Monthly Archives: April 2013

cranberry mead full width

Cranberry Mead Missing Color

I put together a Cranberry Mead this last December (2012) so I could have something ready to go come Thanksgiving 2013.  I envisioned something that had the slight sour tartness of cranberries with the red or pink color to match.

Ready to Bottle Cranberry Mead

Ready to Bottle Cranberry Mead

I think I will have to come up with another plan.

My 1 gallon ‘pilot’ batch of mead recipe was the following:

  • 2 pounds of Clover Honey
  • 24 ounces of Cranberry fruit
  • DAP / Yeast nutrient
  • 1 pkg Lavlin 71B-1122 yeast
  • Back-sweetened with 2 ounces of Clover Honey

My color seemed to fade the most after I sorbated / sulfited so that I could back-sweeten with the 2 ounces of honey.  Even as I got ready to bottle (see picture above) I thought I had a little color left.  Nope.

I did have color left in my lees though…

Cranberry Lees

Cranberry Lees

 

The sample flavor was slightly sweet, much like a white wine, and of course by the looks of it tasted JUST LIKE A WHITE WINE.  Not what I expected, but it is a pretty damn good tasting ‘white wine’.  In the end, as far as everyone I give samples to is concerned, it is a ‘white’ cranberry mead…

'White' Cranberry Mead

‘White’ Cranberry Mead

Rice Wine Comparison

Rice Wine – Side by Side

Today I took a sample of my pasteurized Rice Wine and compared it to the little bit of Rice Wine that I did not pasteurize.

Day 10

Day 10

In the refrigerator the non pasteurized sample looked much clearer than the pasteurized but by the time I poured it out to my sample glass, I had stirred up enough white rice sediment from the bottom of the jar to effectively make both look the same.

Given my taste test, it is not surprising that they looked identical.  They tasted identical, and I wasn’t really expecting that at all.

Both had a definite alcohol nose and not much else that I could pick up on the scent.  These samples were straight from the fridge so they were probably 40F by the time I sampled them.

The flavor was a slight flowery, ever so sweet, and strongly alcoholic.  The alcoholic strength was not overpowering though at all.  Overall, these turned out wonderfully and I will attempt to make some more.

I’m also going to experiment with various flavorings.  I’ve read that pomegranate works very well with this, and look forward to this.  I’ll post my tastings and findings when I do mix in some fruit with the rice wine.

rice wine yeast full width

Chinese Rice Wine

So I noticed some talk of Chinese Rice Wine over at Homebrewtalk a while back and thought it would be a nice new experiment in ‘all things fermentable’.  It looks fairly easy, hands off, and I did enjoy some sake recently (this isn’t sake technically), so wanted to see if I could make something similar, but fairly easy.

 

Brewing Sake Book

Brewing Sake Book

I originally bought a book on making sake and quickly realized while reading through it that it required about 88 steps, which might be 80 more steps than I really wanted to expend.  But, seeing the post on HBT about the rice wine (not sake), I went ahead and gave it a shot.  What follows below is my attempt at quick, easy Rice Wine.

Fast forward real quick.  The taste?  After 20 days I find it slightly sweet, aromatic of a thai jasmine rice (it is sweet rice though) and surprisingly smooth.  It is really GOOD!  I am curious to taste the portion I pasteurized (this taste was unpasteurized).

First I cooked 5 cups of sweet Thai rice in a rice cooker.  I had soaked the rice for about 1 hour ahead of time and by the time it was cooked I realized that I had added too much water and made the sweet rice a pasty ball, pretty messy.

Thai Sweet Rice

Thai Sweet Rice

I let the rice cool down for several hours, almost to room temperature.

I crushed 4 dried yeast balls (from an Asian market) and mixed them into the rice in a 1 gallon glass jar.

Rice Wine Yeast

Rice Wine Yeast

Crush Yeast Balls

Crush Yeast Balls

Below are how the rice wine looked after various periods of time:

Day 0

Day 0

Day 10

Day 10

 

Day 20

Day 20

I’m still working on the bottling now as I write this, but after 20 days I skimmed off the top of mold that grew (expected / normal) scooped out the rice / wine mixture and placed into a funnel with cheese cloth in it.  I then poured the remaining mixture of wine/rice and squeezed a bit of the liquid out with the cheese cloth.

I found that my 5 cups of sweet Thai rice produced just over 1/4 gallon of wine.  It is very cloudy but appears to be clearing fairly quickly in the refrigerator as it cools down.  A nice white sediment layer is forming on the bottom (rice solids).   I plan to keep about 1 cup unpasteurized for sampling and the other 1/4 gallon I heated up to 160F to pasteurize.  I will bottle the 1/4 gallon likely in large swing top bottles.

Mold removed

Mold removed

Final Volume 1/4 gallon

Final Volume 1/4 gallon

Pasteurizing Wine

Pasteurizing Wine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine – Mead Upkeep

Racking Cherry Mead '13

  Racking Cherry Mead ’13

Today I took a little time to take care of my Elderberry Wine and Cherry Mead.  The post I had on the Elderberry Wine was lost when I accidentally erased my website a few days ago… I still pay the price.

The Cherry Mead had already been stabilized with a little sweetness left, but I’m not entirely sure I tasted much sweetness and I’m not sure if fermentation has completely stopped.  Of course, I didn’t take a refractometer sample, so I’m not sure at this point, but I will take one in a month or two.  No real hurry, if it still is fermenting, I’ll either keep it how it is or backsweeten and sorbate it again – depending on how it is tasting.

The Elderberry Wine on the other hand has had a slow fermentation and has gone from 1.115 (27B) down to 1.050.  As soon as I racked it off the fruit into the gallon ‘carboy’, it quickly picked up a vigorous fermentation.  I’ll measure it out in a few days and see about degassing once it slows down as well.

In both cases I used my 5# CO2 bottle and purged the gallon ‘carboys’ (Julio Gallo jugs) with the CO2 prior to racking to avoid as much oxygen as possible.

 

Elderberry Wine

Elderberry Wine

Racking off of Elderberries

Racking off of Elderberries