I'm In, and So Excited!

Just yesterday I received the word that I was accepted into the Homebrewed By Design project. I am thrilled, and cannot wait to see my label!

Cheers, and enjoy the weekend!

Happy Mead Day (Part Two)!

Hate is a strong word, and I try to use it very sparingly.

That being said, I admit that I hate bottling. It is messy and boring. As I have told many customers at the shop, "if I have a thousand things that I want to get done in any given day, I add bottling to my To Do list for the day. Guaranteed that everything else on that list will be completed, simply to avoid bottling." I do not lie, I have employed this trick frequently, and it works every time. However, I NEED to bottle today. Why? Because I want to work on "The Pub Room".

The Pub Room, before shot

Clementine has a cute little dining area with a sliding glass door that leads to the full-length back deck. I have stored what used to be my spare counter space (a potting bench that is pub table height), chairs, the fridge that I will use for a kegerator, plus an extra freezer (more on that later on the What a Good Squirrel blog). I have named it "The Pub Room".

Currently, The Pub Room is stuffed with, well, stuff. Including two meads (Fig Vanilla and Lavender Gooseberry) and two long-agers (Flemish Red and Sour Rye Peach Ale) that need to be bottled. Today, I tackled the meads.

The Fig Vanilla, bottled

Now, that muck on the bottom of the carboy? This is bentonite clay, which clarifies meads (and wines) in a shockingly speedy manner.

Beers (needing priming sugar and a fresh yeast dose, thus requiring more time) will be bottled later in the week.

Other news?

On a slightly sad note, I gave notice at HBX yesterday. Much as I have enjoyed my "hobby job", the time required by home ownership, my career, and my impending return to scholastic pursuits simply do not allow it. I will miss the people (and the discount), but this is the best decision for now.

On a happy note, my hops are doing well and have started growing cones:

And lastly, my neighbor got a new puppy, Holly.

Is she not the most adorable little scamp?

Cheers, and have a lovely week!

Happy Mead Day (Part One)!

Good morning, and Happy AHA Mead Day! Celebrate bees and their contribution to the brewing world: beautiful, golden, delicious honey.

What, prey tell, is this coppery lovely you see beneath?

Why, this is a Fig Vanilla Mead (fermented with Port yeast and aged on oak chips) that I will be bottling in honor of this day. My recipe/process:

Fig Vanilla Mead (original brew date 10/14/12)
3 gallon batch

9 lbs. Clover honey
1/2 tsp. yeast nutrient
1 1/12 tsp. yeast energizer
Port yeast
Original gravity = 1.100 (oh my!)

  • 10/23/12 Racked atop 2.5 lbs. Mission figs.
  • 11/9/12 Racked off figs and onto 1 oz. (light toast) oak chips.
  • 12/21/12  Racked off oak chips and onto 3 vanilla beans (which had been steeping in spiced rum for several months) and new oak chips.
  • 1/20/13 Racked into a fresh fermenter, off oak chips and vanilla beans (to finish). Split and added one vanilla bean back.
  • 3/3/13 Final gravity = 1.00 (approximate ABV = 13%)

Tasting notes (per the Brewmistress Log in March):

Pleasant full fig flavor, round and fruity with a vanilla finish.

Aaaand, coming up in part two? I bottle this exquisite creation, taste it again, and explain what the muck on the bottom of the carboy is.

Cheers, and enjoy (or make) some mead today!