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2014 Muscadine Wine Tasting

Muscadine Wine, my first wine, bottled October 2014

Muscadine Wine, my first wine, bottled October 2014

My last taste of this wine was a little over a year ago, in February 2015. It was my first attempt at wine. I began the batch with foraged muscadine grapes in August of 2014 and was bottled about 2 months later. The ABV, if I read the hydrometer correctly, was right on 16%. It was fairly hot at bottling. I opened a bottle in February, 2015 when it was about 3-1/2 months in the bottle and the notes were basically that it was still kind of hot, but had a nice color, light body, and fairly dry flavor that I would not have guessed was muscadine.

It is now March 4, 2016, so the wine has been bottled for almost a year and a half. While still slightly warm with alcohol and a little tannin, the nose and color are still nice and the body light. The thing that really jumps out immediately, though, is that the flavor has very noticeably softened. It is definitely more drinkable now! I don’t expect muscadine wine to last a decade, but this one is improving and I think it may benefit from even a little more time…but I have no idea when it will “peak” or turn the corner and head downhill. Tonight, however, I’m having a glass of wine that I’m pretty happy with!

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Racking Yooper’s Oatmeal Stout

Racking between bottling buckets that I use for fermentation.

Racking between bottling buckets that I use for fermentation.

I racked my 3 .25 gallons of Yooper’s Oatmeal Stout today (the plain portion of the batch, not the gingerbread flavored portion). After racking, I have a little under 3 gallons…I’ll call it 2.9 gallons, for the sake of argument. I could have gotten 3 gallons, but I wanted to be safe and avoid any seditment. So, I wound up with enough for a good hydrometer sample to check the specific gravity and a nice glass to stick in the refrigerator to sample for evaluation.

Hydrometer reading.

Hydrometer reading.

Glass of uncarbed beer to evaluate.

Glass of uncarbed beer to evaluate.

The color seems like it may more of a very dark brown, rather than black. I think the aroma and flavor are good; however, I have a bit of a sinus problem at the moment and my senses of taste and smell are somewhat muted. The body seems good. What I can tell about the flavor seems pretty smooth.

The hydrometer is reading 1.020 and the thermometer is at 73F. Unfortunately, my digital thermometer stopped working recently.

Dial thermometer reading of the hydrometer sample.

Dial thermometer reading of the hydrometer sample.

According to this readng, the SG is 1.021, however, the last reading was 1.019 and I’m pretty sure it didn’t actually go up! I tested the thermometer accuracy using a glass of mostly ice and a little water and it looked like it was right on 33F, so it should be good. Maybe I just didn’t check it as carefully last time…or I might have used another dial thermometer that I didn’t test.

I’m thinking I will bottle this over the weekend. I think I will go a little under the recommended amount of corn sugar on this batch. I have had some batches that over carbed and I don’t want that to happen to my stout!  I’m planning to rack the gingerbread flavored portion then and letting it go for another week…maybe two. I’m not going to rush it, but I am looking forward to it! Because of the bits of ginger in the beer, I think I’ll put a little mesh bag on the end of the racking cane to filter the beer.

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Day 97 Sampling the Costa Kona Mocha Latte Stout

Last night, I decided to try a bottle of the Costa Kona Mocha Latte Stout. It has only been in the bottle for about 2 weeks, but temptation got the better of me! Unfortunately, I am battling Spring allergies and my sense of taste and smell are pretty dull right now. I really should have waited. From what I could tell though, this beer is on the right track.

Costa Kona Mocha Latte Stout...first sample.

Costa Kona Mocha Latte Stout…first sample.

The carb is too aggressive, but I’m hoping that will settle in over time. The aroma is a mystery at this point, but I think it’s good. The flavor…I get decent body and the mocha flavors, but I can’t sense just how good they are…or will be. I think I’ll try another one in about a month, when I’m healthy. I’m hopeful and encouraged, but I realize that neither I, nor the stout, were ready for this test.

I also checked the Pineapple-Mango Mead and didn’t see any airlock action. It is still in primary. It may have a little more to go before secondary…I didn’t stare at the airlock for more than a minute. There could very well be some slow action still going on. I don’t think it will hurt to let it go another week and then do a gravity check.

Tonight, I sampled another of the Plain Jane Blonde Ales and it continues to grow on me. I feel like it is MUCH better than the Strawberry Blonde of the same batch. While the color is a little dark from the DME/strawberry wort boil added the day after brewing to adjust the SG, the flavor is nice and the bittering hop still comes through.

Plain Jane Blonde Ale, in the bottle a month.

Plain Jane Blonde Ale, in the bottle a month.

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