Saturday, October 5, 2019

Acerglyn 1.0

I've never encountered an acerglyn at local bars, beer stores, or anywhere else.  After reading about this style of mead, I decided I would like to try making some.  I looked at a few recipes and built my own based on them.

Ingredients

7 ounces of Grade B Dark Maple Syrup
2 pounds of Wildflower Honey
1 packet of Lalvin 1116 yeast
1/2 tsp. Fermaid K
Enough bottled spring water to reach 1.75 gallons of volume

Original Gravity: 1.082 SG actual
Final Gravity: 0.995 SG estimated
ABV: 12% estimated

Combined some water, the honey, the maple syrup, and Fermaid into a 2-gallon fermenter. Using a drill and a wine degasser, combined the ingredients and aerated the wort. Dropped in a sanitized Tilt Hydrometer which read the gravity at 1.082 SG.  Pitched the yeast, sealed the fermenter, and added a sanitized airlock. Placed the fermenter in the coolest corner of the basement.

Notes and Observations

10/05/2019:  The must went together easily enough and there were no real issues.  It will be interesting to see how this one turns out.

10/06/2019:  Gravity is down to 1.076 SG today, with the temperature at 71F.  That's 6% apparent attenuation and 0.7% ABV in around 24 hours.

10/07/2019:  Gravity is 1.065 today.  Temperature is 70F.  That's 20.7% attenuation and 2.5% ABV.

10/08/2019:  Gravity is 1.060 today, temperature 68F, 26.8% attenuation, and 3.22% ABV.   I'll probably dose the must with some nutrients today to help the yeast along, as it seems to be moving a bit slowly - slower than the Cyser I created a few minutes before it.

10/09/2019:  Gravity is 1.054 today, temperature 68F, 34.2% attenuation, and 4.1% ABV.

10/13/2019:  Gravity is down to 1.021 today, temperature 67F, 74.4% attenuation, and 8.6% ABV.

10/14/2019:  Gravity is down to 1.013 today, temperature 68F, 84,2% attenuation, and 9.7% ABV.


Cyser 1.0

With the Brewie+ down for the count again, this weekend I decided to do a couple of mead-based beverages.  First up is a Cyser, which is a combination of apple cider and mead.

Ingredients
64 ounces Honeycrisp Apple Juice
64 ounces of a generic Organic Apple Juice
4 ounces Orange Blossom honey
2 pounds Wildflower honey (plus enough to reach 1.089 gravity)
1 packet Lalvin K1V 1116 yeast
1/2 tsp. Fermaid K
1/4 tsp. DAP
Enough spring water to reach 1.75 gallons after addition of the above

Original Gravity: 1.089 SG
Batch Volume: 1.75 gallons
Final Gravity: 0.995 SG estimated
ABV: 12% estimated

Mixed apple juice, honey, and nutrients in a 2 gallon bucket fermenter until well blended using a drill and wine degasser. Dropped in a Tilt Hydrometer to measure gravity and track throughout fermentation.  Gravity registered 1.089 SG and temperature registered 70F.  Sprinkled on the yeast, sealed the fermenter, inserted an airlock, and placed the fermenter in the coolest section of the basement.

Post-Brewing Notes and Observations

10/05/2019:  No issues getting the ingredients blended.

10/06/2019:  Gravity is down to 1.084 SG today, with the temperature at 71F.  That's 5.6% apparent attenuation and 0.7% ABV in around 24 hours.

10/07/2019:  Gravity is 1.036 SG, temperature is 73F, 59.6% attenuation, and 7.6% ABV.

10/08/2019:  Gravity is 1.021 SG, temperature 69F, 76.4% attenuation, and 9.7% ABV.

10/09/2019:  Gravity is 1.009 SG, temperature 68F, 89.9% attenuation, and 11.1% ABV.

10/13/2019:  Gravity is 1.001 SG, temperature 64F, near 100% attenuation, and 12.3% ABV.  Gravity has held at this level for a couple of days, so fermentation may be finished.

10/14/2019:  Gravity is 1.000 SG, temperature 66F, 100% attenuation, and 12.4% ABV.


Friday, October 4, 2019

Making Alton Brown's Immersion Cooker Fennel Cardamon Cordial

Alton Brown's "Good Eats" series is my favorite cooking show.  I love the way he explains the "why" and "how" of a recipe in detail, which helps you understand (if things don't go right) where you may have gone wrong.  In his episode on immersion cooking (also known as sous vide), he shows you how to make a cordial in an hour using an immersion cooker.

It took me a while to locate all the ingredients here in Columbus.  I ended up getting the fennel and vodka at Giant Eagle. The cardamom seeds, pods, and anise stars came from Amazon.  The Fennel fronds and bulb came from Trader Joe's at Easton.

Ingredients

32 ounces of 80-proof vodka
2 cups of fennel fronds
10 green cardamom pods
3 ounces granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black cardamom seeds
1 whole star anise

Begin by loading your sous vide vessel with hot water and set your immersion cooker to 140F.

While the cooker is getting up to that temperature, measure out the spices and fennel fronds.  Actual fronds weren't readily available where I looked, so I thinly sliced the fennel bulb to make up the difference in volume.

All the spices, sugar, and vodka go into a one-gallon zip-top bag.  Remove as much air as you can so that it will not float in the water bath.  Put the bag in the sous vide bath and leave it for one hour (or up to 90 minutes according to Alton Brown).

Take the bag out of the bath, submerge it in ice water to chill to room temperature.

Carefully pour the liquid through a strainer lined with a paper coffee filter.  Discard the solids and chill the liquid before serving.

The finished cordial, chilling in the refrigerator

Post-Preparation Notes and Observations

The cordial is mildly sweet, not as syrupy as other cordials I've tasted. There is a nice mix of citrusy flavors from the cardamom and anise flavors from the anise star, fennel, and fennel bulb/fronds.  Your taste may vary from mine, but I found it pleasant and easily sippable.  I'd liken it to a milder version of Drambuie, with a much lighter anise note than that beverage, and a brighter flavor due to the coriander. It's not something I would drink by the glassful, which at 80 proof (40% ABV) is probably for the best, but it's an enjoyable little drink.  Alton Brown says it can be stored for months, and although the color will lighten, the flavor and aroma will not.  I suspect I will be sipping on this for a while.