November 24, 2010

Call for submissions/Yeast Experiment Round Two

Well, I was pretty excited about the mead yeast experiment, but unfortunately the results were not very illuminating, with one startling exception:

The wine that I made into six 1 gallon batches, each with a different yeast, turned out to be astonishingly different, with pronounced flavors from the yeast. The mead all basically tasted the same: like singed rubber with rubbing alcohol poured on top. Now young meads tend to be alcohol-tasting, but even for a young mead this was bad. I've bottled them up and have no interest in trying them again for at least a year, so perhaps they will improve over time.

The exception was the White Labs Belgian Ale Blend. This strain left some residual sugar behind and it also imparted the characteristic trappist yeast esters. In the mead, they combined delightfully with the honey flavor and aroma to make something reminiscent of pears, peaches, candi sugar, and bubblegum. It was interesting enough to warrant a brand new yeast experiment: six different beer strains fermenting a traditional mead!

This time around the must was 1.088 in gravity and made from wildflower honey, and the possible ph-sensitivity was counteracted by using potassium bicarbonate midway through fermentation. No stuck fermentations at all this time, and the meads are almost finished (currently still dropping at 1.002). The strains are:

Wyeast 2112 California Lager
Danstar Nottingham Ale
Wyeast 3711 French Saison
Wyeast 3944 Belgian Wit
Wyeast 1026 Cask Ale
Wyeast 1272 American Ale II

Stay tuned for results! I am especially excited about the French Saison strain, which is very attenuative and produces distinct spicy/lemony flavors.

And finally, this is a call for suggestions! Please let me know through the comments below if there are any future beer/wine/mead/cider experiments that you would like to see. Time willing, I would be happy to oblige.

1 comment:

  1. Tom, I'd be willing to get in on this experiment! I've used Safale T-58 in a braggot (blended from a traditional mead fermented with T-58 and a Belgian Amber using Sterling hops fermented with T-58). I've been curious about trying Brettanomyces in mead, but I've been just too afraid and un-inspired. I would also like to try cold fermenting a mead using Wyeast 2042 Danish Lager. Keep me updated on your trials!