The Last Two Weeks of Fermentation

Fermentation Station

Fermentation Station

In the last weeks, my new braggot went from a specific gravity of 1.101 to somewhere below 1.020; I haven’t checked the SG in a couple days, but it is certainly lower. The sweet mead is at this point somewhere below 1.023 (which is already lower than the recipe expected – 1.025, having started at ~1.135). So, today I racked each to its own 5G carboy. Probably should have done so half a week ago, as the bubbling through the airlocks had reduced dramatically. But I hadn’t really had the spare moment.

The braggot, much as I feared, has a slight burnt aftertaste, which hopefully will mellow or even disappear (hey, one can hope). The sulfur/egg smell through the airlock was much stronger than any other fermentation I have done, but not unbearable, nor even unexpected. It is quite pretty. A beautiful dark brown, with hints of red. It is certainly not transparent, but doesn’t seem thick. It looks like it will clear nicely. Then we will see if it is keep-able.

The sweet mead, on the other hand, smells delicious – sweet, floral and fruity. It is a quite-opaque yellow.

Both had quite the bed of lees, and required more water to top-up than I have done before (~1/4 G for the braggot, ~1/5 G for the sweet mead).

Earlier this week I racked my metheglins, the vanilla and nutmeg, and the lavender, one gallon apiece. I received a bit of a scare with the vanilla/nutmeg, finding a large blue mark in the bag of ground nutmeg. Once out of the jug, I could see clearly it was simply a glass bead used to weight down the bag. Had completely forgotten about that… At an earlier “testing” I had worried the lavender was going to be too strong, but the smell is heavenly…and the taste strikingly fruity, more so than floral, as I might have expected from the smell. Both still need quite a bit of clearing (as does their parent mead, which still seems to be doing little but slowly clearing).

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In the picture at the top, you can see what I have “in-work”. On the top shelf, far left is the pomegranate wine, with a quite muddy look rather than its original darkness. A couple bottles of apple wine which have blown corks sit to its right, followed by the lavender and vanilla/nutmeg metheglin (racked, and herbs/spices removed). On the floor sit the newly-racked sweet mead (front-left), the newly-racked braggot (front-right), the strawberry melomel which continues to bubble ever-so-slowly (back left) and the mid-sweet mead, parent to the metheglins above (back-right).

Friday evening I picked up enough barley and hops to make another braggot, this time following an all-grain brewing process. I also picked up a book on brewing process. Thought I should get a little more detail if I was going to be using the ingredients this often. Anyway, this recipe has way more barley and hops than the original braggot, and I read that the end-result should be quite wonderful on a cold night, or with a meaty or spicy dish. May have to wait to actually get it started until next weekend, as I am out of town most of next week, and not sure I want to start a new batch that I can’t be giving my attention to. My other ferments should plod along nicely in my absence.

Oh, and I started an experiment. The mint is running wild in the front bed, and we are going to take care of that. But I thought, with all that mint, I ought to try doing something like I did with the fig leaves. But, I don’t have a recipe; and rather than go online, I decided to just test out some different proportions. So I put together some varying amounts of mint leaf (0.3, 0.5, and 0.7 ounces), with static amounts of sugar, water, and alcohol (1.5 cups of each). For alcohol, I tested with both gin and vodka. Hopefully beginning of June I can give a feel for what would be a “good” proportion, realizing that is a rather subjective thing. Then again, I doubt that I will get the “best” results. I think all my samples are under-playing the mint. But we shall see. They are all now hiding away in the dark of our “room-under-the-stairs”, awaiting the day they can be tasted, along with their cousins, the bottles of fig leaf liquor.

I think that is about it. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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