April 20, 2013

Yesterday over lunch I took some time to rack the traditional mead as I suggested I might do. Out of 5 gallons, two went into single gallon jugs good for experimenting. The remaining three filled a 3G carboy. Looking today, I’m just a little concerned, as the slight activity (bubbling) that was noticed before racking is now completely absent in all three mead vessels. None are cleared, and a sample made me think that there is quite a bit of sweetness left. Might be the that the potassium metabisulfite used to sanitize equipment and vessels was too much for the yeast at this point? I don’t know. I’ll keep an eye on that a little longer.

Mead With Lavender Soaking

Mead With Lavender Soaking

In any case, the two individual gallons received two very different treatments. To the first I added 0.25 ounces of lavender. This is about half as much as necessary for a good dosing, back-calculating from the amount recommended (suggested?) for 5G by Schramm in The Compleat Meadmaker. I think a couple weeks ought to give a fair feel for what lavender can add to mead. I’ll probably test it out before then, even. I placed the lavender in a mesh bag, so hopefully removing will be simplified. I did not taste, but am hoping for the best.

Mead With Vanilla Bean Pod and Nutmeg

Mead With Vanilla Bean Pod and Nutmeg

To the second I added same vanilla bean pods – forgot to read how much from the package. I’m guessing no more than half an ounce. I also fresh ground about 0.2 ounces of freshly ground nutmeg (2 whole nutmeg seeds). I felt the vanilla would sink to the bottom, and not create a bunch of debris, so I added it directly to the mead. The nutmeg, on the other hand, I added to a mesh bag. That said, much of it was too fine to be held by the bag. I did sample ever-so-small-a-sip of it, and it is quite sweet (which all the more bothers me about the end of bubbling after racking), and the nutmeg seems like it will make quite a good addition.

An immediate thing I notice is the rapid change in color of the mead with lavender. It has taken on a very pretty reddish-brown shade, as compared to the vanilla and nutmeg mead, which remains very close to the color of the original mead, an earthy and inviting yellow. I’m interested to see if the vanilla bean pod darkens the gallon further.

So begins my foray into metheglin.

As for my other batch in secondary ferment, it appears to have slowed down considerably. The strawberry melomel is quite clear and a beautiful shade of red. I imagine a week, maybe two, and fermentation will be complete. Then it will be time for bottling!

Now it is time to get off of here and begin to look at dinner. We are having guests over for Penne alla Vodka (yum) and then to sample some wine that has finally matured. I have the braggot which is quite ready for drinking, a couple bottles of Mar grape, and some Apple wine, which though not technically aged fully, is not likely going to get any better while it sits in the refrigerator after blowing its cork. I also have a liquor made with fresh pomegranate and dried cranberry, which is thick, sweet and dare I say “awesome”, for anyone who finds the wine less than to their liking.

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