Been a "busy bee" today, as there was about 10 or 11 gallons of various brews that needed racking etc....
So why the strange thread title ?
Well, it's one of those days where I've got the "WTF" thoughts going through my head.
Why ? Well as I was racking various brews, not many of them taste like I think they should. And I don't really know why that is.
For instance, a good few years ago, a reasonably local brewery, not only made some excellent beers (real ale type), but they also made a range of country wines. I'd tasted about 5 or 6 of these and the only way I can describe my memory of them is as "alcoholic fruit cordials".
Now a lot of my knowledge and understanding of how wines "should" be made comes from the great and good at places like Wines at Home and Gotmead etc etc.
So, what if the "wine making" methods that are taught, explained and encouraged at these excellent places, are wrong. That's not to be critical of what they're about, but the fruits and flavours used in "Country" wines aren't grapes, so why does it seem that my country wines just taste like mediocre or badly made grape wine ? Or why is it that my meads mostly have a reasonably "honey like" aroma but don't seem to reflect that in the taste ?
Of the multitude of gallon batches I've just been working with, 1 of the meads and one of the fruit wines (actually, it was mixed fruit melomel), nearly tasted like I thought they should.
Unfortunately for me, the mead was one that I'd forgotten to label, and hadn't checked properly when it was fermenting as I measured the gravity and it was sitting at 1.020 so not as sweet as a dessert mead, but certainly nowhere near dry (and probably not finished it's fermenting - which is too late now as it's been racked, sulphited, sorbated and then topped up with an unimpressive chenin blanc that I made by accident....). The mixed fruit melomel has a light almost rose colour, a good level of fruitiness to the taste, but not a lot of body. Still the taste, apart from the lack of body, was good, so it's also been racked and then I've topped it up with sour mash whisky.
Perhaps it's that I'm not as conscientious in my efforts, maybe I should make more effort to record what I do so I can repeat the recipes, maybe I should just make high alcohol meads that are then topped up with honey syrup and then left to age in bulk. Damn I just don't know.....
There was 4 other "reds" amongst the many brews, 2 of them showed a little promise, inasfaras, they actually had some taste of what they were intended to be, I could taste the black currants in the black currant melomel and the raspberry in the apple and raspberry melomel. So I've just racked them out of their respective 1 gallon jars into a 5 gallon jar, topped it up with some of the mediocre chenin blanc wine, added about a half pound of frozen black currants that I had, so I'll leave it to steep on the small amount of fruit and then I think I'll add some honey syrup at a later stage to sweeten it up and then put it away to age (after I've removed the fruit). I might even add some whisky or brandy just to up the alcohol content as well.
Last time I "went through my brews" that needed something doing to them, I just took all the ones I didn't like or weren't looking like they showed any promise and took them to a friend who has a still and chucked the lot through that, to recover the alcohol so I could fortify some other brews.... And got a telling off from Keith for being to impatient.
I suppose half the problem is that I don't know any other home brewers/home wine makers around here to compare brews. I don't even know if I'd want to compare brews, especially if it turned out that mine were a load of shit......
I'll just have to think about how (or if) I want to continue.........