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IrishMonk
05-11-2010, 12:13 AM
Ok, so I'm off and running with my mead...but while the mead is aging for a year or so I was wondering... Are there any fermented drinks to make that are ready quicker ?
I'm a bit impatient, and have been bitten by the fermentation bug. So, while I'm waiting on the mead to come full circle, what could I be sippin on ? ( if anything )

akueck
05-11-2010, 01:07 AM
Beer is an obvious choice, if you like beer. A session beer can be ready to drink in about 2 weeks if you're in a hurry. Most normal gravity beers (4-6% abv range) will finish fermenting within a week and will bottle condition for about 2 weeks.

AToE
05-11-2010, 02:57 AM
You can start drinking many meads at 4-6 months, but you have to be strong willed to keep some put aside to taste as the months pass to see how it changes, because it really won't be anywhere near its best at that age. I like cider for something a little faster, but haven't managed to make one that wasn't too sour yet.

d.j.patterson
05-11-2010, 09:03 AM
I am running into this problem as well. I have nothing that is ready to drink.

6 gallons of Chanti (kit wine) bulk aging
5 gallon Orange Melomel currently being oaked
6.5 gallons of traditional to be racked to secondary this weekend

I have decided to order one of the beer kits from northern brewer and give that a try. I know that some people are thinking :rolleyes: "scoff" about a beer kit.

We all have to start somewhere. If nothing else it will expand my fermentation knowledge base and give me something drinkable soon.

Continued fermentation experimentation from The Mead Lab (AKA my house)

Medsen Fey
05-11-2010, 09:04 AM
A hard lemonade that's sweet can be ready pretty fast.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with drinking commercial beverages during the time you are waiting for your mead. You can educate your palate quite a bit along the way, and you may discover things you'd like to try to make.

akueck
05-11-2010, 12:12 PM
You can start drinking many meads at 4-6 months, but you have to be strong willed to keep some put aside to taste as the months pass to see how it changes, because it really won't be anywhere near its best at that age. I like cider for something a little faster, but haven't managed to make one that wasn't too sour yet.

I find cider needs time even more than mead! They spend many months being thin and overly tart, then mature into a really nice drink.

Beer kits are great, they take the recipe formulation worries out of the equation. Even with a kit, the beer will be entirely your own since your process is bound to be unique.

AToE
05-11-2010, 12:41 PM
I find cider needs time even more than mead! They spend many months being thin and overly tart, then mature into a really nice drink.

Beer kits are great, they take the recipe formulation worries out of the equation. Even with a kit, the beer will be entirely your own since your process is bound to be unique.

Well, that would explain my problem! I thought it was just because I was finishing dry...

PitBull
05-11-2010, 03:00 PM
I have decided to order one of the beer kits from northern brewer and give that a try. I know that some people are thinking :rolleyes: "scoff" about a beer kit.

We all have to start somewhere. If nothing else it will expand my fermentation knowledge base and give me something drinkable soon.

Continued fermentation experimentation from The Mead Lab (AKA my house)
Here is where I started. About a year-and-a-half ago, Woot.com had a Mr. Beer kit for a mere $20 that included everything you needed to make 2 gallons of beer (small fermenter, PET bottles, ingredients). It was great for the price, but the 2-gallon batches do not go very far. So I recently purchased a Cooper’s beer kit. It also comes with everything you need, but the batch is 6 gallons. I’m planning to start my first batch soon. Beer from a kit is no worse than wine from a kit. But someday I hope to graduate to whole-grain brewing.

Does anybody at GotMead have one of these? It looks like the 30-liter fermenter would be great for melomels when not brewing beer. The lid has a wide mouth (with an air-lock port), so there would be no need to squeeze the fruit through the small mouth of a carboy. I realize some inert gas would most likely be necessary. Unfortunately, the fermenter is only sold as part of a kit.

(Cooper offers free shipping around various holidays, so that would be the time to buy the kit and a few refills, or some malt extract.)

Picture of wide-mouth fermenter here (scroll down.). (http://www.makebeer.net/kit.asp)

d.j.patterson
05-11-2010, 03:28 PM
Here is where I started. About a year-and-a-half ago, Woot.com had a Mr. Beer kit for a mere $20 that included everything you needed to make 2 gallons of beer (small fermenter, PET bottles, ingredients). It was great for the price, but the 2-gallon batches do not go very far. So I recently purchased a Cooperís beer kit. It also comes with everything you need, but the batch is 6 gallons. Iím planning to start my first batch soon. Someday I hope to graduate to whole-grain brewing.

Does anybody at GotMead have one of these? It looks like the 30-liter fermenter would be great for melomels when not brewing beer. The lid has a wide mouth (with an air-lock port), so there would be no need to squeeze the fruit through the small mouth of a carboy. I realize some inert gas would most likely be necessary. Unfortunately, the fermenter is only sold as part of a kit.

(Cooper offers free shipping around various holidays, so that would be the time to buy the kit and a few refills, or some malt extract.)

Picture of wide-mouth fermenter here (scroll down.). (http://www.makebeer.net/kit.asp)

Not really what I meant. I had planned to just order one of their malt extract ale kits. Then use a stockpot I already have and my primary bucket for fermentation (after I rack out my traditional). I will have to buy another 5 gallon carboy, but I have been wanting another one anyway.

Maybe I can even convince the wife that I need a keg setup as well. ;D

Chevette Girl
05-12-2010, 12:57 AM
Ok, so I'm off and running with my mead...but while the mead is aging for a year or so I was wondering... Are there any fermented drinks to make that are ready quicker ?
I'm a bit impatient, and have been bitten by the fermentation bug. So, while I'm waiting on the mead to come full circle, what could I be sippin on ? ( if anything )
JAO comes to mind, I usually give mine three or four months but they're often drinkable in two, and a lot of kit wines are drinkable 28 days after you start... Better when aged, but still drinkable immediately...

BBBF
05-12-2010, 09:35 AM
I find cider needs time even more than mead! They spend many months being thin and overly tart, then mature into a really nice drink.



I completely agree. I was much more disappointed in the cider I started drinking at 6 months compaired to similar aged meads.

icedmetal
05-14-2010, 04:27 PM
I completely agree. I was much more disappointed in the cider I started drinking at 6 months compaired to similar aged meads.

Ya'll aren't adding enough honey to that cider! Or sugar, if you want it to stay a cider and not a cyser... I make the stuff by adding 10lbs of white sugar to 4.5 gallons cider. Throw in some yeast (haven't found much difference in the outcome trying various Wyeast smack packs, haven't had enough experiments on the recipe with dry yeast yet), rack after a week or so, then just leave it in secondary till clear. Drinkable immediately after clear, 14-16% abv and let me tell you, freaking delicious. Everybody rants and raves about our cider. We're trying to get folks excited about our meads, but they just don't hold up to the high bar set by our cider. Yet. ;)

So yeah, if you're thirsty and the mead is soooo far away, go find some tasty, preservative-free apple juice on sale and get your ferment on!

-SIRES

AToE
05-15-2010, 09:10 PM
Ya'll aren't adding enough honey to that cider! Or sugar, if you want it to stay a cider and not a cyser... I make the stuff by adding 10lbs of white sugar to 4.5 gallons cider. Throw in some yeast (haven't found much difference in the outcome trying various Wyeast smack packs, haven't had enough experiments on the recipe with dry yeast yet), rack after a week or so, then just leave it in secondary till clear. Drinkable immediately after clear, 14-16% abv and let me tell you, freaking delicious. Everybody rants and raves about our cider. We're trying to get folks excited about our meads, but they just don't hold up to the high bar set by our cider. Yet. ;)

So yeah, if you're thirsty and the mead is soooo far away, go find some tasty, preservative-free apple juice on sale and get your ferment on!

-SIRES

I think both those options make it either a cyser or apfelwine, cider is generally around 5-7% alcohol as far as I know, and usually just fermented juice.

fatbloke
05-16-2010, 04:09 AM
The fastest home brewing you'll ever do is to buy yourself a "Smart Still (http://www.smartstill.com/)" and a 27 litre bucket.

It takes about 7 days for ferment 21litres of water, 6kg of table sugar (plus the turbo yeast pack and carbon).
It takes about 24 hours to clear it down.

Bingo! you have 25litres of "sugar wine" at about 14% ABV (which itself, is bloody horrible - but that's not the point of making it).

It then goes into the smartstill at 4litres at a time (takes about 2 hours to heat up and "run" the spirit), and from that you end up with 800mls of 60% ABV neutral spirit, multiply that by 6 and you have about 5litres of 60% neutral spirit.

You "let that down" (dilute) to 40% ABV and add whatever flavouring essence you like.

Voila! 40% spirits in less time than it takes to make a 4 to 6% beer.

Hit the supermarket for the mixers(coke, lemonade, tonic/quinie water, soda, ginger ale, etc etc etc) and the world is your oyster....... :p

p.s. Oh and it's a small enough, discreet enough method to make it damned hard to get caught if distilling spirits is illegal where you are.......

akueck
05-16-2010, 04:19 AM
Distilling is definitely illegal in the US. If you want to have a distilling discussion, this is not the place for it.

fatbloke
05-16-2010, 04:27 AM
Distilling is definitely illegal in the US. If you want to have a distilling discussion, this is not the place for it.
I'd never have guessed :rolleyes:

I notice you're in Oakland..... growning weed is also illegal (here, and in the US) it doesn't stop it happening though does it.........;D

And of course, hypothetical discussion is legal in most "Western Democracies" 8)

regards

fatbloke

akueck
05-16-2010, 01:22 PM
Free speech is good. But we'll try to keep the posts here in the mead/beer/wine/etc realm of legal stuff anyway. There are other forums for other things.

And I think CA is close to legalizing the weed. Then we can fix our roads! Yay!

AToE
05-16-2010, 09:36 PM
And I think CA is close to legalizing the weed. Then we can fix our roads! Yay!

Man I'd love if a US state legalized it, the only reason we haven't done so already up here is because sometimes our government acts like a bunch of sissies when it comes to upsetting the US government (and no, they would not be happy if we legalized it). If a state did it first we might be able to get past that whole business and just get it over with and legalized (don't smoke it myself, but the tax dollars and reduction in crime make it a no-brainer IMO).

Sorry for the derailment of the thread! I'll behave now...

Angelic Alchemist
05-16-2010, 10:47 PM
Hey everybody! Look over there! There's a red headed woman belly dancing with an 13' long albino snake!

(renews Patriot Act while everyone is distracted)

Back to the topic: If you like amaretto, it's easy to make and fun. You buy some rot gut vodka, good almond extract (the real stuff that's made from bitter almonds, or you can make your own by soaking apricot pits in the vodka), and either sugar or honey. Mix it all together then run it through a water filter: you'll have amaretto you made all by yourself! Serve with a sweet and sour mash over ice. Yum yum!

Kaluah (sp?) is easy too: vodka and coffee beans. Or, you can soak a sliced pineapple in vodka. Or, make limoncello. All good and fast!

I tried making sake once, which is supposed to be easy and fast. The epic fail is still in the back of my fridge waiting for a purpose in life.

Chevette Girl
05-16-2010, 11:46 PM
Ooh, been meaning to try this recipe from Terry Garey's "Joy of Home Winemaking" - Raspberry Liqueur

1-2 lbs of the best raspberries you can pick or buy
1 cup white sugar
1 bottle vodka or other high-proof alcohol
1 sterilized quart mason jar or other glass jar with airtight lid

The recipe recommends sterilizing the bottle with heat but sanitizing solution oughtta be good enough!

Sanitize jar, add raspberries, pour in sugar and as much vodka as the jar wiull hold, leaving an inch or two clearance. Keep in a dark place but somewhere you will see it so you remember to shake it every day. "The sugar will dissolve gradually, and the colour of the liquid will become a lovely red, while the raspberries will become pale and uninteresting." When raspberries are almost white, let the jar settle and carefully pour off the liquid. The fruit might be good on ice cream. If you want it sweeter, boil another 1/2 to 1 cup sugar with half as much water, let it cool, add to taste.

Filter if desired. (my own take is pour off the good stuff and strain the fruit, reserving the juice, run it through a coffee filter as it clears). Store in the dark to retain colour.

Recipe is useable with many other fruits, but the author recommends mashing the fruit with a bit of pectic enzyme and giving it 12 hours before the vodka if you use strawberries.

Another of her variations uses 2 lbs fresh unblanched almonds or hazelnuts, chopped, the cup of sugar and the vodka or brandy, but the volume of nuts will require two quart jars or a half-gallon jar. Same method as above, shake daily for a month or two, sweeten if desired, strain, then filter. Because of the nut oil it won't keep as long, hence the great emphasis on the freshness of the nuts.

There's another one that uses inexpensive whiskey, orange blossom honey, zest of a couple oranges or tangerines, and some bruised coriander seeds that sounds interesting...

Angelic Alchemist
05-17-2010, 12:00 AM
To get "almond" flavor you have to use bitter almonds, which are illegal (yes, ILLEGAL) in the USA. We only have sweet almonds here. See, the government loves you and wants you to be safe, and this little girl ate bitter almonds once and felt sleepy so they thought they might be poisonous. Hence, they're not allowed in this country because your babies will die and terrorists will make weapons from bitter almonds. Making bitter almonds illegal has nothing to do with certain natural health benefits of bitter almonds that might prevent big pharma from making more money if the knowledge became mainstream. It's because the government really, really cares for your safety and people like me are crazy aluminium foil hat wearing lunatics.

:bs:

akueck
05-17-2010, 01:33 AM
Almonds come in "bitter"? Hmm, time to visit Canada.

I made cinnamon-anise liqueur, that turned out really nice and a very pretty brown color. Could go well with a touch of ginger too. Same basic idea, soak the stuff in vodka (or whatever), wait, strain, add sugar-water to taste.

Chevette Girl
05-17-2010, 11:31 AM
I've never seen bitter almonds for sale so I don't know where one would obtain them... of course, I've never gone looking... That kind of sweet "almond" flavour that almond extract tastes like (reminds me of the smell of peach pits if you crack the stone) doesn't really taste like almonds to me at all anyway, I'd try it with regular almonds if I were going to do it myself. Amaretto doesn't taste like real almonds the way Frangelico tastes like real hazelnuts... <shrug>

Hehe, we have codeine over the counter too... (and strangely, no codeine junkies I've ever heard of). Come to the dark side.... :p

Speaking of things not allowed in US, have you guys got black currants? That's another of my favourite JAO variants since I can never get my black currant bush to produce more than a couple handfuls (grew from seed in a pot on my balcony so it's allowed to be puny) ... but I'd heard there was some disease down there but resistant strains were being developed...

Angelic Alchemist
05-17-2010, 02:08 PM
Uh oh! What's a "reputation post"? Because I just got one! :eek:

Now where'd I put that tin foil hat...

Anyways, it is legal to sell bitter almonds in Canada, and if you ever try one you'll know where that "almond" aroma and flavor come from. I agree that sweet almonds don't taste like almond flavoring...but bitter almonds do! The aroma ring is called benzaldehyde. It's also found in apricot pits, apple seeds, loquat seeds, and several other sources. In most plants the aroma chemical is bound up with a few other molecules. You'll see that macromolecule referred to as Latrile, Amygdalin and (misnomer) vitamin B17. It's not an actual vitamin, but it's rumored to be a cancer preventative. I've read the papers and the science is pretty sound, though there's no way to do peer reviewed research because, well, the stuff is illegal. Also, don't believe the quacks who say it's a cancer cure, because it is not. It might prevent certain types of cancer, but it is not a cure.

Getting back to the subject, you can make amaretto by crushing apricot pits into vodka, however it's not as potent and you will need more seeds to get the same quality as you would from bitter almonds.

crowquill
05-18-2010, 07:00 AM
Speaking of things not allowed in US, have you guys got black currants?


In New York, it has been legal since 2003 to grow black currant cultivars that are resistant to white pine blister rust. One of my favorite meads used a mix of red and black currants. I'm hoping to do one with just black currants this summer.

shunoshi
05-18-2010, 01:25 PM
I'll put my hat in the ring for the beer brewing suggestion. This is Hefeweizen season. You can easily do a malt extract version if you don't want to deal with grain mashing. It requires minimal hops and a very short fermentation/conditioning time. 1-2 weeks in your primary bucket and 1 week in the bottle for carbing and you'll be ready to drink. Hefeweizens do not age well, so don't keep them around long. They're best when relatively fresh. You also don't have to worry about letting them "clear" since part of a Hefeweizen's flavor comes from the suspended yeast.

Watch out though...may cause a bit of gassiness... ;)

Jord
05-20-2010, 07:09 PM
Well I just bought a Corona knock-off beer kit from The Brew House. I'm a huge fan of Corona during the summer months so hopefully this works out well. I plan on mixing it up tonight so hopefully it'll be good an ready to drink by the Canada Day!

It's my first foray into beer making...and while it's a mix and sit beer kit I'm still considering it made by me. :D

Now I just need to go out an get enough bottles to hold another 5 gallons of liquid.......