Today, we finally bottled our second attempt at making mead!
Here is how it looked, after unwrapping the carboy from its towel (which served to insulate, as well as keep light out).
We had started out with a full gallon of must. As you can see, quite a bit was lost, from each time we racked it.
I think, next time, we will use the fermentation bucket, even though we plan to make another 1 gallon batch. We’re looking to do a malomel using our own sour cherries, though I am considering juicing the cherries, first.
The first thing done (after sanitizing everything, of course) was do a hydrometer reading. With the 1 gallon carboy, it was easier to get a sample using a turkey baster, rather than the wine thief that came with our starter it. It fits through the neck, but just barely. With how low the level is, I thought the baster we have might not be long enough, but it just made it!
Here are the readings I got.
The only think I understand on there is the alcohol by volume (ABV) reading. 😀 If anyone reading this can explain the other two readings in the comments, I would really appreciate it!
The ABV reading is at about 8%. The last I tested it, it was at about 10%. However, in trying to look up how to read a hydrometer, I saw that they are usually calibrated for 20C. Mead Baby 2.0 has been maintaining a temperature of 16C (close to ambient temperature) for the past while. It would have been warmer when we last tested it, as it was still actively fermenting.
There are quite a lot of bubbles in there, too! It’s ever so slightly carbonated. That made getting a reading harder, which is why I took pictures of all sides. I can read it better on my computer screen.
The mead was nice and clear, too. Having racked it 3 times, there was very little sediment on the bottom of the carboy.
We tasted it, of course.
Much more so than our first attempt, which had a lower honey to water ratio. For the 1 gallon batch, we used the generally recommended 3 pounds of honey. In our first batch, we used a 5kg bucket of honey, which works out to about 11 pounds, and water to make 5 gallons in the fermentation bucket. For 5 gallons, the recommendation would have been for 15 pounds of honey. From what I’ve read, though, these are not hard and fast rules.
Aside from being very sweet, it’s a pretty mild alcohol. Tasty, if somewhat cloying.
I wasn’t quite sure how many bottles we could fill with what was left (plus, I had only 3 corks from last time…), so I sanitized 3 – 750ml bottles.
It turned out to be just enough!
After what was removed to get a hydrometer reading (which we then used to taste test), by the time the 3 bottles were full, the only thing left in the carboy was the remains with sediment.
We did end up doing a no-no in the process, though. It’s recommended to use a racking cane and fill the bottles from the bottle up, to prevent contact with oxygen as much as possible. It’s a pain in the butt to use the racking cane that came with our kit. I did get an auto-siphon, but it doesn’t fit in the 1 gallon carboy.
So we just poured it through a funnel.
It bubbled up quite a bit in the process! Enough that we had to pause while pouring, to let the bubbles die down.
We have kept one bottle out to drink in the short term. The other two bottles are now in our root cellar in the basement. I am planning to open one in about 6 month, and the other in a year, to see how they age. 🙂
Unless we forget about them, because we almost never go down there. At which point, who knows? I keep reading that the older they are, the better, so we’ll see. 🙂
ps: I recently discovered this really useful YouTube channel, CS Brews. They like to keep things simple, which is right up my alley! I highly recommend checking their videos out. 🙂