Showing posts from 2011

Hidden Fermentation

I've been worried that the new batch of hydromel I started last weekend hadn't been fermenting; the bubbler wasn't going at all, and, while there was sediment, and surface yeast, it was as much as the previous batch had given me.

A few days ago, I tried to re-pitch it by taking a sample from the hydromel I have resting, which didn't have much of an effect.  Today, I noticed a small amount of bubbling, which was harder to see than I had expected because the water level in the bubbler was a little low, making the bubbles smaller.

I took a density measurement, and got 10.0 degrees Brix, barely lower than the 10.4 that I started with.  So I decided to repitch again with a fresh packet of yeast.  I started to shake the carboy to get the yeast distributed, and the bubbler started going like mad, shooting water up out of the top.

Apparently, it had been fermenting, but trapping all the gas in solution!  Shaking it released all the gas at once, leading to the violent de-gassin…

New Mead, and Racking Old Mead

This weekend was fairly busy, brew-wise; nothing is done yet but I'm still pretty excited.

First, on Thursday I started a blackberry short mead kit (really a metheglin, since it includes some spices, interestingly steeped in boiling water), given to my by my mother, which she bought over the summer, using two pounds of blackberry honey from the same source.  The kits are pretty slick, but I didn't follow the directions entirely —I used boiled tap water rather than bottled, and I didn't trust the instructions to just cover the bottle with the supplied cloth, so I put a bubbler on instead.

I'm using a new three-piece bubbler, which is easier to clean.  This recipe calls itself a "short mead" because it suggests that you only ferment for 7-14 days.  I'll have to see how it tastes—mead doesn't normally have a lot to cover up off flavors produced by short fermentation, but maybe the blackberry and spices will hide it.

I also racked my existing summer honey…

Hard Cider

It occurred to me that my experiments in homebrewing might be interesting for other people to read.  While I'm still at an early stage, it seems to be a good way for people with patience and foresight to make cheap, tasty alcohol in quantity.

I had made some briefly-fermented sodas in the past, which mostly worked out well, but I didn't attempt to ferment anything fully until this summer, when my brother graciously let me make some mead on his equipment.  That is to say, it started as an attempt to make honey soda, but the container didn't seal well, and we just let it go the rest of the way.

Today, I opened the first thing I've produced on my own:  a gallon of hard cider, fermented to 4% alcohol.  Cider is nice because it's dead simple to produce, much easier even than short mead, and far easier than beer.  Here's the recipe I wound up using:

Just under a gallon of sweet cider.  I used Littletree Orchards cider from the Ithaca Farmers' Market;…