montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 8th, 2016 08:43 pm)
2.5 litres apricot juice/pulp (yield from 4kg after freezing, defrosting and squishing through a brew bag, last year yield was 3L)*
(no campden or pectinase, first time without, lets see if we get haze problems?)
18 litres clear apple juice (Aldi)
4g wine yeast nutrient
champagne yeast

starting density 1.045, yeast pitched today.
27th April, 1.004.

*so in 2015 I think I managed two rounds of freeze and defrost. I also simmered the apricots a bit to help release the juice, but panicked that it would ruin the flavour or cause haze. Neither of these feared problems eventuated, I got an extra half litre of apricot juice and one of my best drinks ever. Lesson in that for 2017. 2016 fruit only had one extended freeze.
montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 4th, 2016 01:29 pm)
I got sick of cleaning things, so I've broken that up with setting up my next brew. This is that 20L of apple and pear juice that I scored for $1/L. It's 37.5% pear juice 'cause I cleared the shelves of the 50:50 mix and had to buy some plain apple to make up 20L. It's Berri brand clear juice.

The yeast is Vintner's Harvest SN9 which several people on Lochac brewers recommended as good for cider, leaving a fuller mouthfeel. So I'm doing a very simple ferment to test it. My brew stash doesn't have any simple cider left so this is needed anyway. I do still have a few last bottles of strong home pressed "harvest" cider, about half a case of apricot cider and quite a lot of the very dry mulberry cider. The latter I'm thinking of as primarily cooking booze.

OG 1.043
April 12th, no gloop, 1.004, some spritzig
April 21st, still no gloop, spritzig faded, 1.005, 5.0% abv, bottled.

June 8th
Reporting in on how this went. I call it a success. Nice soft mouthfeel, definitely less dry than with champagne yeast. Fairly light flavour, but it is only cheap commercial juice. I under dosed the carbonation sugar so it's low fizz. Must remember that my ciders don't have the same late ferment issue that many of my beers suffer.

montjoye: (Default)
( Nov. 24th, 2015 12:53 pm)
I came into some mulberries, yay.

Mulberry sauce/jelly

1kg mulberries- double frozen in this case
1kg granny smith apples- cored and roughly chopped

Put each fruit to different saucepan. Cover with water. Boil each until soft. Strain through separate bags. combine equal volume of juice from each fruit (it was close enough, I used the lot). Add 2/3cup sugar for each cup of juice.(This worked out to 2.2L juice, I used 5cups sugar) Add juice of one lemon. Heat gently until sugar dissolved. Boil for 3/4 to 1hr or apparently until it starts spitting. I wasn't aiming for a set but was aiming to repeat the excellent flavour of the not really set sauce from two years ago. However I seem to have a better set than last time, thank goodness I chose to put it in jars not bottles. Lets hope the flavour is also as good.

Mulberry cider
the apricot cider worked so well last time that I thought this was worth a try

1 litre mulberry juice(yield from 1.4kg after freezing, defrosting, bringing to boil, squashing with a masher and squishing through a brew bag). Treat with campden and pectinase for 24hr at ~18deg *

18 litres clear apple juice (Aldi)
4g wine yeast nutrient
champagne yeast

even at ~5% in apple juice, the mulberry contributes plenty of colour:


starting density 1.046
Dec 18th 1.005. 5.3% (slightly effervescent)
bottled with half sugar Dec 19th

*1 campden tablet, 1/2t pectinase. 24hrs in a warm place
montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 26th, 2015 11:46 am)
A attempted repeat of a successful 'speriment

3 litres apricot juice/pulp (yield from 4L after freezing, defrosting and squishing through a brew bag)
treat apricot with campden and pectinase for 36hr at ~12deg *
18 litres clear apple juice (Aldi)
4g wine yeast nutrient
champagne yeast

starting density 1.049, yeast pitched today. I'm concerned about the health of this yeast. It sank and didn't foam on hydrating. I can always repitch if it doesn't take off. (it was fine, and champagne yeast since then has behaved like this for me)

*1 campden tablet, 1/2t pectinase. 24hrs in a warm place-except like last time it was more like 35hrs in a cool place.

Fermented at ~16C. Only took ~11days.
FG 1.005
ABV 5.7%
montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 24th, 2015 09:57 pm)
I should be sewing, for a certain value of "should", but my brain has turned to brewing. I bottled and labelled the Vin Lager on  Monday. Now both fermenters are now empty and clean. I now have three brews in development (yeh, I shall have to borrow a fermenter to do all of them at once).

-I've claimed the ~3kg of overripe apricots that 10B had picked and was storing for me in his freezer. These turned into 4L of defrosted volume that I then heated to a bare simmer, said heating might have been a mistake. That has now been separated into ~2.5L of mostly juice and ~1.5L of mostly pulp. The juice is being treated with campden tablet and pectinase* prior to being combined with a bunch of apple juice and being fermented into apricot cider. The pulp I reckon would be good in crumbles and pies, so that is back in the freezer.

-I've done the design, ordering and grain collection for a new lager. This will be a version of Brooklyn Brewery recipe for what they call a pre prohibition lager. I'm doing a bit of hop cupboard clearing again but the malts follow the recipe closely. Last time I combined this with a Vienna lager recipe. This time I'm going with Brooklyn's design. It has a combination of German and American hops.

-The new and third plan is to make a small beer off this lager. This would augment the 2 remaining PET bottles of small beer that is all I have to offer at the next tavern night (along with 5 bottles of "big" beer). Should I experiment and use the German hops from the lager brew? Thus far all my small beers have had English hops. This small beer plan meant that I didn't mash today because I couldn't start early enough. I think I'm going to save the double mash exercise for Friday and go button hunting tomorrow.

I have my fingers crossed for an EOFY sale at the brew shop. I have a proto list ready just in case. I think they did one last year but they don't advertise their sales in advance, for obvious reasons.

Next beer plans are I think for a new Scottish ale and some sort of English ale. More reading and thoughts required. I ought do a bottle review. Bottle stocks might not be up to my production plans.

At some point I should write up my thoughts and web search bits about early malt.

*to kill any wild yeasts and bacteria and remove haze compounds.
montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 8th, 2014 01:31 pm)
I've just put 10L each of pear and apple juice to a fermenter with a sachet of Nottingham Ale yeast.
OG 1.051
The density sample is pretty tasty, especially split with soda.

The pear juice was got cheaply from the Shep factory shop and is cloudy. The apple juice is clear and $1/L fromthe A store. Both full juice, no added sugar and preservative free.

I was originally going to combine the pear juice with apricots, but after thinking about their respective ripening/picking seasons, I ditched that idea. They are not natural partners. The apricots ripen at new year and the pears several months later in autumn. Of course with modern freezers etc we can put them together if we wish, but I decided not to. So the revised plan simply pairs the pears with apples :-). 'Tis my latest experiment, and if it turns out well, I'll try to keep some aside for MrsBrown at festival next year.

IMG_3717 IMG_3720

montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 30th, 2013 05:37 pm)
For my records, and maybe your interest.

I've racked the Apricot Cider to a clean fermenter. There was rather a lot of pulp which I wanted to leave behind prior to bottling. I added 200ml of sugar which is what I calculate is the equivalent of bottle charging. Except I was too overwhelmed by other things today to contemplate bottling. So I suppose I have to let that sugar ferment and then add another lot on bottling.

I strained the remaining 2L through cloth and let it settle overnight. Now I'm drinking the mostly clear liquid. It tastes light and perfumed, perfectly pleasant, though flat of course. It's not sweet but it is less dry than the harvest cider.  It's also 5.5% alcohol but doesn't taste it. More after the extra sugar ferments. Density at this stage is 1.006.

1 week later- bubbling had stopped so I bottled it with another sugar charge. Fingers crossed. Most went into my stash of rekorderlig bottles.

BTW- I sampled the scottish ale today. It hasn't finished carbonating. Not really surprising given how cold it has been. It's a bit sweet, which is slightly icky but will correct. Otherwise tastes good but very light.  I'll be planning my next beer to be higher alcohol! I was going to mash on Sat but couldn't face it, or even the prep for it due to both the work situation and an overload of other projects.

I also did the next step of the orange bitters on Sat. Strained off the (water) liquid through a cloth, squeezed for maximum volume and flavour. Boiled briefly to sterilise. Added sugar syrup (2T raw castor, 1T water, warmed to dissolve). Combine all this with the brandy infusion. This now needs to settle and I'll rebottle if sediment drops out. Still smells amazing. It's about half as strong as it should be by the recipe, but hopefully that means it will still work by using twice as much.

montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 10th, 2013 11:29 am)


Moooorrre 'Speriments!

This project was born of having ~3kg of apricots lanquishing/taking up room in my freezer. One lot had been there from last year's harvest. I already have jars of both apricot jam and sauce in the pantry and apricot wine maturing in the brewing cupboard. So... here is a try at another thing:

2 litres apricot juice/pulp (yield after freezing, defrosting and squishing through a brew bag)
treat apricot with campden and pectinase for 36hr at ~12deg *
2 litres clear pear juice
16 litres clear apple juice (Aldi)
4g wine yeast nutrient
champagne yeast

I am told pear juice naturally contains some unfermentable sugars. I'd have used more if it were cheaper. This 2L was $7. Whereas we can get apple juice for $1/L.  If this turns out to be drinkable, I'd be more willing to spend more on pear juice when we have next year's apricot crop to play with.

starting density 1.048

*1 campden tablet, 1/2t pectinase. 24hrs in a warm place- well it wasn't warm and 24hrs was during dinner prep last night.

Stocks in the Montjoye beer cupboard are getting dangerously low. There are plenty of things that I want to make, but I only have equipment for one at a time. I am resisting buying more gear, not only due to cost, but I’d have to find homes for the extra kit.

Anyway, I bottled this year’s harvest cider on Wed May 22nd. It is pale and cloudy. Very strange. Density at bottling was 1.004 but neither I nor Weaver remembered to take a starting density. Is it pale because we used Campden tablets? I’ll be interested to see Weaver’s versions to compare. He used Camden in only the first batch. Flavour is still a bit sharp but no where near as acidic as last year’s batch. No crab apples this year, we didn’t have people to spare to go pick them. 25L starting volume – one shy of 6doz stubbies.

So the fermenter was free and I had an unbooked weekend. Thusly on Friday night late, I ordered the grain for the Scottish Ale I have been wanting to brew. I love that one can submit an order in the middle of the night and still go pick it up the following morning! I’m glad this is a simple brew, ‘cause I woke all hazy and work-hungover on Saturday. Went down to the brew shop and said “I’ve had two beers and still can’t wake up”. Of course I meant coffees, not beers, which just illustrates how hazy I felt. I’m still thick headed today actually.

details, details... )
montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 28th, 2013 08:02 am)
It's been a dozen days since I last posted. My brain is too tangled up to post on the important things. What I do need is a record of dates etc on the two brews currently glooping away happily in the dining room.

Damson wine
recipe below started on April 15th, aside from the precook and freeze part which was prior to festi.
My comments, interpretations and alterations in italics. Pics later when I have the full series.

Recipe 1 of 2 -Country summer style (can't remember the source website but this recipe turns up in several places. It is the alternative presented along with the one that says to grow mould on the surface first. Pass, but Weaver has done that one and it is truly tasty)

Ingredients :-
• 3 lb. ripe damsons(I started with ~2kg)
• 3 lb. sugar
• 1 gallon cold water(4.5L)
• pectic enzyme-(1teaspoon)
• campden tablet
• gp wine yeast (fermol rouge, hydrate before pitching)
• yeast nutrients (1g)

Instructions :
pick or buy damsons as ripe as possible,remove stones and wash them well (wash and remove stalks, stew slowly with 200g sugar, mouli to remove stones, freeze, defrost). put the 3lb. damsons in a large saucepan (my big stockpot,fruit inside a brew bag)  and pour on a gallon of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer(a few min only given they were cooked earlier )until the damsons are tender but not mashy. strain off the liquid through muslin into a plastic bucket (lift brewbag and allow to drain back into saucepan). The damsons can now be used as stewed fruit or for making jam(residue is now only worthy as compost, all brown and dry). add 3lb. of granulated sugar to the liquid in the bucket and stir well with a plastic spoon until the sugar has dissolved(tick). leave to cool right down, then add pectic enzyme and a crushed campden tablet(tick). allow 24hrs covered in a warm atmosphere before stirring in the yeast and yeast nutrient. the leave in the warm for three days before you transfer into a fermentation demi-john, fit an airlock and ferment until dry, (this still in progress) when the fermentation has stopped, rack and clear before bottling. some may be required during fermentation and a tablespoon of sugar added once or twice should do no harm. you will de able to drink it in six months or perhaps before that. but the longer you keep it the better it will be.

Racked on 2nd June. there was a white lump of something floating, is this pectin perhaps? I included the ~600ml from the PET bottle (volume that wouldn't fit in the demijohn in the first round). Ferment still going but slow. taste is fiery, fruity, sweet but thankfully not sour.

simpler but a lot more work.
25L home crushed apple juice (2:2:1 acid, tannin, sweet)
5 crushed Campden tablets for 24hrs
Nottingham ale yeast, hydrated before pitching

Apples collected by Weaver and friends, including me. Juicing for this lot happened between April 13 and 21st. Yeast pitched Monday April 22nd. Ferment going by Tues 23rd. As usual I didn't have a proper seal initially. We were being monstered by wasps through the second juicing day. Amazingly only one sting was received that day, by poor Weaver. Lots of wasps got into the juice in one way or another. We should probably call it wasp cider! I boringly insisted that no wasps end up in my fermenter. Weaver set up at least one 50L batch, same juice proportions as mine, including the wasps! Then, because I am experimenting by using an ale yeast, he planned to do one with the same proportions again, but sans wasps, both with our more usual champagne yeast. Ha, he is such a  Weaver, but I appreciate the scientific approach, test one variable at a time eh?   Oh, juicing method this year was almost the same as last- Commercial juicer then pulp put through a hydrolic press. Last year we took the juice from the juicer and only pressed the pulp, but we ended up with a LOT of solids in the fermenters. This year we recombined juice and pulp and pressed the lot. This made for very satisfying pressings :-) and much clearer juice.

montjoye: (Default)
( Jul. 1st, 2012 01:20 pm)
It's a nervous thing to have multiple people relying on one's 'speriments for their dinner.

I'm writing this down in case it works marvellously and we want to repeat it. Or if it flops I'll have a reference for what didn't work. Fingers crossed for the former.

2 granny smith apples, peel core, large dice
half head celery - 1cm slices
1 head fennel- coarsely chopped
pop half the above into a large greased lidded pot

large lump o' weaver's pork. possibly a rib roast- shoulder actually. we need to label better next time
-brown in little olive oil
put meat on vege bed in pot
put rest veg around meat

deglaze pan with 1 stubbie "Son of Jethro" cider (still very acid for the record)
add ~250ml chutney made from Ali's apricots(plus lemon, spices etc)
add 1 pig spoon of salt, goodly grind of black pepper
pour over meat and veg

150deg oven- intending 4hrs or so

It got 4.5hrs, was deemed yummy. We ended up taking the meat off the bone once cooked, chopping it up and returning to the veges. So more like a stew in the end, but not quite. Good flavour. Strangely both sharp and rich at the same time.



montjoye: (Default)


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