Friday, July 25, 2008

Durango Mead #1

After a long (5+ year) hiatus, I decided to start brewing again. This was inspiried by the tasty bottle of wine that old buddy Matt in MN had given me last year, and with which we toasted his health this past 4th of July. My gear has been dispersed far and wide long ago, so I will need to get myself outfitted again. I borrowed a rig from Biss for this run, and will begin collecting my stash soon.

Here's the recipe I used and the procedure.

D-Town Mead #1 (5-6 gal)

7 lb local honey (from Honeytown) $23
32 oz Knutsens "Just Black Cherry" organic cherry juice $4
1 lb local currants (run through juicer) $6
.5 oz yeast nutrient $1
1 pkt Lalvin EC-1118 Champagne yeast $1
H20 from R-O tap.

I boiled the honey in 1.5 gal of H2O for 15 minutes, skimming all the albumen that floats to the top. I then let it cool to 190deg and poured in the cherry juice and currant juice and let it steep for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I had filled the primary fermenter bucket with 4.5gal of H2O, and added 6 trays of ice to chill it. Also, I had added the yeast to a pint of 110deg H20 with a dusting of yeast nutrient in it before the boil to get it going. After steeping the fruit juice (there was approximatly 3oz of fruit matter from the currants that I let go in to the primary) I poured the whole batch aggressivly into the primary fermenter to areate. It immediatly settled to a temp below 80deg, so I tossed in the yeast and 1/2oz of yeast nutrient, gave it a stir, and sealed it up. I checcked this morning, and fermentation is apparent with a good inch of honey colored foam on top of the mead. I'll rack in 10 days to a secondary ferment tank (6 gal glass carboy) and then forget about it for a while. I will likely only get 5gal of good mead from the primary. Depending on taste (percieved thinness) I may add 1/2 to 1 gallon of agua to the secondary when I rack to make a full 6gal. Based on experience, the secondary can take so long that evaporation can occur here in the high, dry air of Southern Colorado. Stay tuned.

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