July 5th, 2009 (08:57 pm)
So, back in May, I started my very first mead. In June, I added fresh Oregon strawberries (just delivered that morning) and today was my second racking where I took another hydrometer reading and had a test taste.
Although, let me back up to the important June racking. By this time, my blackberry mead had been fermenting happily for a month and was now barely bubbling. It was the same weekend of the Grand Floral Parade. All week beforehand, I had been trying to call stores and farmers market vendors to find out when Oregon strawberries were going to be in season. I knew June was the start of the harvest - but since I wasn't going to go out and pick them myself, I had to get the next best thing. I hoped I didn't have to wait much longer. Luckily, Whole Foods said they'd be in that very Saturday, so the man and I decided we'd skip the parade this year and sort out my desired fruit.
We started early, grabbing not only my precious strawberries - but also some groceries as well as food for a late lunch that day. We picked up sunflower seedlings and they were so tasty! We have most of them now growing on the balcony, so I can't wait to see this place in August.
Anyway, once deciding to grab an entire crate of strawberries (6 dry pints, if I remember rightly), we headed home to juice them. At least the juicer now has a purpose in life, other than cluttering our spare room.
(click on a photo to see it larger)
This was after we added the strawberries. You can see all three meads and how different they look. Since mine went into a second primary (the yeast went nutty after the strawberries were introduced), there was a bit of overflow the day after this photo was taken. In fact, I put around 32 ounces of strawberry pureé, so there was some mead that was displaced, as you can see in the following picture. You can also see in that second photo how much sediment (on the strawberry side) is still in the mead at this early stage. The third and fourth photos are a week later; the mead cleared up incredibly quickly, all of the fruit bits rising to the top and the yeast sinking to the bottom.
(more clickable photos)
This next photo was taken today - before my second racking, so this is 2-month-old mead. Another fun shot of all four wines (mine is the second one from the far left, the bright red one is actually a cranberry/raspberry wine that isn't mine). The final photo is my second racking on the left, the leftover sediment and yeast on the right at the little glass of mead for my taste test and hydrometer reading.
It's at 14.5%, which is a very decent alcohol content. The strawberry smells wonderful, it looks
like strawberry and the taste is distinctive; sweet but not cloying - and it could very well knock you on your butt, easy. I think I will have to make a bigger batch of this for post-CSTS 2010.
So, thanks to girlleabhar
, this has been officially named Kaylee's Strawberry Shindig
, or "Kiss", for short. Call me crazy (go on - I know you want to), but I'm hoping to enter this in the Mazer Cup
next year - just as long as I can get the clarity, at least. There will be a very small amount available after that. Definitely will have to make a bigger batch next time.
I'm considering to make a 3 gallon batch next weekend...maybe this time with spices or perhaps a chili mead. I haven't decided if it's going to be a Zoë mead or an Inara mead - but I'm definitely excited to be making more, and something different. I may even start on the base mead for Kiss
and just let it mature until next year's fresh crop of Oregon strawberries happens.
Storage space is going to get interesting.