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YogiBearMead726
11-12-2011, 04:04 PM
I don't know why, but for some reason the thought of bottling a batch of mead for a friend's wedding is making me nervous. I can age and care for a batch for as long as necessary, but when it comes to giving it away as gifts, I'm suddenly worried about how well it will be received. It's not like I have any hang-ups about gifting this batch for such a special occasion, but I feel like there is some (most likely self imposed) pressure for it to be the best damn mead ever.

Has anyone else ever felt some anxiety about giving away a full batch of perfectly good mead for a very special occasion? I guess the best solution would be to take the advice of Charlie Papazian and to "relax, don't worry, and have a homebrew" while bottling. :)

JSquared
11-12-2011, 04:24 PM
I can sympathize for sure. For the past few years I gift my Prickly Pear Melomel as holiday gifts for a economical prospect covering lots of people for a reasonable price. Bottling day I get really nervous and do lots of tasting throughout the whole experience questioning the quality, but every year it is well received and greedily expected. We are always our own worst critics. :rolleyes:

Loadnabox
11-12-2011, 04:34 PM
I'm totally nervous about the JAO I will be bottling for christmas gifts very soon.

I completely understand I want to be sure the product I give people is the absolute best so that nobody walks away hating mead

YogiBearMead726
11-12-2011, 05:15 PM
I can sympathize for sure...<snip>... We are always our own worst critics. :rolleyes:

Too true about being our own worst critics! Great point. Mental blocks stop us from doing any number things.


I'm totally nervous about the JAO I will be bottling for christmas gifts very soon.

I completely understand I want to be sure the product I give people is the absolute best so that nobody walks away hating mead

Yeah, that's my biggest fear. I was thinking of backsweeting this particular batch, just because I figure it'd be easier to get people into mead with something that doesn't just make your mouth pucker from dryness. That would definitely be a turn-off for me if the first time I tried something, it was not pleasing in at least some way.

I'm sure your JAO will be well received. I've never had or seen a JAO that didn't taste great (none of my friends who have made it deviated from the recipe), and even those that have broken the warranty have been darn good. It'll be a merry Chritstmas indeed for those on the receiving end of those bottles. ;)

Soyala_Amaya
11-12-2011, 11:42 PM
A club I'm a part of is working on a charity auction for a local 501(3)c battered women's shelter, and the woman who's organizing it suggested I put up some baskets with my mead when I couldn't figure out what to donate. (We do get corporate sponsorships too, but a lot of what we put on the table are items we made, purchased, or ran down and then everyone else bids on them. It works because it's such a big roleplayers club and we advertise with other groups in the area too.)

Anyway, I was very excited when she first asked me! Then...bottling day. I tasted this and tasted that. This was bitter, and that burned and and and! My boyfriend (who admittedly does have a better pallate than I do) whapped me and finished putting my caps and labels on. I'm still nervous as hell. One of the baskets (hard le-mead-ade with bar-b-que supplies) is going to have tickets to our yearly weekend event. Another one is getting some dinner gift cards added.

And they all have my name and label...:eek:

Chevette Girl
11-13-2011, 02:00 AM
I'm such a chicken when it comes to giving my stuff away that for scheduled events like weddings, I made kit wines... they finish up nice and clean and quick enough that even if I'd somehow botched a batch I'd still have time to start over... my mother used to be a potter so I got pretty used to rigorous standards, and it's carried over to anything I give away, including wines and meads.

With respect to giving away my products for presents, well, let's just say there's a reason I have so much stuff in stock. I don't like to give it out until it's aged to my satisfaction. And some of my wines over the years have just been sub-par and that's all there is to it, age hasn't helped much in some cases.

JAO and my blackberry variant always go over well. I think if I made more traditionals or backsweetened more of my mels and wines, I'd be fine (knowing my consumer base), but we drank all the good ones already (aside from a few bottles that I'm hoarding), so I just crack a bottle now and then of something I didn't care for when I bottled it to see if age has helped much. And sometimes it has. Just not always. So I always taste it before I give it away and if it's substandard, I drink it or keep it till it improves.

Fortunately, since I've been hanging around this site for a few years now, I'm starting to see the results of taking more control over my fermentations rather than just letting them happen, like I used to. Thank you, Gotmead...

(I'm a little less of a chicken when I put stuff up on the potluck table, mostly I hang around listening for comments to see if others also find the same faults I do... I actually did have a bunch of people try my Chevette weirdomel at the last party, even AFTER reading the disclaimer!)

wildoates
11-13-2011, 08:54 AM
Yeah, I get nervous, too. Nobody has complained yet, but I don't think most people would. :)

fatbloke
11-13-2011, 10:18 AM
Well I work it on the basis, that if I like the product, then there's some chance that others will enjoy it as well.

It's the thought that counts, so if they don't like it, then tough sh1t !

Medsen Fey
11-13-2011, 12:39 PM
Has anyone else ever felt some anxiety about giving away a full batch of perfectly good mead for a very special occasion?

We are often the harshest critics of our own meads, but I can certainly understand the apprehension.

akueck
11-21-2011, 02:00 PM
I'm super nervous about the Chocolate Group Brew. Admittedly, it's probably the most forgiving audience available, but I've been worrying about it for months. I am anticipating and at the same time dreading the day I get a review next month from Jenn, caretaker of my bottles. If it's not awesome I'm going to be so sad! [no pressure Jenn :) ]

Chevette Girl
11-21-2011, 03:12 PM
...actually that group brew batch is the one I'm a bit apprehensive about... I want it to be good... I just wish the darned stuff would clear so I know what I'm working with! :)

JimSar
11-21-2011, 03:33 PM
And some of my wines over the years have just been sub-par and that's all there is to it, age hasn't helped much in some cases.


That's why I took up vinegar making. ;D

Chevette Girl
11-21-2011, 05:40 PM
That's why I took up vinegar making. ;D

Well, best to give it a few years so I know for sure :)

Actually I started my first batch of vinegar recently, I think I'm ready to pour it off somewhere to let it settle (it's not touching my racking equipment!), hoping to get it bottled before Xmas... and then the bucket it's in will be magic-markered "DO NOT USE FOR WINES - VINEGAR ONLY". Hmm, does bentonite make vinegar clear up, I wonder?

Fortunately none of the sub-par stuff is bad enough that I won't use it in cooking. Some of it's downright suited to that, my pimpkin-squash wine is awesome in my cheapass teriyaki sauce recipe, and actually, my boring-blah cherry wine actually takes on cherry flavour when cooked with so I poach pears in it, stuff like that...

JimSar
11-21-2011, 08:52 PM
Sorry for the threadjack, just wanted to add that my vinegar and beer/wine stuff don't even share the same room while the mother of vinegar is at work. My 1st batch, which is now in a quart jar, is in a compartment inside the entertainment cabinet next to the cable TV box. It keeps the temperature in the high 70s. Got a good deal on a 5 liter oak barrel, so I'll be expanding into the barrel in a few weeks. I'm using Charles Shaw (aka two buck Chuck) cabernet sauvignon, not any of my mediocre stuff. Not yet, anyway.

YogiBearMead726
11-21-2011, 09:23 PM
No worries on the thread-jack, this is in The Hive after all. :)

I've been slowly gaining interest in making vinegar, but sine I don't have the ability to keep it separate from my brewing/mead making, I haven't taken the plunge yet. Using two-buck Chuck is a great idea though. Since my roommate works for a winery, I haven't had much reason to buy cheap wine since she gets so much good stuff for free. But I think you've given me a new reason to buy some. :p

Boogaloo
11-22-2011, 09:36 AM
Using two-buck Chuck is a great idea though. Since my roommate works for a winery, I haven't had much reason to buy cheap wine since she gets so much good stuff for free. But I think you've given me a new reason to buy some. :p

On a side note, Walmart is now carrying some wine for 2.50 - 3$ a bottle. Some of it was surprisingly good. Oak Leaf is the brand I think.

Loadnabox
11-22-2011, 03:57 PM
On a side note, Walmart is now carrying some wine for 2.50 - 3$ a bottle. Some of it was surprisingly good. Oak Leaf is the brand I think.

We use the Oak Leaf for cooking. It's.... average, but good for a $3 bottle

The labels come off easy too for re-use! :-D

Boogaloo
11-22-2011, 04:02 PM
We use the Oak Leaf for cooking. It's.... average, but good for a $3 bottle

The labels come off easy too for re-use! :-D

I soaked a couple bottles for a week and still had troubles getting them off. Do you use OxiClean? I have yet to use that stuff. Other labels come off easy with a long soak.

Loadnabox
11-22-2011, 04:31 PM
I soaked a couple bottles for a week and still had troubles getting them off. Do you use OxiClean? I have yet to use that stuff. Other labels come off easy with a long soak.


I generally soak for about four hours in an oxyclean solution.

Most labels come off OK, some others are a complete PITA. The Oak Leaf labels kinda disintegrate and I have to take a scrubby to the remaining glue on the bottle, but are some of the easiest to remove.

The Tower of London mead bottle I have though was nearly impossible! Ended up taking a paint scraper to the stupid thing and scrubbing with a brillo pad to get the rest.

Boogaloo
11-22-2011, 05:50 PM
I generally soak for about four hours in an oxyclean solution.

Most labels come off OK, some others are a complete PITA. The Oak Leaf labels kinda disintegrate and I have to take a scrubby to the remaining glue on the bottle, but are some of the easiest to remove.

The Tower of London mead bottle I have though was nearly impossible! Ended up taking a paint scraper to the stupid thing and scrubbing with a brillo pad to get the rest.

A lot of people use that OxiClean. I'll have to pick some up at CostCo this weekend. I'm on a bottle reusing ban by my GF. I've got about 20 wine bottles cleaned and ready to go. According to the GF, I have to use the ones I have already before I can scavenge any more from the neighbor's recycling bins. Hahahahah... I must sound like a major pushover on this site! :o

Soyala_Amaya
11-22-2011, 06:07 PM
I have decided there is another aspect of bottling day jitters that sucks...knowing that you're bottling a young, inferior product because you need carboy space. Not giving it out, no one's tasting it, but it's going to live in a deep dark hole for who knows how long and now instead of taking a sip from a thief every so often, you have to crack open a whole bottle.

What do you do with a bottle? What if it never really ages out? What if you eventually toss the product then 5 years down the road you find a lone bottle that haunts you?

I need more carboys and more dedicated brewing space...either that or medication.

wayneb
11-22-2011, 07:25 PM
One word of solace and ultimate hope is applicable in this case: marinade! ;D

YogiBearMead726
11-22-2011, 09:30 PM
I often just cave, and buy a new carboy. :rolleyes:

Of course, pretty soon I'll have to find creative places to store them all. I don't think my girlfriend is using the floor of her closet...;D

Chevette Girl
11-23-2011, 01:48 AM
I often just cave, and buy a new carboy. :rolleyes:

Of course, pretty soon I'll have to find creative places to store them all. I don't think my girlfriend is using the floor of her closet...;D

...I'm already into the "creative places to store them all" zone... one's currently living on top of the chest freezer and being shuttled to the wine table whenever I need to get into the freezer... must bottle! Must stop buying more carboys!



I need more carboys and more dedicated brewing space...either that or medication.

Yoink! you've been sigged.

Loadnabox
11-23-2011, 10:08 AM
My Mallow Out and Loaded brews will probably be going into bottle soon. Not because they're good, but because they're bad, I never see hope for them, and I could use the carboys for the next phase of my brewing experience... lots and lots of traditionals!

wildoates
11-23-2011, 04:12 PM
I bottled early once to get carboy space, and it was a raspberry that I wasn't intending on giving away--there's a bit of sediment in the bottles, and while I'd normally care, I don't have the energy to at the moment. :)

Chevette Girl
11-23-2011, 05:37 PM
I have things that drop sediment (or sometimes tannins) out of the blue sometimes, fact of life as far as I'm concerned. I even have one or two things that are still cloudy after years in the bottle. Taste matters more, except when I'm giving it away.

Soyala_Amaya
11-23-2011, 06:47 PM
The only thing I haven't 'magically' still produce a smattering of lees on the bottom of the carboy no matter how clear I think it is is the couple of things I cleared with fining agents. Everything else teases me.

TheAlchemist
11-23-2011, 11:59 PM
I need more carboys and more dedicated brewing space...either that or medication.

Zoloft?


...

Matrix4b
11-28-2011, 01:51 PM
I actually don't have the patients for bulk aging. I usually just bottle age but I wait till it is clear enough to read through then rack one final time and wait a couple of weeks. I find it is easier to stick away the bottles rather than bulk age. It's easier to stick a couple of cases in the dark for a year or so, rather than a whole carboy. Then again, I only have 7 carboys or rather 8 now that I bought another brew bucket. 3-4 batchs a year are ready to drink.

And honestly, I don't have every week end to do a new batch, at most I am a batch every other month.

As far as bad mead that never ages out: I am with wayneb: Marinade! Makes your cooking better.

Matrix

Loadnabox
11-28-2011, 01:55 PM
I think my next purchase is going to be a cheap better bottle so I don't have to waste precious glass carboys for my beer. That'll solve a little bit of my issue :P

JimSar
11-28-2011, 02:58 PM
I think my next purchase is going to be a cheap better bottle so I don't have to waste precious glass carboys for my beer. That'll solve a little bit of my issue :P

When you make your purchase, consider a 6 gallon better bottle instead of the fiver. 6 gallon capacity is a good primary fermenter for beer, then secondary to the more common glass 5.