Uncategorized

Day 100!!! Racking Pineapple-Mango Melomel for Bulk Conditioning

Clear pineapple-mango melomel...but concerned about head space.

Clear pineapple-mango melomel…but concerned about head space.

The Pineapple-Mango Melomel cleared quickly after the last racking, a few days ago. It looked like the right time to rack it off the rest of the sediment and begin the longer bulk conditioning in a one gallon glass carboy.

Sediment left after racking.

Sediment left after racking.

I was pretty careful to keep the racked melomel nice and clear. The issue, though, is that the volume in the carboy is down to the shoulder. I really don’t want to have that much head space for a long time. I did siphon off another pint and I covered it and stuck it in the refrigerator to see how it looks when it settles.

a pint that needs to settle and see if it's worth trying to salvage any to add to the carboy.

a pint that needs to settle and see if it’s worth trying to salvage any to add to the carboy.

If it looks worthwhile, I will try to carefully pour it off into another sanitized  container. If I’m successful with that, I’ll add it to the carboy through a sanitized funnel. That should reduce the head space considerably. If that does NOT work out, I’ll seek suggestions from some experienced mead makers online. Adding water is probably not a good idea. Maybe re-rack to a half gallon carboy and a smaller bottle or two? We’ll see in a day or two. The Murray’s Super Easy Cider #3 continues to slowly progress through primary fermentation. Update: evening, same day. The Pineapple-Mango Melomel the I had in a pint jar in the fridge cleared, so I poured it off and added it to the carboy.

Cleared a little more melomel.

Cleared a little more melomel.

I also did some reading and it sounds like adding a little water to close the head space is acceptable. I sanitized a glass measuring cup and used it for the transfer of the additional melomel…then I sanitized it again and used bottled water to top off the carboy. The amount of water added was only about a cup, so it shouldn’t really affect the SG/ABV much at all.DSC04560

Nice, close head space.

Nice, close head space.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 99 Racking the Pineapple-Mango Melomel

Pineapple-Mango Melomel, ready to rack out of primary fermentation.

Pineapple-Mango Melomel, ready to rack out of primary fermentation.

I racked the Pineapple-Mango Melomel today. Because there was so much pulp in the liquid, I put a small, fine-meshed bag over the siphon tip.

Siphon tip with mesh bag.

Siphon tip with mesh bag.

This worked well, to a point. Unfortunately, when I got about 2/3 down, the siphoning practically stopped and there was obviously quite a bit of liquid left.

Siphoning with the bag.

Siphoning with the bag.

So, I sanitized a bowl and a grain sock and strained the rest. I then siphoned the rest into the carboy.

I wound up with a nice, full gallon.

One gallon of strained Pineapple-Mango Melomel.

One gallon of strained Pineapple-Mango Melomel.

It’s cloudy, but it should clear eventually. I did get a small sample and stuck it in the refrigerator to clear and chill…I’ll taste it later.

Chilled sample...nice flavor. Good pineapple color.

Chilled sample…nice flavor. Good pineapple color.

I put an airlock on the carboy and I labeled it with the name and today’s date. I was thinking I would be leaving it for several weeks, but after a couple of hours, there are clear layers forming on the bottom. It might be that I let it clear for a week and then rack it again for the longer term.

Sediment layers forming quickly.

Sediment layers forming quickly.

I also checked on the Murray’s Super Easy Cider (third 1/2 gal batch) and it is still seeing action in the airlock, as well as visible action in the bottle. I can see effervescence at the top of the liquid and bits rising from the bottom and falling from the top.  I guess  the cider has several more days to go.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 98 SG Check on the Melomel

Pineapple-Mango Melomel after 13 days in primary fermentation.

Pineapple-Mango Melomel after 13 days in primary fermentation.

 

I decided to check the SG on my pineapple-mango melomel (fruit mead), as I have not seen any activity in the airlock for several days. Yeast was pitched about 13 days ago. The hydrometer reads 0.994 @ 74F. With correction to 60F calibration, that puts it at 0.995. The OG was 1.110, so the alcohol content is at 15.09%. That is, by far, the highest ABV I have attained on any of my libations, so far. A tiny drop of a sample definitely had an alcohol “burn” to it.

Color, flavor and aroma are all very nice. The most surprising, is the flavor. Despite the burn, I still get a pretty fresh, tropical flavor. My last pineapple experiment smelled and tasted awful at this point, but improved later. I think this one is ready for secondary. This weekend, I’ll move it to a one gallon carboy, using a siphon with maybe a little filter bag attached to the end. With the fruit not all settling to the bottom, I think this will help the siphon to work without pulp clogs, as well as aiding clarification. I’m very encouraged at this point!

Later…decided to open a bottle of my first all-grain (BIAB) brew, a pale ale. It has been in the bottle for ten days…recipe calls for 30, but I couldn’t wait! It’s very good, I think. I may have overcompensated on the priming sugar reduction…it’s a little under-carbed. Let’s see what another 3 weeks do for it. I would still be happy, if this is it though. The flavor is very nice…bittering hops are very present, but not overpowering. The aroma is great. It’s nicely balanced. I’m happy. And checking back on it in a couple of more weeks.

All-Grain Pale Ale (BIAB)...cheers!

All-Grain Pale Ale (BIAB)…cheers!

 

Standard
Uncategorized

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.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 96 Bottling Pole Vault Pale Ale

Well…this was fun. After having more trub than expected, I thought I would be bottling around 4-1/2 to 4-3/4 gallons. Unfortunately, I made a silly, rookie mistake. When I set up the bottling bucket, I didn’t check to make sure the valve was closed.

siphoning to bottling bucket.

siphoning to bottling bucket.

Oh, yes. That’s right. When the liquid reached the valve, it came pouring out. And worse, I didn’t notice it immediately.

Nice color...only one problem. See that spigot? It's open. Yeah.

Nice color…only one problem. See that spigot? It’s open. Yeah.

So, because of THAT mishap, my 4-3/8 oz of corn sugar is probably going to be too much. Great. Another over-carbonated beer. Well, we’ll see in a month. My yield was 39 twelve oz bottles. (3.656 gallons). What did get bottled, looks good…sample has good color and flavor.

sample, despite the mishap, is good!

sample, despite the mishap, is good!

I think the aroma is good, but Spring allergies are preventing an accurate read on that one. Overall, I’m pleased with my first all-grain effort. The mishap at the end was the only real problem.

I still have some clean-up work to do and it’s almost 10 p.m. I guess I better get to it.

The pineapple-mango mead is still going at a steady pace. About every 5 or 6 seconds, a bubble goes off in the airlock.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 94 Pole Vault Pale Ale SG Check

First, I will mention that the pineapple mead is progressing with a fairly steady airlock bubbling action.

Now, I carefully pulled a sample from the pale ale bucket, using sanitized equipment. The bottom was a little too thick with trub to flow through the spigot, so I had to siphon a sample from the top into a hydrometer sample beaker.

Hydrometer reading, Pole Vault Psale Ale.

Hydrometer reading, Pole Vault Pale Ale.

The SG reading of 1.053, after temperature correction, is right on for the recipe target! So, the FG, is likely to be right on target, giving an ABV of 5.64%.

As you can see from the photo, the color is quite nice.

Pole Vault Pale Ale, nice color.

Pole Vault Pale Ale, nice color.

The sample has an interesting flavor with an aggressive hoppiness and bittering. Seems to be a good one. I’ll rack it tomorrow, from the top, and let it settle another day before bottling.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 93 Pitching the Yeast on the Mead

Pineapple Mango Melomel. ready for yeast.

Pineapple Mango Melomel. ready for yeast.

Smacked the yeast pack earlier this morning. It swelled appropriately. At about 11:15 a.m., I gave the yeast pack a shake and sanitized it and my equipment.

Ready to pitch.

Ready to pitch.

I used my refractometer and measured the OG at 1.110. (The must was a little thick and I didn’t want to waste any, since it’s just a one gallon batch, so I used the refractometer instead of the hydrometer.) I gave the must a stir, added the yeast and stirred again.

Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead Yeast.

Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead Yeast.

From the little bit of juice on the spoon, this stuff is very sweet and tasty…but a lot of that sweet is destined to become alcohol! This is going to be a long process, but it’s off to a good start.

Pole Vault Pale Ale update: the airlock has slowed. I haven’t timed it, but it has definitely not got the steady heartbeat anymore…probably 2 or 3 per minute.

Standard