Just something I threw together as a favor to the wildly inaccurate internet. 1869 my ass.
*Edit: Sorry for the weird formatting, trying to make it GIS friendly.
Sunday was a big day.
First I bottled my batch of Christmas Metheglin: 8 bottles total. I tried some before bottling; it’s very dry, with a spicy aroma and a bit of bite in the flavor. It seems to be pretty high gravity; but my hydrometer broke so I can’t be certain.
Next we brewed up a fresh batch of rootbeer. This time we just used some extract and a little (seriously, like 1 TSP per gallon) molasses, plus a lot of sugar. Our first batch with the actual roots we used an ale yeast, which has a lower alcohol tolerance and consumes the sugar more slowly. This time we used a champagne yeast which will pressurize it quickly, since we’ll be bottling right away.
We got thirteen standard beer bottles of root beer, and two larger hinge-cork bottles. The bottle capper is a lot of fun for some reason. We don’t have labels yet, but we might get some printed up later this week, not certain about that yet.
After the rootbeer was boiled, cooled, and bottled, I started a new (smaller) batch of Mead. This will be a plain Mead, no spices or anything but honey. I used a little higher honey to water ratio, and the ale yeast instead of champagne yeast so this batch should be sweeter than the Metheglin, and without that bite. I also didn’t use a yeast nutrient, which supposedly can affect the flavor a bit, but instead used some of the yeast sediment from the Metheglin batch as a nutrient starter.
Only a gallon for this batch, but I think that in a month or two when I rerack this to a different carboy I’ll start another 2 gallon batch, and soon I’ll have Mead for all occasions, year round!
So my super awesome wife and I decided to do some brewing and give the results as Christmas presents. Actually it was mostly her idea and I went along because it’s awesome. Above are the results. The one on the right is my batch of Mead (technically Metheglin since I added spices) and the one on the left is Ye Really Olde Fashioned Rot Beer. Or maybe we should just say Sarsaparilla. Turns out, the FDA doesn’t like Sassafras unless it’s been deSafroled, which makes it a pain to get cheap. So we substituted extra Sarsaparilla instead. It smells kinda funny, but we’ll see how it turns out.
Above we have the ingredients we used for the Root Beer. Hopefully the batch will turn out. We are trying to brew it up to be mildly alcoholic, but if it comes out tasting bad I actually think the culprit will be the Burdock Root. That stuff smells awful by itself. Also, we’ll probably look into getting some Sassafras Root if this batch doesn’t come out right. We should know in a few weeks.
The Metheglin is going to take a lot longer. It won’t actually be done until December, and even then I’m supposed to let it age in the bottles for at least a year. But I’ll probably only age a bottle or two; I’ve had unaged Mead before and loved it, and I’m just too impatient to wait that long. I tried a little of the Must (unfermented Mead) and it tasted great, just like Christmas in fact. I’m making it as a dry Mead, so it won’t be very sweet, but the cinnamon and cloves and rosemary should give it about the perfect spice.
I wish I had though to snap some pictures during the brewing process, but it sadly did not occur to me. For those of you unfamiliar with the brewing process, it goes something like this: first, disinfect the hell out of everything. The last thing you want is to ruin a batch because you didn’t kill some miserable little bacteria. Next, boil you water (preferably spring or carbon filtered, pure with no chlorine) and whatever brewing ingredients your recipe calls for. Next you cool it in an ice bath (careful to keep the lid on now that it’s cooling to prevent contamination). Once it is cool enough pour it into the fermentor and add the yeast (usually already prepared in a separate container with warm water). Store somewhere moderately warm, and wait.