Saturday, May 24, 2008

Last weekend - I forgot to ............

Post that I'd made another couple of batches of "Joe's Ancient Orange" (mead, that is).

Except I didn't use orange, I used a mix of lemon and lime (I found a recommend for that on one of the forum sites I post at).

I made 2 batches, one was the base recipe with bread making yeast, the other one was the base recipe but with Lalvins 71B wine yeast. I could also have used Lalvins D47, both of these yeasts seem to make good meads.

They're both bubbling away nicely. The other 3 batches I made a couple of weeks ago (maybe as much as a month - I think I explained about them in a previous post), have stopped bubbling and cleared quite well. I prefer to wait until the fruit has dropped to the bottom of the fermenter, so it'll be another few weeks before I filter/bottle them - I might even just move them into fresh, clean/sterilised demi-johns too "bulk age", that way I'll be less tempted to drink some of them and I can use them for birthday and crimbo presents later in the year! Though I might have to give them a little test, as I don't yet know what the lemon flavoured and lime flavoured ones are likely to taste like. I suppose it won't hurt to check them ;-)

Ho hum !

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The latest "acquisition"

So, pictured is my latest purchase.

It might not seem much, just a couple of bags of powder. Except that these products (as per the labels - Go-Ferm and Fermaid-K) are probably harder to find in the UK than "Class A" drugs!.

Why? I don't know for certain. They (well, specifically the Fermaid-K) seem to get mentioned quite widely if you read up on anything to do with wine making, specifically "home" wine making.

No one seems to stock either of them in the UK, though I'd guess I might be able to get it directly for Lallemands UK office/representative(s), if I could find out where they are, and could afford however much the "minimum" is.

I had to get it from a "shop" on ebay, who are based in Texas (Dallas I think it was). Now it doesn't work out any cheaper from the locally available yeast nutrients (actually there doesn't seem to be any local equivalent of the "Go-Ferm" anyway).

How much was it ? Well the Go-Ferm was 22.95$US and the Fermaid-K was 16.95$US. It cost me about 28$US for the post and packing. So in "real" money the Fermaid-K is £1.93 per 100g or £3.52 per 100g including shipping. Which, as the local equivalent "Tronozymol" is about £2.50 per 100g without any postage charge, isn't that expensive. Dearer yes, but only time will tell if it's better or worse than the "local" stuff.

The Go-Ferm worked out at £2.60 per 100g or £4.19 per 100g including the shipping.

I've never used either of these products before (only the "local" stuff), so I can't say what they work out like or "taste" like when they've been used in making a batch of mead/wine, but I'll post how I get on with them, as and when.

The ebay "shop" I got these from is Nashwood Winery. So if you are interested you can also look to see if you think it's worth the effort. I was "carded" for them on Thursday, so it took about 8 days for them to arrive from the US, which I didn't think was too bad - of course, you could also probably arrange to get them quicker, but it'd probably cost more in shipping charges.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Barshack Ginger Mead (with added fruit)
Ok, so I've just racked the Barshack Ginger Mead (with added fruit - as suggested in Charlie Papazians' recipe in "The Complete Joy of Home Brewing").

I'll admit that I couldn't recall what exactly it was i.e. I'd made some "Winter Mead" as well but couldn't for the life of me remember if it was this or I'd already got it bulk ageing.

Anyway, after ploughing through the blog I managed to work out that this is the Barshack Ginger recipe.

The picture doesn't show how clear it was in the bottle - the pint in the piccy is from the bottom of the fermenter so I'd expect it to be a little more cloudy.

Plus, if I wasn't so bloody hap-hazard in my wine and mead making, I'd have known which recipe it was and what the added fruit was. Either way, I managed to get 3 and a half imperial gallons from a 19 litre batch (I ditched the last bit as I couldn't be bothered poncing about in putting it into something to try and remove a bit more of the settled sediment).

The only thing I knew for definite, was the last time I racked it, I added 700 grammes more honey, which seem to have fermented out (the gravity is currently .995) and that because I was being impatient, I added some of this "wine smoother".

As I haven't got a "yard stick" to tell by, I can't say how well it's worked, but it's smooth enough for my tastes, not as rough as it was when I last tasted it (first racking in Feb last), and overall, I'm pleased with how it's turned out - I'm happy to leave it in the 3 X 1 gallon and 1 X 1/2 gallon jars it's been racked into (and campden tablet added) too "bulk age".

In other words, now it's done, I may think about bottling it in a couple of months time, but that depends on whether I can get some champagne type bottles/stoppers, or whether I can get enough "beer" bottles and crown caps (easier of the two options), or whether I can be bothered and just change the stopper/airlocks for just stoppers/corks and leave it under the stairs.

What else have I done ?

Oh yes, I've racked the "Heather Honey" batch again, as the "straining bag" trick either didn't work or it's just allowed some more of the granular/globular sediment to settle out. I also topped it up with a further 8 oz of honey and water to up the gravity. It was at about 1005, so I'm hoping that the extra honey will have brought it up to 1015, as I want a sweet mead from this honey - oh and when I racked it the first time, I tasted the granular stuff and it was sweet so I'm wondering exactly what it was, but suspect if might be pollen/sugar that's taken on this appearance for some reason - unknown to me (I looked at the honey this time round in the daylight and it seems that there was some granules in it - they tasted sweet as well so I'm not really any closer to understanding exactly what they might be.

Over all, it has a nice "honey" aroma, though the taste is still a little raw (to be expected).

I'll post another picture when it's cleared some more.