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View Full Version : New guy, only have 14 gallons under airlock now...



The_Bishop
02-08-2012, 07:13 PM
Hey folks. I've been lurking here for a while, soaking up the accumulated knowledge. Learned things here that I didn't get from K. Schramms book that I wish I had known earlier!

Currently have going:
(All this is with Sue Bee White Clover, only thing very handy and Lalvin d47)

1: One gallon of a JAOM knockoff that I got from the 'stormthecastle' website. It recommended using Lalvin d47 instead of bread yeast, so it fermented dry and had a pithy flavor. Also didn't mention cinnamon or clove. At the last racking I wasn't very happy with it, as it was pithy and one-dimensional. Since I had learned a bit since then, I added a tablespoon of Vanilla Extract and a cinnamon stick. Stuck it back into the dark place under the stairs to age. It's about two months old.

2: One gallon of a 'traditional'. This one got nutrients and yeast energizer in one dose at the beginning of fermentation, along with oxygenation in the form of shaking it in the jug. Didn't de-gas it, as I didn't know about it when I made it. Starting SG was 1.116. Racked to secondary at 1.04, still aging. About 1.5 months old.

3: Same as above, but with a vanilla bean added in primary and racked off it in secondary. Probably won't have much vanilla flavor. Starting S.G. was 1.130, racked to secondary at 1.060.

4: Was feeling my oats, and wanted to make a 5 gallon batch of traditional. 15 lbs of Sue Bee, water to 5 gallons. Added nutrients and energizer in two steps, areated and de-gassed once in primary. Might have to add some flavor to this one, and definite back-sweetening. Started at 1.116, racked to secondary at 1.000. It's about 1.5 months old.

6: Got smarter still. Made a new 5 gallon batch of a JAOM inspired mead. Also learned about starting gravity/yeast dying at their alcohol limit/residual sugar. This one got 17.5 pounds of honey to start, water to 5 gallons. Added zest of 3 naval oranges, juice of 6 naval oranges (2 1/2 cups), 2 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks. Broke the nutrients into 3 doses, staggered during the 1/3 break. Daily aeration/degassing before 1/3 break. Starting S.G was 1.126. Today it's at 1.000, will rack tomorrow. Wish I had used Lalvin 71b on this one!

7: This one is my one gallon shot at 'exotic mead made with cheap ingredients.' It's a coffee based recipe that was inspired by B. Nektar's Ethiopian Harrar. Started with 3.5 pounds of Sue Bee white clover. Next I did a 24 hour cold-brew of 6 oz. of hand ground Sam's Club Colombian Supremo in a gallon of water, which was then strained and filtered through coffee filters. (That step was a total pain but removed all of the 'mud'.) I added the cold-brew coffee to make one gallon. Then I removed a portion of the must and froze it so there would be space in the gallon jug I was using, as everything I read here said the coffee based mead would foam like crazy. Added a cinnamon stick. Broke the nutrients into two doses, aerated/degassed daily until the 1/3 break. This one was a barely-controlled volcano! *Very* foam prone. Glad I kept some must, so I could make up for foam losses. Had to use a blowoff tube instead of an airlock for primary. Starting S.G. was 1.130, as of yesterday it was 1.020. Airlock activity has slowed down tremendously, will probably rack this one tomorrow. The smell is amazing, and if it tastes half as good as the B. Nektar coffee mead I'll consider it a success.

I'd like you all to know that I consider you all to be responsible for my newest hobby, as I keep reading posts here and coming up with new ideas, or at least ideas I want to try. I'm looking to budget in some Meadowfoam honey, and I'm considering a meadowfoam/Chocolate/Raspberry batch. After all, I do have a free carboy and my fermentation pail will be available soon... ;D

skunkboy
02-08-2012, 09:56 PM
Congrats! You will soon have lots of carboys, filled bottles, and tipsy friends... ;-)

wayneb
02-09-2012, 12:10 AM
Yeah, yeah... we're responsible for the corruption of hundreds if not thousands of otherwise fine, upstanding, intelligent minds... ;D

Welcome to the addic... err... ahh... the Hobby! (That's what it is, right!) ;)

hepcat
02-09-2012, 03:39 PM
Dude!! 14 gallons!! Hope it all turns out great!!

And you got some really high OG's there! Thought mine was high in a 2 gal batch I just started few days ago with about 5.9 gal honey @ 1.106. And that was using the hydrometer for the first time ever so not even sure I read it right, lol. But pretty sure I did.

The_Bishop
02-09-2012, 05:35 PM
Thanks for the welcome, guys.

Hepcat, My starting O.G. measurements might be off a bit, as they were *all* after initial aeration. Not sure if that'll make them read high.

One surprising development, the first batch (Storm the castle recipe) I had racked off the lees for the 3rd time, I racked onto 1/2 a cinnamon stick and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, along with 2 oz. of honey mixed with 2 oz. water. It was clear prior to racking, clouded up a little with the addition of the honey. Since it had completely cleared, I used my wine thief (Some might call it a baster) to sample an ounce. Wow, what a difference! The carbonation was completely gone. The up-front taste was vanilla, with a trace of honey in the background, and the cinnamon showing up on the tail end. The vanilla is a little strong, but I'm hoping it'll ease up with a little age and let the honey and cinnamon show. It's a little sweet but not cloying. That batch of mead is now residing in two 750ml wine bottles and 6 12oz recycled longnecks. Now I have to hide it away for aging. Felt good to bottle my first batch!

Waiting to see where that coffee mead ends up. If it goes completely dry, I think that's going into beer bottles with some priming sugar for carbonation.

The_Bishop
02-09-2012, 07:16 PM
So, since I was in the process of racking, I racked all my 1 gallon batches. The vanilla bean batch actually had a nice background of vanilla, but the honey was masked by the carbonation. Since my first batch that I just bottled was a little heavy on the vanilla and light on the cinnamon, I racked it into a fresh jug with a cinnamon stick to get it off the fine lees. (I am now out of cinnamon sticks, must add to list). The gallon of traditional was ok. No off flavors, just a bit plain due to the Sue Bee honey. My mad scientist light went on, and I remembered the Chocolate Mead group brew post. A lot of folks had problems with using straight unsweetened cocoa, with bitterness and long aging times. I happened to have a half a container of Ghirardelli ground sweet chocolate in my cupboard, along with Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa... I ended up adding 2 oz. (by weight) of the Sweet chocolate and .5 oz. of the unsweetened cocoa. I added a few ounces of mead from the original container and gently swirled the chocolate powder into suspension before racking the remainder of the mead into it. I now have a gallon of brown murky mead that I hope picks up a nice hint of chocolate flavor.

After fitting airlocks, I gently swirled both batches to de-gas. Much bubbling of the airlocks showed a decent release of CO2.

Chevette Girl
02-10-2012, 10:02 PM
I chucked a vanilla bean into a JAO once and at first I hated it, there was something I really disliked and I knew it had to do with the vanilla, but I tasted it a year or two later and holy CRAP is it good now!

One more important lesson - don't be impatient... even if something's not remarkable when it's a couple months old, don't pass judgement till it's got a year under its belt.

Regarding your starting gravities, don't be afraid to experiment with higher and lower, you've now established several batches at 1.116, you might want to see how things go if you try higher (1.125 is about the highest I'll go and still expect smooth sailing) or lower (1.090 still makes a decent alcohol level, ferments out dry relatively quickly and is good for experimenting with back sweetening).

Sounds like you're well on your way to having a to-do list like mine ;D

The_Bishop
02-10-2012, 10:24 PM
Of all things, adding the patience is the hardest part!

I'm going to need more space for this 'hobby', I think.

Once I get some more of the current crop in a more 'finished' state, I'll give a few more recipes a shot. I'd love to find 2 gallon jugs, as 1 gallon is not enough and 3 is a bit too much for experimentation.

The_Bishop
02-11-2012, 12:56 PM
Quick update: Did a few samples today to see how things were progressing along.

5 gallon batch of traditional: Doing *very* well. Still has a tingle of carbonation, but the taste is pretty good. Flavor of honey without the hot alcohol burn, nothing really seems 'off' about it. I might rack it off the secondary lees soon, see if that helps with clearing it and releasing some of the carbonation. If it wasn't in a better bottle I would vacuum degas it.

1 gallon coffee/cinnamon: Very lightly carbonated. The aroma is a nice clean coffee, and the flavor is right there with a hint of cinnamon in the background. I was originally going to backsweeten this into a desert mead, but now I might carbonate this in beer bottles. The flavor is akin to a mellow stout with the residual carbonation.

1 gallon chocolate: Slightly carbonated. The nose is strongly milk chocolate, and the chocolate is neck and neck with the honey. I didn't notice much of a 'chalky' taste even though I added 1/2 ounce unsweetened cocoa along with the ground sweet cocoa. I was impressed in the amount of chocolate present in it already, considering it's only 2 days. Swirled the chocolate back into suspension, see if it extracts any more. This might be asking for a hint of raspberry... But I don't want to add berries into the carboy. Extract, maybe?

hepcat
02-11-2012, 04:49 PM
Chocolate mead! Very cool!

Chevette Girl
02-13-2012, 02:04 AM
This might be asking for a hint of raspberry... But I don't want to add berries into the carboy. Extract, maybe?

<wipes up the drool> You could always crush some raspberries and strain them for the juice...

Brad Dahlhofer
02-17-2012, 01:11 AM
Whoa! I'm totally flattered. Thanks! You know, I was just in NJ for a week. I just got home the other day. You weren't at the mead dinner at Morris Tap & Grille (Randolph, NJ), were you?

Brad



7: This one is my one gallon shot at 'exotic mead made with cheap ingredients.' It's a coffee based recipe that was inspired by B. Nektar's Ethiopian Harrar. Started with 3.5 pounds of Sue Bee white clover. Next I did a 24 hour cold-brew of 6 oz. of hand ground Sam's Club Colombian Supremo in a gallon of water, which was then strained and filtered through coffee filters. (That step was a total pain but removed all of the 'mud'.) I added the cold-brew coffee to make one gallon. Then I removed a portion of the must and froze it so there would be space in the gallon jug I was using, as everything I read here said the coffee based mead would foam like crazy. Added a cinnamon stick. Broke the nutrients into two doses, aerated/degassed daily until the 1/3 break. This one was a barely-controlled volcano! *Very* foam prone. Glad I kept some must, so I could make up for foam losses. Had to use a blowoff tube instead of an airlock for primary. Starting S.G. was 1.130, as of yesterday it was 1.020. Airlock activity has slowed down tremendously, will probably rack this one tomorrow. The smell is amazing, and if it tastes half as good as the B. Nektar coffee mead I'll consider it a success.

John E.
02-17-2012, 02:04 AM
I also would love to find a couple of 2-gallon carboys. Have not had any luck locating yet. If you find any let us all know.

The_Bishop
02-17-2012, 11:18 AM
Brad: Yes, I was. Name's Keith, I was sitting to your left. Both the Mead and the food were outstanding.

John, if I ever find some I'll let everyone know.

The_Bishop
09-02-2012, 11:00 PM
And, on a way overdue update: After 7 months of bulk aging, I decided to pull an ounce of the coffee mead out for sampling. It's coming along great! I bentonited it to clear it a while back. It's a dark brown in the gallon carboy, and a nice light tan and crystal clear in the glass. Strong coffee nose, nice legs on the glass, and a great coffee/honey taste with just a bare hint of cinnamon in the background. A lot of the alcohol heat has aged away. It got re-airlocked and put away for further aging. I'm having high hopes for all the other experimental 1 gallon batches I made, and I can easily see reproducing the coffee batch again, maybe as a 2 gallon size.

I need more carboys and more carboy space!

skunkboy
09-03-2012, 09:58 PM
I need more carboys and more carboy space!

I think that is the semi official gotmead war cry :)

The_Bishop
09-03-2012, 10:29 PM
It's a sickness, I tell you. A delicious, intoxicating sickness!

ambloplites
09-09-2012, 10:28 PM
I have space! ;D

I'm liking the idea of a coffee-based mead ... might have to give that a shot.

Ain't this all so much fun!!?? :eek:

FishFace

The_Bishop
11-18-2012, 12:25 PM
Bottled the coffee batch in beer bottles today. Ended up with 9 12oz bottles. I really like the way it turned out, and wish I had at least 9 more bottles. It'll be a *great* after-dinner cordial.

According to the calculator it's somewhere around 16% ABV, and I'm very surprised that there isn't more alcohol heat. I'm sure it'll get even better with age, if it lasts that long. :)

The_Bishop
03-03-2016, 12:01 AM
In a 3+ year update:

I still have a few 12 oz bottles of the coffee mead. It is amazingly smooth and drinkable now. It picked up a slight amount of oxidation in it's aging, as there's a light sherry note in the background.

I am still here, occasionally! I've gotten very heavily into beer brewing, even managed to score a medal or two doing it.

EbonHawk
03-03-2016, 12:15 AM
Cool. I've got quite a few going in secondary right now, more than I ever thought possible. And I'm still sitting on 6 lbs of OB, just waiting for some strawberries. Congrats on being able to keep some that long. I'm going to have to relegate a certain percentage to long-term storage just to see how they age as well. I've been brewing quite a bit of beer as well, and I'm currently into week 4 of a Pilsner Urquell clone that promises to be something outstanding.