mead v.2.0, dreg culturing, hop/funk updates

with over a month between me and my last brew session, I was again itching to get a boil going.

  • unfortunately, the long weekend was packed with events, so I was left with a thursday evening and a third of a garage to work with.  luckily, AP had picked up fifteen pounds of local honey from the farmer’s market a few weeks back, so these limited conditions proved perfect for a quick mead-making session.
  • I stuck with my old preparation4 gals@ 115F, 14lb honey, cool below 80F, hit with some O2, add yeast and nutrients.  I went with WLP715 again and added staggered nutrients for the first three days while degassing the mead.  to fight the heat, I stuck the fermenter in my temp-controlled fermentation fridge at ~67F and will ignore it for about a month before racking it to a corny keg.
  • anyone even remotely interested in mead should give mead-making a shot – total prep time (including cleanup) was about 1.5 hrs, and using a turkey fryer setup and ambient overnight cooling you could probably knock it down to less than an hour.  the hardest part is finding suitable brewing attire

additionally, on tuesday I started formulating a recipe for this weekend’s brew session.

  • after pondering light, clean california ales and summer belgians, I decided on a non-funked saison (due largely in part to temps in the 80s).  unfortunately, my yeast bank only had slurries of WLP570 golden strong, WLP500 trappist, and my wild house strain, as well as a vial of WLP655 sour mix I.
  • therefore, my only other options were to (a) send in an online order and pay $12-15 for a vial that would likely sit in a hot warehouse for a day or two, (b) drive an hour round-trip to the local brew shop to pick up a single yeast vial, or (c) culture some yeast from a bottle down in the cellar.
  • I went with (c) and grabbed a bottle of upright’s four, knocked it down with some panang curry, sterilized the lip of the bottle with a butane lighter, and pitched the dregs into a 800mL starter.  hopefully three days on the stirplate will be enough to get the yeast ready for action.

the advent of summer has also triggered some great hop and bug growth.

  • despite having their initial runner vines accidentally amputated, both my cascade and vojvodina varieties have bounced back as strong as ever and are going nuts up the side of the house.  the chinook have also reached the two-story mark and are still going to the roof.  unfortunately, the zeus crown that I split never took off and what little foliage it has is getting cooked in the afternoon sun.  I still have my fingers crossed though…
  • a nice looking pellicle has also been developing on my cuvee de blanc, which is on its third month in the fermenter.  only nine more to go…

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