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Author Topic: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat  (Read 20429 times)

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Offline Magister

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Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« on: May 12, 2008, 08:46:34 AM »
Here is the place to chat about all those wonderful recipes... and ones that might not have been so wonderful.

  - Mag
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Offline DonaCatalina

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2008, 11:58:45 AM »
http://www.madisonherbsociety.org/pdfs/Cordial_Article_MHS_Herb_Fair_111007.pdf
This is pretty good reading for the beginner.
I want to specifically stress that distilled water is important.
Organic material in your tap water can affect the flavor. Sometimes this is the cause of that 'cough syrup' taste in sweet cordials.
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Offline Hoowil

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2008, 03:41:08 PM »
What about filtered water?
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Offline DonaCatalina

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2008, 03:46:27 PM »
What about filtered water?

Filtered water have a lot less of chemicals and organic material than tap water, but not everything will be removed.
If you just have an objection to distilled water, by all means, filtered is better than straight tap water.
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Offline Hoowil

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2008, 04:56:43 PM »
What about filtered water?

Filtered water have a lot less of chemicals and organic material than tap water, but not everything will be removed.
If you just have an objection to distilled water, by all means, filtered is better than straight tap water.
Just trying to keep cost and material storage space to a minimum.

My first batch of mead was bottled on the 5th. My second, made with fresh strawberries and vanilla bean, is under way. So far so good.
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Offline DonaCatalina

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2008, 07:02:21 AM »
Using plant material for flavoring is the best way to get a good rich flavor that doesn't taste fake, i.e. blackberries, vanilla beans, straberries, etc.
But you do need to make sure that you strain out the plant material very carefully.
As in red wine making, the stems, skins and seeds are left in for a short time to add.... well oomph to the flavor. But these are filtered out before the last fermenting and setting stage.
Any plant debris left in your making will eventually decompose and leave a very bitter taste behind.

I used alternating coffee filters with cheese cloth.

Does it sound like I'm lecturing?  ::) Sorry, I get in that mode sometimes.
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Offline Hoowil

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2008, 08:53:06 PM »
I took about two pounds of strawberries, and pureed them, boiled them in half gallon water, then strained out most the pulp with a fine seive. I'll skim it and filter when I rack and prepare to clear. The vanilla was floated in a soak bag, and pulled after a week of brewing.

On a different note, has anyone experimented with using brown sugar to raise the SG levels instead of white sugar? I figure since rum is made from molasses, that it shouldn't be a problem. I actually used it for about half of my sugar in my first batch. Just wondering if anyone else has tries this, and what they thought of it.
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Offline Tami MacLeod

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2008, 05:08:27 PM »
Ok i know this isn't like what your talking about but, i bought one of them mr beer kits.. lol, well it worked really good for me and one of the kit 3 different beers to make called for brown sugar, and i like it way more then with white sugar, but with the brown, it took about  4 days longer for it to clear.

I got the kit to see if i liked it before i spent a lot of money on this and that, i loved doing it and it was fun. I knwo many don't like mr beer kits tho, but for me it was fun and cheap too.
thanks
Moira

Offline Magister

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2008, 05:43:42 PM »
Moira:

  Wow... You are the very first person I have ever heard that had a good experience with a "Mr. Beer" kit.  Usually it's a horror story of epic proportions.

  I personally have never tried using Brown Sugar inplace of white.  I knew a guy who used "unrefined" or the natural sugar like you get in the little brown packets at Starbucks.  From what I remember him telling me it didn't make a whole lot of difference to anything.

  I'm curious what the end result would be with an all brown sugar mixture - wine or beer.  If it works like Moira Mr. Beer, or if there are other interactions.  If someone tries it let us know how it goes.
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Offline Hoowil

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2008, 09:21:41 PM »
I'm doing small batches (2 to 2.5 gal), just to play around with and experiment so as to learn the process. I've enough honey to do two more of such batches, and I think I'll be starting clearing this batch soon. I'll give a straight brown sugar batch a try, but at this point I have no standard white sugar brew to compare it with.

Aside from the idea being just plain blasphemous, I wonder about corn syrup too. Hey, it's sugar isn't it?

I know my first batch, with the half brown, using a chemical clearing agent that said '12 to 48 hours to crystal clear' took about a day and a half to clear.
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Offline Tami MacLeod

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2008, 11:33:27 PM »
Moira:

  Wow... You are the very first person I have ever heard that had a good experience with a "Mr. Beer" kit.  Usually it's a horror story of epic proportions.

  I personally have never tried using Brown Sugar inplace of white.  I knew a guy who used "unrefined" or the natural sugar like you get in the little brown packets at Starbucks.  From what I remember him telling me it didn't make a whole lot of difference to anything.

  I'm curious what the end result would be with an all brown sugar mixture - wine or beer.  If it works like Moira Mr. Beer, or if there are other interactions.  If someone tries it let us know how it goes.
I know, everyone i spoke to or talked about Mr Beer all said the same bad stuff.. But of course it was after i bought the kit that i found all this out. But i gave it a shot, and i wasn't bad at all.. but there are diff kinds of kits too and types of beer as well.. when i got the kit, i also picked out a 3 pack of  diff types of beer, i haven't used the mix that came with the big kit yet, so maybe i found a good beer kit? Just made 2 batches with extra bottles, and the replacement kits.
i dunno but i do know your right, everyone saids its bad..

This is the one and only time i ever made beer, but i don't really call it making when all i did was open packages and dumping it in.. But i did like the sweet ale from the brown sugar..
I didn't even know that sugar is what give it bubbles lol.. foam/head.. i do  know the 2 ways to make the foam now tho..
If i can figure out a way to post pics here, i can take some pics of the kit and bottle and one beer poured into a glass so you can see.

Offline Hoowil

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2008, 10:05:13 PM »
Question: anyone have an opinion on the lever/spring lidded bottles? the ons with the ceramic top, rubber gasket, and such. Are they good for beer? Wine? Mead? Cider?

Question #2: Anyone figure out a good/easy way to clean syphone hose? I've been rinsing the thing thouroughly with hot soapy water, ans sanatizing between uses, but would like to give it a deeper cleaning.

Anyone able to point me towards a good hard cider recipe? There's a group of apple growers about 50 miles from here that usually start selling pressed juice/cider around september, not to mention dozens of varieties of apples and other yummies. I figure do a couple more small batches of mead over the summer, while I check on cider making.
Then all I'll need is help drinking   ;)
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Offline Magister

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2008, 04:40:06 PM »
Calling all makers of Cordials, Liqueurs, and Lokis, Lokii .. hmm anyways.

I have recently found myself in the possession of a moderate amount of replenishable grain alcohol.  Think a strong vodka or Everclear.  I would like to try my hand at making various liquors from it.  I'm done the, "soak fruit in sugar, then soak sugary fruit in alcohol" version.. but am wondering if people have had good success with other recipes.

Anyone out there have any suggestions?
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Offline Captain Kilian

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2008, 08:44:04 PM »
Well, I am about to embark on my home brewing in about a week, for the first time. Beer and mead.

But, I read that their are packets of nutrients for the yeast to speed up the process in mead, even ones made form broken yeast cells (so that technically, you are still only using water, yeast and honey. I was wondering if anyone has used these, and if it had any effect on taste.
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Offline DonaCatalina

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Re: Brewing, Mead-Making, Cordial Chat
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2008, 08:31:31 AM »
I had a friend try this. Some of his batches came out like perfectly normal mead but some came out with a drier champagne like mouth and taste.
You might experiment with a small batch and see what results you get.
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