Saturday, June 30, 2012

Been a bit busy of late......

Well, I posted about Banana mead, but since then, I was given more free banana's i.e. a whole case, 18kg in total.

So I mixed up a base must of honey and water, then shook the hell out of it, then just rinsed the bananas, topped and tailed some and started slicing them straight into the fermenter.

As you can see, the skins started browning quite quickly, and to be honest, it's always a mistake to make a batch like this. Once the ferment started, it blew the cap and airlock off it, at least once. Plus, trying to stir the batch through the neck of the ferment was rather a trying exercise. In the end, I just left it alone to do it's thing.

The whole point of this was to be able to see if I can compare the final taste of it, to the batch where I boiled the bananas and then just used the "juice" for the ferment.

The original batch I made, which was made with "boiled banana juice" is now reasonably clear and the extra sliced banana I added to it has sunk, which means it's probably time to rack it off the chunks of skinned, sliced banana that were added in the hope of making it "more bananery tasting". Whether it's worked or not I don't know.

Equally, after asking about using banana, Bob at "Winesathome" mentioned that when he did a brew with banana, he fermented on the fruit - but the result was a bit too bananery tasting (he's a wine judge, so would probably be looking for different things in a brew that me). Hence this batch being fermented on the fruit.

Here's what it looks like now. Just a thick layer of floating sludge and some bits of banana skin.

I suspect I'll have to run it through some sort of straining cloth, to remove the sludge/skins. I'll have to wait until I make my mind up.

That's not everything either. I was checking various DJ's of liquid, only to find that I still have 2 gallons of last years steam extracted elderberry juice. So I took that, and mixed in 4 litres of cheapo supermarket grape juice, and then started adding honey, until I got a reasonable gravity reading.

I got a reading of 1.070 after adding 2 kg of honey, and after having a read about, decided to add a further 1kg, which should give me a gravity of about 1.090 - but I can't confirm that, as the last kilo of honey was crystalised and despite giving it a good stir, I don't think it was all dissolved properly (not that that matters particularly - but I didn't really want to heat it up to dissolve it).

Also, I used a different yeast. I found a pack of BDX, that Brian gave me at last years Grapefest. A quick check of the link, suggests it should be a good one for an Elderberry/Grape juice mixed batch.

The only thing I know for certain, is that the fucker seems to foam like hell. I pitched the yeast, tuesday I think it was, there was no airlock activity wednesday or thursday, I forgot to check it yesterday, but this morning, it's started fermenting, the air space part of the bucket was coated with a thick layer of dark purple sediment and some of it had even bubbled out the air lock, and that's with a 3 gallon batch in a 27 litre bucket.

So now it's been swirled round to remove as much of the purple sediment (I want as much colour from the juice as I can get) and it's been aerated with the electric balloon whisk, and the first part of the nutrient has been added - I intended originally, to use 1 teaspoon of FermaidK and half a teaspoon of DAP a.k.a. di-ammonium phosphate. But a few questions about the yeast and I got a suggestion via Gotmead, to double it.

It's to do with some of these yeasts that are, apparently, good for "reds", being a bit on the "hungry" side, and needing more nutrients than a similar yeast for "whites" might require. They are known to show their displeasure at being "under fed" by going "stinky" - in other words, the yeast gets stressed and produces H2S (hydrogen sulphide - easily diagnosed as H2S smells of rotten eggs/farts).

It's now bubbling away just nicely........

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