January 2017 Wine of the Month Club

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Jericurl

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HAPPY NEW YEAR, WMT!! :hny2

:dg :d:b

Welcome to our monthly club!


This is the official thread for our unofficial club, open to anyone who is interested in making a one gallon (or larger) test/experimental batch and sharing the recipe, process, ups and downs with the rest of the club.

We like:
a) full recipes with all ingredients and steps as you go along
b) pictures
c) helpful suggestions on recipe ideas, stumped members
d) thinking outside the box
e) pictures! (did I say that already?)

At the end of the month, we would appreciate a recap of the good, the bad and the ugly of the primary fermentation, as well as periodic updates throughout the year as you go along. Recaps aren't required, but they could assist you or others later on down the road.

At the one year mark, we will all pop open a bottle of the previous year's wine and take pictures, post comments on how it turned out, and hopefully have a tried and true recipe to post in the recipes section.

Some months we have a lot of people participate, and sometimes life catches up with us and we aren't able to ferment as much as we might like. Feel free to drop in, drop by, drop a comment, whatever.
We welcome questions and suggestions from participants and casual observers alike.

If you aren't participating in this months thread, feel free to share your thoughts and ideas for any WOTM wines you have planned for this year.



January participants:

Jericurl..... T'ej

Jericurl.....Persimmon/lemongrass/ginger mead

Stressbaby.....Fig Wine
 
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BernardSmith

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Happy New Year Jericurl, Within the next few hours I am planning on an experimental batch of mead. My plan is to take 3.0 lbs of local raw honey and dissolve this in water to make a gallon of must. Into this gallon I will pitch about 17 cc Brettanomyces Limbicus without any nutrients. My goal is to see how this ferments and what palate this mead will produce. Brett is a yeast similar to Sacharomyces but it produces very different esters. When making sour beers Brett is often added to the secondary but a) it is not in and of itself a souring agent and b) it is a yeast that can fully ferment simple - and more complex sugars). I want to compare this batch to a very similar batch to which I intend to add about 5 oak cubes in the primary. I started a gallon batch of sour mead (I added L. brevis) and I want to see what a blend of these three might might give me.

My plan is to take hydrometer readings daily but I am often away and that may prove to be a problem. .
 
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Stressbaby

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Happy New Year Jericurl, Within the next few hours I am planning on an experimental batch of mead. My plan is to take 3.0 lbs of local raw honey and dissolve this in water to make a gallon of must. Into this gallon I will pitch about 17 cc Brettanomyces Limbicus without any nutrients. My goal is to see how this ferments and what palate this mead will produce. Brett is a yeast similar to Sacharomyces but it produces very different esters. When making sour beers Brett is often added to the secondary but a) it is not in and of itself a souring agent and b) it is a yeast that can fully ferment simple - and more complex sugars). I want to compare this batch to a very similar batch to which I intend to add about 5 oak cubes in the primary. I started a gallon batch of sour mead (I added L. brevis) and I want to see what a blend of these three might might give me.

My plan is to take hydrometer readings daily but I am often away and that may prove to be a problem. .
Bernard,
Is this the same Brettanomyces that causes "Brett" the wine flaw?
 

Stressbaby

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Fig Wine - January 2017

6.3# figs - roughly 80% are a white variety grown by a relative in TX, the rest are Chicago Hardy which I grew here in MO.
2kg sugar
7.5 pints water
0.2g Lallzyme EX
1.5t pectic
0.25tsp tannin
1.3g Booster Blanc
2g Opti White
1.5t tartaric acid
0.5t citric acid

Thaw frozen figs. Mince the figs, but go easy and do not puree, by giving each batch about 5 pulses in the Cuisinart. Mix it all up. Wait 24 hours and pitch a starter, step feed, etc., etc.

Starting pH was 6.06, adjusted to 3.64. SG 1.088. Will pitch tomorrow night.

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BernardSmith

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Bernard,
Is this the same Brettanomyces that causes "Brett" the wine flaw?
Indeedy... and Brett used to be invariably viewed as a fault in beers but today many home and professional brewers are embracing Brett. Strikes me that given the particular flavor profiles associated with Brett it might make a very interesting mead. If this doesn't work then no foul... I am out a gallon or two of mead - and last year I tried to make a sour mead (not Brett) but I failed to stop the fermentation when it was incredibly delicious. So sour and mead are not oxymorons... Perhaps Brett and mead might make excellent bed-fellows... But there is only one way to find out. But that said, at the back of my mind I think that there is at least one commercial meadery making Brett meads, possibly three
 

Jericurl

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I've officially used all the honey in the house, but as soon as I get stocked back up again I'll be making t'ej. And I can't wait.

We've had several Ethiopian dishes over the past couple of weeks and I can't wait to have a beverage to pair with them.

Now I've just got to figure out if I want to go with a milder honey or something like buckwheat with a stronger flavor.
 

Jericurl

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@Stressbaby , I'll be following yours closely. I've got about 20 lbs of figs in the freezer and will be making fig mead in the near future.

@BernardSmith , I've never had a sour beer before. It sounds pretty interesting. Any suggestions on commercial brands?
Also, I think you will probably find that it works well with mead. I'm a member of several mead groups on Facebook and I've seen several of them doing it there, as well as on Reddit. There's a guy there that is wanting to write a book on it.
 
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BernardSmith

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I also saw that someone (is this the mad fermentist?) wants to write a book (self published) on sour meads but technically Brettanomyces does not in fact sour anything. It is a yeast that converts sugar to alcohol and CO2 but it produces esters that are different from the Saccharomyces that are generally used. And so you get the flavors that brewers call "horse blanket" or "barnyard" in their beers, but you can also get cherry flavors and mushroom flavors. But I am not sufficiently knowledgeable to know what causes the horse blanket and what the cherry. Different strains of Brett or different quantities of the cells in the must... and in truth I don't know if the effects that people speak about are effects caused by the use of grains rather than honey. This may taste like hooey... in which case I will have lost 3 lbs of honey but I suspect that even if I don't have a prize winner the mead will nevertheless go down quite nicely

To make a sour mead , you need to produce lactic acid from the sugars and to do that you need to use bacteria and not a fungus (yeast) . I have made one sour mead using L. Brevis but L.Brevis (it seems) cannot in fact rip through 90 or even 35 points of sugar. It will reduce the gravity by a few points (one or two points only according to White Labs) as it transforms sugars into lactic acid so you typically add either Brett or Saccharomyces to finish the job (I added the latter and jacked up the temperature). What L.Brevis does is to drop the pH and what that can mean is that you need to find a yeast that is happy in a low pH environment. Turns out that Brett is very happy in low pH wines and meads, far happier than Saccharomyces.

What I am thinking about is to see how this batch does and perhaps blend some of this with a sour I am making (started last month) and or with a chocolate mead I am making. I am also about to make another batch of Brett mead (same strain of Brett, same honey) but this time add to the primary about 5 cubes of oak to see how the Brett handles the oak. Oak contains some sugars that Brett can ferment and the Brett can get into the oak which means that I could use the cubes in another batch to inoculate the mead with this strain of Brett... and my idea would be to make a tej using Gesho and these oak cubes ('cause I am interested in stretching the boundaries with my tej). Since tej is a folk drink and since folk are not purists and often, it seems, add all kinds of additions to their tej from spices to coffee and from grains to fruit then adding oak and Brett may make this kinda unique...Anyway, we shall see what we shall see.
 
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Stressbaby

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Fig wine update

Today I strained off the fruit and moved to carboy. There is still a fair amount of sediment and it is still fermenting, so I will let it go another couple of days. Hopefully there is enough CO2 to protect it for now, then I'll rack it down to just a 1 gallon.

There is nothing about this wine so far that is even the least bit remarkable. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Jericurl

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Ok, looks like I'll have two experiments going this month.

The first will be a Persimmon/lemongrass/ginger batch

@ 1 quart of bottom mead/slight dregs left over from racking my almost traditional meadowfoam mead

2 cups must from currently fermenting American persimmon mead

1 c honey

2 lbs Asian Persimmons (the huge, squat looking ones)

3/4 oz lemongrass stalks

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp Fermaid K

This was more or less thrown together with no rhyme or reason, both to use up the last bit of mead from racking and to get a couple more items out of my freezer.

I'm aiming for something with a bit lower ABV that will be ready to drink fairly soon.
Let's see what happens.
 
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Jericurl

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Ok, I finally got my T'ej up and going.

I loosely followed instructions from here https://ethiopiantej.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/5-making-tej-at-home/


I'm keeping this one simple and lazy.

1 quart gallberry honey
3 quarts water
3 oz gesho
Montrachet yeast

I was a little concerned about not sanitizing the gesho but hopefully the yeast takes hold and consumes anything that was thinking about colonizing. Well, between that and the honey I'm hoping anything else won't be able to take hold.

Fermentation is fairly active, so this one should be ready in no time.
The gesho is pretty interesting. I love the way it smells, it's a bit like an herb/spice store. Kind of like wood, tea, and old subtle spices. Maybe a hint of something peppery, nothing sharp though, maybe like old paprika. Very soothing.
 

wineforfun

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Ok, I finally got my T'ej up and going.

I loosely followed instructions from here https://ethiopiantej.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/5-making-tej-at-home/


I'm keeping this one simple and lazy.

1 quart gallberry honey
3 quarts water
3 oz gesho
Montrachet yeast

I was a little concerned about not sanitizing the gesho but hopefully the yeast takes hold and consumes anything that was thinking about colonizing. Well, between that and the honey I'm hoping anything else won't be able to take hold.

Fermentation is fairly active, so this one should be ready in no time.
The gesho is pretty interesting. I love the way it smells, it's a bit like an herb/spice store. Kind of like wood, tea, and old subtle spices. Maybe a hint of something peppery, nothing sharp though, maybe like old paprika. Very soothing.
I'll be watching this one. Never used Montrachet before. I used D47 for the first two batches then @BernardSmith got me using 71B, as he does. Both worked good, I think the 71B was a touch smoother tasting.

I also used 4 oz. of gesho in all my previous batches. However, my last batch I only used 3 oz. and like it better. The 4 oz. definitely gives a more pronounced bite or more of that bitter gesho taste.

I never sanitize my gesho. I take it out of the package, break them in half and put them in jar. Never had any issues. Also, I never add nutrient, clearing agents, kmeta, etc. to it.

I normally bottle it in plastic pop bottles and leave in fridge and then bottle a couple 375's with corks and age for a few months. Was worried about any residual sugars and yeast making "bombs" but so far haven't had any issues.
 

BernardSmith

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I wish I felt more adept about chemistry. I would check to see what yeast or bacteria are associated with the gesho. Not entirely convinced that they harbor wild yeast as much as they might harbor bacteria that in traditional t'ej "sour" the must much like it is (I think) bacteria and not simply wild yeast that make for sour dough (the bacteria provide the sour and the yeast the rising - which is why you can rarely successfully make a sour dough starter unless you drop the pH to a fairly high level of acidity but too low a pH prevents the yeast from gaining a toe hold). To prove that gesho provides souring bacteria (lacto?) I would need to grow on petri dishes a culture collected from the gesho. My guess is that with traditional t'ej the yeast may be in the containers and in the air.
 
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wineforfun

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I wish I felt more adept about chemistry. I would check to see what yeast or bacteria are associated with the gesho. Not entirely convinced that they harbor wild yeast as much as they might harbor bacteria that in traditional t'ej "sour" the must much like it is (I think) bacteria and not simply wild yeast that make for sour dough (the bacteria provide the sour and the yeast the rising - which is why you can rarely successfully make a sour dough starter unless you drop the pH to a fairly high level of acidity but too low a pH prevents the yeast from gaining a toe hold). To prove that gesho provides souring bacteria (lacto?) I would need to grow on petri dishes a culture collected from the gesho. My guess is that with traditional t'ej the yeast may be in the containers and in the air.
Interesting thoughts and Lord knows you are way more adept at chemistry than I.

I stopped in an Ethiopian restaurant last fall while in Denver(vacationing and picking up business cards for Harry Kloman). I tried a glass of their t'ej and while somewhat smooth and sweet it had a "dirty feet" odor/aroma about it. I didn't think to ask how they made it. We were having a hard enough time communicating as it was.
 

BernardSmith

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Sounds like Brettanomyces fermentation..

But as for being adept, I would be the first to admit that the idea of creating a sufficiently sterile environment to open petri dishes or to streak slants is outside my comfort zone. Moreover, I don't have the microscope to identify or the hemacytometer to count the cells
 

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