matrix4b: (Default)
So Sunday I did some bottling.  It went much quicker with my aprentice.

Strawberry, Orange Blossom Honey
I bottled the Strawberry with Orange Blossum honey.  The Strawberry character didn't really come through strong but the nose of it was enough to watter your mouth from across the room.  It did taste of strawberries and had a higher citris character that I can only assume was from the honey choice.  This one will age out very good.  I ended up getting 2 cases plus 14 bottles, which is great.

Blueberry Vanilla, Buckwheat honey
I bottled the Blueberry Vanilla and this one was very sweet.  Already it was drinkable and both the vanilla character and honey character came through very strongly.  The Buckwheat honey is supposed to impart some brown sugar notes.  I think that it does but it could just be the vanilla taste.  When this ages properly It may just be too sweet.  But good. I ended up getting 2 cases plus 9 bottles so great news there.

After bottling, I was able to clean some carboys and then rack onto the fruit on a couple
Peach Vanilla Nutmet
This worked out well, pureed 10-12 pounds of peaches that I had in the freezer for over a year.  I also put in 1/2 cup of vanilla extract.  This will be a 6 gal batch I think, going to get lots of volume loss in the pulp of the peaches.  I will be putting in the nutmeg after I take out the fruit.  One flavor at a time, mostly.

Mojito- Lime Vanilla Mint
I put this one in my 6 gal glass carboy.  I put in 5 cups of lime juice and 2 tablespoons of zest, 1/2 cup of vanilla.  The lime was strong in this one but it should mellow out.  I only used 1/8 teaspoon of my home made mint extract.  I may add another 1/8 later but I didn't want to overpower it.  The mint though should come through and against the strong lime more should be balancing it.  We shall see.  I also may thin this out to make it a 6 gal batch and more drinkable.

Next up, in about 2 weeks I shall be bottling the Mango Mead, Pumpkin Hazelnut, and the Bamboo Jasmin.  I will need to de-lable more bottles.  But as of now I have 2 free carboys.  The other thing that may happen next time is to put the Mead from the Darkside onto the blackberries.  Currently I have 2 batches that will need buckets after primary: Mead from the Darkside, and a Raspberry Thyme Cinnamon (light on the Cinnamon).  The Mead from the Darkside is the only one in primary.  When I bottle I shall have 2 free buckets.  So I think that I can get the raspberry Thyme Cinnamon could go in to the primary as well. 

Future projects that People are interested in:
Rasberry Thyme Cinamon, "Sina-Razz Time?"  Hmm, need to work on the name. 
Ammeretto Cream Mead.
Strawberry Rhubarb
Rasberry Chocolate- "Choco-Razz"

When I bottle next I will have 2 free buckets.
1. Mead from the Darkside
2. Rasberry Thyme Cinamon  (So I possibly can start the primary.

Then I will need to wait on them freeing up to do the Strawberry and that's possibly spring.

The Amerretto Cream, I can do in a glass carboy as it mostly will be using extract.

So I guess that on the docet to use the glass carboys in about 4 weeks will be to make:
Primary: Ameretto Cream
Primary: Raspberry Thyme

The Choco-Razz will need to wait til fall. I want to see how the chocolate meads worked out.

Prep work on the Ameretto Cream is to make the Apricott Kernal Extract and Almond Extracts.  Oo, I forgot that I needed 2 pounds of Cherries so this one will also need to wait.  So this will need to wait for spring or I can see if I can fit 2 pounds of cherries in,  I may go with a cherry concentrate that I saw in Sprouts the other month.  Yeah, that sounds cleaner.  So I can do this.  But I want to give the extract longer.  Til December.  But if I start the primary in late october, I shouldn't need the extract until December.  

So I will more than likely have some free batches, as long as they don't take my bucket, I am good.

Well that's all for now.

Dave



matrix4b: (Default)
Ok so a busy sundy:

Racked the following on the final racking:

Bamboo Jasmin: Nice almost zinfindel flavor and a nice floral nose.  This will mellow out great.  Ready to bottle.

Blueberry Vanilla:  Almost opaque still but no signs of fermentation in over a month and very sweet.  This will be a great batch for those with a big sweet tooth.  It should age out well.  Drinkable now and smooth now but young.  The oaking really was great.  Ready to bottle.  A beautiful dark purple.

Strawbery with Orange Blossum Honey:  This is sweet and almost drinkable now.  Though the strawberry is not fully in bloom as it were, like the other one it will age nicely.  Ready to Bottle

Mango with Orange Blossom Honey:  This one is very nice nose, sweet and light.  The Mango has not come into it's own yet but it is nice and clear.  A comment from my wife is that "I see it coming up to the top of the racking cane but it's like nothing coming down."
This one is ready to bottle.

Pumpkin Hazelnut:  This one had a scent that I didn't like and was a little cloudy.  I racked on to some more sparkloid and potasium sorbate.  Alas, I didn't taste it.  It should be ready to bottle in a month.

So 4/5 ready to bottle.  My Apprentice and I needed to de-lable bottles, got through 6 cases.  With the 1 1/2 case I have de-labled, it is not enough for ALL the bottling.  2 of the 3 batchs that I started will be ready to rack in 2 weeks.  So I think that I have enough to keep ahead of the curve.  I will need to delable the rest prior to fall settling in. 

My Apprentices 1 gal batch of wildflower honey is going well, we took gravity readings all around and had some incredible drops.  Her mead may be ready to rack next time, possibly.  We still may give it 2 weeks more to settle and clear.

Next up: Whole Lotta Bottling and possibly racking to secondary for the Peach Vanilla Nutmeg and the Mojito (AKA Lime Vanilla Mint)

That's all for now.
Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
So this is not precisely a comission batch.  A friend wanted me to experiment with Blackberries and gave me some money to experiment.  I decided that I never really worked with Tea so I decided to do a Black Tea and Blackberry mead.  The Black Tea that was chosen was a tea recomended by a friend as a really good black tea.  It is called Monks Blend.  I got 3 ounces of it and brewed up 2 gallons of tea, mixed in 1 galon of Alfalfa honey and then 2 galons of water, then tossed yeast and nutrients.

Well, the Black Tea made for a nice dark color and it smelled very nice.  The mead came together quickly thanks to my apprentice's help.  Once mixed up and yeast tossed, I got it into the carboy.  It was a very dark color and took about 4 hours to show activity.  It foamed up nicely and is remaining dark.  I think that the tannins have excited the yeast because the next day I found that the mead had foamed up and blew past the airlock.  I needed to clean my airlock out, rinse it off and wipe down the carboy.  Then reset it.  I believe that the beer term of the foam during fermentation is Krausen.  It had a lot of that.  It remains foaming up with about an inch of nice carmelly looking head and a dark color with the barest hintings of light color from the yeast.  At this point I usually expect a light carmel color but not with the Darkside Mead.  Because of the color and the anticipated yummyness I am going to call this Mead from the Darkside or Darkside Mead for short. 

I think that I will use medium toasted oak with this one but I am tempted to use Dark toasted oak to keep the theme but not sure I want to comprimise the flavor.  I antisipate that this one will be very dark in color.  I may put a touch of vanilla in it too.  Not sure.

Here's the recipie and process so far:

Mead From the Darkside (6 gal batch)

4 Galons of water
12 pounds of Alfalfa Honey
2 packets of Lavin D47 yeast
1 tablespoon of yeast nutrient
1 tablespoon of yeast Energizer (DAP)
3 oz of Monks Blend Black Tea.

Step 1: Make tea: I boiled 2 galons of water and took off the heat, then steaped the Tea Leaves in 2 galons of water for 3 minuts.  The steap time of the tea is recomended for 3 minutes.  I put the tea leaves in coffee filters and used some sanitized rubber bands to seal it shut.  Put the tea in losely and used about 6-7 filters total.

Step 2: Mix honey.  I headed up the honey in the sink filled with hot water,  Poured and mixed the honey in the tea, then mixed 2 gal on chilled water.

Step 3: Toss Yeast:  mixed in nutrients, hydrated the yeast, to a temp reaing

Then waited a bit for it to cool and put in the carboy with an air lock.

Steps from here:
 First Racking on to Blackberry Puree.
Take the blackberries and blenderize with pectic enzyme and run that through a screen to get just blackberry juice.  The seeds should be left in the screen too.  Then put the resulting pulp in a mesh bag in the brew bucket and rack on to it, mixing the mead into it.  Then give the flavors a few months to integrate, take out the mesh back and rack until clear or as clear as it in   The Oaking and Aging.


On a seperate note, My aprentice has her first mead going.  I asked her to make choices for yeast and honey and sweetness level desired.  She went with Wildflower honey 3.75 pounds, Lavin 71B yeast, 1/2 teaspoon of yeast energizer, 1/4 teaspoon of yeast nutrient and we watered it to 1 galon.  Then I asked her to take pictures of it daily at home, so she can see the color changes and the differences in it over time.  This is going to be a very sweet show mead.  While I am disapointed that she went with wildflower, I can't blame her for going a bit safe on her first batch.  We are going to check it in 2 weeks, possibly rack it.  She has yet to decide if she is oaking it or what else.  We shall see how it turns out.

That's all for now

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, I have 2 new batches started.  Both are in the primary stage. 

Primary of Peach Vanilla Nutmeg:
12 pounds of Orange Blossum Honey
2 packest of Lavin 71B yeast
1 tablespoon of Yeast Energizer (DAP)
1 tablespoon of Yeast Nutrient
4 gal of water

Primary for Lime Mint Vanilla:
Same as Peach Vanilla Nutmet but I added
3 tablespoons of Lime zest to the primary.

The honey I got from the Colorado Honey Company who deals in more bulk but sells in the gallon size.
I warmed up the honey in the sink so that it is more  pourable.  The honey didn't need heating up more than that so the process was quick.

The honey smells realy nice.  With the lime zest it had a definite lime citrus scent.

Both batches started fermenting with in a few hours and are happily bubbling away now.

In two weeks I will be making a Backberry Black Tea mead with some Alfalfa honey.  I plan on also helping my aprentice to make a 1 gal batch that she can take home and watch the changes in.  She likes photography so I suggested that she take a picture of it the same time each day or as close as each day that she can.  We will be taking hydrometer readings as well.  Hmm, given that she is in highschool maybe I could have her do a graph of the changes.  But the goal is to have a picture of the same thing and we can sort do a time elapse type of thing with it.  I thought that she would like this.  It is acelerating the teaching a bit but I think that mead making is more hands on type of experience that you only get when you do it.  That it is more fun actually doing it rather than helping someone else.

My homework for her was to research yeast types and honey types to find what she wants.  Basically, I just want her to take a look and begin to consider that there a lot of varieties of honey and yeast and find a match of the two to produce what she wants.  I did limit her to only a yeast and a honey choice so she is not making a meglithin or a melomel.  No spices and No fruit in this one.  Just honey, yeast, and water as even with that you still have lots of choices to make when putting together a recipie.  She is in charge of procuring her own honey and I am going with her to the home brew store for the yeast.  I need caps anyway and to see if they have Lactose for the up coming mead I have in January or so.

Back to the two meads started:  I plan on waiting to the secondary to add the Peaches that I have had in the freezer from the last batch of Peach Mead.  Also I have more Lime zest and about 3 cups of Lime Juice Frozen to add to the other.   And I have the whole nutmegs to crack open.  I figre 1/2 a whole nutmeg will do.  The Vanilla I have in home made extract form as well as the mint.  So all the peices are in place for the secondary.

On the Blackberry Black Tea I have to get the tea yet.  I am going to brew up a bunck of black tea and put that in the primary instead of putting the tea leaves in the secondary.  More control.

That's all for now
Matrix
matrix4b: (Default)

Ok, At a party I opened up one of the dark toast Rockbitters.  It was..Carbonated?!  Ok so I guess that it was still fermenting.  The carbonation lent a good taste but I fear that the Dark Toast and the medium toast are carbonated.  It was way early to tell but I think that the dark toast had a bit of rounded smokeyness to it.  We shall see.


In other news, I plan on starting 3 more batches this sunday, or at least 2 depending on time that I have availible. 
Here's the line up:

Peach Vanilla- Nutmeg?
Lime Vanilla Mint- Coined a Mojito
Blackberry Black Tea- This one is going to be my Darkside mead as I am going for a very dark color and a rich flavor.

The Bamboo is ready to bottle so when I do, it's carboy may go to a
Winter
Raspberry Thyme Cinnamon- Razz Time Sin?

The other batches that should be going after that are:
Late Spring
Strawberry Rhurbarb Allspice
Amerretto Cream

Fall
Chocolate Raspberry
Sunshine (formerly Pineapple Lime Mint)

That is all for now.
Dave


 

matrix4b: (Default)

I bottled this one on Sunday.  My aprentice was a no show.  Arrg on that.  And our dish washer is out so I had to get the bottles washed and sanitized at a neighbors house.  But dispite that, I got the Tale of Three Toasts bottled and racked.  Still too soon to see the difference in the meads.  I sampled all three and they were sweet.  The Wildflower honey and the backsweetening was successful.  I think that I got it sweeter than normal.  A bit of comments that I can tell:

Heavy Toast:
Racked the Heavy Tasted First:  This one didn't want to clear properly.  It had some cloudy bits in it, I think it was due to the extra toast but I ran it through a screen with a paper towel in it to kinda filter it a bit when racking to the bottling bucket.  I think that I was successful.  Very sweet has more of a vanilla taste than the others and a touch of smokyness.  I could be imagining it.  Will find out for certian at new years party.  Ended up with 2 cases exactly.

Medium toast:
Then I racked the medium toast.  This was had a satifactory clearness to it.  I was not a crystal clearness but it looked nice.  I could read large print (like 72 point) through it.  True the print was like 1/2 inch big but it was clear on the lines and not blury.  This one had a little of the carmellyness that I have come to associate with a good mead.  I think that it also may be my imagination.  But it smelled good.  Ended up with 3 bottles beyond 2 cases.

Light Toast:
This was the last one bottled.  The color was a real pretty amber.  It was clearer than the medium Toast but not by much.  Taste comparison is that it was a bit lighter than the medium and had some floral notes.  Again, that may be my imagination and the Wildflower flavor coming through better.   This one was a touch lighter in shade than the Medium toast.

Overall:  I have 3 great batches of sweet mead.  I can't wait for the aging to bring it back down so that you can see about tasting the subtle differences.  My prediction is that the medium toast will be the favorite, espically of beer drinkers.  The Light toast will be a favorite of the sweet fruity types of drinkers and the Heavy Toast will be the favorite of the scotch drinkers.   Overall I think that the Medium Toast will have the greatest apeal.  And for my rockbitter formulation I may stick with the medium toast.  But I think that I will get what I wanted from this test.  A good idea and proof of what each toast level contribuites.  Not sure how it will affect smoothness and the differences will be very subtle and not tastable to most.  Simply putting the oak in should be enough to acheive the smoothness that I want.  So next fall I may do another test:  Step Feeding vs not.  Also if I have the carboy room to do an oaked with Bamboo Leaves so that I can taste the difference between the bamboo and oak.  We shall see.

Ongoing: 
Bamboo Jasmin needs to be racked off of the lees.  The mead is crystal clear with a pale yellow collor,  I might be able to read 36 font clearly through it, about 1/4 inch size font.  It is so clear.  It's crazy, This one has cleared very fast.  I wonder if the Jasmin actually was the clearing agent.  It was mostly clear prior to the addition of the Bamboo leaves   Or it may be the high quality honey.  I used Orange Blosom and Buckwheat honey.  The Buckwheat is a darker honey but the OB is a very light colored honey.  It may be honey or the jasmin or bamboo that contributed to the crystal clear color.  I don't know.

Bluberry Vanilla is very dark and might end up a little clearer.  Need to rack it too.

The others I am not sure of, Find out sunday.

In 2 sundays I hope to start some new batches, Need the honey.  Hopefully I don't need to fire my apprentice.

That's all for now.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Do I didn't get to bottling on Sunday.  I did remove the oak though.  Some of the oak smelled rather green.  Hope it was ok.  I also removed the bamboo leaves.  This stired up the lees and made the mead a bit fogy.  But I noticed about an hour or so later it was already stating to get clear again.  Should be fine to rack in a week or so.  And then bottling of the Bamboo Jasmin should be about a month off.

Looking forward to bottling but my dishwasher is down.  So I will need to wash and sanitize the bottles by hand.  That is going to be a pain.  I may just do it over the course of the next week in small batches.  I have over 6 cases to get sanitized and clean as I am next bottling the Tale of 3 Toasts. 

Well that's all for now.

Matrix
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, for those that don't know me. I enjoy brewing mead. I have been doing so for a little over 4 years. If you look below in archives or what ever you will find my brewing journal. I welcome comments but dispise spam and nonsense posts. Please make it realavant to me or at least have some sort of cohearency. But I digress. Mostly I post what is going on with my brewing in my journal. Feel free to comment and enjoy. I also post of gotmead.com/forum pages as matrix4b, as well as homebrewtalk.com in the mead area again as the same matrix4b. Consistency is good sometimes.

This will mostly be a mead journal but I sometimes post other things. Occasionally I do figure out how to place things behind a cut but don't count on it. I hope you enjoy.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, so I just moved here from Livejournal. Seems that Livejournal is mostly dead. Ah well.

In other News, I plan on bottling my Tale of Three Toasts mead on July 7th.

Hopefully with bottling 3 batches of my Rockbitter mead will go quicker now that I have an aprentice.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, looks like I used 180 oz of raspberries in the last one.  So that is 10 containers of the 18 oz clamshells.  I may be able to get away with 9 containers.  So that would be like $36 or so for the batch.  Yeah, now affordable.  Expensive batch but affordable.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
So I have the Bamboo Jasmin "Oaking" on about 9 bamboo leaves.  I bought the bunch, probably about 30 or so for about $3.00.  They were really dried but had a nice scent.  So I put them in the steamer for about 5 minutes to rehydrate them a bit and open up the leaves a bit.  Smeelled great, I then put them it.  Plan on leaving them until my next time with my aprentice on July 7th.  So that will be nearly a month on the bamboo leaves.  If this works out well I may just "Oak" other meads with just the leaves as I have a bunch left.

So, Short post today.

Next up will be bottling the Trianry Toast and cleaning the carboys.  Then I need to get the new honey and get up to 3 new batches going.  I saw at costco yesterday Raspberries for $3.74 for a 18 oz container.  Doing the math of 1 pound is 16 oz for the Raspberry batch of 9 pounds would be: $30 and 10lbs 4 oz would be $ 37.40 Plus Taxes.  That brings another Raspberry batch into the fold.  Looks likely that I can get that Raspberry Thyme, touch of cinnomin for Jessie.  I just need to get money as I am currenty broke.  She had promised me that she could provide some compensation for 1/2 of that batch cost for my process and instruction on how to make it herself, as I cannot sell it to her.  I can accept donations for instruction and bottle storage.

But I will have to look over my notes on the other raspberry thyme and check to see how much I used.  That ended up being a 6 gal batch as I needed to backsweeten it alot.  So I cut the yeasties off a bit more and backsweeten better.

Sigh, I need to get more of the orange blossum honey and the buckwheat honey.  Unfortunately the same stuff was not availible fromt the same source.

Matrix
matrix4b: (Default)
Well got a lot done over the week end.  I had some help from my new Apprentice.  She isn't really strong so lifting is not an option for her yet.  But here goes.

Bamboo Jasmin: First we backsweetened the Bamboo Jasmin mead.  Heated up the last of the orange blossum honey in about a 1/2 gallon and racked it onto it, also put in some Sparkloid as a stablizing agent.  It did sweeten it up a little but 2 pounds can only go so far.  Haven't oaked this yet, need more lightly toasted oak to put in.  I figured I would let this settle a bit first.

Tale of Three Toasts, Rockbitter:  This one didn't clear at all so I racked all of them on to some clarifying agent and hopefully this will be ready to bottle in about 5-6 weeks. 

Pumpkin Hazlenut:  Racked this one and tasted it.  Superb Hazlenut flavor.  This one is going to be Smooth.  Racked onto some Medium toasted Oak. 

Strawberry with Orange Blossum Honey: This one tastes great, still have a very light pink color but looks like it will end up being very smooth.  I racked this one on to meadium toasted oak.  Normally I would have done lightly toasted but I was out and my apprentice, after hearing what the different oak types are supposed to do said that she would like to see how the medium toasted oak would work.

Mango with Orange Blossum Honey:  Didn't taste this one, racked it, it had a lot of floating peices of mango in it.  May need to run this one through a screen at next racking.  Smelled GREAT though.

Blueberry Vanilla:  Racked this one onto some more sparkloid.  This one is going to be SMOOTH and very Sweet.  I think that I have 1/2 of this one paid for or at least re-imbersed on supplies on it.  But the vannilla addition took out the tartness of the lemon and blueberry and just made it yummy.  Really looking forward to this one being good.

Well that's all 8 of my active carboys.  Need to get more honey. and Bamboo leaves to oak the Bamboo Jasmin with.  Also out of Lightly Toasted Oak Chips.  So a run to the Home Brew Store is definitely in order.

Next up, in about 6 weeks, I will have my apprentice again and we shall bottle the Tale of Three Toasts.  Also, possibly take out the oak on all of them.  And Bamboo Leaf the Bamboo Jasmin.
Clean carboys and get set up for the new batches.  So my new apprentice can see the process from the start.

That's all for now.

Matrix
matrix4b: (Default)
This past sunday I racked several meads, some may have been prematurely, possibly not.
so starting in order of working:

First I made some material to back sweeten with.  I made the crystalized honey soft in the tub, hot water and time with the big 42 pound bucket in the tub for a couple of hours.  I started with the Buckwheat honey.  Got about 10 pounds out of the last of it.  So that's nearly a gallon.  I heated up a gallon of water and mixed the two, then placed in 2 glass gallon jugs.  The Orange Blossum Honey I did get a full gallon of and about 3 pounds left in the bucket, which will go to backsweetening the Bamboo Jasmin.

Pumpkin Hazelnut: I racked off a bunch of sediment and added about 5 pounds of honey in the mix, this bulked up the volume lost and I also mixed in some sparkloid and Potasium Sorbate.  The Sparkloid is a clearing agent.  The Potasium Sorbate will inhibit the yeast and stabalize it so that the yeast doesn't eat up all the sugar.  I also added 3/4 cup of the Hazelnut extract that I have been making for the past 10 weeks.  So, Backsweetened, Added Flavor, Stabalized and put in the clearing agent.  Only thing left here is to oak it and for it to clear on it's own.  So a few rackings and oaking and this is done.

Blueberry Vanilla:  Did the same but with about 6 pounds of Buckwheat honey to backsweeten it.  Added the 1/2 cup of vanilla to it.  Should be enough.  This one had lots of pulp, both as sediment and as a bit floating.  It may require a bunch more rackings to clear but it is an excellent purple color.

Strawberry: Backsweetened with 6 pounds of honey, the 1 gallon 1/2 honey and 1/2 water solution, mixed in stablizer and clearing agent.  Also racked off of a ton of sediment, the left over fruit sediment.  The volume of this was pretty big, Looks like this will end up around 6+ gallon mark.  Almost didn't have room for it in the large 6 1/2 gal plastic bucket carboy that I have.  This only requires clearing and oaking and done.  I was tempted to put a touch of vanilla into it.  I still might.  Not enough to make it a strawberry vanilla but enough to round out the flavors a bit.  I only used the orange blossum honey on it so it should be great.

Mango: Did the same as the Strawberry.  Same results needed.  Both the Mango and the Strawberry are a bit cloudy but that could easily be the honey addition.  This one was almost overflowing, I am sure that I will get 6 gallons out of this one as well.

Bamboo Jasmin: in the recient 4 weeks this one has dropped dramatically and was nearly clear with a bunch of sediment.  I took out the Jasmin at the 3 week mark.  I didn't backsweeten this yet but I did Stabalize and put in some sparkloid to clear it more.  Next step on this one is to backsweeten it with the remaining orange blossum honey.

Tale of 3 toasts:  Did nothing with this one(3) but I did check it.  I think that I do need to rack it onto some sparkloid.  It is a little foggy and does have some sediment at the bottom.  Not much but enough so that it won't clear the rest of the way.  So this delays the mead out to about New Years for being ready.  At next mile hi con, I should have it aged a little over a year.

Once I bottle up the Tale of 3 toasts it is my plan to get some honey again and make three primaries.
The meads I plan on making, possibly: Peach Vanilla, Raspberry something, Lime Vanilla.  In the fall/Winter to make possibly a Cranberry Vanilla, another Pumpkin something.  I have a list of requests here somewhere.  I also plan on trying to make some less potent meads as well.  This will use up less honey or make for a bigger batch one or the other.  Late Winter I expect to be bottling the Strawberry and Mango, in Fall the Bamboo Jasmin might be ready to bottle.  Early Winter, the Blueberry Vanilla should be ready to bottle.   So by my estimation, I should have all current batches bottled by early to late winter.  The new batches should be going down at that time too.  I have honey money and just need to get the honey.  I am trying to step up my game a bit and use more varietal honeys that are of a higher quality.  Also, Next Fall should be my next rockbitter test.  I plan on testing step nutrients and non-step nutrients, for 2013.  With the same toast level, possibly Medium toasted oak.  Also, I may refine into the recipie just a little vanilla.  Just enough to round out the flavor a bit. Then in 2015, the next rockbitter test is going to be a yeast test with maybe 6 rockbitters doing different yeasts.  So slowly, I am refining technique.  Hopefully, I can see about getting a large barrel and a pump to do a big batch and see how it turns out with a lot of attention.  That's once I get the rockbitter formula really good, then I can see about big batches.  Then after a big batch 2 other big batches with different styles then I can go professional.  but honestly, I don't think that it's going to happen until well past into my 50s.  I may just be done brewing at that time.  Though I plan on trying to brew until I am at least 70.  Then with the 1-6 pack that I have put away from each batch I plan on just drinking.

Unfortunately, My apprentice may not work out, I got called by her parents and she couldn't come over this time due to both parents needing to work.

That's all for now.

Matrix
matrix4b: (Default)
So, got a lot done over the weekend that I have been putting off.  Thanks to my new aprentice, Amy.  A friend's kid.  My tenant calls me Darth Fermentus and her Darth Scrub.  Humorous but not neccessary.  Teaching her how to brew mead.

So here is what we accomplished:

Blueberry Vanilla:  Racked this off and added 1 cup of lemon juice to this 6 gal batch.  Also, I blended up 6 pounds of blueberies and ran through the strainer.  Then pored in.  It is now a nice purple color.   I will add the vanilla later, also will back sweeten it a bit because I got a request to make this very sweet.  I also plan on oaking it with some lightly toasted oak chips. 

Strawberry and Mango Meads:  Finally took out the fruit.  I shouldn't be suprised that it barely had any pulp left in the nylon back.  Most of it was in the mead.

Bamboo Jasmin:  This one, I got 1/2 oz of jasmin and tasted a bit in some boiled water and sugar.  It had a nice subtle taste so I added 1 cup of lemon juice to punch up the flavor a bit.  All in All it dropped quickly.  So maybe a touch of vanilla, stablizing, backsweetening,

Tale of 3 Toasts:  The rockbitter trio is holding up well, I amy need to rack it.  The mead hasn't cleared yet.

Oh and also de-labled 4 cases of bottles as it was a nice day.

Next up with the aprentice may be to do more bottles and to possilbe bottle the Tale of 3 Toasts.  I may need to rack it this again.  It does have some sediment and is a bit cloudy.

That's all for now,
Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, Over the weekend I got together the two primary batches that will eventually become the Blueberry Vanilla and the Bamboo Jasmin.

Blueberry Vanilla
     I started with the blueberry vanilla.  I put 12 pounds of buckwheat honey that should be a good base for the blueberry and give it some legs and a more complex flavor.  My plan after the primary is to get 2 large bags of blueberries and render to juice again.  This I have done twice before.  It should yeild about a gallon and about 1/4 of Blueberry Juice.  The Blueberry Lemon taught me that to enhance the blueberry flavor it is best to add some lemon, so I plan on using 2 cups of lemon juice.  I am thinking on using vanilla extract, home made, for this brew.  That way I can keep it liquid for the additions and only need to use the glass carboy.  The primary should last just under 2 months.  It should be good.  I was thinking about 3/4 cup of home made extract that I have in the jar at the moment.  So this one is bubbling away in it's primary fermentation as I type.

Bamboo Jasmin
    For those that are unaware, I am a part of a Shinai club.  Just a group of friends that get together about 1 to 2 times a month and beat eachother with sticks.  Ok, the "Stick" is a Shinai which is a split bamboo sword held together with leather and a plastic disk for a hilt.  I have constructed myself a Double Shinai or a Shinai Staff.  That is what I wield.  But the point is in about 2 years or so we will be coming up on our 10th year.  This mead is to inaugurate this.  We are even having a tournament in April 28th, I think.  People can send me a message if they are intrested in participating or even just coming and watching.  The Bamboo Jasmin will be a batch that will be aged and ready for our 10th aniversery Sharps party.  That's our yearly party where we bring out the blades and slice apart 2 liter bottles filled with water, great fun.

So with this one, I searched for bamboo leaves of an edible variety to put in the primary to no avail.  I found the Pacific Ocean Market, which has all sorts of great food.  They had lots of stuff and I could put together a mead with an orential flavor on it.  Still no fresh bamboo leaves for eating.  Best I could find was bamboo shoots in water.  I found sour bamboo but that had preservatives in it.  I found caned, bamboo tips boiled in water with no preservatives.  I also found some Lotus Root.  Fresh.  So I took both, chopped up smalll and boiled it for about 1/2 hour or so.  Then blenderized and ran through a siv.  Then put the Juice in the primary.  I am hoping that it didn't have any anti-baterial qualities.
   I made the primary with about 11 pounds of honey, 5 pounds of Buckwheat and 6 pounds of Orange Blossum.  This will give the mead a bit of complexity.  My plan for the secondary is to backsweeten with more orange blossum and to "Oak" with dried bamboo leaves.  To make sticky rice and other items in much orential cooking they wrap it in bamboo leaves.  These leaves are not ingested but are more of a garnish and add flavor when steamed.  So I plan on sticking a couple of leaves in the secondary as it's clearing, after backsweetening it.  It should be a very good batch.
    As of yet the mix has not yet started to ferment or bubble.  Which is why I am worried about the anti-baterial qualities of bamboo or lotus root.  I may have to dose with more yeast.

Well that's all for now.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)

Ok, So I went and racked all but the newest two brews.

Rockbitter: Tale of 3 Toasts:  Ok, So this was decicivly cloudy so I racked it onto some sparkloid.  Hopefully that will clear it up.  The three smelled nice but I didn't taste it.  This one I used Wildflower honey rather that Alphalfa honey.  It is my last time using Madahava's honey as they have increased their prices and wont let me take the wholesale discount with out getting a wholesaler liscense and that's not going to happen.  There is only a little visual difference between the light toast, medium toast, and heavy toast. 

Pumpkin Hazlenut:  Racked this one onto some sparkloid to clear it but I probably should have just racked it due to the fact that I plan on backsweetening it a bit.  It tasted good but in that antiseptic way of not yet complete meads.  It has a thicker than normal mouth feel that was pleasing.  So this one should be good.  I doubt that I am going to get much pumpkin or hazlenut flavor out of it but it definiely stands out beyond a Rockbitter.

Strawberry and Mango:  I "Punched the Fruit Cap" on this.  Basically what I did was swirl around the floating fruit and pushed it down at the end.  When non puree is used it is recomended to Punch the cap, that is push down the floating fruit so that is is re-imersed in the mead and doesn't get a chance to grow mold and dry on the top.  This also allows more distrabution of the fruit so that the flavors can get more disolved into it.  Not sure that this works much.  Strawberry was a pleasent smell and the pulp has nearly disolved, leaving about 1/4 of the previous volume in the mesh bag.  Mango: I have about 1/2 the volume of pulp than the starting puree in the bag.  This is encoraging but I just know that it is going to produce a lot of sediment to clear out.  I may just hit it up with pectic enzyme again to try to get it to render more juice and help it to clear.  But that may be after I take out and strain the mesh bags.

New Projects:  As mentioned, I plan on starting a Blueberry Vanilla and the Shanai Club mix which is the bamboo jasmin.  My honey is trying to crystalize so I plan on starting this on this coming sunday, so I don't have to chip hardend honey out of the bucket.  I also plan on backsweetening the Pumpkin Hazlenut.  For the Blueberry vanilla I plan on using the buckwheat honey as it should provide a more stout base for the blueberry vanilla with it's brown sugar like notes.  For the Bamboo Jasmin, I plan on using 1/2 orange blossem and 1/2 buckwheat for a more complex flavor and trying to keep it lighter than the other brews.  I may make the Bamboo Jasmin a low ABV% mead for quicker ferment, ease of drinkability and as a second experiment at lowering the ABV% from 14+% to a more drinkable 10% or even 8%.  It may also turn out that way due to a honey shortage.  I don't know if I can buy more honey come fall.

Distant projects:  Fall: Another pumpkin one, Peach Vanilla with left over peach, get more Lime and do a Lime one again, maybe lime vanilla.  Also, I have been wanting to do a Cranberry Mead.  Possibly a Cranberry polmagranite or a Cranberry with a spice. 
For a Lime, I would need to get the limes.  I only have about 2 cups lime juice frozen.  And like 1-2 cups lime juice as well.

That's all for now.  Plan is to start 2 primaries here next sunday, anybody know where I can get eddible bamboo leaves from the store or something?

Dave

matrix4b: (Default)

So I finally bottled the Chocolate and Chocolate Mint.  I expect a year and 1/2 aging on it, which should make the first bottle openable and really really good on my 44th birthday, Read as September 2013.  I think that I may hold off opening the first bottle until mile high con.  I washed out the bottles and bottled this after I racked it one final time to make sure it was clear of sediment.

Chocolate:  This one is dark and I was initially thinking that it wasn't cleared all the way yet but it is a nice dark smoke quartz look to it.  Smells of dark chocolate, The taste was astringent of all new meads but I did back sweeten it enough.  These should have some stong legs.  The darkness of this is just beautiful.  Kim says that it does smell like chocolate to her but I don't fully smell it. I got 1 bottle less than 2 cases.

Chocolate Mint:  This one is a bit lighter than the Chocolate and I still may have put too much mint in it.  The mint was not overpowering, a smidge under 1/4 teaspoon of extract.  The astringent quality of the new mead combined with the mint was difficult to swallow but I am confidient that this one two will be sweet and age well.   Though this will end up a bit more like a darker chocolate.  It should outshine the Chocolate because a Dark Chocolate Plus Mint makes for a great flavor. 

Overview: I think that 1 pound of nibs should sufice in the future instead of two.  This and something like coconut may make it taste more like a milk chocolate.  Or go with back sweetening with about 3-4 pounds of lactose sugar, minimum.

Strawberry with Orange blossum honey:  Got the orange blossom honey primary finally racked.  It was a pale yellow tan color, still needs clearing.  This one may need to have some sparkloid treatments.  As in more than one.  But we shall see after I take out the fruit.  I pulped the strawberry and put in a mesh bag,  All 14 pounds of strawberries, blenderized, a bit of pectic enzyme and in it goes.  Racked the mead right on top of that.

Mango with Orange blossum honey:  Same as this used 18 pounds but bulk weight after the skins and seeds it is much less weight than the strawberries.  This should turn out smooth and great tasting.  It may be ready by next mile hi con.  But I doubt it, more like soltice or new years eve for 2013.

The pumpkin Hazelnet doesn't need to be racked yet but soon.

The Rockbiter: Tale of Three Toasts is looking really good.  I may end up bottling it summer Solstice.  Which would make it bare minimum drinkable at winter solstice but I may just wait til spring next year to bottle.

Next in the Carboy:  Blueberry Vanilla, Bamboo Jasimin

Fall in Carboy: Another Pumplkin something, Peach Vanilla, Maybe a cranberry vanilla or Cranberry Polmagranite.  Don't know yet.

That's it for now.  Busy weekend.

Dave

matrix4b: (Default)
Here's a review from one of the people at Gotmead.com.  He brews a lot and was who I got my Buckwheat Honey and Orange Blossum honey from.  I did a bit of a bottle trade with him.

Matrix4b came up and got some honey from me (I buy 55G drums) a while back, he left a bottle of Pineapple Lime Mint mead with me. I finally got around to drinking it, and found a thread of his with a very similar name. I've not read the rest of the thread, other than title and author...

Aroma: Slight sweetness, light fruits like apple or pear, some light brown sugar. There's a bit of earthiness in the aroma - maybe alfalfa, wildflower, or another earthy honey. Most likely a mix of wild flower and alfalfa, leaning toward more CO wf. A slight cinnamon note. After a few sips orange and lemon come out in the aroma.

Appearance: Very clear, orange/yellow color with small thin legs, no head/carbonation.

Flavor: Slight sweetness, semi-sweet, maybe alfalfa honey? Some brown sugar. Fair bit of pear/apple. There's a fair bit of bitterness/harshness on the flavor right after the sweet/alfalfa flavor.

As the mead sits on the tongue I get a sweet citrus/acidic flavor that fades to mint as it gets warmer. I swallow I get harsh tannic/mint followed by a fair bit of acid, then a drying mouth feel. While my mouth dries I get tons of pineapple and a fair bit of mint flavor in the aftertaste.

Overall: I love the aroma (apple/pear/brown sugar), the flavor is good, and the aftertaste is refreshing. However, the 3-6 seconds between swallowing and the aftertaste could use a fair bit of improvement. These flavors are (excuse the harshness) tannic, harsh, and distracting. I believe they are because of spices and tannins. This could be made better by increasing the residual sweetness with honey, using less mint (or making a water tincture/tea - perhaps exploring something similar to cold brew - and/or adding smaller amounts), perhaps reducing/eliminating the pith (from the lime), and/or perhaps reducing the acidity slightly with something like CaCO4. The pineapple adds very minimal benefit other than an acid balance and a pleasant aftertaste. I'm unsure if the lime adds anything significant. You may be better served by using an Orange Blossom honey as your base or not mentioning the lime and using more pineapple.

For such a contrasting set of ingredients I'm quite pleased. Reducing/smoothing/eliminating that harshness between swallow and aftertaste will make this amazing!


Thanks,
Kyle

All in all a good review and I understand where he was coming from, Refreshing to hear that another mead maker liked it and Taking some of his suggestions to heart and being more careful and more thoughtfull on my future batches.  If I remember correctly I just sort of threw the pineapple lime mint together with no real plan.  I have a better idea now on my mead.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok, Got lots of stuff done on Sunday:

Started 2 primaries with orange blossom honey.  I had to spoon the honey out as it was not even semi-liquid.  It was more like a hard cream.  The honey had an orangey look and smelled nice and oh my god tasted really good.  It was a bit of a bitch getting it out.  I don't think that it will get harder but it's 1/2 crystalized already.  I hope that I wont be taking a chissle to it.  Don't laugh, it's a possiblity.  But The flavor was worth it.  I could do just a traditional and be happy with it.  So I got the two batches going with some Lavin D47 yeast as it is highly unlikely to get over 70 degrees in the hearth room, in the winter/spring.  Now in the summer it's a consern.  That's why I have the Lavin 71B which has a higher temp tollerance, up to about 82.  When you go over the temp tolerance the yeast produce what are called Fusels, which are a type of alcohol that tastes alcoholic and "Hot" and doesn't age out quickly or at all in some cases.  So Lavin D-47 has a temp of up to 70 degrees but likes the lower end, down to about 55 degrees.  Perfect for fall/winter/spring.  Summer ferments need to use the Lavin 71B which is tollerant of up to about 82 degrees and is completely ok in the range of 65-75. 

The two primaries are destined for my Strawberry and for my Mango meads.  Yum.  Can't wait till the primary is done, about 2 weeks to a month from now.

Then I racked the Tale of 3 toasts and took out the oak.  So all that is left there is clearing.  I didn't hit it up with some of the fining agent, sparkloid, to clear it.  It should be fine.

Then I racked and took out the pumpkin and spice bag out of the Pumpkin Hazelnut.  This one was cloudy as all hell but that should clear up.  I think that it is going to be an orangy amber when done.  Smelled good and tasted ok. 

I did not touch the Chocolate and Chocolate Mint.  Those I had thought of puting in come calcium carbonate to lower the acidity, But I don't think that I really need it.  I already backsweetened this.  So All I need to take out the oak in one, rack one more time, then wait and bottle.  Should be ready to bottle in a  month or so.  Then the long wait of about 1 1/2 years for aging.  When I bottle these, I hope to move the Strawberry and Mango on to their fruit into the buckets that these are in.  So, I hope that it will only be a month.  Then I will have 2 more carboys open. Should be 2-3 months before I can bottle the Trinary toast.  So as my scedual is conserned, 2 primaries that will be the Bamboo Jasmin and Blueberry vanilla should go down in spring, summer/fall for anything else.  And I would need honey late summer or fall.  Prob for the next Pumpkin batch,  Hmm, Pumpkin Vanilla?  Or something vanilla, I got enough of it.

On the non-brewing end, I should have 3 cups of vanilla extract ready at the end of this month.  And be ready to start the second run of the same beans.  I am thinking on possible doing more almond and letting it go longer, toasting the almond first, then hit it with the cofee grinder, then in the alcohol.

So upcoming projects: Spring: Bamboo Jasmin, Bluberry Vanilla, Fall: Vanilla Lime, Pumpkin Something
Then Who knows.  I will have to check what I want to make.  Maybe a Cranberry.  I was also thinking a Chocolate Orange as I have 1 pound of the chocolate beans still.  Could be good but 1/2 as much chocolate that I put in the chocolate batches.

That's all for now.

Dave
matrix4b: (Default)
Ok finally bottled the Blueberry lemon mead.  Wow is this one going to taste good.  The Lemon wasn't much there but it did give the blueberry a "Bright" taste and I think brings out the blueberry more.

I ended up with 2 cases and 14 bottles.  My bigest batch so far.  So wow.  Didn't expect that.  It turned out a nice purple color that is deep, deep purple.  So, yeah, it is going to be a winner.  I think that I am getting better.

Over the weekend I opened up a bottle from another mead maker and it was very wine like, lots of tannins and good but rather disapointing as far as a mead is conserned.  I like mine better.  My friends also said that mine was better by far. 

Cleaned my gear and I am all ready for making 2 primaries with the Orange Blossum honey: One will be a strawberry, the other a Mango.  Yes, Mango mead.  Sounds lovely to me.   I just didn't have the energy after cleaning the house and bottling the blueberry lemon to make the batches.  Sigh, I am afraid that it will need to wait about 2 weeks.

Things that didn't get done:
two primaries
Removing the oak on the rockbitters
Racking the Rockbitters
Racking off the pumpkin hazelnut.
Still not time to sparkloid the chocolates.

That is all for now.

Dave
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