Monday, June 30, 2008

Got Mead?

We made our first batch of beer yesterday. An American (Pale?) Ale that looked and smelled great from the get go... the little yeasts were munching away within just a few hours and the airlock was bubbling happily... I gave a big "wahoo" and Brad caught it chugging away on video for posterity...
Our first batch of beer made at home all on our own... so proud... THEN we made a batch of mead... we both agreed, trying to do 2 batches in one day was a little rough... sticky and fun... but a lot of juggling equipment...

My mead... Honey Child... I used 12 # Trader Joe's Mesquite Honey and Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast... it has a high alcohol tolerance which will allow the yeasts to feast longer yielding a dryer mead... also added some tannin, energizer and yeast nutrient... I will wait to add the acid blend until we are through primary fermentation....

We drank glasses of mead from a little place on the South Side called Wild Blossom Wines... the mead maker Gregg is the owner of Bev Art Brewer and Winemaking Supplies, where we took our beer making class...

The best way I can describe straight dry/semi dry mead is this... a clean white wine flavor with an after taste of honey and flowers... crisp and green... really lovely... I am hooked...

Original Gravity 1.084.. it too was starting to bubble this morning... YEAH!

My thought at this time is to split the 5 gallons into 5 single gallon carboys when I am ready to rack to the secondary fermenter (and there could be a 3rd and a 4th and a 5th.... depending on when the SG drops to 1.000 or less and the mead clarifies) and add fruits and spices to a few...

Here is what I think I will do:

1 gallon still mead
1 gallon sparking (primed with corn sugar for carbonation)
1 gallon sparkling ginger lemon mead
1 gallon blackberry mead - maybe some cinnamon
1 gallon apple mead - using organic apple juice/cider concentrate... not quite a cyser since I am cheating...

I will have to pasturize the additions to 180 degrees F

Now we wait... wait to rack... wait for the drop in SG... wait for clarification... wait to bottle... wait to age into pure gold... I hope... fingers crossed...

I would like to use a local raw honey next time... have more control over the contents in the boil...

Friday, June 6, 2008
Lauren's quote of the day:

"Mom, I looked at my uvula and it's WHITE!!"
My poor Lauren has Mononucleosis. Her pediatrician says her left tonsil is a marvel. He is calling it Exudative Tonsillitis (Lauren's actually looks much worse than the pic in this link). We were very close to going to the emergency room as her left tonsil had almost completely blocked her airway.

Strep was negative. Which is good and bad... treatment for strep would have been easier and faster!

A course of steroids and antibiotics (which tastes awful) to stave off a secondary bacterial infection in the tonsils.

She is absolutely loving the popsicles and sherbet. Had a little chicken noodle soup and that went down ok.

And thank goodness she slept last night for the first time in 3 night.
Sunday, June 1, 2008

So I planted rose bushes last Fall. If you read my earlier posts, you know they flowered around Thanksgiving. Silly roses.

We then had an unbelievably rough winter and a very cold Spring. So only seeing one make any new canes... I was certain the other 2 had kicked the bucket... the pics above are the other 2!! This first is well ahead in foliage, but I am hopeful. Fed them some rose food today and will talk to them and give them pep talks daily!

And as far as my tomatoes! So far so good!!!!!!!!

.... and why IS Bob smiling?