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Midnight Sun
07-27-2010, 05:16 PM
Hello!

At the request of my wife, I decided to attempt a slightly modified version of the milk wine recipe that I got from the The Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible.

1 gallon 1% milk
3 lb clover honey
1 lb sugar
7 Lactade tablets, crushed
1 gallon boiled tap water
D47 yeast

SG 1.080
Pitched July 25

The standard gravity is off because I foolishly added 1 gallon of water instead of adding water to the two gallon mark. I'll add more honey when I rack it from the bucket to 1 gallon carboys. I have been checking on it every 12 hours, aerating every 24, and am planning to feed it at the 1/3 sugar break.

When I checked it this morning, a hard cap had formed. I broke it apart using a spoon and mixed it back in with the liquid.

My question is this: should I have just rewetted it and left it? Or should I remove it?

akueck
07-27-2010, 07:03 PM
Hi and Welcome!!!

I'm curious about this "hard" cap. How hard is hard? "Creme brulee crust" hard? Plywood hard? "Top of new yogurt" hard? "Not liquid"?

I'll throw out a guess that it has to do with the milk proteins. Mixing it back in sounds good to me.

Midnight Sun
07-27-2010, 07:59 PM
akueck, it appeared to be about as hard as medium toasted bread. There was a layer of foam underneath. I have a photo but the manager won't let me upload it.

wildoates
07-28-2010, 08:37 AM
It might be too big of a file to upload here...try to make it smaller and give it another go (e-mailing it to yourself as "small" works for me! :)).

wayneb
07-28-2010, 10:15 AM
Although I haven't experienced this firsthand in a mead recipe, I'm not surprised that you'd get this kind of firm cap - it also occurs when making kefir or yogurt if you don't periodically stir the mixture (that I DO know from firsthand experience). It is primarily made up of milk proteins and polysaccharides, and I would think that stirring it back in, the equivalent of "punching down" the cap on a fruit wine or melomel, would be the preferred way of managing it.

Medsen Fey
07-28-2010, 11:53 AM
With a fruit cap, there is usually color or flavor you want to extract, so punching it down and keeping it in are necessary. With something like whey proteins and such, it might lead to faster clearing by just scooping it out and discarding it.

Miriam made started a lactomel brewlog (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7296&highlight=lactomel) some years ago. I believe she heated and skimmed it which minimized the cap.

MS, I salute for trying an out-of-the-ordinary recipe - I hope it turns out great!

Medsen

akueck
07-28-2010, 12:27 PM
Although I haven't experienced this firsthand in a mead recipe, I'm not surprised that you'd get this kind of firm cap - it also occurs when making kefir or yogurt if you don't periodically stir the mixture (that I DO know from firsthand experience). It is primarily made up of milk proteins and polysaccharides, and I would think that stirring it back in, the equivalent of "punching down" the cap on a fruit wine or melomel, would be the preferred way of managing it.

I had a feeling someone with yogurt experience would chime in. ;D

Medsen you think it would cause clearing problems? It's already congealed and will probably end up settling out once the CO2 output drops. No? On the other hand, no harm in removing it either since it is clearly not part of the liquid anymore.

Medsen Fey
07-28-2010, 12:31 PM
Medsen you think it would cause clearing problems? It's already congealed and will probably end up settling out once the CO2 output drops. No?

I don't think it will cause clearing problems, but since I've seen my boiled and skimmed batch clear faster than non-boiled, I suspect that removing that stuff might lead to faster clear (a little faster).

wildoates
07-28-2010, 12:35 PM
I can't see milk solids staying suspended for very long-- perhaps any fat left?

My son and I are sitting here in his apartment in Oslo wondering why anyone would ferment milk. :)

Midnight Sun
07-28-2010, 01:02 PM
Thanks for all of the advice everyone! Also, thank you Medsen for the link. Miriam's brewlog was very helpful. I decided to skim the top off, and ended up with more than a pint of curds. Now I have sweet cottage cheese with a kick.

The flavor of the mead is hard to describe. The start is slightly reminiscent of milk and there is a sweet finish. It doesn't taste hot like my JAO did at this stage.

Midnight Sun
07-28-2010, 01:15 PM
I originally thought the idea was a bit strange too, until I read the story of Father Emmett Engel, who evidently bootlegged milk wine in Alaska. Supposedly it does not generate much in the way of fusels, and was advertised to not produce a hangover. It is a humorous story; the priest had several encounters with the law, but never stopped bootlegging.

The author said that he had had some of Father Engel's milk wine and claimed it was good. Between his endorsement and my wife's encouragement, why not?

Other recipes in the book also look to be worth trying at some point in the future, others not so much. The recipe for horse turd whiskey was rejected immediately.

wildoates
07-28-2010, 01:18 PM
The recipe for horse turd whiskey was rejected immediately.

I can see why it might have been, at that. Ew.

Fisher kel Tath
07-28-2010, 01:30 PM
The recipe for horse turd whiskey was rejected immediately.


That sounds particularly crappy...


...I'll get my coat.

icedmetal
07-28-2010, 05:50 PM
Aww man and here I was thinking that recipe would be my little secret. Having done extensive 'net searching for fermented milk products and having found nothing of any real use, I was gonna go whole hog and figure out just what the bootlegging priest was up to in them thar woods.

From my research, yes, you done gone did right. Remove the curds (and whatever other crud) floats to the top. I believe the book's recipe actually calls this out as well at the 1-week mark. They also said to eat the "cottage cheese", albeit carefully. You go first man, you go first! I might be a little less put off if I liked normal cottage cheese :eek:

icedmetal
07-28-2010, 05:52 PM
My son and I are sitting here in his apartment in Oslo wondering why anyone would ferment milk. :)

Not just milk: Milk and Honey. That's reason enough for me. :)

Medsen Fey
07-28-2010, 06:09 PM
The recipe for horse turd whiskey was rejected immediately.

Is that distilled from road apple cider? ;D


Not just milk: Milk and Honey. That's reason enough for me. :)

Exodus (http://bible.cc/exodus/3-8.htm) (3:8 ) Lactomel - Holy Moses, that's something I'd like to try.

icedmetal
07-28-2010, 06:13 PM
Exodus (http://bible.cc/exodus/3-8.htm) (3:8 ) Lactomel - Holy Moses, that's something I'd like to try.

Medsen, you nailed it on the head!

I should make it and add chocolate nibs, and you should join the chocolate group brew ;D Then you'd get to try it...

Chocolate milk mead... hrm... *scratches head* ...I think I can fit another couple carboys into the meadery...

BBBF
07-29-2010, 10:50 AM
I'm very interested and afraid of this. I'm reluctant to join the chocolate group because I made 7 gallons of chocolate mead last year and would rather make something else, but if someone literally makes a chocolate milk mead... I have to try it.

Midnight Sun
07-29-2010, 01:17 PM
Sorry to steal your thunder icedmetal. I took the plunge this morning (before work of course) and tried a small sample of the cottage cheese. It was really bad. It had a very sweet, yeasty flavor with overtones of honey. Some alcohol, but a decidedly horrible way to get drunk.

If I decide to make another batch, I would be temped to curdle the milk similar Miriam. There are still tiny chunks floating around that I couldn't fish out with a strainer. Hopefully they settle out. I transferred to 1 gallon containers last night and I can see all the floaties moving around.

Also, for all those considering a chocolate milk mead, the milk flavor is almost gone. There is still is a slight milk aroma, but milk probably could not be identified as an ingredient by a random taster. Tasted last night (it's about 50% of the original SG) there was a slight fruity start, and a sweet finish. I guess the D47 must be the cause of the fruity flavor.

icedmetal
07-29-2010, 04:40 PM
No thunder stolen! :)

Ack, that stuff doesn't sound tasty at all. I kinda wondered about it given how some of the other recipes go. For instance, the horse turd whiskey thing. If you're making whiskey with horse crap, you just might like the cottage cheese created by curdling your milk via active fermentation.

...that's a pretty big If.

Chevette Girl
08-07-2010, 01:51 AM
I took the plunge this morning (before work of course) and tried a small sample of the cottage cheese. It was really bad. It had a very sweet, yeasty flavor with overtones of honey.

Thinking about it, I wonder if rinsing it with water like they used to wash butter would get the yeastiness and other nastiness out of it? If you didn't throw it out yet, maybe that's a thought?

Midnight Sun
08-08-2010, 10:41 PM
Thinking about it, I wonder if rinsing it with water like they used to wash butter would get the yeastiness and other nastiness out of it? If you didn't throw it out yet, maybe that's a thought?

That is a thought, but I have already thrown out the curd. Thank you for the suggestion, I am beginning to wish that I had not. My LHBS has cheese kits that sound like a lot of fun. I have been forbidden to keep a cheese kit inside the house, but I have a mini storage area just below the steps to my house. I know little about the cheese making process; I see that I have some research to do.

Chevette Girl
08-09-2010, 12:42 PM
I did a little experimentation with cheesemaking when I was young, my mom had rennet tablets and I knew that rennet was what they used to make cheese curds... so I experimented with no idea what I was doing and no real way to research it from home (this was LONG before the Internet, yes, I'm a dinosaur, shut up), but I did manage to make a few pieces of cheese from a couple cups of milk. Mom even helped a few times by mixing up some powdered milk to bulk up the solids content... I think I got something like 1/2" of cheese once I'd pressed them into the bottom of a cottage-cheese contaner from something like a litre of milk treated with a rennet tab and strained through a nylon stocking...