Tag Archives: Fermentation

‘Tis The Season

For hard cider

Falalalala lalala la

One gallon of sweet, un-pasteurized cider from the local orchard is now hard, bubbly, and going into my fridge to age for a week.

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Adventures In Fermentation, Part Five

The cider has had a week to age and been sampled yet again. We have a winner:

The cider is surprisingly mild in flavor. The sugars in cider bring much of the palate, and their consumption makes things change significantly. There is still a touch of natural sweetness, a slight carbonation, a little tartness, and it is very refreshing. This is now my cider recipe.

Some people are put off by the unsanitary looking goop that settles out of young ciders. It is just yeast, and if you swirl it back into solution, it adds a very nice bready flavor to your drink.

A look at the state of our mead while we’re at it:

The airlock is bubbling every few seconds and all is well…so far.

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Adventures In Fermentation, Part Four

Time to make some plain-Jane mead.

Start with a 6.5 gallon carboy/bucket/whatever you have that is food grade and sterile:

You obviously want this to take place where a 6.5 gallon spill of sticky fluid and glass can be best contained.

Now, introduce fifteen pounds of honey. Good Honey. My wife likes clover.

At three dollars a pound, don’t waste any…

Depending on the container type your honey comes in, this could be a pain, but these bottles pour right in:

Yeah, those bottles are settling to pour out a few more drops…

Now, the fun part. Add five gallons of water, pitch some proofed yeast, and find a way to shake or stir this thing. The honey will settle out a few times until fermentation is very much underway. There are a few schools of thought, but the best two I have found are: leave it be and let nature do its thing, or stir daily. I’m in the stir daily camp, I’m making a rod to reach the bottom and stir as I forgot to earlier…

Goodnight, little prince…

Don’t forget to label your brew:

And leave it in a cool place to hooch-ify.

 

Notes:

  • “Why just honey and water?” – I like it that way, most of this will be used as Holiday gift fodder, so plain honey would be a good intro to mead for many people. Also, there are some good recipes that call for mead, and this makes a nice base for such things. Okay, fine, I’m and old-fashioned fudd…
  • Be sure to keep your must in a dark place while it ferments. There is a window right next to my carboy, so I have it covered with a sheet to keep UV damage at bay.
  • “Do I really have to stir daily?” – No, I like to stir daily for the first few days to a week until the honey doesn’t settle out of solution as quickly as it does at first. Then, I just keep and eye on it and re-stir as it separates.
  • “Why bread yeast?” – Unlike beer or wine, Fleischman’s bread yeast makes a fine mead, is available at the local grocery and is always on hand as we make a lot of homemade bread at the compound. I am also not a wine guy, and bread yeast brings a bready finish to the mead which I find very nice. Use whatever you want, but this works for me. Okay, like I said, I’m a fudd…
  • I’ll see you guys in a month or so when the mead is ready to rack. I will bulk-age it for a couple of months, and then bottle.

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Adventures In Fermentation, Part Three

It’s here!oneoneoneone!!! It’s really really here!!!

Strange packages from a strange man, better take precautions…

Who sent you?!

Dynamite! I’m dead!

I’m excited about my new Hooch-Maker 3000 Turbo Edition, the boy is excited about a bunch of new boxes…

Oh, about the cider. It was bottled on Sunday and left to charge overnight. It was then put in the fridge and sampled on Monday. A bit alcohol-y and not too smooth, I’m leaving it to rest until this coming Sunday and will sample again.

 

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Adventures In Fermentation, Part 2

As is usual for me, I went a bit overboard and exceeded my budget. Just don’t tell my wife…

What did I order today?

  • 6.5 gallon carboy
  • 5 gallon carboy
  • Handle for each of the above
  • Two each drilled and solid carboy stoppers
  • Cap for each carboy
  • Two 3-piece airlocks
  • One s-bubble airlock
  • Clear half gallon jug, glass
  • Amber half gallon jug, glass
  • A dozen amber swing-top pint bottles, glass
  • 30 #9 corks
  • A mini-corker

I have one household that goes through some serious wine, and another that has some now and then saving bottles for me. Starting March, should my maiden mass-batch of wine be Maple or Birch?

Oh, I have never much cared for any of the hard cider recipes I have used as they end up being too wine-y. I started a gallon last night using this method. I’ll let you know how it works out in a week.

Half-gallon glass milk jugs actually work pretty well.

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Adventures In Fermentation, Part 1.

My budget for hardware on this little venture is capped at $150:

  • 6.5 gallon carboy
  • 5 gallon carboy
  • An s-bubble and 3-piece airlock to see which I prefer
  • Bungs
  • Carboy Caps
  • Handle for each carboy
  • A dozen amber glass pint bottles with swing caps
  • Two amber glass half-gallon jugs to bring to parties and whatnot

All of this plus shipping would be about $152. Sound like the stuff I need/a decent price? I’m going to get the cleaning supplies, tubing, and ingredients locally.

Also, a friend may invest some cash into this project as he wants in on the fun. If he does, should I spend that money on a couple more carboys and more bottles so we can have several batches (for example: during the spring, dandelion and wild strawberry) going at once? Or something else?

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