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The Red Mountain Brewers
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Last Saturday (June 26), while we were brewing the elderberry mead, we also brewed up a batch of krupnick.

Yeah, yeah, I'm late posting the details...Collapse )

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Sheesh. I'm finally getting aruond to posting the brewing notes from the workshop on June 26 at Lady Clare's.

This was originally going to be "a very strong (elderflower) meathe" from The Closet of Sir Kenelme Digbie Opened blah blah blah, but I didn't have any elderflowers on hand. Instead, I brought some dried elderberries I've had for a while. Being dried, I'm thinking they won't overpower the honey...

Elderberry MeadCollapse )

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We racked the rhodomel with the Cotes de Blancs yeast from a 7-gal carboy into a 6-gal. I am not pleased with how the taste profile is going. It tastes like vinegar. Shite.

The white surface foam has returned on the tupelo mead. We didn't have time to really investigate (it was getting late), and I need to enlist Kailo's aid on this one.

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Yesterday at Christofana's, the Red Mountain Brewers made up a batch of what will become elderberry melomel.

PARTICIPENTS

Lady Clare (who gets wagonloads of kudos for helping carry a 60+ pound carboy around)
Christopher & Angelique
THLady Cristofana, provider of the brew kitchen
Lord Brynjolf, Crusader Against Sobriety (double share)


INGREDIENTS

16 pounds Wildflower honey from Gunters Apiary, which has a decidedly caramel flavor to it.
1 96 oz can (3/4 gallon) of elderberry glop, which turned out not as gloppy as I expected.
3.75 gallons of well water, charcoal filtered
1 oz. Irish moss
6 tablespoons yeast nutrient
3 tablespoons yeast energizer
2 packet Lalvin D-47 yeast

I accidentally used tablespoons instead of teaspoons for the nutrient and energizer. Heheheh.


PROCESS

Added honey, elderberry and 3/4 gallon water to brewpot.

Heat on at 4:30.
Reached 140 degrees at 4:52. Added Irish moss and heat to low.
Topped out at 150 deg at 4:57.
Off heat at 5:17

Dumped must into a plastic brew bucket and added 3 gallons cold water, then poured into a 7-gal glass carboy with nutrients.

Pitched yeast at 88 degrees at 5:32.

Specific Grav is, oh my... 1.106.

The must tastes like very thick blueberry pancake syrup. Mwahahahah.

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We had a BLAST yesterday bottling our first batch of Isenmead (which is technically a cinnamon/ginger metheglyn). I remember, 18 months ago, we were all thinking oh no! A year is so long! Waiting for mead-bottling day is like waiting for Christmas when you're a kid. It seems to take forever, but it's on you before you know it.

I was filler man, David was the bottler mover, and Christopher manned the corker.

This one came out light, with only 8.35% alcohol.

Final yield was:

8 bottles for Deb & Kailo's double share.
4 bottles for Christopher & Jayne's share.
4 bottles for Karen's share.
4 bottles for David's share.
4 bottles for my share.
2 bottles for Christine for letting use her basement.
1 bottle for Their Excellencies D&D.
4 half-bottles for samples (1 for the Brewers Guild, 1 for Hill Top, 2 for hillbilly apiary owner, 1 for hot hippie apiary assistant)
1 left-over bottle that I snagged. For my Crusade.

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Another batch is in the bottle!

For Kingdom Twelfth Night 2009 (which we obviously did not go to), Christopher, Angelique, Joscelyn and I got together and brewed a batch of mead. Christopher and I bottled it today.

Although I bought high-end Portuguese white corks, there was some tannin leaching. Not sure what this is all about, or what effect it will have on the hooch.

It's still mildly carbonated. Huh.

Alcohol by Volume is 10.2%.

Final yield:

Six wine bottles for me.
Twelve wine bottles for Christopher and Angelique.
Five bottles for Joscelyn.
One half-bottle for evaluation at Hill Top winery.
One half-bottle for the Atlantian Brewers Guild.
One 500 ml flip-top to share at next week's brewing day at 3rd Sunday.

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On the way to Fourth Sunday, I stopped by Cristofana's. The plan was to rack both batches of rhodomel. Unfortunately, when I was packing up the portable brewery, noticed both of my racking hoses weren't in the best of shape. They had a white film in them, probably from too much sanitizing. I stopped by PetSmart to get more, but they only had very narrow hose.

It took forever to rack the batch with the champaign yeast, so I didn't do the one with the cotes de blancs yeast. We were running late as it was.

So, some observations:Collapse )

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The 12th Night mead that we brewed in January of 2009 is ready to bottle! The specific gravity has held steady at 1.040 for a few weeks now. The plan is to make a run up to the Fermentation Trap for corks on Thursday morning and bottle that afternoon.
Final alcohol by volume figues to 10.2%.

WOOT!

We also bottled Jayne's pomegranate/blueberry/acacia melomel (which came out yummy), and tested two of her personal batches of mead. Fermentation is done on one of them, but it needs more bulk aging time. The other one, which uses the recipe for Lord Gunter's Mead Laboratory class, is still fermenting away.

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Since several batches will be ready for bottling this spring, I thought I'd post some bottling information.

For group batches that I organize, brewers are responsible for supplying their own bottles. Your cheapest option, of course, is to save your empties. The Fermentation Trap sells new and used bottles. I also sell used wine bottles for $1.00 each, with the money going towards buying more carboys.

CARBONATED BEVERAGES (Beer, sparkling wines, etc)

- Use only store-bought bottles from a home brewing store. Many commercial beer bottles are only meant to be filled once and may not be able to handle a second carbonation.
- Use amber-colored bottles. This is the only color that provides any protection against sunlight. Sunlight reacts badly with hops and can skunk a beer in a surprisingly short time.
- Do not use screw-top bottles unless you have special capping equipment.
- I'd recommend against flip-top "Grolsch-style" tops. I lost half a batch of beer when the carbonation leaked out of the gasket.


NON-CAROBONATED BEVERAGES

- Anything can be used, as long as a fresh seal can be applied. Metal caps or corks are your best bet.
- If you plan on storing long-term, consider using oxygen-barrier matel caps or high-quality corks.
- Avoid synthetic corks for long-term storage, as they will cause something called reduction (which is undesirable).


BOTTLE CARE

If you are saving and re-using bottles, your best bet is to prepare them for storage as soon as you empty them. Rinse them with scalding hot water, then give them a quick rinse with a sanitizing solution. A splash of bleach and some cool water works fine. Then store them so dust can't get into them. When it comes time to bottle, all they will need is another quick sanitizer rinse.
If, like me, you are lazy, there will come a time when you don't do this. The result is a black blob of moldy goo in the bottom of you bottle. Fear not! Just make a solution of 1 ounce of bleach per gallon of COLD water and fill the bottles. Then let them sit for at least 24 hours and drain. Rinsing is not necessary. Be sure to use cold water, as warm water will make the bleach evaporate.

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(back-dated entry copied form my own notes)

Participants

Cristofana, hostess
Joscelyn and Tony
Brynjolf, crusader against sobriety

Process

One gallon Tupelo honey from Florida swampland, purchased at Golden Angels apiary.
Added with two gallons of tap water to brewpot.

3:35 - Turned on heat
4:00 - Reached 140 degrees, added 1 tsp Irish Moss, turned down heat
4:16 - 152 degrees, turned off heat
4:26 - Poured must into carboy.

Very little scum. We didn't skim anything.

Carboy was in an icewater bath, and already had 3 gallons of pre-boiled icewater in it.
The must cooled to 78 derees in just a few minutes.

A dog with a broken leg licked the carboy, but I think I shooed him away before he got near the bung.

Added 5 tsp yeast nutrient, 2 tsp yeast energizer, and two packets rehydrated Red Star Champagne yeast.

Aerated and brought to the basement.

Honey ratio is 2.4 #/gal, with six gallons of must in a 7-gallon carboy.

Alc Potential = 10%
Brix/Bolling = 21
Specific Grav = 1.075

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