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Monday, November 30, 2009

Chai Mead progress

Nothing interesting to report with the mead over the weekend. No significant drops in SG.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chai Mead progress

Tested the SG and aerated it again. The reading is 1.112 which puts the alcohol at close to 3% ABW (alcohol by weight) and 2.7 ABV (alcohol by volume). The yeast seems very happy. Progressing very well I think.

I think, considering the tannins from the tea, it might be interesting to age some of this batch with some oak chips or cubes to see the effects. I think I will buy some cubes and age one gallon with some oak and see where things go from there.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Chai Mead progress

I tested and aerated the mead today. It has fallen to 1.12 which puts the alcohol content at 2%. Judging by the current rate of sugar consumption by the yeast I would guess I'll be at optimal alcoholic content rather quickly, perhaps even as soon as two weeks, but then again who knows. While the first couple of days the yeast are multiplying more than producing once they produce enough alcohol they will start dying out so the process will slow. I guess I just have to have some patience I guess.

Added comments:

Just in case anyone was curious the reason I used tea as the main ingredient instead of just using a collection of spices is because tea contains tannins that add astringency and structure and also act as a yeast nutrient. In short I have provided the yeast with a jug of food for it to live in. The only question will remain is if there are too much tannins which will make the mead too astringent.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chai Mead

I tested the S.G. and aerated the mead today. The SG has fallen to 1.130 from 1.140 meaning it has already hit the 1% alcohol content. Sure its not much, but that's quite a feat for 24 hrs. It will still be quite some time before its 100% ready, but heck its off to a great start.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Error Correction

I retested the SG of the mead, apparently I missread, the mead is actually 1.14 not 1.135, not a drastic difference, but significant enough.

New Batch of Mead

Well the new batch of mead is brewing, this time I am trying a metheglin or spiced mead. It will be a chai mead mixed with chai tea instead of water in much the same fashion as the apple mead that is aging in my closet. This is the recipe I used:

  • 10 Chai tea bags
  • water
  • 22lbs of honey
  • cubibs
  • star anise
  • cloves
  • half a stick of cinnamon
  • casia buds
  • 1 pkg of Lavin EC-1118 champaign yeast
  • a tsp of lemon juice for acid
The 22 lbs of honey is probably throwing anyone who has been reading this blog off so I should state that this is a 6 gallon carboy not the measly 1 gallon one I used for my last batch. That is still considerably more honey than I used per gallon on the last batch but I thought I'd aim for a sweeter finish in hopes it combines well with the spices.

Speaking of spices I know my measurements are far from exact, but that's all part of the fun, why make homemade mead with scientific precision, you can buy it at the liquor store if you want that, me I am aiming for something unique.

The heavy spice element will mean the need for some pretty drastic aging, I think the bulk of this batch will have to sit for a minimum of a year, where as the apple mead I think might be drinkable in a couple of months.

Down to the brass taxes here. Since I actually have a hydrometer now I can take a Specific Gravity (SG) reading now so I can get an actual accurate reading of alcohol content. The SG of this mead is 1.135 which is WAY sweeter than the last batch. With any luck this will end up with a nice sweet mead, if it dries right out it would reach 18.7% Alcohol, I think I'll shoot for a maximum of 15% though which means I want to stop the fermentation at an SG of 1.025 or so.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mead Making Progress

I stopped fermentation on my mead on Saturday Nov 14th because it had dried out quite nicely. It is now in a 1 gal bottle to age out a bit before I bottle it.

It was still quite cloudy when I bottled it, but an hour after I bottled it it had already started to clarify, now it is pretty much all clear with considerable sediment on the bottom. I was quite surprised with how much it has clarified, I thought considering the cider base it might remain quite cloudy but instead the apple particulate fell like a rock once the yeast wasn't swimming around any more. Quite nice.

The final gravity reading is 1.000 which is the same reading you get of water which means it dried pretty much right out. There is almost no sugars left in the mead. It should be somewhere around 10.3% and 11.7% assuming a starting gravity of 1.08 or 1.07 but could be as high as 13%.

I think it will need considerable aging to make this a really good mead so I am planning a few months in the gallon jug followed by as much time as I can stand in bottles.