Making More Mead – Bottling Day

After our initial success with Pirate Pancake Syrup Brian and I realized that we are naturally gifted mazers and decided we needed to make 42 more batches immediately.  This revelation came to us last fall so we set to work getting batches in carboys until my closets were full of sweet honey water.  Since we’d already mastered basic mead we decided to get adventurous and make an acerglyn (mead made with honey and maple); a blueberry, lavender and vanilla melomel (mead with fruit); another batch of Pirate Pancake Syrup; and a variant of PPS we dubbed Sailor’s Warning which we made with blood oranges.

Blueberry Berserker and Sailor's Warning

Blueberry Berserker and Sailor’s Warning

We allowed the meads to age for several months before doing anything with them, once they had cleared nicely we transferred them into a secondary to remove some trub and help us get a clearer product into out bottles.  On our first bottling of PPS we got things stirred up a bit and had some sediment in the bottom of a few bottles, this hasn’t effected the mead yet but over time it can be undesirable.  Last weekend (after about 8 months aging) we sampled the meads and decided our blueberry mead, Blueberry Berserker, and Sailor’s Warning were ready to bottle.

Sailor's Warning just before bottling

Sailor’s Warning just before bottling

Sailor's Warning mead all bottled up

Sailor’s Warning mead all bottled up

Blueberry Berserker mead all bottled up

Blueberry Berserker mead all bottled up

We chose to put these in wine bottles and cork them as the color and clarity is fantastic and brown bottles just don’t do them justice.  Blueberry Berserker is deep violet and bursting with blueberry with nice vanilla notes and a hint of lavender.  Sailor’s Warning is clear and golden, surprisingly lacking the red tint we expected from the blood oranges however the oranges were not as red as I’ve had them before, we’ll have to make another batch to perfect this one.  This one is very sweet with a lot of citrus and spice, especially cinnamon.  It’s very nice but is best in very small servings such as a cordial.  We’ll likely try a different yeast next time to see if we can dry it out a bit more.

Overall we’ve been very happy with our meads and can’t wait to make some more.

A nice pour of Sailor's Warning

A nice pour of Sailor’s Warning

 

 

Racking, tasting and testing.

We’re feeling some withdraws over here at tMHBC.  We haven’t actually brewed in about a month now and it’s starting to stress us out.  We’ve had plenty of other stuff to keep us busy but as of this weekend our beer pipeline is running dry.  We do have some meads fermenting, but we’re still a few months away on all of those.  We need to brew soon before Brian does something crazy… er.

The lack of actual brewing sure doesn’t mean we’ve not been busy.  Last weekend we bottled our Kiwi Kaleidoscope IIPA (which we’re pretty sure is going to be awful) and this weekend we racked over 5 gallons of our Pirate Pancake Syrup mead to secondary so it can start clearing up.  This was started on 09/28 so we’re just short of 3 months into fermentation.   The samples from this were excellent, I think this is going to be a fantastic mead.  We’re also planning another batch of this using blood oranges that we’ve dubbed Sailor’s Warning, I’m really starting to enjoy meads.

5 gallons of delicious Pirate Pancake Syrup

5 gallons of delicious Pirate Pancake Syrup

We sampled some of our Nutstalgia – Coconut this weekend and it was pretty good.  The aroma is awesome, roasty and nutty with a nice coconut fragrance, and the taste is much the same but nothing “amazing”…  just decent.  So far we’ve sampled the plain, black cardamom and coconut versions of this and my favorite has been the plain brown ale.  It’s a very solid, above average brown ale in my opinion.

Nutstalgia Coconut Brown Ale

Nutstalgia Coconut Brown Ale

Other weekend bottling of a Brickwarmer Holiday Red Ale, a kit brew from Northern Brewer that was done for a friend’s wife as a gift to him for Christmas, and testing out our fermentation chamber to see if it can successfully hold high temps for brewing Belgians.  So far it’s been holding a 5-gallon carboy of water at 90°F for 3 days so looks like we should be good.  I imagine the chamber is sealed well enough that once it’s up to temp it doesn’t have to work that hard to hold it there.  Provided temps continue to hold well we’ll brew a saison after the first of the year, I’m still researching and formulating the recipe right now.  I think we’ll slide in one more brew day after Christmas and before the saison.  Brian’s been researching some sessionable IPA’s and we’ll likely brew that and our Sailor’s Warning this weekend.

I hope everyone reading this has a very Merry Christmas and an awesomely prosperous and Happy New Year!

We Made More Mead!

Due to the overwhelming popularity of our Pirate Pancake Syrup we decided to make some more mead this weekend.  I hate to admit it but I think PPS was probably the best thing we’ve made so far, that was some good mead.  It was also very “Limited Edition” since we only made 1 gallon.  So we’re hoarding it like crazy, we gotta stretch these few bottles out at least 4 months until the next batch is done.  I’m not making any promises that’s going to happen.

We also decided to whip up a 1 gallon batch of Acerglyn, a honey-maple mead.  We don’t know what the hell we’re doing here, but that’s never stopped us before, so we used 44 oz of honey, 12 oz of Maple sizzurp and a vanilla bean and pitched some wine yeast on it.  Further reading on the subject of mead making shows a lot of people add some acid blend to their meads to help balance the mead and give it crispness or tannins to increase body.   I’m going to leave this one as is and see what we get out of it.

In Goes the Honey

In goes the honey…

Pirate Pancake Syrup V2 and Acerglyn

Pirate Pancake Syrup V2 and Acerglyn

Don’t worry though, we haven’t abandoned beer!  We also brewed a batch of a top secret pale ale we’re calling Codename: Ohio, we’ll share more info on that one later.  Our fresh hop Simcoe IPA is coming along nicely as well and I just added 4 oz of hops to the carboy to dry hop for 5 days.  That bad boy will go in bottles or a keg this weekend.  MMmmm… hops.

This beer totally got Simcoed.

This beer totally got Simcoed.

Our first mead… Pirate Pancake Syrup

Way back in May Brian and I took the plunge and made our first batch of mead.

I’d tried a few meads in the past and hadn’t been very impressed with what I’d tried so I wasn’t necessarily excited to try this out however Brian brought all the goods with him to tMHBC and I do like making alcoholic beverages so I was game.  We brewed it and stuck it in a closet then we’d peek in on it every few weeks to see how it was coming along.  Our recipe was based off Joe’s Ancient Orange Mead, a popular first mead from HomeBrewTalk.com.  Now we’re never been known to make anything as is, cause we’re rebellious like that, so we did make a few changes along the way.

We totally made this mead.

We totally made this mead.

This Saturday we bottled it up and made some piraty labels for it.  We even charred the edges of the labels to give it an old ragged map look.  Since we only set the smoke detector off once the process was an overall success and we liked the results.  After bottling we immediately tossed one in the freezer to try and about an hour later popped it open.  Hoe. Lee. Sheet.  I was shocked by how good it was.  Sweet honey and orange with just enough spices to add to the character.  Without a doubt the best mead I’ve ever had and, it pains me to say this, probably the best thing we’ve brewed so far. (Please don’t tell our Mostly Mosaic pale ale that I said that.)

There will definitely be another batch of Pirate Pancake Syrup in our future.  This is the first brew we’ve done where I can say there’s nothing at all I’d change about the recipe.  The major bummer here is that we only got eight 375ml bottles out of this batch.  The shortage of bottles brought out our greedy side and we immediately felt the need to dig a hole and bury this treasure so none of our freeloadin’ friends and neighbors would want to try it.  We’re normally generous with our brews but not this time, screw you guys, this is our mead.

A little bottle of gold.

A little bottle of gold.

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.