Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cranberry Pomegranate Cider

So I am really enjoying making ciders. Wal-Fart continues to sell Musselman's Apple Cider for $1.50/gal so it is cheap and easy to make as well as simply delicious. Still, it is about time to get back to making mead.

In any event, I made a new cider a while ago with cranberry and pomegranate juice. I am hoping that it will be done by Christmas but, if not, it will be well aged for next year. I think the cranberry/pomegranate flavor will make an excellent holiday cider. The question is whether to carbonate!

Here is the recipe:


  • 5 gal Apple Cider
  • 2 cans Welch's Cranberry Concentrate
  • 48 oz Pom 100% Pomegranate Juice
  • 3 tbs pectin enzyme
  • Lavlin EC-1118


-Safari Bob

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mead I have Known: Golden Delicious

One of my favorite meads to drink is batch 3-004: Golden Delicious. This cyser embodies Autumn for me and is smooth, sweet without being cloying, and oh so tasty with a lovely touch of cinnamon.

In addition, this cyser won silver at the 2010 Cactus Challenge and took less than four months from brew (6.16.07) to bottle (10.6.07)! The only downside to this cyser is that I am almost out and I need to hoard the few remaining bottles in my cellar. Perhaps I need to start a new batch--soon. Here is the recipe; please let me know if you start a batch of your own.

  • 1 gal clover honey
  • Apple juice to 5 gal
  • 1 lb dark brown sugar
  • 1.12 oz apple pie spice
  • 1 vanilla bean (secondary)
  • 3 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1 pk K1V-1116
  • OG: 1.138
  • FG: 1.014
  • ABV: 17.1%


-Safari Bob

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tests Show Most Store Honey Is Not Honey

So I am thinking about my next mead and I run across this article: Tests Show Most Store Honey Is Not Honey. I have heard stories about some stores buying counterfeit honey consisting of high fructose corn syrup and food coloring although I have not (to my knowledge) seen this in action. For my flavored meads, I do sometimes buy honey from Wal-Fart because the honey flavor is secondary for my purpose. Still, I do like making a good traditional from time to time and this does concern me. So, I will buy honey from respected online dealers, like eBee Honey or local sources from now on. Here is the story:

More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn't exactly what the bees produce, according to testing done exclusively for Food Safety News.

The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled "honey." The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world's food safety agencies.

The food safety divisions of the World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others also have ruled that without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.

Tests Show Most Store Honey Is Not Honey


-Safari Bob

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Simple Cherry Cider

Today I was tottering about Wal-Fart and I discovered that Musselmsn's Apple Cider was but $1.50 per gallon! A quick mental calculation revealed that I could make 5 gallons of hard cider for only $7.50. So, I tossed 5 gallon in the cart and started looking about for what kind of cider I should brew. Nancy suggested a cherry cider and that sounded good to me. So we went with a simple dark cherry cider for the next batch.

Here is the recipe:


  • 5 gal Musselman's Apple Cider
  • 2 tbs pectin enzyme
  • 1 pkt EC-1118
  • 5 lbs frozen dark cherries (secondary)
  • OG: 1.050


-Safari Bob

Monday, October 10, 2011

Malted Pumpkin Pie Cider

Today, I made a new cider. The pumpkin cider (6-006) turned out well but I want more of a pumpkin pie flavor. I want something that is sweeter, creamier, and tastier than just a pumpkin cider. I am not sure how to accomplish this other than by adding malt. This is the first time I have played with malt so I hope I used it correctly. Also, I used pumpkin pie mix rather than just pumpkin to incorporate more spices and sweetness. Hopefully this will work.

Here is the recipe:


  • 4.5 gal Mott's Apple Juice
  • 64 oz water
  • 3 lbs Golden Light DME
  • 1 can (30 oz) Libby's Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix
  • 2 lbs C&H Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbs pectin enzyme
  • 1 pkt Lavlin K1V-1116
  • OG: 1.082
  • Should make 5 gal in secondary


-Safari Bob

Sunday, October 2, 2011

2011 Cactus Challenge Results

The results are in! I did not do as well as I hoped, but at least I won a ribbon:


Here is the recipe!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Peach Cinnamon Melomel

My arm is feeling better so I decided to make some mead! I went to Wal-Fart and discovered that peaches were on sale for $.75/lb so I grabbed some and got busy. I love the peach/cinnamon flavor combination and I am hoping for a dry, peach mead with a touch of cinnamon. When I sampled the must it was fantastic and distinctly reminded me of peach pie (mmm... peach pie). Hopefully, it will translate into some tasty mead that should be ready for next summer.

Here are the specs:


  • 10 lbs fresh, ripe peaches (pureed)

  • 12 lbs clover honey

  • 1 cinnamon stick (pureed with peaches)

  • 3 tsp yeast nutrient

  • 4 gal water

  • KIV-1116

  • OG: 1.094


-Safari Bob

Friday, August 5, 2011

2011 Cactus Challenge

Oh yes! It is time for the 2011 Cactus Challenge where legends are made and dreams are crushed. Hopefully, my dream of a ribbon will not be crushed this year but I have had terrible results overall this competition season. Only the Little Joe's received anything (an Honorable Mention). I really have to step up my game.

This year I am entering 5 meads:

  • Black Stone: Dry Mead (24A)

  • Autumn Harvest: Cyser (25A)

  • Mango Chili: Other Fruit Melomel (25C)

  • Yuletide: Metheglin (26A)

  • Little Joe's Cream Mead: Open Category Mead (26C)

I'm dipping into the cellar on a couple of these. The Yuletide is the second batch I ever made while the Autumn Harvest is the fourth. Hopefully the aging will help with complexity and bring home some bling!

-Safari Bob

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lemonade Mead

So I was looking to brew a light, summer mead when I chanced by some hard lemonade in the store. I am not a fan of hard lemonade but I got to thinking that a lemonade mead just might be just what I was seeking. Apparently, I am not the first to have this idea; there are quite a few lemonade recipes, mead and otherwise, including my favorite: Skeeter Pee. Someday, I am going to make Skeeter Pee.

Still, I wanted a lemonade mead and that is what I made. Here's the recipe:


  • 6 lbs Clover Honey

  • 2 lbs Cane Sugar

  • 5 12oz Cans of Lemonade Concentrate

  • 1 12oz Can of Pink Lemonade Concentrate

  • 2 tbsp Yeast Nutrient

  • 1 pkt Lavlin D-47

  • Water to 5 gal

  • OG: 1.102


-Safari Bob

Monday, May 2, 2011

Honorable Mention: Little Joe's Cream Mead

So today I hear that my Little Joe's Cream Mead received "Honorable Mention" at the 2011 Alamo City Cerveza Fest! Woo hoo! The Little Joe's Cream Mead is batch 6-002 and a favorite of Nancy's. Little Joe is Nancy's Chihuahua who thinks that he weighs somewhere north of 200 lbs and is the terror of the neighborhood squirrels. God help any fauna that dares to invade his domain (ie the back yard)!

Honorable Mention
Robert Schafer
Little Joe's Cream Mead
Ale-ian Society


-Safari Bob

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cider and Melomel

Today, I got busy and made a new batch of strawberry melomel. Nancy (my significant other) loves the strawberry mels and she, along with her "book club", have about cleaned me out. So, I got on it.

I also made a hard cider with cranberry which is a first for me. I had some difficulty deciding how to get the cranberry flavor for the cider; after all, have you ever seen fresh cranberries for sale in West Texas? Yeah, me neither. Dried cranberries often have preservatives and other chemicals to keep them from clumping. So I went with a 100% Juice Cranberry Cocktail. I hope it works. Here are the recipes:

7-003 Cranberry Cider

  • 1 gal 100% Juice Cranberry Cocktail

  • 4 gal Apple Juice

  • 4 oz Grapefruit Juice

  • 1 tbs Pectin Enzyme

  • 2 tbs Yeast Nutrient

  • 1 pkt K1V-1116

  • OG: 1.050

7-004 Strawberry Melomel

  • 1 gal Clover Honey

  • 10 lbs Fresh Strawberries, pureed

  • Water to 6 gal

  • 3 tsp Pectin Enzyme

  • 5 tsp Yeast Nutrient

  • Juice of 3 Lemons

  • 1 pkt K1V-1116

  • OG: 1.112


-Safari Bob

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

7-002: Mango Chili Mead

Oh yes! I took a break from the dissertation to brew another batch of sweet, sweet mead. I decided that I needed to try to make a mango mead with a smokey New Mexico chili pepper finish. I don't know why, that just sounds good to me. Mangos are tricky with mead, I hear. I have never before tried to brew with it. I can't wait to see how it turns out. Here's the recipe:


  • Flesh of 12 Mangoes; pureed
  • 1 gal clover honey
  • Juice of 2 medium lemons
  • 4 gal water
  • 2 tbs Yeast Nutrient
  • 1 tbs Pectin Enzyme
  • 1 pkt K1V-1116
  • 3-5 Dried New Mexico Chilies (secondary)
  • OG: 1.092

-Safari Bob

Sunday, February 20, 2011

2011 Bluebonnet Brew-off

Friday, I boxed up my precious brews to send to Fort Worth Texas for competition in the 2011 Bluebonnet Brew-off. The Bluebonnet Brew-off is one of the largest single site homebrew competitions in the United States and it is the first leg of the Lone Star Circuit of homebrew competitions in which the Ale-ian Society participates. I hope I get some points for the home team!

I am sending three brews:

  • Sunday Picnic: 38c Melomel Other; strawberry melomel

  • Kokopelli: 41d Specialty Cider & Perry; hard cider with habanero

  • Little Joe's Cream Mead: 39c Open Category of Mead; cream soda mead

We will see how they do in such a large competition. I am certainly looking forward to read the tasting notes for suggestions toward future tweaking of the recipes.


-Safari Bob

And now for something cool that has no relation to mead:


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Red Green Method of Mead Making

It has been a while since I posted and I have been busy in the mead. I bottled the strawberry melomel (batch 6-001) and this one has turned out to be a crowd pleaser! Nancy took some to her "Book Club" (read: ladies who enjoy adult beverages and once saw a book) and it was a hit!

Over the last month I have had several people ask me how to make mead, or if it is expensive to start, or some other inquiry of how to make mead on the cheap. So, I thought I would post here my thoughts on the matter. Enjoy!

You have a few options on how to make mead. There is the "buy a brew kit" option and the "Bah! I like Red Green and I will do it with whatever is about" option. Both work but if you get to enjoy it you will have to buy some supplies at a local home brew store. It is best to go local because they can answer questions and help you make better mead. You can also call online stores like Sograte BBQ and Brew and The Home Brewery. They are always happy to help. In addition, online forums (like Got Mead? and Ale-ian Society) are a big help.

Still, if you want to try it on the cheap, you will need:

1. A glass gallon jug. (Most buy a gallon of apple cider in a glass jug, drink the cider, and clean it)
2. A balloon
3. A rubber band
4. A larger sauce pan
5. A spoon (wooden is best)
6. A pin
7. A funnel that fits into the gallon glass jug
8. The ingredients for the mead

Red Green Steps:

1. Clean the jug, funnel and spoon. It is best to sterilize but not essential for this "handy" method.
2. Bring 16oz water to boil in the sauce pan; turn off heat.
3. Pour honey into hot water and stir with spoon until dissolved. This is now called "must" because it is future fermentables (ie mead).
4. Put funnel on jug and slowly pour must into empty jug.
5. Add all other ingredients except yeast--even if you have to force them through a narrow opening
6. Fill with water until 1 gallon is full.
7. Add dry yeast.
8. Take pin and poke 3-4 small holes in the end of the balloon.
9. Stretch balloon over the neck of the jug and secure with rubber band.
10. Sit back and let the yeast do its thing!

Now, once its clear you can syphon the mead into bottles. You WILL want to sterilize these before you fill them. You have many options here (I use 750ml wine bottles and cork them) but the most popular is old Grolsch bottles. They have a swing top and can be reused for homebrew.

-Safari Bob

Saturday, January 8, 2011

First Mead of 2011: Pyment

Today, I mixed my first batch of must for 2011. Nancy requested that I make a pyment so she can mull it in the fall (she loves mulled wine). It has been four years since I made a pyment and, since it is intended to mull, I decided to make a simple one. After all, it is going to get heated and spiced right before quaffing so why should I get all fancy? I hope she will like it! Here is the recipe:

5 gal 100% Grape Juice (red)
6 lbs clover honey
2 tbsp pectin enzyme
2 tbsp yeast nutrient
1 pkt EC-1118 (dry)
OG:1.092; Potential ABV: 12.3%


-Safari Bob