New Mead Recipe + Linkdump

Well, I finally unveiled one of the meads from January at Ross’s brewparty last weekend, and it was enough of a hit that I decided to post the recipe. Briefly:

  • 4 lbs Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger
  • 1/2 Tbs Cardamom, coarse ground
  • 10 bags Black Tea
  • Brandy (for bottling)

For the full instructions, check out the full recipe.

As far as the links go, I’m a fan of the gravity calculator on Got Mead. It’s for meads and fruit wines, not beer, but it makes planning your basic brews really quick. I’ve been meaning to link to Jon Sarriugarte’s project VOLT/AGED for a while now, and here’s a good excuse. He ages spirits with a 15kv Jacob’s Ladder, which is possibly the coolest thing a man can ever hope to do.

The windfall cider I mentioned in the last post has been bubbling away happily. Should it turn it, I’m thinking about trying to culture the yeast that fermented it. My cousin Nate, a homebrewer and programmer out in Colorado, gave me the idea, as he’s been doing this for a while with no ill effects. It’ll drive down costs, and allow me to be EVEN MORE OBSESSED with brewing. This can only be a good thing.

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Adventures in Cidering

I’ll admit it, I’m on a cider kick. It’s just that time of year. Example given: tonight’s experiment. While hiking last week, we found a wild apple tree, full of small, exceedingly tart apples, almost perfectly ripe, and I happened to have a backpack. Serendipitously,  today I found a nice juice extractor for $8 at a thrift store, and thus began my attempt at a wild fermentation. I didn’t have enough apples to make a full gallon of juice (far from it), so I mixed the juice I pulled out with some Simply Apple juice from the local grocery store. Now, we wait. I figure I have a 50% chance at this working, and from what I’ve heard, natural cider fermentations, when they work, give some of the best tasting hard ciders possible. I’m willing to risk vinegar for such a prize.

That being said, I’m risking it because I have 5 gallons of cider bubbling away in primary at the moment. For those of you who don’t want to risk a natural fermentation, let me direct you to two heroes, valiantly experimenting with different combinations of yeasts and sugars in cider.

Link the first. Link the second.

The first link is why I’m using Lavlin 1118 on my current big batch of cider, and the second one… I just envy. If my basement looks like that in five years, I’ll be a happy man.