February 20, 2013

I didn’t get started on “checking” things until early in the evening today. Been busy. Went in to work rather than working from home today, and at lunch ran home to catch kids from bus. My wife is in Guatemala (seems maybe sick in bed, but I can’t reach her at the moment) until next Wednesday, so I’m responsible for all the homework and after-school activities. Wednesday nights are typically busy, even when normal…

Pretty. And Yum.

Pretty. And Yum.

In any case, I started by opening the refrigerator and pulling out the “extra” braggot that I had placed there to chill and settle. Sampling once again, I am quite happy with the braggot, even this “early” incarnation of it. I am very much looking forward to the more mature version! It’s definitely a complex flavor, but one that is quite enjoyable to work over the tongue.

After a short break to leisurely enjoy the couple sips, and to do some budget-keeping, I came back to the kitchen. I started with the mead, testing specific gravity interested to see if there had been a noticeable effect after adding the yeast energizer. I did not see an appreciable difference in the rate of bubbling. The specific gravity was down to 1.038 from yesterday’s reading of 1.043. Overall, the rate of SG decrease is declining quite steadily – no noticeable change of the rate caused by the yeast energizer. Which likely means yeast energizer is more helpful at the very start than later. Or maybe I just need to be more patient.

It definitely seems like it is slowing down, but I think I am going to leave it just a little bit longer before throwing into the carboy for secondary fermentation.

On other fronts – the tiny bubbles continue in the fermenting braggot, not quite as fast as they seemed to be yesterday, but still energetic. Not nearly as energetic as the tiny bubbles in the strawberry melomel, though! Those bubbles are on the move.

And with that I began the process of bottling the mint and apple wines. The mint, with an SG of 1.006 will have an unknown alcohol by volume, since I have no original gravity recorded. Mea culpa. With the apple, I made some sort of error reading the original gravity; I read 1.140 in the evening when I put it together, and early the next morning I read a 1.068, which just can’t be right. Back-calculating based on the curve, I’m guessing it should have read a 1.080 original gravity, which at its current 0.995 would give it an ABV of 11.3% (HT to Rooftop Brew).

I started by racking each to a newly sanitized (3 week old solution of water and potassium metabisulfite) 1G jug, in order to remove the last bit of lees, since I will be adding potassium sorbate (to stop further undesirable fermentation activity, if possible) and sugar (in the case of the apple wine). Before racking, I added the potassium sorbate (1/4 tsp) to each new jug, and then racked into the jugs. Didn’t take too long. I then re-attached the airlocks while setting up a sugar syrup.

To make the sugar syrup, I added 1 cup of water to a pan. I put the water to a boil, then added 3/4 cup of sugar at a time, stirring in well. I did this three times. I then added syrup to the apple wine in small increments, testing (by taste) the sweetness until I got it to a Kim-sweet level (I hope). I then checked the SG, finding it to be at 1.006. Interesting that both the mint and apple end up the same SG!

I then reapplied the air-lock to the apple wine, and left both on the counter to be “watched”. I’d rather not have a repeat of my muscadine (oh, the shame!), so I am going to give them a couple of days to make sure neither the mint (by racking) nor the apple (by racking and adding sugar) restarts fermentation. If the potassium sorbate does its job, I should be good. I hope, he says to himself.

Here are some pictures of the racking:

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And then I grabbed another super-small sample of the refrigerated braggot to sip on while finishing this post. Have a great evening, one and all!

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