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Home-made MEAD

 
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Gareth



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 85
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:35 am    Post subject: Home-made MEAD Reply with quote

Most of my friends already know that I enjoy a glass or two of home-made Mead, and a few of them have had the pleasure of enjoying a glass or two with me. Some of them also reckon that I make a drop of good stuff, and if somebody wants to have a go at home-made Mead, Gareth's the one to ask. Yes, I have had a couple of mishaps, the most notable being the exploding bottles. you may be interested to know that my Mead has generated a great deal of anxiety, hilarity, panic, and a caption competition on another forum board ( www.overthegate.com ) .

Well, it might surprise you to know that I have only been making Mead for 18 months. Anyway, I have been promising internet buddies that I would do a step by step Mead making write up for some time now. So here it is;

This is a batch that I began on the 2nd of January; I want it to run to about 9% ABV. So about 6-8 weeks should be sufficient brewing time. This time I will use a fermentation stopper before I bottle this batch.

To fill a 25 litre brew keg or bucket this is the recipe that I use;

7.225 kgs of Honey. I use cheap Asda brand honey which is 76p per 425 grams, so I need 17 tubs.

1kg of Sugar. I use either Granulated White, Soft Brown or Demerara. This batch is being made with Soft Brown Sugar.

10 tablespoons of Lemon juice.

15 grams of Yeast.
I find that Allinsonís bread making Yeast makes much nicer Mead than commercially available wine making Yeasts from the local Home-Brewing shop.

13 grams of Pectin. This is optional, and I am not using any with this batch

Lots of filtered boiling water. I find my kettle to be very convenient for this, as the boiling water is not required all in one go.

First of all, you have to scrub out the brew keg or bucket. Give it a good rinse out, and then add about a gallon of cooled, filtered boiled water, and Milton sterilising fluid. Rather than fill the whole keg up I use the listed solution, fix the lid in place, and the slowly roll the keg or bucket for 30 minutes, ensuring that all the internal surfaces have been sterilised. Remove the lid, and then stand the Keg upside down, to drain. I like to then rinse it out with about 3 litres of filtered boiled water, just to remove any remaining Milton solution.

One of my Brewing Kegs.
[img][/img]

17 tubs of Honey, and the Sugar ready to go.

[img][/img]

A saucepan of hot (but not boiling) water to help thin the viscosity of the Honey.
[img][/img]

Even when the Honey has been heated, not all of it will pour from the tubs. So I top the tubs up with boiling water from the kettle, and then stand them in hot water in my frying pan, stirring them well to dissolve as much of the Honey as possible.
[img][/img]

Even that doesn't remove all the Honey from the tubs, so I repeat the processs.
[img][/img]

When you have obtained as much of the Honey as possible from the tubs, add the Sugar, then fill the rest of the Keg up with Boiled, filtered water, and stir well.
[img]

Allow the mix to stand for 24 hours (with the lid on), so that it stabilises at room temperature. Then Add the lemon juice, this is the point when you need to make the initial base line specific gravity reading with a hydrometer. The next SG reading will be taken when you filter and bottle the Mead in a few weeks. Fix a sticky label on to the Keg, listing the date, ingreidents, and the initial specfic gravity reading.

The Maths are as follows:

To calculate an approximate alcohol by volume of your finished homebrew: Original gravity minus Final Gravity times 129=your approximate homebrew alcohol by volume (ABV).

For example, a homebrew with an original gravity of 1.050 and a final gravity of 1.015 would be calculated as follows: 1.050-1.015=0.035X129=4.51% ABV

Add the yeast, and again stir well. After approximately 30 minutes the fermentation process should have started (can you see the first fermentaion bubbles?)
[/img]

Next, stand the keg in a place where the room temperature will be more or less constant, and forget about it for 6 weeks or so.
The Keg was placed in an empty kitchen unit. The idea behind this, is to keep the ambient temperature as stable as possible. My thermometer shows that the air temperature inside the cupboard is 62 degrees F, or 17 degrees C. Which although it is at the lower end of the scale for Mead making, will do more than an adequete job for me.

When the side of the keg is rapped wih my knuckles, I could feel that pressure had built up inside it, and a faint but consistant bubbling noise can be heard. Both of which are good signs for this Home Mead maker.

I know that this photograph of the brewing keg inside my kitchen cupboard is not it the most interesting one in the world. But there is Mead fermenting inside there.

[img][/img]

When I moved, a few weeks ago, I found that I still have about 3 litres of Birch sap left over from last year's escapades. So in an another week or so I will be making a 10 litre batch of Birch Sap Mead, flavoured with 500g of Smoked, crushed, mixed Hazel and Walnuts.

I wouldn't mind trying to make a batch of Mead from Smoked Honey. I would also like to make a 10 litre batch of Mead each month, and to flavour it with what is available from the hedgerows as the months and seasons pass. Elderflower, Hawthorn blossom, Rosehips, Blackberries, Elderberries, Sloes, and Beech nuts come immediately to mind, but I welcome other suggestions.

My Christmas present to myself was a new mains powered Ryobi engraving set.
I also "laid down" 10 of Weston's 2 litre jugs of Scrumpy for Christmas (currently £2.99 each in my local Asda ---- part of the Walmart group), and obtained another 12 empty ones from posting an advert on Norwich freecycle. It is my intention to engrave these empty jugs, and then bottle off the Mead into these, so that I have something home produced to take with me when I visit my friends. I just need to finalise a design to engrave upon them.

Well on the way to obtaining empty 2 litre Scrumpy Jugs. Laughing Out Loud

[img][/img]

My new Mains powered engraving kit.

[img][/img]

Right Guys, Please stick with me on this one, because in the next 10-14 days I will be filtering and bottling this batch of Mead, and I will also be starting the first batch of my flavoured Meads.
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Gareth



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 85
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 25 litres of my New Year Mead is still ferckling away merrily, I reckon that it is already 4-5% ABV I have no idea what the real ABV is, or was, as I forgot to take a base specific gravity reading. The intention was to bottle it off during Valentine's weekend, but I was busy pursuing other activities. The plan now is to filter and bottle off this Mead over the Easter week.

I got a bit bored last night, so I had a 2 hour session in the Kitchen. Here are the results of that endeavour;

250g of Hazelnuts smoked by my friend Lloyd. Zapped with the blender, and ready with the rest of the ingredients for tonight's Mead making session.

[img][/img]

2.55 kg clear Honey, 1 kg Granulated White Sugar, 250 g Smoked Hazelnuts, 4 tablespoons of Lemon Juice. Then fill to the brim with boiling water. Tomorrow, when it has cooled to room temperature and stabilised, I'll take a base hydrometer reading, add the yeast, and affix a BIP label.
It only took 20 minutes to do this 10 litre batch of speciality Mead.

[img][/img]


All of the endeavours of last night's 2 hour session in the Kitchen;
10 litres of Smoked Walnut flavoured Mead (top)
10 litres of Smoked Hazelnut flavoured Mead (bottom)
10 litres of Summer Fruits Vinegar ready for boiling, simmering and reducing.

[/img][img][/img]

Yes, the Walnut Mead is much darker than the Hazelnut mead, which also took me by surprise too!

I have also obtained from my local Freecycle several 1 gallon glass demi-johns this week, and as I have decided to wait until Easter before filtering, bottling and racking the New Year Mead, I shall have a crack at making a Cyser. Which is a cross between Cider and Mead, I also have the opportunity to get on and complete both the engraving and glass painting.
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Gareth



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 85
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:06 pm    Post subject: Cyser making this evening. Reply with quote

Tedium set in yet again this evening. So I relieved it by making a gallon of Cyser.

3 litres concentrated Apple Juice (you should really use fresh pressed apple juice as you would for cider)

1 kg Granulated White Sugar

1.5 Kg Clear Honey

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice.

3 g Yeast.

Boiling water to top up the Demi John

Bring the apple juice to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, stir in the honey, bring to the boil again simmer for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, stirring constanly. Bring to the boil, turn down to a gentle simmer.

Simmer for 30 minutes ,skimming off any scum.

Place the Demi John in a pan of cold water, bring up slowly to the boil, and pour the Cyser mix into it.

Place in a convenient spot to cool.

Tomorrow, I will top up with boiled water if necessary, add the 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Jucie, take the baseline SG measurement, add the Yeast, and then the fix the bubble trap in place.

[img][/img]
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Gareth



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 85
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The two Demi johns of Cyser that I started on Monday evening have only just begun their fermentation process. That is possibly because of the low ambient temperature in my apartment.

The Demi john on the right started to ferment yesterday afternoon, and has gone into a manic style fermentation fervour. The Demi john on the left is considerably more sedate, only just beginning it's process. If you look careful at the one on the left you can see the layers that Honey, apple juice and sugar have settled out to. The sort of fuzzy, hazy layer that you can see at the surface is the actual area of the fermentation, which is slowly working it's way down the jar.

[img][/img][/quote]
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Gareth



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 85
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been waiting for a break in the weather for over a week now. I have my Birch sap tapping kit ready to go, I have chosen the trees that I wish to tap and all I need now is a little warmth to get the sap rising.

No chance! It has been cold, wet, damp, miserable, and today it snowed, although the snow has all melted now, the temperature is possibly still to low to have a Birch sap tapping session this week.

Earlier this afternoon the tedium set in once again, and I consoled myself by setting off a 5 litre batch of Orange flavoured Mead.

Ingredients;

2 litres concentrated Orange Juice.

500 grams White granulated sugar.

1275 grams clear Honey.

Hot water to top up

5 grams Allisons Bread making Yeast.

Bring the Orange Juice up to the boil. turn down, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in the honey, and simmer for 5 minutes

Stir in the sugar and simmer for 10 minutes.

Skim off the scum, and pour in to a preheated Demi John, and top up with boiling water.

Tomorrow, when it has cooled to room temperature, and stabilised, I will take the initial Specific Gravity reading, and then add the yeast. As this flavoured Mead has an Orange juice base, I will fore-go the lemon juice to provide the necessary acidity for the yeast to begin working.

The local 99p stores have Lemon Juice currently in stock, and have an offer on packs 1.5 litres of Lemon Juice (2 X 750 mls), so if the weather has not improved by next weekend, and it still cold, I'll start off a batch of Lemon flavoured Mead.
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Gareth



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 85
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

have been a little lazy here, and copied and pasted extracts from my Mead making blog on another set of forum boards.

About 18 hours on from finishing mixing up the 5 ltr batch of Orange Mead, and the temperature has stablised at 16*C or 62*F. The Yeast was added and the mix given a good stir.

[img][/img]

One cup of tea, two slices of toast, and 30 minutes later, and it has begun to do it's thing.

[img][/img]

This website might help a little;

http://www.solorb.com/mead/

Today's Mead making session.

Dark Grape Mead. The 99p shop had sold out of lemon juice by the time that I arrived there today. So I purchased the other items that I wanted and nipped over to my local Lidl. Their Dark Grape juice is a particular favorite of mine, and I usually buy it by the case full. Today it had been reduced to 59p per litre so I bought 2 cases. Well, what I can I say, I just had to make a batch of Mead from 3 litres of it.


Ingredients:

3 Litres Dark Grape Juice

500 g Granulated White Sugar

1275 g Clear Honey

Boiling water to top up

5 g Allinsons bread making Yeast

[img][/img]

26th of March 2008


This evening, I have taken a specific gravity reading from my keg of New Year Mead, the reading was 1.015. However I forgot to take an Initial baseline reading way back at the beginning, and so I will have to rely upon the two estimates given by J_P of either 1.107, or 1.088.

The first calculation equals 11.868% ABV, the second equates to 10.836% ABV. So for arguments sake I am going to call it 11%, but it is still fermenting albeit at a much reduced rate.

I now have a dilemma, as I have insufficient bottles and jugs to rack it all off, this presents me with three choices:

1) Let it ferment out with the existing Ingredients.

2) Add another 500 g of sugar, and let it ferment for a while longer, which will make it a fair bit stronger.

3) Stop the fermentation, add the finnings to clear the Mead. Get another ad posted on Freecycle for some more Demi Johns, and rack off into any Demi Johns that I might receive for the time being.


I still have two empty 10 litre capacity buckets with lids, and these have been ear-marked for the up and coming Birch Sap Mead, and I will not be needing the 25 litre Rota-Keg that the New Year's Mead is in for the batch of Elder flower for about another 6-7 weeks.

Hmm! Decisions, decisions, decisions.

28 th of March 2008

Decision Made !

Late last night I posted another ad on Norwich Freecycle, and today I have been offered several Demi Johns, and other bits and pieces of home-brewing paraphernalia from several sources, which I will be collecting over the next couple of days.

So to keep this thread going with some more interesting posts, I will be doing the following:

Racking the batch of New Year's Mead into the newly acquired Demi johns, allow the Mead to settle for a couple of days, then stop the fermentation with a commercially available Fermentation stopper, and then adding the finnings to clear my Mead, before racking it into the bottles for the final time. By doing everything in this order; it will be done in clear glass, and I will be able to photograph the process in its various different stages, allow me a little more time to obtain sufficient bottles, and to clear my keg for the up and coming Birch sap and elder flower Meads.

This will be a completely new learning experience for me, and it will be far better for me to continue the postings as everything progresses, so that other novice home-brewers can learn from my trials and tribulations.

Post Script.

I have had a cracking evening playing Backgammon, finishing off 65 pukas, and 4 match points ahead of my guest. On clearing up afterwards I noticed that the Dark Grape Mead that I started some 50 odd hours ago has begun it's fermenting process. :thumbup:

[img][/img]

29th of March 2008

I had to go on a round trip of Norwich picking up the Home-brewing items that I had been offered on Freecycle.

Three stops around the city resulted in me receiving many items. several; hydrometers, thermometers, airlocks, bungs, an electric demi john heating collar, syphoning, and filtering kit, and 9 demi johns. 4 of them containing 21 year old Redcurrent wine (according to the labels), and 4 bottles of 16 year old Perry.

I have 5 of the demi johns filled with sterilsing solution, and tomorrow I will rack off the New Year's Mead into them for the first time. Later in the week I will be stopping the fermentation, and adding the finnings to clear it.
I popped over to the Home-brew shop at Hellesdon this afternoon to pick up some fermentation stopper and powdered finnngs. The freecycle demi johns are now sterlised, and so tomorrow I will begin this process, along with the now obligitory photos.

I have had a really good sort out of the items that I obtained from Freecycle, the vast majority of it is Boots brand home-brew equipment. One of the Hydrometers has a much greater range than my hydrometer. 1.170--0.980, my original hydrometer only has a range of 1.130--0.990. So I will be using the old Boots brand one from now on.

A quick trip to Lidl this afternoon to buy some of their most excellent Black pudding, resulted in me also purchasing 24 litres of Grapefruit Juice which was reduced to 53p/litre, so a Grapefruit Mead is a must for me to do later this weekend.

31st of March 2008

Grapefruit Mead making this morning.

A slight deviation in my quantities this time.

1700 g Clear Honey.

500 g Granulated White Sugar.

3 Litres of Unsweetened Concentrated Grapefuit Juice.

3 g Allinsons Bread Making Yeast

I have used more Honey and Fruit Juice than I would normally, and No boiling water to make up the volume this time. I am tryng to see if I can brew a Sweet and Sour Mead, if that makes any sense. :scratch:

When this batch begins to ferment, I only have enough room in the DJ for about 250ml of water to prevent frothing over. I'll just have to see how it goes.

This evening I have made a batch of Fruits of the Forest Mead.

Ingredients:

3 litres Dark Grape Juice.

2 X 500g of Frozen Summer Fruits & Berries.

2 X 300g of Frozen Morello Cherries.

1700g of Clear Honey

250 g Granulated White Sugar.

3 g Allinson Bread Making Yeast.

Zap the thawed out fruit in the blender, add the dark grape juice bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, pass through a sieve, add the other ingredients as per my other Mead recipes.

My Kitchen Windowsill this evening.

Left to right;

Grapefruit Mead, Orange Mead, Dark Grape Mead, Sweet Cyser, Dry Cyser, Fruits of the Forest Mead.

[img][/img]


I have also added the powdered Fermentation stopper to my 5 Gallon Keg of New Year's Mead. I'll give it 2-3 days, then I will rack off, and add the finnings.

Righty 'O'.

I am off to prep and sterlise my Birch sapping kit ready for tomorrow.


7th of April 2008

I am pleased to announce that the 2 Cysers, Dark grape Mead, Fruits of the Forest Mead, Grapefruit Mead, and Orange Mead are still ferckling away with a manic fermentation fervour. The Birch sap tapping is going appallingly badly, in 3 days I have only managed to obtain a little less than 1 litre, and although I am not giving up on the sap tapping I am considering making a Lemon Mead this week, although a quick look out of my kitchen window indicates that the Stinging Nettles are starting to begin their new spring growth


Late last week, I added the fermentation stopper to the 25 Litre keg of New Year's Mead. After adding the stopper, I decided to leave it for 72-96 hours to do it's thing.

This morning I syphoned the Mead from the keg into 5 previously sterilised Demi johns, ready to add the wine finnings to clear the Mead of any sediments still in suspension. Initial filtration was through a standard fine wire mesh coffee maker filter. This was used just remove the larger lumps, and I am happy to report that only the one dead bug was found this time around.

Away She goes! into the first demi john

[img][/img]

A close up of the fine mesh coffee filter. The addition of the spring clamps to hold everythng in place was one of my better ideas, and the syphoning tube with the little tap was invaluable for preventng a sticky mess.

[img][/img]


The Wine finnings that I obtained from the home-brew shop up the road.

Bottle A contains Kieselol solution

Bottle B contans Gelatine solution, citric acid (E330) and Preservative (E202).

The correct dosage is 1-2 ml of each per 4.5 litres. Add A first, stir in well and leave for at least 30 minutes, then add B and stir in well. The instructions state that my wine/beer/Mead will be clear and ready for rackng after 24-72 hours.

[img][/img]

Left to right;

DJ one. No Finnings added. This my control so that I can observe how quickly the finnings clear a DJ, and it's contents will be used as a taste comparission later in the week.

DJ two. This is the one from the bottom of the barrel (pun intended) and contains a lot of sediment in suspension. So I should get a good idea of how well the finnings work

DJ three, four, and five. Are just the first 15 litres syphoned from the barrel. Having what I consider a normal amount of sediment in suspension.

[/img]


I'll continue with observations and photos at regular intervals over the next few days

8th of April 2008

Here is an update on the progress that been made, by the Wine finnings added to my Mead yesterday lunchtime.

Approx 45 minutes after adding the finnings.
The one on the left is the control DJ, without Finnings. The one on the right is the one with the sediment from the bottom of the keg with the finnings added.

[img][/img]

All the DJ's this morning. As you can see, there is a significant difference in clarity
Left to Right. DJ1) Control, no finnnings. DJ2) Heavy sediment with finnings. DJ3, 4, & 5) the rest of the keg wth finnings.

[img][/img]

A close up of DJ's 1, & 2, The model Knight in the foreground is for reference puposes. NOTE: Thats is not cloudiness at the top of the DJ, but an inverted refelection of the hedge outside of my kitchen window.

[img][/img]


The model Knight placed directly behind the DJ to indcate the clarity of the contents. Again, there is an inverted reflection of the hedge and tree just outside of my kitchen window.

[img][/img]

Saturday 12th of April 2008

I have asked the question about finnings, and more importantly none animal based finnings on one of the home-brewing forums. When I get a reply, I'll copy and paste it to here. :thumbup:

I have been off colour with a bad stomach for a couple of days, achieving absolutly nothing but self pity. However, I did clean up the 12 wired, flip top, beer bottles that I obtained from my local freecycle group.

Ironically, just after collecting my S/H freecycle bottles, my local homebrew shop a couple of miles up the road called me, to say that they now stock 500 ml capacity wired, flip top bottles @£12.99 per dozen, or £1.10 each. Which is considerably cheaper than either Thorns or Lakeland in the city, who both knock out exactly the same bottles at £2.99 each. It is a real shame that lagers gas me up and give me a wicked hangover and headache, as my local corner offie has 500 ml bottles of Grolsch with the wired flip tops @ £1.85 each. :q52:

[img][/img]

I also picked up some cheap 100% Natural Pear Juice (complete with pulp, and nectar) this week, and so 2 litres of that have gone in to a demi john to become Pear Mead.

2 ltres Pear Juice.

1700 g Clear Honey.

3 Tablespoons lemon juice.

5 g Allinsons Bread making yeast.

I have not used any sugar in this one, as the Pear juice is extremely sweet. This batch of Mead has also been the most reluctant to begin fermenting, taking 4 days to even start. A quick surf around some of the home-brewing forums indicates that I could have been a little too quick to fit the airlocks. With the suggestion that Oxygen is required in the first 24-36 for the yeast to begin the fermentation process properly. I removed the airlock, gave the DJ's contents a really good stir and left it over night. By the following morning the fermentaton process had started. I left it until late that evening, when I topped up the DJ with cooled, boiled filtered water. By the next morning the fermentation was at the manic pace that I have become acustomed too.

My birch sap tapping is going appallingly badly. The weather this week probably being my downfall, as I have only managed to obtain about 2 litres of Birch sap from 5 trees. I am going to persist at this for 1 more week, before I write it off as a lost cause.

I am just about to set off, and go out Birch Sap Tapping for the afternoon. I wish to collect between 25 and 30 litres of Birch sap over the next 7-10 days, and will only harvest 2 litres of Sap from each tree tapped.

I do not expect my containers to be filled completely today, but will leave them out over night and collect them at some time tomorrow. However, I will take a few photos while I am out showing the methods that I am employing.

The basic Kit that I will use out on the common;

Cordless Pistol Drill, C/W 10mm dia Standard drill bit and a spare 10mm dia spade type bit.

Trimming knife to cut the tubing to length.

10 metres of 10mm dia plastic tubing.

5 X 2 litre Empty milk containers, washed out using Bicarbonate of soda, sterlised with Milton fluid, and thoroughly rinsed out. Note; The green caps for the milk containers have been drilled through to accomodate the plastic tubing (see the cap on the placed on the larger container).

2 X 5 litre containers (only 1 shown) for transporting the collected Birch Sap.

[img][/img]


Birch sap is mainly used to make Beer and Wine, it is also drunk unprocesed from the tree. Being regarded a health tonic as it contains natural sugars, vitimins, minerals and trace elements.

However, I am involved here! :q33: :q33: :q33: :

Some of you may remember me making a most deliceous Birch Sap toffee live on Webcam (and consuming a little too much Vin Rouge in the process :ROFL: ). You may also recall me making a 10 litre batch Birch Sap flavoured Mead, which I managed to polish off about 3 weeks ago.

From this years harvest, 25 litres of Birch sap will be going straight into Mead production, the rest will be used for more toffee. Although I may save a few litres for use later on in the year, and I may try cooking a chicken breast or two in some.

To tap the sap, I have drilled a 10mm hole, 45mm deep, at 45 degrees (upwards) into the trunk of the Birch trees. A length of plastic tubing has been pushed approximately 10mm into the trunk of the tree. The other end is put into the top of the collection container.

I have tapped 5 trees this afternoon, and a little sap has already begun to collect in my containers. I will return tomorrow and see how much has collected in the contaners.

Appalling light condtions this afternoon, and so this is the best photo that I have managed to take.


[img][/img]

A fortuitous afternoon out as I managed to obtain approximately 7 litres of Sap from 4 Birch trees. Tomorrow I will seal off the holes with a whittled plug from the branches of the trees, and then I will cover the wounds with some sterilised Fullers earth.

I also met a man out walking his dog with the rest of his family, and he was very iinterested in what I was up to. I also bumped into another friend, who I have not seen in a long time. We were both members of the same return work scheme 18 months ago, and she has agreed to accompany me to dinner one night.
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Gareth



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 85
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A link to my friend Lloyd's smoked foods web-site;

http://www.smokedfoodsdirect.co.uk/
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Gareth



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 85
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A quick update on the progress of my Mead making.

The two Cysers, the Orange Mead, Grapefruit Mead, and the dark Grape Mead have all stopped fermenting, and have cleared by themselves.

I had a look in the cupboard this morning, having neglected my Mead making duties over the last month. I wanted to check the Birch Sap Mead's progress and start the preparations for Elderflower Mead making this weekend, so it now looks like I am filtering the ready Meads (along with a little sample or two) this evening.

I managed to bottle the ready Meads the other night, and what a wonderful experience that was.

Last night was another Mead making session. This time a Demi-John of Lemon Mead, and a Demi-John of Lime Mead.

Well that seems to be the Citrus flavoured Meads covered, and this afternoon I will go out and pick sufficent Elderflowers to make 25 Litres of Elderflower Mead. Tonight is Backgammon night, so I wish to have the Elderflower Infusion going before I leave. Tomorrow evening I will then reheat the Infusion and add the Honey and sugar to make the brew must (photos to follow).

Lemon Mead;

2 Litres of Lemon Juice

1700g Clear Honey

250g White Granualated Sugar

Boiled, Filtered water to top up.

5g allinson Bread Making Yeast.

The two tablespoons of lemon juice need to increase the acidity and kick start the yeast into acton are not required with this recipe. :ROFL:

Lime Mead;

2 Litres of Lime Juice.

1700g Clear Honey

250g White Granualated Sugar

Boiled, Filtered water to top up.

5g Allinson Bread Making Yeast.


If the local 99p shop still has the 2 X 750 ml bottle packs of Lemon juice on offer this weekend, then there will be a Lemon & Lime Mead started sometime next week.


size=18]Lemon & Lime Mead:[/size]

I am looking to make a 10 litre batch of a some what sharp, and almost tart Lemon and Lime Mead, which will hopefully turm out to be very refreshing but with a bit of kick to to it.

Ingriedients;

2.225kgs clear Honey

4 litres of Lemon Juice

2 litres of Lime Juice

500g of White Granulated sugarand

10g Allinsons Bread making yeast

Boiled, cooled filtered water to top up with.

P.S. This Mead must has cooled sufficently for the bucket to be moved, so I had a little taste. It is exactly what I am looking for; a sharp almost tart over honey sensation, which is enough to make you wince. Hopefully this one will ferment out quickly during the warm weather, and be ready for drinking at the August bank holiday weekend. Being just right to have as an over ice Mead spritzer with either Lemonade or better still soda water.

The 5 litres of Lemon, 5 litres of Lime and 10 litres of Lemon & Lime Meads would not start to ferment, probably because they were all too acidic. I remedied the situation by removng 1 litre of Must from each of the Lemon and the Lime mixes, adding another 500g of white granulated sugar, topping up with filtered, boiled and then cooled water, and 3g of Allinson's breadmaking yeast to each. After 24 hours the fermentation had begun, and was at the furiousily manic stage that I have become accustomed to.

For the 10 litres batch of Lemon & Lime Mead mix, I basically doubled the above listed rescue remedy; Drawing off 2 litres of Must and adding 1 kg white granulated sugar, adding the filter, boiled and cooled water and 6g of Yeast.

One week after the rescue attempt, and all three of these batches are doing well. So is the 25 litres of Elderflower Mead, and quick check of the Smoked Walnut, and Smoked Hazelnut Meads indicates that they are still fermenting, albeit at a reduced rate approximately six months after they were originally started: These two I am really looking forward to sampling this coming Christmas.

It will be the start of the Blackberry season in approximately 5-6 weeks. Blackberries are one of my absolute never to be missed favourites. This year for the first time I will be adding Blackberry Mead to my repetoire of Blackberry based preserves, Vinegars and other goodies. So for the month of July, I will not start any other flavoured Meads, but allow the others to catch up, be racked and bottled off. Freeing up some of my brewing equipment and valuable Kitchen cupboard and worktop real estate. It will also allow me the opportunty to stock up in bulk with more cheap clear Honey and sugar, in anticpactiation of a mammoth Blackberry Mead brewing and vinegar making session.

I have just this minute realised what I did last weekend. As I drew off the Lemon, Lime, and Lemon & Lime Must, to make way for additional sugar and water, I poured the excess down the sink; after the fact common sense, or hindsight; call it what you will............... I would have had another 4 litres of Lemon and Lime Must to be blended together and then started off to ferment. That's a whole Demi-John full.

I haven't got around to an accurate stock take yet, but I reckon that I have approximately 200 litres of, 15 varities of Mead in various stages of fermentation, or racking.




Gareth's six month Mead stock take;

25 litres New Year's Mead, minus 10 litres already consumed equals 15 litres
10 litres Smoked Walnut Mead... will bottle out at 8 litres
10 Litres Smoked Hazelnut Mead... will bottle out at 8 litres
5 litres Grapefruit Mead... will bottle out at 4 litres
5 litres Orange Mead... will bottle out at 4 litres
5 litres Fruits of the forest Mead... will bottle out at 4 litres
5 litres Summer fruits Mead.. will bottle out at 4 litres
5 litres Dark grape Mead... will bottle out at 4 litres
5 litres Dry Apple Cyser ... will bottle out at 4 litres
5 litres Sweet Apple Cyser.. will bottle out at 4 litres
5 litres Pear Mead. will bottle out at 4 litres
10 litres Nettle Mead... will bottle out at 8 litres
25 litres Elderflower Mead... will bottle out at 20 litres
5 litres Lemon Mead... will bottle out at 4 litres
5 litres Lime Mead... will bottle out at 4 litres
10 litres Lemon & Lime Mead... will bottle out at 8 litres

That is 150 litres of Mead in 16 different varieties, with a 20% loss of volume due to fermentation and bottling, equalling 120 litres for consumption

Still to come; 25 litres Blackberry Mead (at least), 10 litres damson Mead, 10 litres Elderberry Mead, 5 litres Sloe Mead, 5 litres Hawes Mead, 10 litres Rosehip Mead.

Others under consideration are; Almond Mead, Brazil nut Mead, Rose Petal Mead, Carrot & Parsnip Mead, and maybe a Peanut Mead.

Oh!

I have just noticed that there will be a Mead competiton at the Suffolk Smallholders show next sunday.

What do you reckon folks, should I enter a few of my efforts?

http://www.suffolksmallholders.co.uk/page5.html


I have decided to enter a few bottles of my Home-made Mead into the Suffolk Smallholder's Mead competition, but I have no idea on how to present my Meads in that competition.

I received the show schedule and the class entry forms today.

The Mead competition rules are pretty straight forward; any clear glass bottle of 70 cl or over. Two categories; Sweet Mead and Dry Mead. As my New Years Mead is reasonably dry, 1 litre of it in an Ikea flip top bottle will be entered.

The flavoured Meads presented a little problem, but a quick phone call to the show's secretary cleared that question up. I can enter the flavoured Meads into the class for any Home-made product containing honey as an ingredient, providing the recipe is also included. Therefore I have chosen the following; Orange Mead, the Dark Grape Mead and the Sparkling (as it is still fermenting ) Fruits of the forest Mead. I will also include a 500 ml bottle of My "Fruits of the Forest Vinegar," as I still have one bottle of the original batch left. This was the batch where I ran out of Sugar, and bunged in a jar of honey to make the recipe up to the correct volume.

Absolutely no preconceptions upon my part, but it would be very nice to walk away with at least one Rosette. .
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Gareth



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 85
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All of my exhibits for tomorrow's Suffolk Smallholders show are now packed and ready to go.

1 Litre New Year's Mead in the Dry Mead category

1 Litre Fruits of the Forest Mead in the Honey used as an Ingredient category

1 Litre Orange Mead in the Honey used as an Ingredient category.

1 Litre Grapefruit Mead in the Honey used as an Ingredient category.

1 Litre Dark Grape Mead in the Honey used as an Ingredient category

1 litre Fruits of the Forest Vinegar in the Honey used as an Ingredient category.


It's a 40 miles drive each way, and I have to be there between 6 and 8pm this evening to enter them in the competion for tomorrows judging.


Photos to follow
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Gareth



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 85
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was Knobbled!

My entry into class 9; Dry Mead was disqualified because I had displayed in the wrong type of bottle. Now, the rules stated a clear glass bottle of no less than 70cl was to be used. Well, I have 20 X 1 litre (100cl) glass, wire flip top bottles especially for for my Meads. According to the Judges, this type of bottle did not meet the show requirments. Anger

The dark grape Mead entered in Class 16 was also disqualified......... Someone had ripped my recipe sheet in two and had stolen the half with recipe, leaving only the half with the method, and therefore my entry did not meet the full requirements when the Judges arrived to do the Judging. Anger

The fruits of the Forest Vinegar was also disqualified from class 16. All of the exhibits had stood out over night in a tent. Obviously it had been cold enough for some of the Honey used as an Ingredient in the Fruit Vinegar to crystalise, and this was the reason for disqualification. Anger







The Orange Mead, also entered in class 16 won first prize. Big smile Big smile Big smile Big smile Big smile Big smile Big smile Big smile Big smile Big smile



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Last edited by Gareth on Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:33 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1006
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

congrats on the First!

I don't do competitions but I have heard some horrors about "the rules" so I reckon that's an item one must really pay close attention about.....
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