We decided we wanted to try an “experimental” mead – we wanted to see what we could do with alcohol content, flavors, and a method we’d read about. And somewhere between 9% alcohol, adding additional honey, and possible cold crashing, we’ve utterly stalled. That’s the bad news. The good news – we’ve definitely found how we want to make our next root beer with these bouchets!
Last week we finally got around to racking the meads we started in November. We’ve seen a lot of people do things a lot of different ways – for some we are racking rather late at 2 months, for others we’re racking very early. But with our cold temps, we wanted to be sure to give them plenty of time to percolate. Especially since we’d already had the experimental brew stall on us. We added another half pack of yeast in November when we started the bouchets (~2.5 grams) hoping to get it started again, but we had no change last week. So, desperate times, desperate measures, we tried an entire packet of yeast in case it was the old packet of yeast that was the problem. We spent several minutes stirring vigorously to off gas (yeast can’t grow if it can’t breath), and then set it into warm (note, not HOT) water to try and bring it up and give the yeast the best chance of kick starting. The first few days we made sure to go and give it a good shake up to keep that CO2 moving out of the brew and out through the airlock.
But then we checked them about a week later and…nothing. We haven’t checked the ABV yet, but there is no activity in the airlock. There might be an answer to this, but we don’t know what it is right now. We’re talking about cutting our losses and walking away, but I’m not sure what I want to do with it yet. I hate wasting honey.
But, those bouchets. They are pretty sweet. We should have added some uncarmalized honey to give the yeast a little more to eat, but it was our first try at this style so it was a learning experince. But the important thing, the flavor? It’s actually really good! It’s a rich flavor different from every other brew we’ve made. We made two batches, one with black tea and one without anything and, for now, the one with tea is the favorite. But we’ve now put them both on oak, so we’ll see how that changes the flavor profile. We’ve already decided that we’re going to try the bouchet with our root beer – our next project. I’m thinking we’ll wait until my Moma comes next, at the end of the month, to make those. But we’re going to try two different recipes to see which gives us the best balance of that yummy caramel flavor and alcohol content along with our root beer tea (which we still haven’t worked through…). Having done the bouchets, I’m now very excited about our next round of root beer!
This is such a fun hobby – and one that has a tasty result and that doesn’t create a lot of finished projects that will only exist to take up space. Getting into a new hobby can be intimidating because you’re never good when you get started, so there are a lot of early projects that aren’t great, and then what do you do with it? Well, with mead, you drink it! So until next time, sláinte!