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Author Topic: The Brewers' Guild  (Read 86781 times)
rovingjack
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« Reply #325 on: October 18, 2020, 01:14:02 am »

I've got my demijohns, stoppers, airlocks, hydrometer, graduated cylinder, honey, cinnamon stix, cloves and allspice berries. Also some star-san. I'll pick up a plastic tub for sanitization, funnel, and pitcher at work monday. I'll also order an Auto Siphon for racking. I was hoping to get a case of voss glass liter water bottles that I could use the water from, and then rack into them when primary ferment is done. I can't seem to find them anymore. There are still a couple places I could check.

Also vanilla beans are expensive. I here that for a 'USA' Gallon that a half vanilla been in secondary will probably be plenty for the mead. I find myself wondering about vanilla simple syrups, but that feels like cheating. I think I'll see if I can get the vanilla beans cheaper, and use 1/3 to a half of a bean when I rack it and add the maple syrup and then give it a little time before cold crashing it. I might just  get a smaller stopper and put an airlock in a smaller bottle and let it finish out the ferment with the maple and vanilla before racking and letting it age a for 6 to 12 months.

the second one I'm debating if I want to give the spices to in primary or after it's finished fermenting.

oh and I'm using fliechmans bread yeast, because I've seen some folks who ran side by side brewings of meads and said they were so similar that if you served them two glasses one after the other they wouldn't be able to tell they were different, but what differences they did find when side by side said that the fliechmans kept the other aspects of the flavor more full and richer in the final product.

I figure I can use it for making breads too lol.

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rovingjack
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« Reply #326 on: November 13, 2020, 06:49:19 pm »

two gallons of mead bubbling away. It actually seems to have formed a krausen. I will say that due to my limited space a resources, I just mixed 6 pounds of honey (one pound was raw honey) in the demi-john filling the rest with water before putting a stopper in and shaking it until no honey remained on the glass walls and bottom. then I poured half of that into the other demi-john, until the levels were about even. Topped them back up with more water. took the specific gravity (1.094, and 1.082 respectively) and then dry pitched fliechmans bread yeast in (two teaspoons each, yeast like that has a fair amount of 'yest hull' in it thus working as a nutrient to living yeast). Shook the begeezus out of them and put the bubbler/airlocks on.

the starting specific gravities suggest the lower value one may have an ABV in the 11% range, while the other may be between 12 and 13% but those measures are no certain thing. I'll let them go a couple weeks, and see if they finish off the fermentation before I add the flavors (mulling spices in one and vanilla in the other). I way wait to back sweeten one with maple syrup so that I can cold crash it to prevent fermentation of some of it.

My understanding of the spcific gravities I have here suggests that these will both go pretty dry and have room for secondary fermentation if anything is added after the ferment has stopped. so I may split the vanilla batch up and do a maple back sweetened cold crashed bottle, and a smaller maple secondary ferment  and let that go for a while before racking and aging to see the difference (Likely higher ABV, less dry and more sweet with more vanilla and maple tones lasting in it).

I may also see if I can put a small bottle of each in a hot bath to both pasturize them and see if it's possible to make a alcohol free bottle or two for my friend who quit drinking years ago. the alcohol should boil off above 185F leaving all the rest of the flavors intact, though the heating may change a few of the flavors slightly, and I have no idea what alcohol free meads would taste like.
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rovingjack
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« Reply #327 on: November 22, 2020, 02:05:26 am »

bubbling away
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rovingjack
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« Reply #328 on: January 01, 2021, 02:10:08 pm »

for all that the maple vanilla mead was really tasty, while the spiced med needs some back flavoring to add some complexity, and they both need to age and mellow... a lot; perhaps drinking a pint of the stuff on an empty stomach was a bit much for somebody whose not a drinker. I find it difficult to believe that people like feel like this (either side of this) enough to do it on the regular.
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Sir Henry
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« Reply #329 on: January 01, 2021, 06:59:41 pm »

I was surprised how not-seriously-hung-over I was after drinking between 2 and 3 pints of the mince pie mead the other night. I don't remember the second half of the evening, but apparently my running commentary on one of the later episodes of The Magicians made it far more enjoyable. The mead needed more flavour but other than that was spot on.

Probably won't do that again despite having picked up a couple of cheap jars of mincemeat to make more for next year. At least then it will be more measurable, being in bottles, rather than just siphoning of glassfuls throughout the evening...
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rovingjack
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« Reply #330 on: January 02, 2021, 06:24:12 pm »

spent the night of new years feeling like I'd hyperventilated and floaty, don't care for that much myself. Then the next day like dust bunnies had settled into living between my ears, while my mouth tasted like the hangover fairy had farted into it while I slept, ugh. took most of the day to recouperate. My first full drunk and hangover, and I just don't get the appeal.

in the meantime the half pint I pulled from the fermenters was replaced with additions. honey in one an syrup in the other. When I'd started them and taken measurements it suggested that the yeast I used would ferment all the sugars before hitting their alcohol tolerance. So I planned on doing the taste test to pull out a bit that I could replace with sugars that should get the secondary ferment up to the alcohol tolerance while leaving sugars unfermented past that point. I'll wait for adding vanilla bean to the maple until later because apparently vanilla can ferment away, and I'd prefer to wait for the honey and maple to have finished withe much of the maple still unfermented due to the yeast hitting it's limit.

The spiced one I'll add the spices (allspice berries, a clove, cinnamon stick and some dried orange zest) closer to the end point of the ferment or even just as backflavoring, apparently they have anti microbial effects that can make the fermentation difficult.

we'll see how it goes from here. themaple should have a few months to mellow at any rate as I wish to share that with family in spring if we end up able to get together then.
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rovingjack
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« Reply #331 on: January 20, 2021, 10:09:09 pm »

I've added raisins to the spiced mead, and the cinnamon, allspice, clove and orange zest. It bubbled for a bit after that and a couple days into it most of the raisins had swelled and floated to the top, but they have mostly sunk down again. I shredded the raisins before i put them in so that the skin wouldn't be a barrier to it's flavoring the mead. Now I find myself wondering if I take the raisins out after I rack the mead, if they might be an interesting ingredient in some recipes.

I may take out the yeast at the bottom and boil them and dry them to use as nutrient for future brewing.

The one I added the maple to has seemingly hit the end of the secondary ferment I'll rack it soon but I'm debating if I should add the vanilla bean before racking or after? I feel like it will be easier to get the flavor distributed through the whole supply while in one bottle, instead of trying to equally distribute it among several bottles. I've not tasted either since the new year, so I may back sweeten then after a while to age. I hear aging at colder temperatures takes longer so I will hold off on cold crashing them to help with floculating/clarifying them.

I might taste them both this weekend. Just to see where things are at.
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rovingjack
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« Reply #332 on: January 25, 2021, 02:50:05 am »

the spiced mead tastes much better than it did before the second ferment with more honey, and the added raisins and spices. It's spices are not over powering, and in fact you wouldn't really know on first sip what they were. It tastes a bit like a holiday cider with a bit of that wine taste that comes through after the other flavors. I bottled 3 in 8-12 ounce bottles to give as gifts, they are cold crashing in the fridge as it never quite clarified all the way. and then 3 more liters bottled that will just have to sit at room temperature for a while, I may put them on the porch for a few days if we get a string of days above freezing, or wait to move a few shelves in the fridge up to give room for them.

I'm letting the second gallon sit with the vanilla bean for a few weeks before I rack it all over to the now empty gallon, and see if I can clarify that as well on the porch or fridge. I'll likely rack it again later into large glass water bottles. The vanilla bean floating in there need time to really spread it's flavor. When I rack it I will taste it and see how it is, and based on that I will decide if it needs any back flavoring with more vanilla or maple for the second racking.
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Clym Angus
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« Reply #333 on: January 29, 2021, 11:31:08 am »

Yes, I have a load of those bottles for the sloe gin unfortunately lockdown has rendered us with few people to 'share the love' with.

I'm thinking maybe long peddlers in July after everyone has been needle stabbed. Nice to hear it's coming along, I do like your constant gardener approach to brewing. Your not a man to just shove it in a corner and wait. You sculpt. Excellent work!
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rovingjack
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« Reply #334 on: January 31, 2021, 06:35:58 am »

thanks, I think it's down to my artist/tinkerer nature. I do it a lot with culinary thing in particular.

I was going to see if I could evaporate out the alcohol in a cup, for a friend who's sober 12 years if he wanted to taste it, as I'm also offering some to his wife. But he's declined. So there is no need to do it. but a part of me still wants to try anyway to see if I can do it, and how the taste compares. It'll probably just taste like a spiced apple juice, but I'm okay with that.

Also one of my coworkers I was saving a bottle for was let go and I've no contact outside of work for her. So, as the days go by I have fewer and fewer people to give bottles to. I think at this point 1 liter is going to my mum, and a 12oz to my boss from each gallon.

I might offer some to friend on social media... or just store them away. It'd take me years to get through a couple gallons. And I still want to try an apricot ginger one, and maybe a melon flavored mead (no idea how I'm going to do that one).

And there is always experiments to try interesting flavors: mint chocolate, Almond, whatever the heck they use to make swedish fish candies, cranberry mandarin orange, Pineapple banana, Rootbeer float, bubble gum flavor, cotton candy,  I'm sure other ideas will occur to me.
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« Reply #335 on: January 31, 2021, 07:32:11 am »

thanks, I think it's down to my artist/tinkerer nature. I do it a lot with culinary thing in particular.

I was going to see if I could evaporate out the alcohol in a cup, for a friend who's sober 12 years if he wanted to taste it, as I'm also offering some to his wife. But he's declined. So there is no need to do it. but a part of me still wants to try anyway to see if I can do it, and how the taste compares. It'll probably just taste like a spiced apple juice, but I'm okay with that.

Also one of my coworkers I was saving a bottle for was let go and I've no contact outside of work for her. So, as the days go by I have fewer and fewer people to give bottles to. I think at this point 1 liter is going to my mum, and a 12oz to my boss from each gallon.

I might offer some to friend on social media... or just store them away. It'd take me years to get through a couple gallons. And I still want to try an apricot ginger one, and maybe a melon flavored mead (no idea how I'm going to do that one).

And there is always experiments to try interesting flavors: mint chocolate, Almond, whatever the heck they use to make swedish fish candies, cranberry mandarin orange, Pineapple banana, Rootbeer float, bubble gum flavor, cotton candy,  I'm sure other ideas will occur to me.


Just letting you know - melon can turn real funny-tasting when you try brewing with it... Plum and banana (blood plums) is surprisingly wonderful! Makes a lovely jam mix too.
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Sir Henry
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« Reply #336 on: January 31, 2021, 09:09:57 am »


And there is always experiments to try interesting flavors: mint chocolate, Almond, whatever the heck they use to make swedish fish candies, cranberry mandarin orange, Pineapple banana, Rootbeer float, bubble gum flavor, cotton candy,  I'm sure other ideas will occur to me.


A word of warning - root beer mead is delicious - you won't have any problems with getting rid of it quickly. When I made mine everyone was horrified at the idea - until they tasted it. I think I ended up with 2 bottles of the 7 I made. Roll Eyes
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rovingjack
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« Reply #337 on: February 08, 2021, 05:46:32 am »

racked the maple vanilla tonight.

as a refresher on this brew, this was started as just honey for the primary ferment and was expected to go to about 11-12% ABV max in the primary.

I added half a pint of pure maple syrup to it on new years and within a few weeks it had stopped bubbling through the airlock, seemingly to it's limits of the yeast. a few weeks ago I added about a 1/4-1/3 of a split vanilla bean to it.

I tasted it after shifting it over to the other cleaned gallon jug and holy crap, I'm assuming that's what a wine dry as the saharra taste like. the stuff might be good for stripping paint. woof! Not so hard to taste anything paste the alcohol. There may have been a hint of vanilla and even a little maple in there, or that was just the taste of hopes and placebo. I gave it about another half pint of maple syrup and transferred the vanilla bean into the new gallon after swirling it around to mix the new maple in... I put an airlock in instead of the regular cap, just to be safe... and it's frikkin bubbling again.

I think I have some rebel yeast that are trying to go for broke and make maple vodka. Crazy little bastards.

I dis save the settled yeast from the bottoms of both jugs, I'm thinking of maybe trying some in some baking, and possibly seeing if some would start off another batch of mead, but also if I boil some and then dry them out I have free yeast hulls for brewing nutrient.

It looks like Sir Henry was right this is going to be a high ABV, and likely need to age for a good long while. It seems it's a real acerglyn despite my efforts to just back flavor it with maple.

I'll see if it's still bubbling away over the next few days, or if it was just a short  off gassing. I might add some raisins to it too, it depends on whether or not the added maple is enough to exceed the supposed 15-16 % abv limit of the bread yeast I used and can leave a bit of sweet maple behind for the flavor. May double the vanilla bean too not sure yest. supposedly that can add flavor for months.
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Sir Henry
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« Reply #338 on: February 08, 2021, 08:39:12 am »

rovingjack, I would be very wary of adding raisins as they will definitely add a different flavour. If you want it to taste of maple, it's just a case of adding more until it overwhelms the yeast and stops turning into alcohol. At that point any you add will move it closer to Canada and further from the Sahara, which sounds like an improvement in this case.

But your experience does seem to be echoing mine with the acerglyn, so at least it looks like I wasn't doing anything wrong when I made something that dry.
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rovingjack
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« Reply #339 on: February 09, 2021, 01:57:14 am »

it actually stopped bubbling a few hours later, I think it was most likely just degassing a bit.

Ihad the same thought about raisins. And was contemplating if maybe the reason that maple goes so dry is that it's mostly sucrose, where honey is largely glucose and fructose (fructose seems to be a harder to biologically process sugar in some ways).

I have been thinking forward to other flavors and looing at the dried sweetened cranberries that could be used instead of raisins in the future. and also wondering about possibly using freeze dried foods.  I think maybe their not having any water would allow for back flavoring things without changing the ABV much or risking a secondary ferment.

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Sir Henry
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« Reply #340 on: February 10, 2021, 05:02:57 pm »

I have been thinking forward to other flavors and lokoing at the dried sweetened cranberries that could be used instead of raisins in the future. and also wondering about possibly using freeze dried foods.  I think maybe their not having any water would allow for back flavoring things without changing the ABV much or risking a secondary ferment.
I haven't used dried fruit for brewing other than the occasional half dozen raisins in otherwise solid-free mead making (and adding dried sloes to gin), but as they are sweetened, I would have thought that they are very likely to restart the fermenting and to increase the alcohol content.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...
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rovingjack
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« Reply #341 on: February 11, 2021, 02:19:27 am »

I suppose that might be the case for some. I tend to put more 'sugar' in a mix than the yeast could turn to alcohol before they hit their ABV tolerance levels. so when measuring out water and honey, I know the bread yeast has around a 15-16% ABV, and I make sure that my honey amount is such that it would go to 20% if the yeast could go passed their tolerance.

I could rekick off ferment by adding water to dilute the ABV, but no amount of sweetness should kick it off without water added.
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rovingjack
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« Reply #342 on: March 02, 2021, 07:41:05 am »

tasted a bit of the maple vanilla, and I say it's gotten tasty with the vanilla bean giving more to the flavor and even making the maple flavor pop while softening and... ?rounding? some of the harsher tones. It still has a big chunk of kick to it though. I don't mean that in the sense of getting drunk, though I'm sure it'd do that too, I'm talking about taste. It tastes like it's got enough alcohol to remove nail polish. But it is less fierce than it was. The jug is still not crystal clear but after racking into the other gallon fermenter to get it off the sludge at the bottom nothing more has settled out. I feel like if I get some small bottles and pop them in the fridge for about a week it should clarify and there should be some that settles to the bottom, then pull the clarified liquid off into the final bottles and keep them in the fridge.

Though a part of me is tempted to see how it ages as is for most of the year. I will definitely set a wine bottles worth age. Probably two of them.
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Sir Henry
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« Reply #343 on: March 02, 2021, 09:18:58 am »

Yes, it's impressive just how much difference a vanilla pod can make. I must admit it does sound dangerously tasty. If only maple syrup wasn't so expensive over here...
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rovingjack
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« Reply #344 on: March 29, 2021, 06:39:00 am »

in all the rest of my mess of a life I forgot to mention that both my brews had been brought to family for taste testing, my sister was a bit snotty and not only didn't even taste them but glared at and tutted anyone who did. My niece who is now an adult even tasted a tiny sip from each and she is sadly like me in that alcohol really isn't appealing to our pallets. lol. My mum though the maple vanilla was a pretty decent dinner wine while the spiced on is decidedly more a dessert wine. she has a bottle of each now. I could play with back flavoring a bit more on the maple, but I did it once already it it really seems like the maple just keep disappearing and the vanilla is very subtle that so less foodie tongues than mine don't quite catch what it is that is different.

My brother inlaw  got to take a couple 16 oz bottle (one of each) home with him, they were meant for my sister, but well turn up your nose... don't get the gift. He went back and forth a bit but in the end he was thinking he liked the maple on better slightly, because it was less sweet than the spiced on, which he said made him  think of christmas a bit. And I think I shall open one of the bottles of that and serve it hot come the holidays this year.
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