Some Homebrewing Updates.
So I’ve had several homebrewing projects going on behind the scenes here at Bono Brew, and I just wanted to update because this IS, after all, a homebrewing blog and I haven’t been doing much blogging about homebrewing. Go figure. Whatevs.
- Friends! Americans! Countrymen! Lend me your addresses! I have an overflow of homebrew that I can’t seem to get rid of, mostly of the MA Hard Cider. If you’d like to receive a sample of the cider, or even samples in the future, please email me your address! I’ll try to accommodate everyone who asks, but I promise you’ll get some cider if you email me in the near future.
- My mead project has come to a head, and we bottled our creation after 6 months of hard-fought (well, it was easy for me) waiting. We ended up with just over 25 bottles of Battlecat Mead, bottled and corked in recycled wine bottles of various design – kinda neato. Matt and Emily were ecstatic to be finally reaping the rewards of their bees in alcohol form! Emily, who is a spectacular ar-teest, will be designing the label and we’ll slap those bad boys on when it’s done.We also are trying a side experiment to make some sparkling mead. By adding some honey to the bottling stage, we may restart fermentation a bit in the bottle and produce some carbonation. Those bottles will probably have to sit for about a month before we opened them. We used champagne bottles (including Dom Perignon, so gangsta) since they would probably be up to handling a little more internal pressure than a regular wine bottle. Maybe too much worrying, but just in case, you know?
The flavor is neat! As listed before, the ingredients were solely honey and water, so we weren’t expecting a whole lot of complexity. The mead has a very dry-white-wine characteristic to it, and it tastes fantastic when it’s chilled. Flavor of red apple and a bit of citrus dominate the palate, with a moderately wine-like overall flavor. It finished pretty dry, at FG 1.007, which is evident in the flavor. I’d like to get someone who knows more about mead to taste it, but hey, it drinks well for me. I suggested that it may go well in a sangria – at which Emily squealed with joy and immediately started planning a June sangria party.
Next time we may experiment with adding floral adjuncts, green tea, spices… there are no boundaries! And the bees seem to be as happy and productive as ever, so we’ll have a new batch to ferment this year. Side note: I converted Matt into an addictive homebrewer, and he’s just preparing to hit his first batch this month via an extract kit. Collateral damage? The best kind.
- I finally bottled the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone – it had been sitting in secondary for a LONG time while I waited to figure out how to dry hop while not adding to the trub. I eventually settled on just a simple muslin bag clamped to the top of the secondary using the cap, and dry hopped for 5 days. It’s right now sitting in 22oz bombers on day 2 of carbonation, after priming with 1c Light DME and 3c water. I’ll try to pop a bottle next week to take a peek into how it came out.My initial thoughts were that the color is too dark. This would be attributed to the fact that my brew kettle is a lobster-pot, and I also used all of my DME at 60 minutes in the boil. Getting a boil pot with a thicker bottom (like an actual brewpot) would create more even heat distribution and prevent scorching of the boil (too hot = caramelization) liquor close to the bottom of the pot.Late addition of DME prevents caramelization of the sugar and preserves some color. But the hops are there, the dry hops should be amazing, and we can jump right into it when I get the chance.
- Lastly: I picked up some sweet, affordable, space-friendly 1-gallon glass carboys at Strange Brew. There will be great for experiments and small (10 bottles ish) batches. It allows me to make better use of my headspace – I don’t store any grain here – and not end up with lots more beer than I can consume! My most successful batches can be scaled up into the 5-gallon size. It’s like Homebrew Test Kitchen over here.
Now here’s some sweet pics for reading through all that nonsense. Enjoy.