I’m blogging about tonight’s mead-making because the #%@^*! must won’t cool down fast enough for me to pitch the yeast and go to bed. Someday I will learn not to start brewing after 8pm but that day is not today.
I’m following something like Jack Keller’s recipe #2. Except that when I say “following” I don’t really mean it – for one thing, when I stopped by the homebrew shop they had some enticing jars of local honey on the counter and oh, hey there impulse purchase, it’s nice to see you in my bag! So I’m making a mead. 2 quarts dandelion petals, 3 lbs fireweed honey, zest and juice from 3 oranges + 1 lemon. Smack pack of dry mead yeast + nutrients.I’d poured boiling water over the petals when I got home after picking them on Saturday, and left that sitting in a bucket. When I pulled off the lid tonight:
- My bucket had permanently deformed – don’t seal the lid while the water is still hot, kids.
- My bucket had also been stained yellow. This wasn’t a surprise, since I stained a plastic spoon on Saturday stirring things around… but the spoon was a surprise. I didn’t realize dandelion flowers were a dye, but these dandelion-dyed yarns look pretty good!
- The dandelion tea had that “you over-macerated this vegetable matter” sort of smell to it, which I’ve mostly experienced as an unfortunate, unrecoverable error in vodka infusions. Scary! But after boiling for a bit it didn’t smell like that anymore.
(11:45) The must is now 89 degrees. I’ve scraped out the honey jar with a spoon; it tastes close to how the dandelions smell, sweet buttery-summer. I’d worry about the dandelion flavor being overwhelmed by the honey, but the fireweed is so delicious I can’t possibly bring myself to care.
(11:58) 82 degrees. 75 is pitching temperature.
(00:40) Got absorbed doing research for another blog entry – it’ll be a monster if I ever finish it but the research and writing are both super slow going. Must is now 74 degrees, time to pitch.
Original gravity: 1.092. Taste: Sickly sweet, buttery; no trace of over-macerated veg. Good night, yeasties – good night and good luck!
Update, 4/28: Racked to a classy Carlo Rossi jug. Gravity 1.01ish (11% alcohol). Still active, though not enough to make me worry about clogging the airlock. Bubbling no longer makes resonant plastic bucket blurpy noise. Lovely yellow and it tastes like cheap champagne.
Update, 7/31: Racked back to the same classy jug. Gravity 0.994 (13% alcohol). Tastes, uh, basically like mead. Leaning towards carbonating it, which makes me a little nervous about the fact that it still tastes pretty sweet.