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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mead Making Progress

Tested the mead and the S.G. is now down to 1.025 which puts the alcohol content between 6% and 8.5%, and it has definitely dried out some more too. Very tasty.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mead Making Progress

Well so much for my stuck fermentation I picked up some yeast nutrient and some additional yeast thinking I'd have to attempt to breathe life back into the fermentation only to discover that the SG plummeted its down to 1.03 which puts the alcohol content at about 5% or so if I estimate the starting SG at about 1.08 based on the fact it was at 1.07 early on in the process of course it could be as high as 7.3% but since I didn't take an original reading I won't ever really know. The good news is though that the taste is wonderful, its really drying out and isn't nearly as sweet as it was.

Torc #2 Made

I made another torc the other day (actually the week before last, but I just realized I didn't blog it). This one is much nicer than the other, but the finals still aren't quite what I'd like. For this one I took copper wire, silver wire, and gold wire and made a tri-coloured rope out of them. The effect is quite nice.

I made up a nice little torc making device which enables me to keep pressure on the entire structure without doing any awkward poses. Basically it is a board with holes at various lengths to hold doweling in place. It works quite nice, though I think I need something stronger than doweling if I am going to wrap the wire tight enough to make a difference.

Unfortunately I got a little overzealous with my twisting and ended up bending the end near the finial in a way that doesn't want to straighten out properly. Its not the end of the world and it isn't really noticable, but it bothers me.

My next project is to use my torc making device to make a circlet for Faye.

Mead Making Progress - Stuck Fermentation

Well it appears my fermentation is stuck. The SG is not falling and its barely bubbling. I did managed to get some bubbling by agitating it and giving it some air. Hopefully it kicks in, I will measure the SG tonight and see what the deal is. I suspect acidity might be a tad high, either that or preservatives in the cider might be stopping the yeast from replicating.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mead Racked

I racked the mead yesterday into another carboy and pitched some more yeast in it to get the fermentation back in gear. Still seems slow, but I'll test the S.G. in about a week and see if its working.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mead Update

So its been a while since an update. The fermentation seems to have slowed, I will be taking a SG reading this week and if its not progressing I will rack and introduce more yeast in a secondary fermentation. So basically nothing to report.

That being said I have had second thoughts on my next batch, I stumbled upon a recipe that was made by a fellow SCAer in the Midrealm, its called Lord Rhys Chocolate Mead, it sounds wonderful. I think this is the winner. Apparently it is a very slow fermentation recipe, and one that should be well aged. If I can save a few bottles of this one for a few years it might be quite a wonderful mead for special occasions.

Reports of this mead is that it has a subtle chocolate aftertaste that is nearly unidentifiable, but the extasy effect of chocolate remains.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mead Thoughts

Ok I could have put this in the last post, but I thought it worthy of its own post on its own.

I've been considering my next batch, because why wait until this one is finished, might as well work on getting a good supply of the stuff going... and plain mead just isn't good enough for me ;) I think I am going to go with a spiced mead or as its properly known a Metheglin. I think a mead made with cinnamon and a few other top secret spices (aka I don't know what yet) would make an excellent Christmas wine, and since the idea is to have a well aged mead for next Christmas it should work well. I need to make a trip out to Monroe's in Alvinston to pick up 15-20 lbs of honey for it though. Although I did come across an interesting recipe for a maple mead which sounds plenty interesting as well.

I have also been thinking about simulating the oak aging by getting some oak chips to add to carboy for aging. Have to look into it more and figure out when to add it and how long to leave it in and such, but it would add that extra bit of subtlety to my meads. I'd love to one day get a bourbon cask and use it to age it, just for that added wow factor, but I am not interested in spending the hundreds of dollars at this point, its not like I plan on selling my mead.

Mead Making Progress

Ok, the fermentation slowed considerably. I have been a little concerned about this the past few days, however some reading seems to confirm that the fermentation process in very sweet meads tends to be very slow despite what the guy from somerset suggested. I think I will leave it another week then rack it off into a different carboy, this should ensure that there is no off flavour from the lees. The lees are the dead husks of the yeast.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Shield Making and other stuff

So I worked on a shield, not Lilley's, but rather the loaner shield I will be donating to the shire. The reason I worked on that shield and not Lilley's is because Lilley wants to paint her own shield, or at least help. This makes sense and is fine by me. So I figured I'd do up the loaner shield and Lilley can use it until such time as her own is made and ready.

In addition I made a device which should help me make some pretty cool torcs, arm bands, circlets and other such jewlery. Once I play with it some and get some stuff out I'll post pics and details about how it works. But it is extremely simple to make and could make some real impressive stuff if it works the way I hope it does.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Mead Making Progress

So I tasted the mead last night. It was good.... a little too sweet yet though. I will leave it another week before I test it again.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Boffer MIT

Yvette managed to get ahold of Slwyn for me and pass on my email address which apparently had issues sending to from the elist. Hopefully soon I can get my papers signed by her and be a boffer MIT to help Elzbeth with the boffer training.

Mead Making Progress

I searched the net for similar recipes to the one I am using and found that the starting specific gravity tends to be around 1.08 I am going to go with that, although its not very scientific. If I stop fermentation at 1.010 I will get about 9.23% alcohol by volume. This sounds like a pretty good percentage for a nice sweet wine. I found a nice little calculator online to help with figuring out abv and abw (alcohol by volume, and alcohol by weight) the site is Brewers Calculator.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Mead Making Progress

Went into a wine making shop today to price out some equipment and ended up in a nice little chat with the proprietor over the making of mead. I ended up buying a hydrometer, some siphoning hose, some Potassium Metabisulphite and he threw in some potassium sorbate and bentonite for free. He also said that if I buy my bottles from him he'll loan me a corker for free. I also got no end of tips from the man. I very much recommend Somerset Fine Wines and Gifts for all your wine making needs.

Now for details on the toys I bought:

Hydrometer: this handy little device floats in the must to tell you how much sugar is still in the solution. The reason this is important to know is that if you take a reading before you pitch the yeast you can calculate the amount of alcohol in your mead. I did not do this, but that's ok, according to Dwight (the proprietor of Somerset) if I stop fermentation at 1010-1015 I'll end up with a nice sweet meed with a guesstimated alcohol content of around 9-10% give or take. Not a strong mead, but a nice sweet desert mead (oops I should be saying cyser).

Potassium Metabisulphite: shockes the yeast and prevents the yeast from fermenting. Also acts as a good disinfectant for sanatizing.

Potassium Sorbate: coats the yeast and prevents the yeast from being able to reproduce ensuring that fermentation cannot start again later.

Bentonite: Clarifier. Bentonite will take the cloudiness away from the mead.