Winter Solstice Mead 2016 — DBL Homebrew #1   2 comments

 

winter-solstice-2016-mead

 

21 December 2016: The First Day of Winter and last day the lab is open until 3 January.  Boiled 3 pounds of honey in enough water to bring the total to 4.3 litres and added nutrients (ammonium sulfate, mostly) and glucose to bring the specific gravity to 1.092.  Once cooled to slightly warmer than my hands, pitched the yeast (5 grams of a generic but highly alcohol tolerant strain) and gave it a good shake.

 

honey-going-into-mead

 

2 January 2017: Twelve days in and the fermentation is slow but the house cools to 16°C overnight and rarely reaches 22°C during waking hours so no big surprise there.  Thinking of buying a heating jacket for this bottle (we used to have one but it wouldn’t work with UK electrics — 110 V and 60 Hz back in the States), but this is the first British batch and I’m kind of interested in how it goes in ambient conditions.
mead-wort-cooling-ahead-of-pitching

 

8 January: Racked the wort off the lees to try to unstick the fermentation but, on weighing 42.5 mL of the juice at 41 grams (for a SG = 0.965…and at a cooler temperature than the initial measurement), decided it wasn’t so much “stuck” as “finished.”  This suggests 16.7% abv, which is about the tolerance of my yeast, as well; with that specific gravity, this will be a very dry batch.  I transferred it to a clean jug with an air lock and will check on things every week or so.

22 January: Two weeks since racking off the lees the fermentation has slowed to a halt (the sides of the air lock stay roughly level).  Added potassium sorbate and a Campden tablet and will swirl this for a couple of days before fining.

 

winter-solstice-2016-mead-bottled

 

25 January 2017: Fining was done with gelatin followed by kieselsol, then it was siphoned into the most recent four bottles we’ve emptied.  We also were able to get a couple of glasses out of this batch before the lees started to invade the siphon.  The bottles will rest until this year’s winter solstice when we crack one open for judgement (two if we deem it ready); the others will get a longer rest (the idea being that we try another bottle each year until it’s gone).

The immature mead in the glasses was decidedly harsh but we wanted to get a baseline tasting.  A little beer-y and VERY dry, I have high hopes for the aged product.  The beer flavour might have been partly flocculated yeasts and mostly the honey but we are definitely looking at otherwise character-free beverage.  In the best case, developing, over the course of the next year or two we’ll find a bit of the enolic and floral aspect that is just hinted at in the raw mead, tonight.  For a start, it’s not bad but definitely not really good, yet.

 

2017-01-25-mead-twixt-bottle-and-lees

 

 

 

 

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2 responses to “Winter Solstice Mead 2016 — DBL Homebrew #1

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  1. Pingback: Lyme Bay Garden Mead | The Endless British Pub Crawl continues...

  2. Pingback: Wilko Cabernet — DBL Homebrew #2 | The Endless British Pub Crawl continues...

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