Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Batch 3-002 is Bottled

Tonight, I bottled batch 3-004; a blackberry vanilla dry mead that is oh, so tasty! OG: 1.080; FG: 0.998; ABV: 11%. I brewed this batch on 26 January 2007 and it was still a tad cloudy. I gt a little over 15 liters out of a 5 gallon batch including: 12 1 liter flip-top bottles, 1 2 liter growler, and 2 16 oz Grolsch bottles.

Initial tasting: smooth, dry but with a distinct blackberry cream flavor. I am curious as to how it will age, although I do not plan to let it sit long. It is dry but I think it will taste great over ice or chilled. Here is the recipe:

Batch 3-002
12 lbs Clover Honey
4 gals distilled water
5 tsp yeast nutrient
4 oz blackberry extract (at bottling)
1 vanilla bean (in secondary)
Lavlin D-47

I couldnt resist including a jack-o-lantern for Halloween! Enjoy a cold, adult beverage after the kids have made their rounds and remember those who have gone before you. In Lubbock, the locals celebrate The Day of the Dead; this is much different than what this Midwestern boy is used to. I cannot bring myself to criticize any holiday that forces me to celebrate it with sweet, glorious mead!


-Safari Bob

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mead I Have Known: Autumn Crisp

When I first began brewing mead I was all about the "Metheglin" or spiced mead. I still enjoy metheglins but it has been some time since I have brewed one. The other night, I cracked open a bottle of batch 1-002 and it sure has changed! When I first tasted 1-002, it had a crisp, sharp taste and so I dubbed it Autumn Crisp. Now, however, it is soft and round; this softness still presents the cinnamon but Autumn Crisp is no longer a good name for this drink. It should be called 'Autumn Delight' because oh my! It is good! Here is the recipe:

10 lb kansas wildflower honey
5 gal spring water
2 oz ground cinnamon
2 cup black tea
Rind of 1 orange
20 cloves
6 tsp yeast nutrient
Ale yeast
OG: 1.078; FG: 0.998; ABV: 11.2%

This recipe makes 6 gallons.

-Safari Bob

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mead I Have Known: Old Winyard

The first pyment I attempted was batch 3-001 later to be known as Old Winyard. This mead is smooth, medium to sweet, and, to me, tastes like a rich merlot. I did have some miscues as I added way too much honey but it fermented and cleared quickly and tastes great (I could be biased however). Here is the recipe:

12 lbs Clover Honey
64 oz water
3+ gal of 100% Grape Juice
Lavlin EC-1118
(OG: 1.166!; FG: 1.026; ABV: 18.7%!)

I brewed 12 January 07 and bottled 14 March 07. It was drinkable soon after bottling and has recieved some good reviews by various imbibers. I bottled in 375 ml bottles for the sake of humaity; 18.7% is nothing to quaff.

-Safari Bob

Monday, October 8, 2007

Batch 3-007 Brewfest: Buckwheat Bonanza!

Tonight I brewed batch 3-007 which is a dry to medium traditional buckwheat varietal. The must is dark, similar to a good, strong porter, and does have a sweet flavor reminicent of raisins or figs. Although I only added the hydrate yeast 45 minutes ago, already a few bubbles have escaped through the air lock. I have a good feeling about this batch!

In The Compleat Meadmaker, by Ken Schram, buckwheat traditional meads are said to be strong, potent, and needing at least a year of age in the bottle or cask. Already I am thinking of adding oak in the aging process but I do want the experience of tasting a pure buckwheat brew. Lord knows I have a decent cellar but can I wait 2 - 3 years?

Here is the recipe:

Batch 3-007
1 gallon raw buckwheat honey
water to 5 gallons
5 tsp yeast nutrient
1 pack EC-1118; hydrated as per manufacturer specs
OG: 1.102; Potential ABV: 13.4%

Simple and, I hope, tasty. I used EC-1118 because I want it to finish dry to medium with a target FG: 1.00. I will not hamper fermentation in any event.

-Safari Bob

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Batch 3-004 is Bottled

Tonight I bottled batch 3-004: a cyser that is just in time for Halloween! (OG: 1.138; FG: 1.014; ABV: 17.1% after backfill) I collected a little over 15 liters from my original 5 gallons - I need to work on less waste.

Initial tasting: smooth, sweet with a light cinnamon. The vanilla is present and the cyser does have a creamy texture with a touch of alcohol with should mellow with time. I find it already drinkable. Here is the recipe:

12 lbs Clover Honey
1 lb Brown Sugar
1.12 oz Apple Pie Spice
1 Whole Vanilla Bean (in secondary)
Apple Juice to 5 gallons
5 tsp Yeast Nutrient
1 packet K1v-1116 (hydrated as per instructions)
OG: 1.138

This batch does constitute a first for me in that I am experimenting with fermentation. In addition to the 8 magnum bottles of still cyser, I collected 6 "Grolsch" bottles (the homebrewer's best friend) in which I added Munton's CarbTabs with the hope that it will carbonate. I did consider adding honey but the CarbTabs offer better control for potential replication. We shall see.

-Safari Bob

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Buckwheat Traditional Recipe

I have in my possession 1 gallon of pure, raw buckwheat honey. Soon (I hope) I will have a free carboy and therefore, it is time to start thinking about potential recipes.

I hope to brew a dry to medium stout mead composed of entirely buckwheat honey. Personally, I enjoy brewing without adding chemicals, athough I will probably have to add some yeast nutrient. In the past I have used raisins but I hope to avoid this. So far, the orange blossom traditional is doing fine without raisins although I did add six teaspoons of yeast nutrient due to the lower level of nitrogen commonly found in this varietal.

What I am thinking:

1 gal buckwheat honey
5 tsp of yeast nutrient
1 pack Lavlin D-47 (hydrated)
Water to 5 gal.

Any thoughts?