Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Do you wine any?

If not, you should. No, not whine, wine. Like make some wine.  It’s fun, it’s easy, and the results can be delicious! And this time of year, the possibilities are nearly endless.

Bountiful fruit stands and farmers markets are the wine makers playground. And the best part is, if you can imagine it, you can probably turn it into wine.

With a little know-how and a short list of equipment, you can make some great tasting wine, or better yet MEAD!

Mead is wine based on honey. Some mead is made with only honey and water. And to be quite truthful, those are my favorite. Their flavors wander from fruity to estery to blasting with honey... hell, I’ve had a few that you could confuse with a very light chardonnay.  Some meads are made with spices, some with fruit... basically, like I said, if you can imagine it, you can make it. If you’ve ever tried mead and liked it, rest assured that you can very easily make a better version than you can buy.

Like anything I do, I believe the key to success is abandoning your fear of failure!

So, if you’re interested, take a moment and let’s make some mead. (This is admittedly NOT a comprehensive guide. Read the Complete Meadmaker by Ken Schram for that)

This batch started out of necessity. They say that necessity is the mother of all invention, and I’m here to tell you that procrastination is the father of necessity! I bought a box of peaches and forgot about them. Then didn’t buy jars, so here I sit with a case of peaches going bad and nothing to do with them.

I began with 25 of the most ripe peaches in the box. Cut the bad spots out with gusto and washed them. Then I simply hand smashed them into my fermenting bucket making sure to keep the pit in my hands.

These 25 peaches net about 3/4 of a gallon of peach mush, to which I added water and honey to make a total volume of 5 gallons. A little yeast nutrient to get things going and two packages of wine yeast and we are making honey wine!

For those of you familiar with the concept, No, I didn’t worry about using campdon tabs or sanitizing the fruit. If the yeast does it’s thing, it will take over and raise the alcohol level quickly enough that all will be fine.

I spent 3 hours trying to re-liquify a gallon jug of honey that I had sitting around... For the last 2 years.

This was honey that I bought from a local bee keeper in hopes of a project long ago. As I said about procrastination.... well, it simply never happened! So, I have old honey, that will work just fine! It just took some work to get things flowing again.

This is admittedly a bit light on sugar for me. I normally begin mead with a ratio of 3# Honey for every gallon of a batch. That usually leaves me with a starting gravity (a measure of the sugar content that is used to calculate the alcohol content in the finished product) of 1.100... a nice place to start. 

Check back in on Thursday for the rest of my mead making evening!

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The adventure never stops

The adventure never stops
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