Brewlog: Blueberry Mel

From Oskaarz “You Bleu My Berries”

20 lbs blueberry honey

20 lbs frozen blueberries

32 oz blueberry juice

32 oz cherry/pomegranate juice

10g Lalvin RC-212

Go-Ferm

Fermaid-O

pectic enzyme

SG: 1.14

ABV: according to meadcalc this ends up at 17.6%. the tolerance of RC-212 is 16% so there will be a fair amount of residual sweetness.

 

06.09.2014

poured 20 lbs frozen blueberries with 2tsp pectic enzyme into a bag to thaw

06.11.2014

rehydrate yeast with Go-Ferm

mix 3 gallons water with 20 lbs honey and the 64oz of juice

pitch yeast, aerate like mad

add blueberries

cover with sanitized towel

 

06.12.2014

foam is forming due to the beginning of the lag phase. Aerated and dosed it with 9g Fermaid-O.

 

06.14.2014

added another 20g Fermaid-O

06.15.2014

I think my calculations were off – for 200ppm Yan I’ll need close to 100 grams of straight Fermaid-O. Yikes.

added another 20 grams which brings the total to 40.

06.16.2014

added another 60 grams, bringing the total to 100 grams of Fermaid-O.

06.20.2014

SG is 1.018 – it’s not dropping as fast as I’d expected, but it tastes good – sweet and tart.

06.23.2014

SG is 1.005 – much better. tastes hot and has a weird bitter note, adding some more Fermaid.

07.012014

SG is .995 and still burping. I’d have thought this would finish higher, interesting.

07.13.2014

SG is still .995

I think the massive nutrient schedule has thrown the taste, now there’s a mineral saltiness to it. Not sure how to make that go away, time for Google.

 

8.1.2014

I massively miscalculated the amount of nutrients needed, to fix I pitched another 6-gallon batch of Blueberry Mel with K1-V1116, one of the killer yeasts. Didn’t have blueberry honey so I used Costco’s Clover with another 20 lbs of frozen blueberries. Dang, only 10lbs left for secondary now.

After primary started, I added in the original batch and the fruit. It fermented dry in about a week, took out the fruit and racked to 5 gallon carboys. Tastes much more like I expected, only it’s really hot – I have no idea how to measure the ABV but it’s higher than 14%, that’s for sure. It’ll take some Medium French/Medium Hungarian oak and some aging but this batch should be ready for secondary fruit in about a year.

2014-09-04 11.58.54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blueberry honey

Oooh, the honey is here. 2 gallons of Blueberry Honey from BeeFolks in MD.

I started thawing 24 lbs of frozen blueberries with some pectic enzyme last night, should be ready to pitch a batch of blueberry mel tonight.

Bottling Day

Bottled 1 gallon of the Cranberry Poser and 1 gallon of the Dark Mel to free up a couple of carboys. Using 16oz swingtops for the first time, I’m not planning on long-term storage so they should be fine. Also filled a couple of 350ml bottles of each for submissions.

Also backsweetened 3 gallons of Strawberry Mel – 1 lb of honey took it from .995 to 1.006. It should be clear and ready for bottling in a couple of weeks, in time for summer festivities.

Pickled Garlic Mustard Greens

We spent Saturday participating in a garlic mustard pull in County Farm Park. The goal was wildflower stewardship but we pulled bags and bags of the stuff. I saved a couple of shopping bags of them to make this. from honest-food.net

Pickled Mustard Greens, Chinese Style

Much of this recipe is malleable, but the ratio of salt to water is not: Too much and you kill any ferment, too little and everything can rot. Your nose is a good guide. If your fermented greens stink like rot, don’t eat them. They should have a pleasing pungent smell like a cross between mustard and dill pickles.

I ferment my greens (and pretty much everything else) with this set-up:

  • An old, rimmed baking sheet; old because the salty brine can damage some metal surfaces if it slops over. And it always does.
  • Quart Mason jars for the greens.
  • Narrow jelly jars to keep the greens submerged.

How long is up to you. Minimum 3 days at room temperature, or you will wonder what the fuss is about. A week is good for beginners, but I prefer several weeks or even longer. The longer you go, the saltier and more pungent everything gets.

Once the greens have fermented to your liking, seal the jars and store in the fridge. They’ll last this way for months.

Makes 3 quarts.

Prep Time: 3 days fermenting time, minimum.

Cook Time: n/a

  • 3 quarts water
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt **(I made a batch with this ratio, found it pretty salty. started another batch with a 5% brine which should be fine)
  • 3 to 5 star anise
  • 5 to 10 dried chiles, broken in half
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
  • A 2-inch piece of ginger, sliced thin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons molasses or brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds mustard greens, cut into large pieces

_________

  1. Bring everything but the mustard greens to a boil in a large pot. Turn off the heat and let it cool to room temperature. 
  2. Get out 5 quart-sized Mason jars with 5 narrow jelly jars to keep the greens submerged. You need this many because you will only pack the greens in 3/4 of the way into the jars — you want at least 1 inch of brine above the level of the greens. Distribute the solids (chiles, ginger, etc) among the jars (break the cinnamon stick in pieces) and then pack the mustard greens into the jars, again only about 3/4 of the way in.
  3. Submerge the greens in the brine, using a chopstick or skewer to get rid of any air bubbles. Place the jars in the sink and put the narrow jelly jars in them. The brine will overflow but the narrow jar will prevent the greens from contacting the air. Set the jars on the baking sheet and put in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
  4. Let them ferment at least 3 days, or longer. Mold will form eventually. This is normal. I wait until the mold cap is pretty solid, then pick it off. It’s not harmful.
  5. Finish by packing the jars tight with the fermented greens, leaving about 1/2 inch of brine over them. Seal and put in the fridge. They will continue to ferment very slowly, so open the jars every week or two to release pressure. If you want to kill the ferment, boil the brine and cool before packing the jars the final time.