February 11, 2005

Final stages of test brewing

Today's photo shows our final test brewing for both Cider, Cyser, Melomel and Mead.

Click for full-size Image

The carboys contain the following. Top row (counter) left to right:
* A yeast slurry to be pitched into the Blackberry Honey Sweet Mead (the small jar)
* Criterion, Ashmeads Kernal and Dabinett blend Cider
* Criterion, Brown Snout and Dabinett blend Cider
* Stayman Winesap Varietal fermenting with a wild yeast collected at our farm
* Stayman Winesap Varietal fermenting with a commercial yeast
* Blackberry Honey Sweet Mead

Lower Row (table) left to right
* Mixed Berry Melomel
* Commercial Honey sweet mead
* Blackberry Honey and Honeycrisp Cyser
* Stayman Winesap Varietal fermenting with a commercial yeast


The yeast slurry and the Mead are separate because the Mead is still a little too hot to add the yeast. You can get off flavors if not outright killing your yeast if you combine them at too high a temperature. I pasteurize the wort at 160 degrees F and need to cool it down. The yeast slurry is prepared by making a small batch of Mead, adding the powdered yeast and letting it ferment. At the height of fermentation when the yeast has multiplied and are very happily fermenting away, I then add it to the final batch of Mead. This ensures a solid start to my fermentation.

The wild yeast that I am experimenting with is one that we found by letting some one-gallon batches ferment on their own. Some were not good but this one has a very nice flavor profile on the finished product. It would be very nice if this one could be scaled up to our commercial production. Finally a use for my College Microbiology classes and Jen's Biochemistry background…

The Stayman Winesap apples came from trees already on property. They are a fine eating apple and make awesome Cider — we will be grafting more of these as our orchard expands…

The Ashmeads Kernal, Brown Snout and Dabinett Cider apples came from the Western Washington Fruit Research Center — they hold Fall Openhouses and give the starting Cidermaker the opportunity to buy some of their fruit.

The Mixed Berry (Raspberry, Blueberry and Marionberry) Melomel has not had the berries added yet — I am letting the Honey ferment for a few weeks first. I will then transfer the juice to a tank and mash the berries in, letting them sit under a CO2 blanket for a about two weeks. I will then strain out this mess and transfer it back into a new fermenting carboy for the final fermentation and clarification. A lot more work but the end result is this wonderful wine-like berry-like flavor that really improves with cellaring. This will be one of the Premium Products we sell but it will be worth it…

Posted by DaveH at February 11, 2005 02:10 PM | TrackBack

What are your carboys made of? Are you using them for both primary and secondary ferments? Don't they impart a noticeable plastic taste? Have you executed side-by-side comparisons with glass or PETE vessels?


Posted by: anonymous at July 1, 2006 02:55 PM

Keep up the great work on your blog. Best wishes WaltDe

Posted by: WaltDe at August 31, 2006 08:56 PM