Racking, Topping Up, And No More Headspace

Maybe getting caught short, when I racked my mead the other day, was a blessing in disguise. Having half a gallon of mead in a 1-gallon jug, with all that head space threatening to oxidize it, motivated me to rack four other 1-gallon batches. Some of these had been sitting on lees longer than I would like, and it felt really good to look at them, bright and clear with no sediment, in their new containers.

Looks great, smells great, but tastes bland

My Produce Department Chablis is coming along nicely. The aroma is terrific, and it’s bright and clear with the color of a great rose. That’s why the taste is so disappointing. It’s not that there’s an off taste or flaw, but that there’s not much flavor at all. It’s way too early to give up on it, so I’ll put it back in the wine closet and give it some time.

Specific Gravity: 0.990, pH: 3.60, Titratable Acidity: 6 g/L

Oregano Wine: A good first impression

It’s clear, almost colorless, without much aroma, but it’s got a nice flavor. So what does oregano wine taste like? It’s early yet, but it doesn’t taste of oregano. In fact, it reminds me a little of rhubarb wine. Anyway, this is my first oregano wine, and so far, so good!

SG: 0.990, pH: 3.80, TA: 5.5 g/L

The recipe I’m using calls for 3 tsp acid. So far, I’ve added 1 tsp and neutralized some of that to restart a stuck fermentation. So I added another tsp (about 4.9 grams) of tartaric acid. That ought to raise the TA to 6.8 g/L.

Speaking of rhubarb …

I make rhubarb wine every year, from my backyard rhubarb patch, and this is last year’s vintage. I like to let rhubarb wine age for two years, and it can improve for five or more years, but this one is pretty good now.

SG: 0.991, pH: 3.41, TA: 7 g/L

Apple Mead: Last but not least

When I made apple wine this year, I used a juicer on the apples and fermented the juice. Last year, I chopped up the apples and used dry sugar extraction to get the juice out. That means I cut up the apples and put them in a bucket. I covered them with sugar, which “pulled” the moisture out of the apples, and I fermented that. I used the spent apples to make a mead by pouring a honey water mixture over them and pitching yeast. It had a lot of sediment, and I really should have racked earlier. But it’s no worse for the wear, and I’m looking forward to bottling it.

SG: 0.996, pH: 3.33, TA: 6 g/L

Do things happen for a reason? Yes, but sometimes the reason is bad planning

Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t rack these when I should have. After all, I had a way to use up some of the mead that was half-filling that 1-gallon jug. Or, maybe it was a good thing I didn’t have a half-gallon jug when I racked the mead because that nudged me to rack these wines. Sometimes good intentions are all you need to get you where you want to go. Sometimes they need a little help.



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