Bottling Bock

Bottling bock

The bock has been sitting in the secondary fermenter for close to a week and we clearing out nicely. A small yeast cake was forming on the bottom of the carboy, and the gravity at a steady 1.020. Time to bottle it and let the bubbles build.

After the usual pain in the ass of cleaning out 50+ bottles and sanitizing everything we were able to start filling bottles. This time I decided to try bottling usuing a bottling wand. This made filling the bottles easier, and less messy, but it also slowed down the flow from the siphon tube just a bit. There wasn’t even enough beer spilled on the floor to bring Cash into the kitchen to lick up the mess.

Now we are once again back to being patient. After 3 weeks in fermenters the freshly bottled beer should carbonate in 2-3 weeks, and according to the instructions should be allowed to condition for another 21 days. Which means I’m gunna have to find some Jewish friends and celebrate Hannuka in early December and crack a few of these open.


Mead Making Mishap

I was first introduced to the hobby of homebrewing earlier this year and had no idea what the hell I was doing. I watched people make it and even researched the basics of brewing your own beer. It seemed easy, so I went ahead and purchased a basic equipment kit along with an Amercian Amber ale kit. Lets just say that my first experience in homebrewing was actually my most successful to date as you will find out in this post along with future postings.

After my first kit was brewed, fermented, bottle conditioned, and taste tested I figured it was time to get something else going. As you may know, homebrew kits are fairly pricey and I was looking for something a little on the cheap side…that’s when I came across a simple mead recipe in a home brewing catalog. Simple…very nice! So I ordered up the ingredients (I can’t find the recipe so I don’t know how much of what went into this) and bought three pounds of honey from a local beekeep because I was only going to make one gallon of the stuff. Wise decision on my part.

Having the ingredients in hand, I got down to business. I dissolved the honey in the water and tossed in the other ingredients minus the yeast. I let the concoction of water, honey, and other ingredients cool before I added the yeast and once that was done all I could do was sit back and wait anxiously. The mead started fermenting and seemed like it might never stop. After two weeks it was still bubbling out of the airlock. What the hell, I thought to myself…the recipe claimed it would slow significantly at two weeks and then I could go on with the recipe. Not mine, it just kept going and going.

When it finally did stop bubbling out of the airlock I racked it for the first time, stabilized it with potassium sorbate, and added yet another cup of honey to hopefully sweeten the ‘Viking drink’ out. Then it was more waiting. About a month later, give or take a few, I racked it yet again to rid of any sediment left floating around and continued to let it sit in the one gallon glass carboy for another week or so before bottling. When bottling finally came I had my four wine bottles ready and an abundance of corks because I could only buy a minimum of twenty-five. I was excited…the mead looked good and smelled alright but I just figured it needed some time alone to come together and become a most righteous drink.

Bottling was just as easy and making the mead itself. I siphoned the mead into four wine bottles and corked them with a handcorker…which is simpler to use than you read about. Now it was time to sit back and let my mead age. I had never tried mead up until this point and I was looking forward to the day I could finally try it. As it aged I continually checked on it. What I was looking for is beyond me but I went ahead and did it anyways. As it aged a bit longer I checked on it less and less but still checked on it from time to time.

I figured that by the time October came around this sweet elixir would be ready to test…it was just a matter of when to bust it out. My buddy, Ian, was set to have a Halloween party on the 29th of October and I decided that this would be the best time to crack open a bottle and sample it. People would be there and I would be praised for the intensive labor I put into this mead. Well the time finally came and I showed up to the party dressed as a pirate with a bottle of mead in hand best site. We chilled it prior to sampling and then I saw Ian take the bottle out, open it up, pour a glass, take a sip, and then hand it to me…

I saw no reaction on his face whatsoever so I figured it couldn’t be all that bad. Then I took my sip…huh?!, not what I expected at all. Not sweet enough and it had the overpowering taste of too much alcohol in it. Not a bad thing, because there is never too much alcohol, but it overpowered what I thought would be the pleasantly sweet taste of honey. It was an experiment that I just had to try and I learned that when a recipe says to stabilize after two weeks you should probably just do it because that honey will just continue to ferment and ferment. That and next time I need to sweeten with a lot more honey.

All in all it was a great experience and I look forward to making my next mead…I still have two bottles of this mead left and I’m hoping that it only gets better as it ages. I guess we will just have to wait and see.



Homemade Mead


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Sparkling Wine Bottled

After a few months in the fermenters it was finally time to bottle the Sparkling wine. I bought a fresh case of 12 new bottles from the supply store, while the ole’ lady was drinking a few bottles so I we could get the 15 we needed. Which also means I’m able to follow directions because the instructions said we would get 15 bottles and thats exactly what we got!

The wine looked nice and clear in the secondary fermentor. We were careful not to suck up any of the yeast sediment when racking it to the bottling bucket, where the priming sugar was already waiting. I had boiled some water and added the priming sugar to get it all dissolved so it would mix in with the wine easier. Now the residual yeast in the wine will consume the sugar we just added and give our bubbly the bubbles.

Christmas and New Years is fast approaching, Buying and that is the projected date for this Sparkling wine to be ready to drink. Upon bottling it need about 4-6 weeks to properly carbonate, but with the colder temperatures we have it may take just a bit longer. So to be save I’ll wait 2 months and then pop a cork.

New batch

With nothing better to do, other than sip a few cold ones, we decided to boil up a batch of beer on saturday night. And it just so happened that they had some good Brewer’s Best kits on sale at the local home brew store. We choose to try our hand at a Bock kit as these are traditionaly brewed in winter and then ready to consume for spring festivities. I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with some reason to party in the spring, provided there is some of this beer left.

In the past I’ve used several different kits from Brewer’s Best, and always had good results. Like most of their kits this one is a mix between extract and grain brewing. It took us just over 2.5 hours from the time we started cleaning the equipment to when the beer was cool enough to put into the primary. My plan is to let it sit in the primary for a week or so, then rack into a secondary for a few weeks.

Triple beer bottled

Bottled this new batch of Triple beer on 10-10-10. This was a simple extract kit from Brewferm. 1 3.3lb can of the liquid malt extract will make a .5 gallon batch of beer. So naturally I used 2 cans of the extract to make a 5 gallon batch of beer. The recipe from the can is quite simple, add the extract syrup and water to your primary fermentor and then the stated amount of sugar. For a little added zip I used some brown sugar and honey along with the normal corn sugar. This should produce a quite high original gravity which in turn will make a rather high alcohol content. The can from Brewtherm stated an O.G of 1.075 and 8% alcohol although my numbers were just a touch lower.

Upon bottling the beer had real nice carmely color, and tasted a bit sweet. Per the instructions that came with the beer It should be allowed to mature for 6-8 weeks before drinking the freshly bottled beer. This extended maturation period should help it develop some body along with building carbonation. Only time will tell, and I am definitly anxious to crack one!

Sparkling Wine

This is the Degassing step on our “New Millennium” Sparkling wine. This is a 3 gallon kit from Wine expert, and is very simple. The wine has already been in the Primary fermenter and then racked to a secondary. It has now been sitting in the secondary for about 10 days, after being in the primary for a little over 3 weeks. Now we just have to wait appoximately 2 weeks for the wine to clear before bottling. I hope to bottle at the end of October, which will the give the wine about 2 months to bottle condition before we crack one open on New Years Eve.