Recently in Wine Category

Odin would be proud

2012-08-01_22-47-55_258.jpgSo a friend of mine who has recently started brewing and dropped into all-grain after only his first couple of batches brought me two 1.75 liter jugs of mead that his now deceased father brewed in the 1970's. I think he had rolled around the idea of throwing it out, but I assured him that any mead that old should probably be examined first by an expert in aged mead disposal such as myself. After all, in cases such as these the mead should probably be filtered first before just pitching into earths fragile ecosystem. My liver is always willing to offer itself up willing in these important matters. It arrived in used liqueur bottles clearly stowed away for ages in the recesses of a basement. I was honestly a bit timid when I thought about how it might taste. I have had a number of homemade meads best reserved for removing paint from windows.

It poured a dark rich molasses normally only seen in aged spirits, with a boozy nose it was like smelling something that you almost never come across in the beer world short of something Sam Adams has aged in their basement for the past decade. Sweet, with notes of burnt molasses, raisins.. let's just put it this way, it's really freaking complex to the palate, and like anything complex, it manifests different facets as it warms up.

I am not sure what my friends father might have dreamt up as to the eventual place of resting for his mead as he stirred it in the pot. But I am thankful that I could participate in its journey. 

Strawberry Cream Ale & Jam

This week, strawberries went on sale, so I brewed up some Strawberry Wine, Strawberry Cream Ale, and made some jam to go with the Spent Grain Bread  that I made from the Cream Ale grains.

Strawberry_Jam.JPGStrawberry Jam
2 Pounds Fresh Strawberries
4 Cups Sugar

Mix together the strawberries, and sugar, stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. I generally keep the boil going for a bit and put the hot jam, in hot jars heated in water. This makes a kind of chunky runny jam which I like. If you want it a little thicker, you might want to add a little something to gel it up a bit

This is my attempt at a Strawberry Cream Ale. I couldn't really get a exactly what I wanted, so we'll see how it turns out. It sure smelled good while brewing.

Strawberry Cream Ale (Extract)Strawberry_Wine_Cream_Ale.JPG
½ Pound Carapils
½ Pound Munich Malt
4 Pounds Light Malt Extract
1 Pound Rice Syrup Solids
½ oz Williamette Hops (Bittering)
1oz Saaz Hops (Finishing)
4 Pounds Strawberries (Purée)
Irish Moss
Yeast Nutrient
White Labs Cream Ale Yeast

Homebrew Labels

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labels.JPGIn the past I have always fired up Adobe Photoshop to create my labels. However I discovered a couple of cool sites that you can use if you are in a hurry and want to create some quick labels without the hassle. Pixlr is a is a sweet Photoshop/GIMP like editor, it works like a charm. Also has a few out of the box labels to choose from that you can save as jpeg or just print. You can see them in the image on the right. Below are some of my originals. You might notice our friends over at Budweiser stole my Jack's Pumpkin Ale label. If you get a chance look at the first year they came out with theirs and compare it to mine. The only problem is that I came out with mine in 2002 and they came out with theirs in 2005. Nothing like stealing a little IP. But you can do that when you're big and evil. To their credit they have since changed their label, however I still hold IP on the name. Maybe I should just be happy that the biggest beer conglomerate in the world liked my name enough to use it. The guys on have done some cool labels as well you might want to check out for inspiration.


Raspberry Melomel

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The raspberry does not overpower the mead like the blueberry does. It does cast it's definitive character however. It possesses a nectarous raspberry nose, sweet with a little tartness, it finishes with a dry crispness. Not only did the raspberries make a great product, they really cleared up the mead. The cinnamon and vanilla did not come out so well. I guess I should have boiled the cinamon sticks. I think they ruined the batch they were in. The fruit infusion seems to be a great way to add a little something to your mead.

Cider - Mead - Melomel - Metheglin - and more Cider

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This weekend I re-racked my merry mead and added some raspberries to one gallon, cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans to another gallon, and bottled a gallon. It's still young and cloudy but should clear up here soon. I bottled some cider, kegged some cider, and started oak aging some applejack.

Fresh Hard Cider

cider.JPGcider1.JPGI made cider again this year, although I did not press my own apples like last year. I did use fresh Michigan cider however. I made five gallons with Lalvin D-47 and another five with Lalvin K1-V1116. I have sampled the D-47 it was really good. I like to make it a little on the dry side because I don't really like to arrest the fermentation. I hope that I can put some on tap in December when I finally get the finances to finish my Kegerator. In the meantime I will bottle some up and throw it in the beer fridge.

Blueberry Infused Merry Mead

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bb_mead.JPG100_2877.JPGI just finished my 'Merry Mead' and infused a bottle with blueberries making a melomel. A deep burgundy hue riding a silk ribbon soothes the eye, as the nose picks up a spring bouquet. The flavor is still a bit harsh as it has not really had time to mellow. None the less it has a real smooth finish with very little bitter aftertaste. I can't wait to see what it tastes like in a few months.

Strawberry Wine

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Mid-April, strawberries went on sale for a dollar a pound. So with six dollars burning a hole in my pocket, I decided to part with them in exchange for a dry wine with a perfectly distinct strawberry character.


     Strawberry Wine


6 Pounds Strawberries

15 Cups Dextrose

2 ½ Gallons Water


Boil up just like strawberry jam. Cool it, pitch a little Lalvin K1-V1116 and you are all set. 1.050 OG (Original Gravity). After ten days I re-racked. After two weeks I added a little gelatin, let is settle for a week and bottled.

And for all you New Zealanders out there it makes a great Eau De Vie.


The Brewmaster


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