So, we didn’t make root beer when my Moma came. And then life happened and we got sidetracked and now it’s July! So what have we been doing? Well, making mead, of course. We made a floral mead last weekend and then finally made our new root beers this weekend!Last weekend we had actually planned to make all the mead. Himself was off three days for the holiday weekend and we had all the ingredients for what we wanted to make. But somehow we managed to get to Monday evening without putting the honey on to caramelize, so we stuck to the floral mead. We made one gallon with 2 ½ pounds of honey (which is halfway between my usual 11% mead and his usual 14% mead) and a tea made of 1 part hibiscus, 2 parts heather, and one part lavender. It’s a beautiful combination of a tea that kind of tastes like burying your nose in a bouquet of flowers and is a beautiful rich purple color. I really wish I had a picture to post for y’all, but I didn’t take into account the fact that honey is golden brown, so when you add that much honey…..well, it turned brown.
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!
We decided to bottle some more mead this weekend. The Riva Wata cleared so beautifully, though the spices came through a little more strongly now that it has. But it looks gorgeous. The traditional didn’t clear but it still tastes so good. We ended up stirring up some of the sediment on the Riva Wata, so we combined the remains of the two gallons and we’ll bottle the last of that some time this week. We ended with 4 (750ml) wine bottles of Riva Wata and 2 wine bottles of the traditional, and 3 1L grogs of Wata and 2 1L grogs of traditional. We’ll be racking the last of the Riva Wata into a 1L grog when we do that.
So we’ve got the bochets going – and going strong! – and the experimental brew that we’re still not sure what’s going on. I’m thinking we’re going to pitch some yeast in it the next time we pull it out. But we’ll check the specific gravity to see if it’s changed before we do. I don’t think it has, though. We will see a little activity on it, and then nothing. I’m very much afraid that our packet of yeast was a bust – we’ve heard a lot of really good stuff about Lalvin 71B, so it’s not the yeast as a whole that’s bad. If we do pitch more yeast, we’ll be going with our current favorite, Lalvin K1V-1116. We really appreciate how quickly it kicks up action and how it smooths out (so far). Really looking forward to it.
As promised, it’s time for a mead post! On Sunday we spent 7 hours, off and on, playing with mead. Actual work time was probably closer to 3 hours, but in that time we bottled a mead, racked two meads for clearing off, experimented with getting a mead going again (stalled) and started two new batches of mead. At current we have three meads fermenting, two clearing off, and three in the bottle. Continue reading “A little mead time”→
So my last major blog post was about starting two five gallon batches of mead. We mixed a batch with 2lb honey/gallon and a batch with 3lb honey/gallon. We let those percolate for the better part of six months, racking it off to let it clear and tossing some mulling spice into most of the 3lb/gal. And in the end, it all turned out how we wanted it to. My dry is currently in 30 or so bottles (and dwindling) while the hub’s mulled is largely still in the bucket. Which leads us to where we’re at now.
I kept saying I wasn’t going to post a blog about the mead until we’d finished it all and made all our notes about it. But we’ve still got a little of the dry, sarsaparilla mead still left to be drunk. But since on Sunday we started our next batch, I think now is the time. Continue reading “The mead experiment”→