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