Thursday, September 30, 2010

6-004 Update

I can hardly believe how quickly the hard ciders are progressing. Batch 6-003 is already clear enough to read through and I had to rack batch 6-004 today. I may have to do a third batch here soon!

As I already stated, I racked batch 6-004 (OG: 1.050; SG: 0.998; ABV: 6.9 %) today because it was done fermenting. In addition, I added 2 habañero peppers (quartered; seeds and pith removed) and 3 sticks of cinnamon (crushed) into the secondary. It is quite dry (SG: 0.998) and should finish crisp and spicy (I hope).


-Safari Bob

Saturday, September 25, 2010

6-004: Hard Apple Habañero Cider

I had a busy day today in the mead! First, I finally bottled 4-008 (chocolate mead) even though I brewed it back on 25 November 2008. This mead still has not cleared like I want it to (in fact I can see no difference in over a year) but I needed the carboy. So it will clear in the bottle, I suppose, even though it is now quite tasty. I have tried every thing but magnets to get it to clear and I finally ran out of patience.

I also racked 6-003 (hard cider) as it is time. This is my first attempt at hard cider so I do not know whether this quick fermentation is normal or not. It sure is tasty, however (OG: 1.050; SG: 1.000; ABV: 6.7%). If it keeps up its current rate, I should be able to bottle soon.

Finally, I brewed another batch of hard cider. This time I hope to have a more spicy cider for next summer. Here is the recipe:


  • 5 gal apple cider (mixed; no preservatives)

  • 5 tsp yeast nutrient

  • 3 tsp pectin enzyme

  • 1 pkt Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast

  • OG: 1.050


  • 2 habañero peppers (quartered)

  • 2-4 cinnamon sticks (crushed)


-Safari Bob

Thursday, September 23, 2010

13th Hoppy Halloween Challenge

There is a new (to me) homebrew competition coming up in North Dakota this Halloween: The 13th Hoppy Halloween Challenge!! I have not before entered this competition but it is one of the few that openly encourages mead and cider entries. In addition, they only require two bottles per entry. Also, they award sweet medals!

I think I will enter the prickly pear cyser into The Hoppy Halloween Challenge and see how it does there. I was fortunate to do so well in The Cactus Challenge 2010 and I am curious how the cactus flavored mead will do in the north! Of course I now have to peel off the labels and hope that the glue is not too bad.

This competition is unique in that they have a special Halloween-centric category. I would love to go to see that but I don't think I will enter anything for this. It does look fun, however.


-Safari Bob

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Batch 6-003: Hard Apple Cider

So instead of grading or working on my dissertation, I decided to make a hard cider. I was walking by an aisle at Wal-Fart when I noticed that they had gallons of apple cider on sale for $2.50 (no preservatives). Also, I just finished a six pack of Strongbow Cider and suddenly the thought of some hard cider sounded really tasty. So, I picked up some apple cider and got to it. Here is the recipe:


  • 5 gal Apple Cider (Mixed; No Preservatives)

  • 5 tsp Yeast Nutrient

  • 3 tsp Pectin Enzyme

  • 1 pkt Red Star Pasteur Champagne (Dry)

  • OG: 1.050


-Safari Bob

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cactus Challenge 2010 Results

Tonight the award winners from the 2010 Cactus Challenge were announced during the award ceremony. Earlier in the day I went to help judge a couple of beer styles and met in person a few of the people from Ale-ian Society (the host of the Cactus Challenge) that I only know from the forum. It is sad, really, as I do live in the same town as these folks. I helped judge the Brown Ales and Fruit Beers entries.

Although I had to leave the judging around 1pm, Nancy and I did make it back for the dinner and awards ceremony and we had a great time. The folks at theAle-ian Society are all good people. We sat with a couple from Plainview, TX and laughed so hard we were crying. They shared with us a wonderful, tasty Jalapeno Ale that they entered (it won 2nd in the Spice/Herb & Vegetable Beers category). Also, we bought 6 raffle tickets for $5 and Nancy won a t-shirt and a $10 gift certificate to a brew shop. Good times.

You may recall that I entered meads into three categories: cyser, traditional, and other. Unfortunately, they did not have enough mead entries to judge in separate categories so they combined all the mead entries into one category. Here are the results:

  • First Place: Safari Bob, Mockingbird Alley aka Prickly Pecker (Southwestern Cyser--prickly pear)

  • Second Place: Safari Bob, Golden Delicious (Cyser)

  • Third Place: Safari Bob, Desert Goat (Traditional)

I was shocked! Of course I thought that maybe I was the only one to enter meads but there were three others submitted (LOL!). So out of 6, I had the best three. Not exactly a big deal but I'll take it!

I was told that the prickly pear made it to the last 7 (of 35) in the Best of Show, however. I suppose they could be pulling my leg; those guys are ornery and the kegs were getting low!

View Cactus Challenge 2010 results here.


-Safari Bob