Thursday, February 5, 2015

Back to brewing

It's been quite sometime since I've made a post. Between a baby on the way and a move brewing took a backseat. Now that things are settling I will be updating my on going brews as well as posting new ones. 

Looking forward to a good 2015!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Grocery Shopping

Lately, Whenever I go into Target, there are tons of clearance items everywhere! Those little red tags of discounted pricing bring me so much joy! And who could blame me? I am sure I am not the only one who take a certain pride in finding the best deal.

The husband and I love to cook and we certainly love trying (or creating) new recipes. However, cooking can get expensive if we don't shop smart at the grocery store. There is a grocery store near where we live so I have gotten into the habit of stopping there every other day or so to check out the specials. Because of this, I buy little by little as opposed to one HUGE grocery shopping day. For a day like that, we just replenish out staples.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Simply Strawberry Mead

Heloooo all I am back again with another mead. Summer is here and the fruit is ripe! Strawberries have recently plummeted in price so I decided to pick some up. 5lbs to be exact. This is another mead that is somewhat in real time as it has been in secondary less than a week. Lets start off with what you need. 

  • 5Lbs of Strawberries not frozen
  • 1 gallon of quality water
  • 5lbs of Clover Honey
  • Pectic Enzyme
  • Yeast Nutrient
  • Yeast energizer

  • Lalvin K1-V116

First thing I did [that is not pictured] was take the strawberries and cut the tops off of them. I then put them in ziploc bags and smushed them up until they turned into a strawberry puree almost. I can hear what your brain is about to ask. "Why go through all the work of smushing them up? Why not just blend them?" The answer,like this mead, is simple. The seeds would impact unwanted flavors to the mead. After they were all squished up I put them in the freezer to let it freeze.[Freezing fruit helps the cell walls break down and the yeast can better extract color and flavor]

The next day I got my 2 gallon bucket and in it went the strawberries, summer berry honey,water and  nutrients. I took a gravity reading. I think it was off due to the strawberry particles. 
Once I got everything mixed in I whipped it up with a stick blender, [carefully so I wouldn't break the seeds] and got it nice and oxygenated, then I pitched my yeast. After a lag phase of almost a day, the yeast then took off!

These were once strawberries. This was like day 3 of it being in the bucket. 

Because the strawberry messed spread out like that, daily I had to break up the floating mass (aka a Cap in brewing circles) to keep the yeast from being unhappy/dead.

After about a week, she started to slow down so I decided to rack it as I did not want fermentation to be done all the way. 

You can see here how high it foamed up compared to where the actual liquid is. This is why I brew my melomels in a bucket. Pleeeenty of head space. 

I took another gravity at this stage. You can see here it is bone dry. I want you also to take noticed of the color. Noticed how it is a pale unattractive color? 

My astute readers will notice I said I bought 5lbs of strawberries and I only put 4lbs in the bucket. The extra pound is for secondary.

As you can see here, fresh strawberries will turn it from a pale, sickly color into a fantastic red. 

In the closeup you can see how the strawberries are barely even red anymore. All that color, and flavor will be going to the brew. 

And this is now where she sits. I must also clarify the photos of the carboys only show .5lbs of strawberries as there are two carboys. 

I plan to rack it soon at the time of this posting it has been in secondary for about a week. I might do a racking day post as I will have to rack The Midnight Cherry soon as well. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Midnight Cherry Is Now In Secondary

Since we last were here not much action happened. I whipped air into the  brew in the first three days to keep the yeast happy. The gravity dropped down to 1.08. Which means, TIME FOR SECONDARY!

For those of you who are like "wut" go check out the first post to understand. 

This means it is time to rack. The yeast are pretty much out of food. 

Some people buy starsan. I just use bleach water with a thorough rinse. I have made almost 10 brews with no issues yet. 

That color is gorgeous. 

I wanted to added more cherry flavor so I picked up a can of cherry puree to split between the two jugs. I forgot to take a photo of the can, but it is the same can as the below photo. 
(Not my pic)

When they said puree they were not joking. This stuff was thinner than baby food. 
Here is where the midnight part comes in. Added more black currant juice. 

Not pictured is added .5lb of honey to the jugs as well. 

I sample the brew and while it is quite dry and fairly hot, the flavor is good and will likely improve with age. I also sampled the cherry, honey, black currant mix and that flavor was fantastic. I really think this will turn out to be a great mead. Now the wait. If these were on fruit pieces I'd rack in 2 weeks. Since I am using a puree I am going to just let this one sit for a while before I rack for clarity. 

I expect the next updated to be around 4-6 weeks from now. I will post an update then with any actions I take and how clear it is/is not. 

See you in some weeks!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Midnight Cherry Mead

Hello all! It's been a while since I have posted anything. Thankfully The Wife was holding it down. Any who it has been waaay too long since I have posted up a mead. A lot of my past meads were already in secondary or already bottled by the time I posted here. This one, however, will be posted up in real time. As of the date of this posting, this mead has been in primary for about 24 hours.

This post will also presume you are not completely new to brewing. So I will skip certain obvious steps, like sanitizing.
 To start I got my biggeset stainless steel pot and put the temp on low. To it I add 32 oz black currant juice and 32oz cherry juice.
 This stuff was tart, but dang good flavor.

 Same for the cherry, tart but good flavor.
 Next I heated up the honey in the bottle so it is easier to pour. Some people hate the idea of heating up honey, but I am fine with it as long as it is not boiling.

After you mix in the honey and get it all dissolved (*FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING MAKE SURE IT DOES NOT BOIL) go ahead and dump your mixture into the bucket or carboy of your choice. I chose a bucket because it is my only piece of brewing equipment that is 2 gallons.

 A few photos of me taking a gravity reading. It is hard to read, but the gravity came to 1.060.
 These are the nutrients I use on my mead. Pectic enzyme to help break down the pectin so it is less cloudy. The other two are to feed the yeast.
 Next is time to aerate the mixture. I like to use my stick blender.
 .......So this isn't working.......
 Oh yea, crap, wrong stick. Got the one without holes on the top.

 Now that is more like it. Foamy, means bubbles and oxygen which is good for yeast. Also note how how that temp is. 
You cannot, I repeat CANNOT pitch  yeast at that temp. All you will do is kill them. 
So stick your brewing container into a clean sink full of water and ice and wait till it cools down. 

Much better! I like to pitch between 75-79 degrees. There are lots of docs on pitching temps. Do whatever works for you. 

I got my yeast slurry dumped in. After a lag phase of about 6-8 hours. She started to burp for me. Right now the container is in the closet burping along. I plan to aerate it daily to get some oxygen in there to help the yeasties. 

The second part will be up in two weeks when primary is over and we move to secondary. See ya in two weeks.  when the gravity drops. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Is Here

I am too excited that May is here!! Let's have a nice long spring and a nice long summer!
Having breakfast in our garden is a great way to kick things off!

Friday, April 25, 2014

A beautiful bounty

Spring brings new life...and food food! I am super excited about exercising, earring good, and enjoying the season!!