March 2017 Wine of the Month Club

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Jericurl

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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.


March 2017 Participants:

Jericurl.....Hiraeth Mead

Bodenski.....Fall Spice Metheglin

Buckhorn.....JAOM X4 (Clementine, Wild Blueberry, Blackberry and Peach)

 
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Jericurl

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I'm participating in an acerglyn (mead made using honey and not more than 50% maple syrup) challenge in another group I belong to online.

I figure since I'm starting it today, I'll combine it with the March WOTM club, since this will be a brand new recipe for me. I'll be continuing my series of untranslatable words. This month's word is:

17155178_1249514461811042_5228668332510622580_n.jpg
 
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Jericurl

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And here we go!!

Hiraeth

10 lbs blueberries
1 ceylon cinnamon stick
1 tsp mahlab, lightly crushed
1 quart Grade A dark maple syrup
7 lbs mesquite honey
8 lbs, 10 oz buckwheat honey
3 tsp pectic enzyme
1 T bentonite
1 vanilla bean
2 packets of BM 4x4 yeast (should have used 3, but didn't have anymore)
Water to just under 6 gallons (target is 5.5 gallons finished)

Modified TiOSNA (At 24, 48, and 72 hours after yeast pitch, add 10.5g of Fermaid O. Total of 42 grams)

When I rack to secondary I'll add at least another 5 lbs of blueberries.
I haven't decided yet if I'm going to stabilize, then backsweeten with a maple syrup/buckwheat honey mixture or if I'll keep back adding up to 1.02 until the yeast gives up.
 
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Bodenski

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So you are looking for something off of the beaten path for this club? I just started a Metheglin, but it's a recipe I found online. (It's a fall spice one, which should be really good next year.) I'll have to think of something that I haven't seen a recipe for yet that I might want to try. Might be next month, but I think I want to try this!
 

Jericurl

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So you are looking for something off of the beaten path for this club? I just started a Metheglin, but it's a recipe I found online. (It's a fall spice one, which should be really good next year.) I'll have to think of something that I haven't seen a recipe for yet that I might want to try. Might be next month, but I think I want to try this!
No, not necessarily. You can use anything you've never tried before, or have tried and are attempting to tweak it. The only rule is that it needs to be made at some point this month.

eta: You can check out threads in past years and find a lot of different ideas, etc.
 
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Bodenski

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OK. I'll bite!

On March 3rd I started a "Fall Spice Metheglin" recipe. The recipe says to bulk age a year, and then 6 months in bottles. I started it now so it would be ready for fall 2018, but I'll be drinking some in a year's time frame. So I'll see how it ends up then! (I think this is the only thing I'm starting this month.)

Fall Spice Metheglin (1 gallon)

2.2 pounds of Trader Joe's Clover Honey.
1 Vanilla Bean (split)
1 Cinnamon Stick
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 large orange, juiced. (You'll see in the picture that I didn't juice it real well first!)
1/2 tsp acid blend
1/2 tsp pectic enzyme

1 & 1/2 cups of Orange juice
1 tsp yeast nutrient
Montrachet yeast

The yeast and yeast nutrient were pitched into the tepid 1.5 cups of OJ for an hour before adding to the bucket. Also, the original recipe called for the juice of an orange, but I didn't have a good juicer. I tried squeezing it like crazy to get the juice out, but ended up getting a lot of the segments into the primary.

OG was 1.070. I had a little too much water, and that's why the honey amount seems odd. I added some until I got the SG up to 1.070. I wanted a little higher, but I think this will be alright.

I'm a little worried that the ginger, allspice and nutmeg are kind of old spices. The vanilla and cinnamon stick are both fresh. I can taste these other spices, but not as strong as I would have thought initially.

Plan is to go 3 weeks or so in primary, then rack into secondary. Depending on taste, I might put the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick into the secondary as well. I'll edit the post later to show what I actually end up doing.

Not very appetizing looking yet. (Now that I look at it, it's kind of nasty!) But it smells good. And I'm hoping that as the alcohol increases it will extract more flavor from the spices.

 

BernardSmith

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I don't know that this should take so long to age. The total gravity should be about 1.080 (the honey without any orange juice should be about 1.077) So if you are adding nutrient (and perhaps only adding the acid blend - if needed - just before you bottle this may be ready to drink sooner than you imagine (perhaps 6 months - or even sooner)
 

Bodenski

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I don't know that this should take so long to age. The total gravity should be about 1.080 (the honey without any orange juice should be about 1.077) So if you are adding nutrient (and perhaps only adding the acid blend - if needed - just before you bottle this may be ready to drink sooner than you imagine (perhaps 6 months - or even sooner)
I think I'm above a gallon a water, which is keeping the SG lower than expected. The original recipe called for a tsp of acid blend, but I only added 1/2 tsp figuring I'd wait till the end to see if it needed more. (The original also called for 1/4 tsp tannin. I have some, but haven't added that yet either. Not sure if I'll need to.)

I want to eventually wait on drinking a bottle to see how they improve with age, but I'm admittedly not very good at waiting ;). I'll see if I can let it go a year before drinking!

I thought about using a touch of oak as well, but I'm not sure yet how that would go with the rest of these flavors. (i have some oak chips, and I was thinking about using 2 gms worth. I think they recommend 4 gms for a gallon, so it would be just a touch.) Luckily I can do that much later in the process. I'll see how it goes "as-is" first.
 

Jericurl

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@Bodenski

I'm a little worried that the ginger, allspice and nutmeg are kind of old spices
.
well, if you are going to have old spices, those are definitely the ones you want as a little can go a long way.

Also I agree with BernardSmith that you will likely be drinking this one by this winter 2017-2018. I mean, sure it will be a knockout by 2018, but should be fairly good within 6-9 months easily.
 

BernardSmith

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It's easy to over-oak. You might want to check the level of oakiness after about 10 -14 days in the secondary. Can't say that my process is even good but when I oak I typically add about 5 cubes for every gallon for about 10 days
 

buckhorn

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Hey all -- I've been away for a few years, but now am returning to the hobby and am gonna jump into WOTM again. I've been reading about Meads and wanted to try some, after debating, decided to start with the JAOM - Buuuuut my mind started thinking and well, tonight I pitched the yeast for 4 - 1 gal. batches of "JAOM" style Meads. I will list all 4 batches here since they will be going through the process together. I am hoping they work out to be drinkable shortly like JAOM is supposed to be, but will have to be sure to hide at least 1 bottle of each to get that 1 year taste to review.

Here are the changes I made to Joe's original JAOM recipe
1. Clementine
- replaced the 1 orange with 3 clementines, cut in 8ths
- 25 raisins, cut in half
- used (1) clove, (1) cinnamon stick (no allspice or nutmeg)
- added 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme (to hopefully help clearing and I added it so the other batches so did it here)
- I removed about 1 pint from the jug to leave room for fermentation and will add it back when the ferment calms a little to top up to the 1 gallon amount
- measurements at yeast pitch: temp 71 F, OG 1.142, pH 4.4 (these are higher than I expected, but since this was so close to the original recipe I let it be to see how it goes)

2. Wild Blueberry
- used 2 lbs of frozen/thawed wild blueberries
- 25 raisins, cut in half
- did not use any spices
- 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
- I removed about 1 pint from the jug to leave room for fermentation and will add it back when the ferment calms a little to top up to the 1 gallon amount
- measurements at yeast pitch: temp 71 F, OG 1.086, pH 4.0

3. Blackberry
- used 2 lbs of frozen/thawed Blackberries
- 25 raisins, cut in half
- did not use any spices
- 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
- I removed about 1 pint from the jug to leave room for fermentation and will add it back when the ferment calms a little to top up to the 1 gallon amount
- measurements at yeast pitch: temp 71 F, OG 1.085, pH 4.0

4. Peach
- used 3 lbs of frozen/thawed Peaches (I had frozen these myself, they had no stones or skins and had been dipped in lemon juice before freezing to preserve color)
- 25 raisins, cut in half
- did not use any spices
- 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
- I removed about 1 pint from the jug to leave room for fermentation and will add it back when the ferment calms a little to top up to the 1 gallon amount
- measurements at yeast pitch: temp 71 F, OG 1.112, pH 4.0

Pics and Updates will be coming......

-Brian
 

buckhorn

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My wife and her friend were razzing me tonight about my "Science Experiments". I guess since I had my supplies spread out in the kitchen, with 4-1 gallon jugs full of must, was testing temp, pH and SG.... well, it probably did look a lot like I was in a High School Chemistry class.

Anyway, Here are the 4 batches of JAOM-style Meads that I started tonight (L to R): Clementine, Wild Blueberry, Blackberry and Peach. This pic was taken just after I pitched the yeast (about 5-5:30 pm). I did notice by 8:30 I was seeing occasional bubbles in the airlocks of 3 of the 4 jugs (Clementine is the only one I did not see any activity in, but it is early)

 

Bodenski

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Well today I transferred from primary to secondary. SG was .998. The taste was . . . kind of bland. For all the spices I had in it I had hopped for something more. I rinsed off the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean and threw them into the secondary. I'll leave them there until the next rack, which will probably be a couple of months. I also degassed it like crazy.

This was my first time today using pantyhose to try and filter out the orange bits floating around in the must. It flowed much more slowly than normal, but it's much cleaner looking than what I've had in the past. It really does make a difference having fruit in a bag! When I do my Cabernet juice & grapes in a few months I will keep the grapes in a bag for sure. Makes it much easier to transfer!

Plan is to later today top off the gallon carboy a little more, then transfer what flows easily into a beer bottle from the wine bottle. And then maybe transfer a little into me ;)

 

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I am making Elderberry following the recipe at the E C Krauss website. I had frozen elderberries from last year. The Ph was pretty high so I added more acid blend than the recipe calls for to get the PH to a manageable level. I also had leftover skins from a petit Verdot kit that I threw in for fun. I also modified the sugar called for and instead just added enough to get the SG to 1.087.
 

Jericurl

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I started pretty high here, but SG is only down to 1.06. This just seems soooo sloooooooooow.

20170306_090616.jpg
 

Bodenski

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Here's an updated picture of mine. It's clearing quite nicely.

I do have a question. I think I've calculate the ABV at 9.5%. That's pretty low for what I've made in the past. I guess I shouldn't expect it to last forever in the bottle. Can you expect any issues with it being that low? (I think that will lead it to also being an early drinker, which is a good thing!)



The gallon carboy to the right is an apple cyser, which is taking forever to clear!
 

buckhorn

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My 4 batches are progressing along nicely.
Color is beautiful (especially on the wild blueberry and blackberry),
Smell in my brewing corner went from fruity to fruity and alcohol to now it is just a slight hint of fruity and not getting the alcohol smell.
I think the fermentation is slowing down -based on airlock activity and less bubbles seen working its way up through the cap on the must - this is probably causing the reduction in the smell as less is escaping the jugs.

Updated Pic: (l to r) Clementine - Wild Blueberry - Blackberry - Peach
 

Bodenski

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Today I went ahead and took it off of the settled lees (it was looking really clear) and I sneaked a taste.

Not going to lie. Not a fan right now. I think it's primarily because it's super gassy. I whipped degassed it several times and also put the vacuvin on it to pull some more. (I tried it before I degassed it.) I thought I had pulled a lot off earlier, but there was a lot left apparently. Hopefully what I pulled off today will help.

I can taste the orange juice, and not much else that is distinct over the gas. I hopped having the vanilla bean in secondary for a while would help, but I couldn't taste much of that in there. I went ahead and added the vanilla bean back into the carboy. It's low alcohol (for a wine), so maybe it just needs a lot more time to soak.

My plan now it to leave it alone for 3 months and see where it's at then. I think it will still be an early drinker if I wanted it to be, but I hope that the spice flavors pop a little more once it finishes degassing. And I do plan on leaving a bottle or two for a year or so to see if it greatly improves with time. Right now I wouldn't make this recipe again as-is. Maybe with more honey I would try, and I wouldn't add the vanilla or cinnamon to the primary. AT least that's my current thoughts.

Separate note: I started a cherry mead today that would be a great entry into an April WOTM :)
 

BernardSmith

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Last night I primed and bottled a juniper berry mead I started 3/1/17.
2 lbs orange blossom honey
2 T juniper berries
1 cinnamon stick
1 T cardamon pods
1 T coriander seeds
1 T all-spice
1/2 grated nutmeg
4 blackened bananas (sliced with skins) - this to increase mouthfeel
Yeast: WLP 515

Boiled about 1 gallon water to make a tea with berries, bananas and spices (40 minutes to extract flavors; allowed tea to cool and mixed tea with honey in blender (to aerate)
Pitched yeast
Added 1 T Fermaid O (not a typo).
Racked 3/7/17 - gravity about 1.000
3/8/17 gravity dropped to .998 - added 3 T more juniper berries to secondary (about 20 berries)
4/5/17 racked to bottling bucket
added 1 T lemon extract, 1 scant T liquorice extract, 1 T star anise extract (all extracts home made)
Bottled in 350 CC beer bottles primed with carbonation drops (1 per bottle).
ABV = about 9%, so not a session mead...

Plan to open in about 3 weeks.
 
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