Well, probably more like "Apricot Sparkling Small Mead". I'm still experimenting with alcoholic things to do with the annual apricot crop. The other inspiration this year is another kilo jar of Baggytrousers own honey. All home grown! including the lemons- juice gleaned over time from various sources.

The recipe is informed by three of my previous brews: Apricot wine, Apricot cider and Honey beer.

. IMG_4082

Proposed Apricot Champagne mead
3kg apricots
~half cup lemon juice ice cubes
Half cup strong black tea
Defrost, mouli
1 tsp pectinase
1 campden tablet
Combine, cover, wait 24hrs. (ready tonight)

~1kg honey
Say 3L water
Heat, boil 5min, skim, cool

All to fermenter, make up to 10L
2g? Wine yeast nutrient
Champagne yeast

While I wait for the campden tablet to do it's work, I have the honey sitting in a jar of hot water to aid in it's extraction.

Will need to rack before bottling, but the apricot cider worked well and that sat on the pulp for a couple weeks before racking. So doing this at the same time as a beer should be ok, hmm, except the lager may take longer. At the worst, I’ll have to buy or borrow another fermenter.

This all went to the fermenter first thing Monday 18th. OG 1.052 or a little higher, the pulp I think was causing problems getting a good reading.

Now ferment has started, the pulp is floating, borne by the bubbles.

Bubbling seemed to be inhibited by this pulp layer. Funny, I expected it to sink. After a week the ferment had slowed. Ran the lower clear liquid off to a clean fermenter (7.5L in 30L pot looks lonely).  Within a few hours that was bubbling slowly but more evenly. Strained the remaining liquid (~1L) through cloth to a PET bottle (not sure it is sterile). It can ferment there and get bottled if it seems ok

2 weeks ferment.
Finished at a gravity of 1ish so ~6.5% alcohol.
Bottled into 23 small stubbie bottles*, sugar charged. Very pale, not much apricot colour left.
Flavour rather strange. Not horrid but not pleasant either. Might have overdone the lemon juice? Let’s give it some time and see how it goes. There is hope. The apricot wine of 18mths ago started as evil rocket fuel and is now pleasant to drink.

*two bottle are from the PET secondary- lids marked with three dots

montjoye: (Default)
( Nov. 3rd, 2013 12:41 pm)

I’m behind in brewing posts. So I’ll offer a few pics and make some date related notes as a minimum

Two Mums- the American wheat beer was bottled last Sunday Oct 27th. I think that was at the 2.5 week mark after start of ferment.

Ginger mead- is still going but slowly. It’s now been in the fermenter 3.5weeks. My old notes say the hopped mead took four weeks to ferment. This isn’t ready yet, but maybe by next weekend?
Nup   3wk density=1.008. 5wk density =1.003 7wk density=1.001, still bubbly very slowly (Nov 27th)

Robust Porter
- was mashed last Saturday Oct 26th. Then put to the fermenter the next day after cleaning up from the wheat beer bottling. It’s nice and dark. My fear is that it will taste too burnt for my preference. My hope is that it comes close to the Sierra Nevada porter. Fingers crossed, gotta start with some recipe! The ferment took off really fast but the temp has been kept in the right range. A week later and it's slowed right down.
Starting density 1.061(target 1.064). after 2.5wks ferment, 1.021. Looks finished but density says not. I reckon it needs to sit for another week before bottling.
(Nov 27th) 4wk density=1.021 but the ferment seems to have started up again. Should be 1.015.

This is just as the boil was starting on the porter. I'd put some of the 60min hops in as the grain bag drained (an approximation of FWH- First Wort Hopping). That's the green bits. I thought the shapes and textures were so hoopy I just had to take a photo.


Full rolling boil achieved. Nice chocolatey colour eh?


and here is the lovely dark wort in my wort "cubes" (after the inevitable dribbly mess had been cleaned up- spills sure show up when the wort is this dark).


All that style musing and I've decided I DO want to brew an English ale. The coming weekends are getting a bit full though!

I also feel i ought give more thought to the best way to keep a brewing diary. I've got notes in at least three different places plus the inevitable scraps of paper. Need to start putting it all together but I haven't decided in what format. BeerSmith is good but it's a bit clunky. Whereas recording things here is good for date order and tagging but is laborious to write out all the details. Mayhap I need to do both?

montjoye: (Default)
( Oct. 30th, 2013 04:53 pm)
Well maybe I am, but don't assume this simply based on my lack of FB response. My FB has been broken since mid morning. I can see posts and a few other pages,  but not interact. I can't see comments, post comments, post status, alter settings, or even submit a fault report! I've rebooted, logged off and back in, but no banana. It's not just the gossip, it's become a communication tool. Sigh.

I'm so grateful I could work at home today. I had brain exhaustion this morning. Strangely, I managed to do quite some pieces of work  and I feel improved this evening. I carefully didn't try to do anything really complex, even contemplating that was making my head hurt. I'd better be up for some tomorrow though!

I have lots of post topics lined up- saucepans, beer, troosers, sca thoughts. Maybe later. When I can find both time and sufficient brain.

The ginger mead is still fermenting. At the three week mark today it tested at 1.008 density. It tastes pretty yummy. Honey, lemon and ginger all evident
montjoye: (Default)
( Oct. 12th, 2013 09:49 am)
This isn't exactly a medjeeval recipe, but I reckon it's plausible.  I wanted a lemony gingery drink with no hops, and not too strong. It is basically the same recipe as for the honey beer but with ginger instead of the hops.

Certainly there is no problem with the ingredients and techniques. Honey to water ration is the same as several mid 17thC recipes for small mead, but to be more authentic it should probably have more spices and/or handfuls of various herbs. There are simpler recipes more like this, but not this exact combination. There is a very similar one but with a higher honey to water ratio and nutmeg instead of cinnamon. This combination does exist in a historical recipe but from late 18thC and again, more honey. All based on doushkasmum's copy of "A sip through time".

Regardless of it's historical defensibility, it will be an interesting experiment.

I put this together Wed 9th Oct and pitched the yeast the following morning.

2kg mallee honey
5L water
4-5oz root ginger –thinly sliced and in a cloth bag

Combine, bring to boil, skim scum, boil 10min
Partway, add juice of 4 lemons (from ginfancier this time, lemonade lemons?)
Also 1/2t beer yeast nutrient

Cool, make up to 20L in fermenter
Fish out ginger bag

Pitch English ale yeast (Safale 04) @ ~22C
now fermenting ~18C
My hopped mead is bottled. At the four week mark it's density was down to 1.002(so alcohol 4.4% or so). I was going to bottle it at that point but got tempted away by a free opera ticket. So today I snuck away from work early* so I would have enough ergs left to do the bottling tonight. Done and labelled. Hopefully I'll get the fermenter cleaned before I run out of evening.

Thanks to those who have been passing on the rekorderlig bottles, they do make nice home brew receptacles.


*after doing 10hrs yesterday, so no sneaking required really.
montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 29th, 2011 02:49 pm)
hmm. wonder if I should have let the brew shop man talk me into using a champagne yeast? My "honey beer" will likely be rather different to doushkasmum's. Champagne yeast, high bitterness hops and darker honey. We will see. However this comes out, I'm pretty convinced that what I was looking for when setting up my last ale- was a citrusy, high bitterness hop- rather than the bittering agent I used, advised by that (different from today thankfully) brew shop guy. I know roughly what the next ale attempt will be then.

So, cooling in the fermenter is the result of:

-boil 40g Galaxy* hop pellets in 6L water for 20 min(after letting it sit in the warming water for how ever long that took to boil). This is shorter than Asbjorn's recipe but I didn't want to overdo the bitterness. I used a hop bag of fine muslin so just lifted that out. Asbjorn used 83g hops but of only 5.6% alpha acid. My hops are 13.4%. Hmm, thinking about it, a larger quantity of low bitterness hops might be very nice, more aromatic?
-add 2kg "mountain" honey- fairly dark, from Vic markets. I went for dark honey because I prefer it for eating and for honey-lemon drinks when ill. I heard at festival though that dark honey takes longer to ferment? Again, we will see.
-boil 5min, skim scum
-put 6L cold water and juice 4 lemons in fermenter
-add hot honey/hops mixture
-make up to 20L with more cold water

I'll pitch the yeast (Lanvin EC1118) when the wort drops below 40C.-done

starting gravity 1.035. It tastes pleasant- too sweet (ferment will fix that), noticably lemony and quite bitter)

*Australian dual purpose high alpha hop with a citrus and passionfruit aroma.


montjoye: (Default)


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