I bottled the Dark Mead today. It’s almost a year old. The alcohol has broken down nicely. The spices contribute a very nice flavor. It is too sweet though. My wife suggested mixing it with sparkling water, and that works great.
I picked up some Aluminum wire are the hardward store and ran it between the posts.
The galvanized steel wire had a “caution: contains a chemical known in the state of California to cause cancer”. Yikes! That’s lead! Be careful what you buy.
I installed the lower wire at about waist height (about 40 inches) and the other 12 inches higher. I ran out of wire, so the job is not complete. Also, so I only went between poles with wire and didn’t try to join the wires. I didn’t want the plants to have to grow over wire joints.
I then loosely tied the plants that were tall enough to the wire. Later, I will tie the rest of the plants and finish installing the wire for the trellis.
Time to bottle the Cyser.
The bottles are sanitized then the cyser is siphoned into a bottling bucket. I decided to bottle it with out any bottling sugar so it will be flat, like wine, rather than with bubbles, like champagne. It is a little tart, with a strong apple flavor. Just right for fish, or after dinner.
You can look through archives for pictures of the Cyser. Look in October, December and January.
First, the Hops needed some string to grow onto. I have neglected them long enough this year. The vines are over 5 feet and should had been taken care of months ago. There are three plants here and they should yield enough hops for about 3 beers.
The grapes sprang to life, but they didn’t grow from the buds I left. I don’t know if I pruned them too early or what. They didn’t do anything for about a month after I pruned them, then all of the sudden they started growing like mad. If you click on the photo, you should be able to see the brown stem of last years growth.
I think Jeff Cox is right. They should reach the trellis this year.
These grapes sound like they will make a wonderful red wine and should grow well in our climate.
The plants didn’t make it up to the trellis last year, so acording to Jeff Cox in From Wines to Wines they are supposed to be pruned down to only one bud and they will “surely make it there this year.”
The yeast in the Dark Mead started working again. I hope this brings the sweetness down, The sample I had when I racked it on 1/29/06 was too sweet and the alcohol flavor was overpowering. Notice the foam on top. When I racked the Dark Mead, the foam from the yeast had subsided and the Dark Mead was almost as clear and foam free as the cyser in the photo from 1/29/06.
The dark mead and cyser are comming along rather nicely. They still look cloudy, which is the yeast and apple solids.
You can see that the foam at the top of the apple is almost gone, indicating that the yeast almost done. I will be transferring the apple to another carboy soon and putting it in the basement to cool. When it cools, the sediment will settle out and it will be crystal clear.
The Dark mead needs more time. There was over 20lbs honey. I will be transferring the dark mead to two containers and adding some water to lighten it up. I think it will be too sweet and have to much alcohol if I don’t.
Brewed a dark mead for Samhain. It is 20 pounds of honey, 1 pound of molassas and 2 1/2 gallons of water. I used WhiteLabs WLP099 High Gravity yeast. After it ferments, I’ll be adding some spices. Should be quite the brew. Potential alcohol of over 20%.
I also brewed a cyser. This is a cider with honey. 4 gallons of fresh, organic apple cider from a local apple farm, along with 4 pounds of honey. I used White Labs WLP775, English Cider yeast.