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September 2012
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Lorrie [userpic]
Is It Can Be Topic Change Tiem Nao?

Right, so, among my New Year's Firm Plans, I wrote, "Brew at least three meads this year, at least one of which is dedicated to a god."

I admit, that was kind of a low-ball resolution (there are ones on there that will, in fact, be quite hard for me). But let's chat that up a moment and throw some plans around...

One, I'd best get on the stick and make another simple, all-purpose mead...because the stuff I brewed in January 2009 with intent not to even open until, uh, now? We got into it in September, and the last two bottles of my share of that good brew will be served up tomorrow.

What was I thinking?

We considered a mead of tanbark oak honey for Thor, but:

So, for Thor, a honey porter, using oak honey from actual oak trees. bearfairie knew where to get the right stuff, too, bless her. Additional flavoring methods and ingredients will include cocoa nibs, coffee, and something to do with walnuts--coffee is a well-known UPG for Thor, and the first and third are locally accepted UPG that go well with the dark flavor profile of a honey porter. Oh, and there'll be some oak cubes in the carboy specifically designed for imparting barrel-aged flavor to glass-aged products. Huh. I should probably warn for the beer to contain nuts.

Then there's Odin.

  • Odin is, assuredly, a Mead Guy.

But given the Nine Herbs Charm and all, and the fact that we have a lovely bucket of sage honey here, I'm leaning toward a metheglin, which is a fussy word for "mead with herbs in".

That reminds me, before tomorrow's party I should go over a list I've got, pretty the formatting up, and see if there're any amendments to make to it tomorrow. At least one of the highly recommended ingredients is technically legal but will require warning for sound ethical reasons. Other ingredients may include sage, thyme, caraway, and mugwort.

Frigg's got a plum melomel burbling away in the brewery already. It had some oxidation trouble at the outset, which may age out, but if it doesn't, I'll do it over when the local plums come again. It needs to be racked OFF the plums ASAP, this is due to happen sometime in the next couple weeks.

Then, today, while I was buying kitty grass and catnip, it came to my attention something for Freyja might not be a bad idea. For her, I would say fireweed honey, with rose hips, cocoa nibs, and catnip. I'm tempted to wave chile peppers and/or belladonna at it, but the first would mean emberleo couldn't have any (poor form) and the second, while appropriate, might be more trouble than I bargained for. Oh, and amber chips and gold flakes, 'cos, uh...'cos.

And that's my current brewery ramblings. Discuss.

-- Lorrie

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
(no subject) - (Anonymous)

I don't know, to be honest.

As an offering, dpaxson can usually find "Bull's Blood", which she thinks works, although I think the most...appropriate to the Icelandic sense of humor was the one named "Wolf Trap" from these South African blokes.

Tyr and I don't talk much, but if he wants on the queue, I suppose he'll find a way to get me a memo. *grin*

-- Lorrie

Not at all a brewer, but still found this interesting!

Right! It's a kitchen witch's free association potion--now with a geek's sterile procedure!

-- Lorrie

Book you should add to the library, assuming you don't have it already: Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers; the secrets of ancient fermentation by Stephan Harrod Buhner, ISBN 13: 978-0-973381-66-3

It has history, recipies and all kinds of cool stuff, and is about all kinds of fermented beverages, including meads & other intriguing things like the stuff the Sonoran inhabitants made/make of Saguaro-fruit. Has interesting things to say about heather.

*grin* Got that, and Schramm's Compleat Meadmaker--but a brilliant suggestion, for which I thank you!

-- Lorrie

I don't usually drink alcohol, got out of the habit from too many years of pregnancy and breastfeeding. But the discussion is interesting as I am definitely part kitchen witch:) One of the things I miss about living in Quebec is being able to buy different kinds of honey. Here in Nova Scotia, local honey just says honey:(

If it's produced locally, that means it's just got all of your local goodstuff in. For a honey to qualify as a varietal, it needs to be 80% from one kind of flower.

However, wildflower is also good: you get a slice of a whole season, not just one plant!

I figure I'm trundling along in a folk process: using what best follows associative chains of reasoning, using the best available ingredients, which, frankly, Just What They Did Back in the Day.

-- Lorrie

Mmm, mead. At the Yule feast we had seven rounds of toasts[1], which was decidedly happiness-inducing.

I'm not certain about porter -- if it's made without hops then I could probably drink it. (Er, 'UPG'?)

I'm wondering what the ingredient is which is "technically legal but will require warning for sound ethical reasons". I can think of several, including alcohol, garlic and cinnamon (knowing people who have extreme reactions to them).

No, belladonna may not be a very good ingredient *g*. Does catnip have any effect on humans? I know the effect on cats...

[1] The previous year we had three, with each round containing two or three toasts. However, people kept 'forgetting' to do some of the toasts in each round and having to make extra ones, so this year we had one per round.

We usually do one toast per round for exactly this reason. ;)

As a rule, one ought to assume that beer contains hops, thanks to the German Reinheitsgebot, or beer purity law. However, there are hopless beers in the world, and not just coming from basements and garages. Fraoch Heather Ale springs immediately to mind in this regard.

As for Secret Ingredients...*grin* iffen I told you, they wouldn't be secret! I'll say only that it's a known entheogen, one that doesn't guarantee nausea, and one with which I've already had some experience, and leave it there. You can see why that would need warning...

Catnip has a mild sedative effect on humans; I wouldn't put much of it in a Freya mead, just enough to say I'd done it to honor the Lady of Cats. Roses and cats are Freyja's style: beautiful, sensual, but not without weaponry.

-- Lorrie

Thanks for the recipe ideas. If only I had time before the party today. I'm trying my hand at making Wassail for it though... we shall see how this works out.

*jots down book names for later purchase*

Alton did a period wassail! AND I found crabapples at a local store! Squee!

...I didn't make it for Twelfth Night, but I was sore tempted...

-- Lorrie

Awhile back Denver did an Earl Grey Mead, which I was always sad I never got to try.

But that might be a nice one for Heimdall- something to help keep Him alert while He's on guard duty...

Y'know, this reminds me of the time dr_beowulf tried something he called Odhroerir--coffee mead. However, I think you're right that Heimdall's more a tea guy.

-- Lorrie

I'm curious to hear how the plum melomel turns out!

I just did a batch with strawberries in and was a bit disappointed - it's a very sweet mead, and has a lovely pinky tinge to the color, but not a lot of detectable strawberry flavor. I'm afraid I may have racked it off the fruit too quickly. Still trying to figure out melomel.

Gosh golly, though, this reminds me - it's time to rack the cyser I have going for the Old Man right now - thanks for the braincheck!

Well, my theory is sound, but what happened was that I didn't immediately transport it from Greyhaven (where we put the ingredients together) to my friends' house, where the actual brewing usually happens.

This isn't a problem if, and only if, the must moves all it's going to before the yeast takes off, as evidenced by burbly activity in the airlock.

...unfortunately, that wasn't the case. We could have left it at Greyhaven for as long as it would take for primary fermentation to settle out, but I was afraid something would happen to it in the meantime, so I chose to move it anyway.

Sure enough, on top of the harsh taste of a young mead, there was an odor that I'm told means that the yeast oxidized--which for them is great, they're more active with more oxygen, but it means that in their supercharged state, they make stinkythings, which is not great for humans.

I'm told it should age out; we'll know soon enough. In the worst case, if it's absolutely undrinkable, at least we'll've learned something.

Schramm's Compleat Meadmaker is a must for your must (haha). For each of the usual fruits, and quite a few unusual ones, he has a chart saying how much will make a subtle influence, as opposed to a slight flavor, as opposed to a loud note in the mead's flavor chord. Also, he would like to introduce you to the idea that you under no circumstances have to heat the honey or the water at all to make a good mead: simply ensure sterile vessels, as the honey already is that way, and water directly from tap or bottle is also perfectly safe.

As a bonus, you get to keep more of that honey's unique character.

As a further bonus, it's ready in 4-6 months instead of 10-12, according to him.


The plum melomel was my first experiment in this regard, so it's entirely possible that any off flavors are a result of a failure in my sterile procedure. Again, time and taste will tell.

-- Lorrie

Yay for brewing! Ya know... if you were to make something for Freyr, you could put some cinnamon, anise, oatgrass, damiana, sarsaparilla, and/or mugwort into that too... just sayin'... actually some of those ingredients may not go amiss for ms. Freyja as well... :) bear<--helping

Right now, I'm sketching two simple, straight meads (one nigh-sweet, one sweet) and three dedicated brews (two meads and one beer). My time is less limited than my money, but neither are infinite.

SoooOoOoooooo... I'm not adverse, but it'll have to wait a bit. BUT! I'll certainly be floating the topic around on the V-Convo list when it's time for the Freyja batch, and we'll see what comes of't.

-- Lorrie