gallons back together in a 3 US gallon/12 litre jar - so as long as it starts to ferment again ok it will all finish at the same gravity/strength. I also added some of the honey water to this (and yes all 3 bottles got some yeast nutrient yesterday).

Hopefully it'll all end up below the magical 1.000 reading on the hydrometer before I have to bottle it - otherwise I'll age it in bulk.

As for the sweet mead recipe I made the other day, that's bubbling away just nicely. As is the "turbo cider" recipe I made at the same time. I left the turbo cider on the kitchen draining board because when it started to ferment (the same day) all of the pulp in the mistakenly added peach juice foamed out through the bubbler/fermentation lock. I managed to suck some of that out with a baster, but then gave it a swirl a couple of times. That seems to have stopped it foaming any further, so I added the last of the apple juice to top the demi-john up and that's also now consigned to the dining room to ferment - it's bubbling well.


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